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Hicks v. United States

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant was present at the time a person was murdered. Defendant was convicted of murder. Defendant appealed arguing that he was present but did not participate.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. There must be a prior agreement or conspiracy demonstrated by sufficient evidence to find Defendant guilty of the crime.

    Facts. Defendant Hicks was jointly indicted with Stan Rowe for murder. As they were escaping after the murder, Rowe was killed and Defendant was captured. At trial, the Government’s evidence demonstrated that although Defendant did not actually fire the shot that killed Rowe, he participated with Rowe in inducing the victim into the street where he was killed.

    Issue. Whether the Government presented sufficient evidence to show that Defendant was guilty of the crime or just failed to act.

    Held. Reversed and remanded for a new trial.
    Where an accomplice is present for the purpose of aiding and abetting in a murder but refrains from so aiding and abetting because it turned out not be necessary for the accomplishment of the crime, he can still be found guilty of the offense.

    There must be a previous agreement or conspiracy for Defendant to be found guilty of murder.


    Discussion. The Court ruled that in order for Defendant to be convicted of murder, the Government would have to show some sort of evidence indicating an agreement between Defendant and Rowe. The Court noted that the Government did not present any evidence that Defendant knew Rowe for a long time, that they were together prior to the crime or that they were together after the crime.


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