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Roy v. United States

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant, Tony Roy, was arrested and convicted of armed robbery, for robbing the victim of $400 at gunpoint.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    According to the natural and probable consequences doctrine, a defendant cannot be criminally liable as an accomplice for a crime that that one would not expect to occur in the ordinary course of things.

    Facts.

    An informant for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), Peppi Miller, helped officers in an undercover operation, to buy a handgun from Roy. Roy agreed to sell a handgun to Miller in exchange for $400, which Miller had received from BATF officers. Miller was given a tape recorder and transmitter to wear during his interaction with Roy. When Miller met Roy to buy the handgun, Miller was told to wait for Steve Ross to bring the gun and ammunition. When Rose met with Miller, Roy was close but was not directly involved in the dealing. Rose handed the gun to Miller but then immediately asked him to return the gun, which Miller did. Ross then loaded the gun and robbed Miller of the $400. Roy moved for a judgment of acquittal, contending that he had no direct involvement in the robbery.

    Issue.

    Whether under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, a defendant can be criminally liable as an accomplice for a crime that that one would not expect to occur in the ordinary course of things.

    Held.

    No. Under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, a defendant cannot be criminally liable as an accomplice for a crime that that one would not expect to occur in the ordinary course of things.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    While a defendant cannot be criminally liable as an accomplice for a crime that that one would not expect to occur in the ordinary course of things he may be convicted if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant directly and intentionally was an active participant in the crime. Here, The evidence is lacking that Roy directly participated in the crime. All the prosecution has shown is that Rose made a split second, impulsive decision to Rob Steve Ross at gunpoint and the prosecution has failed to prove that Roy was an active participant in the crime. To be convicted under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, the prosecution must show: (1) he was an accomplice in the robbery, (2) the armed robbery of Ross is something that should be expected in the ordinary course of the sale of a handgun. The prosecution has failed to meet its burden in proving the armed robbery was a natural and probable consequence of the sale of the handgun.


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