The MPC does not permit conviction for both conspiracy and the target crime except in rare cases. Thus, in effect conspiracy does merge into the target crime under the MPC. MPC §1.07(1)(b). It takes the view that, once a criminal group has committed the object crime, the group’s dangerousness should be measured by the same punishment as provided for the object offense. However, a defendant may be convicted of as many target offenses as are committed in furtherance of the conspiracy whether as perpetrator or an accomplice.
In unusual situations, however, the MPC does permit punishment for both conspiracy and target offenses. If the conspiracy had a goal of committing unspecified future crimes, the MPC permits the government to convict and punish its members for both the conspiracy and any object crimes committed or attempted. MPC §1.07(1)(b). (Note, however, that the MPC does not permit conviction for both conspiracy and an attempt to commit the target crime. MPC §5.05(3).)
Conspiracy affords prosecutors a number of significant advantages in trying criminal cases. Some of the more important ones are discussed below.
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides that an accused has the right to trial “by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” This important constitutional protection requires the prosecutor to file charges and to try the case where the crime was committed.
The crime of conspiracy, however, is deemed to have been committed in any jurisdiction (or in the federal system in any district) in which any member of the conspiracy committed an act in furtherance of the conspiracy—even an act that was not itself a crime. This rule gives prosecutors, particularly federal prosecutors who often are dealing with conspiracies that they allege span several states, a tremendous tactical advantage. Frequently, there will be more than one such venue where an act connected to the crime has allegedly been committed and where, consequently, the case can be tried.