People v. Lauria

California Court of Appeal, Second District, 1967.

251 Cal.App.2d 471, 59 Cal.Rptr. 628.

Dressler, pp. 782-786


Facts: Lauria ran an answering service.  Some prostitutes used his service.  Lauria got arrested along with several prostitutes and was indicted for conspiracy to commit prostitution, but the trial court set aside the indictment.  The People appealed.


Issue: Is a supplier part of a conspiracy if he knowingly supplies goods and services to a buyer who will use them with criminal purposes?


Rule: NEW RULE!  To establish the mens rea necessary to convict a supplier of conspiracy, you need either direct evidence that he plans to participate in the criminal activity of another or you need to be able to draw an inference that he has a special interest in the activity or show that the crime is of an aggravated nature.


Analysis: The court “deduces” the new rule from cases where intent (purpose) may be inferred from knowledge.  In application, the court finds that Lauria didn’t take any direct action to help in the commission of criminal offenses.  Furthermore, the court notes that the offense he’s alleged to have furthered is only a misdemeanor, and so purpose can’t be inferred from knowledge that way.  The court finds there is thus not enough proof to try Lauria for conspiracy.


Conclusion: The decision of the trial court is upheld and Lauria is free to go.


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