State v. Foster
Supreme Court of
Dressler, pp. 854-858
Facts: The defendant recruited someone to go after a guy that he thought raped his girlfriend. They found someone who they thought matched the description, and they started to beat him up. The defendant wanted to go get his girlfriend to have her check if it was the right guy, but he didn’t want the supposed rapist to get away, so he gave his friend a knife. While the defendant was gone, the supposed rapist charged at the defendant’s friend, who stabbed the supposed rapist and killed him. The defendant was convicted of kidnapping, assault, and accessory to criminally negligent homicide. The defendant appealed on the basis that being an accessory to criminally negligent homicide is legally impossible because you can’t intend for something to happen unintentionally (negligently).
Issue: Must the defendant act with “intent” in order to be convicted of accessory to criminally negligent homicide under the rule of “dual intent”?
Rule: Accessorial liability for criminally negligent homicide requires the same level of culpability as the underlying offense, that is, negligence.
Analysis: Even though you can’t attempt or conspire
to commit an offense that doesn’t require intent, you can be an accessory
to such an offense. The court says that
the statute that establishes accessorial liability in
Conclusion: The conviction is upheld.
Notes and Questions