RealNews

A Conspiracy Nipped Can Still Bring Conviction, Justices Say

The Supreme Court ruled today that members of a criminal conspiracy can be convicted regardless of whether the discovery of the plot by the police has made it impossible for the conspiracy to achieve its goal. “The court has repeatedly said that the essence of a conspiracy is `an agreement to commit an unlawful act,’ ” Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court. He added that the criminal agreement “is a distinct evil,” punishable whether or not the substantive crime ever takes place. The decision overturned a ruling two years ago by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. The appeals court overturned the conspiracy convictions of two drug couriers who went to a shopping mall in Idaho expecting to pick up a shipment of drugs, not knowing that the police had already discovered the shipment while it was in transit. Full Story

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