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December 4, 2013

Hypo for wrapping up attempt/conspiracy/complicity discussions

Students interested in thinking  more about attempt liability and related issues should be sure to check out this post (and the toughtful student comments) from the last time I taught the class.  The post lists 20 actions as part of an attempted act of domestic terrorism that I set up this way:

Here list of actions by a (troubled?) young man to get you thinking about where a line should be drawn between "mere preparation" and attempt liability.  The your man in question is Joe McAngryTechieNerd of Columbus, Ohio, who truly believes Microsoft (MS) is the root of all evil and he often tells his techie friends that computers and the whole world would be better off with MS and Bill Gates.  After watching a documentary about Oklahoma City Bombing, Joe McAngryTechieNerd does the following ....

Especially given more recent events, and also in an effort to bring in some complicity and conspiracy concepts, I thought this simplified ten-step hypo could also provide you with a sense of the modern challenges modern attempt and conspiracy liability seeks to mediate:

Jerry McJihadi and Johnny McJihadi, bothers who both truly believe and has long blogged about the US people being responsible for more many deaths than all terrorists combined, have told all their friends that they are really proud of and impressed by the courage of the Boston bombers and that they wish they could someday have the courage to act so boldly based on their beliefs and convictions. And then they:

1.  E-mail family members saying they plans to go to Boston in early 2014 and does not ever expect to see again

2.  Do internet research on date of Boston Marathon and on homemade explosives

3.  Purchase legally all the supplies needed for making backpack explosives

4.  Rent van, drive to Boston in early March 2014 with supplies, rent room.

5.  Weeks before the 2014 Boston marathon, they take turns canvassing the marathon route using tablet computers to take note and to look at YouTube videos showing where and when the largest crowds are assembled.

6.  In week before marathon, they buy fertilizer/gas/timer and other ingredients for making car bomb to go along with the backpack bombs they are planning to build

7.  Day before marathon, start building homemade backpack bombs inside their rented room and the car bomb inside the rented truck

8.  Early morning of marathon, drive around Boston looking for idea parking spot

9.  Parks van, jump out with backpack bombs and car bomb trigger in hand

10.  Drop backpacks and hide in strategic location to watch timed/triggered explosions



When do you think, under common law or the MPC, the brothers are guilty of attempted murder?

When do you think the brothers are involved in a conspiracy to commit murder?



When do you want police to intervene?

When do you think the police legally can intervene?

When do you think the police will intervene?

December 4, 2013 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink


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