CONSPIRACY. UCMJ ART. 81. Duration
- Termination. A conspiracy terminates when the object of the conspiracy is accomplished, the members withdraw, or the members abandon the conspiracy. United States v. Beverly , 14 U.S.C.M.A. 468, 471 (C.M.A. 1964).
- United States v. Jimenez Recio, 537 U.S. 270 (2003) Conspiracy does not automatically terminate simply because the Government has defeated its object. Thus, defendants may be convicted of conspiracy, even absent proof they joined the conspiracy before its defeat.
- United States v. Ratliff , 42 M.J. 797 (N-M.C.C.A. 1995). Accused and four other Marines conspired to rob enough other Marines to finance a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina. After successfully getting money from one robbery victim but then failing to get money from two other victims that ran away, it was obvious that the co-conspirators did not think that they had attained the object of their conspiracy. Therefore, a statement made by a co-conspirator, at that time, was not hearsay, under MRE 801(d)(2)(E).
- United States v. Hooper , 4 M.J. 830 (A.F.C.M.R. 1978). Accused charged with conspiring to violate and violating an Air Force regulation proscribing demonstrations in foreign countries by burning a cross. Later, an alleged coconspirator stated that the accused lit the fire. The statement was admissible only if it was made during and in furtherance of the conspiracy. “It is well settled that a conspiracy ends when the objectives thereof are accomplished, if not earlier by abandonment of the aims or when any of the members of the joint enterprise withdraw therefrom.” The object of the conspiracy was the erection and burning of the cross. When that was accomplished, the conspiracy terminated.
- An individual is not guilty of conspiracy if he effectively withdraws before the alleged overt act is committed. An effective withdrawal must consist of affirmative conduct that is wholly inconsistent with adherence to the unlawful agreement and that shows that the party has severed all connection with the conspiracy. A conspirator who effectively withdraws from the conspiracy after the performance of the alleged overt act remains guilty of conspiracy and of any offenses committed pursuant to the conspiracy up to the time of the withdrawal, but he is not liable for offenses committed by the remaining conspirators after his withdrawal. MCM, pt. IV, ¶ 5c(6).
- United States v. Miasel , 24 C.M.R. 184 (C.M.A. 1957). Accused and six others agreed to commit sodomy upon a fellow soldier in the stockade. The group forced the victim to lie down while the accused climbed on top of the victim. The accused declined to try to commit sodomy. The group took the victim out of the room and committed forcible sodomy upon him, but the accused did not leave the room with the group and had no further participation in the venture. “The failure of the accused to accompany the group when they left the barracks is indicative of an affirmative act on his part to effect a withdrawal and constitutes conduct wholly inconsistent with the theory of continuing adherence.”
- Mere inactivity does not constitute withdrawal. United States v. Rhodes , 28 M.R. 427 (A.B.R. 1959), aff’d 29 C.M.R. 551 (C.M.A. 1960). From 1951 to1953, the accused, while stationed at the United States embassy in Moscow, agreed to supply information to Soviet agents. In 1953, he returned to the United States and did not again actively participate in the conspiracy. In 1957, a co-conspirator committed an overt act. Accused was guilty of conspiracy. “[I]t is no defense to the charge of conspiracy that appellant was inactive [in the conspiracy] subsequent to June 1953.
- A conspiracy is presumed to continue, until the contrary is shown. United States v.Graalum , 19 C.M.R. 667 (A.F.B.R. 1955) (affirming conviction for conspiracy to commit bribery, where accused did not effectively withdraw prior to the performance of the overt act by the co-conspirator).