Roy v. United States
652 A.2d 1098 (1995)

  • The police sent a snitch (Miller) to buy an illegal handgun from Roy. Roy referred Miller to Ross. Miller went to Ross, but Ross robbed him instead of selling him the gun.
  • Roy was arrested and charged with armed robbery.
    • Because Roy and Ross were involved in a scheme to sell illegal guns, Roy was an accomplice to any crimes Ross committed.
  • The Trial Court convicted Miller of armed robbery. He appealed.
    • Roy argued that he had no idea Ross was going to rob Miller.
  • The Appellate Court overturned the conviction.
    • The Appellate Court found that Roy could only be criminally culpable for crimes that are “the natural and probable consequence” of the initial crime.
      • It was not reasonably foreseeable that Ross would rob Miller, so Roy couldn’t be held accountable for the crime.
  • The general rule is that an aider and abettor or co-conspirator is liable not only for those crimes committed by a co-felon which he intended or agreed to facilitate, but also for any additional crimes which are reasonably foreseeable.
    • So if Roy and Ross planned to rob Miller, and Ross stabbed him in the course of the robbery, then Roy could be accountable. But in this case Roy could only be held accountable for crimes that were in the “ordinary course of events,” and it is not typical that people selling illegal guns rob their customers instead.
  • Under the Model Penal Code §2.06(3), “the liability of an accomplice ought not to be extended beyond the purpose that he shares.”