Standing in Reserve: A New Model for Hard Cases of Complicity

By Nicholas Almendares & Dimitri Landa. 

The “hard cases” for the law relating to accomplices deal with the definition of what counts as aiding and abetting a crime. A retailer might sell a murder weapon in the ordinary course of business, while an accomplice might do nothing because their help was simply not needed. How do we distinguish between these cases? The Capitol Riot is a striking example of this sort of hard case because there were so many people involved in so many different and ambiguous ways. Outside of the conceptually easy cases of someone caught on camera making off with property or attacking officers, who should be found guilty of what? A lack of a rubric for answering these questions makes collective crimes like the Capitol Riot especially challenging for the law. Full Article.