Examining The Definition Of Conspiracy And Its Meaning Criminology Essay

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Conspiracy is defined as: A plan to commit an illegal act together; a secret plan or agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal or subversive act. (Encarta English Dictionary, 2007).

According to the House Bill of 1999 (HRS), it is stated that a person is guilty of criminal conspiracy if, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime: 1) If one agrees with one or more persons that they plan to commit a crime or solicit the conduct or they will cause or solicit the actual result stated by the definition of the offense; and 2) He and another person of any group with whom he conspired commits an overt or obvious act to pursue any part of the conspiracy.

Well Isn't It Obvious?

Previously, The House Bill (HRS) of Hawaii's criminal conspiracy law specifically rejected the requirement of an overt act of crime, as prior governing was based on tradition and precedent. Overt means obvious. They did not require an obvious act of crime. Well, obviously they used "Hear-say" as the basis of the case. Now sit back and repeat this to yourself. Does it not sound insane?

Although this next phrase is not at all a fact, there has been belief that law officials and law authorities stand behind one another when at fault. So in a situation like this, the rejection of an obvious act would make a perfect fit. Unfortunately for the people, to prove their own innocence was a losing battle to begin with.

How in the world could any law maker or any government official actually agree that this law was legit enough to become a law? Better yet, how did they actually reject an obvious act? How could all fifty states take part in this law and let it become a part of America and her people? The logical answer for this would be, that this is where "loop holes" and "Backdoors" are created, followed by people diverting people, fingers start pointing in all directions and so on and so on. The defense could start to fabricate any story to use in court, because what actually happened (the overt act) would be rejected and thrown out. These "loop holes" and "backdoors" could also simply be the means for, "buying time".

Today criminal conspiracy laws now impose catching a criminal through an overt act. This is also a requirement. So instead of ignoring the obvious, the obvious will be the base of the crime.

The Bilateral, Multilateral, and Unilateral Approach

These laterals are used to prosecute and convict conspirators by involvement. 1) Bilateral - Affecting, obligating, or shared by both parties. 2) Multilateral - Participated in by more than two sides. 3) Unilateral - containing a promise to perform made by only one party. (Dictionary.com)

The previous law states that lawmakers were taking a bilateral or multilateral approach concerning criminal conspiracy. (House Bill, 1999) Basically, saying that in order for conspiracy to be proven in the court of law, the court had to prove that there was "group" involvement and that more than one party was legally responsible for the planning of a crime. Using this tactic however, the House Bill of 1999 truthfully states, that the codes that were being set in Hawaii gave a lot of "wiggle room" for people, even authorities to get away with these types of crime. Basically, the jest of the matter was if the court could not prove that someone in the group was not present at the scene of the crime, the court would have to release the entire group of those allegations. The House Bill continued to say since the bilateral approach had the capacity to turn the case into a big "he said, she said" match, while the multilateral approach included everyone in the group. This meant if one goes down, they all go down, if one goes free, they all go free.

The current Hawaii law abides by the unilateral approach. (HRS) S705-520 HRS states that, "the failure to prosecute, or the unavailability for prosecution, or the prior acquittal of a co-conspirator will not affect the defendant's liability". This approach is explained where instead of having "two or more persons" guilty or not guilty of conspiracy, now individuals will suffer the consequences individually, as long as they are to be proved to be part of a conspiracy. This allows the defendant to be charged with only the part of the crime that he is being convicted for. It also allows the law to prosecute in the absence of a co-conspirator. Using the unilateral approach the law includes the guilty party no matter what facet you may have played.

Conspiracy Controversies

What people do not seem to understand is that even though they are only planning a crime in written form (blueprints, a list of people to kill), that part of the plan is as bad as if you were present at the scene of the crime. Examples of this type would be like a plan to murder someone or a plan to rob a bank but the group backed out of the plan, yet someone goes to the extent of getting a floor plan or simply just drawing it out himself. This drawing is now the key ingredient of the prosecutors offense and you will be riding that slippery-slope. (Criminal Conspiracy, 2009) This is still a crime.

Another situation that could occur would be, if an individual has a part in a crime and they back out of the situation before completed, he will be convicted of everything he had done and the outcome of the situation. A simple telephone call to distract another person in order to take another step closer to the outcome is very convicting.

When a defendant loses a conspiracy case they

Lastly, other criminal cases are tried based on solid evidence, where as conspiracy seems to allow the other side to create charges or diversions against you that you never knew existed. Conspiracy also allows voluntary information by group members to become part of the prosecution against another member or members of the group. In return these individuals are promised a more lenient sentence or something that would be a bonus to themselves. These people are referred to as "Rats".

Touchette vs. Ganal

Below is a case that is an obvious conspiracy that is needed to be shared with readers of this paper. It is an actual case that made headline news and in fact when googled in the search bar "Hawaii Conspiracy Cases" it comes up as number one on the search list leaving people to wonder, "How safe are we in the hands of our own people".

This is the case of Touchette v. Ganal. In which Touchette was the boyfriend of Mabel Ganal, who had already left her husband Orlando Ganal. Orlando shot his and Mabel's son in the face. He then kills Mabel's parents and Touchette's family members. He goes on to hurt but, does not kill Mabel herself and leaves Touchette untouched.

Touchette's remaining family members turn around and sue Mabel. They believed that "Mabel was responsible for not adequately controlling Orlando or at least warning people about his dangerousness". (Volokh, 2009) The Court rejected that reason and reminded the people that, "people have no legal duty to try to prevent crimes by their spouses". (Volokh, 2009) Yet the court continues to say that although she is not liable for not controlling her husband's actions, she was "negligent" because of her lack of providing useful information to Touchette's family about her husband. (Volokh, 2009) As you can see, this is where the case gets confusing, this is where the crime of "Conspiracy" comes out of the wood work and starts doing its evil.

An example of this law in order to make things clearer in this case would be, what if you had an affair and made the comment that you had to get "rid" of your husband so that you and your lover could be together forever? Your view of "getting rid of him" would be a divorce; whereas your lover might misconstrue your view as your way of saying that you "want him to be killed". If he overtly performed the killing and was asked why he did it, he has every right to say that you said you "wanted to be rid of him". In essence, he would be telling the truth. What then? You end up in jail for his misunderstanding and your thinking and communication process, or lack there of.

The fact of the matter is that how could Mabel warn the family about how dangerous Orlando was, when it is obvious she never knew how dangerous he was. There is a reason that they call it "your" feelings, "your" issues, and "your" actions. It is called "your" because it belongs to you and only you. No one else can tell you how to feel and what to do. The facts of this case are as follows: (1) Orlando killed these individuals, including shooting his own son in the face, and (2) Mabel gave in to human nature by falling out of love and then in love with someone other than her husband. (3) It's obvious that the state of Hawaii was looking for a way to compensate the family's anger, sadness, and remorse. Why not blame the same individual that the family wants to blame already, right? No sense getting anyone else involved in such a discouraging situation. Therefore that is exactly what happened. (4) They actually went ahead and gave the satisfactory to the family. (5) This is conspiracy.

Now there is a question lingering in the air. Would it have been more moralistic to have Mabel pay for the psych counseling and medication to help the entire family get rid of the horror that they have just been through or, Give them a financial award for God knows what? The Hawaii Judicial Courts should have given that more thought. The action that they both took was in their own hands; so to each his own. The remaining factors of this case were merely based off of hearsay, the "opinion" of the jury (let's not forget that they are human too), and one-sided assumption.

If someone told Orlando that he did this crime because he could not deal with himself, and that could be the reason for what he had done, he is going to take that reason as an excuse if it's going to give him a break. He tried to kill her, the woman he had claimed to love, yet he went and killed other totally innocent people because of the pain he felt. For some reason, getting his feelings hurt makes his crime her fault. Visualizing this situation and converting it to normal mental understanding, the outcome sounds like this: A man can rob a bank because he disagreed with some finance charges, but it's the banks fault for making the rules to begin with.

You Do The Crime, You Do The Time

There is a whole bunch of examples that a person can use to describe criminal conspiracy. The number one and most popular is conspiracy to commit a murder, followed by money laundering. The amount of time and effort you plan on committing these crimes are rewarded with a minimum of "25 years to life in prison [racking up] punitive damages of up to $250,000." The third is "sell, deliver, promote, or manufacture contraband." The biggest example of criminal contraband today is drugs and guns. It all depends on how intricate the operation is that determines how long the accused is in jail and how much in punitive damages he is charged; the maximum being "life in prison" and up to $4 million in damages. (Thompson, 2006)

Doing the Time or Cutting Your Time

It is easy to get into a serious mess like criminal conspiracy. External pressures, such as fitting in and "helping" someone out of an otherwise bad situation are a strong reason for committing this crime. Internal pressures like greed and lust can also be added to that list. Once you have crossed the line of committing wrong instead of right, it is difficult, but not impossible, to get back on the right track.

Sometimes, immunity is granted to a person who admits their fault in a conspiracy and alerts the authorities of the plan before any crime has taken place. In most cases, this person, also known as a "rat", is released or has a reduced sentence; depending on the degree of his involvement. Other times, immunity may be granted if it is proven that the accused is 1) "legally incapable…to commit the offense" 2) if he is "penally irresponsible or has immunity…" 3) if he is "unaware of criminal nature of the offense" 4) if he does "not have the state of mind…" (Find Law, 1996) The ultimate guarantee that trouble does not come looking for you would be to not commit the crime to begin with (or in this case, don't even think about it).

I Pledge Allegiance, To The Flag Of The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA….

Are we, or are we not, one Nation under God……. There is so much "Wala'au, Wala'au" that the people of the nation are confused. It starts with Federal laws and State laws. Isn't everyone equal? How is it possible to run a judiscial system successfully when our authorities are as confused as the people themselves? For example it says here, " Graffiti is a local crime, but not if it's on a Post Office building". (The Difference Between Federal and State Crimes, 1995-2010) What? Graffiti should be treated as graffiti no matter what kind of building or who owns the building or where the building is located. Here is another example, "a state statute which contradicts a Federal law, will be ruled "unconstitutional" by a Federal judge and nullified". (The Difference Between Federal and State Crimes, 1995-2010) Contradict? How are the state and Federal Government even allowed to contradict each other. These people are the leaders of America "The Home of the Free" and they are contradicting one another. We might as well move to Iraq and Iran where they all look alike but worship different Gods and have separate leaders. They all speak the same damn language. So first our leaders need to make black and white decisions not gray and rainbow.

Hillside Crips

In this next case it refers to a "Crip Gang". They call themselves the "HillSide Crips". In the state of Washington this gang is considered one of the largest, roughest, toughest, criminal gang. The Washington State Police had a arrested about 35 to 40 gang members. The prosecuting office asked the Judge if they could charge all the members for everything and anything, any one individual was charged with. In other words, if there were 20 robberies and ten murders they wanted to charge all 55 of the members with every count weather they were there or not.

They wanted to throw the Unilateral Approach out and use both the Multi lateral and Bi-lateral approach to punish these gang members. Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist argued, "What we're charging is that when you join a gang, you're joining a conspiracy to commit crimes and taking a substantive step in that direction," this is called "Passing Judgment" and not even the President has the authority to do that to someone. "Judge Felnagle called that approach "fundamentally unfair."" (Writer, 2010)

Clear Your Air Before Moving On

Is this not confusing? The arguments and controversy regarding this law is, everything about it. This is wrong. There has been hundreds if not thousands of people that have been incarcerated and have lost everything because of this crime. No law that has not been clearly understood with black and white facts should be allowed to send any individual away from their friends and families.

Our law makers need to keep in mind that they are not only punish the defendants but, their children as well. Keeping children off the streets to commit more crimes will be successful as long as we demonstrate honesty and loyal actions. Officials of America are the representatives of our laws. The percentage of children that are falling to the streets and have parents who are absent because of incarceration is at a high rate. Therefore, our government should focus on all laws with obvious "loop holes and backdoors" in order to keep order. This crime, if not the worst planned out crime anyone could be charged with, it certainly is the crime created for the most overt or obvious loop holes the others pretend not to see. This law should be terminated state by state and there should be a new law in the nature of conspiracy agreed on throughout America.