Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
State ex rel. Woods v. Cohen
Edwin Cohen (Defendant) was indicted for conspiracy to defraud the Arizona health-care system. Count 1 of the indictment charged Defendant with conspiracy, while counts 18 through 29 charged Defendant with various substantive offenses committed by co-conspirators. Defendant moved to dismiss counts 18 through 29, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support those charges. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion and remanded those counts to the grand jury. In a special action before the court of appeals, the state argued that the trial court had incorrectly rejected thePinkertondoctrine of vicarious liability, which would have supported Defendant’s liability for substantive crimes committed by co-conspirators, even though Defendant had not participated in the crimes. The state contended that co-conspirator liability was included within accomplice liability. State law defined an accomplice as anyone who, while intending to encourage or facilitate an offense, aided or tried to aid another person in planning or committing the crime. The grand jury had been instructed onPinkertonliability, and the state conceded that there had not been any evidence showing that Defendant had participated directly in any of the offenses in counts 18 through 29. The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings on the indictment. Defendant petitioned the Supreme Court of Arizona for review.
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