Warfield went along for the ride with a group of men who intended to commit a robbery.
The men went into a victim's house, tied up and confined her children, and were about to force her to go to her workplace and open a safe that held cash receipts from the business where the woman worked.
As they were getting ready to leave the house, local police happened by and noticed the situation.
The group of men, including Warfield, fled from the house, and they were subsequently captured. What can Warfield be charged with, and why? Please discuss fully.
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I have very little legal knowledge, but I have always assumed that a person in this situation could be charged as an accessory if he knew that a crime was going to be committed. I will be very interested to hear what an attorney has to say.
I will, of course, defer to any attorney who may contradict me, but I believe the main point here would be Warfield's prior intent. If he knew beforehand that his friends were planning to commit a crime, then he is equally responsible. If he even thought there was a possibility that this might happen, he is equally guilty. Since Warfield went into the house, it will be tough to prove that he did not have prior knowledge of what might happen. Since he also fled, his guilt can also be presumed. The only way Warfield might not be considered guilty is if he knew NOTHING of what was going to happen beforehand (hearing none of the men's planning) and he went into the house legally and/or with an invitation to visit. How Warfield can explain why he didn't flee the house before the police came and before the victims were tied up--instead of taking off once he realized what his friends had in mind--is another story. Warfield may claim that he was just along for the ride, but I don't think many cops would buy this story, and he'll probably need a great attorney to keep him from joining his friends in prison.
Sorry, add an AL to Withdraw; Withdrawal.
Well, since Warfield also went in the house, we can exclude prior state of mind for now and analyze it from here. Once the crime was witnessed, to exculpate himself, he needed to basically Withdraw from the crime and leave then and report it. Withdraw is similar in nature to Renunciation.
If that State in question has an element of Omission for a crime, that is, his failure or duty to attempt to stop the crime, that may be a crime in and of itself and may be treated as a prinicpal offender.
Criminal law is sometimes complex as to what to charge and who can be charged.
An example of state of mind, as gator points out, if a team robs a bank and kills a person, IF it can be proven the DRIVER of the getaway car had NO prior knowledge of a homicide, he can NOT receive the death penalty as the trigger man could. I don't have the case name in my head though.
If he fled, and later did not report the crime, he can be charged with failure to report a felony, at least in my state. The US Criminal Code has a similar statute, Misprison of Felony.
Of course, if he was defacto involved such a charge may raise self incrimination issues when he did not report it, so probably it would not stick. A similar example is the US SC has ruled a bank robber can NOT also be charged with possession of stolen money.
Bottom line, he can be charged as the others, that ONLY requires a finding of Probable Cause. His defense team may prove otherwise to the trier of fact.
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