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Definition of Accomplice

An accomplice is a person who knowingly, voluntarily, and with common intent unites with another person to perform a criminal action. The person does not have to actually participate in the crime to be considered an accomplice. An accomplice must give assistance, encouragement or fail to perform a legal duty to prevent the criminal action with the intent thereby to promote or facilitate commission of the crime.

Common actions of accomplices include supplying money, guns, or supplies for a crime. For example, if you knew someone wanted to kill their wife and you bought the gun and gave it to the other person to be used in the crime, even if you did not actually participate in the murder, you could be considered an accomplice.

An accomplice can be convicted even if the main offender is not convicted and may be subject to the same degree of punishment as the principal offender, although in 1982 the Supreme Court ruled "that the accomplice cannot receive the death penalty if upon an accomplice to a felony-murder, a crime leading to murder, if he or she had no intention to, or did not, kill the victim."

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