Natural and Probable Consequences
Natural and Probable Consequences
As Newton’s third law references that every action warrants an equal and opposite reaction; therefore, as actions are performed, outcomes may or may not be foreseeable. Thus, the natural and probable consequences doctrine finds that accomplices are equally criminally responsible as the principal if the accomplice foresees the outcome of the crime when the accomplice agrees to or follows through with assisting the principal; and such is a consequence of accomplice liability (“7.1 Parties”, 2015). As a common doctrine upheld in most jurisdictions, its fair practice is questionable. Considering the unknown variable outcomes of the actions orchestrated by the principal, unless otherwise stated or mentioned, the accomplice may not know the full extent of details of the planned action/crime, however, on the contrary, when the intent to commit a crime is disclosed, and agreed upon, regardless of outcome, the natural and probable consequences doctrine is just rather than fair.
Take for example, the State v. Linscott case presented in Lippman (2015); both men, Joel Fuller and Linscott, agreed to a robbery scheme orchestrated by Fuller. The plan was to rob the victim and avoid violence by entering through the backdoor of the victim’s home to prevent the victim from accessing his weapon. Piled snow obstructed entrance to the backdoor forcing the armed duo to revise their plan; Linscott was to break the victim’s living room window and Fuller was to freeze the victim allowing Linscott the opportunity to rob the victim. Upon breaking the window, Fuller fired a fatal shot, leaving the victim dead, and Linscott to seize monies from the victim’s person. Fuller then “paid” Linscott $500. When arrested, Linscott claimed he had no idea that Fuller had a reputation for violence, despite being known to carry a shotgun, and
insisted that he had no intention of killing the victim. Linscott was later convicted of murder and robbery. Even though the court recognized that Linscott probably would not have participated in the robbery had he known outcome, his choice to comply with the robbery supports his accountability for his crimes and, thus, makes him equally criminally responsible despite his negligence. Therefore, in conclusion, I believe that the conviction is a just action based on the circumstances that took place, however, the murder conviction was not necessarily fair because the intent to commit murder was unforeseeable by Linscott.
7.1 Parties to criminal law. (2015, December 17). Criminal Law.

7.1 Parties to Crime

Lippman, M. (2015). Chapter 6. In Contemporary criminal law: Concepts, cases, and
controversies (4th ed., p. 157).

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