Can you conspire with someone you have never interacted with?

(Do not need answer fast)
If a person meets with someone else to plan a crime that is conspiracy, but what if they try to persuade someone they have never met to commit a crime ? If someone has an enemy and announces that they will pay money to whoever commits an assault on that person. If an assault is committed and the person pays the atttacker is that conspiracy despite the fact that the first time they meet is when receiving payment?
I read a book that says there were rumors about something like this being the reason James Earl Ray shot Reverend King and wanted to know if it is was possible to do something like that and get off, or if there would be criminal charges.

A conspiracy can take place without a face-to-face meeting, if that’s what you’re asking. Planning a crime with someone via email, Facebook, notes left in library books, encrypted messages on Usenet, telephone conversations, or carrier pigeons is still a conspiracy.

A conspiracy can’t take place between people who do not interact. Your description is simply talking about interaction that is not face-to-face, or indirect. I don’t know if the indirect interaction forms a conspiracy, but it’s still illegal to commit a crime that way.

glum, your example is more in line, not with Conspiracy, but “Accessory BEFORE the fact”. A person who induces or encourages criminal behavior and that behavior is done.

Conspiracy laws have always scared me because they seem so open to abuse.

So if someone on a poorly moderated message board posts they want to buy heroin in America City and I tell them to go to the corner of Faux and Fake Streets and look for the guy wearing the green jacket he is selling, I’ve just committed a crime?:smack:

It’s a good bet you have. I’m not a lawyer, but I would not risk that conduct.

Under English law, no, you probably can’t be found to have “conspired” with the random attacker if all you did was put a bounty on the victim’s head. The statutory crime of conspiracy requires “agreement” that a crime will be committed, and in the scenario you describe the two parties never agreed anything in advance. It would certainly be a crime, but you’d probably be charged with being an accessory, or something similar.

It would be rather strange if the law said, in effect, “It’s okay to hire someone to commit a crime, so long as you don’t meet in person.”

The OP’s question is: Can you conspire with someone you have never interacted with?

All of these examples can be defined as ‘interacting’ with someone.

Incitement is the criminal act of encouraging others to commit a crime (at least in the UK and similar jurisdictions) and requires no direct communication between parties as long as there is an inducement.


No kidding.

Incitement was abolished a few years ago and replaced with “encouraging or assisting” an offence. You’re right though, the bottom line is that the offender in the OP’s example probably couldn’t be charged with conspiracy, but would definitely be charged with something else.

That is about the saddest thing I’ve read in a long, long time. I am speechless; nauseated, I want to scream.

America was once a great country, truly ‘the city on the hill’. As my sig line here said after 9/11, although I was a ‘Canadian by birth’, I was an ‘American by heart’. Now, I am embarrassed. Embarrassed that I was, until recently, such a staunch and ardent supporter of the US against those who chose to be blind to its greatness. And, embarrassed that the country that was once a paragon of freedom and decency has allowed itself to be manipulated and usurped by anti-science, ‘sky wizard’ quoting, subjugating zealots. I want to cry for the lost city.

Um, this story happened in 1994. And what does your off topic rant have to do with anything? You may be surprised to know that the sky wizard book has a lot to say about fighting injustice.