State Conspiracy

Elements of Conspiracy Under New York State Law

In order to prove that a defendant committed the crime of conspiracy under New York State law, the government must prove each of the following three elements:

First: that there was a meeting of the minds between two or more people, or an agreement or plan, either express or implied;

Second: that those agreeing have a common corrupt intent to commit an unlawful act; and

Third: that there is at least one overt act committed on the part of at least one of the conspirators in furtherance of the corrupt agreement.

The New York State definition of conspiracy is in effect the same as the federal definition, see (Federal Conspiracy) except that New York State law requires an overt act, the third element.

An overt act is any step, action or conduct that is taken to achieve or further the objective of the conspiracy. The overt act itself need not be criminal nor need it be the crime that is the purpose of the conspiracy. An overt act is one that is committed or caused to be committed by any member of the conspiracy in an effort to accomplish some objective or purpose of the conspiracy.

One overt act alone is enough to prove the existence of the conspiracy. It is not necessary that each member of the conspiracy committed or participated in that overt act. The act of one member of a conspiracy becomes the act of all members. Thus, proof of an overt act by only one of the co-conspirators in aid of the conspiracy is sufficient.

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