State v. Parker
Supreme Court of Minnesota
164 N.W.2d 633 (1969)
Larry Leventhal gave John Parker (defendant) and two other passengers a ride in Leventhal’s car. The passengers robbed Leventhal; took Leventhal’s wallet, watch, and car; and beat Leventhal severely before he was able to escape. Parker and the other passengers were pulled over by the police while driving Leventhal’s car and were arrested after trying to run away. At trial, Leventhal testified that Parker had personally contributed to the robbery and assault, while Parker testified to playing no role in the events. Parker admitted to being in the car at the time of the incident but said that he had only watched while the other passengers beat and robbed Leventhal. After the trial, the jury asked for further clarification of the law on aiding and abetting. The court reread the relevant statute, which provided that a person was liable as a principal for a crime committed by another if the person assisted in the commission of, or conspired with others to commit, the crime. The statute also provided that a defendant’s guilt could be established without a showing that the defendant performed every act constituting the offense. Parker was convicted and subsequently appealed, arguing that the trial court had effectively instructed the jury that Parker had a legal duty to help Leventhal that Parker did not have.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nelson, J.)
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