A, desperate to be cool, has always envied older teenagers B, C, and D, who often lounge around at a local park after school. One day, B convinces A to meet with B, C, and D at the park later that night, to “ hang out.”
Once A arrives, B, C, and D tell A that they need some cash, so they are going to “ pay a visit” to an elderly music teacher. They need A to come along and “ make sure no surprise visitors drop by.” A realizes that the three are planning to break into the teacher’s house to rob her, but agrees to the plan, figuring that the teacher must have done something to deserve it.
The four now begin walking to the teacher’s house. A gets increasingly nervous as they turn into the teacher’s quiet neighborhood. B, noticing this, pats A on the back. B then opens his coat, revealing a pistol. “ Don’t worry,” he says, “ she won’t try anything.” A blanches, begging B not to shoot the music teacher. B laughs and walks ahead of A.
Once the four arrive at the teacher’s property, at around 10:15 p.m., the teacher is asleep in herbed. B, C, and D file into the back yard, and then forcibly enter the home through the back door. A keeps watch as best he can, but he is not used to staying up past 10 p.m. Soon, he leans against a tree and falls asleep. When A awakes sometime later, the police are arresting him.
Clearly, the burglary had gone awry. B, C, and D made considerable noise as they stumbled awkwardly around inside the teacher’s unlit house. This awoke the teacher, who promptly dialed 911. Eventually, though, the three entered the teacher’s bedroom. The teacher screamed, which caused B to panic and fire his gun, hitting the music teacher’s leg. (The resulting injuries are not fatal.)
The police, meanwhile, had snuck past sleeping A and rushed into the house, then the bedroom. When they ordered B to drop the gun, B’s trembling and unsteady hand accidentally pulled the trigger; the bullet struck, and badly damaged, an expensive cello in the bedroom.
B, C, and D are convicted of burglary, assault, and a unique offense titled “ the destruction of a large stringed instrument.” In this jurisdiction, burglary is defined as entering a building or occupied structure with the purpose to commit a crime therein. Assault is defined as causing bodily injury to another. Destruction of a large stringed instrument is defined as negligently causing damage to a large stringed instrument, whose definition includes cellos.
Assume the prosecution can prove the above facts at A’s trial.
- In a jurisdiction that follows the Model Penal Code (MPC), is A liable as an accomplice in the commission of burglary? Explain, but do not analyze any other issue that may be raised by the problem.
- In a common-law jurisdiction, assuming that A is liable as an accomplice (but not a conspirator) in the commission of burglary, is A also liable for assault and destruction of a large stringed instrument? Explain.