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Renunciation Defense

In New York, it is possible to step away from a crime that you have taken steps to help put in motion, thwart the crime, and even if you are arrested, you may have a defense available to you at trial. The crimes of conspiracy, criminal facilitation, solicitation, and attempt may be renounced. Renunciation is an affirmative defense to criminal charges. Proving renunciation is difficult. In fact, for conspiracy, attempt, and solicitation, the crime must actually be prevented from occurring, while, in the case of criminal facilitation, substantial effort must be made to stop the crime from occurring.

If you or a loved one have been accused of conspiracy, criminal facilitation, attempt, or solicitation call our experienced New York Criminal Attorneys today for a free consultation.

Here is a wild west example of a conspiracy that has been thwarted by renunciation: Dutch, Micah, Bill, Hosea, and Arthur plan on robbing a train. When the train rolls through Whiteacre, Bill will give the signal and Micah will blow up a bridge with dynamite, forcing the train to stop. From there Dutch and the rest of the gang will rob the train. Arthur has second thoughts about it, pours water on the dynamite, disarming it, before Micah can set the dynamite on the supports under the bridge.

As the train approaches Arthur cannot be found. Arthur has ridden off to the US Marshal to reveal his gang’s plan. As the train crosses the bridge the US Marshal rides in with his posse and arrests the gang, and when Micah depresses the plunger on the dynamite fuse it does not ignite the charge placed on the bridge supports. Arthur and the rest of the gang are arrested for conspiracy, attempted armed robbery and attempted train wrecking. At trial Arthur is able to present evidence and testimony from the US Marshal that he in fact did provide information that stopped the train from being robbed, and that he disarmed the dynamite in attached to the foot of the bridge. Arthur may be found not guilty by reason of renunciation. The members of his former gang are found guilty and sentenced to prison.

The burden of proof for establishing the defense of renunciation is on the defendant. The standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. Although critics of this allocation of the burden of proof have argued that the prosecution should bear the burden of disproving that the defendant renounced the crime, federal courts have upheld the burden of proof as is. This means that you need a highly skilled attorney to present the facts of your case to the judge and jury.

The crime of attempt must be entirely abandoned. The crime must be altogether and in reality abandoned, the defendant cannot escape merely by chance or due to failure of the crime to be accomplished.

Here is another example to illustrate the point. The formerly introduced gang of western outlaws attempts to rob a bank. Dutch, Micah, Bill, Hosea, and Arthur take Lenny along for the bank job. As they cross the river Lenny’s horse trips on an underwater rock and the horse throws Lenny. Left behind, Lenny cannot do the bank job with the rest of his gang. The gang is not successful and they are all arrested, except Lenny who is back at camp nursing his lumbago.

Micah tells the sheriff that Lenny was coming along for the robbery in order to get a reduced sentence. The sheriff issues a warrant for Lenny’s arrest and eventually Lenny is tracked down and arrested. Lenny attempts to argue the defense of renunciation at trial. Lenny explains to the judge that since the horse bucked him and he fell on his back, hard his lumbago acted up. Lenny explained that he couldn’t stick up the bank with the rest of the gang because his lumbago hurt so bad, so he quit and went home. The judge correctly did not accept Lenny’s defense because his renunciation was not of his own will. Had the horse not thrown Lenny, he would have gone ahead with the crime. Lenny is sentenced to prison for attempted bank robbery and conspiracy.

If you have been accused of a crime and believe that the defense of renunciation may be available to you call our New York Criminal Defense lawyers for a free consultation. Present your defense clearly and accurately so you can have the best chances to stay out of prison.

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