Problems with Pinkerton Liability in the Juvenile Context: A Case Study of Pennsylvania

Choose your friends wisely, or your co-conspirators anyway. So warned the U.S. Supreme Court, albeit implicitly, in Pinkerton v. United States.1 That case approved holding a conspiracy defendant liable for the reasonably foreseeable crimes of a co-conspirator committed in the furtherance of the conspiracy.2 In this Essay, I argue that Pinkerton liability should not be applied to juveniles.

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1 328 U.S. 640 (1946)

2 See id. at 647-48 (affirming the defendant’s conspiracy conviction for the substantive offense of his co-conspirator, but stating it would have changed the outcome “if the substantive offense committed by one of the conspirators was not . . . done in furtherance of the conspiracy, did not fall within the scope of the unlawful project, or was merely a part of the ramifications of the plan which could not be reasonably foreseen as a necessary or natural consequence of the unlawful agreement”).