Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
July 28 2016


It is well-settled that “each member of a conspiracy is criminally responsible for the acts of fellow conspirators committed in furtherance of, and which follow as a natural and probable consequence of, the conspiracy, even though such acts were not intended by the conspirators as a part of their common unlawful design.”  (People v. Zielesch (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 731, 739 [citing People v. Medina (2009) 46 Cal.4th 913, 920])  This venerable principle is firmly established.  (People v. Kauffman (1907) 152 Cal. 331.)  Such a criminal act is a “natural and probable consequence” of the conspiracy if the unplanned crime was “reasonably foreseeable.”  (Zielesch, supra, 179 Cal.App.4th at p. 739.)  This is typically a question of fact for a jury.  (People v. Luparello (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 410, 443.)   Two aspects of this case, however, require the court to dismiss Counts 30-33 with respect to Mora before they reach a jury.

First of all, counsel was unable to find a single case in which any court, state or federal, sustained a conviction for a subordinate conspiracy—as opposed to a substantive offense—premised solely on the “natural and probable consequences” doctrine.  Instead, the natural adn probable consequences doctrine has been applied exclusively to impose liability for substantive crimes committed by co-conspirators in the course of carrying out the conspiracy.  An expansion of the rule, allowing the People to charge independent conspiracies based purely on their assertion that these subordinate conspiracies were natural and probable consequences of the primary conspiracy, is wholly unsupported by case law.

Second, while the universe of reasonably foreseeable substantive offenses arising out of the primary conspiracy is admittedly large, it cannot possibly include the subordinate conspiracies charged.  It simply defies common sense to assert that a natural and probable consequence of the primary conspiracy (purportedly aimed at collecting taxes and selling drugs for the benefit of the Mexican Mafia) would be for the same actors—with the same aims—to enter in to a new, independent, separate conspiracy to commit a crime in furtherance of the primary conspiracy.  Such a claim is not just unreasonable, it is flatly illogical.

Alternatively phrased, it appears the People’s theory is that this case involved a conspiracy to engage in conspiracies.  There is no support in the law for such a prosecution.  In fact, there is authority to the contrary.  (See People v. Johnson (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 594, 605 [overturning conviction for conspiracy to participate in a criminal street gang (§ 186.22(a)), reasoning that “the general conspiracy statute could not be applied to [§ 186.22(a)] because a criminal street gang was itself a species of conspiracy”].)


natural and probable consequences doctrine
Jay Leiderman stands with his client, Edwin Mora during a court hearing. Edwin Mora is charged with being the lead defendant in a conspiracy to benefit the Mexican Mafia. Jay and Eddie have been fighting this case for two years and will keep fighting until a victory. Mr. Mora faces over 300 years and 10 life sentences if he is convicted.

8 thoughts on “Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine

  1. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone and it is better than it used to be – I don’t have errors and parts that run odff the screen.

  2. Stalker gets arrested for stalking! Rot in Hell, JoJo. You lost at life. Fucker! Fuck you, Sue Basko, too. You’re next. Crooked psycho narcissist co-conspirator. You gonna hide without your sociopath to protect you?;jsessionid=0F1D910D58621C27ED3D6379FC3304B0

    JoJo Camp was arrested yesterday in Lakewood, Colorado. He is currently being held on numerous charges including displaying a deadly weapon, stalking, harassment, violating a restraining order, assault, and bribery.

    JoJo, who hasn’t been out of jail much in recent years, made national headlines when he hacked a university computer network, fled the state, and then was apprehended while trying to sell the identities of thousands of students and faculty to an undercover FBI officer.

    JoJo spent time in prison for the hacking and was released early only to be sent back to finish out his sentence after stalking and harassing a Florida lawyer and her child.

    After being released a second time, JoJo continued his harassment of the lawyer and had a permanent restraining order put out against him last year. Naturally he chose to ignore the PRO but left New York and moved to Colorado.

    JoJo attempted to start a business and a new life in Colorado in Mime related activities (yes, Mime) but wasn’t too successful. He was arrested early Tuesday morning after being set up by one of his victims. It appears he’s being held without bail.

    Mr Camp was running as an independent candidate for Colorado House District 1. Let’s hope this arrest doesn’t interupt his campaign too much.

    1. It’s an obtuse doctrine even if you are a lawyer. Many things that a reasonable person might not consider to be “natural adn probable” consequences are considered by the law to be just that. In California the “Prettyman Doctrine” was supposed to clarify the issue but it seems to have expanded the doctrine such that most effects of an action are now deemed to be natural and probable consequences.

      Thanks for the comment. I’ll take a look at the article.

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