Aiding and Abetting Definition in California
In People v. Beeman (1984) 35 Cal.3d 547, the California Supreme Court declared:
"We conclude that the weight of authority and sound law require proof that an aider and abettor act with knowledge of the criminal purpose of the perpetrator and with an intent or purpose either of committing, or of encouraging or facilitating commission of, the offense. When the definition of the offense includes the intent to do some act or achieve some consequence beyond the actus reus of the crime , the aider and abettor must share the specific intent of the perpetrator. By 'share' we mean neither that the aider and abettor must be prepared to commit the offense by his or her own act should the perpetrator fail to do so, nor that the aider and abettor must seek to share the fruits of the crime. Rather, an aider and abettor will 'share' the perpetrator's specific intent when he or she knows the full extent of the perpetrator's criminal purpose and gives aid or encouragement with the intent or purpose of facilitating the perpetrator's commission of the crime. " (Beeman, supra, at p. 560.)
The Beeman court went on to say:
"An appropriate instruction should inform the jury that a person aids and abets the commission of a crime when he or she, acting with (1) knowledge of the unlawful purpose of the perpetrator; and (2) the intent or purpose of committing, encouraging, or facilitating the commission of the offense, (3) by act or advice aids, promotes, encourages or instigates, the commission of the crime." (Beeman, supra, 35 Cal.3d at p. 561.)
The definition in Beeman regarding aiding and abetting, and of what it means to share the perpetrator's specific intent, remains good law to this day.