California Penal Code Section 182(B) - Interpretation

Section 182, subdivision (b) provides: "Upon a trial for conspiracy, in a case where an overt act is necessary to constitute the offense, the defendant cannot be convicted unless one or more overt acts are expressly alleged in the indictment or information, nor unless one of the acts alleged is proved; but other overt acts not alleged may be given in evidence." In People v. Russo (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1124, the California Supreme Court held that in finding a defendant guilty of conspiracy, "the jury need not agree on a specific overt act as long as it unanimously finds beyond a reasonable doubt that some conspirator committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy." The Supreme Court explained: "We do not doubt that the requirement of an overt act is an element of the crime of conspiracy in the sense that the prosecution must prove it to a unanimous jury's satisfaction beyond a reasonable doubt. But that element consists of an overt act, not a specific overt act. Moreover, Penal Code section 182, subdivision (b), merely says one of the acts must be proved; it does not say about what the jury must be unanimous." (Id. at p. 1134.)