Elements of Criminal Conspiracy In California

A conspiracy exists when one or more persons have the specific intent to agree or conspire to commit an offense, as well as the specific intent to commit the elements of that offense, together with proof of the commission of an overt act by one or more of the parties to such agreement in furtherance of the conspiracy. (Pen. Code, 184; People v. Morante (1999) 20 Cal. 4th 403, 416 84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 665, 975 P.2d 1071; People v. Swain (1996) 12 Cal. 4th 593, 600 49 Cal. Rptr. 2d 390, 909 P.2d 994; People v. Belmontes (1988) 45 Cal. 3d 744, 789 248 Cal. Rptr. 126, 755 P.2d 310; 1 Witkin & Epstein, Cal. Criminal Law (2d ed. 1988) Elements of Crime, 156, p. 174.) These facts may be established through the use of circumstantial evidence. (People v. Longines, supra, 34 Cal. App. 4th 621, 626; People v. Towery (1985) 174 Cal. App. 3d 1114, 1131 220 Cal. Rptr. 475.) They may also "be inferred from the conduct, relationship, interests, and activities of the alleged conspirators before and during the alleged conspiracy." (People v. Rodrigues (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 1060, 1135 36 Cal. Rptr. 2d 235, 885 P.2d 1, quoting People v. Cooks (1983) 141 Cal. App. 3d 224, 311 190 Cal. Rptr. 211.) Once the existence of the conspiracy has been independently established, the offering party must then make three additional showings in order for the content of the coconspirator's statement to be considered by the trier of fact. That party must show: (1) that the declarant (who may or may not be the defendant) was participating in a conspiracy at the time of the declaration; (2) that the declaration was made in furtherance of the objective of the conspiracy; (3) that at the time of the declaration the party against whom the evidence is offered was participating, or would later participate, in the conspiracy. ( People v. Sanders, supra, 11 Cal. 4th at p. 516; People v. Hardy (1992) 2 Cal. 4th 86, 139 5 Cal. Rptr. 2d 796, 825 P.2d 781; accord, Evid. Code, 1223.) The acts and declarations constituting the conspiracy agreement itself are admissible as "part of a transaction" which is in issue and are, therefore, outside the hearsay rule. (Jourdain, supra, 111 Cal. App. 3d at p. 405; People v. Curtis (1951) 106 Cal. App. 2d 321, 326 235 P.2d 51; 1 Witkin, Cal. Evidence, supra, the Hearsay Rule, 679, p. 664.)