Homicide Accomplice Liability Case Law

In Goff v. Prime, the court stated in dictum: "One aiding and abetting in the commission of manslaughter may, in our opinion, be convicted under an indictment for aiding and abetting in the commission of murder in the first or second degree." (26 Ind. at p. 198.) In State v. Dunn, 89 N.W. 984, Dunn was indicted along with Gray for murder in the death of Williams as the victim attempted to flee. (89 N.W. at p. 985.) The court affirmed Dunn's conviction for murder notwithstanding the fact Gray had earlier been convicted of manslaughter. (89 N.W. at pp. 986-987; see State v. Gray (1902) 116 Iowa 231, 89 N.W. 987, 989.) In both Wheeler v. Commonwealth, supra, 87 S.W. 1106 and Polly v. Commonwealth, supra, 24 S.W. 7 the court indicated an accomplice may be guilty of manslaughter where the actual perpetrator is guilty of manslaughter. However, in neither case did the court say the accomplice may be convicted only of manslaughter. In sum, homicide has historically been treated as a single offense for purposes of accomplice liability. Although criminal offenses in this state are strictly a matter of statute, it is appropriate to consult the common law to explain the Legislature's intent in enacting a particular provision. (See People v. Woods (1992) 8 Cal. App. 4th 1570, 1581.)