State v. Robinson (1989)

In State v. Robinson, 213 Conn. 243, 250, 567 A.2d 1173 (1989) the defendant was charged with and found guilty of murder and of conspiracy to commit murder. At the defendant's trial, the state alleged and presented evidence regarding one coconspirator. The sole alleged coconspirator, however, was acquitted of the conspiracy charge in a prior trial. The Court addressed the question: "When only two persons are alleged to have conspired to commit a crime and they are tried separately, does the acquittal on the charge of conspiracy of the first person tried bar the state from prosecuting the remaining conspirator for that same conspiracy?" Id., 251. In answering this question in the affirmative, the Court first concluded that a defendant cannot be convicted of conspiracy in the same proceeding in which all of the alleged coconspirators are acquitted. Id. The Court stated that "it has traditionally been held that a single conspirator may not be convicted in the same proceeding or prosecution in which all of the alleged coconspirators are acquitted. . . . 'The apparent basis for the traditional rule is the notion that the acquittal of all but one potential conspirator negates the possibility of an agreement between the sole remaining defendant and one of those acquitted of the conspiracy and thereby denies, by definition, the existence of any conspiracy at all.'" Id. "The gravamen of the crime of conspiracy is the unlawful combination and an act done in pursuance thereof, not the accomplishment of the objective of the conspiracy. . . . Because the essence of conspiracy is the mental confederation of two or more persons, the crime is in every sense indivisible." Id., 252-53.