Classification of Crimes

Unit 4 Assignment

Unit 4: Parties to Crime and Vicarious Liability

Classification of Crimes


Three gang members, Joe, Larry, and Bob all will have some sort of charges after this criminal incident. All three gang members have different levels of conviction they will face from the result of their crime together. In the order of seriousness Joe is first, Larry second, and Bob third. In this scenario I will use the Illinois criminal code to decipher the charges for all three gang members.

Joe is present with the theft of the car in the beginning of the scenario, and right there he becomes an accomplice to a class I felony of theft in the state of Illinois (720 ILCS 5/ 16-1) and a crimes against property. Joe than began to tell the others that he was going to shoot at a group of rival gang members that were in proximity of them. Once the car they were in came to a stop, Joe pulled a concealed gun from his waistband. Joe is already a convicted felon so I know the weapon he has can’t be registered, so he is unlawfully in possession of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1) and a crimes against public order. In the event of Joe opening fire on the individuals he took the life (Homicide) of one individual (720 ILCS 5/9-1), and wounded (Aggravated assault) another (720 ILCS 5/12-0.1) which is a crimes against person. Joe is the Principle in the first degree in this crime, because he is the perpetrator of the crime by using the gun on the rival gang members (Lippman, 2015).

Larry is the driver of the stolen vehicle that he, Joe, and Bob were in. Larry would be considered the principle for the theft of the stolen vehicle, because he is the one operating the vehicle. Class I felony would be his first charge in the scenario (720 ILCS 5/16-1) and would be a crimes against property. Larry then drives the same vehicle while Joe hangs out the window to shoot multiple individuals. The individuals comprised of one being killed, and the other being wounded. Since driving the vehicle made Larry physically present while assisting the perpetrator, it will classify him as Principle in the second degree and charge of felony murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1) which is a crimes against person.

Bob is involved in the less seriousness of the events that took place in the scenario. Bob is involved in the stealing of the vehicle that took place in the murder. The charge of class I felony for theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1) will be his only charge. Bob is considered to be an accomplice of the theft since he was involved before and during the crime in assisting Larry (Lippman, 2015).

Courts and commentators commonly claim that criminal law contains a voluntary act requirement. Despite the ubiquity of this assertion, there is remarkably little agreement on what the voluntary act requirement entails. This lack of uniformity is particularly problematic because, for some crimes, whether a defendant is guilty or innocent will turn on which conception of voluntariness is applied (Farrell, 2013). In this case for Joe and Larry it is straight forward, but not for Bob. Let’s say they do want to try and charge Bob for being involved with the homicide. Bob does not have Mens rea in my opinion to be involved in the same charges as Joe and Larry. The Actus Reus in accomplice liability for Joe, Bob, and Larry is present with all of them in the different crimes in the scenario. The Mens rea is also present for each crime for the liability, because the defendants both assist and intend to assist the commission of each crime they were present in as described above.


Lippman, Matthew. (08/2015). Contemporary Criminal Law: Concepts, Cases, and Controversies, 4th

Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

Thompson, J. R., DiVito, G., Baroni, P. G., Saltmarsh, K., & Daniel, M. (2008). The Illinois Criminal Code of

2009: providing clarity in the law. John Marshall Law Review, (3), 815.

FARRELL, I. P. (2013). TAKING VOLUNTARINESS SERIOUSLY. Boston College Law Review, 541545

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