accomplice


accomplice
/euh kom"plis/, n.
a person who knowingly helps another in a crime or wrongdoing, often as a subordinate.
[1475-85; a(c) of unclear orig. + late ME complice < MF < ML complici- (s. of complex) partner; see COMPLEX]

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law
      in law, a person who becomes equally guilty in the crime of another by knowingly and voluntarily aiding the other to commit the offense. An accomplice is either an accessory or an abettor. The accessory aids a criminal prior to his crime, whereas the abettor aids him during the act itself.

      An abettor is one who is present actually or constructively at the commission of a crime and incites, encourages, or assists the offender in his act. One may assist the offender by failing to try to prevent the offense, when a duty to act is imposed by law.

      An accessory is one who is not present during the commission of the offense but who assists, procures, encourages, or counsels the offender prior to the crime. In most jurisdictions the accessory must perform an act of assistance, and there must be evidence that he intended to facilitate the crime. Thus, the owner of a sporting-goods store will not be guilty of murder if he sells a rifle to one who subsequently commits murder with it.

      The terms accessory and abettor derive from the English common law, which distinguished between accomplices and principals in assessing guilt for crime. Modern statutes abolish these differences and consider all accomplices as principals. It is no longer necessary to prove which kind of an accomplice a person is or to find the principal guilty before the accomplice can be convicted. Once a crime has been committed and a party is shown to have contributed to its commission, he may be punished as a principal.

      An accessory after the fact is often not considered an accomplice but is treated as a separate offender. Such an offender is one who harbours, protects, or assists a person who has already committed an offense or is charged with committing an offense. Usually the offense must be a felony. Punishment for an accessory after the fact is universally less than that for the principal offender, except in cases of sedition or treason. See also solicitation. (solicitation)

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • accomplice — ac·com·plice /ə käm pləs, kəm / n [alteration (from incorrect division of a complice ) of complice, from Middle French, associate, from Late Latin complic complex partner, confederate]: one who intentionally and voluntarily participates with… …   Law dictionary

  • Accomplice — • A term generally employed to designate a partner in some form of evildoing Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Accomplice     Accomplice      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Accomplice — Ac*com plice, n. [Ac (perh. for the article a or for L. ad) + E. complice. See {Complice}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A cooperator. [R.] [1913 Webster] Success unto our valiant general, And happiness to his accomplices! Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) An… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • accomplice — (n.) 1580s (earlier complice, late 15c.), from O.Fr. complice a confederate, from L.L. complicem (nom. complex) partner, confederate, from L. complicare fold together (see COMPLICATE (Cf. complicate)). With parasitic a on model of accomplish, etc …   Etymology dictionary

  • accomplice — *confederate, accessory, abettor, conspirator …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • accomplice — accomplice, accomplish The standard pronunciation of both words is now kum , not kom …   Modern English usage

  • accomplice — [n] helper, especially in committing a crime abettor, accessory, aid, aide, ally, assistant, associate, co conspirator, collaborator, colleague, confederate, conspirator, insider, partner, plant*, stall*; concept 412 Ant. adversary, enemy,… …   New thesaurus

  • accomplice — ► NOUN ▪ a person who helps another commit a crime. ORIGIN from Latin complex allied …   English terms dictionary

  • accomplice — [ə käm′plis] n. [< ME a complice (the article a is merged, infl. by accomplish) < OFr complice < LL complex: see COMPLICE] a person who knowingly participates with another in an unlawful act; partner in crime SYN. ASSOCIATE …   English World dictionary

  • Accomplice — For other uses, see Accomplice (disambiguation). Criminal law …   Wikipedia

  • accomplice — n. 1) an unwitting accomplice 2) an accomplice in, to (an accomplice in crime) * * * [ə kʌmplɪs] to (an accomplice in crime) an unwitting accomplice an accomplice in …   Combinatory dictionary


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