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CONSPIRACY - RENUNCIATION (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2e) model jury charge

CONSPIRACY - RENUNCIATION[1]

(N.J.S.A.2C:5-2e)

The defendant has raised the defense of renunciation.Even if you are satisfied that the defendant conspired to commit the crime of ________________________, you must nevertheless find defendant Not Guilty if you find that afterwardshe/sheinformed the authorities of the existence of the conspiracy, includinghis/herparticipation in it,andthathe/shewas thereby successful in thwarting or causing to be thwarted, i.e., preventing or causing to be prevented, the commission of any offense in furtherance of the conspiracy.This defense further requires you to be satisfied that the circumstances of defendants going to the authorities manifested a voluntary and complete renunciation ofhis/herearlier criminal purpose.

Renunciation is not voluntary if the reason the defendant went to the authorities was thathe/shelearned something which would make it more likely that the authorities would arresthim/heror detect whathe/shehad done; or ifhe/shewent to the authorities becausehe/shelearned something that would make it more difficult to commit the crime which was the object of the conspiracy.Renunciation is not complete if the defendant went to the authorities without completely washinghis/herhands of the conspiracy.It is no defense if the defendant merely meant to postponehis/hercriminal objective to a more advantageous time or to transferhis/hercriminal efforts to some other victim or to some different but similar crime.

(DISCUSS EVIDENCE OF RENUNCIATION)

I previously instructed you that the State has the burden of proving the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.The defendant has the burden of proving the defense of renunciation.That burden, however, is not so heavy as the one on the State.While the State must convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of conspiracy, the defendant need only convince you by a preponderance, or the greater weight, of the evidence thathe/sherenounced the crime.This means that the defendant has established the defense of renunciation ifhe/shehas satisfied you that it is more likely than notthathe/she

(1)Informed the authorities of the existence of the conspiracyandhis/herparticipation in it, and

(2)Thwarted or caused to be thwarted the commission of any offense in furtherance of the conspiracy.An attempt to commit a crime is not considered an offense for purposes of renunciation, and

(3)Thathe/shedid so under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation ofhis/heroriginal criminal purpose.

If, after a consideration of all of the evidence, you find that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of conspiracy, and you also find that the defendant has not proven the defense of renunciation by a preponderance of the evidence, then you must find the defendant Guilty.On the other hand, if you do not find that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of conspiracy, or if you find that the State has proven the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt but that the defendant has also proven the defense of renunciation by a preponderance of the evidence, then you must find the defendant Not Guilty.



[1]This charge applies only to conspiracy charges.If defendant is also charged with an attempted offense to which he/she is claiming renunciation, the attempt renunciation charge should be used.SeeN.J.S.A. 2C:5-1d.


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

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