What is the essential element of the crime of conspiracy?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Seter, 216 Cal.App.2d 238, 30 Cal.Rptr. 759 (Cal. App. 1963):

'The essential element of the crime of conspiracy is the unlawful agreement between two or more persons to commit an offense prohibited by statute, accompanied by some overt act in furtherance of such agreement. [citing cases.] The unlawful agreement may be established by circumstantial evidence, and it is rare when the conspiracy can be established by direct evidence. [Citing cases.]'

It was held in People v. Chavez, 208 A.C.A. 263, 268, 24 Cal.Rptr. 895, 898:

'* * * It is seldom possible for the prosecution to offer direct evidence of an agreement to commit a crime. The agreement to commit the crime is usually made in secrecy. The conspiracy must be inferred by the trier of fact from all the circumstances that are proven, and if the inference is a reasonable one it will not be disturbed on appeal. [Citing cases.]'

And as observed by the court in People v. Northrup, 203 Cal.App.2d 470, 475, 21 Cal.Rptr. 448, 451:

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