Compounding Offense

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

Page 57

A criminal act in which a person agrees not to report the occurrence of a crime or not to prosecute a criminal offender in exchange for money or other consideration.

The offense is also committed when a person accepts remuneration for encouraging a witness to be absent from a trial or employs any unlawful tactics to delay a criminal proceeding.

Under the COMMON LAW and most modern statutes a compounding offense consists of three basic elements: (1) knowledge of the crime; (2) the agreement not to prosecute or inform; and (3) the receipt of consideration. The offense is complete when there is an agreement to either withhold evidence of the crime, conceal it, or fail to prosecute it. A crime is not compounded when a person merely reacquires property previously stolen from him or her; the crime would further require that the return of the stolen property was conditioned on an agreement not to report or prosecute the crime.

The individual compounding the crime must be aware of the previous offense although the person who committed it need not be tried or convicted. The fact that the person who committed the previous crime is not tried until after the prosecution for compounding occurs is...

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