Criminal Law

419. Acts Committed or Statements Made Before Joining Conspiracy

(The/A) defendant is not responsible for any acts that were done before (he/ [or] she) joined the conspiracy.

You may consider evidence of acts or statements made before the defendant joined the conspiracy only to show the nature and goals of the conspiracy. You may not consider any such evidence to prove that the defendant is guilty of any crimes committed before (he/ [or] she) joined the conspiracy.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction if there is evidence suggesting that the defendant joined an alleged conspiracy after the crime was committed or after an act or statement was made to further the object of the conspiracy.


Joining Conspiracy After Commission of Crime. People v. Marks (1988) 45 Cal.3d 1335, 1345 [248 Cal.Rptr. 874, 756 P.2d 260]; People v. Feldman (1959) 171 Cal.App.2d 15, 21-22 [339 P.2d 888].

Use of Prior Acts or Statements. People v. Weiss (1958) 50 Cal.2d 535, 564-566 [327 P.2d 527].

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Elements, §§ 95-96.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 141, Conspiracy, Solicitation, and Attempt, § 141.02[6] (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)