Friday, November 15, 2013

People v. Lauria case brief

People v. Lauria case brief summary
 59 Cal. Rptr. 628 (1967)

Appeal by the people from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) setting aside an indictment for conspiracy to commit prostitution as having been brought without reasonable or probable cause.

Defendant, owner of a telephone answering service, and co-defendant prostitutes were indicted for conspiracy to commit prostitution. Subsequently, the trial court set aside the indictment as having been brought without reasonable or probable cause and The People appealed.


  • The reviewing court affirmed, holding that, although The People need show no more than a tacit, mutual understanding between co-conspirators to accomplish an unlawful act, both knowledge and intent must be present. 
  • The element of intent could be proved either by direct evidence, or evidence of circumstances from which the intent to further a criminal enterprise by supplying lawful goods or services could be inferred. 
  • However, an inference of intent drawn from knowledge of criminal use did not properly apply to the less serious crimes classified as misdemeanors. 
  • Positive knowledge did not establish intent to participate.

Affirmed because positive knowledge alone of criminal use of services or products to commit a misdemeanor did not establish an intent to participate.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Law

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