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8.26 Conspiracy—Sears Charge

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Before being convicted of conspiracy, an individual must conspire with at least one co–conspirator. There can be no conspiracy when the only person with whom the defendant allegedly conspired was a government [agent] [informant] who secretly intended to frustrate the conspiracy.


A defendant who conspires only with a government agent is not guilty of conspiracy; however, a conspiracy conviction is permitted if at least one co-conspirator is not a government agent. United States v. Barragan, 871 F.3d 689, 710-11 (9th Cir. 2017); see also Sears v. United States,343 F.2d 139, 142 (5th Cir. 1965) ("there can be no indictable conspiracy with a government informer who secretly intends to frustrate the conspiracy"); Instruction 8.26 (Conspiracy—Sears Charge). 

Approved 12/2017