People v. Luparello Case Brief

Summary of People v. Luparello, California Court of Appeal (1987)

Defendant: Luparello; the defendant was looking for the location for his ex-lover who had left him to marry someone else. The defendant knew that the victim, Mark Martin, was a friend of his ex-lover’s current husband and he knew about the wereabouts of the defendant’s ex-lover. The defendant told his friends that he wanted Martin to give over the information about the ex-lover and he wanted his friends to force the information out of Martin. The friends, in the process of forcing Martin to turn over the information, killed him. Luparello was not physically present when the killing took place but still he was convicted with first degree murder. Now the defendant argues that he did not intend to kill the victim and his only purpose for sending his friends over to the victim’s house was to scare the victim into giving information about the ex-lover.

Issue: Can the defendant be held liable for the actions of his friends whom he sent over to the victim’s house?

Holding: Yes

Legal Reasoning: The court used People v. Croy where the Supreme Court of California had held that aiding and abetting is a vicarious liability crime. By this, the defendant is not only guilty of the crime he intended to facilitate or encourage, but also of crimes which are foreseeable to result from the actions of the perpetrators. So the court ruled that by sending his friends over to the victim’s house to get the information at any cost, the defendant vicariously became responsible for the actions of his friends. The conviction was affirmed.

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