The Law School Authority

Parnell v. State Case Brief

Summary of Parnell v. State, S. Ct. Arkansas, 1996

Facts: Df Parnell was injured while employed as a dispatcher at the local jail.  He was home for 90 days off work.  He had previously married and adopted his wife’s two children, a boy age 9 and a girl 8.  The mother was told by the boy that Df forced him to have sex with his sister.  Df stated he caught them “doing things to each other,” and “he told them to go for it.”

Issue: Whether Df can be found guilty for crime, when the person’s engaged in the commission are not guilty of a crime?

Holding: Yes

Procedure: Trial ct. jury conviction for rape and sexual abuse in the 1st Degree.  Sentenced to 10 years and 3 years probation.  Affirmed/.

Rule: An individual is criminally culpable for causing an intermediary to commit a criminal act even though the intermediary has no criminal intent and is innocent of the crime.

Ct Rationale: The boy acted under the duress of his adoptive father and b/c he was no older than 2 years of his sister the boy is not guilty of rape.  The father purposely, knowingly, or recklessly caused the boy to engage in the conduct constituting rape, but for the defense available to the boy.

PL A: The father acted with complicity ( as a principal involved in a crime as a participant) where the innocent parties were used to commit the crime under his duress.

Def A: The Df cannot be found guilty criminal agency when the elements of the crime against the children were unsatisfied.

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