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Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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I had a question about a case I have been reading about in

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I had a question about a case I have been reading about in the news. It involves a murder and then later charges brought up on 2 people connected to the murderer. The additional charges brought against the murderer's then girlfriend and brother were "accessory after the fact." I was wondering what this would imply took place. I was also wondering why there were never charges of "accessory after the fact" in another case I have been following. The murder of college student Annie Le, of Yale University. In that case, Ray Clark's family must have suspected that Ray had committed the murder of Annie Le, yet they never came forward. As a result, her body was not found for 5 days after being reported missing. I was just wondering about those two scenarios.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 4 years ago.
Accessory after the fact requires more than not reporting a crime or criminal to law enforcement. In fact, as a general rule, there is no legal duty to report a crime or suspected criminal to law enforcement. (There are a few exceptions. Most notably mandatory child abuse reporting laws in many states.)

Being an accessory requires that the person did something to aid the perpetrator in not being caught or arrested. Typical examples are allowing a wanted person to stay in your house or providing a wanted person with transportation.

Here's a link to the California Accessory After the Fact statute. It's pretty self-explanatory:
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
hmmm, very good info, although it is still curious in the Annie Le, Ray Clark case, as even within those parameters, I would think they would still have violated the law. He did stay with his parents after the murder, and also road in his mothers car, etc.. The lines seem blurry.
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 4 years ago.
The lines can get quite blurry. A couple of comments/thoughts:

(1) Mere suspicion that a person committed a crime is not enough to be an accessory.

(2) If the parents had done those things after knowing that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, they very well may have been charged. I suspect that the girlfriend and brother in the other case had more direct knowledge or involvement.

(3) Even though there is no legal distinction, parents sometimes get slightly more leeway on close calls.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

According to the Daily Pilot newspaper, prosecutors announced on Friday that two unnamed suspects were charged in connection with the murders of Samuel Herr, 26, and Juri Kibuishi, 23. "Someone had the opportunity to contact the police or knew there was evidence of a crime and failed to do so," said Costa Mesa police Lt. Paul Dondero of the arrested suspects.


This was a quote from an article about he case where the murderer's friends were charged. Thanks for your incite.

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 4 years ago.
You are very welcome. Sometimes even the police, especially their public information officers, do not understand the elements of crimes.

It could very well be that their failure to report was what angered law enforcement, but there had to be some action on their part, even if it was just giving him a ride or something passive such as allowing him to stay with them after learning he committed the murder.
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