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Name: In re Eduardo M.
Case #: B186047
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/28/2006

Where a defendant is convicted of aiding and abetting a felony, he cannot also be convicted of being an accessory to the felony based solely on his immediate flight from the scene and later denials of own involvement, even if that conduct incidentally helped the principal escape. The minor was the driver of a van from which the passenger assaulted two people with a firearm. The minor drove off after the shooting, but came back to the scene because he was friends with one of the victims. He initially denied involvement in the shooting. The juvenile court sustained true findings on two counts of assault with a firearm and one count of being an accessory after the fact. The Court of Appeal agreed with the minor’s contention that the finding he was an accessory must be reversed. Perpetrators and aiders and abettors are equally liable as principals. If a felon cannot be subject to additional liability as an accessory for fleeing a crime and denying his own guilt, then the same rule should apply to a principal whose flight and denial have the incidental effect of helping a co-principal escape.