1984—Pub. L. 98–473, title II, §1003(b), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2138, added item 373.
If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 701; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§88, 294 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §37, 35 Stat. 1096; Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §178a, as added Sept. 27, 1944, ch. 425, 58 Stat. 752).
This section consolidates said sections 88 and 294 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed.
To reflect the construction placed upon said section 88 by the courts the words “or any agency thereof” were inserted. (See Haas v. Henkel, 1909, 30 S. Ct. 249, 216 U. S. 462, 54 L. Ed. 569, 17 Ann. Cas. 1112, where court said: “The statute is broad enough in its terms to include any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing, or defeating the lawful functions of any department of government.” Also, see United States v. Walter, 1923, 44 S. Ct. 10, 263 U. S. 15, 68 L. Ed. 137, and definitions of department and agency in section 6 of this title.)
The punishment provision is completely rewritten to increase the penalty from 2 years to 5 years except where the object of the conspiracy is a misdemeanor. If the object is a misdemeanor, the maximum imprisonment for a conspiracy to commit that offense, under the revised section, cannot exceed 1 year.
The injustice of permitting a felony punishment on conviction for conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is described by the late Hon. Grover M. Moscowitz, United States district judge for the eastern district of New York, in an address delivered March 14, 1944, before the section on Federal Practice of the New York Bar Association, reported in 3 Federal Rules Decisions, pages 380–392.
Hon. John Paul, United States district judge for the western district of Virginia, in a letter addressed to Congressman Eugene J. Keogh dated January 27, 1944, stresses the inadequacy of the 2-year sentence prescribed by existing law in cases where the object of the conspiracy is the commission of a very serious offense.
The punishment provision of said section 294 of title 18 was considered for inclusion in this revised section. It provided the same penalties for conspiracy to violate the provisions of certain counterfeiting laws, as are applicable in the case of conviction for the specific violations. Such a punishment would seem as desirable for all conspiracies as for such offenses as counterfeiting and transporting stolen property in interstate commerce.
A multiplicity of unnecessary enactments inevitably leads to confusion and disregard of law. (See reviser's note under section 493 of this title.)
Since consolidation was highly desirable and because of the strong objections of prosecutors to the general application of the punishment provision of said section 294, the revised section represents the best compromise that could be devised between sharply conflicting views.
A number of special conspiracy provisions, relating to specific offenses, which were contained in various sections incorporated in this title, were omitted because adequately covered by this section. A few exceptions were made, (1) where the conspiracy would constitute the only offense, or (2) where the punishment provided in this section would not be commensurate with the gravity of the offense. Special conspiracy provisions were retained in sections 241, 286, 372, 757, 794, 956, 1201, 2271, 2384 and 2388 of this title. Special conspiracy provisions were added to sections 2153 and 2154 of this title.
1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $10,000”.
If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 701; Pub. L. 107–273, div. B, title IV, §4002(d)(1)(D), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1809.)
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §54 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §21, 35 Stat. 1092).
Scope of section was enlarged to cover all possessions of the United States. When the section was first enacted in 1861 there were no possessions, and hence the use of the words “State or Territory” was sufficient to describe the area then subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The word “District” was inserted by the codifiers of the 1909 Criminal Code.
2002—Pub. L. 107–273 substituted “under this title” for “not more than $5,000”.
(a) Whoever, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against property or against the person of another in violation of the laws of the United States, and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent, solicits, commands, induces, or otherwise endeavors to persuade such other person to engage in such conduct, shall be imprisoned not more than one-half the maximum term of imprisonment or (notwithstanding section 3571) fined not more than one-half of the maximum fine prescribed for the punishment of the crime solicited, or both; or if the crime solicited is punishable by life imprisonment or death, shall be imprisoned for not more than twenty years.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that, under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his criminal intent, the defendant prevented the commission of the crime solicited. A renunciation is not “voluntary and complete” if it is motivated in whole or in part by a decision to postpone the commission of the crime until another time or to substitute another victim or another but similar objective. If the defendant raises the affirmative defense at trial, the defendant has the burden of proving the defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
(c) It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the person solicited could not be convicted of the crime because he lacked the state of mind required for its commission, because he was incompetent or irresponsible, or because he is immune from prosecution or is not subject to prosecution.
(Added Pub. L. 98–473, title II, §1003(a), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2138; amended Pub. L. 99–646, §26, Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3597; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(2)(A), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)
1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–322 inserted “(notwithstanding section 3571)” before “fined not more than one-half”.
1986—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99–646 substituted “property or against the person of another” for “the person or property of another” and inserted “life imprisonment or” before “death”.