I should have seen it coming. Yesterday I discussed aiding and abetting, and accessory before the fact. Naturally I was asked the completely logical question of “Is there such a thing as accessory after the fact?” Absolutely, there is.
Section 97-1-5 of the Mississippi Code Annotated defines accessory after the fact, stating as follows:
Every person who shall be convicted of having concealed, received, or relieved any felon, or having aided or assisted any felon, knowing that such person had committed a felony, with intent to enable such felon to escape or to avoid arrest, trial, conviction or punishment, after the commission of such felony, on conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not exceeding five years, or in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by both; and in prosecution for such offenses it shall not be necessary to aver in the indictment or to prove on the trial that the principal has been convicted or tried.
- that a felony has been committed
- that you ”concealed, received, relieved, aided or assisted a felon, knowing that such person had committed a felony,” and
- that this assistance or aid was rendered “with the intent to enable such felon to escape or avoid arrest, trial, conviction or punishment after the commission of such felony.”
Mangum v. State, 762 So.2d 337 (Miss. 2000). Notice this distinction: You can’t be guilty of accessory after the fact to a misdemeanor offense in Mississippi. Federal law, however, makes no distinction between felonies and misdemeanors. 18 U.S.C. § 3.