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Larry is a Marxist-Leninist-Bolshevik revolutionary who wants to instigate a communist revolution in the United States. One day, before a contentious election, Larry unloads two tons of bricks in front of the United States Capitol. He then waits.

Alice, who is a Maoist-Trotskyist-Soviet counter-reactionary agitator, happens to walk by the United States Capitol that day. She picks up one of Larry's bricks and throws it at the building. She is immediately arrested by one of President Donald J. Blumpf's heavily armed counter-revolutionary guards.

Should Larry be arrested too?

Edit for clarity: I'm asking if Larry, who dumped bricks on a sidewalk next to a government building with the intention of instigating a protest, committed any crime. This is not the same question as the one found here.

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  • Does this answer your question? Is it legal to take "bait bricks"? Nov 6, 2020 at 16:33
  • @BlueDogRanch No. Different question. Nov 6, 2020 at 16:35
  • Is it crucial that this be the US Capital, that is, are you also testing to see if there are special unloading laws specific top the Capital building?
    – user6726
    Nov 6, 2020 at 17:44
  • @user6726 It's not crucial. It could be any government building. Nov 6, 2020 at 20:09

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In DC, brick-throwing is against the law, as are rioting and disorderly conduct. The guy who drops off the bricks hasn't done any of those things. Doing things that might result in a law violation is not a crime. Conspiracy to throw bricks is a crime, but this is not a conspiracy; it is not an attempt, nor is it a threat to damage property. There is nothing in DC law that criminalizes this action. It could be a federal crime to damage government property, so the brick thrower can be prosecuted. Under 18 USC 2

(a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.

(b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.

Aiding and abetting is explained here (archived version, dunno if anything has changed).

  1. That the accused had specific intent to facilitate the commission of a crime by another;

  2. That the accused had the requisite intent of the underlying substantive offense;

  3. That the accused assisted or participated in the commission of the underlying substantive offense; and

  4. That someone committed the underlying offense.

A reasonable person could find that the underlying offense had been committed (throwing is not itself a crime, so I'll say that there was property damage); Larry's actions did assist in the commission of the crime; and Larry had the intent required (this is distinct from Curly, who was supposed to deliver a load of bricks to a construction site, and had the wrong address).

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    Surely dropping 2 tonnes of bricks on land you don’t own is illegal?
    – Dale M
    Nov 6, 2020 at 22:26
  • @DaleM As far as I can tell it'd be a $125 fine. The litter laws of DC don't seem to take into account the size of the litter so it's the same for chucking a beer out of a window and dumnping two tonnes of bricks. Nov 7, 2020 at 0:45
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    @Studoku try looking at environment protection law rather than littering ordinances
    – Dale M
    Nov 7, 2020 at 1:07
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    The question is about arrests, not tickets. It's also not "illegal dumping", as defined in the DC code.
    – user6726
    Nov 7, 2020 at 1:58

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