Complacent vs. Complicit

By Jaxson

  • Complicit

    Complicity is the participation in a completed criminal act of an accomplice, a partner in the crime who aids or encourages (abets) other perpetrators of that crime, and who shared with them an intent to act to complete the crime. A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of a crime if they purpose the completion of a crime, and toward that end, if that person solicits or encourages the other person, or aids or attempts to aid in planning or committing the crime, or has legal duty to prevent that crime but fails to properly make an effort to prevent it.

    Unlike attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy, which are crimes in and of themselves, complicity is not itself a crime, but is a way of committing a crime. Complicity also differs from attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy in that it always depends on that crime having been completed, i.e., it is never inchoate. Complicity does not require causation of the crime, merely participation in the commission of the crime. In cases where one is complicit because of a failure to act when one has a duty to act to prevent a crime, complicity differs from omission in that liability for complicity arises from the relationship to other perpetrators, whereas liability for omission arises from a duty relationship to the victim.

    Common law traditionally distinguished between a “principal” perpetrator who is primarily responsible for a crime, and an “accessory” perpetrator who is less responsible, but modern approaches abandon this distinction, and “a person is legally accountable for the conduct of another when he is an accomplice of the other person in the commission of the crime”.

    For two persons to be complicit in a crime that does not involve negligence, they must share the same criminal intent; “there must be community of purpose, partnership in the unlawful undertaking”. An accomplice “is a partner in the crime, the chief ingredient of which is always intent”. In crimes not involving negligence, there should be evidence that an accomplice had knowledge of the intention of their partner.

  • Complacent (adjective)

    Uncritically satisfied with oneself or one’s achievements; smug.

  • Complacent (adjective)

    Apathetic with regard to an apparent need or problem.

  • Complicit (adjective)

    Associated with or participating in an activity, especially one of a questionable nature.

  • Complacent (adjective)

    showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements

    “you can’t afford to be complacent about security”

  • Complicit (adjective)

    involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong

    “the careers of those complicit in the cover-up were blighted”

Oxford Dictionary

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