Pinkerton Charge Law and Legal Definition

A Pinkerton charge is an instruction made by the judge to the jury when deciding whether a defendant is guilty for acts of co-conspirators. It is a theory of liability of one person for the actions of other members performed during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy.I f one member of a conspiracy commits a crime in furtherance of a conspiracy, the other members have also, under the law, committed the crime.

In Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946), the Supreme Court ruled that a co-conspirator may be held vicariously liable for the reasonably foreseeable substantive offenses committed by other co-conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy.