Powell Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Powell Doctrine as used in Criminal law refers to a rule that conspiracy is punishable only if the agreement was entered into with an evil purpose. Mere intent to do the illegal act will not suffice. The agreement must have been entered into with an evil purpose, as distinguished from a purpose simply to do the act prohibited in ignorance of the prohibition. The principle was first put forward in the case People v. Powell, 63 N.Y. 88 (N.Y. 1875). However, this doctrine has been rejected by the Model Penal Code. Powell Doctrine is also known as corrupt motive doctrine.

Powell Doctrine as used in military law refers to a list of questions all of which have to be answered affirmatively before military action can be taken by the U.S. It is named after General Colin Powell who was the 65th United States Secretary of State.