(redirected from accessorial)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.


Aiding or contributing in a secondary way or assisting in or contributing to as a subordinate.

In Criminal Law, contributing to or aiding in the commission of a crime. One who, without being present at the commission of an offense, becomes guilty of such offense, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, as by command, advice, instigation, or concealment; either before or after the fact or commission.

One who aids, abets, commands, or counsels another in the commission of a crime.

In common law, an accessory could not be found guilty unless the actual perpetrator was convicted. In most U.S. jurisdictions today, however, an accessory can be convicted even if the principal actor is not arrested or is acquitted. The prosecution must establish that the accessory in some way instigated, furthered, or concealed the crime. Typically, punishment for a convicted accessory is not as severe as that for the perpetrator.

An accessory must knowingly promote or contribute to the crime. In other words, she or he must aid or encourage the offense deliberately, not accidentally. The accessory may withdraw from the crime by denouncing the plans, refusing to assist with the crime, contacting the police, or trying to stop the crime from occurring.

An accessory before the fact is someone behind the scenes who orders a crime or helps another person commit it. Many jurisdictions now refer to accessories before the fact as parties to the crime or even accomplices. This substitution of terms can be confusing because accessories are fundamentally different from accomplices. Strictly speaking, whereas an Accomplice may be present at the crime scene, an accessory may not. Also, an accomplice generally is considered to be as guilty of the crime as the perpetrator, whereas an accessory has traditionally received a lighter punishment.

An accessory after the fact is someone who knows that a crime has occurred but nonetheless helps to conceal it. Today, this action is often termed obstructing justice or harboring a fugitive.

An infamous accessory after the fact was Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, the physician and Confederate sympathizer who set John Wilkes Booth's leg after it was broken when the assassin jumped from President Abraham Lincoln's box at Ford Theater. Despite Mudd's protestation of innocence, he was tried and convicted as an accessory after the fact in Lincoln's murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas off Key West, Florida. President Andrew Johnson pardoned Mudd in 1869, and the U.S. Congress gave him an official pardon in 1979.

Further readings

Berg, Alan. 1996. "Accessory Liability For Breach of Trust." Modern Law Review 59 (May): 443-453.

Blakey, Robert G., and Kevin P. Roddy. 1996. "Reflections on Reves v. Ernst & Young: Its Meaning and Impact On Substantive, Accessory, Aiding Abetting and Conspiracy Liability Under RICO." American Criminal Law Review 33: 1345-1702.

Huett, Lisa. 2001. "Could You Be an Accessory? Uncertainty and Risk For Lawyers." Law Institute Journal 75 (March).


n. a second-string player who helps in the commission of a crime by driving the getaway car, providing the weapons, assisting in the planning, providing an alibi, or hiding the principal offender after the crime. Usually the accessory is not immediately present during the crime, but must be aware that the crime is going to be committed or has been committed. Usually an accessory's punishment is less than that of the main perpetrator, but a tough jury or judge may find the accessory just as responsible. (See: aid and abet)


noun abettor, accomplice, accomplice in crime, advisor, aider, assistant, coconspirator, codirector, collaborator, confederate, confrère, conscius, consociate, cooperator, copartner, coworker, culpae socius, encourager, fellow conspirator, helper, helpmate, partaker, particeps criiinis, participant, participator, partner, partner in crime, planner, socius criminis
Associated concepts: accessory after the fact, accessory beeore the fact, accessory contract, accessory during the fact, accessory obligation, accessory to a crime, accessory to an offense, aiding and abetting, principal
Foreign phrases: Accessorium non ducit, sed sequitur suum principale.That which is the accessory or incident does not lead, but follows its principals. Accessorius seeuitur naturam sui principales. An accessory follows the nature of his principal, thus, an accessory can not be found guilty of a greater crime than his principal. Cujus juris est principale, ejusdem juris erit accessorium. He who has jurisdiction of the principal thing also has jurisdiction of the accessory. Nullus dicitur accessorius post feloniam, sed ille qui novit principalem feloniam fecisse, et illum reeeptavit et comfortavit. No one is called an “accessory” after the fact but the one who knew the principal had committed a felony, and who received and comforted him. Omne principale trahit ad se accessorium. Every princiial thing draws the accessory to itself. Quae accessionum locum obtinent, extinguuntur cum principales res peremp tae fuerint. When the principal thing is destroyed, those things which are accessory to it are also destroyed. Res accessoria sequitur rem principalem. An accessory follows the principal. Ubi non est principalis, non potestesse accessorius. Where there can be no principal, there cannot be an accessory.
See also: abettor, accession, accompanying, accomplice, addition, additional, adjunct, ancillary, appendix, appliance, appurtenance, appurtenant, assistant, attachment, augmentation, circumstantial, clerical, coactor, coadjutant, coconspirator, codicil, cohort, collateral, colleague, confederate, consociate, conspirer, contributor, contributory, copartner, expendable, extrinsic, incident, incidental, inferior, minor, nonessential, participant, partner, secondary, subordinate, subservient, supplementary



ACCESSORY, property. Everything which is joined to another thing, as an ornament, or to render it more perfect, is an accessory, and belongs to the principal thing. For example, the halter of a horse, the frame of a picture, the keys of a house, and the like; but a bequest of a house would not carry the furniture in it, as accessory to it. Domat, Lois Civ. Part. 2, liv. 4, tit. 2, s. 4, n. 1. Accesiorium non ducit, sed sequitur principale. Co. Litt. 152, a. Co. Litt. 121, b. note (6). Vide Accession; Adjunction; Appendant; Appurtenances; Appurtenant; Incident.

References in periodicals archive ?
53) This observation expresses some of the policy objectives behind accessorial liability--to prevent the corporate structure from being used as a shield by those who should be personally liable for harmful corporate activity, and to censure the action or inaction of individual corporate officers in relation to breach of the law.
Hale set forth the following standard for accessorial liability: "An accessory [sic] before is he, that being absent at the time of the felony committed doth yet procure, counsel, command, or abet another to commit a felony.
In equity, for example, attempting to articulate accurately the relevant rules of accessorial liability for involvement in a breach of trust or fiduciary duty is both difficult and likely to excite controversy.
As indicated above, while it may be difficult to impossible to control fuel prices, companies can ensure that specific accessorial charges, including fuel, are both transparent and where possible index-linked (as is the case with fuel).
Researchers at Logica state that the overcharges came from many different categories, but mostly stem from inconsistent discount practices, accessorial charges, and extra fees added on by carriers.
Others are drastically increasing their accessorial charges for detention and their multistop charges.
Accessorial Benchmarking: Accessorials, including fuel surcharges, are a significant cost by themselves, but a shipper's accessorials can also have a major impact on line-haul rates.
Shipment weights, accessorial charges, if they are within the tolerance of say 1%, then there's no point to spend $10 to save $1.
The Datex FootPrint[R] Warehouse Management System is also equipped with advanced features developed specifically for refrigerated warehouses that can track lot and date codes, blast freezing fees, capture temperatures, automate accessorial charges and serial numbers.
Services: Our Services and Solutions: The Perfect Shipment[R] Program; Intermodal: USA, Canada and Mexico; Over-theRoad Transportation; International Transportation Service; Logistics Solutions; Complete Protective Service; Warehousing and Distribution Services; Dedicated Fleet; Box Car Service; Equipment Management; Carrier Management and Selection; Accessorial Management
Being able to accurately bill customers for all accessorial charges can have a significant impact on a third party logistics provider's potential revenue", explained Armanious.
1, 2011, and applies to minimum charge, LTL rates and accessorial charges.