United States v. Mandujano Case Brief

Why is the case important?

Defendant was convicted of attempting to distribute heroin. Defendant appealed based on the instructions given to the jury on attempt.

Facts of the case


Whether Defendant’s conduct constituted a substantial step toward commission of the crime.


To constitute an attempt, first the Defendant must have been acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the commission of the crime and second, the Defendant must have engaged in conduct which constitutes a substantial step toward commission of the crime.


“Appellant was acting knowingly and intentionally and that he engaged in conduct, the request for and the receipt of the $650.00, which in fact constituted a substantial step toward distribution of heroin. Certainly, in the circumstances of the case, the jury could have found the transfer of money strongly corroborative of the firmness of appellant’s intent to complete the crime. Of course, proof that appellant’s “”good contact”” actually existed, and had heroin for sale, would have further strengthened the government’s case. However, such proof was not essential.”

  • Case Brief: 1976
  • Petitioner: United States
  • Respondent: Mandujano
  • Decided by: Burger Court

Citation: 425 US 564 (1976)
Argued: Nov 5, 1975
Decided: May 19, 1976