Marcos Ribles was charged with the crime of making counterfeit currency in Argentina. His case was thrown out because his counterfeit bills were “so clumsy and crude” that “they could not be accepted by most people.” That is some quality defense lawyering
The United States is not like Argentina in many ways. New Years is in the Winter, and people who try to commit crimes ineptly cannot use their ineptness as a defense.
The general rule in America is that if a person tries to commit a crime in a way that is not going to succeed, he cannot use that as a defense. That is, in lawyer language, factual impossibility is generally not a defense to a crime. So, if you try to rob a bank by saying that you’ll blow up the branch with a cold fusion machine, you can still be guilty of bank robbery (i.e., you can violate the provisions of the United States Code even if you can’t violate the laws of physics).
There are exceptions, as the folks at the Volokh Conspiracy have pointed out. Praying for John McCain’s death, though creepy, is not the same as committing attempted murder.
And, apparently, the weight of authority is against prosecuting people for murder accomplished through voodoo. (Though I swear I heard about contrary authority on that point on a ghost tour in a New Orleans cemetery once.)
When the supernatural is not involved, though, it is very hard to say that a course of conduct aimed at doing something illegal is so poorly executed that it can’t be prosecuted. If Mr. Ribles had committed his crime in the U.S., he likely would not be able to get it dismissed because his work product was so poor.
Perhaps it says something significant about our country, but hopelessness is not a defense in the United States.
If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges.