Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Accomplice Liability: Waddington v. Sarausad, 503 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2008)

Note: Supreme Court subsequently reverses Ninth Circuit: 129 S.Ct. 823 (2009) Despite Congressional efforts imposed by the Antiterrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA; U.S.C.A. 2254 d (1) (2) to reign in federal Circuit Courts of Appeal on petitions for habeas corpus, the Ninth Circuit continues to evade statutory limitations. In addition, the court cannot agree on which section of the Act applies to specific fact situations. Defendant Sarausad was charged as an accomplice to murder and convicted by the jury. On direct appeal from Sarausad's conviction, the Washington Supreme Court clarified a jury instruction on accomplice liability and affirmed. Sarasuad's state post conviction petition was denied, but the U.S. District Court granted his federal petition. On appeal, the legal issue in the Ninth Circuit consisted of the allegedly "ambiguous" jury instruction on accomplice liability in the murder charge. A Ninth Circuit panel initially wrote Waddington v. Sarasuad in 479 F.3d 671 (9th Cir. 2007) reversing the state court conviction but the court granted an en banc hearing. En banc, the court affirmed its original opinion with several judges dissenting; Waddington v. Sarausad 503 F.3d 833 (9th Cir. 2007). The Supreme Court granted cert. and will undoubtedly reverse the Ninth Circuit; 128 S.Ct. 1650 (2008). Again. 

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