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Criminal Law Keyed to Ohlin
Waddington v. Sarausad
Citation:555 U.S. 179 (2000)
The defendant, Brian Ronquillo, and Jermone Reyes were members of the 23d Street Diablos gang. Members of the Bad Side Posse gang chased Reyes, so the Diablos decided to go to the gang’s base (a local high school) to show that the Diablos were not afraid of the rival gang. The Diablos started a fight with the Bad Side Posse, but quickly left after someone indicated that police were nearby. However, they were still angry because the rival gang had called them weak. They decided to go back to the base.
The defendant drove the car, with Ronquillo in the front seat and Reyes and two other Diablos in the back seat. En route, someone in the car mentioned “‘capping'” the Bad Side Posse, and Ronquillo tied a bandana over the lower part of his face and got out a handgun. Shortly before reaching the base, a second car of Diablos pulled up next to the defendant’s car and the drivers of the two cars talked briefly. The defendant asked the other driver, “‘Are you ready?'” and then sped to the school.
Once in front of the high school, the defendant abruptly slowed to about five miles per hour while Ronquillo fired 6 to 10 shots at a group of students standing in front of it. The defendant then sped away. The gunfire killed one student.
At trial, the prosecutor repeatedly said an accomplice is “in for a dime, in for a dollar,” meaning that an accomplice willing to help someone commit a crime is responsible for any crime that person ends up committing. The jury instructions stated that “a person is an accomplice in the commission of a crime if, with knowledge that it will promote or facilitate the commission of the crime, he or she either: (1) solicits, commands, encourages, or requests another person to commit the crime or (2) aids or agrees to aid another person in planning or committing the crime.”
The defendant was convicted of being an accomplice to murder, among other things. He appealed, arguing that the “in for a dime, in for a dollar” catchphrase incorrectly instructed the jury as it allowed conviction without finding that the defendant knew his passenger intended to shoot someone.
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Topic OutlineAccomplice Liability
Topic Refresher CourseConspiracy; Introduction to Homicide and Murder Part 1