Ricketts v. Adamson

LOCATION: Louisiana General Assembly

DOCKET NO.: 86-6
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 483 US 1 (1987)
ARGUED: Apr 01, 1987
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1987

Roy T. Englert, Jr. - as amicus curiae, supporting Petitioners
Roy T. Englert, Jr. - for U.S. as amicus curiae supporting petitioners, by special leave of Court
Timothy K. Ford - on behalf of the Respondent
William J. Schafer, III - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case

Adamson was charged with the murder of first-degree resulted in the Donald Bolles car bombardment. He concluded the plea agreement to decrease the punishment of the crime committing to the second-degree assassination for his obligation to give testimonies against Max Dunlap and James Robinson. The defendant agreed to give testimonies against somebody suspected in assassination under the request. The agreement indicated if he declined the demand or gave false testimonies, the primary indictment of the crime would be imposed.

The accused testified, Dunlap and Robinson were sentenced, therefore Adamson has condemned for the detention accordingly to the agreement. Then Dunlap and Robison`s indictments were overturned and the prosecution demanded the Adamson to state testimonies at the new proceeding. He refused affirming that his obligation to give testimonies ceased at the stage of first condemnation. After Adamson filed an appellation citing on the Fifth Amendment at a before trial proceeding, the prosecutor claimed new accusation of the first-degree murder. The appellant filed a complaint based on the double jeopardy. The court didn`t accept his claim, then the defendant agreed to vouch for, but the state didn`t accept his consent.

The court confirmed his primary indictment and condemned the death penalty. The Appeal Court ordered a writ of habeas corpus on the base of the jeopardy clause.

The case Ricketts v. Adamson was handed out by the Supreme Court of the USA regarding the subject whether the State infringed his rights accordingly to the double jeopardy requirement. Timothy K. Ford was the representative on behalf of the Respondent.

The judges upheld that the defendant`s primary accusation of the murder again didn`t contradict with the principles of the double jeopardy as his noncompliance with the agreement excluded this guarantee of not to being condemned twice for the same charge, that would be valid in other conditions.


Media for Ricketts v. Adamson

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 01, 1987 in Ricketts v. Adamson

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Schafer, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

William J. Schafer, III:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The issue in this case is whether the State of Arizona can prosecute John Adamson for the crime it dismissed when it entered into a plea bargain with him after he breached the plea agreement.

As we were selecting the jury to try Mr. Adamson for the murder of Don Boiles, he struck a bargain with the State.

He would testify in four different cases in return for a sentence of 48 to 49 years.

If he refused to testify or refused to be interviewed in reference to preparation for trial in this specific instance in any of these cases, the agreement was void and he would be subject to the original charge.

Adamson testified in three of the four cases.

One was the murder of Don Boiles.

On his testimony Dunlap and Robison were convicted.

When their convictions were reversed on appeal in March of 1980, Adamson refused to testify at their retrials.

He wrote us a letter--

Harry A. Blackmun:

In the meantime he had been sentenced?

William J. Schafer, III:

--Yes, he had been, Your Honor.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Why did the State rush to judgment on the sentence?

William J. Schafer, III:

I wouldn't classify it a rush to judgment, Your Honor, but I would say this, although it does not appear in the record.

I... we were concerned as to the problems not sentencing him would raise.

This was a unique case in many ways.

One of the unique features about it is that Mr. Adamson all during the time he was testifying up until the time of sentencing had been in local custody which was really a county jail.

That facility, as most county facilities in the State of Arizona, are not really adequate for holding anyone for an indefinite period of time.

It was our consideration that we should get on with sentencing Mr. Adamson so that he could get into federal custody as he finally did.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Don't you normally wait until all the litigation is concluded?

How did you know you might not get reversed on the pending appeal?

William J. Schafer, III:

We did not know that, Your Honor.

We also did not know how long that appeal would take and we were considering more than one case in this regard.

We also did not know how long the appeals would take in the other cases, and at the same time there was a problem that we could see about the incarceration itself.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Well, it seems to me there ought to be a place in the great State of Arizona where you could have safe incarceration.

William J. Schafer, III:

Well, it was more than safety, Your Honor.

I believe safety was a factor, but it was also expense and it was also inconvenience for not only the jailor but the jailee, and all those were a consideration in our minds.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Where are Dunlap and Robison now?

William J. Schafer, III:

Mr. Robison is still in prison on a different charge.