Ricketts v. Adamson Page 2

Ricketts v. Adamson general information

Media for Ricketts v. Adamson

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

William J. Schafer, III:

Mr. Dunlap is out.

He is not in prison.

Harry A. Blackmun:

He is free?

William J. Schafer, III:

Yes, he is.

Mr. Adamson wrote us a letter saying he would not testify unless we made additional concessions.

We told him that we would not make more concessions and that his refusal was a breach of the agreement which reinstated the original charge which included a possible death sentence.

We tried to force him to testify but he refused and we re-filed the original charge.

He attacked that re-filing unsuccessfully in the xx court immediately, and then with a special action in the Arizona Supreme Court, arguing in both instances that the re-filing was barred by double jeopardy principles.

We then did two things.

We filed a response to the special action in the Arizona Supreme Court urging that Court to construe the agreement and determine whether he had breached it, and then we also filed a motion in the trial court seeking to have Dunlap's retrial continued because it was just a week away.

After those two convictions were reversed by the Arizona Supreme Court, those cases were separated although they had started out as one case.

So, what we were facing were two retrials, one for Dunlap and one for Robison.

The first one was set, as I said, just a week away was the retrial for Mr. Dunlap.

The same day that we did these two things, Adamson moved to withdraw his Petition for Special Action.

He later said in one of his federal habeas corpus pleadings that he did that when it became clear to him that the question of his breach might be decided by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court refused to dismiss his petition.

They set the matter for a hearing and Dunlap's pending trial was stayed.

It was now clear what Adamson was trying to do.

He was trying to delay a judicial determination of whether he had breached the agreement until after the Dunlap trial started, with no resolution of that question, and the jury seated in the Dunlap trial.

If we wanted to pursue Dunlap, we would have no choice but to accede to Adamson's demands.

The only other choice would be to forget Adamson as a witness and dismiss the cases against both Dunlap and Robison, and Adamson was betting that we would not do that.

Adamson lost in the Arizona Supreme Court.

They decided that the plea agreement included retrials and that Adamson had breached the agreement and they reinstated the original information.

That was on Thursday.

The stay of Dunlap's trial was lifted on Friday, the following day, and his trial was set for the following Monday.

Our attempts at negotiation with Adamson were not successful, and without him--

William H. Rehnquist:

We will resume there at 1:00 o'clock, Mr. Schafer.

Mr. Schafer, you may proceed.

William J. Schafer, III:

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

When we decided that we did not have John Adamson as a witness, we moved to dismiss the cases against Dunlap and Robison, and Dunlap's was dismissed on that Monday, the day set for trial.