Waddington v. Sarausad - Oral Argument - October 15, 2008

Waddington v. Sarausad

Media for Waddington v. Sarausad

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 21, 2009 in Waddington v. Sarausad

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 2008 in Waddington v. Sarausad

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument first today in Case 07-772, Waddington v. Sarausad.

Mr. Collins.

William B. Collins:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: This case comes before the Court under the deferential standard of review of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

The Ninth Circuit decision should be reversed because the Washington court's adjudication of this matter was not objectively unreasonable.

The Washington court concluded that the instruction at issue properly informed the jury of the elements of accomplice liability, and the prosecutor's argument informed the jury that it could only convict Sarausad if he acted with knowledge he was facilitating the commission of a homicide.

The court also concluded that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in directing the jury to reread the relevant instructions instead of giving the supplemental instruction proposed by Sarausad.

The decision below was not an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

But you think it was right?

William B. Collins:

I do think it was right, Your Honor, but I also believe that it was not objectively unreasonable, which is the standard before this Court.

Turning to the PRP court's adjudication, the--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

First, is there some constitutional minimum?

Let's assume direct review.

Is there some constitutional minimum requirement for scienter with reference to an accomplice?

William B. Collins:

--I believe there is, Your Honor.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

What is it?

William B. Collins:

You have to have knowledge that you're facilitating -- you have to act and you have to have knowledge, both those two points.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Is that the same -- is that the same as purpose?

William B. Collins:

I think it is, Your Honor.

I think the model -- I think the Model Penal Code refers -- uses the term "purpose" as opposed to "knowledge", but I don't think--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Well, but you don't take the position, do you, or do you, that Washington law conforms to the Model Penal Code?

I thought the Model Penal Code was much more defendant-friendly than you're stating.

William B. Collins:

--I believe that's correct, Your Honor.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

So you're -- would -- would you say that the trial court in Washington states law correctly if it says that being accomplice you have to have a purpose to facilitate the commission of the crime?

William B. Collins:

I believe that you would have to have -- you have to knowingly facilitate the crime, Your Honor.

That's the--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

But you agree there is a difference in "knowing" and "purpose"?

William B. Collins:

--I'm not sure there is much of a difference, Your Honor.

Frankly, I haven't thought about that question, but I think you have to have that mental component.

You have to either have purpose or you have to do it with knowledge.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

But the question is knowledge of what.