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Riley v. State

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 60 P.3d 204, 2002 Alas. App. 251.

Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Richard Riley, was convicted of first degree assault after he and another man, Edward Portalla, opened fire on a group of people, seriously wounding two individuals. The Defendant appeals on the theory that the state could not prove who actually wounded the individuals.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a defendant solicits, encourages, or assists another to engage in conduct, and does so with the intent to promote or facilitate that conduct, the defendant becomes accountable for that conduct.

Facts. The Defendant and Portalla opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd, seriously wounding two individuals. The Defendant was charged with and convicted of two counts of first degree assault and six counts of third degree assault. He appeals his convictions of first degree assault for the reason that the state could prove that either the Defendant or Portalla caused the injuries, but the state could not prove which one. The trial court instructed the jury that the Defendant could be convicted either as principal or accomplice. The Defendant argues that the accomplice liability charge was erroneous.

Issue. Did the trial court erroneously instruct the jury on accomplice liability?

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