A.R.S. 13-301 Interpretation

In State v. Phillips, 202 Ariz. 427, 46 P.3d 1048 (2002) the Arizona Supreme Court construed certain of the accomplice liability statutes, A.R.S. 13-301 and -303(A)(3) (2001). In Phillips, the issue was whether there could be accomplice liability for "the specific intent crime of premeditated murder" when the defendant "neither intended to shoot or kill the victim nor physically shot and killed the victim." 202 Ariz. at 435, P 32, 46 P.3d at 1056. Whether accomplice liability was appropriate for reckless offenses was not at issue. Rather, the state argued that a defendant could be liable "for all acts of an accomplice so long as the defendant aided the accomplice in planning or committing any related offense." Id. at 435, P 35, 46 P.3d at 1056. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected this argument. It noted that "the State's construction of section 13-303(A)(3) would allow a defendant who did not intend to aid in an offense to be an accomplice to that offense." Id. at 436, P 37, 46 P.3d at 1057. The court held as follows: We hold that section 13-303(A)(3) imposes criminal accountability on an accomplice defendant only for those offenses the defendant intended to aid or aided another in planning or committing. In this case, if defendant did not intend to aid the principal in committing murder, he could not be an accomplice to murder under the terms of the statute. Id. The court made it clear that "by extending accomplice liability to premeditated murder, the State's position ignores the specific intent requirement of premeditated murder." Id. at 436, P 40, 46 P.3d at 1057.