Accomplices Need Not Share the Same Mental State to Be Guilty

In State v. Guloy, 104 Wn.2d 412, 431, 705 P.2d 1182 (1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1020, 106 S. Ct. 1208, 89 L. Ed. 2d 321 (1986), the Court held an accomplice need not share or even have knowledge of a principal's premeditation to be guilty of murder in the first degree; the State did not have to prove Guloy intended to murder the victim.

Similarly, in State v. Hoffman, 116 Wn.2d 51, 804 P.2d 577 (1991), the Court again reiterated the view that accomplices need not share the same mental state to be guilty:

Other decisions have similarly addressed this issue and have similarly concluded that the accomplice liability statute predicates criminal liability on general knowledge of the crime and not on specific knowledge of the elements of the participant's crime.

Accomplice liability represents a legislative decision that one who participates in a crime is guilty as a principal, regardless of the degree of the participation. 116 Wn.2d at 104.

Finally, in our recent decision in State v. Sweet, 138 Wn.2d 466, 980 P.2d 1223 (1999), the defendant and his confederate Robert Slaton appeared at the house of Sweet's aunt.

Sweet hid in the back of Slaton's truck. Slaton administered a brutal beating to Sweet's aunt and the two burglarized her house. Sweet was convicted of assault, burglary, and conspiracy to commit burglary. We upheld Sweet's conviction for assault, stating:

Petitioner Sweet claims he was not in the Schuh residence and thus could not be held responsible for the burglary and assault. Even assuming the jury might have believed he did not enter the house, it is not necessary for him to have been in the Schuh residence on August 30, 1995 to be charged with and convicted of first-degree burglary and assault because he was charged as an accomplice and the trial court instructed the jury on accomplice liability.

The accomplice liability instruction allowed the jury to convict Petitioner Sweet as a principal even if he did not enter the Schuh residence on the day the burglary and assault were committed. It is sufficient for Petitioner to have done "something in association with the principal to accomplish the crime." It is sufficient for an accomplice to have general knowledge of a crime. It is not necessary for an accomplice to have specific knowledge of every element of the principal's crime. Sweet, 138 Wn.2d at 479.