State v. Davis

In State v. Davis, 101 Wn.2d 654, 682 P.2d 883 (1984), the Court upheld the conviction of the defendant for robbery in the first degree for acting as a lookout while his confederate robbed a pharmacy; the defendant claimed he did not know his confederate was armed so he could not be an accomplice to the crime of robbery. The Court disagreed stating: The issue presented by this case involves the interrelationship between the robbery and accomplice statutes. Specifically, the question requires a determination of whether the accomplice liability statute predicates criminal liability on general knowledge of a crime or specific knowledge of the elements of the participant's crime, i.e., possession of a gun. . . . As to the substantive crime, the law has long recognized that an accomplice, having agreed to participate in a criminal act, runs the risk of having the primary actor exceed the scope of the preplanned illegality. Davis, 101 Wn.2d at 657-58. Of critical importance is the dissent by Justice Pearson who articulated a view of RCW 9A.08.020(3) the majority now adopts: The Legislature has, in effect, said that a person is an accomplice to a crime (first degree robbery) only if he acts with the knowledge that it will promote or facilitate the commission of the crime for which he is charged (first degree robbery). The phrase "the crime" is modified by the phrase "a crime". The Legislature did not say that an accomplice need only possess the knowledge that his conduct would promote the commission of "any crime"; it chose to require a more specific mental state, by using the phrase "the crime". 101 Wn.2d at 662.