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Ricketts v. Adamson

United States Supreme Court
483 U.S. 1 (1987)

Ricketts v. Adamson


Adamson (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder in the car bombing of Donald Bolles. Adamson entered into a plea agreement to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for his agreement to testify against Max Dunlap and James Robison. Adamson agreed to testify against anyone involved in the murder upon request. The agreement stated that if Adamson refused or lied, the original charge of first-degree murder would be reinstated. Adamson testified, Dunlap and Robison were convicted, and Adamson was sentenced pursuant to the agreement. Later, Dunlap and Robison’s convictions were reversed, and the prosecution asked Adamson to testify at the new trial. Adamson refused on the grounds that the duty to testify ended at sentencing. After Adamson pled the Fifth at a pretrial hearing, the prosecution filed new first-degree murder charges. Adamson moved to quash on the basis of double jeopardy. The court denied the motion. Adamson then offered to testify, but the state refused. Adamson was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus on double jeopardy grounds.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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