Monday, November 12, 2012

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Judge's Acquittal Made by Mistake

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a Michigan case which involves the Fifth Amendment.  The case involves a defendant charged with setting fire to a vacant house.  Midway through the trial, the judge stopped the jury trial and found the defendant not guilty based on a mistaken reading and interpretation of the law.  The question presented is whether the criminal defendant can be retried after he is acquitted by a judge  if the mistake is based on a mistaken interpretation of the law?  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a defendant from being tried twice for the same offense.  This is commonly known as the Double Jeopardy Clause.  The Michigan courts ruled that the Double Jeopardy Clause does not apply and that the defendant could be retried because the mistake means that the defendant was not truly acquitted.   In oral arguments before the Supreme Court last week, the Justice's appeared to be reluctant to uphold the Michigan Courts interpretation of the Double Jeopardy Clause.  Both liberal and conservative justices expressed skepticism at the Michigan Courts reasoning and it appears as if the Michigan ruling will be struck down and that the defendant will not be retried again.

A ruling is should be coming by next June.  The case is Evans v. Michigan, 11-1327.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

1 comment:

adaptateur ac said...

Thanks for these great tips

The Legal Defenders, PC

70 West Madison, Ste 1400 * Chicago * IL 60602 * Phone: (800) 228-7295 * Fax: (800) 604-0507