Double Jeopardy Redefined???

Double Jeopardy Redefined???

This is a discussion on Double Jeopardy Redefined??? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Blueford v Arkansas - SCOTUS ruling came out yesterday. I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan. I think ...

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    Double Jeopardy Redefined???

    Blueford v Arkansas - SCOTUS ruling came out yesterday. I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan. I think the court has done all citizens a great disservice and irreparably harmed the double jeopardy clause of the constitution. I am interested in your thoughts.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1320.pdf
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksholder View Post
    Blueford v Arkansas - SCOTUS ruling came out yesterday. I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan. I think the court has done all citizens a great disservice and irreparably harmed the double jeopardy clause of the constitution. I am interested in your thoughts.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1320.pdf
    I don't think this really affects double jeopardy, since the court didn't reach a verdict in the first case, but that is just me.
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    Our goverment and SCOTUS has been harming the Constitution for over 100 years,what makes this any different,and why should we be suprised?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    I don't think this really affects double jeopardy, since the court didn't reach a verdict in the first case, but that is just me.
    The problem I see with that logic is what would keep the courts from walking up to the brink, realizing that they don't have a great case or did not present it properly, declaring a mistrial and going back to the well. I view the constitution as protecting citizens from the government and not the other way around. I realize that, in the big scheme of things, my opinon on this is irrelavent as I am not a justice, but I feel that they are opening the door to procedural monkey business.
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    That is a good point that I hadn't considered.
    Though defensive violence will always be a sad necessity in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men -St. Augustine

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    Senior Member Array Lotus222's Avatar
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    This is another reason that goes to show how the justice system in this country is broken. The jury unanimously agreed and voted that the accused was not guilty of capital murder, or murder 1. They are forced into the decision of manslaughter or negligent homicide - or acquittal of all charges. They get tied up between manslaughter and NH, so the jury claims a mistrial. Now the state is going to prosecute, again, and attempt to charge him with capitol murder or murder 1 again. Even though the previous jury had unanimously voted against it.

    Looks like it won't be long until every trial attempts these shenanigans until the accused is charged with the courtrooms "liking". Don't like the current environment in the courtroom? Force the jury into long deliberations, MISTRIAL AND DO IT AGAIN.

    I completely agree with ksholder on this one.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksholder View Post
    The problem I see with that logic is what would keep the courts from walking up to the brink, realizing that they don't have a great case or did not present it properly, declaring a mistrial and going back to the well. I view the constitution as protecting citizens from the government and not the other way around. I realize that, in the big scheme of things, my opinon on this is irrelavent as I am not a justice, but I feel that they are opening the door to procedural monkey business.
    The only problem with this theory is that it is not the government (prosecution) that gets to declare a mistrial. It its the judge who is theoretically independent and neutral. And as it is the judge can declare a mistrial and jeopardy does not attach so you still end up with a second trial as if the first never happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lotus222 View Post
    This is another reason that goes to show how the justice system in this country is broken. The jury unanimously agreed and voted that the accused was not guilty of capital murder, or murder 1. They are forced into the decision of manslaughter or negligent homicide - or acquittal of all charges. They get tied up between manslaughter and NH, so the jury claims a mistrial. Now the state is going to prosecute, again, and attempt to charge him with capitol murder or murder 1 again. Even though the previous jury had unanimously voted against it.

    Looks like it won't be long until every trial attempts these shenanigans until the accused is charged with the courtrooms "liking". Don't like the current environment in the courtroom? Force the jury into long deliberations, MISTRIAL AND DO IT AGAIN.

    I completely agree with ksholder on this one.
    How does one force a jury into long deliberations? Once the jury exits the court room to begin deliberations they control how long things take. If they take an immediate vote and it is unanimous it ends right there. The judge can't send them back to deliberate it some more.
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    Senior Member Array Lotus222's Avatar
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    'The prosecution explained that this was “not a situation where you just lay everything out here and say, well, we have four choices. Which one does it fit the most?” Id., at 59. Rather, the prose- cution emphasized, “unless all 12 of you agree that this man’s actions were not consistent with capital murder,then and only then would you go down to murder in the first degree.”

    A few hours after beginning its deliberations, the jury sent the court a note asking “what happens if we cannot agree on a charge at all.” Id., at 62. The court called the jury back into the courtroom and issued a so-called “Allen instruction,” emphasizing the importance of reaching a verdict. See Allen v. United States, 164 U. S. 492, 501–502 (1896). The jury then deliberated for a half hour more before sending out a second note, stating that it “cannot agree on any one charge in this case.” '

    Apparently, they can and did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    The only problem with this theory is that it is not the government (prosecution) that gets to declare a mistrial. It its the judge who is theoretically independent and neutral. And as it is the judge can declare a mistrial and jeopardy does not attach so you still end up with a second trial as if the first never happened.
    Well, the last time I checked, the government writes the judge's check, ergo, he is a government employee. Second, I concur, as did Blueford's attorney, that the manslaughter and NH charge were open for retrial. When the jury has expressed a unanimous opinion to acquit on specific charges, I believe that that should be the end of those charges even if they hang on the lesser charges. Based on Sotomayer's dissent, it appears there is ample case law to support this opinion. The fact that the judge issues the proper jury instruction then fails to remember what that instruction was and that failure ends up as being part of the reason to dismiss the jury further aggravates the situation.
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    I believe the Government has been blurring the idea of double jeopardy for years. If they can't get a conviction in State court they move it to Federal court and go for a civil rights conviction. If they cannot convict in criminal trial it is moved to a civil trial so a persons assets can be taken for something that the criminal court found them to be not guilty of.
    Personally I have always had a problem with the State being allowed to charge an individual with multiple crimes then telling a jury to pick the charge that they like. The Government should know the exact crime the person committed and charge them accordingly. It should not go to the Jury as a multiple choice question.

    This case is just a further erosion of our protections.

    Michael

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    I agree with K on this one.

    There's never been a civil right the Rhenquist-Roberts court wasn't willing to bend in the government's favor. (That might be hyperbole, but these folks are not friends of personal liberty. I don't need to write a list but could if anyone thinks one is necessary.)

    You got what you cheered for, too late folks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotus222 View Post
    This is another reason that goes to show how the justice system in this country is broken. The jury unanimously agreed and voted that the accused was not guilty of capital murder, or murder 1. They are forced into the decision of manslaughter or negligent homicide - or acquittal of all charges. They get tied up between manslaughter and NH, so the jury claims a mistrial. Now the state is going to prosecute, again, and attempt to charge him with capitol murder or murder 1 again. Even though the previous jury had unanimously voted against it.

    Looks like it won't be long until every trial attempts these shenanigans until the accused is charged with the courtrooms "liking". Don't like the current environment in the courtroom? Force the jury into long deliberations, MISTRIAL AND DO IT AGAIN.

    I completely agree with ksholder on this one.
    But the key here is that the jury never returned a formal verdict. What they vote on in the jury room is immaterial, only what they ultimately produce on a verdict form and present to the Court.

    Your interpretation would set a very dangerous precedent, and the logical outcome would be to say that the first vote a jury takes on a verdict is binding, and ignore the effect of deliberation and consideration.

    Matt
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    The only problem with this theory is that it is not the government (prosecution) that gets to declare a mistrial. It its the judge who is theoretically independent and neutral. And as it is the judge can declare a mistrial and jeopardy does not attach so you still end up with a second trial as if the first never happened.


    How does one force a jury into long deliberations? Once the jury exits the court room to begin deliberations they control how long things take. If they take an immediate vote and it is unanimous it ends right there. The judge can't send them back to deliberate it some more.
    Judges compel juries to keep trying way too often after they have told the judge they are hung. That is the same as coercing
    a conviction if a conviction results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Judges compel juries to keep trying way too often after they have told the judge they are hung. That is the same as coercing
    a conviction if a conviction results.
    Completely disagree with your conclusion there. The jury can just as easily be "coerced" into an acquittal as a conviction, assuming one accepts your premise that the judge instructing the jury to return to deliberation is actually coercion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    But the key here is that the jury never returned a formal verdict. What they vote on in the jury room is immaterial, only what they ultimately produce on a verdict form and present to the Court.

    Your interpretation would set a very dangerous precedent, and the logical outcome would be to say that the first vote a jury takes on a verdict is binding, and ignore the effect of deliberation and consideration.

    Matt
    Matt - that is only key if you look for form over substance. Based on the jury instructions that they had to fully evaluate the charges from the most strenuous to the least and could not move from the most (Capital Murder) until they were all in agreement, the fact that they hung on manslaughter means - based on the judges instructions, AR law and the context of the jury's statement in open court that they had all agreed that there was not reason to find Blueford guilty of Cap Murder or Murder 1. Further, because they had not begun to evaluate the NH charge, one can see, based on the jury foreman's statements as a whole taken in context of the explanation of how to proceed given by both the prosecutor in closing and the judge before sending the jury off to deliberate, one can see how the jury abided by the law and instructions. They stated for the record (whether proper procedure allows the judge to ask or not is irrelevant - he did ask) that they found the defendant not guilty - unanamously - of the 2 greater charges.

    IMHO, the substance of the matter is that the jury found the defendant not guilty of Cap Murder & Murder 1 and did not begin to debate manslaughter until they had done so to comport with state law. Further, the substance would preclude further prosecution of those charges. The manslaughter and NH charges are still fair game. The form of the matter is that Is were not dotted and the Ts were not crossed. The SCOTUS majority went for the form. The SCOTUS dissent went for the substance. I think the dissenters got it right.
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    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

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