Double Jeopardy-what is it, and where and when does it apply? Most people understand that double jeopardy is being prosecuted for the same crime twice. Many also know that double jeopardy is illegal in most cases. This law forbidding prosecutors from trying citizens for the same crime twice goes way back into ancient history. This idea has traveled as far back as ancient Greeks and Romans and was even practiced in the Dark Ages. This law has transcended over thousands of years and still remains as prevalent today as it did back then. However, over those eras, how and when this idea is applied has certainly adapted and changed.
For example, in England, this law only applied to defendants who were accused of a capital felony and only after a conviction or acquittal. If a case was dismissed before the final judgment, this double jeopardy law did not apply.
This law was first recognized in the United States in the New Hampshire Constitution of 1784. The law states, “No subject shall be liable to be tried, after an acquittal…” according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. It has been amended in the United States’ fifth amendment in the Constitution.
The United States has its own ideas about double jeopardy and when the law applies. It does hold the same idea that no one person can be tried twice for the same crime except for in certain circumstances.
There have been many instances in which the double jeopardy rule does not apply. For example, one of the most common circumstances is when there is a hung jury.
Double Jeopardy and a Hung Jury
A hung jury is defined as a group of jurors who are unable to agree on one verdict. This often leads to a mistrial. During a trial, if a jury is unable to agree on a verdict, the judge may order them to go back a deliberate again. This can happen once or twice but, typically, no more than twice. If a jury comes back a third time with no verdict, the judge will rule it as a mistrial due to a hung jury.
Note that a mistrial can happen for a number of reasons and a hung jury is only one of many.
This is a unique situation where the defendant is neither convicted nor acquitted. An acquittal is considered to be a not guilty verdict, to which the prosecution cannot ask for an appeal; it cannot be overturned by the judge, nor can the defendant be retried.
If a judge rules a case as a mistrial, the defendant can be retried. However, a judge can still have the final decision to allow a re-trial.
Know Your Rights
If you ever find yourself being charged with a crime, it is important to know what the outcomes can be and what they each can mean. Some verdicts can be overturned; however, a guilty verdict is much more
difficult to overturn. Be sure to understand your right and how they apply to you and your particular case.
If you feel your rights are being violated due to double jeopardy, it is important to get the help you need to fight your case. You can call ASAP Bail Bonds if you have been arrested and put in jail so you can prepare for your case. With our bond options, we make getting out of jail easy and cost-effective so you can move on with your life. We can operate in many locations including Harris Brazoria, Fort-Bend, and Wharton County.