COURTS CAN’T MAKE YOU GO TO TRIAL TWICE ON THE SAME FACTS IN TAMPA CLEARWATER & ST. PETERSBURG

How many times can our Government take someone to criminal court over the same set of facts? The answer should be once and only once. Otherwise a not guilty verdict at trial would have no meaning nor would it be an effective bar to Government persecution rather than prosecution. 

The 11th Circuit just found that the Government can’t try a Defendant twice on the same facts when it reversed the Middle District of Florida, which includes Tampa, Clearwater & St. Petersburg, in a case based on the collateral estoppel. Collateral estoppel is based on a common law doctrine that the Government should not be able to try the same issue more than once if the issue tried is an element of the crime which must be proven and the issue was already decided against the government and in a way is related to the notion of double jeopardy in Florida. This common law doctrine originally arose in civil cases but has been accepted as a defense in criminal cases as well since 1916 in the case of U.S. v. Oppenheimer and is now an important element of criminal defense law for every Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney. 

The new Federal Court opinion from just five days ago in U.S v. EMILIANO VALDIVIEZ-GARZA noted that “when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit.” After reviewing the transcript of the previous trial, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that, based on all of the evidence presented at trial and considering that the evidence of the remaining three elements was undisputed, “the jury’s verdict of acquittal [in the 2009 trial] was based upon reasonable doubt about a single element of the crime.” An element of a crime is a fact or series of facts which must be proven in order to convict someone. The Court held that because the Government is collaterally estopped from arguing the element previously determined by a jury, it cannot prove an essential element of its current case and the indictment must be dismissed. If the Government wants to convict you upon facts from which you’ve already been found not guilty you should get help from a crime defense attorney.

If our courtrooms looked this good we’d want a second trial, maybe even a third…

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DOUBLE JEOPARDY BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK


The Fifth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution prohibits the government from prosecuting individuals more than once for a single offense and from imposing more than one punishment for a single offense. The Constitution states, “No person shall . . . be subject for the same offense to be twice put in JEOPARDY of life or limb;” this is known as the Double Jeopardy clause.
Florida has its own constitutional double jeopardy provision which does not prohibit a defendant’s retrial when a prior trial has been concluded by mistrial because of a HUNG JURY (see Lebron v. State, 2001 WL 987233, 26 Fla. L. Weekly S553 (Fla. 30, 2001); West’s F.S.A. Const. Art. 1, § 9).  http://www.law.fsu Lebron v State pdf

A jury’s verdict of acquittal terminates jeopardy. An acquittal cannot be overturned on appeal even if later overwhelming proof of a defendant’s guilt is found or even if the trial judge committed reversible error in ruling on an issue at some point during the proceedings.
Double jeopardy embodies within each sworn jury the power to nullify an inappropriate prosecution. The power of the government is is checked because each jury possess the power to correct corruption of the legal system by law enforcement, government officials, confidential informers, prosecutors, state attorneys, and even judges themselves
A jury can also implicitly ACQUIT a defendant when it is instructed by the judge on the elements of a particular crime and on a lesser included offense, if the jury returns a guilty verdict as to the lesser offense, a second prosecution for the greater offense is barred by the Double Jeopardy Clause. 

Double Jeopardy
Criminal Defense Attorney and Trial Lawyer Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, FL
Federal Crimes Trial Lawyer & Criminal Defense Attorney in Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater,Fl
JEOPARDY! Alex Trebek
EVIDENCE
Bill of Rights 
Annotated Constitution Fifth Amendment

Why are the two men at the left with arms raised so upset? “I didn’t say Double Jeopardy…we ordered Double Espresso…” Can you find Ben Franklin? Good thing he didn’t bring that kite of his.
File:Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States.png


SUPREME COURT GRANTS CERT WHERE THE TRIAL JUDGE DECLARES A MISTRIAL IN A MURDER CASE WHEN THE JURY FOREWOMEN TELLS THE JUDGE HOW THE JURY HAS ALREADY VOTED: IS IT DOUBLE JEOPARDY TO TRY THE DEFENDANT AGAIN?

Oh, impartial jurors, please don’t tell the Court what you’ve decided until you actually render your verdict at the end of the case otherwise bad things will happen possibly even this unfortunate result….
The Supreme Court granted certiorari this morning in the case of Alex Blueford v. Arkansas, 
No. 10-1320. 

The facts are as follows:

Petitioner Blueford was tried on a charge of capital murder. During jury deliberations the jury forewoman, in open court, informed the court that the jury had voted unanimously against the capital murder charge and against the lesser-included charge of first-degree murder, but that it was deadlocked on the lesser-included offense of manslaughter. (oops!) 
The court declared a mistrial, and subsequently ruled that double jeopardy did not prevent a retrial on all charges. 

The defendant appealed interlocutorily

to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which affirmed. Blueford v. State, 2011Ark. 8, S.W.3d, 2011 WL 285805 (Ark. 2011).


Areas of Practice for Robert Hambrick – Attorney in Clearwater, FL
Criminal Defense Attorney and Trial Lawyer Crimes in Clearwater, FL
Definition: Certiorari, Petition for Writ of Certiorari. Legal Dictionary | Law.com
JuryBox.org – Explaining Jury Nullification as the Last Check and Balance

Jury behavior

Scholarly research on jury behavior in American non-capital criminal felony trials reveals that juror outcomes appear to track the opinions of the median juror, rather than the opinions of the extreme juror on the panel, although juries were required to render unanimous verdicts in the jurisdictions studied. Thus, although juries must render unanimous verdicts, in run-of-the-mill criminal trials they behave in practice as if they were operating using a majority rules voting system.

The Jury by John Morgan, 1861 This is a very talkative bunch of jurors…the one with the blue scarf on his head wants to convict my client, shame on you — but the future foreman of the jury, that bright tall fellow right behind Mr. Bluescarf knows that my client is innocent and plans to dominate the jury and then if necessary,  invade Continental Europe to prove my client’s innocence – Many Thanks.

File:The Jury by John Morgan.jpg