Supreme Court Test on Exceptions to Double Jeopardy Protection


The Supreme Court will decide an Arkansas case that will test how big the exceptions to the double-jeopardy protection contained in the Fifth Amendment are, reports Time. Experts say the decision could resolve long-standing differences between the states about when the government may retry defendants when it can’t get a conviction the first time.

Arkansas prosecutors want to try Alex Blueford on capital-murder charges because they believe he hit his girlfriend’s 19-month-old toddler so hard that the boy’s eyes bled and his brain swelled so much that he died. The state already has tried him once and without success. Blueford says it was an accident, and the jury apparently believed him, voting to acquit him of murder but split on a manslaughter charge. The judge declared a mistrial, and when prosecutors tried to charge him again, the Arkansas Supreme Court approved it because the votes to acquit weren’t entered into the record. Now the high court will review the complicated case.

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