LEARN: Double Jeopardy

I was watching Fracture last night – and I liked it. I wanted Anthony Hopkins to get caught so bad. Anyway, the movie introduced me to Double Jeopardy.


Double Jeopardy means a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime based on the same conduct. The defense of double jeopardy also prevents the state from retrying a person for the same crime after he has been acquitted. No person shall “be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

Reasons behind:


  • To preserve the finality of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised if the government were allowed to ignore verdicts it did not like;
  • To impose limits on prosecutors’ power; and
  • To protect individuals from the financial and emotional toll of repeated prosecutions.

Eligibility for Double Jeopardy protection: 

  • If a defendant was never previously in legal “jeopardy,” then subsequent prosecution is not prohibited.
  • Once an individual has been placed in legal jeopardy and the jeopardy has ended, the government cannot continue to pursue a prosecution against the person for the same crime, because this would violate the rule against double jeopardy.
  • The double jeopardy rule applies to re-prosecution for the same offense

What constitutes the same offense? 

  • the “actual evidence” has already been presented in court
  • whether all the alleged criminal acts were part of the “same transaction,”
  • whether the defendant is being prosecuted a second time for the “same conduct.”



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