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MysteryRiter
06-19-2012, 10:25 PM
I'm trying to wrap my head around this. I have an SNI involving double jeopardy, but I'm not sure it would be legally accurate.

Double jeopardy states that you can't be tried for the same crime twice. So (similar to the Ashley Judd movie) say you were tried for murdering someone and you were found innocent. Weeks later, you discover that the person you were charged with killing is still alive (faked his own death). If you kill this person and the police know you did, would there be any punishment (since you were already tried for their murder and found innocent, so you can't be tried again)? Or does double jeopardy not apply here since it's technically two seperate crimes, even though they are identical?

I've been doing some research and have gotten completely mixed signals on this. And now I'm really confused.

Thanks for the help! :)

Siri Kirpal
06-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

That's a separate crime, different time.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Trebor1415
06-19-2012, 11:38 PM
That would be two different crimes, even if it was the person you supposedly murdered earlier, so you could be tried for that crime.

Also, there are situations where you think Double Jeopardy would apply, but you might be tried twice for the same crime.

For instance, the LAPD police in the Rodney King beating 20 years ago were aquitted of the state level criminal charges for the beating.

But, once that happened, the Feds charged with violating King's civil rights and they were convicted on that.

One incident but it wound up with two trials (one local/state and one Federal).

There's also a possibility of getting retried for the same crime if you get anything other than a "Not Guilty" verdict the first time. That's why they are able to retry in cases of hung juries, etc.

MysteryRiter
06-20-2012, 04:33 AM
Thank guys! That's disappointing, though, because I might have to change the plot...

Is it a big deal if, using that scenario, I say that double jeopardy would be relevant there and you'd get away with the second murder even if it's not entirely legally accurate? It's a big deal, right?

Trebor1415
06-20-2012, 04:43 AM
Is it a big deal if, using that scenario, I say that double jeopardy would be relevant there and you'd get away with the second murder even if it's not entirely legally accurate? It's a big deal, right?

Yeah, it's a big deal. If I was reading the book and you got that wrong so you could make your plot point work I'd quit reading right there as what you've written has no relation to reality.

MysteryRiter
06-20-2012, 04:46 AM
That's what I thought. Thanks! I'll have to find a way around this... At least it's only an SNI...

Torill
06-20-2012, 10:18 AM
I know it's not related to your question or anything - but, might I ask :blushes: what's an SNI....:gone:

Peter Graham
06-20-2012, 02:23 PM
So (similar to the Ashley Judd movie) say you were tried for murdering someone and you were found innocent. Weeks later, you discover that the person you were charged with killing is still alive (faked his own death).UK slant:-

The fact that you were found innocent means that (subject to certain exceptions which perhaps don't affect your plot) you cannot be tried for that same crime again. Take the example of stealing a chocolate bar from the shop. You get acquitted - that doesn't mean you can nick as many chocolate bars as you want in the future. What you were on trial for is not just theft of a chocolate bar - it was theft of a chocolate bar at a certain place at a certain time. That is the only thing you have been acquitted of.

So, if you murder Fred Smith, you can be tried for that. Your acquittal of murdering a man who is subsequently discovered not to be dead does not somehow render Mr Smith an outlaw who can legally be killed by you at another time. You were acquitted of murdering him in 2011? Great. Murdering him in 2012 would be an entirely separate charge, so double jeopardy would not apply.

If you'd been convicted in 2011, the sudden appearance of a hale, hearty and un-murdered Mr Smith gives you fairly convincing grounds for appeal! Your conviction would be quashed. There never was a murder. Ergo, if there is one subsequently, double jeopardy doesn't apply.

Regards,

Peter

Parametric
06-20-2012, 02:26 PM
I know it's not related to your question or anything - but, might I ask :blushes: what's an SNI....:gone:

It's a Shiny New Idea. :D

WeaselFire
06-20-2012, 09:18 PM
Technically, nobody is ever judged innocent. They are judged not guilty, acquitted of the crime charged.

And also technically, if your main character found the supposed victim alive, yet nobody else knew that, they might have the intuition to kill them and make it look like the first crime. Could make for a twisted whodunnit, though your character would end up being the bad guy.

Keep in mind that, in real life, it's hard to bring a prosecution without a body or ample evidence that there was one. And the victim would have to be hidden for years in many cases, since it could easily take 18 months just to get to trial.

Jeff

MarkEsq
06-20-2012, 09:51 PM
Just thinking aloud, but try this on for size (I have NO idea if you can use this, but it's a fun game):

Peter shoots Bob on June 1, 2012. It's caught on film and everyone sees Bob collapse on the ground. When police show up to the crime scene, the body is gone, just a lot of blood. Peter says, "I shot him but in self-defense and he didn't die, he ran off."

Peter demands a speedy trial and six months later is acquitted.

On January 1, 2013, Peter sees Bob alive and well. They chat like old friends but right there and then, Bob collapses and dies. An autopsy reveals that the bullet from the shooting was lodged in his brain and shifted as they were talking.

Unless I'm missing something, double jeopardy would apply in this case.

shaldna
06-21-2012, 01:30 PM
I thought they did away with double jeopardy precisely to stop these sort of situations?

I know that a person can be retried for the same crime if new evidence is found.

AFAIK no one is ever pronounced 'innocent' - here you are more likely to hear 'not proven'

Peter Graham
06-21-2012, 06:19 PM
Peter shoots Bob on June 1, 2012. It's caught on film and everyone sees Bob collapse on the ground. When police show up to the crime scene, the body is gone, just a lot of blood. Peter says, "I shot him but in self-defense and he didn't die, he ran off."In the absence of a body, I doubt that I'd be tried for murder. Clever prosecutors might charge me with firearms offences (less likely in the US, I know), or with a charge such as attempted murder, which doesn't actually require a corpse.


Peter demands a speedy trial and six months later is acquitted.Might be different in the US, but over here I couldn't demand a trial at all, let alone a speedy one. It's for the Crown Prosecution Service to frame the charge if they wish to do so.


On January 1, 2013, Peter sees Bob alive and well. They chat like old friends but right there and then, Bob collapses and dies. An autopsy reveals that the bullet from the shooting was lodged in his brain and shifted as they were talking.

Unless I'm missing something, double jeopardy would apply in this case.It might well, but for the reasons set out above, I'd never have been charged with murder in the first place.

Regards,

Peter

MarkEsq
06-21-2012, 11:07 PM
In the absence of a body, I doubt that I'd be tried for murder. Clever prosecutors might charge me with firearms offences (less likely in the US, I know), or with a charge such as attempted murder, which doesn't actually require a corpse.

Murder doesn't require a corpse either. If it's caught on film and everything points to murder, we'd probably charge and try the case here.


Might be different in the US, but over here I couldn't demand a trial at all, let alone a speedy one. It's for the Crown Prosecution Service to frame the charge if they wish to do so.

Here a defendant has a constitutional right to a speedy trial.


It might well, but for the reasons set out above, I'd never have been charged with murder in the first place.


It's a hypo so it could go either way, but it sounds like the difference might be US v. UK. As a prosecutor in the US I can speak to the former, not the latter.

MarkEsq
06-21-2012, 11:10 PM
I thought they did away with double jeopardy precisely to stop these sort of situations?

Just speaking for the US, Double Jeopardy is alive and well. :)


I know that a person can be retried for the same crime if new evidence is found.

Again, not in the US. Once a "not guilty" verdict comes in, that's it whether there's new evidence or not.


AFAIK no one is ever pronounced 'innocent' - here you are more likely to hear 'not proven'

Same here, it's "not guilty" and not "innocent."

MysteryRiter
06-22-2012, 07:35 AM
Thanks for the info, guys! I probably should've mentioned that it's a US setting.

Oh, and Mark, your hypo triggered an idea to further the plot (in my head, since I still haven't written anything!), so THANK YOU!