Double Jeopardy


jeopardy, in law, condition of a person charged with a crime and thus in danger of punishment. At common law a defendant could be exposed to jeopardy for the same offense only once; exposing a person twice is known as double jeopardy. Double jeopardy is prohibited in federal and state courts by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The concept refers to an offense, not to an act giving rise to an offense; therefore, it is possible to try a person for multiple violations arising from a single act (e.g., assault, attempted murder, and carrying a deadly weapon). Jeopardy does not exist until the jury is sworn in, or, if there is no jury, until evidence is introduced. The prohibition of double jeopardy does not preclude a second trial if the first court lacked jurisdiction (authority), if there was error in the proceedings, or if the jury could not reach a verdict. A similar principle, known as res judicata, operates in civil suits. It holds that once a civil case has been finally decided on the merits the same parties can not litigate it again. In England and Wales, revisions to criminal law that took effect in 2005 now permit the Court of Appeal to order a person acquitted of a crime to be retried if there is "new and compelling" evidence.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Double Jeopardy: Selected full-text books and articles

Double Jeopardy: The History, the Law By George C. Thomas III NYU Press, 1998
A Brief History of the Fifth Amendment Guarantee against Double Jeopardy* By Rudstein, David S The William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, October 2005
Double Jeopardy Law Made Simple By Amar, Akhil Reed The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 106, No. 6, April 1997
Double Take: Evaluating Double Jeopardy Reform By Coffin, Kenneth G Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 2, February 2010
Criminal Law - Double Jeopardy - First Circuit Upholds Reprosecution of Defendant Acquitted in "Sham" Trial Harvard Law Review, Vol. 118, No. 8, June 2005
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Changing the Tide of Double Jeopardy in the Context of the Continuing Criminal Enterprise By Kappeler, Amy J Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 87, No. 3, Spring 1997
Double Jeopardy Protection from Civil Sanctions after Hudson V. United States By Melenyzer, Lisa Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 89, No. 3, Spring 1999
Separate but Equal: Double Jeopardy and Environmental Enforcement Actions By Kellner, Katherine C Environmental Law, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 1998
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