The arrival of Autumn brings with it several long awaited traditions that many of us look forward to. Among those traditions are college football, the leaves falling from the trees, and a beginning of the holiday season. And for legal experts there is another - the Supreme Court will be back in session.
For those who follow the law and its developments, the Supreme Court is the pinnacle of the legal world. In most cases they have the final say of what the law means and how it should be interpreted. This is even more true when dealing with the developments of criminal law and procedure. This is so for several important reasons.
The world of defending criminal actions is one dominated by the U.S. Constitution and the court rulings interpreting it. When the framers adopted and implemented the U.S. Constitution and its first amendments it was largely a document of negative rights. Which is to say that it is a government document which limits what the government, its officials, and agents can do to the public.
This means that every interaction a government agent, like a police officer or prosecutor, has with the public is regulated by the standards of the Constitution. When those lines are crossed or rules are broken then a defendant facing criminal charges may have a reprieve and defense in addition to those presented the facts of a case. And those rules are handed down and defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Double Jeopardy Case
One of the upcoming cases the Supreme Court will decide on criminal law and the Constitution is regarding the applicability of the Double Jeopardy clause. That clause guarantees that no one will face the same charges twice once acquitted by a judge or jury. This means that a prosecutor is not allowed to charge a person with a crime, and after losing the case, try again for a second time.
In this case that the court will decide, Yeager v. United States, the court will have to decide whether double jeopardy applies in cases where a jury hands down a verdict on some charges, but is hung on others. What happened in this case was that a person was accused of insider trading among a number of other charges but under the same set of facts. In the trial, the jury handed down a verdict of not guilty on some of the charges, but not on the others. Now the prosecution is asking to re-prosecute the defendant on the hung jury charges because they never came to a decision.
The question for the Supreme Court will be whether a prosecutor can charge someone twice for thes ame facts when a defendant is acquitted of charges with the same basic elements to the crime. If the court sides with the prosecutors in this case, it will open up the public to even more prosecutions in the future, and provide prosecutors with more than one bite at the apple in criminal cases.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney
Defending charges such as insider trading and other complex federal crimes requires the right kind of attorney for the job. The criminal appeals lawyers at Barney & Hourihane have the experience and dedication you need to protect your rights. If you are facing one or several federal crimes, contact us today. We will help you understand what your options are and what steps you need to take to defend yourself.