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Two of Casey Anthony’s Convictions Set Aside on Double Jeopardy Grounds

A Florida Appeals Court has set aside two of Casey Anthony’s convictions for lying to detectives. The convictions stemmed from interviews that Anthony participated in in connection to the 2008 disappearance of her two year old daughter, Caylee.

Although Anthony was acquitted in the killing of her daughter in 2011, jurors convicted her of 4 counts of lying to investigators. Anthony’s attorneys appealed the convictions, resulting the appellate court’s decision to set aside two of the four. At issue was whether the convictions violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution. The clause is found in the 5th Amendment, and the relevant passage reads as follows:

“nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .”

Fundamentally, the clause operates to ensure that people are not tried or punished for the same offense twice. Based on the facts in Anthony’s case, the appeals stated that they could “not conclude that the legislature intended to authorize separate punishment for each false statement made during a single interview.” The judges declined to reverse all the convictions, but let two stand, based on the reasoning that enough time had elapsed between two of the interviews to allow Anthony to pause, reflect, and form new criminal intent.

The principle of Double Jeopardy prohibits the government from pursuing multiple prosecutions or punishments for the same crime. There are four distinct forms of government action that are proscribed by the doctrine:

  • Prosecuting a person after an acquittal
  • Prosecuting a person after conviction
  • Subsequent prosecution after certain mistrials
  • Multiple punishment on the same indictment

The double jeopardy principle has several exceptions, one of the most notable being that multiple sovereigns may prosecute the same individual for the same crime. For example, a state and the federal government may prosecute a person with the same crime because they are both sovereign governments.

If you believe that you may subjected to prosecution or punishment for the same crime, you should consult an experienced Portland criminal defense attorney immediately. Edward Kroll is a Portland criminal defense lawyer who is committed to defending the rights of Oregonians who have been accused of crimes. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Kroll has significant and unique insight into the inner workings of the criminal justice system, and is dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for each client he represents. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (504) 352-9360 today. If you would prefer, fill out our online contact available here, and a member of our staff will be in touch with you soon.

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