The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Florida set aside two convictions Casey Anthony was facing for lying to detectives last week. Anthony was accused of lying to officials during the investigation regarding the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008.
Anthony was acquitted of the killing of her daughter in 2011 but had been convicted by jurors of two counts of lying to detectives. Anthony’s lawyers appealed those convictions, and the appellate court granted her appeal as to two of the four convictions.
The issue the appellate court was asked to consider was whether Anthony’s convictions violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution. The relevant clause is found in the 5th Amendment, and the relevant portion reads:
“nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .”
The appellate court stated in their ruling that they could not “conclude that the legislature intended to authorize separate punishment for each false statement made during a single interview.” The decision was not a complete victory for Casey, however, as judges allowed two of the four convictions to stand. Anthony’s lawyers argued that the 4 counts constituted double jeopardy, in that they were punishing Anthony four times for providing false information to investigators once. The judges disagreed, reasoning that there was a “sufficient temporal break” between two interviews in which Anthony could pause, reflect, and form new criminal intent.
The Double Jeopardy principle proscribes the government from pursuing prosecutions for the same crime in four distinct scenarios:
Prosecuting a person after an acquittal
Prosecuting a person after conviction
Subsequent prosecution after certain mistrials
Multiple punishments on the same indictment
An exception to double jeopardy exists in that different sovereigns can prosecute an individual for the same crime; for example, both a state and the federal government could prosecute an individual for the same crime, because they are different sovereigns.
If you believe that you may be facing double jeopardy or multiple punishments for a single crime, you should consult with an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney immediately. The Law Office of Starr Law, P.C. is dedicated to protecting the rights of Texans accused of crimes. Mr. Starr has dedicated his life to practicing criminal defense law and also is available throughout the state as a bail-bondsman. To schedule a free consultation with a criminal lawyer call us today at (214) 219-8440. If you would prefer, please fill out our online contact form available to the right and a member of our staff will be in touch with you soon.