Double Jeopardy?

There’s a new movie coming out named Double Jeopardy. From the commercials, it looks like a man fakes his death and his wife is accused of (and convicted of) his murder. Then she goes after him and there are clips of people telling her she’s already been convicted so she can’t be nailed again.

My question: Do you think this is true?

If you’re wrongly convicted of murdering somebody who is still alive, you serve your time, and you then find him and actually do kill him, could you be tried again? I mean, you were already convicted once of murdering him. How could you do it again?

I suspect the courts would find a way to do it (it would be considered a “different crime”), but it’s an interesting question (or at least I think so :slight_smile: ).

I strongly suspect that she would not be allowed to get away with it. After all, the real murder was a different act than what she was convicted of. Also, I suspect that the guy would be nailed for criminal conspiracy or somesuch other crime. Not having seen the movie, I don’t know if this entered into things at all.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Dobule Jeopardy really doesn’t apply here. There was no crime and therefore the first trial was for a non-event.

Lawyers: what say you?

Hmm. I heard of an incident in France once where somebody was convicted of murder, and was later found to have been convicted of murdering HIMSELF. The Los Angeles Police weren’t even in charge of the investigation.

Murder is a state crime, for the most part–unless everything took place in the same state, prosecuting for murder wouldn’t be a problem. There would also be assorted federal statutes that could be used, including the ever-popular violation of civil rights.

But…assuming the murder took place in the same state, and that we’re just talking state law (and that we ignore such things as conspiracy), there are two possibilities. A conviction for a crime includes what are called “lesser included offenses”–in the case of murder these would lesser classifications of murder/voluntary manslaughter (whatever the terms are in that particular jurisdiction). However, greater offenses are not included–thus a conviction for second degree murder would not preclude charges of first degree murder. (I haven’t seen the ads, so I don’t know where they’re going with it.) The other possibility would be holding that the first conviction was null from the beginning, on the grounds that the alleged crime never took place…but this would depend on the trial judge and the appelate judges buying it, which is iffy.

Regardless of what was used, I think there’d be a big problem with the jury–the facts would confuse hell out of everybody, and there’d be an urge to decide that the defendent had pre-paid for the privilege of offing the victim. A confused jury is likely to acquit, or at least be unable to convict–I’d say the murderer would have a pretty good chance of getting away with it.

Rich Barr
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I don’t know about the US, but the Canadian Criminal code states that a person cannot be tried twice for THE SAME CRIMINAL ACT. This means that if she was treid, acquitted and released, and more evidence was found that she did do it, she couldn’t be tried again. But if the police could prove that she did it after and he wasn’t actually killed the first time, she could be convicted. I suspect the movie will make it seem as though she nkows this and will try to make it look like she did it before and was acquitted.

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

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As described, double jeopardy is a misnomer. She’s not being charged twice for the same crime.

If they discover the man is alive, her conviction will be overturned. The man would probably be charged with some sort of fraud. If she escapes and kills him, it would require a new trial (any lawyer would insist).

The smart thing to do is prove the husband is alive; that way she goes free and he most likely gets jail time. If she kills him, she trades potential freedom for life imprisonment.

I remember hearing this or something like it in college… ponder…

A man in convicted of murder and sent to jail, while in jail another convict confesses to the same murder. The first convict is let go. Once he is out he reconfesses to the murder and says the second man did nothing. Since he cant be tried again (double jeopardy) do they let both men go?

I should say that I also remember that it could not leagally happen this way, but WHY is not the part I remember… just the part I SHOULD! haha. Does anybody know why? can ya jog my brain for me?

The wisest man I ever knew taught me something I never forgot. And although I never forgot it, I never quite memorized it either. So what I’m left with is the memory of having learned
something very wise that I can’t quite remember. -George Carlin

I read a science fiction story not long ago wherein a person could decide to kill someone, serve the sentence required, and upon release, kill the person of their choice with no penalty. Interesting concept. Of course, wouldn’t work if the penalty was death in the electric chair . . .

They call that science fiction? Sounds like just litterature to me. Where’s the science in that?


[[If you’re wrongly convicted of murdering somebody who is still alive, you serve your time, and you then find him and actually do kill him, could you be tried again? ]]
Yes. The actual killing is not the “same” offense as the prior one.

You could be tried again because you would be commiting a second crime. It could be against the same person, but the courts base the crime off of the instance not the person. For instance, you could go out and rob a specific Nation’s Bank, serve your time and then the day you get out go and rob it again. That is a second crime. <DUH!> On another thought, in order to be convicted of murder they have to have a body. A lot of eye witness accounts still would not make much difference if they can’t prove that the man was actually dead by the body.

respectfully disagree with sqrlcub. a person can be convicted of murder without the prosecution showing the body.

It may be more difficult, but a person can be convicted of murder purely on circumstantial evidence, if that evidence convinces the trier of fact that the accused did in fact kill the other person.

Otherwise, there would be just too much incentive to destroy the body, if its destruction could insure that you could never, as a matter of law, be convicted of murder. (of course, destroying the body makes the prosecution more difficult - just ask Jimmy Hoffa)

I believe the DA in Delaware (Delano?) was convicted of murder even though the body was never found. It helped that his brother testified that he was with him when they sunk the cooler containing her body.

As he’s getting the death penalty, the double jeopardy question is moot here.

My personal take: the 2nd murder would not be the same crime as witnesses, weapons, other evidence, etc… would all be different for the more recent crime- except for the corpse. It only seems like double jeopardy as you should (theoretically) only be able to commit murder of a person once.