United States Supreme Court issues its Opinion Regarding a Double Jeopardy Holding

People v. Evans

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a double jeopardy holding of Michigan Supreme Court in the case of People v. Evans.  Mr. Evans was charged with the crime of Burning of Other Real Property under MCL 750.73.  At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, the Circuit Court Judge granted defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.  Defendant claims that the State did not show that the building was “not a dwelling.”

The State appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals stating that the Circuit Court erred in granting the motion for a directed verdict.  The Court of Appeals reversed the directed verdict, citing that the double jeopardy law didn’t bar retrying defendant because the court didn’t resolve a factual element, as the state failed to prove something that wasn’t actually an element of the crime.

The U.S. Supreme Court says in its opinion “that it doesn’t matter what the reason is.  It doesn’t matter how wrong the judge is.  Every single case has said, if they grant a directed verdict for the stupidest of reasons, we’re stuck with it, and that’s the rule of double jeopardy.”  Evans v. Michigan, No. 11-1327.

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