HIGH COURT RULES: SOME DEFENDANTS GET ALL THE LUCK

arson_op_432x193In Evans v. Michigan, 11-1327(U.S. Sct. 2012), the Supreme Court ruled that once a trial Judge directs a verdict of acquittal for a Defendant right after the State rests, then even if the Judge’s verdict was erroneous and contrary to the law the verdict must stand. Mr. Evans was accused of Arson of  “other real property.”  The alleged facts were that he burnt down an unoccupied house. The judge mistakenly believed that the state had to prove that the “other real property” burned was not a dwelling, and since a dwelling was burned the Judge had to acquit Mr. Evans. The Judge was wrong, but the Supreme Court ruled that even though the Judge was wrong the acquittal must stand, and it would be double jeopardy to retry Mr. Evans. Mr. Evans may or may not be guilty of the charge. But the Judge’s Acquittal saved him from putting his life in the hands of twelve people who want to serve on a jury.  No matter what you call it though, it was definitely Mr. Evan’s lucky day. Especially if he was guilty.

 

 

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