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Man claims double jeopardy in Maryland court

A man involved in a sexual molestation case in Maryland has claimed that he shouldn't be able to be charged, because he's been placed in double jeopardy by the courts. Double jeopardy usually applies when a person is being charged for the same crime they have already been tried for. This is important to know, especially if you've been charged with a serious crime; you don't want to end up going through your trial all over again.

In this case, the 35-year-old man claimed that his child abuse and molestation trial was a mistrial, because the number of jurors there were too few to allow selection to continue. The man, who was charged in 2013 with 28 counts of sex abuse of a minor, 30 counts of third-degree sex offenses and with one count of child pornography, claims that by not having enough jurors, he's entitled to having the case dismissed.

His attorney claims that jeopardy applies, by definition, when a defendant is placed on trial. Since the jurors were unable to be selected, that allegedly means that the trial was a mistrial, and he can't be taken to trial again for the same crime. The assistant state attorney has claimed that the motion to dismiss the case is frivolous, because the jury had not been selected or sworn in. Jeopardy only applies after the jury is selected, he claims.

On the day of the trial, 55 jurors were summoned, 45 showed up, and 11 were unable to be used. Others had issues that made them ineligible to participate in the case, so this led to the belief that 12 jurors could not be selected from the remaining people. The man's defense claims that jeopardy begins not when the 12 jurors are sworn in, but when the 45 were, as they were at the beginning of this man's trial.

Source: Herald Mail Media, "Williamsport man charged in molestation case claims double jeopardy" Don Ains, Jul. 22, 2014

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