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Smith v. Massachusetts

Docket No.: 03-8661
Certiorari Granted: Jun 14 2004
Argued: December 1, 2004
Decided: February 22, 2005

Topics:

Double Jeopardy, Criminal Procedure, Double Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, Due Process, EPA, Fifth Amendment, habeas, habeas corpus, murder, patent

PartyNames: Melvin T. Smith v. Massachusetts
Petitioner: Melvin T. Smith
Respondent: Massachusetts

Court Below: Appeals Court of Massachusetts
Citation: 788 NE2d 977
Supreme Court Docket

Melvin T. Smith
v.
Massachusetts
543 U.S. 462 (2005)
Question Presented:

1. Should this Court grant certiorari to directly review Smith's case and decide the question that, constrained by the habeas corpus standard of review, it did not reach in the recent case of Price v. Vincent, 538 U.S. 634 (2003)? That is, whether the double jeopardy clause's prohibition against successive prosecutions is violated where the judge unequivocally rules that the defendant is not guilty because the government's evidence is insufficient but later reverses her finding of not guilty? 2. There is a split of opinion among the United States Courts of Appeals and among the state courts on the question of whether, in similar situations, trial judges violate the double jeopardy protection against successive prosecution by withdrawing an already-granted verdict of not guilty. Should this Court grant certiorari to clarify its jurisprudence?

Question:

Is the double jeopardy clause's prohibition against successive prosecutions, found in the Fifth Amendment, violated when a judge rules that the defendant is not guilty because the government's evidence is insufficient but later in the trial reverses her finding of not guilty?

Smith v. Massachusetts
ORAL ARGUMENT

December 1, 2004

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 5 votes for Smith, 4 vote(s) against
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By: Justice Antonin Scalia
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