Tuesday, December 24, 2013

United States v. Jorn case brief

United States v. Jorn case brief summary
400 U.S. 470 (1971)

The prosecution appealed an order of the United States District Court for the District of Utah that dismissed an information charging defendant with willfully assisting in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns, 26 U.S.C.S. § 7206(2).

The trial judge in the original trial had discharged the jury abruptly after learning that the government's witnesses had not been adequately informed of their constitutional rights.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal on double-jeopardy grounds. 
  • The Court determined that the trial court abused its discretion in discharging the jury. 
  • No consideration was even given to the possibility of a trial continuance in the situation. 
  • The Court reasoned that defendant had been placed in jeopardy because the reason for the dismissal had been to benefit the prosecution. 
  • Therefore, the purpose of the Double Jeopardy Clause was invoked because defendant was foreclosed from a potentially favorable judgment by the trial court. 
  • Although no bright-line rule governed the case, the prosecution's lack of preparedness implicated the policies behind the double jeopardy provision and the speedy trial rule. 
  • The Court concluded that under the circumstances of the case, a re-prosecution of defendant would violate the double jeopardy provision of the FifthAmendment.
The Court affirmed the dismissal of charges against defendant.

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