Monday, November 4, 2013

Oregon v. Kennedy case brief

Oregon v. Kennedy case brief summary
456 U.S. 667 (1982)

The State sought review by writ of certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals of Oregon, which decided that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment barred respondent prisoner's retrial after respondent's first trial ended in a mistrial granted on respondent's own motion. Respondent asserted the decision was based on adequate and independent state grounds.

Respondent prisoner was charged with theft of an oriental rug, but was granted a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct occasioned by what amounted to overreaching. When the State later sought to retry respondent, the trial court denied respondent's motion to dismiss on the basis that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment did not bar retrial. Respondent was tried and convicted. The state court of appeals accepted the trial court's finding that it was not the intent of the prosecutor to cause a mistrial, but nevertheless, sustained respondent's double jeopardy claim because it held that the prosecutor's conduct was a direct personal attack on respondent's character and overreaching.

  • The Court granted the writ of certiorari and reversed the judgment of the state court of appeals. 
  • It held that the court of appeals decision was based solely on federal law, and because the state trial court found, and the state court of appeals accepted, that the prosecutorial conduct culminating in the termination of the first trial was not so intended by the prosecutor, there was no Fifth Amendment violation.


The Court reversed the decision of the state court of appeals which reversed the decision of the trial court finding that respondent prisoner's rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment had not been violated because any misconduct by the prosecutor was not intended or meant to cause respondent to request a mistrial.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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