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Double Jeopardy Analysis of the Medgar Evers Murder Case

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 23 Issue: 1 Dated: (1995) Pages: 41-51
T J Hickey
Date Published
12 pages
This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court's major double jeopardy precedents in hung jury mistrial cases, particularly as they relate to the recent conviction of Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963.
The State of Mississippi tried Beckwith three times in approximately 30 years; the first two trials ended in hung jury mistrials. While the government is allowed to retry a criminal defendant after a hung jury, some questions remain about the propriety of Beckwith's conviction under the Fifth Amendment double jeopardy clause. The author suggests that the courts adopt a more flexible standard for determining if a defendant should be retired after a hung jury mistrial. The proposed rule would place greater emphasis on the defendant's important double jeopardy interests including finality and action limitation, in not allowing the prosecution to gain a tactical advantage by manipulating criminal proceedings in fine-tuning its trial strategy. 7 notes and 33 references


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