Skip to comments.Court overturns murder dismissal in fetal deaths [NC]
Posted on 08/07/2013 1:15:50 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows
RALEIGH, N.C. The N.C. Court of Appeals said Tuesday a state judge erred in dismissing two first-degree murder counts against a man prosecutors say shot a woman who was five months pregnant, resulting in the loss of her unborn twins.
The expectant mother survived.
It was not immediately clear whether murder charges will be refiled against defendant Gregory R. Chapman, who also faces felony assault and weapons counts. The 2008 shooting occurred before passage of a new law making the killing of a fetus a homicide.
Prosecutors say Chapman shot Lisa Wallace once in the upper abdomen. During emergency surgery to save her life, doctors were forced to abort her twins. Though they had heartbeats, each died after only a few minutes outside their mother.
Doctors issued birth certificates for each twin and then death certificates. The medical examiners report listed the immediate cause of their deaths as previable prematurity.
(Excerpt) Read more at myrtlebeachonline.com ...
IANAL, but I don’t think so. You only get double jeopardy if a charge was tried and a verdict rendered.
Ah! Good point!
I thought of one other situation: IIRC, if a trial’s already started, it’s double jeopardy if a charge being tried is dismissed and refiled, for obvious reasons. Once again, IANAL.
From the Legal Dictionary.
A second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal or conviction or multiple punishments for same offense. The evil sought to be avoided by prohibiting double jeopardy is double trial and double conviction, not necessarily double punishment.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall be subject for the same offence [sic] to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This provision, known as the Double Jeopardy Clause, prohibits state and federal governments from prosecuting individuals for the same crime on more than one occasion, or imposing more than one punishment for a single offense. Each of the 50 states offers similar protection through its own constitution, statutes, and Common Law.
Five policy considerations underpin the double jeopardy doctrine: (1) preventing the government from employing its superior resources to wear down and erroneously convict innocent persons; (2) protecting individuals from the financial, emotional, and social consequences of successive prosecutions; (3) preserving the finality and integrity of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised were the state allowed to arbitrarily ignore unsatisfactory outcomes; (4) restricting prosecutorial discretion over the charging process; and (5) eliminating judicial discretion to impose cumulative punishments that the legislature has not authorized.
Double jeopardy is one of the oldest legal concepts in Western civilization. In 355 b.c., Athenian statesman Demosthenes said, “[T]he law forbids the same man to be tried twice on the same issue.” The Romans codified this principle in the Digest of Justinian I in a.d. 533. The principle also survived the Dark Ages (a.d. 4001066), notwithstanding the deterioration of other Greco-Roman legal traditions, through Canon Law and the teachings of early Christian writers.
As a general rule, jeopardy vests when the jury is sworn in.
Thank you very much.
It’a ABOUT TIME!They are still calling the Fort Hood Massacre 13-deaths-32 wounded.If I’m not mistaken,one of the people murdered was pregnant!!That makes 14 KILLED!!!!!
Thank you! FReepers are WONDERFUL!
We need to keep reminding people of that.