Double Jeopardy Not Violated by Mistrial Over Prosecutor Injury

April 3, 2019, 3:10 PM

A Minnesota man’s retrial and conviction for sexual assault, two months after a mistrial caused by a prosecutor’s back injury, didn’t violate his constitutional right not to face double jeopardy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit April 3 affirmed the denial of Russell J. Fenstermaker’s habeas corpus petition. The appeals court rejected Fenstermaker’s claim that the mistrial was invalid—and his subsequent retrial therefore unconstitutional—because the state court trial judge who declared the mistrial failed to act out of “manifest necessity.”

After exploring alternatives to a mistrial, the trial judge reasonably concluded one was justified by the prosecutor’s ...

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