Fifth Amendment Relative to Double Jeopardy

Fifth Amendment Relative to
Double Jeopardy


Business Law

Professor Dawn M. Courtright

Kaplan University

January 26, 2010

Armington, while robbing a drugstore, shot and seriously injured Jennings, a drugstore clerk.   Armington was subsequently convicted in a criminal trial of armed robbery and assault and battery.   Jennings later brought a civil tort suit against Armington for damages.   Armington contended that he could not be tried again for the same crime, as that would constitute double jeopardy, which is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.   This paper is based on the information provided by the case and is divided into two section.   The first section will define the Fifth Amendment relative to double jeopardy and the section will discuss if Armington correct in assuming that Jennings is unable to have him tried in civil court.
The Fifth Amendment refers to being put in “jeopardy of life or limb.”   The clause, however, has been interpreted as providing protection regarding “every indictment or information charging a party with a known and defined crime or misdemeanor; although the clause, it has been held, does not prevent separate trials by different governments, and the state and federal governments are considered to be separate entities.   Once acquitted of a crime, a person may not be tried for the same again, even if it was not followed by any type of judgment. “A verdict of acquittal, although not followed by any judgment, is a bar to a subsequent prosecution for the same offense.” 163 U.S. 662 at 672 (1896).  
Mistrials are generally not covered by the double jeopardy clause as stated in the Fifth Amendment and double jeopardy also does not apply if the later charge is civil rather than criminal in nature, which involves a different legal standard.   Acquittal in a criminal case does not prevent a plaintiff from suing the defendant in a civil suit relating to the same incident.   For example, OJ...