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Can "double jeopardy" be legal if the accused was lying...

Appleton, WI |

Can you charge someone for a crime after they were found innocent if they lied on the stand, i.e. perjury

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

NO. The person you are talking about could possibly be charged with perjury, but that is a difficult charge to prove and accordingly is not often pursued. Once acquitted of a criminal charge the US Constitution and, I would expect, the state constitution in WI would prohibit another attempt to charge and convict.

Posted

I agree with Mr. Jones, there could be no retrial of the original charge. In exceptional circumstances the defendant could be charged with perjury. However, it is possible that a defendant who bribed the judge (at least in a bench trial) could be prosecuted again, the theory being that there was never any true jeopardy in the original trial. That situation actually arose in Illinois a few years ago.

By the way, a court never finds anybody "innocent." There is no such verdict in the law. The court can find the defendant either "guilty" or "not guilty."

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

Your point regarding "innocent" vs. "not guilty" seems like something that could be included in jr high or high school civics class; very, very important point.

Joshua Sachs

Joshua Sachs

Posted

I was told long ago that newspapers refer to defendants being found "innocent" because they do not want to be liable for defamation if a careless printer omits the word "not."

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

Nice story even if it's just an urban legend.

Posted

The person who lied on the stand could potentially be charged for perjury-a class H felony in Wisconsin. Depending on the facts, the person could be charged with multiple felony counts based on testimony in the same proceeding. In State v. Canon, 622 NW 2d 270 - Wis: Supreme Court 2001, the defendant was charged with drunk driving. At trial he said he was not driving. The State later prosecuted him for lying about not driving/ perjury. He argued "issue preclusion," since he was already found not guilty by a jury which means they determined he was not driving. The WI Supreme Court said issue preclusion does not bar prosecution for perjury when newly discovered evidence suggests that the defendant falsely testified on the issue. Certain requirements have to be shown by the state and this is a complicated issue. It would definitely help to obtain a lawyer regarding this issue.

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