High court hears case of judge’s mistake
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears inclined to rule that a criminal defendant cannot be tried again after a judge acquits him midway through a trial, even if the judge bases his decision on a legal error.
The justices seemed willing during argument at the high court Tuesday to endorse the idea that a judge’s decision to acquit a defendant is no different than a jury verdict in that both are final.
The issue arises in the case of a Michigan man accused of setting fire to a vacant house. The judge stopped the jury trial and acquitted defendant Lamar Evans based on a mistaken reading of the law under which Evans was charged.
Michigan appellate courts said Evans could be retried.
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