A man was charged last year with sexual assault after he was accused of molesting a minor girl. Recently, the Maryland man asked the court to dismiss his sexual assault case on grounds of double jeopardy. He is facing 28 counts of sexual abuse on a minor.
Back in 2013, the man was charged with a number of sex-related crimes, including child pornography and third-degree sex offense. The trial was supposed to start in April, but due to the lack of potential jurors, the case could not move forward, and the judge declared a mistrial. Reportedly, 55 jurors were summoned to appear in court, but only 45 were able to make it. Eleven of the potential jurors were stricken due to multiple causes including alleged personal knowledge of unreported child sex abuse.
Other challenges with jurors came to light and there were not enough potential jurors left in the pool to choose from. Jeopardy occurs when a person is put on trial and when jury selection starts. However, the state attorney did not agree with the request to dismiss and stated that double jeopardy does not apply in this case because an official jury had not yet been sworn in.
A sexual assault conviction can lead to years in prison for many defendants. The defendant may want to gain as much knowledge as possible about his legal rights and criminal procedures. In regard to double jeopardy, a defendant cannot be tried for a crime twice. If double jeopardy applies in this case, then it may be dismissed if the judge determines a sufficient amount of evidence exists. Regardless of how this challenge plays out, Maryland defendants who were accused of any crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Source: heraldmailmedia.com, "Williamsport man charged in molestation case claims double jeopardy", Don Aines, July 22, 2014