Alito in dissent: “The Court’s decision makes no sense.”

February 20th, 2013

Ouch, from Evans v. Michigan.

The Court holds that the Double Jeopardy Clause bars petitioner’s retrial for arson because his attorney managed to convince a judge to terminate petitioner’s first trial prior to verdict on the specious ground that the offense with which he was charged contains an imaginary “element” that the prosecution could not prove. The Court’s decision makes no sense. It is not consistent with the original meaning of the Double Jeopardy Clause; it does not serve the purposes of the prohibition against double jeopardy; and contrary to the Court’s reasoning, the trial judge’s ruling was not an “acquittal,” which our cases have “consistently” defined as a decision that “ ‘actually represents a resolution, correct or not, of some or all of the factual elements of the offense charged.’” E.g., Smith v. Massachusetts, 543 U. S. 462, 468 (2005) (quoting United States v. Martin Linen Supply Co., 430 U. S. 564, 571 (1977); emphasis added). For no good reason, the Court deprives the State of Michigan of its right to have one fair opportunity to convict petitioner, and I therefore respectfully dissent.

Spoke like a former U.S. Attorney.

Though, 8 justices joined the majority, so it must’ve made some sense.