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jeopardy

n. peril, particularly danger of being charged with or convicted of a particular crime. The U.S. Constitution guarantees in the Fifth Amendment that no one can "be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb" for the same offense. Thus, once a person has been acquitted, he/she may not be charged again for that crime. However, if there was a mistrial, hung jury or reversal of conviction on appeal (but the defendant was not declared innocent in the ruling), the defendant may be charged with the crime again and tried again. In a few situations, a defendant is not in double jeopardy when being tried for a violation of a similar (but different) federal criminal (penal) statute based on some of the same circumstances as a state prosecution, such as violation of a murder victim's civil rights, as was done in the case against the killer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

See also: double jeopardy 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications