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double jeopardy

n. placing someone on trial a second time for an offense for which he/she has been previously acquitted, even when new incriminating evidence has been unearthed. This is specifically prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: "…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence [sic] to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…" However, in rare instances a person may be tried for a different crime based on some of the same facts which were used to try him/her when he/she was acquitted. A prime example is the use of the Federal Civil Rights Act to charge a person with violation of another's civil rights by killing him, after a state murder case had resulted in an acquittal, as happened in the 1994 trials for the deaths of civil rights activists and freedom riders Andrew Goldman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Viola Liuzzo, that occurred thirty years earlier.


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