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.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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