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State of Louisiana v. Langley

Location: Louisiana
Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Last Update: November 10, 2006

Summary

The Capital Punishment Project filed an amicus brief with the Louisiana Supreme Court in State v. Langley challenging the state appellate court’s radical construction of the double jeopardy clause. Under the state court’s interpretation, a capital defendant acquitted of first-degree murder could be retried for first-degree, capital murder after he successfully appeals his conviction for the lesser offense, second-degree murder. This interpretation is contrary to over one hundred years of Louisiana and United States constitution double jeopardy jurisprudence. The ACLU amicus brief challenges the state appellate court’s radical construction of the double jeopardy clause. It argued that the court’s interpretation was contrary to over one-hundred years of Louisiana and United States constitution double jeopardy jurisprudence.

The Louisiana Supreme Court agreed, finding that “there is no basis whatsoever” for failing to apply the “longstanding” double jeopardy principles and ruling that the State could only proceed with the prosecution of the lesser offense.

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