Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Supreme Court holds that a defendant tried in an improper venue may be retried if the conviction is overturned on that ground.

In Smith v. United States, decided June 15, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that if a defendant is successful in showing that their trial was held in an improper venue, the government is nonetheless permitted to retry them in the proper venue.

The Court reasoned that nothing in the language or history of either the venue clause of Art. I, section 2, clause 3 or the vicinage clause of the Sixth Amendment bars a retrial.  The Court further ruled that double jeopardy is not implicated because reversal on venue grounds is unrelated to factual guilt or innocence and does not resolve the “bottom-line question of criminal culpability.”

The decision unanimously affirmed the Eleventh Circuit in an opinion by Justice Alito.

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