Double jeopardy

Photo of author


Double jeopardy is an American legal term that is sometimes applied to other situations. We will examine the meaning of the term double jeopardy, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Double jeopardy is a situation in which a defendent is tried for the same crime, twice. It is illegal in the United States. The term double jeopardy is based on the guarantee in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…” Once a person has been convicted or acquitted, even if new evidence comes to light, a defendent may not be retried for the same charge on the same evidence. If new evidence exonerates someone who has been convicted, the conviction may be reversed. Double jeopardy may also be used to mean a liability coming from two separate sources at the same time.


Arthur Schirmer, convicted and sentenced in 2013, petitioned the court, alleging ineffective assistance at trial, prosecutorial misconduct, double jeopardy, and that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. (The Pocono Record)

Convicted murderer James Clay Waller II faces “double jeopardy” if he is tried on a federal charge stemming from the state case, his lawyer said in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau. (The Southeast Missourian)

A new study sheds light on the depth of health care disparities faced by minority populations in the United States. The findings suggest a possible “double jeopardy” for black and Hispanic patients: Not only has it been shown that members of minority groups receive less high-quality, effective care than their peers, they may also be at risk of receiving more low-value, ineffective care. (Yale News)