What is a Retrial?

According to news sources, a jury convicted an Arizona woman of murdering her boyfriend in 2008; today, she faces a retrial to determine the punishment for the alleged crime. Another publicized case involving a Florida man who allegedly shot an unarmed teen is scheduled for retrial later this year.

What is a retrial and who is entitled to one? Simply put, a retrial is a subsequent (second or third) trial for a given case.

A judge will only allow a retrial if he / she discovers some form of mistrial that nullifies the current legal process. For example, the Arizona woman's case will be retried for sentencing because the original jury could not agree on a fair punishment. Other factors, such as juror misconduct and appeals, can lead to a retrial as well.

Who is entitled to retrial?

A defendant cannot demand a retrial without a good reason. Without a hung jury, the Arizona woman's case would not go to trial again. Since the jury already voted that she was guilty, the retrial will only deal with her sentencing.

Other reasons for a retrial are:

  • Jury cannot agree on verdict
  • Court of Appeal orders a retrial
  • Tainted acquittal

Retrial vs. Double Jeopardy

In the United States, a defendant cannot face charges twice for the same offense. This is called "double jeopardy." After a legitimate conviction or acquittal, the defendant cannot be retried for the same offense. On the other hand, new evidence could point to an unfair conviction or acquittal. In these cases, the case could go to retrial without compromising the law of double jeopardy.

Do you need a criminal defense lawyer?

At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys are ready to serve clients throughout the Southern California region, including Ventura and Los Angeles County. If you or a loved one was arrested for a crime, speak with a member of our team today. For a free consultation, please contact us at (800) 462-7160.