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Arizona v. Washington

United States Supreme Court
434 U.S. 497 (1978)


Facts

In 1971 the defendant was found guilty of murdering a hotel night clerk, and in 1973 the superior court ordered a new trial because the prosecutor had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. During the second trial, in 1975, the defense, alluding to the prosecution’s examination of witnesses during voir dire, during which the prosecution said that some of the witnesses to be heard had testified four years earlier, stated that “there was evidence hidden from [the defendant] at the last trial.” The prosecution moved for a mistrial because it thought that the jury would be prejudiced by these comments, and a fair verdict had become impossible. No cautionary instruction given to the jury could guarantee a fair result, the prosecution reasoned. The judge granted the motion but did not find that there was “manifest necessity” for a mistrial. Nor did he expressly state that had found alternative solutions to be inadequate. In a later habeas corpus proceeding, a district court found that the Double Jeopardy Clause protected the defendant from undergoing a second trial.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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