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Ashe v. Swenson

United States Supreme Court
397 U.S. 436, 90 S.Ct. 1189, 25 L.Ed.2d 469 (1970)



Bob Ashe (defendant) was charged under state law with six separate offenses for robbing six men during a poker game. At his trial for robbing one of the men, Knight, the jury found Ashe not guilty due to insufficient evidence. However, there was no dispute that a robbery had occurred and that Knight was a victim of the robbery. Six weeks later, Ashe was on trial again for the robbery of another poker player. Citing his prior acquittal, Ashe filed a motion to dismiss. The motion was overruled. At the second trial, the prosecution was able to adjust its case based on the weaknesses that emerged in the first trial. For example, the state’s witnesses were more certain of their eyewitness identifications, testifying to the sound of Ashe’s voice and his mannerisms. Also, one witness who had failed to give a convincing identification was not called to testify. Ashe was convicted by a jury, and the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. Ashe filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court, asserting that his second trial violated the Double Jeopardy Clause. The district court denied Ashe's petition, and the appellate court affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

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