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Commonwealth v. Gilliam

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

March 7, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, APPELLANT
v.
LISA GILLIAM, APPELLEE

Modified April 4, 2014.

APPEAL FROM LAUREL CIRCUIT COURT. HONORABLE ROBERT W. MCGINNIS, SPECIAL JUDGE. ACTION NO. 11-CR-00137.

BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT: Jack Conway, Attorney General of Kentucky, Frankfort, Kentucky; Jackie Steele, Harold F. Dyche II, Special Assistant Attorneys General, Frankfort, Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Scott T. Foster, Robert E. Norfleet, Somerset, Kentucky.

BEFORE: STUMBO, TAYLOR, AND THOMPSON, JUDGES. ALL CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 919

OPINION AND ORDER

TAYLOR, JUDGE

The Commonwealth of Kentucky brings this appeal from an October 26, 2012, judgment of acquittal of the Laurel Circuit Court rendered pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure (RCr) 10.24. We dismiss.

Lisa Gilliam was indicted by a Laurel County Grand Jury upon one count of murder following the shooting death of her husband. A jury trial ensued, and at the close of the Commonwealth's case and at the close of the defense's case, Gilliam moved for directed verdicts of acquittal. Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure 50.01. Both motions were denied. The matter was submitted to the jury, but the jury announced it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The circuit court then charged the jury to continue its deliberations. The jury again deliberated; however, the jury was still unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The court then declared a mistrial and discharged the jury. Thereupon, Gilliam filed a motion for judgment of acquittal under RCr 10.24. The court ultimately granted the motion and rendered a Judgment of Acquittal on October 26, 2012.

The Commonwealth filed this appeal from the October 26, 2012, judgment of acquittal seeking reversal and arguing that the circuit court erroneously rendered such judgment.[1] Gilliam filed a motion to

Page 920

dismiss the appeal as violative of double jeopardy. For the reasons hereinafter set forth, we agree that this appeal should be dismissed.

The constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system and is guaranteed by both the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and by Section 13 of the Kentucky Constitution. This double jeopardy prohibition is founded upon the basic tenant that a " defendant should not be twice tried or punished for the same offense." 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law § 265 (2014). The constitutional guaranty against double jeopardy protects a defendant acquitted of a criminal offense from further prosecution upon the same offense.[2] The United States Supreme Court observed that " the most fundamental rule in the history of double jeopardy jurisprudence [is] . . . that [a] verdict of acquittal . . . could not revived, on error or otherwise . . . ." United States v. Martin Linen Supply Co., 430 U.S. ...


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