Thursday, March 31, 2011

Featured case - COA March opinion on Double Jeopardy

Timothy Quinn Beeler v. Commonwealth
Rendered 03/04/2011, To Be Published
Opinion by J. Combs, Concurring Opinion by Clayton in which J. Wine concurs. 
Roy A. Durham II, DPA counsel for Appellant
Perry T. Ryan counsel, Assistant Attorney General for Appellee

Prosecutions for violations of the same statutory provisions in separate jurisdictions violated Double Jeopardy.  Both Hardin and Hart Counties indicted Beeler under the same statutes, KRS 218A.1432 and 502.020.  Although Beeler pled to a lesser offense in Hart County (attempt to manufacture methamphetamine), that plea did not bar him from asserting a double jeopardy violation.  The two prosecutions arose from the identical bundle of facts.  Although the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Hardin County claimed that the traffic stop in Elizabethtown and the search of the residence in Hart County were different occurrences, both cases relied on evidence seized in both locations and neither case could be prosecuted adequately without evidence from the other case.   Because both convictions arose from the same transaction and were not two distinct statutory provisions, Jeopardy had attached to the second conviction in Hardin County and therefore, that conviction must be vacated. 

Full opinion is available here

Contributed by Susan Balliet