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New York Supreme Court Decides if Double Jeopardy is Present in Murder Case

M was tried for intentional murder, felony murder, robbery in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The robbery charge was dismissed due to lack of evidence. The other counts were then presented to the jury along with an attempted robbery charge, which defense did not object to. A jury found Mr. M not guilt of intentional murder but could not reach a verdict on the other counts. A retrial was held and Mr. M was charged only with felony murder and weapon possession. Mr. M’s defense attorney moved to dismiss the indictment on the claim that double jeopardy had already been attached. This motion was denied and the indictment was amended to include a charge of felony murder with the underlying felony being robbery or attempted robbery. The indictment did not include separate counts for either robbery or attempted robbery. Mr. M was subsequently convicted of both felony murder and the weapons charge. His attorney appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department.

The appellate court was charged with determining whether double jeopardy had in fact attached, which would have rendered the second trial for felony murder moot. The court held that the trial judge’s decision to drop the first degree robbery charge did effectively bar further prosecution for that count of the indictment. However, the court also stated that double jeopardy did not apply to the felony murder count since Mr. M was never charged separately with robbery or attempted robbery. Mr. M also challenged the addition of attempted robbery to the indictment as the underlying felony for the murder count. The court did not support this claim and accordingly, opted to uphold his original conviction on murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

While Mr. M’s appeal was unsuccessful, his defense attorney acted ethically in defending his rights.

If you’ve been charged with murder, robbery or another serious crime, such as burglary, you too need the aid of an experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney. The law firm of Stephen Bilkis and Associates is available to help individuals who are facing robbery, theft or other serious charges to protect their rights. Call 1-800-NY-NY-LAW to speak with one of our criminal defense experts or visit one of our New York area offices to discuss your case in person. Don’t let a criminal conviction ruin your life. Contact us today to get the legal representation you need to fight a robbery or attempted robbery char

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