Casual students of California law will find it surprising to find that, normally, when an individual is accused of a crime and then cleared of all charges, that person has very little chance of being arrested for the same crime twice. Yet, this is exactly what has happened to a 25-year-old San Jose woman (name withheld to protect the anonymity of the accused) . 3 years ago, she was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon (CA Penal Code 245) in May 2011 in conjunction with a fight that occurred outside of a nightclub (Temple) in San Francisco. The victim of assault, which occurred that January, was a UCSF medical student.
Local law enforcement officials believed at the time that she had assisted 36-year-old Richmond man (name withheld to protect the anonymity of the accused) in the attack and subsequent death by assaulting a bystander who attempted to stop the brawl. Why was she cleared of all charges? Because the bystander moved to a new home outside of the county in which the crime occurred, creating a strange technicality. However, police now believe that they have new evidence against her, evidence that they are convinced will help to convict her these 3 years later.
The salient legal question here is: when it is possible to be arrested for the same crime twice? Doesn’t the Fifth Amendment to the United State Constitution prevent this kind of thing? The answer is surprising, a person can be arrested for the same crime more than once if new evidence is discovered; alternatively, a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice once they have been exonerated. Accordingly, you could be arrested for a particular crime, pay for bail and other related costs only to find yourself in the same position again when new evidence appears. One solution to this is a practice that is becoming more current among attorneys, that of asking for judges to continue bonds for all clients so that their bond remains good no matter how many times a person is arrested.
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