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Double jeopardy concepts do not bar second trials in all instances. When determining whether to declare a mistrial, the trial judge must determine whether there is a "manifest necessity" for such an action. The determination of such manifest necessity is within the discretion of the trial judge and, provided the judge has followed the proper procedures, an appellate court will not disturb that determination.
Matthew Troila was found guilty of murder. He was tried twice before for the same murder, and both earlier trials ended in mistrials. He appealed his conviction and argued that (1) his trial was barred because it constituted impermissible double jeopardy, (2) the judge improperly excluded evidence which tended to show that someone else committed the crime, and (3) the judge improperly instructed the jury.
Did the determination by the trial court in the first trial that the jury was unable to come to an agreement bar retrial on the same indictment?
The court found that the determination by the trial court in the first trial that the jury was unable to come to an agreement did not bar retrial on the same indictment. The court also found that the record of the second mistrial revealed that the trial court gave counsel an opportunity to be heard and explored alternatives to a mistrial. The court held that the third trial was not barred by reason of double jeopardy. Defendant also contended that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that, if they found that he had committed the crime in the heat of passion, they could find him guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. The court found that the only evidence of provocation was defendant's alleged statement that the victim "made a pass" at him and held that no jury could have found, on the basis of that evidence, that reasonable provocation existed.