The US Supreme Court today took up a double jeopardy case, Evans v. Michigan, No. 11-1327, for argument and decision next term. This case arises on direct appeal, so there are no AEDPA issues. The Michigan Supreme Court opinion is here. The first paragraph is:
This case presents the question whether the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the state and federal constitutions bar defendant's retrial. Defendant was accused of burning a vacant house and charged on that basis with burning other real property in violation of MCL 750.73. There is no dispute that the trial court wrongly added an extraneous element to the statute under which defendant was charged. Specifically, the trial court ruled that the prosecution was required to present proof that the burned house was not a dwelling, which is not a required element of MCL 750.73. As a result of the trial court's erroneous addition of this extraneous element to the charged offense, it granted defendant's motion for a directed verdict and entered an order of acquittal, dismissing the case. We hold that when a trial court grants a defendant's motion for a directed verdict on the basis of an error of law that did not resolve any factual element of the charged offense, the trial court's ruling does not constitute an acquittal for the purposes of double jeopardy and retrial is therefore not barred. Accordingly, because the trial court's actions did not constitute an acquittal for the purposes of double jeopardy, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
The Question Presented in the US Supreme Court is:
Does the Double Jeopardy Clause bar retrial after the trial judge erroneously holds a particular fact to be an element of the offense and then grants a midtrial directed verdict of acquittal because the prosecution failed to prove that fact?