Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

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Latest post 05-04-2012 2:14 PM by lawbuff. 14 replies.
  • 02-14-2012 2:36 PM

    • neonpigs
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    Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    In Pennsylvania can anybody be charged for same offense in 2 different county courts ?

    1) Where the crime (theft) occured and

    2) Where the defendent was apprehended based on the request from police in jurisdiction where the crime occured.

    My son now age 32 was charged for felony for "unlawful use and taking of laptop from college dorm room" in Spring 2002. Son had pre-existing condition of Schizoaffective bipolar and he spent over 6 months in psychiatric facilites until his hearing and plea bargain and sentensing for fines, restiution and 3 years probation. His attorney simply pocketted the money and did not use my son's mental illness history of hospitalization to keep the felony out of his record.

    My son was charged, tried and punished for the same offense in 2 different courts. Is this LEGAL in Pennsylvania. One where the incident occured and one where he was caught?

    Now after 9 years he has recovered from mental condition but the felony record does not allow him to work.

    What recourse do we have to overturn the felony charge on the basis of mistrial because he was already charged in other court and his case was disposed or settled and then the second court's verdict was different charging him with felony for same offense?

  • 02-14-2012 2:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    neonpigs:

     Son had pre-existing condition of Schizoaffective bipolar and he spent over 6 months in psychiatric facilites until his hearing and plea bargain and sentensing for fines, restiution and 3 years probation. His attorney simply pocketted the money and did not use my son's mental illness history of hospitalization to keep the felony out of his record.



    Now after 9 years he has recovered from mental condition but the felony record does not allow him to work.

    I doubt that his having a pre-existing mental illness would keep his felony off of his record.  I've never heard of that one.  Mentally ill people who commit crimes are charged and prosecuted the same as people who are not.  In my humble opinion, most criminals have some sort of mental illness.

    SOOOOO happy for you and him that he has recovered from his condition!!!  I hope he gets the rest to go his way as well.  Sounds like he has done a lot of work to get his life turned around.

  • 02-14-2012 2:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    neonpigs:
    His attorney simply pocketted the money and did not use my son's mental illness history of hospitalization to keep the felony out of his record.

     

    Truffles is right; that is not a defense unless he was so disturbed he didn't know right from wrong.  That is the legal standard.

    You could check into any possibility of sealing or expunging his record.  Call around to local lawyers.

  • 02-14-2012 3:12 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    Makes no sense ---a single first time event is not quite so likley to show up as a felony --must not have been his first adventure....?  Something is missing in your post?

    For example some young thug went on a crime spree in Phila robbing a mess of dorm rooms etc--thug's room was piled high in loot--he was caught in act of yet another robbery --all reduced to nothingness via ARD process and thug has no criminal record nothwithstanding a guilty plea --why--because he had a good attorney!



  • 02-14-2012 3:55 PM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    Drew,

            All I can say is where this happened was a smaller community and NOT Philadelphia where judges have lot bigger cases to handle. So my son picked a wrong place.

  • 02-14-2012 4:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    I seriously doubt that your son got convicted twice for the same crime.

    I'm guessing that you either didn't get the full story or you just don't understand what happened.

    Have you actually looked up his case file or files at the courthouse records office?

    If you haven't I suggest you do so. Might tell a proper story.

     

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 02-14-2012 7:14 PM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    Both courts charged him on same day for same offense one withdrew all charges other charged him with felony. What does this really mean?

  • 02-14-2012 7:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    neonpigs:

    Both courts charged him on same day for same offense one withdrew all charges other charged him with felony. What does this really mean?

    Both courts charged him but only one TRIED him.  That is a huge difference from being convicted in both courts.  It isn't uncommond for two jurisdictions to charge someone for the same crime initially and then once the state prosecutors discuss the case they decide which is the appropriate one to handle the case.  Then one jurisdiction dismisses and allows the prosecution to proceed in the other court. 

    Just so you are aware:  there is one circumstance where someone could be tried twice and it not be double jeopardy.  The state may try someone on a charge and then the federal government can try the defendant on the same issue.  Double jeopardy does not apply to the same charge in federal and state courts.

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 02-14-2012 7:40 PM In reply to

    • neonpigs
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    He had to appear before the judges in both courts. His never got to the trial on either court because one withdrew charges other offered guilty plea bargain with reducing sentence from jail to probation but did add felony to the record. I don't think there was any communication between 2 courts as far as I know.

  • 02-14-2012 8:36 PM In reply to

    • cbg
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    You wouldn't necessarily be aware of it.

  • 02-14-2012 8:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    neonpigs:
    He had to appear before the judges in both courts.

    Doesn't matter.

    neonpigs:
    His never got to the trial on either court because one withdrew charges other offered guilty plea bargain with reducing sentence from jail to probation but did add felony to the record

    Then he got convicted once. He plea bargained for a lower sentence but not for a lower charge.

    neonpigs:
    I don't think there was any communication between 2 courts as far as I know.

    That wouldn't matter either.

    You're writing as if somebody did something wrong to him. Nobody did.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 02-15-2012 7:12 AM In reply to

    • Kivi
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    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    At some point the authorities in the two counties, most likely the respective District Attorney offices, got together (perhaps over the phone) and made the decision that County B would go forward with its case and County A would not. I do not see where he would need to have been consulted or that the local authorities were required to specificly consult with him on that decision. This may or may not have happened after a court appearance or two before that decision was made and perhaps he did have to appear in court to learn that County A was dismissing its case. For all we know, maybe he thought that if County A was dropping charges, County B would soon do likewise. If he had legal representation in County A, I suspect that his or her attorney or public defender did the job expected.

    County A, however, originally had filed charges, so it had to notify its court that it was dismissing its charges. County B then proceeded with its case, which ultimately ended in him accepting a plea bargain.  I do not see any double jeapordy here. If anything, the counties in question recognized that this issue possibly existed and took steps to resolve it.

    I do know that in retrospect that it looks like if County A had prosecuted and County B had not, he might have only been convicted of a misdemeanor and probably had fewer difficulites with employment, today. But, your son was not the legal position to choose which county was to pursue its case. It also was not something that his attorney likely could have controlled or influenced either.

  • 02-15-2012 7:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Can anybody charged in 2 different courts for same offense?

    As has been pointed out ( more or less)- when the one court discovered they didn't have jurisdiction because the crime occurred in another county- they withdrew the charges ( no conversations or decision which court should hear- a court either has jurisdiction or they don't- jurisdiction is where the crime occurred). So one county withdraws the charges and your son pled guilty in the county where the crime occurred.  As he pled guilty, not sure what you think was "mistrial"- he was only convicted in one county and via a plea agreement.

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