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United States v. Ford, No. 11-5193

Decided: January 4, 2013

A jury found Harold Ford guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Based on a post-trial change in law effected by United States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237 (4th Cir. 2011), the court of appeals reversed and remanded the case. On remand, Ford was convicted again. He appealed that conviction on double jeopardy grounds. The court found no error and affirmed the conviction.

The Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits the retrying of a defendant whose conviction is reversed on appeal solely for lack of sufficient evidence to sustain the jury verdict, but does not prohibit retrying a defendant whose first conviction was set aside because of an error in the proceedings leading to the conviction. In line with precedent in this and other circuits, the court noted that where a reviewing court determines that the evidence presented at trial is rendered insufficient only by a post-trial change in law, it is analogous to one for procedural error and thus does not bar retrial.

As such, the court found no error in the retrial of Ford and affirmed the conviction.

Full Opinion

– Kassandra Moore