Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, October 21, 2011

Delgado: Double Jeopardy Inapplicable When Conviction Overturned on Legal Grounds

In Delgado v. Florida Dep’t of Corrections, No. 10-13490 (Oct. 13, 2011), the Court denied habeas relief to a Florida death row inmate convicted of two 1990 murders.

Delgado argued that Double Jeopardy should have precluded his re-prosecution for murder after his initial conviction for murder was overturned on appeal. The Court noted, however, that Double Jeopardy does not bar re-prosecution after a successful appeal unless the conviction was overturned because of the insufficiency of the evidence, i.e. the equivalent of a jury’s acquittal. In Delgado’s case the conviction was overturned not because of insufficient facts, but on the ground that it was obtained under a legally inadequate theory, that is, a theory of felony murder that did not require a showing that the predicate burglary involved surreptitious entry into a dwelling. Double Jeopardy, therefore, did not bar re-prosecution, and Delgado could not obtain habeas relief from his conviction or death sentence.