High court to decide double jeopardy question

October 11, 2011 - 9:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether a jury forewoman's offhand comment that the jury was unable to make a decision on a murder charge means the suspect can't be retried on that charge.

The high court on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal from Alex Blueford, whose murder trial in Arkansas ended in a hung jury.

The jury forewoman told the judge before he declared a mistrial that the jury had voted unanimously against capital murder and first-degree murder.

Blueford argued that her statement means he has been acquitted of capital murder and first-degree murder — because she said it in open court.

He argued that he could not be retried because of Fifth Amendment double jeopardy protections.

Arkansas courts have disagreed.

The case is 10-1320, Blueford v. Arkansas.