Washington Law Review


The Supreme Court of the United States, in Green v. United States, was for the first time squarely presented with a much-debated and much-litigated question involving former jeopardy. Defendant Green was indicted on two counts, the first alleging arson and the second, the death of a woman resulting from that arson. If the defendant were guilty of arson and the arson caused the death of the woman, it would clearly amount to murder in the first degree under the felony-murder doctrine, as provided in Washington, D.C., Code 22-2401. The trial court, mistakenly believing that second degree murder was a lesser-included offense, as is the usual case, instructed the jury that they might find the defendant guilty of either first or second degree murder. The jury found the defendant guilty of arson and second degree murder. On appeal, the defendant challenged only the conviction of second degree murder. This verdict was reversed upon the grounds of insufficient evidence

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