Washington Law Review




After being involved in a fatal automobile collision, defendant was charged by information, in a court of limited jurisdiction, with the misdemeanor of reckless driving. Trial by a three judge panel resulted in acquittal. Subsequently, an indictment was returned by county grand jury charging defendant with vehicular homicide, a felony requiring proof of driving in a "reckless or culpably negligent manner, whereby a human being is killed." Defendant contended that the prosecution for vehicular homicide would subject him to double jeopardy. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court granted an order prohibiting the trial, agreeing that it would necessarily be a retrial of the charge of reckless driving. On appeal, although no more than three members of the New York Court of Appeals could agree on a basis of decision, four of the seven judges voted for reversal. Held: Acquittal of the misdemeanor of reckless driving, in a court of limited jurisdiction, will not necessarily bar subsequent prosecution in a court of greater jurisdiction for the felony of vehicular homicide, even though the latter crime requires proof that defendant drove in a "reckless or culpably negligent manner." Martinis v. Supreme Court, 15 N.Y.2d 240, 206 N.E.2d 165, 258 N.Y.S.2d 65 (1965).

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