Monday, July 14, 2008
Petition for certiorari in U.S. v. Joseph Hirko raises important double jeopardy and criminal collateral estoppel issues
This is a copy of the petition for certiorari in U.S. v. Joseph Hirko, which raises important double jeopardy and criminal collateral estoppel issues. The petition asks the Court to review a 5th Circuit decision holding that after a mixed verdict of acquittals and hung counts (no guilty verdicts) after trial on a multi-count indictment, the existence of the hung counts creates the specter of jury irrationality and precludes the application of collateral estoppel principles to issues necessarily decided in the acquittals. These questions lie at the intersection of Ashe v. Swenson and U.S. v. Powell, have split the circuits deeply, and have not been meaningfully addressed by the Court in decades. One of petitioner's counsel is Mark Stancil, who also runs the Supreme Court clinic at Virginia. (That clinic has no involvement in this petition.)
There is an amicus effort supporting certiorari underway. The brief -- due August 6 -- is being drafted by pro bono counsel. We are seeking academic signatories. If you are interested in principle in joining a brief, please let Elizabeth Zilberberg know at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. She will forward get your name placed on a list of tentatively interested signatories. As soon as a draft of the brief is ready to share we will get it to you.