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Name: Wilson v. Czerniak
Case #: 02-36121
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/20/2004
Subsequent History: None

Wilson was convicted of kidnap and murder and sentenced to death. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the murder convictions, but affirmed the convictions on kidnap and abuse of a corpse. At his second trial, the jury acquitted on several counts of aggravated murder and intentional murder, but hung on the greater counts of aggravated felony murder, and convicted Wilson on five counts of attempted aggravated murder and attempted murder, charged as lesser offenses. The State Court ruled that Wilson could be retried on the counts on which the jury hung. Wilson petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to bar reprosecution of the aggravated felony murder counts on double jeopardy grounds. Here, the appellate court reversed the denial of the habeas petition. The State Court’s decision permitting retrial unreasonably applied clearly established Supreme Court precedent. Having once been acquitted of the lesser included offense of intentional murder, Wilson could not be retried on the greater charge. In double jeopardy cases, the harm to be avoided is the retrial itself, not just a conviction or sentence resulting from that trial.