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Supreme Court rules in Massachusetts double-jeopardy case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] issued opinions in two cases Tuesday. In the first, Smith v. Massachusetts, the Court ruled that a trial judge's reversal of a mid-trial ruling to dismiss a firearm charge constituted double jeopardy. Justice Scalia wrote the opinion [text, PDF] in the 5-4 decision, with Justice Ginsburg authoring the dissent. According to the Court, although states may adopt procedures to reconsider mid-trial determinations on the sufficiency of evidence, Massachusetts did not have one at the time, and the judge's ruling violated the Double Jeopardy Clause as a result.

The Court also issued an opinion in Stewart v. Dutra Construction Co., in which it held that a dredge qualifies as a "vessel" under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act [text], for purposes of seeking personal injury compensation under the Jones Act. The unanimous opinion [text, PDF] in the case was authored by Justice Thomas.

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