The Mistrial and Double Jeopardy

The mistrial is a concept that has evolved dramatically during the last year within the state of Michigan. With the addition of Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 6.417, we find a new theory of law that is ripe to present appellate issues for the foreseeable future.

According to MCR 6.417, we find that “Before ordering a mistrial, the court must, on the record, give each defendant and the prosecutor an opportunity to comment on the propriety of the order, to state whether that party consents, and to suggest alternatives.”

Scott Grabel is the owner and operator of Grabel and Associates and has built a firm that is arguably the strongest in the state of Michigan. When asked about the new court rule, Grabel was quoted as saying, “The new rule is really based on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 26.3) and came to light in consideration in the case of “People v. Howard” (docket 153651). We learned that many judges did not follow procedure when ordering a mistrial and with this new court rule, the concept of Double Jeopardy can easily be compromised if the sitting judge is not up to date on the new order.”

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has become a renowned researcher in the field of criminal law. When asked about the new court rule, McManus stated, “We see an entirely new view on the concept of double jeopardy. On the bar exam and in criminal procedure classrooms across the country, we see that the mistrial is a known exception to the legal theory of double jeopardy but now, we actually find an exception to an exception. What we find is that if a judge does not follow procedure and reluctantly grants a mistrial with the hopes of trying a defendant again, that jurist can engage in an array of constitutional violations if they misinterpret the new procedure.”

Trovious Starr is a top criminal defense lawyer in Ann Arbor, Michigan and he added, “Whenever there is new court rules the opportunity for confusion arises and the reality is that confusion generally leads to a misinterpretation of one’s constitutional rights. With that being stated, we see a scenario where the new court rule can impact the field of criminal defense work as we know it.”

Robyn Kennedy runs the “The Kennedy Law Office” with her husband Gary Kennedy in Macomb County and the couple are rising stars in the criminal sector. When asked about the new court rule, Kennedy stated, “This is an issue that has arisen in Macomb County on a frequent basis. The issue presents an array of constitutional issues that criminal litigators need to be aware of to properly defend their client-base.”

A global look at the new court rule presents a loophole in the preservation of the constitutional rights of defendants’ that are fighting for their freedom. While many judges may not have an understanding of the new court rule, the possibility of preserving one’s rights coupled with a strong appellate issue can open a new direction towards the avenue of freedom.

William Amadeo is a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates and a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to his legal duties, Amadeo is a widely published journalist and the owner of BAT Tutoring. Amadeo can be reached at

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