Case Summary: McElrath v. Georgia (SCOTUS)

This post summarizes McElrath v. Georgia from the Supreme Court of the United States, decided on February 21, 2024. This summary will be added to Smith’s Criminal Case Compendium, a free and searchable database of case summaries from 2008 to the present.

Verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity is Acquittal for Purposes of Double Jeopardy Clause.

McElrath v. Georgia, 601 U. S. ____ (2024). In this case concerning the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause, Damian McElrath petitioned for relief after the Supreme Court of Georgia held its state’s repugnancy doctrine allowed the retrial of McElrath for malice murder after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, but found McElrath guilty of related charges. In an opinion authored by Justice Jackson, the Court unanimously rejected Georgia’s interpretation and held that McElrath could not be tried for malice murder a second time because the jury’s verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity represented an acquittal.

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