January 6, 2015 – Professor Eugene Volokh’s blog, The Volokh Consipracy, was cited in a Los Angeles Times
article about the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., deciding against trying to prosecute John W. Hinckley Jr. in the death of former White House press secretary James Brady.
Last summer, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh explained why a prosecution probably would be forbidden.
Volokh argued that at the time of Hinckley’s trial (and maybe to this day, though that is contested), courts in D.C. were governed by the “year-and-a-day rule.” That common-law rule prohibits a murder prosecution if the victim dies more than a year and a day after being injured or assaulted.
But even if that rule didn’t apply, Volokh said, a prosecution of Hinckley for Brady’s death would be blocked by another rule known as “collateral estoppel,” which says that “when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit.” Based on that rule, Volokh wrote, “the jury’s conclusion that Hinckley was insane is now binding on the government, and thus precludes a retrial for murder.”
Read the article.