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8th Circuit decides N.D. case Monday, February 26, 2024

In the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the defendant, Donavan Jay White Owl, appealed an order of the district court denying his motion to dismiss an indictment based on the Double Jeopardy Clause. White Owl had been indicted for felony murder and arson within Indian Country. A mistrial was declared during the initial trial after a dispute over White Owl’s access to information about a prosecution witness. White Owl argued that a new trial would violate his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution.

The Appeals Court, however, ruled that White Owl had impliedly consented to the mistrial. The court noted that while the defendant did not expressly request a mistrial, his actions and responses during the proceedings indicated his implicit agreement. Specifically, when the district court declared its intention to declare a mistrial and asked the parties for their views, White Owl did not object but instead emphasized the need for more time to prepare for cross-examination of a prosecution witness.

In light of this, the court concluded that White Owl's lack of objection amounted to implied consent to a mistrial. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order denying White Owl's motion to dismiss the indictment based on the Double Jeopardy Clause.