Wilkinson v. Gingrich, No. 13-56952 [September 3, 2015] Amended Opinion [November 3, 2015]
Wilkinson was charged and convicted of perjury after testifying at his traffic court trial, at which he was acquitted, that was not the driver of a car that was stopped for speeding. The Court found that under Ashe v. Swenson, the “principle of collateral estoppel embodied in the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy . . . precludes relitigation of ultimate issues that were necessarily decided in a prior proceeding between the parties.” Because the traffic court found that he was not the driver of the speeding car, double jeopardy precluded the bringing of the perjury prosecution. The state court’s decision was not “fairminded disagreement” on an open question, but rather represented a fundamental misunderstanding of the Double Jeopardy Clause and the Supreme Court decisions that explain its purpose and operation.
Amended opinion filed and rehearing en banc denied November 3, 2015.