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N Carolina high court: DA can’t repeat dropped murder charge

August 16, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court says protections that block prosecutors from repeatedly pursuing criminal charges against someone for the same crime still apply in some cases when prosecutors want to reinstate dropped charges after police find new evidence.

The state Supreme Court on Friday ruled Wake County prosecutors couldn’t make a second try at putting James H. Courtney III in prison for a 2009 murder because they dropped charges after an earlier trial ended with an inconclusive jury.

The jury in a second trial in 2016 convicted Courtney of shooting another man in what prosecutors contended was a disputed drug deal.

The high court said that extra trial was prohibited because prosecutors dropped charges after the earlier mistrial and can’t do it again. Friday’s ruling vacates Courtney’s conviction.

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