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Danger; hazard; peril. In a criminal action, the danger of conviction and punishment confronting the defendant.

A person is in jeopardy when he or she is placed on trial before a court of competent jurisdiction upon an indictment or information sufficient in form and substance to uphold a conviction, and a jury is charged or sworn. Jeopardy attaches after a valid indictment is found and a petit jury is sworn to try the case.


Double Jeopardy.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. peril, particularly danger of being charged with or convicted of a particular crime. The U. S. Constitution guarantees in the Fifth Amendment that no one can "be put in jeopardy of life or limb" for the same offense. Thus, once a person as been acquitted, he/she may not be charged again for that crime. However, if there was mistrial, hung jury, or reversal of conviction on appeal (if not declared innocent in the ruling), the defendant may be charged with the crime again and tried again. In a few situations a defendant is not "in jeopardy" of being tried for a violation of a similar (but different) federal criminal (penal) statute based on some of the same circumstances as a state prosecution, such as violation of a murder victim's civil rights, as was done in the case against the killer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. (See: double jeopardy)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

JEOPARDY. Peril, danger. 2. This is the meaning attached to this word used in the act establishing and regulating the post office department. The words of the act are, "or if, in effecting such robbery of the mail the first time, the offender shall wound the person having the custody thereof, or put his life in jeopardy by the use of dangerous weapons, such offender shall suffer death." 3 Story's L. U. S. 1992. Vide Baldw. R. 93-95.
     3. The constitution declares that no person shall "for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb." The meaning of this is, that the party shall, not be tried a second time for the same offence after he has once been convicted or acquitted of the offence charged, by the verdict of a jury, and judgment has passed thereon for or against him; but it does not mean that he shall not be tried for the offence, if the jury have been discharged from necessity or by consent, without giving any verdict; or, if having given a verdict, judgment has been arrested upon it, or a new trial has been granted in his favor; for, in such a case, his life and limb cannot judicially be said to have been put in jeopardy. 4 Wash. C. C. R. 410; 9 Wheat. R. 579; 6 Serg. & Rawle, 577; 3. Rawle, R. 498; 3 Story on the Const. Sec. 1781. Vide 2 Sumn. R. 19. This great privilege is secured by the common law. Hawk. P. C., B. 2, 35; 4 Bl. Com. 335.
     4. This was the Roman law, from which it has been probably engrafted upon the common law. Vide Merl. Rep. art. Non bis in idem. Qui de crimine publico accusationem deductus est, says the Code, 9, 2, 9, ab alio super eodem crimine deferri non potest. Vide article Non bis in idem.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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The final "Jeopardy!" answer today (for those playing along at home) is: Yes.
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