State v. ToddAnnotate this Case
Defendant was charged with driving under the influence. Prior to trial, the State filed a motion for an order in limine seeking to prohibit Defendant from offering evidence regarding a “choice of evils” defense. Defendant offered a proposed jury instruction stating that the jury must find her not guilty if it found she had acted to avoid a greater harm. The county court sustained the State’s motion in limine and refused Defendant’s proposed instruction. The State ultimately moved for a mistrial due to “the accumulated effect of statements and questions” by defense counsel that the court determined were in violation of its ruling on the motion in limine and which could affect the impartiality of the jurors. The county court sustained the State’s motion and declared a mistrial. The court then denied Defendant’s plea in bar in which Defendant asked that the case be dismissed with prejudice because a retrial would violate constitutional protections against double jeopardy. The district court affirmed the county court’s rulings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining (1) that the county court did not abuse its discretion when it found a manifest necessity to declare a mistrial, and (2) that double jeopardy did not bar a retrial.