Commonwealth v. Banks

In Commonwealth v. Banks, the defendant appealed his convictions of DUI, VUFA, and related charges. On appeal, he claimed: 1. the evidence was insufficient to convict him of DUI, and 2. the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the VUFA charges on the grounds of double jeopardy and collateral estoppel in that a previous jury determined that he had not possessed a firearm. The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the evidence of DUI was sufficient. The Court ruled that it is now the law under both the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions that a criminal defendant’s voluntary severance of charges results in a blanket inability to successfully invoke double jeopardy to bar the subsequent trial if he is acquitted in the first. Alternatively, the Court held that the issues were not sufficiently similar for collateral estoppel to apply.

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