Commonwealth v. Jordan

A criminal defense attorney’s worst nightmare occurred, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed. The defendant was charged with a gunpoint robbery. He proceeded to a jury trial. But as is standard practice, he severed the gun charge because the Commonwealth must prove the defendant who possessed a gun and has been convicted of a prior criminal offense. The jury acquitted him. But the judge then found him guilty of the firearms offense. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a defendant who elects to proceed with a simultaneous jury and bench trial during a single prosecution is subjected to only one trial. Therefore, double jeopardy and collateral estoppel do not apply to preclude the guilty verdict rendered by the judge.

Jordan