In light of new evidence that has surfaced in the Casey Anthony case, many In Session and HLN Facebook and Twitter followers have asked whether Anthony could be retried for the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony.
Someone in George and Cindy Anthony’s home did an internet search for “fool proof”” suffocation on the day Caylee died and it wasn't caught by investigators, according to HLN affiliate WKMG, which cited the Orange County (Florida) sheriff's office.
This evidence was not brought up at Anthony’s trial, and one of the prosecutors says it could have made a difference.
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton told WKMG, "It's just a shame we didn't have it. This certainly would have put the accidental death claim in serious question.”
So why can’t Casey Anthony be retried with this new evidence?
The short answer is this: The double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment prevents the government from prosecuting someone for the same crime more than once. But here’s where it gets complicated: The double jeopardy clause applies to the states and the federal government separately. So, the state of Florida cannot try Anthony for the death of her daughter again. However, the federal government could bring charges if certain criteria are met.
What are the chances the federal government tries Casey Anthony for Caylee’s murder?
In Session’s legal experts say the chances are very slim, because there seems to be no other federal law issue involved in Anthony’s case.
Murders that happen within the 50 states fall under state jurisdiction. Therefore, for the federal government to pursue a murder case that happened within the borders of the United States, there must be an additional violation of federal law within the case. For example, the Department of Justice may pursue a murder case against the same defendant if the case also involves a civil rights violation such as the case with the Los Angeles police officers who were charged with assaulting Rodney King.
The reason for this harkens back to the issue of federalism enshrined in the 10th Amendment. Federalism dictates that some powers are reserved to the states. The core of the states’ rights under the Constitution is the state’s police power, which allows each state to enforce laws promoting the betterment of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of people who live there.
Murders of Americans in foreign countries, the District of Columbia, territories, commonwealths like Puerto Rico, and military cases fall under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the federal government.