Appellate court dismisses homicide case

March 4, 2010

Bars re-trial of homicide case based double jeopardy

On March 4, 2010, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, dismissed the remaining counts of an indictment against a Linden man in connection with a bar fight turned deadly.

A two-judge panel on Wednesday ruled that retrying Scott Munroe on the manslaughter charge and an assault with a deadly weapon count would re-litigate a matter already decided. Munroe had previously been acquitted of related weapons possession charges.

Munroe was represented at trial and on appeal by Hackensack attorney Kevin G. Roe.

“You have to possess in order to use,” said his attorney, Kevin G. Roe. “In order to be convicted of manslaughter, you have, of necessity, to have the weapon.”

The court’s ruling was based on a legal theory known as collateral estoppel, which like double jeopardy, precludes the re-litigation of issues which had previously been decided. Because the jury had acquitted Munroe of weapons possession, a re-trial of the manslaughter charge would have violated the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, the court found.

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