Bravo-Hernandez v United States

Bravo-Hernandez and his codefendant were convicted of bribery but acquitted of conspiracy and travel associated with bribery. After the bribery conviction was vacated on appeal for jury instruction error, they moved to dismiss based on the issue preclusion component of double jeopardy. The district court denied their motion and the 1st Circuit affirmed. Resolving a split of appellate authority on the issue, the court, with one justice adding a concurrence, affirmed. It held that under Court precedent, inconsistent jury verdicts did not trigger issue preclusion as it was unclear what if anything the jury was saying while counts where there was a hung jury did trigger preclusion as there was no verdict. Applying here, it held that a vacated verdict is in fact a verdict and, as such, the inconsistent verdicts returned here did not trigger issue preclusion and retrial was proper here especially as vacated convictions do not bar retrial as the retrial is part of the same “jeopardy” for constitutional purposes. Justice Thomas added a concurrence arguing there is no issue preclusion component to double jeopardy and precedent in the area should be revisited.