Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, And Alito, JJ., joined.
The Double Jeopardy Clause protects against being tried twice for the same offense. The Clause does not, however, bar a second trial if the first ended in a mistrial. Before the jury concluded deliberations in this case, it reported that it was unanimous against guilt on charges of capital murder and first-degree murder, was deadlocked on manslaughter, and had not voted on negligent homicide. The court told the jury to continue to deliberate. The jury did so but still could not reach a verdict, and the court declared a mistrial. All agree that the defendant may be retried on charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide. The question is whether he may also be retried on charges of capital and first-degree murder.
…Here, according to Blueford, the foreperson’s announcement of the jury’s unanimous votes on capital and first degree murder represented just that: a resolution of some or all of the elements of those offenses in Blueford’s favor.
We disagree. The foreperson’s report was not a final resolution of anything. When the foreperson told the court how the jury had voted on each offense, the jury’s deliberations had not yet concluded. The jurors in fact went back to the jury room to deliberate further, even after the foreperson had delivered her report. When they emerged a half hour later, the foreperson stated only that they were unable to reach a verdict. She gave no indication whether it was still the case that all 12 jurors believed Blueford was not guilty of capital or first-degree murder, that 9 of them believed he was guilty of manslaughter, or that a vote had not been taken on negligent homicide. The fact that deliberations continued after the report deprives that report of the finality necessary to constitute an acquittal on the murder offenses.
Justice Sotomayor, with whom Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan join, dissenting.
… The Court holds that petitioner Alex Blueford was not acquitted of capital or first-degree murder, even though the forewoman of the Arkansas jury empaneled to try him announced in open court that the jury was “unanimous against” convicting Blueford of those crimes. Nor, the Court concludes, did the Double Jeopardy Clause oblige the trial judge to take any action to give effect to the jury’s unambiguous decision before declaring a mistrial as to those offenses. The Court thus grants the State what the Constitution withholds: “the proverbial ‘second bite at the apple.’” Burks v. United States, 437 U. S. 1, 17 (1978).
I respectfully dissent.