Judge plans to rule on double jeopardy question

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A judge plans to make a decision next month whether a man can be retried in Leavenworth for an attempted murder charge.

A hearing has been scheduled for March 12 in Leavenworth County District Court for a ruling in the case of James D. Thompson.

Thompson, 34, previously was charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection to an August 2015 shooting in Leavenworth. During a 2017 trial, the charge of aggravated battery was presented to jurors for consideration as a lesser included offense to the attempted murder charge. And jurors convicted Thompson of the aggravated battery charge instead of attempted murder.

Thompson also was convicted of other charges related to the 2015 incident.

Judges with the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned Thompson’s conviction for the aggravated battery charge and remanded the case back to the district court level.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman set aside the battery conviction in December. But Assistant County Attorney Shawn Boyd is arguing Thompson can once again be prosecuted for the charge of attempted murder without facing what is known as double jeopardy.

Double jeopardy refers to a protection provided in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees that a person cannot “be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb” for the same offense.

Thompson’s attorney, Joseph Osborn, is arguing the prosecution of his client for an attempted murder charge is precluded because it would be considered double jeopardy.

Thompson appeared in court Friday. But Kuckelman said he needed to review a written argument filed by Osborn before making a ruling.

“I overlooked your response Mr. Osborn,” Kuckelman said. “I feel I need to read that.”

Friday’s hearing was conducted using the Zoom online videoconferencing service. Zoom is being used for many Leavenworth County District Court proceedings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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