Yeager v. United States, 557 U.S. 110 (Jun. 18, 2009)

An apparent inconsistency between a jury’s verdict of acquittal on some counts and its failure to return a verdict on other counts does not affect the preclusive force of the acquittals under the double jeopardy clause. In this case, the defendant was charged with both fraud and insider trading. The charges were related in that the fraud counts involved a determination of whether the defendant possessed insider information. The jury acquitted on the fraud counts but hung on the insider trading counts. After the trial court declared a mistrial on the insider trading counts, the government obtained a new indictment on some of those counts. The Court reasoned that the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes the government from relitigating any issue that was necessarily decided by a jury’s acquittal in a prior proceeding. The fact of the apparent inconsistency in the jury’s verdict was immaterial because hung counts are not relevant to the issue preclusion analysis. If, in acquitting on the fraud counts, the jury concluded that the defendant did not possess insider information, the government would be barred from prosecuting the defendant again for insider information.