MR. JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
An Arizona trial judge granted the prosecutor's motion for a mistrial predicated on improper and prejudicial comment during defense counsel's opening statement. In a subsequent habeas corpus proceeding, a Federal District Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause protected the defendant from another trial. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
In 1971 respondent was found guilty of murdering a hotel night clerk. In 1973, the Superior Court of Pima County, Ariz., ordered a new trial because the prosecutor had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the new trial order in an unpublished opinion.
Respondent's second trial began in January 1975. During the voir dire examination of prospective jurors, the prosecutor made reference to the fact that some of the witnesses whose testimony the jurors would hear had testified in proceedings
After opening statements were completed, the prosecutor moved for a mistrial. In colloquy during argument of the motion, the trial judge expressed the opinion that evidence concerning the reasons for the new trial, and specifically the ruling of the Arizona Supreme Court, was irrelevant to the issue of guilt or innocence and therefore inadmissible. Defense counsel asked for an opportunity "to find some law" that would support his belief that the Supreme Court opinion would be admissible.
The following morning the prosecutor renewed his mistrial motion. Fortified by an evening's research, he argued that there was no theory on which the basis for the new trial ruling could be brought to the attention of the jury, that the prejudice to the jury could not be repaired by any cautionary instructions, and that a mistrial was a "manifest necessity." Defense counsel stated that he still was not prepared with authority supporting his belief that the Supreme Court opinion was admissible.
Ultimately the trial judge granted the motion, stating that his ruling was based upon defense counsel's remarks in his opening statement concerning the Arizona Supreme Court opinion. The trial judge did not expressly find that there was "manifest necessity" for a mistrial; nor did he expressly state that he had considered alternative solutions and concluded that none would be adequate. The Arizona Supreme Court refused to review the mistrial ruling.
Respondent then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, alleging that another trial would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause. After reviewing the transcript of the state proceeding, and hearing the arguments of counsel, the Federal District Judge noted that the Arizona trial judge had not canvassed on the record the possibility of alternatives to a mistrial and expressed the view that before granting a mistrial motion the judge was required "to find that manifest necessity exists for the granting of it."
The Ninth Circuit also characterized the opening statement as improper, but affirmed because, absent a finding of manifest necessity or an explicit consideration of alternatives,
We are persuaded that the Court of Appeals applied an inappropriate standard of review to mistrial rulings of this kind, and attached undue significance to the form of the ruling. We therefore reverse.
A State may not put a defendant in jeopardy twice for the same offense. Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784. The constitutional protection against double jeopardy unequivocally prohibits a second trial following an acquittal. The public interest in the finality of criminal judgments is so strong that an acquitted defendant may not be retried even though "the acquittal was based upon an egregiously erroneous foundation." See Fong Foo v. United States, 369 U.S. 141, 143. If the innocence of the accused has been confirmed by a final judgment, the Constitution conclusively presumes that a second trial would be unfair.
Because jeopardy attaches before the judgment becomes final, the constitutional protection also embraces the defendant's "valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal."
Unlike the situation in which the trial has ended in an acquittal or conviction, retrial is not automatically barred when a criminal proceeding is terminated without finally resolving the merits of the charges against the accused. Because of the variety of circumstances that may make it necessary to discharge a jury before a trial is concluded, and because those circumstances do not invariably create unfairness to the accused, his valued right to have the trial concluded by a particular tribunal is sometimes subordinate to the public interest in affording the prosecutor one full and fair opportunity to present his evidence to an impartial jury.
The words "manifest necessity" appropriately characterize the magnitude of the prosecutor's burden.
Thus, the strictest scrutiny is appropriate when the basis for the mistrial is the unavailability of critical prosecution evidence,
Moreover, in this situation there are especially compelling reasons for allowing the trial judge to exercise broad discretion in deciding whether or not "manifest necessity" justifies a discharge of the jury. On the one hand, if he discharges the jury when further deliberations may produce a fair verdict, the defendant is deprived of his "valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal." But if he fails to discharge a jury which is unable to reach a verdict after protracted and exhausting deliberations, there exists a significant risk that a verdict may result from pressures inherent in the situation rather than the considered judgment of all the jurors. If retrial of the defendant were barred whenever an appellate
We are persuaded that, along the spectrum of trial problems which may warrant a mistrial and which vary in their amenability to appellate scrutiny, the difficulty which led to the mistrial in this case also falls in an area where the trial judge's determination is entitled to special respect.
In this case the trial judge ordered a mistrial because the defendant's lawyer made improper and prejudicial remarks during his opening statement to the jury. Although respondent
We recognize that the extent of the possible bias cannot be measured, and that the District Court was quite correct in believing that some trial judges might have proceeded with the trial after giving the jury appropriate cautionary instructions. In a strict, literal sense, the mistrial was not "necessary." Nevertheless, the overriding interest in the evenhanded administration of justice requires that we accord the highest degree of respect to the trial judge's evaluation of the likelihood that the impartiality of one or more jurors may have been affected by the improper comment.
In Thompson v. United States, 155 U.S. 271, 279, the Court concluded that a mistrial was required when it was revealed that one of the trial jurors had served on the grand jury that indicted the defendant. Since it is possible that the grand jury had heard no more evidence—and perhaps even less— than was presented at the trial, and since the juror in question may have had no actual bias against the defendant, the record did not demonstrate that the mistrial was strictly "necessary." There can be no doubt, however, about the validity of the conclusion that the possibility of bias justified the mistrial.
An improper opening statement unquestionably tends to frustrate the public interest in having a just judgment reached by an impartial tribunal. Indeed, such statements create a risk, often not present in the individual juror bias situation,
There are compelling institutional considerations militating in favor of appellate deference to the trial judge's evaluation of the significance of possible juror bias.
Our conclusion that a trial judge's decision to declare a mistrial based on his assessment of the prejudicial impact of improper argument is entitled to great deference does not, of course, end the inquiry. As noted earlier, a constitutionally protected interest is inevitably affected by any mistrial decision. The trial judge, therefore, "must always temper the decision whether or not to abort the trial by considering the importance to the defendant of being able, once and for all, to conclude his confrontation with society through the verdict of a tribunal he might believe to be favorably disposed to his fate." United States v. Jorn, 400 U. S., at 486 (Harlan, J.). In order to ensure that this interest is adequately protected, reviewing courts have an obligation to satisfy themselves that, in the words of Mr. Justice Story, the trial judge exercised "sound discretion" in declaring a mistrial.
Thus, if a trial judge acts irrationally or irresponsibly, cf. United States v. Jorn, supra; see Illinois v. Somerville, 410 U. S., at 469, his action cannot be condoned. But our review of this record indicates that this was not such a case.
One final matter requires consideration. The absence of an explicit finding of "manifest necessity" appears to have been determinative for the District Court and may have been so for the Court of Appeals. If those courts regarded that omission as critical,
Review of any trial court decision is, of course, facilitated by findings and by an explanation of the reasons supporting the decision. No matter how desirable such procedural assistance may be, it is not constitutionally mandated in a case such as this. Cf. Cupp v. Naughten, 414 U.S. 141, 146. The basis for the trial judge's mistrial order is adequately disclosed by the record, which includes the extensive argument of counsel prior to the judge's ruling. The state trial judge's mistrial declaration is not subject to collateral attack in a federal court simply because he failed to find "manifest necessity" in those words or to articulate on the record all the factors which informed the deliberate exercise of his discretion.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN concurs in the result.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, dissenting.
I cannot agree with the Court of Appeals that the failure of a state trial judge to express the legal standard under which
The Court of Appeals, as well as the District Court, was therefore in error in granting relief without further examination of the record to determine whether the use of an incorrect legal standard was sufficiently indicated by something beyond mere silence and, if not, whether the declaration of a mistrial, which the Court of Appeals said it was "normally inclined to uphold," at least in the absence of "clear abuse of discretion," was constitutionally vulnerable. I would not, however, undertake an examination of the record here in the first instance. Rather, I would vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and direct that court to remand the case to the District Court to make the initial judgment, under the correct legal standard, as to whether the writ should issue.
MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, with whom MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
The Court today holds that another trial of respondent, following a mistrial declared over his vehement objection, is not prohibited by the Double Jeopardy Clause. To reach this result, my Brethren accord a substantial degree of deference to a trial court finding that the Court simply assumes was made but that appears nowhere in the record. Because of the silence of the record on the crucial question whether there was "manifest necessity" for a mistrial, I believe that another trial of respondent would violate his constitutional right not to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. I therefore dissent.
My disagreement with the majority is a narrow one. I fully concur in its view that the constitutional protection of the Double Jeopardy Clause "embraces the defendant's `valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal,' " since a second prosecution inevitably "increases the financial and emotional burden on the accused, prolongs the period in which he is stigmatized by an unresolved accusation of wrongdoing, and may even enhance the risk that an innocent defendant may be convicted." Ante, at 503-504 (foot-notes omitted). For these reasons, I also agree that, where a mistrial is declared over a defendant's objections, a new trial is permissible only if the termination of the earlier trial was justified by a "manifest necessity" and that the prosecution must shoulder the "heavy" burden of demonstrating such a "high degree" of necessity. Ante, at 505-506. Nor do I quarrel with the proposition that reviewing courts must accord substantial deference to a trial judge's determination that the prejudicial impact of an improper opening statement is so
Where I part ways from the Court is in its assumption that an "assessment of the prejudicial impact of improper argument," ante, at 514, sufficient to support the need for a mistrial, may be implied from this record. As the courts below found,
Although from this distance and in the absence of express findings it is impossible to determine the precise extent to which defense counsel's remarks may have prejudiced the jury against the State, the circumstances set forth above suggest that any such prejudice may have been minimal and subject to cure through less drastic alternatives.
I do not propose that the Constitution invariably requires a trial judge to make findings of necessity on the record to justify the declaration of a mistrial over a defendant's objections.
Where the need for a mistrial is not "plain and obvious," United States v. Perez, 9 Wheat., at 580, the importance of an affirmative indication that the trial court made the relevant findings is apparent. In the chaos of conducting a trial, with the welter of administrative as well as legal concerns that must occupy the mind of the trial judge, it is all too easy to overlook a legal rule or relevant factor in rendering decision. A requirement of some statement on the record addressed to the need for a mistrial would ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the efficacy of other alternatives and that mistrial decisions are not based upon improper, or only partly adequate, criteria. Of particular relevance here, moreover, it would facilitate proper appellate and habeas review, avoiding the need to speculate on the basis for the decision to terminate the trial.
Had the court here explored alternatives on the record, or made a finding of substantial and incurable prejudice or other "manifest necessity," this would be a different case and one in which I would agree with both the majority's reasoning and its result.
I would therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
"MR. BOLDING: I'll really try to do some additional work, then your Honor, to try to find some law for it. I believe it would be admissible. It's corroborative of the testimony that the jury will hear.
"THE COURT: I'm afraid, and I don't know how we stop it, we're getting to the point where we're trying the County Attorney's office and the County Attorney's office, conduct, whatever it was in the last case, and I simply, I am not going to allow it if this trial goes on and I'm very sorely tempted to grant the State's motion at this time.
"MR. BOLDING: Well your Honor, that's—I will be—sorry if that happens and if the Court tells me now that I cannot examine any witness about that Supreme Court decision until I furnish you some law that says yes, that can come in, then I will abide by that decision, your Honor. I will be working on it and I would like to reserve my right to present that to the Court outside the hearing of the jury at another time. I just, I believe that it is, it's credible evidence. It's, thinking, you know, off the top of my head here, it's opinion evidence from experts. It's evidence that I believe is truly corroborative of the evidence that the jury will hear and I would certainly like to reserve my right to present some, if I can find you some written law, which would allow this type of testimony, your Honor, as evidence." App. 209-210.
Later, the trial judge expressed disagreement with defense counsel's argument that evidence of prosecutorial misconduct could be admitted on an impeachment theory: "I don't think you're entitled to prove all this misconduct if such is the case, to impeach every witness, and I think that's what you're saying to me." Id., at 217-218.
"THE COURT: And I expressed my concern about that, Mr. Butler." Id., at 253.
"In the absence of clear abuse, we are normally inclined to uphold discretionary orders of this nature. In the usual case, the trial judge has observed the complained-of event, heard counsel, and made specific findings. Under such circumstances, a mistrial declaration accompanied by a finding that the jury could no longer render an impartial verdict would not be lightly set aside." 546 F. 2d, at 832.
The importance of the absence of express findings or reasons to the decision below seems apparent. The Arizona trial judge "observed the complained-of event" and patiently "heard counsel." Had he taken the additional step of making an express finding of "manifest necessity," it appears that Judge Kilkenny would have reviewed the mistrial ruling under a less exacting abuse-of-discretion standard.
"What has been said is enough to show that a defendant's valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal must in some instances be subordinated to the public's interest in fair trials designed to end in just judgments." Ibid.
"The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty." (Emphasis added.)
"[T]he Government witnesses came to drop from their testimony impressions favorable to defendant. Thus a key prosecution witness, the last person to see appellant and the deceased together, who began by testifying that they had acted that evening like newlyweds on a honeymoon, without an unfriendly word spoken, ended up by saying for the first time in four trials that the words between them had been `firm,' and possibly harsh and `cross.'
"We also note that the police officer who readily acquiesced in the two `hung jury' trials that appellant was `hysterical,' later withheld that characterization. This shift, though less dramatic, was by no means inconsequential in view of the significance of appellant's condition at the time he made a statement inconsistent with what he later told another officer."
See also n. 13, supra.
"The determination by the trial court to abort a criminal proceeding where jeopardy has attached is not one to be lightly undertaken, since the interest of the defendant in having his fate determined by the jury first impaneled is itself a weighty one. . . . Nor will the lack of demonstrable additional prejudice preclude the defendant's invocation of the double jeopardy bar in the absence of some important countervailing interest of proper judicial administration."
"[A] criminal trial is, even in the best of circumstances, a complicated affair to manage. . . . [It is] readily apparent that a mechanical rule prohibiting retrial whenever circumstances compel the discharge of a jury without the defendant's consent would be too high a price to pay for the added assurance of personal security and freedom from governmental harassment which such a mechanical rule would provide."
"This rule if taken literally seems to command the confinement of the jury till death if they do not agree, and to avoid any such consequence an exception was introduced in practice which Blackstone has described by the words `except in case of evident necessity.'
"But the exception so expressed has given rise to further doubts, because necessity is an equivocal word, meaning either irresistible compulsion or a high degree of need. Those who have been interested in objecting to a discharge of a jury before verdict, have disputed whether the discharge was necessary in the stricter sense of the word. The same dispute about the meaning of the word necessity in the exception to this rule is the source of the main questions raised upon this writ of error, and they are in substance answered when we decide on the meaning of that word in the exception to this rule, and apply that meaning to the facts appearing on this record. We assume it to be clear that the discharge of the jury before verdict may be lawful at some time and under some circumstances. Then with reference to the facts on this record, we hold that the judge at the first trial had by law power to discharge the jury before verdict, when a high degree of need for such discharge was made evident to his mind from the facts which he had ascertained. We cannot define the degree of need without some standard for comparison; we cannot approach nearer to precision than by describing the degree as a high degree such as in the wider sense of the word might be denoted by necessity." Winsor v. The Queen, supra, at 390, 394.
"Harassment of an accused by successive prosecutions or declaration of a mistrial so as to afford the prosecution a more favorable opportunity to convict are examples when jeopardy attaches."
Yet, as Mr. Justice Douglas further noted, "those extreme cases do not mark the limits of the guarantee." Ibid. The "particular tribunal" principle is implicated whenever a mistrial is declared over the defendant's objection and without regard to the presence or absence of governmental overreaching. If the "right to go to a particular tribunal is valued, it is because, independent of the threat of bad-faith conduct by judge or prosecutor, the defendant has a significant interest in the decision whether or not to take the case from the jury." United States v. Jorn, 400 U. S., at 485. See discussion in Part III, infra.
"We do take upon ourselves, without the consent of the parties . . . , to discharge the jury when we are satisfied that they have fully considered the case and cannot agree; and I hope no Judge will shrink from taking that course; for, if a jury cannot agree, we ought not to coerce them by personal suffering, nor ought we to expose parties to the danger of a verdict which is not the result of conviction in the minds of the jury, but produced by suffering of mind or body." The Queen v. Charlesworth, 1 B. & S., at 503-504, 121 Eng. Rep., at 802.
"It is to state what evidence will be presented, to make it easier for the jurors to understand what is to follow, and to relate parts of the evidence and testimony to the whole; it is not an occasion for argument. To make statements which will not or cannot be supported by proof is, if it relates to significant elements of the case, professional misconduct. Moreover, it is fundamentally unfair to an opposing party to allow an attorney, with the standing and prestige inherent in being an officer of the court, to present to the jury statements not susceptible of proof but intended to influence the jury in reaching a verdict." 424 U. S., at 612.
Our identification of this reason for according deference to the trial judge in juror bias cases generally is not intended as a comment upon the conduct of defense counsel in this case.
During argument on the prosecutor's motion, defense counsel insisted that evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in a prior proceeding was admissible for impeachment purposes; although he could offer no authority to support this novel proposition, he indicated to the judge that he would appreciate an opportunity to "find . . . some written law, which would allow this type of testimony . . . as evidence." Supra, at 500 n. 3. While the trial judge remarked that he could conceive of no basis for the admission of such evidence and that he was tempted to grant the prosecutor's request immediately because of defense counsel's injection of the prosecutorial misconduct issue into the trial, supra, at 499-500, n. 3, he did not act precipitately. Rather, proceeding with caution and giving defense counsel the benefit of the doubt, App. 223, the trial judge reserved ruling on the admissibility question and at first denied the mistrial motion. In avoiding a hasty decision despite his conviction that the evidence was improper, the trial judge was plainly acting out of concern for the double jeopardy interests implicated by an improvident mistrial. Id., at 225, 253.
The following day the prosecutor renewed his motion. The trial judge heard extensive argument from both sides regarding both the propriety of defense counsel's opening statement and the need for a mistrial. Defense counsel contended that any prejudice which might have resulted from the references to prosecutorial misconduct could be cured by cautionary instructions; the prosecutor argued that such an alternative would be inadequate to remove the risk of taint.
Nor can I agree with the majority that the Court of Appeals applied an inappropriate standard of review. It expressly recognized that "[t]he power to discharge a jury . . . is discretionary with the trial court" and that, "[i]n the absence of clear abuse, we . . . normally . . . uphold discretionary orders of this nature." 546 F. 2d, at 832. But this is so, noted the court, where "[i]n the usual case, the trial judge has observed the complained-of event, heard counsel, and made specific findings. Under such circumstances, a mistrial declaration accompanied by a finding that the jury could no longer render an impartial verdict would not lightly be set aside." Ibid.
Finally, the Court notes that at the voir dire of the jury, the trial court expressed concern about "poisoning of the panel" and that to allay this concern, the jury was questioned as to its knowledge of the reasons for a new trial. The transcript of the voir dire, however, suggests that this questioning had two purposes: to determine whether any jurors knew why there was a second trial, and to determine whether such knowledge would prejudice them in their deliberations. Tr. of Voir Dire, supra, at 35. Since no jurors knew of the reason for the new trial, no inquiry was made as to prejudice—recognized at this time by the court and by counsel as a separate issue. None of these portions of the record establishes that the trial court at any time made a determination that the prejudice from counsel's opening statement could not be cured by an instruction, or that the court had any basis, such as through a voir dire, on which to make such a determination.