Legal Necessity Definition in California
In Curry v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 707, 713-714, the California Supreme Court defined the concept of legal necessity as follows:
"Legal necessity for a mistrial typically arises from an inability of the jury to agree or from physical causes beyond the control of the court , such as the death, illness, or absence of judge or juror or of the defendant . A mere error of law or procedure, however, does not constitute legal necessity. "
Consistent with the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Article I, section 15, of the California Constitution provides in pertinent part:
"Persons may not twice be put in jeopardy for the same offense . . . ." This double jeopardy provision prohibits a second prosecution of the same individual for the same offense unless the trial court declared a mistrial either with the defendant's consent or due to a legal necessity. (1 Witkin & Epstein, Cal. Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Defenses, 119, p. 464.)