United States v. Howell – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Howell, 719 F.2d 1258 (5th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 467 U.S. 1228 (1984), the Fifth Circuit specifically declined to adopt the reasoning in the double jeopardy context that a trial begins when the jury is sworn.

The court stated that "the constitutional considerations underlying the double jeopardy clause are 'wholly different from the premises' of the Speedy Trial Act." Id. at 1262.

The Court explained:

"The reason for holding that jeopardy attaches when the jury is empaneled and sworn lies in the need to protect the interest of an accused in retaining a chosen jury." Howell does not argue, and we do not believe, that Congress had any similar objective in mind when it passed the Speedy Trial Act. Id.