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Double jeopardy threatens David Harold Earls case

SONYA COLBERG Modified: September 9, 2009 at 8:28 am •  Published: September 9, 2009
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/articleid/3399369/1/pictures/681030">Photo - This April 5, 2003 photo obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows  David  Harold  Earls. Two state lawmakers are questioning a plea agreement that will allow  Earls to serve only one year in jail on a conviction for raping a 4-year-old girl. Nineteen of the 20 years of a sentence against 64-year-old  Earls were suspended as part of a plea agreement reached May 13, 2009 with Pittsburg County prosecutors. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)
This April 5, 2003 photo obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows David Harold Earls. Two state lawmakers are questioning a plea agreement that will allow Earls to serve only one year in jail on a conviction for raping a 4-year-old girl. Nineteen of the 20 years of a sentence against 64-year-old Earls were suspended as part of a plea agreement reached May 13, 2009 with Pittsburg County prosecutors. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)
He is not involved in this prosecution.”

The attorney general’s office will prosecute the case if it goes to court.

"I wish the attorney general luck,” Miller said.

Overcoming challenge
Edmondson said he and his investigators expected claims of double jeopardy but are confident they can overcome the challenge.

Double jeopardy prevents someone from being re-tried for allegations that have already been tried or dismissed under a plea bargain.

Irven Box, an Oklahoma City defense attorney, said the issue is clear if it is the same victim and the incident happened at the same time as the incidents in which Earls previously pleaded no contest.

"I think it would be no doubt a double-jeopardy issue,” he said. "And he could not be tried again.”

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