ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville attorney says the Albemarle County perjury case against Jason Kessler has no chance of moving forward.

Jason Kessler's jury trial never made it to jury deliberations on Tuesday, March 20. Prosecutors claimed Kessler lied to a magistrate about a fight last year, in which he was later found guilty of assault.

But at Tuesday’s trial, the commonwealth couldn’t prove that the incident happened in the county and so the judge dismissed the case. As a result, there’s no chance that Kessler can be convicted of the perjury charge.

“Double jeopardy means the government gets one bite and one bite only, one chance to prosecute,” says Lloyd Snook, NBC29’s legal analyst. “There are few exceptions; none of the exceptions apply here. They had the jury trial, the jury was there, the jury was ready to decide the case if the judge would let them, and they can't come back now and say, three months later, 'we want another chance, we want to try it again."

The commonwealth's office is looking into other steps to take, but Snook says that the commonwealth can't appeal the decision even if it wants to.


UPDATE 04/05/2018: In light of Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracci challenging the dismissal of the case against Kessler, attorney Lloyd Snook has re-examined his analysis in a blog post.

Immediately after the Albemarle County Circuit Court judge presiding at the perjury trial of Jason Kessler dismissed the case because the Commonwealth failed to prove that the crime happened in Albemarle County, I was asked whether there were any other options for Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert N. Tracci — could the case be revived and re-tried?  And my first reaction was to scoff dismissively, citing the Double Jeopardy Clause. 

Now the Commonwealth’s Attorney has filed a motion to reconsider and to retry.  And having read the motion, I was still quite dismissive.

But I was also curious, and I have since followed some of the cases that were cited, and I think there is a stronger argument for a retrial than I had thought at first.