The Law Office of A. Antonio Tomas, P.A. is proud and relieved to announce that our client has finally been released from prison after nearly 10 years behind bars, following a successful appeal.
Dwaine Merchant, Tomas' client, was convicted of first-degree murder for a crime allegedly committed in 2007.
During his first trial in August 2013, it came to light that two of the jurors were siblings. The Judge declared a mistrial and the Prosecution agreed. Merchant did not expressly object, but he also did not agree.
The case was set for retrial and Merchant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, but it was denied because he had not affirmatively objected to the mistrial and had therefore essentially consented to it (so the State contended).
The second jury found Merchant guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison in 2013.
An appeal was filed and the Third District Court of Appeals ruled the mistrial a mistake because it went against the constitutional ban on being tried for the same crime twice, an issue referred to as "double jeopardy."
Merchant is set to be released, which means he can return home to his family.
Read more here: Man Beats Murder Rap After Mistrial Ruled in Case