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Can you help me understand this Criminal Justice question?Was Honeymooner Tried Twice for the Death of His Wife?American Gabe Watson was convicted in Australia of manslaughter for the death of his new wife, while scuba diving there. Then, due to suspicions he had actually murdered her, Watson was tried again for the same offense in his home state of Alabama. U.S. courts usually prohibit trying someone over again, as noted in the discussion of double jeopardy. But, as this case proves, there are exceptions.On their honeymoon in 2003, Alabamans Gabe and Tina Watson went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and Tina drowned. Her death was initially thought to be of natural causes, but her parents suspected Watson murdered her, and for the next four years they pushed for an investigation.Finally, in 2008, an Australian coroner held an inquest and determined murder may have occurred, based partly on Tina’s father’s testimony that Watson wanted to cash in on Tina’s life insurance policy. Watson’s lawyers, however, stated the policy would have paid less than $35,000—hardly a motive for murder—and Tina’s father was still listed as the beneficiary.Australian prosecutors decided not to charge Watson with murder. But noting his failure to rescue Tina, they did charge him with manslaughter. He pleaded guilty and was given 12 months in prison. When prosecutors pushed for a longer sentence, an Australian appeals panel upped it to 18 months. But Tina’s parents were unhappy with the light verdict and helped convince prosecutors in Alabama to seek murder charges against Watson.To answer concerns about double jeopardy, Alabama Attorney General Troy King identified a U.S. Supreme Court decision, United States v. Lanza, that allowed courts in different U.S. states to try a person for the same crime. This was reportedly done in the case of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, who was found guilty and executed in 2001.To justify a trial in Alabama for a murder in Australia, the indictment alleged Watson had planned his crime before the couple left for their honeymoon. Prosecutors cited testimony from Tina’s father that Watson had asked about her life insurance policy. They also alleged that by planning their honeymoon trip to Australia, Watson had plotted to kidnap Tina.The Australian coroner agreed to share evidence with Alabama authorities, but Australian authorities still hesitated about turning over Watson himself. Australia had signed an international pact never to allow executions, and Alabama endorses capital punishment. King pledged Watson would not be executed in Alabama, but Cameron Dick, his Australian counterpart, still hesitated, according to a memo obtained by The Australian. “It appears that no matter how Alabama works to comply with your requests, you continue to find new demands,” King wrote to Dick.Even when Watson had completed his Australian prison term and was about to be deported to Alabama in November 2010, Australian authorities were still struggling to comply with international law. The Australian reported that Watson had to sign a statement saying, “I am aware that these charges may result in my execution if I am convicted.”Watson was eventually deported, but his Alabama trial in February 2012 quickly fell apart. Prosecutors dropped the kidnapping charge and removed the Australian coroner’s testimony, deeming it hearsay. Circuit Judge Tommy Nail allowed for to trial to proceed even in the face of double jeopardy claims, but then released Watson due to lack of evidence. “The only way to convict him of intentional murder is to speculate,” Nail said. “Nobody knows exactly what happened in the water. I’m sure we’ll never know.”*****What are the legal problems with imposing criminal liability in these circumstances? What is your opinion on a prosecution in the USA of Mr. Watson?
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