Supreme Court issued an order list from last Friday's conference. No cert grants in habeas cases, but there was a cert grant in a front-end case called Blueford v. Arkansas. Here's the issue (from SCOTUSblog):
Whether, if a jury deadlocks on a lesser-included offense, the Double Jeopardy Clause bars the reprosecution of a greater offense after a jury announces that it has voted against guilt on the greater offense.
Just to explain a little, in Blueford, the jury was asked to consider capital murder, and, if the jury concluded that defendant was not guilty, then to consider first-degree murder and, if the jury concluded that the defendant was not guilty of that count, then to consider manslaughter. The jury indicated to the court that it had reached a unanimous conclusion of not guilty on the top two counts but was hung on manslaughter. The court refused to take a partial verdict on the top two counts, ordered a mistrial, and, over the defense's double jeopardy objection, granted the State permission to retry the defendant on the top counts.
This result conflicted with the other States that allow what is known as an "acquittal first" or "hard-transition" verdicts. It does not appear that New York has specifically decided this issue, but there is a reason for that (assuming that I understand what all of this "hard-transition" stuff is all about). The Criminal Procedure Law allows for partial verdicts. So it is a true "hard-transition" state, which means that this issue actually won't pop up here (unless something unusual happens).
This decision from Arkansas really seems to be an outlier. It's something that ranks relatively high on the "uncommon sense" meter. It simply just doesn't feel right, on a gut level, to let the State retry this guy on the top counts after a jury has already unanimously concluded that he was not guilty. Let's hope that the "good" facts in this case (i.e. the jury's unanimous findings of not guilty on the top counts) make good law.
In any event, Blueford will get added to the Supreme Court cases page soon.