Accused cop killer claims ‘double jeopardy’

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawyers for an accused cop-killer claim his prosecution on charges related to the shooting death of a Millard County Sheriff's deputy amount to "double jeopardy."

At a hearing in federal court on Thursday, Roberto Miramontes Roman's defense attorneys raised a number of legal issues in the case and accused the U.S. Attorney's Office of "vindictive prosecution."

"It's unfair," Roman's defense attorney, Stephen McCaughey, told FOX 13 News outside of court. "It's clear he's being tried twice for the same crime."

Roman is accused of killing Millard County Sheriff's Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox during a traffic stop outside the town of Delta back in 2010. The search for her killer triggered a statewide manhunt -- until he was arrested days later in Beaver.

But at his trial in state court, a jury acquitted Roman of murder and convicted him of evidence tampering and a weapons violation. The verdict outraged Deputy Fox's family and friends.

In September 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Roman on 11 counts -- including intentionally killing a law enforcement officer. McCaughey said it amounts to double jeopardy.

"We didn't hear anything from the U.S. government until he was acquitted," he said. "Then, four years down the road, he gets indicted by the United States."

McCaughey argued before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead on Thursday that the case should be halted while he takes that issue to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Federal prosecutors told the judge the case should proceed.

"The public deserves a speedy trial, the defendant deserves a speedy trial, the government deserves a speedy trial," said assistant U.S. Attorney Felice Viti.

Outside court, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah declined to comment -- but insisted it did have what is known as "separate sovereign" authority to prosecute Roman.

Judge Pead did order the proceedings to continue while McCaughey appeals to the 10th Circuit -- ordering legal motions to be filed by April 7.

The case may ultimately be moved out of Utah. Judge Pead met with McCaughey to discuss funding a statewide poll to determine how much people remember about the case -- and whether an impartial jury could be seated again.

10 comments

  • Eric Anderson

    I don’t like him either, but this is obviously a violation of the Constitution. Do we really want to live in a country where the government can just keep putting you on trial over and over again until they get what they want?

    Even if they win, the obvious grounds for appeal would be, “How can a man who was found not guilty of murder be guilty of ‘deliberate killing’?”

    • Friends don't let friends live in blue states...

      He is a cop killer, he should be locked up for life at minimum…

      • Ben A Eckenroed

        He is an “accused” cop killer. He was acquitted of killing a cop. To say he is guilty after reading a few paragraphs that suggest so shows how someone can be easily influenced.

        What if in fact someone else were to admit to the crime yet this man was convicted after being acquitted?

        As the first comment said, the government shouldn’t be able to just try someone over and over again until they get the answer they want. We aren’t North Korea. If someone is wrongly acquitted, (ahem..OJ Simpson), then it is what it is. At the end of the day a jury heard all the important details (not just a few sentences in a news article) and determined that he did not kill the officer.

        The guy had his day in court and the government had their chance to convict him of the crime. He won. It should be over.

      • MQB3

        So the Constitution doesn’t apply if your victim is a cop? I had no idea cops were so much more valuable than the rest of us.

        This is not Italy. The government isn’t supposed to keep trying you for the same crime until they get a result they like. And giving the crime a hundred different names, then charging you a hundred times, is an obvious violation of the intent of the Constitution.

        Sorry, but he got away with it. A jury said so. It stinks, but I’m not willing to give up a single detail of my Constitutional protections just so we can put one jerk in jail.

    • Mark

      Easy. Separate jurisdictions. It is perfectly within the fed. government’s right to prosecute.

      We saw a similar thing with the Elizabeth Smart case. The state case was a disaster. But federal prosecutors obtained justice and again had every right to do so.

      • MQB3

        They had every right to do so because the State never took it to trial. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

        But while we’re on the subject, it’s just as wrong for the Feds to try somebody for the same crime after a State jury acquits him. They’re trying to pull that stunt on George Zimmerman, and liberals are applauding.

        When you wish away someone else’s rights YOURS go with them. Tomorrow they may come for YOU.

    • texasone

      lets put it this way Travis IS RIGHT parasites like this murderer should be given the desert walk . in the hot sun let him die of thrist a firing squad is to merciful for this P.O.S.

  • Travis Purcell

    Well eric he is illegal has been deported a couple of times and keeps coming back. He sold meth owned illegal guns and then he kills a very close friend of mine wife. So you tell me why he deserves any rights any such freedom to walk from this. he is here illegally a drug dealer in our community of delta and if he didnt do anything wrong he wouldn’t have ran from the cops. So ya he needs to be charged with murder and put in front of a firing squad. Also your saying lets just let a cop killer go cause a jury acquitted him well u dont think they could be wrong they are wrong all the time so you cant say a violation of the Constitution when he violated

    Every law he could and he isnt even a us citizen so why should he be protected under my constitutional rights. If i was to commit these same crimes in mexico they wouldnt think twice on the death sentence or life behind bars so why must we show compassion towards him he didnt when he killed my friends wife. So this case has nothing to do with constitutional rights its about right and wrong and he did wrong so yes take him to trial and get a guilty verdict he deserves.

    • MQB3

      Our own stupidity is not an excuse to toss the Constitution in the trash. WE choose not to protect our borders.

      The Constitution makes no distinction between citizens and non-citizens. If it happens in this country it happens under the umbrella of the Constitution. Period.

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That ALL MEN are created equal……” Not just “all men who happen to have been born here.” That’s from the founding document of our nation.

      I know, I know. Just another yellow piece of paper buried deep underground.

      If you want to pay him back, go kill him yourself. Then I suspect you may be grasping at every possible Constitutional protection. Seriously, do you even listen to yourself? “Just because a jury said he’s not guilty doesn’t mean we shouldn’t execute him…..” Sieg Hiel!

      If that’s how it works, I’ve got a list of people I’d like to kill, too. Is that OK? I mean, since there are no rules……

    • MQB3

      By the way, the logic of using Mexico as an example of “messed up” while suggesting we behave like Mexicans is a bit odd. Which do you want? To be more like Mexico, or LESS like Mexico? Please decide.

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