An acquittal is not permanent in Costa Rica. Neither is a conviction.
Carlos Pascall, the former Limón soccer club president is finding that out the hard way. He was freed after 18 months in prison Tuesday and returned triumphantly to Limón. He had been convicted by a trial panel of money laundering. But an appeals court finally set that conviction aside after Pascall spent 18 months in prison.
Now prosecutors say they will appeal the acquittal to an even higher panel. If that panel overrules the lower appeals court, Pascal will be going back to prison.
Costa Rica does not have a double jeopardy rule. A person may be acquitted by a trial panel and then convicted on appeal.
Even when someone is convicted at trial by three criminal judges, they frequently are allowed to remain at liberty until an appeals panel hears the case. Many convicted persons are no longer around when the appeals decision comes down.