WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that will allow the state to retry Alex Blueford of Jacksonville on capital murder charges.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that will allow the state to retry Alex Blueford of Jacksonville on capital murder charges.

Blueford’s first trial, in the 2008 death of 20-month-old Matthew McFadden Jr., ended in a mistrial after jurors reached an impasse over manslaughter charges. The jury’s foreman had earlier told the judge the panel had voted unanimously to dismiss capital murder and first-degree murder charges.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled last year that Blueford should be retried on the original murder charges. Clifford Sloan, an attorney representing Blueford, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the Constitution protected Blueford from being tried twice for the same crime.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court agreed that Blueford could be retried, finding that the “double jeopardy clause” did not apply in this case because the jury had not acquitted Blueford of capital or first-degree murder.

At issue was whether the forewoman’s disclosure of jury votes prior to the judge declaring a mistrial constituted a verdict.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that at the time of the disclosure the jury was still deliberating and had the ability to reconsider capital murder charges.

“The foreperson’s report prior to the end of deliberations lacked the finality necessary to amount to an acquittal on these offenses, quite apart from any requirement that a formal verdict be returned or judgment entered,” he wrote.

During oral arguments in February, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel had pressed that point saying that the fact that the jury returned to deliberate after the foreperson’s announcement meant jurors had essentially hit the restart button.

Sloan, meanwhile, had argued that the announced vote was an acquittal because it was an explicit statement that was not contradicted by later statements.

Joining Roberts in the majority were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented saying the forewoman’s announcement in open that the jury was “unanimous against” conviction on capital and first-degree murder was an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.

In writing for the minority, Sotomayor noted that the jury understood clearly that Arkansas required them to unanimously acquit on a greater offense before considering lesser offenses.

“The jury resolved the charges of capital and first-degree murder adversely to the State. That acquittal cannot be reconsidered without putting Blueford twice in jeopardy,” Sotomayor wrote.

Blueford has been held without bond in the Pulaski County Jail since 2008 while his case has been on appeal.