Trials for Same Crime in Both State and Federal Court Allowed

June 17, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a longstanding rule allowing both state and federal prosecutors to pursue charges against the same individual for the same crime.

The 7-2 decision handed down by the justices preserves an exception to the U.S. Constitution’s ban on trying someone twice for the same offense.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. said the court has long held “that a crime under one sovereign’s laws is not ‘the same offence’ as a crime under the laws of another sovereign.

“Under this ‘dual-sovereignty’ doctrine, a State may prosecute a defendant under state law even if the Federal Government has prosecuted him for the same conduct under a federal statute,” he said.

The case decided Monday was a loss for Terance Gamble, a federal prison inmate who was prosecuted by both the state of Alabama and the federal government for possessing a firearm after a previous felony conviction for robbery.

Gamble argued that the two prosecutions unfairly lengthened his sentence.

But by the time the case was argued in December, there was much more at stake than how long Gamble would remain behind bars.

Three years ago, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas, polar opposites on the court, both questioned whether the rule should be considered.

In a dissent to Monday’s ruling, Ginsburg continued to question its wisdom, calling it an “adherence” to a “misguided doctrine.”

Also dissenting was Justice Neil Gorsuch, who bemoaned the exemption from the double jeopardy as a vehicle for trying the same individual for the same crime until society is happy with the result.

But in a 17-page concurring opinion, Thomas said the historical record simply “does not bear out my initial skepticism.”

Thomas also expounded on something that’s become a theme of his in recent years — his belief that Supreme Court precedents are worth as much — but no more — than the paper they are printed on.

“When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent by rule is simple: We should not follow it,” he wrote.

The outcome of the case was closely watched because it has some bearing on the future prosecution of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on mortgage fraud and other charges in New York.

Manafort has also been sentenced to more than 7 years on federal conspiracy and fraud convictions in federal courts in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia.

Though Trump could pardon Manafort for his federal convictions. Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court means he will still likely have to answer the charges filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

A president’s pardon power does not extend to state charges.

The case is Gamble v. The United States. No. 17–646.

Law

10th Circuit Sides With ‘Faithless Electors’ in Colorado 2016 Election Case Political News
10th Circuit Sides With ‘Faithless Electors’ in Colorado 2016 Election Case
August 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that three presidential electors from Colorado were unconstitutionally forced to cast their Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The ruling by a divided 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for so-called “faithless electors” who... Read More

White House Advances Plan for Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families Immigration
White House Advances Plan for Indefinite Detention of Migrant Families
August 21, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled new regulations that would allow it to indefinitely detain migrant families who cross the southwestern border illegally. The regulations, which will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, voids a long-standing agreement with a federal court, known... Read More

Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects State News
Maryland Marijuana Case Sets Standard For Police Searches Of Crime Suspects
August 21, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

A ruling last week by Maryland’s highest court is likely to help redefine the criminal law of marijuana possession as states nationwide search for new legal standards. A unanimous Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that police who smell marijuana can use the odor to justify a... Read More

Ways And Means Chairman Cites ‘Credible Allegations’ Of Misconduct In Presidential Tax Audit Political News
Ways And Means Chairman Cites ‘Credible Allegations’ Of Misconduct In Presidential Tax Audit

WASHINGTON — The House Ways and Means Committee said it had received “credible allegations” from a federal employee of potentially “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS’ mandatory audit of presidential tax returns. References to the unexplained allegations were in a letter included in a Tuesday filing... Read More

Kentucky Supreme Court To Decide Suit Over Shop’s Refusal To Make Gay Pride T-Shirts State News
Kentucky Supreme Court To Decide Suit Over Shop’s Refusal To Make Gay Pride T-Shirts

LEXINGTON, Ky.—More than seven years after a Lexington shop refused to make T-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments Friday about whether or not the company violated the city’s Fairness Ordinance. Before the case began moving through the court... Read More

Georgia Supreme Court: Are Data Breach Victims Entitled To Damages? Litigation
Georgia Supreme Court: Are Data Breach Victims Entitled To Damages?

ATLANTA — In the spring of 2016, a cyber thief calling himself the “Dark Overlord” hacked into the databases of a Clarke County medical clinic and emerged with the personal information of an estimated 200,000 patients. The Athens Orthopedic Clinic refused to pay the hacker’s ransom... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top