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SCOTUS Again Upholds Double Prosecution and Punishment for the Same Crime

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  • SCOTUS Again Upholds Double Prosecution and Punishment for the Same Crime

    This is bullshit. It is double jeopardy.

    The federal government prosecuted Merle Denezpi twice for the same crime. It also punished him twice: the first time with 140 days in a federal detention center, the second time with a prison sentence more than 70 times as long.

    Although that may seem like an obvious violation of the Fifth Amendment's ban on double jeopardy, the Supreme Court last week ruled that it wasn't. As the six justices in the majority saw it, that puzzling conclusion was the logical result of the Court's counterintuitive precedents on this subject.

    The Fifth Amendment says no person shall "be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." But under the Court's longstanding "dual sovereignty" doctrine, an offense is not "the same" when it is criminalized by two different governments.

    That doctrine allows serial state and federal prosecutions for the same crime, opening the door to double punishment or a second trial after an acquittal. Although neither seems just, the Court says both are perfectly constitutional.

    The justices reaffirmed that view in a 2019 case involving a man with a felony record who was convicted twice and punished twice for illegally possessing a gun -- first in state court, then in federal court. Although the elements of the crime were the same in both cases, the majority said, the two prosecutions did not amount to double jeopardy because they involved two different "sovereigns."

    Justice Neil Gorsuch strenuously dissented in that case. "A free society does not allow its government to try the same individual for the same crime until it's happy with the result," he wrote. "Unfortunately, the Court today endorses a colossal exception to this ancient rule against double jeopardy."

    CARTOONS | GARY VARVEL
    VIEW CARTOON
    Gorsuch, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented again last week. Even the "colossal exception" created by the dual-sovereignty doctrine, he said, is not big enough to encompass the two cases against Denezpi, both of which were pursued by the federal government under federal law.

    In 2017, Denezpi and a woman identified as V.Y. in court papers, both members of the Navajo Nation, traveled to Towaoc, Colorado, a town within the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation where Denezpi's girlfriend lived. V.Y. alleged that Denezpi sexually assaulted her during the trip, while he maintained that the encounter was consensual.

    After federal officials charged Denezpi with three crimes, he pleaded no contest to assault and battery, which is defined by tribal law but also punishable under the Code of Federal Regulations by up to six months in jail. A Court of Indian Offenses, part of a system established by the Department of the Interior, sentenced Denezpi to time served: 140 days.

    Accepting V.Y.'s allegations as true, most people would view that penalty as excessively lenient, and federal prosecutors in Colorado evidently agreed. Six months after Denezpi completed his Interior Department sentence, the Justice Department charged him with aggravated sexual abuse, which resulted in a 30-year federal prison term.
    Rest at link.

    https://townhall.com/columnists/jaco...round-n2609087

    Mark
    Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

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  • #2
    That's a bunch of bullshit.

    This is not going to end well.
    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

    -John Locke

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    • #3
      Originally posted by scott View Post
      That's a bunch of bullshit.

      This is not going to end well.
      I agree. So if you have a state jury, or a county jury, or a city jury, you can be tried any number of times.

      Mark
      Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

      "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

      Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

      Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

      Comment


      • #4
        Whaddya know, case where I agree with the dissenting justices Gorsuch, Kagan and Sotomayor.

        The heart of it is in these words, "... most people would view that penalty as excessively lenient...." I dimly recall that people at large were outraged at the lenient treatment given defendents of racially charged cases by "all-white juries." Defendents would be tried a second time for violating the civil rights of the victim. It was a second bite at the apple, plain and simple, but it answered a serious complaint about unequal treatment before the law.

        I have no doubt it has been abused to serve political ends. If you give government power, it will be used. Maybe I should add and abused. Anyway, for the time being at least, a correction will have to wait, I guess.
        • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama.
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        • #5
          This is not new. I also do not agree with it. I haven't given it a lot of thought since my law school days, but quite frankly I think that perhaps federal crimes should be limited to those that are not applicable in state court, or vice versa. I don't know. But it is definitely a flaw in our two tiered system of state and federal government. Recall that even though states could legalize marijuana usage, the feds could still outlaw it, so you could still be subject to criminal sanctions at the federal level for smoking marijuana in a state that permitted it.
          Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
          Robert Southwell, S.J.

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          • #6
            I dunno. Reading the opinion, it would appear that he was not actually prosecuted for the same crime. He performed the B&E, for which the Indian authorities prosecuted him (he took an Alford), and then he was prosecuted for sexual assault performed after he had committed the B&E.

            I think that this is a bit unique because it's Indian authority jurisdiction, but let's take that out of the equation for the moment.

            Let's suppose that (God forbid) someone commits a burgle at Celeste's home, and then they rape and murder HRH. Now, obviously, I would never wish this upon anyone, but from a legal standpoint, they are separate violations of the law: the commission of the burgle, the rape, and the murder. Now, typically, in any state court, Joe Blow who did this would be charged with at least three counts: burglary (probably enhanced; in Tennessee it would be called Especially Aggravated Burglary, other places probably Burglary in the First Degree), rape (again, Especially Aggravated or First Degree), and either murder or manslaughter (almost certainly First Degree Murder because it occurred during the commission of another felony, triggering the Felony Murder doctrine).

            Is anyone here going to say that Celeste shouldn't get the justice of Joe Blow getting charged with all three crimes? Now, chances are that he's going to get some manner of plea agreement that will put him in Folsom for pretty much the rest of his life, but he's going away for a very, very long time in any sort of just society.

            Now, I have been bitching for decades that people who get arrested for armed robbery or something like that getting the gun charge thrown out. I would be one hell of a hypocrite if I said Joe Blow should somehow being subject to double jeopardy and therefore shouldn't be prosecuted for holding a gun to HRH's head. He committed the fucking crime, and he should do the fucking time.
            Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
            No one will be denied:
            Big law suits and bathroom toots;
            We're all getting Dixie-fried.
            But somewhere Hank and Lefty
            Are rollin' in their graves
            While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Adam View Post
              I dunno. Reading the opinion, it would appear that he was not actually prosecuted for the same crime. He performed the B&E, for which the Indian authorities prosecuted him (he took an Alford), and then he was prosecuted for sexual assault performed after he had committed the B&E.

              I think that this is a bit unique because it's Indian authority jurisdiction, but let's take that out of the equation for the moment.

              Let's suppose that (God forbid) someone commits a burgle at Celeste's home, and then they rape and murder HRH. Now, obviously, I would never wish this upon anyone, but from a legal standpoint, they are separate violations of the law: the commission of the burgle, the rape, and the murder. Now, typically, in any state court, Joe Blow who did this would be charged with at least three counts: burglary (probably enhanced; in Tennessee it would be called Especially Aggravated Burglary, other places probably Burglary in the First Degree), rape (again, Especially Aggravated or First Degree), and either murder or manslaughter (almost certainly First Degree Murder because it occurred during the commission of another felony, triggering the Felony Murder doctrine).

              Is anyone here going to say that Celeste shouldn't get the justice of Joe Blow getting charged with all three crimes? Now, chances are that he's going to get some manner of plea agreement that will put him in Folsom for pretty much the rest of his life, but he's going away for a very, very long time in any sort of just society.

              Now, I have been bitching for decades that people who get arrested for armed robbery or something like that getting the gun charge thrown out. I would be one hell of a hypocrite if I said Joe Blow should somehow being subject to double jeopardy and therefore shouldn't be prosecuted for holding a gun to HRH's head. He committed the fucking crime, and he should do the fucking time.
              If the crime is adjudicated then it should not be charged by some other court.
              "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

              -John Locke

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by scott View Post
                If the crime is adjudicated then it should not be charged by some other court.
                Yes, but like I said, it appears to actually be two different crimes prosecuted in their respective jurisdictions, which is entirely common and always has been. If i get caught for possession with intent, but in the process of searching for the drugs, they also discover a counterfeiting operation I have going on, then Tennessee is going to prosecute me for the possession with intent, and then the DOJ is going to prosecute me for counterfeiting (something for which a state cannot prosecute).

                Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
                No one will be denied:
                Big law suits and bathroom toots;
                We're all getting Dixie-fried.
                But somewhere Hank and Lefty
                Are rollin' in their graves
                While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

                Comment

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