“Double Jeopardy” is more than just a question on a gameshow, it is the rule of law that protects citizens from being tried twice for the same crime. However, did you know that a defendant charged for the same crime in State court and Federal court can be tried twice without violating Double Jeopardy rules? That may change soon as the United States Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue.
Allowing prosecutions at both the State and Federal level for the same crime has long been an issue Defense Attorneys have argued against. The reason it can be done is because the states and the federal government are considered “separate sovereigns” meaning each that when a defendant in a single act breaks a state and a federal crime, it is considered two separate and distinct offenses allowing for dual prosecution.
The issue comes to light anew because of an Alabama man, Terrance Gamble, who was prosecuted both at the State and Federal level for being a felon in possession of a firearm.