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Double Jeopardy

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  • November 2011
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Angela Williams
Professor, Dr. Louis C. Minifield
April 25, 2011
Seminar Criminal Law and Procedure CJ 501

Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy is a clause within the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution that prohibits an individual from being tried twice for the same criminal offense. If a person murders an individual, he or she can not be convicted twice of murder for the same offense. According the United States Constitution of the America, Amendment V (1791) clearly states “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….” Double jeopardy is very complex, but there are certain principles involved that are clear in violation of ones constitutional right not to be placed in jeopardy twice for the same offense. Although, double jeopardy protects defendants from being prosecuted more than once for the same crime, there are a few exceptions to the rule. In addition, there are five policies put in place that provides specific reasons for the protection against double jeopardy. Those policies include: a) preventing the government from erroneously convicting innocent persons; b) protecting subjects from repetitive emotional, financial, and social ramifications of prosecutions; c) safeguarding the irrevocability and reliability of criminal proceedings, which could cause negotiation if the government was allowed to randomly ignore outcomes; d) limiting prosecutorial prudence over the accusation process; and e) eliminating judicial diplomacy to enforce collective punishments that...

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