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A Second Bite of the Apple

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A Second Bite of the Apple
Kimberly Richards
Kaplan University

Dual Sovereignty Doctrine
“Dual sovereignty doctrine provides that when a defendant in a single act violates the “peace and dignity” of two sovereigns by breaking the laws of each, he has committed two distinct “offences” for double jeopardy purposes. In applying the doctrine, the crucial determination is whether the two entities that seek successively to prosecute a defendant for the same course of conduct can be termed separate sovereigns. This determination turns on whether the prosecuting entities’ powers to undertake criminal prosecutions derive from separate and independent sources. It has been uniformly held that the states are separate sovereigns with respect to the federal government because each states’ power to prosecute derives from its inherent sovereignty, preserved to it by the Tenth Amendment, and not from the federal government. Give the distinct sources of their powers to try a defendant, the states are no less sovereign with respect to each other than they ae with respect to the Federal Government.” (Heath v. Alabama, 474 U.S. 82 (1985) Pp. 437 -439)

A Second Bite of the Apple
Double jeopardy clause prevents the government from prosecuting a person accused of a crime more than once for the same offense. To bar from retrying the accused if the prior prosecution had progressed to the point in which jeopardy had attached; if it involved the same offenses; and if both prosecutions where brought by the same governing entity. (Kanovitz, J. (2015) pg. 474)
If double jeopardy was as straight forward as it appears there wouldn’t be a vast load of case law arguing whether it had been violated by the government. There are two sources of difficulty that applies to double jeopardy, first is the “same offense” and the second the meaning of punishment. The Blockburger test is the most widely used approach to determine whether the charges are being brought under the same penal code or different based on the elements of the crime. (Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932)

U.S v. Angleton, 221 F.Supp. 2nd 696 (2002)
Elements of commission of murder for hire resulting in death are: 1) travel in or causing another to travel in interstate commerce, or using or causing another to use the mail or any facility in interstate or foreign commerce; with 2) intent that a murder be committed in violation of state law; 3) as consideration for a promise or agreement to pay anything of pecuniary value; 4) resulting in a death. (18 U.S.C.A. § 1958) Even when separate offenses contained the same elements, prosecutions by separate sovereigns for crimes arising out of the same acts are not barred by double jeopardy. (U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 5) In 1997, Robert Angleton was indicted by a Texas grand jury for capital murder of his wife. The grand jury indictment accused Angleton of promising to pay his brother for killing his wife. Angleton was acquitted in 1998. In 2002, a federal grand jury indicted Angleton for federal murder under the murder for hire statute. Angleton moved to dismiss the federal indictment based on his prior acquittal of the state murder charges. Prior to the murder, Angleton and his wife had filed for divorce. Due to Angleton’s criminal activity and agreeing to be an informant he was very familiar with both state and federal law enforcement. During the investigation of his wife’s murder, the investigators attention shifted to Angleton after unusual activity was uncovered for the time period prior to and just after the murder. The investigators uncovered evidence of communications between Angleton and his brother prior to and after the murder via mail. At the time Angleton’s brother resided to San Diego, California, which required him to travel back and forth to Texas. Both Angleton and his brother were arrested in Las Vegas. They were held without bond pending trial during which time Angleton’s brother committed suicide. A note was found in his cell confessing to the murder of Doris Angleton. He stated that he was solely responsible for the murder. On August 12, 1998 Angleton was acquitted of the capital murder charges in Texas. Six months after his acquittal the FBI began an investigation of Angleton’s criminal activity, which did not include the murder of his wife. In 2000, the U.S. Attorney’s office requested that the FBI expand their investigation to include the murder of Doris Angleton under the federal law, murder for hire. The FBI conducted interviews with the jury panel from the state case, trying to determine what caused them to acquit. In the FBI’s initial investigation of Angleton it included charges of violation of the RICO law, money laundering and income tax evasion which Angleton received a “no billed” from the federal grand jury. The federal grand jury did return a three-count indictment which included conspiring to commit murder for hire. Angleton challenged the three-count indictment under the double jeopardy clause, stating the indictment was based on the involvement of the states with the federal investigation. He also stated that the federal murder for hire statute, 18 U.C.S. § 1958, incorporated the Texas capital murder statute, meaning there was no separate basis for the federal prosecution. The government argued that under Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit case law, which the dual sovereignty doctrine provides the federal government a separate sovereign from the state, to allow for the federal prosecution. The Fifth Circuit held it is the defendant’s burden for establishing a “prima facie” nonfrivolous double jeopardy claim. Prima facie – At first look, or on its face, which the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented at trial. (

Under the Blockburger test, Angleton must show the indictment for the state and federal case are the same offense. (Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932) Dual sovereign doctrine rest on the notion that a defendant whose conduct violates laws of separate sovereigns has committed separate crimes by the same act. (U.S v. Lanza, 260 US 377 (1922) The courts denied Angleton’s motion to dismiss.

References Heath v. Alabama, 474 U.S. 82 (1985) Pp. 437 -439)
Kanovitz, Jacueline R. (2015). Constitutional Law For Criminal Justice- pg. 474
Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932)
U.S v. Angleton, 221 F.Supp. 2nd 696 (2002)
18 U.S.C.A. § 1958
U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 5
Prima facie – retrieved from -
U.S v. Lanza, 260 US 377 (1922)
Murder for hire double jeopardy – all states all federal
Results – cases 188 Statutes 68 Regulations 50 Secondary sources 75 Briefs 65
Multiple state conviction double jeopardy – all states all federal
Results – cases 10,000 Statutes 1360 Regulations 40 Secondary 191 Briefs 13
Offenses, elements, and issues foreclosed/doctrine of dual sovereign – all states all federal
Results – cases 75 Statutes 50 Regulations 50 Secondary sources 70 Briefs 64
Dual sovereignty – all states all federal
Results – cases 2631 Statutes 157 Regulations 89 Secondary sources 169 Briefs 947
Murder, multiple, states, double jeopardy
Results – cases 4140 Statutes 520 Regulations 50 Secondary sources 104 Briefs 171

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