Should the Supreme Court overrule the double jeopardy dual sovereign exception, which allows state and federal courts to separately try an individual for the same conduct?
The Supreme Court will rule on the separate-sovereigns doctrine, an exception to the Double Jeopardy Clause that permits both state and federal governments to prosecute an individual for offenses arising from the same conduct. Terance Gamble was prosecuted under both state and federal law for possession of a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime. Gamble argues that an exception for successive prosecutions by separate sovereigns is incompatible with the text of the Clause and the Framers’ intent, and that the Court should overrule contrary precedent. The Government counters that the text of the Constitution, historical context, and a long line of affirmative precedent support preservation of the exception. The Court’s decision in this case will have implications for Double Jeopardy protections, state and federal criminal law, and competition in criminal prosecutions between sovereigns.
Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
Whether the Supreme Court should overrule the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause.
On November 29, 2015, a police officer in Alabama pulled over Terance Gamble for a faulty headlight. Brief for Petitioner, Terance Gamble at 2. The officer smelled marijuana and decided to search Gamble’s car, where he found marijuana and a 9mm handgun. Id. at 2.
- Natasha Bertrand: A Supreme Court Case Could Liberate Trump to Pardon His Associates, The Atlantic (Sept. 25, 2018).
- Teri Kanefield & Jed Shugerman: Why the Big Double Jeopardy Supreme Court Case Isn’t a Threat to the Mueller Probe, Slate (Oct. 4, 2018).
- Peter A. Crusco: ‘Gamble v. United States’ and the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine, New York Law Journal (Oct. 22, 2018).