Friday, September 23, 2016

Dual sovereignty at work

Everyone knows about double jeopardy, but because of the American federal system, the Fifth Amendment does not bar sequential prosecution by state and federal (including military) authorities. This is called the "dual sovereignty" doctrine. Here's a prime example, as reported by The Virginian-Pilot. A state court in Virginia imposed a six-month sentence on a sailor who shot a friend. Because the Navy and the victim's family deemed that an inadequate punishment, a second trial ensued, this time before a court-martial -- and another two years in prison.

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