Double Jeopardy Essay

633 Words3 Pages
At what stage in the criminal justice process does double jeopardy attach itself to the proceedings? . Double Jeopardy attaches when the jury is empanelled, the first witness is sworn, or a plea is accepted. Once jeopardy has attached, the full array of the Fifth Amendment protections against multiple prosecutions and multiple punishments takes hold. The double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from prosecuting individuals more than one time for a single offense and from imposing more than one punishment for a single act. The Constitution states “No person shall…be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.” Most state constitutions guarantee this right to defendants appearing in state court. States that do not specifically assure the right of double jeopardy in their laws, must still ensure the right to criminal defendants. States must uphold this right due to the guarantee in the Fifth Amendment by means of the doctrine of incorporation. Benton v. Maryland, 39 U.S. 784, 89 S. Ct. 2056, 23 L. Ed.2d 707 (1969), supports the the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause is relevant to both state and federal proceedings. Prior to this ruling, an individual accused of violating state law could rely only on that specific state’s protection against double jeopardy. Some states offered greater protection against double jeopardy then others do, and commonly the level of protection offered is less than that offered under the federal Constitution. The Supreme Court said this was impermissible. The constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy was designed to protect individuals from being subjected to the threat of trial and possible conviction for more than one time for an alleged offense. The five considerations that support the right against
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