The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment enforces the Fifth Amendment guarantee against double jeopardy of the same crime under state law.[1]See, e.g., Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436 (1970).

The double jeopardy concept – that is, being subjected to criminal liability for the same crime – is simple. However, slight variations in the actual criminal indictments can take a second prosecution out of range of the double jeopardy prohibition. This can be seen in RICO prosecutions in which different predicate acts are claimed under the pattern of racketeering in the federal claim and in the state law claim. This is how certain criminal activity can be caught in the web of both federal and state prosecution. What appears on the surface as double jeopardy is, in fact, based on differing claims of criminal conduct in the particular indictments, state and federal. This concept has been held up in the courts.[2]See, e.g., U.S. v. Russotti, 717 F2d. 27 (1983).

© 2022 Ralph D. Davis


1 See, e.g., Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436 (1970).
2 See, e.g., U.S. v. Russotti, 717 F2d. 27 (1983).