WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court declined on Monday to change the long-established rule that multiple charges against someone for the same crime would not violate the protection of the Constitution from a double threat – a case because of its potential impact Attracting attention to the Constitution Former President Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
The 7-2 verdict was a defeat for Alabama man Terance Gamble, convicted of robbery in 2008 and pulled over seven years later for a traffic violation. When the police found a handgun in his car, he was prosecuted under Alabama's law. Criminals were not allowed to own firearms. The local US attorney accused Gamble of violating a similar federal law. Due to the additional federal conviction, his sentence was extended by nearly three years.
The fifth amendment states that no one may be "twice in mortal danger" for the same offense. However, for more than 1
The case attracted more than the usual attention due to the prospect that Trump could pardon Manafort, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for violating federal fraud laws. A presidential pardon could release him from federal custody, but would not protect him from being prosecuted for similar government charges filed by New York. The abolition of the rule, which allows separate prosecution for the same offenses, would have worked in favor of Manafort.
Gamble's lawyer, Louis Chaiten of Cleveland, said the founders of the nation understood protection against double exposure to ban every second prosecution for the same offense. Under English common law, the roots of American law, there was no exception to "separate sovereigns." A person could not be brought to justice in England if he had already been tried in another country for the same offense.
Chaiten also argued that the states and the federal government are not really independent and instead part of a complete national system. He quoted Alexander Hamilton, who described them as "related systems, part of a whole."
And Chaiten said Congress had compounded the problem by dramatically increasing the number and scope of federal laws in recent years, and creating more duplication with the state – something that was never considered in previous court rulings and which allowed a double prosecution.
The Trump administration said, however, that the long-standing double-hazard rule allowed states and the federal government to pursue diverging interests without disturbing each other. Changing the current understanding by excluding subsequent prosecutions would allow foreign courts to foreclose US trials for crimes against Americans, the government said.
Civil rights groups also said the provision allowed the federal government to prosecute notorious civil rights violations that states were unwilling or unable to prosecute.
Gambles argument appealed to some of the court's liberals and conservatives. Two years ago, Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, along with Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, stated that the court's earlier rulings on a double risk call for a "new trial".