So in the last edition of our series, we were talking about cases, wherein the principle of double jeopardy did not apply. So we will continue from where we stopped and show how it applies to our story, STATE v. ALAEFULE (2020) LPELR-49789(CA). In this case, the trial court, held that the accused in his subsequent Charge HOR/2C/2012, raised a preliminary objection seeking to have the information/charge against him dismissed as the information constitutes a double jeopardy. The Appeal Court held that
“A person who does not show that he has been tried before any Court of competent jurisdiction on the same offense with the same facts and was either acquitted or convicted, cannot take cover under the stated doctrine.” “Further, it is the duty of the applicant who asserts to prove that both offences are indeed the same;”The two charges stood independently of each other. Therefore, no double jeopardy would be suffered by the Respondent by the trial in HOR/2C/2012, which was a completely different offense with different elements that the prosecution would be required to prove”
The above is self explanatory. Now,back to our story since, the victim sued Anna and Alex for fraud, attempted murder,misrepresentation amongst others and NOT MURDER, the principle of Double Jeopardy will not cover them.
In the United States Legal System, the exceptions to the principle of Double Jeopardy include:
- The first exception to a ban on retrying a defendant is if, in a trial, the defendant bribed the judge into acquitting him or her, since the defendant was not in jeopardy. Aleman v. Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 138 F.3d 302 (7th Cir. 1998).
- The other exception to a ban on retrying a defendant is that a member of the armed forces can be retried by court-martial in a military court, even if he or she has been previously acquitted by a civilian court. SBM Blog (14 November 2011). “Double Jeopardy and the Military: A Sensational Case in Point – SBM Blog”. Sbmblog.typepad.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- An individual can be prosecuted by both the United States and an Indian tribe for the same acts that constituted crimes in both jurisdictions; it was established by the Supreme Court in the United States v. Lara that as the two are separate sovereigns, prosecuting a crime under both tribal and federal law does not attach double jeopardy. “The United States v. Lara – Brief (Merits)”. www.justice.gov. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
- Multiple punishments, including prosecution after conviction. In Blockburger v. United States (1932), the Supreme Court announced the following test: the government may separately try and punish the defendant for two crimes if each crime contains an element that the other does not.
Conclusively, according to Dr. Caroline Derry: the double jeopardy rule is an important protection for individuals against the abuse of state power. It stops police and prosecutors from repeatedly investigating and prosecuting the same individual for the same crime without very good reason.