IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Double Jeopardy Protection from Successive Prosecution: A Proposed Approach

Listed author(s):
  • Anne Poulin

    (Villanova Law School)

Registered author(s):

    The Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution protects criminal defendants against being repeatedly prosecuted for the same offense. However, when two separate charges do not fit the definition of same offense, the prosecution is free to pursue those charges in successive proceedings. The Supreme Court has adopted a narrow definition of the same offense, leaving the government wide latitude to bring successive prosecutions based on a single criminal episode. This approach threatens the demise of double jeopardy protection against successive prosecution. This article proposes an approach that will provide more effective double jeopardy protection while giving due consideration to legitimate government interests. First, the courts should adopt a broad definition of the term "same offence", encompassing all charges arising from a single criminal transaction. The courts must recognize that the quest for a satisfactory narrower definition of same offense has been failed; the definitions that have been considered are either too narrow to give substance to double jeopardy protection or so broad that they imbue the protection with too great a reach. Second, the courts should temper the impact of the broad definition with a balancing approach. The courts should not enforce an absolute prohibition on successive prosecutions for the same offense. Instead, they should recognize that government interests in successive prosecution sometimes outweigh the defendant's double jeopardy interests.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Villanova University School of Law in its series Villanova University Legal Working Paper Series with number villanovalwps-1012.

    in new window

    Date of creation:
    Handle: RePEc:bep:villwp:villanovalwps-1012
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:villwp:villanovalwps-1012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.