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NCJ Number: 76450 Find in a Library
Title: Double Jeopardy Limits on Prosecutorial Appeal of Sentences
Journal: Duke Law Journal  Dated:(1980)  Pages:847-877
Author(s): T B Edwards
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 31
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This note examines the constitutionality of appellate court review of sentences in view of the double jeopardy clause's limitations on government appeals and prohibition on multiple punishments.
Abstract: The Supreme Court has determined that the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment protects defendants not only from prosecution for the same offense after an acquittal, but also from a second prosecution after a conviction and from multiple punishments for a single offense. Enactment by Congress of the Dangerous Special Offender Sentencing Statute in 1970 raised the question of whether appellate review of sentences violates the double jeopardy clause's prohibition of multiple punishments. In the 1979 case of United States v. DiFrancesco, the first case in which the United States petitioned for appellate review of a sentence under the act, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the provisions of the statute providing for prosecutorial appeal were unconstitutional under the double jeopardy clause. The court of appeals' reasoning was unsound, however, as noted in a reversal of that decision by the Supreme Court. Government appeals do not offend the double jeopardy clause unless the defendant is subjected to multiple prosecutions. As appellate review of a sentence does not expose the defendant to the threat of a second prosecution, it clearly does not offend the double jeopardy clause's protection from multiple prosecutions. To determine if the Government's appeals of the sentence violates the multiple punishment doctrine, a court must consider whether the legislature has provided that the appeal in question is part of the sentencing process. Congress has the authority to define crimes and fix punishments. The appeal ensures that the punishments Congress intended to impose upon individuals convicted of a crime are in fact imposed on them. A defendant has not been punished a second time, in violation of the double jeopardy clause, until his punishment is fixed; for dangerous special offenders the first punishment is not fixed in the trial court if one of the parties requests appellate review. Thus, Congress's expansion of the sentencing function to include appellate courts does not constitute multiple punishment. Footnotes which include references are provided.
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Appellate courts; Judicial decisions; Right against double jeopardy; Sentence review; US Supreme Court; Violent offenders
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