The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a case in the fall to consider whether the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment bars states and the federal government from separately trying the same person for the same criminal offense.
The double jeopardy case stems from the prosecution of Terance Martez Gamble, who was pulled over by police in 2015 for a broken tail light. Marijuana paraphernalia and a firearm were found in the car during the stop.
“Current precedent allows such prosecutions by ‘separate sovereigns.’ If the court overrules its prior precedent, it could make it more difficult for a state to try someone who has been pardoned by the federal government if trial proceedings had already begun for the federal offense,” said Stephen Vladeck, CNN’s Supreme Court analyst and a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
Gamble was previously barred from owning a firearm in relation to a robbery, and he served a year in prison after the state of Alabama convicted for illegal possession after he was pulled over in 2015. The federal government also charged Gamble for the same crime, and he’s currently serving time in a federal facility.
The court’s decision to consider the case comes a day after the end of the court’s summer session, which was capped by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Many states, including New York, prohibit the trial of individuals who have been convicted for the same offense by the federal government.