The United States Supreme Court has granted Certiorari in the case of Gamble v. United States that raises the issue of whether the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes prosecution for the same offense by the federal and State Government.
The case of Terrance Gamble involves a 2008 conviction from Alabama where he was convicted of second degree armed robbery. Both federal and state law barred him from possessing a firearm. Gamble was found in possession of a handgun. He was prosecuted by both the federal and state governments for being a felony in possession of a firearm. The defendant moved to dismiss the federal indictment on Double Jeopardy Grounds, as the federal charge was taken out after the State case was already pending. Relying on the separate sovereign doctrine, the court denied the motion to dismiss. The defendant entered a conditional plea preserving this issue for review.
The defendant argued that the plain meaning of the Double Jeopardy Clause is that no person should be punished for the same crime twice. The defense argued that cases prior to the formation of the Constitution from England rejected the separate sovereign doctrine. The defense argued that the separate sovereign doctrine came about from a prohibition case, United States v. Lanza, 260 U.S. 377 (1922) that was driven by policy considerations with the court not looking into the original intent behind the Double Jeopardy Clause. The defense argued that the doctrine was wrong from the start and the Court was deeply divided when the doctrine was formed.