People v. Staple, 2016 IL App (4th) 160061 (December). Episode 317 (Duration 21:49)
This case does a great job of digging down into the very basics of double jeopardy.
You Ever Notice…
You ever notice how at the end of a case that has been reversed and remanded for a new trial judges are very careful to include a line that says that Defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
What’s that all about?
The answer lies in the doctrine of double jeopardy.
Two DUI Charges
The case begins with the fact that the defendant was simultaneously charged with misdemeanor DUI and felony DUI charges exact same course of conduct.
He had both a “DT” file and a “CF” file.
He plead guilty to the misdemeanor and moved the trial court to dismiss the felony charges, claiming double jeopardy had attached when he plead to the misdemeanor.
The trial court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss.
The reviewing court reversed this decision.
When a defendant pleads guilty to lesser included offenses he has not been exposed to conviction on the charges to which he pleaded not guilty, nor has the State had the opportunity to marshal its evidence and resources more than once or to hone its presentation of its case through a trial.
The acceptance of a guilty plea to lesser included offenses while charges on the greater offenses remain pending, moreover, has none of the implications of an implied acquittal which results from a verdict convicting a defendant on lesser included offenses rendered by a jury charged to consider both greater and lesser included offenses.
There simply isn’t any of the governmental overreaching that double jeopardy is supposed to prevent.
Defendant was well aware of the pending felony charges when he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges. Additionally, the State has not marshaled its resources and evidence more than once or honed its presentation of the case through a trial on the misdemeanor charges.
Accordingly, the court concluded double jeopardy does not bar the State from pursuing the felony charges that were pending at the time defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser-included misdemeanor charges.
See also the Double Jeopardy Resource Page.