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Defendant's Claims of Exemption to the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine and Sham Prosecution Rejected

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By FindLaw Staff on March 31, 2010 1:42 PM

US v. Mardis, No. 09-5696, involved a district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss a federal indictment for civil rights murder of an enforcement officer and related crimes, claiming a violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause because the federal indictment was brought subsequent to defendant's nolo contendere plea on a related charge in state court.

As stated in the decision: "Here, however, the cooperation and coordination was less than that which took place in Bartkus, which the Supreme Court found not to constitute a sham prosecution.  The agencies cooperated substantially in their investigations of the crimes and appear to have coordinated the timing of their prosecutions.  While federal and state authorities cooperated in the investigation of Wright's disappearance, this is an admirable use of resources that the courts have found not to be problematic."

Thus, the court held that the facts of the case does not rise to the level of a sham prosecution so as to qualify for the exemption to the dual sovereignty doctrine and rejected the defendant's argument that the doctrine is against public policy. 

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