Court Rules Double Jeopardy Also Applies To State Trials

1969

In Benton v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court says the double jeopardy clause “represents a fundamental ideal of our constitutional heritage.” As such, the court extends double jeopardy protections to defendants in state court trials, reversing its 1937 decision Palko v. Connecticut in which it said the double jeopardy clause did not apply to states. In Benton, the justices cite the 14th Amendment’s prohibition on state governments from limiting liberty without due process. Double jeopardy, they say, violates the due process rights of the accused.