Double Jeopardy Applies To State Trials

1969

At first the Bill of Rights was seen as a limitation on the federal government’s powers, not on the state government. In Benton v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the double jeopardy clause represents a fundamental ideal of “our constitutional heritage,” and extends double jeopardy protection to defendants in state court trials. The justices also cite the Fourteenth Amendment’s prohibition on state governments limiting liberty without due process. Double jeopardy, they rule, violates the due process rights of the accused.