Prosecution For Conspiracy To Commit Crime And For Crime Itself Is Upheld

1992

In U.S. v. Felix, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it does not violate double jeopardy for a defendant to be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit a crime (in this case, conspiracy to manufacture, possess, and distribute illegal drugs) and for the crime itself (in this case, manufacture and possession of illegal drugs). Although it violates double jeopardy to prosecute a defendant for one crime and for a “lesser included offense” of that crime (such as in Whalen, 1980), the Court says that “a conspiracy to commit a crime is a separate offense from the crime itself.”

Announcing an exception to its 1990 decision in Grady v. Corbin, the Court also rules that it is not a double jeopardy violation for the prosecution in an Oklahoma trial to use some of the “same conduct” that was used against the defendant in prosecuting him for the same charges in a Missouri trial: “[A] mere overlap in proof between two prosecutions does not establish a double jeopardy violation.”