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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
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No Double Jeopardy in U.S. & Navy Charges

(CN) - Federal prosecutors in Washington did not violate double jeopardy when they convicted a Navy crew member of drunken driving after a military tribunal had punished him for the same offense, the 9th Circuit ruled Monday.

Military police tagged Robert Reveles in 2009 for driving drunk on Kitsap Naval Base in Bremerton. After finding Reveles guilty in a nonjudicial proceeding, the Navy reduced his pay by $316 per month, fined him $200, shouldered him with extra duties for 45 days and restricted him to ship for just as long.

Federal prosecutors later charged Reveles with the same crime. Reveles pleaded not guilty and moved to dismiss the charge based on violations of the U.S. Constitution's double-jeopardy clause.

He later entered a conditional guilty plea and appealed the issue after a magistrate judge in Seattle the motion to dismiss.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton agreed with the magistrate judge and dismissed the appeal last October. Reveles was sentenced to 24 hours in jail and fined $375.

Reveles then appealed to the 9th Circuit, but a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court rejected his argument on Monday from Seattle.

The panel agreed with the government that double jeopardy did not apply to the case because the Navy's non-judicial proceeding (NJP) against Reveles was not a criminal trial.

"Although NJP may result in 30 days of confinement at hard labor and has historically been regarded as punishment, most of the factors indicate that NJP is noncriminal in nature," wrote U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford, sitting on the panel by designation from Santa Ana, Calif. "Thus, the government's criminal prosecution of Reveles was not barred by the double jeopardy clause."

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