United States v. Reveles

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-24-2011
  • Case #: 10-30313
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Guilford for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

It is not a violation of double jeopardy rights for a defendant to be punished in a non-judicial punishment proceeding and a federal prosecution proceeding.

Robert Reveles was found guilty of drunk driving by the Navy in violation of Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice ("UCMJ"), which is considered to be a non-judicial punishment ("NJP") proceeding. Reveles was sentenced to forfeiture of pay, a pay reduction, extra duty for 45 days and being restricted to ship for 45 days. Reveles was also charged with drunk driving by the federal government. Reveles filed a motion to dismiss the federal charge claiming it violated his double jeopardy rights. The magistrate judge and the district court judge both denied his motion to dismiss, and Reveles appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment prevents a person from serving multiple criminal punishments for the same offense. The Ninth Circuit had to determine whether Congress intended a NJP proceeding implemented by the Navy to be a criminal punishment. The Ninth Circuit found based on the plain meaning, legislative history, and differing burdens of proof between the two separate proceedings, Congress did not intend a NJP proceeding to be criminal in nature. The Ninth Circuit then determined that the NJP issued by the Navy was not punitive enough to transform itself into a criminal punishment. Although NJP has been historically considered punishment and can include confinement, the NJP did not involve a scienter requirement, the NJP had a purpose to promote positive behavior in servicemembers and maintain military order, and NJP is not excessive punishment compared to its purpose. This factor analysis led the court to conclude that Congress intended NJP to be noncriminal in nature and therefore the federal prosecution was not barred by the Double Jeopardy clause. AFFIRMED.

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