Supreme Court Upholds Dual-Sovereignty Doctrine Allowing Parallel Criminal Prosecutions At Home and Abroad

July 1, 2019

On June 17, 2019, in a decision interpreting the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause, the United States Supreme Court in Gamble v. United States upheld the doctrine of dual-sovereignty.

In doing so, the Court confirmed that one sovereign may prosecute a defendant under its laws even if another sovereign has already prosecuted the defendant for the same conduct, notwithstanding the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against multiple prosecutions for the “same offence.” While Gamble does not represent a shift in the law, the Court’s opinion has implications for companies facing parallel investigations by the Department of Justice and other prosecutors, whether state or foreign authorities. 

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