Monday, November 4, 2013

North Carolina v. Pearce case brief

North Carolina v. Pearce case brief summary
395 U.S. 711 (1969)

CASE SYNOPSIS
In these consolidated appeals, the State challenged decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the reversal of defendants' convictions and sentences on the grounds that the longer sentences imposed upon their retrials were unconstitutional.

DISCUSSION

  • The State contended that the sentences imposed upon defendants were not unconstitutional. 
  • The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's decisions. 
  • The constitutional guarantee against multiple punishments for the same offense required that punishment already exacted had to be fully "credited" in imposing sentence upon a new conviction for the same offense. 
  • Neither the double jeopardy provision of the Constitution nor the Equal Protection Clause imposed an absolute bar to a more severe sentence upon a defendant's reconviction. 
  • However, due process of law required that vindictiveness against a defendant for having successfully attacked his first conviction had to play no part in the sentence he received after a new trial. 
  • Due process also required that a defendant be freed of apprehension of such a retaliatory motivation on the part of the sentencing judge. 
  • The State failed to offer adequate reasons to impose increased sentences upon defendants.

CONCLUSION

The Court affirmed the appellate court's decisions reversing the convictions and sentences.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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