California Double Jeopardy Cases - Retrial on a Prior Conviction

In Monge v. California, supra, 524 U.S. 721, the United States Supreme Court held that the double jeopardy clause does not preclude retrial on a prior conviction allegation in noncapital sentencing proceedings and accordingly affirmed our Supreme Court's judgment in Monge I, supra, 16 Cal. 4th 826. (Monge, supra, 524 U.S. at pp. 724, 734 118 S. Ct. at pp. 2248, 2253.) The court in Monge reasoned that because the double jeopardy clause protects against "successive prosecutions for the same offense after acquittal or conviction and against multiple criminal punishments for the same offense " (id. at pp. 727-728 118 S. Ct. at p. 2250), and a prior conviction determination neither is an element of the current offense nor increases the punishment for the previous offense, the clause does not apply to such decisions because they do not place a defendant in "jeopardy" for an offense. (Id. at pp. 728-729 118 S. Ct. at pp. 2250-2251.) The court in Monge, supra, 524 U.S. 721, further noted that although it had held reversals of convictions "on the ground that the prosecution proffered insufficient evidence of guilt" were comparable to an acquittal, "sentencing decisions favorable to the defendant . . . cannot generally be analogized to an acquittal." (Id. at p. 729 118 S. Ct. at p. 2251.) The court explained that this is so because the pronouncement of a sentence "does not 'have the qualities of constitutional finality that attend an acquittal." (Ibid.) The court noted that sentencing in the death penalty context was a " 'narrow exception' " to this general rule because of its " 'hallmarks of a trial on guilt or innocence,' . . ." and "the severity of the penalty at stake." (Id. at pp. 730-733 118 S. Ct. at pp. 2251-2253.) The court found that: "Where noncapital sentencing proceedings contain trial-like protections, that is a matter of legislative grace, not constitutional command. Many States have chosen to implement procedural safeguards to protect defendants who may face dramatic increases in their sentences as a result of recidivism enhancements. We do not believe that because the States have done so, we are compelled to extend the double jeopardy bar. Indeed, were we to apply double jeopardy here, we might create disincentives that would diminish these important procedural protections." (Id. at p. 734 118 S. Ct. at p. 2253.) Justice Stevens noted in his dissent in Monge, supra, 524 U.S. 721, that this case was the first in which the court had departed from the long-held rule that a retrial or resentencing is not permitted when the evidence at the first proceeding is insufficient as compared to there being legal error which infects the first proceeding. (Id. at pp. 735-737 118 S. Ct. at pp. 2255-2256 (dis. opn. of Stevens, J.).) Stevens thought California's decision to adopt procedural safeguards for defendants facing lengthy sentencing increases based on recidivist enhancements was "powerful evidence the State was responding to the traditional understanding of fundamental fairness which dates back centuries to the common-law plea of autrefois acquit and is buttressed by a special interest in finality--that undergrids the Double Jeopardy Clause." (Id. at pp. 736-737 118 S. Ct. at pp. 2254-2255 (dis. opn. of Stevens, J.).)