Difference Between Double Jeopardy and Res Judicata
Our Supreme Court in People v. Davis (1995) 10 Cal. 4th 463 41 Cal. Rptr. 2d 826, 896 P.2d 119 noted the subtle differences between Double jeopardy and the traditional doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel:
"Double jeopardy precludes reprosecution for an offense of which a defendant has been acquitted or to which jeopardy has otherwise attached. Res judicata gives conclusive effect to a final judgment on the merits in subsequent litigation of the same controversy.
Collateral estoppel bars relitigation of an issue decided in a previous proceeding in a different cause of action if '
(1) the issue necessarily decided at the previous proceeding is identical to the one which is sought to be relitigated;
(2) the previous proceeding resulted in a final judgment on the merits;
(3) the party against whom collateral estoppel is asserted was a party or in privity with a party at the prior proceeding.' Citations." (Id. at pp. 514-515, fn. 10.)
Although the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel have long been established in civil law, their application in criminal cases is of a more recent vintage. (7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Judgment, 280-372, pp. 821-944; 1 Witkin & Epstein, Cal. Criminal Law (2d ed. 1988) Defenses, 340, pp. 394-395; United States v. Oppenheimer (1916) 242 U.S. 85 37 S. Ct. 68, 61 L. Ed. 161, 3 A.L.R. 516 (Oppenheimer); Frank v. Mangum (1915) 237 U.S. 309, 333-334 35 S. Ct. 582, 589-590, 59 L. Ed. 969.)
Early in the 20th century, the United States Supreme Court recognized the doctrine of res judicata should apply in criminal as well as civil cases:
"It is a fundamental principle of jurisprudence, arising from the very nature of courts of justice and the objects for which they are established, that a question of fact or of law distinctly put in issue and directly determined by a court of competent jurisdiction cannot afterwards be disputed between the same parties.
The principle is as applicable to the decisions of criminal courts as to those of civil jurisdiction." (Frank v. Mangum, supra, 237 U.S. at pp. 333-334 35 S. Ct. at pp. 589-590; see also Oppenheimer, supra, 242 U.S. at pp. 87-88 37 S. Ct. at p. 69.)