State v. Rawls

In State v. Rawls, 198 Conn. 111, 502 A.2d 374 (1985), a police detective, during a raid of an after-hours club, noticed the defendant place a black pouch on the bar and walk toward the exit. Id., 113. The defendant was stopped, and the detective inspected the bag and found a yellow spoon with a white powder residue, two glassine envelopes, a plastic bag and a film container, all of which held a white powder substance. Id. The defendant was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of narcotics. Id., 111-12. The defendant was convicted on both counts and sentenced to seven years incarceration on each count, the terms of which were to run consecutively. Id., 112. The sentence was subsequently modified to run concurrently. Id. On appeal, the defendant claimed that by convicting him of two counts of possession of narcotics for the simultaneous possession of heroin and cocaine, the court punished him twice for the same offense and thereby violated the double jeopardy provision of the United States constitution. Id., 119. The court in Rawls noted that "the double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment to the federal constitution protects not only against multiple trials but also against multiple punishments for the same offense. . . . With respect to cumulative sentences imposed in a single trial, the Double Jeopardy Clause does no more than prevent the . . . court from prescribing greater punishment than the legislature intended." Id., 120. The court held that the defendant's conviction and sentencing on both possession counts violated the double jeopardy clause and set aside the conviction on one count. Id., 122. Thus, the court determined that the appropriate procedural form for the remand to the trial court when multiple punishments have been imposed for the same offense is to vacate the conviction and the sentence on the additional count.