The Blockburger Test
What is the "Blockburger" test ?
In United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S. 688, 125 L. Ed. 2d 556, 113 S. Ct. 2849 (1993) the defendant, Dixon, had been placed on a conditional release which prohibited any further violations of the law.
If Dixon violated this condition, he would be subject to not only a revocation of release and order of detention, but also prosecution for contempt. Id.
Subsequently to his release, the defendant was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Id. a criminal contempt hearing was held. 509 U.S. at 691-92.
The court found Dixon guilty of criminal contempt, and he was sentenced to 180 days. Id.
His indictment for possession of cocaine was later dismissed on double jeopardy grounds since the crime violating the condition of release was the same as the violated crime. Id.
The court in Dixon noted that a criminal contempt charge which is enforced in a nonsummary proceeding is a "crime in the ordinary sense." 509 U.S. at 696.
court then relied on the "same elements" test, sometimes referred to as the "Blockburger" test, which requires a court to inquire whether each offense requires an element not found in the other; if not, the crimes are the "same offence" and the Double Jeopardy Clause bars successive prosecutions and punishments. Id.
The court noted that "the 'crime' of violating a condition of release" could not be "abstracted from the 'element' of the violated condition;" therefore, it was double jeopardy to prosecute Dixon for the crime of possession of cocaine. 509 U.S. at 698-99. for reasons discussed below, Dixon is not applicable to the case at bar.