State v. Robertson

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Utah Code prohibits subsequent state prosecution of the “same offense” for which defendant was convicted in federal court. Robertson was convicted by the federal government for possession of child pornography. The state subsequently charged him with 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor based on the same conduct. Robertson cited Utah Code section 76-1-404: [i]f a defendant‘s conduct establishes the commission of one or more offenses within the concurrent jurisdiction of this state and of another jurisdiction, federal or state, the prosecution in the other jurisdiction is a bar to a subsequent prosecution in this state if . . . the former prosecution resulted in an acquittal, conviction, or termination . . . and the subsequent prosecution is for the same offense. The Utah Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 404, in State v. Franklin, permitted subsequent prosecutions by different sovereigns, for the same offense. The court of appeals affirmed Robertson‘s convictions. The supreme court reversed, overruling Franklin and holding that the statute’s use of the phrase “same offense” is an express rejection of the dual sovereignty doctrine. Section 404 requires courts to employ only the Blockburger-Sosa test: two offenses are not the same if each requires proof of an element that the other does not. Section 404, properly interpreted, prohibits the state from prosecuting Robertson. View "State v. Robertson" on Justia Law