I’m no scholar in the area of jurisprudence. I have an intuitive problem with double jeopardy. What justifies this moral position? I mean it does seem problematic to charge a man infinite times with the same crime. But certain cases make us question whether we should invoke another principle. Here is double jeopardy:
The Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime. The relevant part of the Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall . . . be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . . “
Scope of the Double Jeopardy Rule
Not every sanction qualifies under the Double Jeopardy rule. Typically, only sanctions which can be considered as “punishment” would qualify under the rule.
What if at a later time we acquire evidence that incriminates an individual? Suppose a video is discovered of a crime and we can identify the person as the individual that was let out? It seems intuitive for us to sentence that person with the crime still.
In Canada, a similar thing occurred where a woman signed an agreement with her prosecutors and received 12 years for rape, murder, and covering up other rapes of her former husband. Here are the basic facts of the case:
The tapes, which have been shown to the jury, contain a six-minute segment in which Homolka and Bernardo sexually assault her drugged and unconscious 15-year-old sister, Tammy, who choked to death on her own vomit shortly after the attack ended early on the morning of Dec. 24, 1990. There is also footage from a similar incident with another teenaged girl known only as Jane Doe, who survived the attack and is expected to testify against Bernardo. Homolka’s deal shields her from prosecution, however, for these incidents or any other crimes, provided she disclosed her involvement. …
Homolka spent her first week on the stand dealing with events from October, 1987, when she met Bernardo, until the June, 1991, death of 14-year-old Mahaffy, her wedding two weeks later, and the August, 1991, assault on Jane Doe. She then provided a riveting account of the final horror-filled days of 15-year-old French, whom she and Bernardo kidnapped on April 16, 1992, while the teenager was walking home from school. They held her for almost 72 hours in their St. Catharines bungalow, where she was sexually assaulted and savagely beaten, before murdering her on the morning of April 19 – Easter Sunday – because they were expected later that day at her parents’ house for a family dinner. Homolka testified that she could have released French on two occasions when Bernardo went out for food, but decided against it because she was frightened of having to deal with the police, or her enraged husband.
Stashed away in the roof of their Port Dalhousie home were the incriminating videotapes. Homolka revelling in her twisted debauchery.
And despite Homolka lying and breaking her end of the deal, the Crown chose not to renege on the deal which would have seen the veterinary assistant jailed for life.
Instead, the cold-hearted killer was a beneficiary of Attorney General Marion Boyd, who saw Homolka as a victim.
Boyd would not budge from her preferred narrative.
Homolka did all of her 12 years — in relative luxury compared to her husband locked away in the dreary and drafty, now-closed Kingston Penitentiary. She enjoyed conjugal visits and lesbian affairs while caged.
Karla Leanne Homolka (born May 4, 1970), also known as Leanne Teale, is a Canadian serial killer who, with her first husband Paul Bernardo, raped and murdered at least three minors. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy.
However, videotapes of the crimes surfaced after the plea bargain and demonstrated that she was a more active participant than she had claimed. As a result, the deal that she had struck with prosecutors was dubbed in the Canadian press the “Deal with the Devil”. Public outrage about Homolka’s plea deal continued until her high-profile release from prison in 2005.
It seems that she should have been imprisoned for life, but given an arbitrary agreement she had an easy 12 years and is currently free and living in Canada.