Double Jeopardy/ProbationI have a friend that is facing (felony)criminal charges,so b/c he was arrested, he is facing VOP on a technical violation.It gets more confusing b/c he is NJ Probation,PA...

Double Jeopardy/Probation

I have a friend that is facing (felony)criminal charges,so b/c he was arrested, he is facing VOP on a technical violation.It gets more confusing b/c he is NJ Probation,PA supervision. The criminal charges are in PA.Long story short,he is taking the criminal charges to trial,but he was recently told that even if he is aquited in PA,that NJ could still bring him in for a VOP hearing and possibly revoke his probation.I am not a moron and understand that one is "criminal" and one is "technical",but if the "technical" is coming from the "criminal",and he is found "not guilty" of the "criminal" how can they pursue the "technical", in my opinion,they are using the technical vs. criminal as a way to circumnvent probationers civil liberties,and well,it is just out-right,constitutionally offensive.So my first question is,is that correct,that even if aquitted he will face VOP hearings?  My next question is,does anybody else find it disgusting that a child molester does less time that an armed robber?What the hell is the point of the Constitution if it is not upheld? Sadly the Constitution of the United States has become nothing more than a tale told by an idiot,full of sound and fury,signifying nothing.

Expert Answers
dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Each state has autonomy over their own laws, therefore every state has the right to make their own law. If a VOP in the state of sentence occurs that person can be brought up on additional charges, technical or otherwise from that state. (for example leaving said state) If another state has a law that prohibits an individual on probation from any other state from entering their state, that is an entirely different law and those who violate it are subject to penalty. Taking criminal charges from one state does not absolve the individual from another states' charges even if one stems from the other.  

I sympathize with your frustration, however your interpretation of the Constitution's 5th Amendment is not accurate with regard to your friend. The 5th Amendment clause of Double Jeopardy states that an individual cannot be tried twice for the same crime in the same court. From a legal perspective N.J. statutes (laws) have nothing to do with Penn. statutes, therefore the individual was charged with two separate crimes.  If this is the case with regard to your friend, and neither state law conflicted with Constitutional law the 5th Amendment right guaranteed by The Bill of Rights was not violated. 

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I understand your frustration.  It's a difficult situation to say the least.  Since most crimes are state crimes (I am assuming this is), the laws vary greatly, and the fact we're dealing with two jurisdictions complicates matters a lot.

Without knowing all of the details (and perhaps even if I did) I can't give you any sort of definitive answer on this case.  Let me paint a hypothetical that may be similar though.  A person is accused of armed robbery in Pennsylvania.  He is acquitted, but the gunmen he was with is convicted.  Since it has been proven that the man who was acquitted was with the gunmen, even though he was found not guilty of the crime, he is guilty of Parole Violation for consorting with a known felon.  Was he found not guilty but had a gun on him? Drugs in his system? Outside the travel area of his parole?  There are a hundred things they can "violate" you for in terms of parole.  So it is possible.  Not fun and frustrating, to say the least, but legally possible.

I have no answer on what to do with child molesters that would be both Constitutional and just. 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly this situation has upset you. I’m not sure if I followed everything correctly, but what’s at question here might be the difference levels of evidence required for convictions on "criminal" vs. "technical" charges. Perhaps technical has a lower burden of proof.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the above poster stated there are many ways in which an individual can violate the terms of their probation without doing anything "criminally" wrong. It is my understanding that each individuals parole is set up individually and may not be like someone elses.

epollock | Student

Since the case has many different angles and issues, and is complicated, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible so that you can receive accurate and timely information on the best way to resolve these issues. You have to do this as soon as you can.