Different Federal Court, Different Holding: Washington holds NJP convictions do not preclude Federal Court charges for the sam

Different Federal Court, Different Holding: Washington holds NJP convictions do not preclude Federal Court charges for the same offense

Similar to the facts of Espinosa, the defendant was a serviceman who was charged with drunken operation of a motor vehicle on a military installation who subsequently agreed to Article 15 Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP). After being charged and sentenced, the defendant was charged in federal court for the same offense and invoked the defense of double jeopardy. The court held justified its position by noting the Article 15 proceeding is non-judicial in nature.

The court referenced both the legislative history of Article 15, holding that Congress did not intend for NJP's to be considered criminal proceedings. The court cited Title 10, United States Code, § 815 which states that NJPs are "disciplinary punishments for minor offenses." Additionally the court, utilizing a Kennedy analysis concluded that the punishments rendered from NJP's were not so severe as to be considered a criminal proceeding.

In short, until SCOTUS grants cert to clear up the alternate holdings, there is no clear answer concerning whether or not NJPs preclude subsequent federal charges for the same offense. That said, it is worth noting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the court's holding.

Citations

United States v. Reveles (W.D. Wash. Oct. 20, 2010)

United States v. Reveles (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2011)

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