A deeper look into Gamble vs. United States and the plausible legal changes ahead


Laws across the globe vary by country. Each democratic governing nation has the ability to continuously change law based off new case hearings. For the United States, their law dates back to English Common Law which is a historic period of protestant and catholic separation and reformation within the scope of religion being the basic premise for decision making under a jurisprudence court. When the United States separated from Great Britain and gained their freedom after the Revolutionary War, they were able to create their own government and do it in a truly democratic way. Although the French were honest pioneers of democracy, the United States took their own spin on government making it a republic of democracy where states would govern themselves, but federal law would continue to always trump state law. The United States of America sends representatives each election term from the electoral college to vote in favor or against the upcoming candidates and laws. Although the situation of having an electoral college has been persistently argued in recent years, it still remains the way of decision making during elections.

Although historically recognized as English Common Law, today the United States often changes law based off of the judiciary branch. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear cases throughout each term year and then deliberate and decide on how to move forward with either citations or a changing the law itself with new verbiage that creates current accuracy. Frequently, it is stereotypically thought that law is only created by the U.S. Congress, yet that type of thinking can be highly inaccurate because case law frequently determines going forward.

The interesting understanding of case law is that it takes a higher intellectual knowledge and thorough understanding of previous cases. Case law is determined by previous precedent. A lawyer in hopes of getting his or her case to SCOTUS will first have to argue in a state court then appeal to a state supreme court of appeals before being granted a SCOTUS case. SCOTUS is the highest court in the United States with 9 justices on the bench. As cases are scheduled to be heard, the public informants generally take their stance on the situation explaining possible outcomes of each decision that could be made. In one recent case heard, Gamble vs. United States, the instance of the double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment on the Constitution is under review.

Terance Martez Gamble was convicted for possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon. Gamble petitioned to SCOUT that the separate sovereigns exception in the fifth amendment can elicit double jeopardy because a person can be tried in both a state and federal court. Gamble was tried in a federal court and given a sentence duration of one year. After appealing, he was tried again in a federal court and sentenced to 46 months in prison. The claims of his legal federal criminal defense team are that being tried for the same crime is a double jeopardy. The double jeopardy clause claims that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime; however, under federal jurisdiction of the between state and federal court, a person can be tried in each court. Gamble vs. United States was argued on Dec. 6th 2018, but the ruling is still pending. This case could determine a factor of things regarding the legal future of the United States. First, the Special Counsel investigation into the Trump campaign is concerned due to the fact that this case, if ruled in the favor of Gamble, could not allow states to hear cases from people that president Donald Trump has pardoned at the federal level. It also calls into question a further logical review of double jeopardy and the entire due process for appellate courts. The special rule involving separate sovereigns exception is because the United States is built on the foundations that states govern themselves. It would create an odd facet of combined legal gray area between state and federal courts. The reasoning behind the dual sovereignty doctrine is more than just keeping a healthy separation between courts; it also is in place for the understanding that state offenses may greatly differ from federal offenses. Given the varying underlying differences the prosecution of federal criminal defense and prosecution at the state level, this is why SCOUTS has upheld the dual sovereignty doctrine within the Fifth Amendment which also explains double jeopardy.

Legal analyst argue over which side is correct, but at the current moment, it is truly up to SCOTUS to make their decision for the future of the United States. Some lawyers that are in favor of Gamble make claims that the sovereignty clause is essentially one large loophole for state and federal courts to get away with double jeopardy. The individuals in favor of the United States believe that keeping a separate sovereign doctrine allows further emphasis on the fact that states govern themselves and appellate courts are in place for important reasons.

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