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Reasons for Double Jeopardy Protection

Five policy considerations underpin the right against double jeopardy, sometimes known as the right against former jeopardy:

  1. preventing the government from employing its superior resources to wear down and erroneously convict innocent persons;
  2. protecting individuals from the financial, emotional, and social consequences of successive prosecutions;
  3. preserving the finality and integrity of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised were the government allowed to arbitrarily ignore unsatisfactory outcomes;
  4. restricting prosecutorial discretion over the charging process; and
  5. eliminating judicial discretion to impose cumulative punishments that are otherwise not clearly prohibited by law.
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