Reasons for Double Jeopardy Protection
Five policy considerations underpin the right against double jeopardy, sometimes known as the right against former jeopardy:
- preventing the government from employing its superior resources to wear down and erroneously convict innocent persons;
- protecting individuals from the financial, emotional, and social consequences of successive prosecutions;
- preserving the finality and integrity of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised were the government allowed to arbitrarily ignore unsatisfactory outcomes;
- restricting prosecutorial discretion over the charging process; and
- eliminating judicial discretion to impose cumulative punishments that are otherwise not clearly prohibited by law.