Most people know that there is an amendment to the Constitution that forbids double jeopardy. What some people might not realize is that this doesn't stop a person from facing similar cases in different court systems.
For example, a defendant can face criminal and civil charges for a crash that harmed someone. Alternatively, someone can face federal and state charges if their actions violated both sets of laws. This is what one Missouri man is facing for murdering the mother of his children.
The father of triplets who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing his wife after they had a meeting with a divorce attorney will have to face a federal charge associated with the murder. He is currently serving 20 years in prison as part of the plea deal he entered into for the strangling and beating of the woman.
Now, the man will have to answer in the federal court system because he moved her body from Missouri to an island in the Mississippi River that is located in Illinois. One condition of the plea deal was that the man lead investigators to the woman's body. He did this, but the plea deal didn't provide any immunity from federal charges.
The federal charge, interstate domestic violence, carries a possible life sentence. The U.S. District Judge in charge of the federal case recently ruled that the man is competent to stand trial on the federal charge. It doesn't appear that the man's attorney is going to fight this finding.
Those who are facing federal or state charges for violent crimes have a tough battle ahead of them. It is imperative that they find out what options they have for their defense. Some might be offered plea deals, which should usually be considered if the defendant is likely to be found guilty or if the prosecution has particularly compelling evidence against them.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Triplets' father, in prison for killing his wife, now faces federal charge," Jan. 11, 2017