459 U.S. 359 (1983), 81-1214, Missouri v. Hunter

Docket Nº:No. 81-1214
Citation:459 U.S. 359, 103 S.Ct. 673, 74 L.Ed.2d 535
Party Name:Missouri v. Hunter
Case Date:January 19, 1983
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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459 U.S. 359 (1983)

103 S.Ct. 673, 74 L.Ed.2d 535

Missouri

v.

Hunter

No. 81-1214

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 19, 1983

Argued November 10, 1982

CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MISSOURI,

WESTERN DISTRICT

Syllabus

A Missouri statute provides that any person who commits any felony under the laws of the State through the use of a dangerous or deadly weapon is also guilty of the crime of armed criminal action punishable by imprisonment for not less than three years, which punishment shall be in addition to any punishment provided by law for the felony. Another Missouri statute provides that any person convicted of the felony of first-degree robbery by means of a dangerous and deadly weapon shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years. Respondent, as the result of a robbery of a supermarket in which he used a revolver, was convicted in a Missouri state court of both first-degree robbery and armed criminal action, and, pursuant to the statutes, was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 10 years for robbery and 15 years for armed criminal action. The Missouri Court of Appeals reversed respondent's conviction and sentence for armed criminal action on the ground that his sentence for both robbery and armed criminal action violated the protection against multiple punishments for the same offense provided by the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment as made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. The court construed the robbery and armed criminal action statutes as defining the "same offense" under the test announced in Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, i.e., where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutes, the test for determining whether there are two offenses, or only one, is whether each statute [103 S.Ct. 675] requires proof of a fact which the other does not.

Held: Respondent's conviction and sentence for both armed criminal action and first-degree robbery in a single trial did not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause. Pp. 365-369.

(a) With respect to cumulative sentences imposed in a single trial, the Double Jeopardy Clause does no more than prevent the sentencing court from prescribing greater punishment than the legislature intended. Pp. 365-368.

(b) Simply because two criminal statutes may be construed to proscribe the same conduct under the Blockburger test does not mean that the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes the imposition, in a single trial, of cumulative punishments pursuant to those statutes. Whalen v. United States, 445 U.S. 684; Albernaz v. United States, 450 U.S. 333. The

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rule of statutory construction whereby cumulative punishments are not permitted "in the absence of a clear indication of contrary legislative intent," Whalen, supra, at 692, is not a constitutional rule requiring courts to negate clearly expressed legislative intent. Accordingly, where, as here, a legislature specifically authorizes cumulative punishment under two statutes, regardless of whether those statutes proscribe the "same" conduct under Blockburger, a court's task of statutory construction is at an end, and the prosecution may seek and the trial court or jury may impose cumulative punishment under such statutes in a single trial. Pp. 368-369.

622 S.W.2d 374, vacated and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS, J., joined, post, p. 369.

BURGER, J., lead opinion

CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court. We granted certiorari to consider whether the prosecution and conviction of a criminal defendant in a single trial on both a charge of "armed criminal action" and a charge of first-degree robbery -- the underlying felony -- violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

I

On the evening of November 24, 1978, respondent and two accomplices entered an A & P supermarket in Kansas City,

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Missouri. Respondent entered the store manager's office and ordered the manager, at gunpoint, to open two safes. While the manager was complying with the demands of the robbers, respondent struck him twice with the butt of his revolver. While the robbery was in progress, an employee who drove in front of the store observed the robbery and went to a nearby bank to alert an off-duty police officer. That officer arrived at the front of the store and ordered the three men to stop. Respondent fired a shot at the officer and the officer returned the fire, but the trio escaped.

Respondent and his accomplices were apprehended. In addition to being positively identified by the store manager and the police officer at trial and in a lineup, respondent made an oral and written confession which was admitted in evidence. At his trial, respondent offered no direct evidence, and was convicted of robbery in the first degree, armed criminal action, and assault with malice.

Missouri's statute proscribing robbery in the first degree, Mo.Rev.Stat. § 560.120 (1969), provides:

Every person who shall be convicted of feloniously taking the property of another from his person, or in his presence, and against his will, by violence to his person, or by putting him in fear of some immediate injury to his person; or who shall be convicted of feloniously taking the property of another from the person of his wife, servant, clerk or agent, in charge thereof, and against the will of such wife, servant, clerk or agent by violence to the person of such wife, servant, [103 S.Ct. 676] clerk or agent, or by putting him or her in fear of some immediate injury to his or her person, shall be adjudged guilty of robbery in the first degree.

Missouri Rev.Stat. § 560.135 (Supp.1975) prescribes the punishment for robbery in the first degree and provides in pertinent part:

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Every person convicted of robbery in the first degree by means of a dangerous and deadly weapon and every person convicted of robbery in the first degree by any other means shall be punished by imprisonment by the division of corrections for not less than five years. . . .

Missouri Rev.Stat. § 559.225 (Supp.1976) proscribes armed criminal action and provides in pertinent part:

[A]ny person who commits any felony under the laws of this state by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous or deadly weapon is also guilty of the crime of armed criminal action and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment by the division of corrections for a term of not less than three years. The punishment imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be in addition to any punishment provided by law for the crime committed by, with, or through the use, assistance, or aid of a dangerous or deadly weapon. No person convicted under this subsection shall be eligible for parole, probation, conditional release or suspended imposition or execution of sentence for a period of three calendar years.

Pursuant to these statutes, respondent was sentenced to concurrent terms of (a) 10 years' imprisonment for the robbery; (b) 15 years for armed criminal action; and (c) to a consecutive term of 5 years' imprisonment for assault, for a total of 20 years.

On appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals, respondent claimed that his sentence for both robbery in the first degree and armed criminal action violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Missouri Court of Appeals agreed. and reversed respondent's conviction and 15-year sentence for

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armed criminal action. 622 S.W.2d 374 (1981). The Court of Appeals relied entirely upon the holding of the Missouri Supreme Court opinions in State v. Haggard, 619 S.W.2d 44 (1981); Sours v. State, 593 S.W.2d 208 (Sours I), vacated and remanded, 446 U.S. 962 (1980); and Sours v. State, 603 S.W.2d 592 (1980) (Sours II), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1131 (1981). The State's timely alternative motion for rehearing or transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court was denied by the Court of Appeals on September 15, 1981. The Missouri Supreme Court denied review on November 10, 1981.

We granted certiorari, 456 U.S. 914 (1982), and we vacate and remand.

II

The Missouri Supreme Court first adopted its challenged approach to the Double Jeopardy issue now before us in Sours I, supra.1 In that case, as here, the defendant was convicted and sentenced separately for robbery in the first degree and armed criminal action based on the robbery. The Missouri Supreme Court concluded [103 S.Ct. 677] that, under the test announced in Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932), armed criminal action and any underlying offense are the "same offense" under the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause. That court acknowledged that the Missouri Legislature had expressed its clear intent that a defendant

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should be subject to conviction and sentence under the armed criminal action statute in addition to any conviction and sentence for the underlying felony. 593 S.W.2d at 216. The court nevertheless held that the Double Jeopardy Clause "prohibits imposing punishment for both armed criminal action and for the underlying felony." Id. at 223 (footnote omitted). It then set aside the defendant's conviction for armed criminal action.2

When the State sought review here in Sours I, we remanded the case for reconsideration in light of our holding in Whalen v. United States, 445 U.S. 684 (1980). Missouri v. Sours, 446 U.S. 962 (1980). On remand, in Sours II, supra, the Missouri Supreme Court adhered to its previous ruling that armed criminal action and the...

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