Jeffers v. United States

Decision Date16 June 1977
Docket NumberNo. 75-1805,75-1805
PartiesGarland JEFFERS, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Rehearing Denied Oct. 3, 1977. See 434 U.S. 880, 98 S.Ct. 241.

Syllabus

A federal grand jury returned two indictments against petitioner for offenses under 21 U.S.C. One charged him and nine others with violating § 846 by conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine during a specified period in violation of § 841(a)(1), the indictment specifying, inter alia, that the conspiracy was to be accomplished by petitioner's assumption of leadership of a certain organization, by distribution of controlled substances, and by acquisition of substantial sums of money through such distribution. The other charged petitioner alone with violating § 848, which prohibits conducting a continuing criminal enterprise to violate the drug laws, by his distributing and possessing with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in violation of § 841(a)(1) during the same specified period, the indictment alleging that he had undertaken the distribution "in concert" with five or more others, with respect to whom he occupied the position of organizer and supervisor, and that as a result of the distribution he had obtained a substantial income. The court denied a motion by the Government to consolidate the indictments for trial, which the petitioner and his codefendants had opposed on the grounds that neither the parties nor the charges were the same and that, based on the overt acts charged, much of the § 846 evidence would not inculpate petitioner and would therefore be inadmissible against him on the § 848 charge. Petitioner and six codefendants were first tried and found guilty on the § 846 indictment, petitioner receiving the maximum sentence applicable to him of 15 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, and three-year special parole term, and the conviction was affirmed on appeal. Petitioner then moved to dismiss the § 848 indictment on the ground that in the § 846 trial he had already been placed in jeopardy for the same offense and that the "same evidence" rule of Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 52 S.Ct. 180, 76 L.Ed. 306, barred the second prosecution since a § 846 conspiracy was a lesser included offense of a § 848 continuing criminal enterprise. Following denial of petitioner's motion on the ground that the offenses were separate, petitioner was tried and found guilty of the § 848 offense, and was given the maximum sentence for a first offender, viz., life imprisonment and a $100,000 fine, to run consecutively with the § 846 sentence. The Court of Ap- peals, although concluding that § 846 was a lesser included offense of § 848 and that the earlier conviction would normally under Blockburger bar the subsequent prosecution, held that Iannelli v. United States, 420 U.S. 770, 95 S.Ct. 1284, 43 L.Ed.2d 616, created a new double jeopardy rule applicable only to complex statutory crimes, where greater and lesser offenses could be separately punished if, as here, Congress so intended. Petitioner challenged the Iannelli interpretation and also contended that the Double Jeopardy Clause was violated by the prosecution on the greater offense and conviction of the lesser and that he had not waived the double jeopardy issue. Held : The judgment is affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. Pp. 147-158; 160.

532 F.2d 1101, affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.

Mr. Justice BLACKMUN, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice POWELL, and Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, concluded:

1. Petitioner's action in opposing the Government's motion to consolidate the indictments for trial deprived him of any right he might have had against consecutive trials and the Government was therefore entitled to prosecute petitioner for the § 848 offense. This result is an exception to the rule established in Brown v. Ohio, 432 U.S. 161, 97 S.Ct. 2221, 53 L.Ed.2d 187, that the Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits the trial of a defendant for a greater offense after he has been convicted of a lesser included offense, being no different from other situations where a defendant enjoys protection under the Double Jeopardy Clause but for one reason or another may be retried. Here petitioner, who could have been tried in one proceeding, chose not to adopt that course and therefore was solely responsible for the separate prosecutions. Pp. 147-154.

2. It cannot be assumed that Congress intended to impose cumulative penalties under §§ 846 and 848, and petitioner is therefore entitled to have the fine imposed at the second trial reduced so that the two fines together do not exceed $100,000. Pp. 154-158.

Mr. Justice WHITE concluded that Iannelli v. United States, supra, controls this case and therefore concurs in the judgment with respect to petitioner's conviction. P. 158.

Mr. Justice STEVENS, joined by Mr. Justice BRENNAN, Mr. Justice STEWART, and Mr. Justice MARSHALL, concurs in the judgment to the extent that it vacates the cumulative fines. P. 160.

Stephen C. Bower, Kentland, Ind., for petitioner.

William F. Sheehan, III, Washington, D. C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BLACKMUN announced the judgment of the Court and an opinion in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice POWELL, and Mr. Justice REHNQUIST join.

This case involves the extent of the protection against multiple prosecutions afforded by the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, under circumstances in which the defendant opposes the Government's efforts to try charges under 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 848 in one proceeding. It also raises the question whether § 846 is a lesser included offense of § 848. Finally, it requires further explication of the Court's decision in Iannelli v. United States, 420 U.S. 770, 95 S.Ct. 1284, 43 L.Ed.2d 616 (1975).

I

A. According to evidence presented at trial, petitioner Garland Jeffers was the head of a highly sophisticated narcotics distribution network that operated in Gary, Ind., from January 1972 to March 1974. The "Family," as the organization was known, originally was formed by Jeffers and five others and was designed to control the local drug traffic in the city of Gary. Petitioner soon became the dominant figure in the organization. He exercised ultimate authority over the substantial revenues derived from the Family's drug sales, extortionate practices, and robberies. He disbursed funds to pay salaries of Family members, commissions of street workers, and incidental expenditures for items such as apartment rental fees, bail bond fees, and automobiles for certain members. Finally, he maintained a strict and ruthless discipline within the group, beating and shooting members on occasion. The Family typically distributed daily between 1,000 and 2,000 capsules of heroin. This resulted in net daily receipts of about $5,000, exclusive of street commissions. According to what the Court of Appeals stated was "an extremely conservative estimate," 1 petitioner's personal share from the operations exceeded a million dollars over the two-year period.

On March 18, 1974, a federal grand jury for the Northern District of Indiana returned two indictments against petitioner in connection with his role in the Family's operations. The first, No. H-CR-74-56, charged petitioner and nine others with an offense under 21 U.S.C. § 846,2 by conspiring to distribute both heroin and cocaine during the period between November 1, 1971, and the date of the indictment, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).3 App. 5- 11. The indictment specified, among other things, that the conspiracy was to be accomplished by petitioner's assumption of leadership of the Family organization, by distribution of controlled substances, and by acquisition of substantial sums of money through the distribution of the controlled substances. Id., at 6. The second indictment, No. H-CR-74-57, charged petitioner alone with a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848, which prohibits conducting a continuing criminal enterprise to violate the drug laws.4 Like the first, or conspiracy, indictment, this second indictment charged that petitioner had distributed and possessed with intent to distribute both heroin and cocaine, in violation of § 841(a)(1), again between November 1, 1971, and the date of the indictment. As required by the statute, the indictment alleged that petitioner had undertaken the distribution "in concert with five or more other people with respect to whom he occupied a position of organizer, supervisor and manager," and that as a result of the distribution and other activity he had obtained substantial income. App. 3-4.

Shortly after the indictments were returned, the Government filed a motion for trial together, requesting that the continuing-criminal-enterprise charge be tried with the general conspiracy charges against petitioner and his nine codefendants. Id., at 12-14. The motion alleged that joinder would be proper under Fed.Rule Crim.Proc. 8, since the offenses charged were of the same or similar character and they were based on the same acts or transactions constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. It also represented that much of the evidence planned for the § 848 trial was based on the same transactions as those involved in the § 846 case. Consequently, it argued that joinder was appropriate and within the court's power pursuant to Fed.Rule Crim.Proc. 13.

The defendants in the § 846 case filed a joint objection to the Government's motion. App. 15-24. Petitioner and his nine codefendants argued generally that joinder would be improper under Fed.Rules Crim.Proc. 8 and 14, since neither the parties nor the charges were the same. The codefendants were particularly concerned about the probable effect of the evidence that would be introduced to support the continuing-criminal-enterprise charge and about the jury's ability to avoid confusing the two cases. Another argument in the objection focused directly on petitioner.5 It noted that the § 846 i...

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