U.S. v. Snell, 78-1686

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Citation592 F.2d 1083
Docket NumberNo. 78-1686,78-1686
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Edward Frank SNELL, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date12 March 1979

Page 1083

592 F.2d 1083
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Edward Frank SNELL, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 78-1686.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
March 12, 1979.

Page 1084

Sanford Svetcov, Chief Asst. U. S. Atty. (argued), San Francisco, Cal., for plaintiff-appellant.

Paul H. Alvarado (argued), San Francisco, Cal., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Before CARTER, BRIGHT, * and CHOY, Circuit Judges.

CHOY, Circuit Judge:

The Government appeals from the district court's dismissal of an indictment against Snell. We reverse and remand.

I. Statement of the Case

Snell was originally convicted of attempted extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and conspiracy to commit bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 2113(a). On appeal, this court affirmed the conspiracy conviction but reversed the extortion conviction. United States v. Snell, 550 F.2d 515 (9th Cir. 1977) (Snell I ). We held that Snell could not properly be charged for attempted extortion because "the bank robbery statute provides the exclusive remedy for conduct within its coverage." Id. at 518. 1

Page 1085

On remand, the Government obtained an indictment charging Snell with attempted bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). Snell moved for dismissal on the grounds that the prosecution would violate his rights under the double jeopardy and due process clauses of the Constitution. The district court dismissed the indictment.

II. Double Jeopardy Claim

Snell contends that given his conviction for conspiracy to commit bank robbery and attempted extortion, the double jeopardy clause precludes a subsequent prosecution for attempted bank robbery arising from the same transaction. In Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304, 52 S.Ct. 180, 76 L.Ed. 306 (1932), the Supreme Court observed that the double jeopardy clause is implicated only when a defendant is tried twice for the same offense. As we wrote recently in Walker v. Loggins, (9th Cir. 1979), slip op. 377:

Where the same act constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test laid down in Blockburger . . . for determining whether there are two offenses or only one is "whether each provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not." (Citations omitted.)

Id. at slip op. 379. Because establishing a conspiracy to commit bank robbery and attempted extortion involves proof of facts not required for establishing attempted bank robbery, and Visa versa, we conclude that under Blockburger and Walker, Snell's claim does not implicate the double jeopardy clause.

Snell relies heavily upon Justice Brennan's concurring opinion in Abbate v. United States, 359 U.S. 187, 79 S.Ct. 666, 3 L.Ed.2d 729 (1959). Justice Brennan wrote:

(T)o permit the Government statutorily to multiply the number of offenses resulting from the same acts, and to allow successive prosecutions of the several offenses, rather than merely the imposition of consecutive sentences after one trial of those offenses, would enable the Government to "wear the accused out by a multitude of cases with accumulated trials." (Citation omitted.) Repetitive harassment in such a manner goes to the heart of the Fifth Amendment protection.

Id. at 199-200, 79 S.Ct. at 673. This alternative standard, however, has not been adopted by the Supreme Court or this court; in Walker we reaffirmed our adherence to the traditional Blockburger standard. Id. slip op. 379. Moreover, as discussed in part III infra, the Government's conduct here did not constitute "repetitive harassment." 2 In short,

Page 1086

the district court erred in dismissing the indictment on the basis of the double jeopardy clause.

III. Due Process Claim

The Government contends that its second prosecution did not violate Snell's due process rights. Snell refers to decisions like United States v. Ruesga-Martinez, 534 F.2d 1367 (9th Cir. 1974). There the prosecutor initially charged the defendant with a misdemeanor. When the defendant refused to waive certain procedural rights, the prosecutor filed a felony information. We wrote:

(W)hen the prosecution has occasion to reindict the accused because the accused has exercised some procedural right, the prosecution bears a heavy burden of proving that any increase in the severity of the alleged charges was not motivated by a vindictive motive.

Id. at 1369; See Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 94 S.Ct. 2098, 40 L.Ed.2d 628 (1975). 3

Page 1087

In the present case the Government's second indictment charged Snell with a crime attempted bank robbery having the same maximum sentence as the attempted extortion charge reversed by this court in Snell I. 4 Moreover, we cannot ascribe vindictiveness to the Government's charging for attempted bank robbery after this court in Snell I reversed the attempted extortion conviction because attempted bank robbery was the proper charge. In short, we have here neither an "increase in the severity of the alleged charge" nor a "vindictive motive."

IV. Petite Policy

Snell argues that a Department of Justice policy known as the Petite policy bars the second prosecution. In United States v. Petite, 361 U.S. 529, 80 S.Ct. 450, 4 L.Ed.2d 490 (1960), the Supreme Court, at the request of the Solicitor General, remanded a case to the lower courts with instruction to dismiss the indictment against the defendant. The Solicitor General asked for the dismissal because he felt that the prosecution violated

the general policy of the Federal Government "that several offenses arising out of a single transaction should be alleged and tried together and should not be made the basis of multiple prosecutions, a policy dictated by considerations both of fairness to defendants and of efficient and orderly law enforcement."

Id. at 530, 80 S.Ct. at 451. The Department of Justice has also applied the same philosophy to successive state-federal prosecutions:

No Federal case should be tried when there has been a state prosecution for substantially the same act or acts without a recommendation having been made to the Assistant Attorney General demonstrating compelling Federal interests for such prosecution.

United States Attorney's Manual § 9.2.142; See Rinaldi v. United States, 434 U.S. 22, 24 n. 5, 98 S.Ct. 81, 54 L.Ed.2d 207 (1977); Petite, 361 U.S. at 531, 80 S.Ct. 450; United States v. Mikka, 586 F.2d 152, 153 (9th Cir. 1978) U. S. appeal pending, --- U.S. ----, 99 S.Ct. 1247, 59 L.Ed.2d 474 (1979). Snell argues that the second prosecution violated the Petite policy as it applies to successive...

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