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Breed v. Jones Case of 1975: Summary

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  • 0:02 Double Jeopardy Clause
  • 1:02 Gary Jones: Juvenile Offender
  • 2:06 Breed vs. Jones
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brittany McKenna

Brittany is a licensed attorney who specializes in criminal law, legal writing, and appellate practice and procedure.

The Breed v. Jones case was a landmark Supreme Court decision about the application of the Double Jeopardy clause in juvenile court proceedings. This lesson discusses the facts of the case, as well as the Supreme Court's analysis and conclusions.

Double Jeopardy Clause

Carl Criminal is arrested for breaking into the local liquor store. Police officers find Carl standing inside of the empty liquor store after he used a crowbar to pry open the back door. Carl is charged with burglary - unlawfully entering a building with the intention to commit a crime once inside.

Luckily, Carl's defense attorney is very experienced. After a short trial, the jury acquits Carl of the burglary charge. But as Carl leaves the courthouse, a police officer approaches him and slips a pair of handcuffs around his wrists. The officer tells Carl that he is under arrest for trespassing in the liquor store!

Despite what you may think about Carl's criminal behavior, prosecuting him twice for the same crime just doesn't seem fair. In fact, it's not simply unfair - it's unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the criminal prosecution of a defendant twice for the same crime. This provision of the Fifth Amendment is known as the double Jeopardy clause.

Gary Jones: Juvenile Offender

In 1971, 17-year-old Gary Jones was arrested and charged with committing armed robbery. Due to his age, Jones was tried in a juvenile court. After a hearing, the juvenile court judge concluded that Jones committed robbery. The juvenile court further concluded that Jones should be tried as an adult and ordered that the case be transferred to an adult court.

Jones asked the juvenile court to reconsider the transfer, arguing that he would be placed in double jeopardy if he were tried in adult court. Double jeopardy is a defense that forbids the criminal prosecution of a defendant for the same or similar charges after the defendant has already been convicted or acquitted of those charges. In other words, Jones argued that he would be prosecuted twice for armed robbery if the juvenile court transferred his case to an adult court.

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