Double Jeopardy Is Always Unfair

Double Jeopardy Is Always Unfair

May 06, 2009
Originally published in The Washington Examiner

David Bass aptly criticizes the unfairness of the federal hate crimes bill and the false reasoning of the leftwing religious activists who back it.

This bill lets people found not guilty in state court be prosecuted all over again in federal court. That exploits a loophole in constitutional protections against double jeopardy. As constitutional historians like Leonard Levy have noted, the right against double jeopardy goes back to the era of the Bible and ancient Rome, and finds support in the Old and New testaments.

Joel Hunter, a religious adviser to Barack Obama, claims that the bill—which covers anti-gay crimes — is justified by Jesus’ example of protecting a woman from stoning after she committed adultery. But the Bible never suggests that double jeopardy stops being unfair simply because an alleged crime is anti-gay.