Two men committed a double murder in rural Maine in 1990. Only one pulled the trigger. The state prosecutor decided to try them separately, but that was a mistake, and both were acquitted. Then the Feds came in, and sentenced one man to life in prison for a crime he was already acquitted of doing. How is this possible in America? The answer is a loophole in criminal law. Today we examine that loophole by looking at the Thanksgiving Day murders in Maine, and the constitutional challenges this loophole has survived over the years. Guest voices include Sharon Mack, Gerald Leonard of Boston University Law, Judge Frederic Block, State Senator Todd Kaminsky, and Matthew Noah Smith of Northeastern University.
In the Slate Plus bonus episode, Barry talks to Matthew Noah Smith of Northeastern University and Mark Schroeder of USC on whether John Rawl’s distinction between procedural and substantive justice can help tell us whether and why the practice of sentencing on unconvicted conduct is just or unjust.