RUTLEDGE v. UNITED STATES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
94-8769
Petitioner 
Rutledge
Respondent 
United States
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

Tommy L. Rutledge was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise. The District Court convicted Rutledge on both counts. It sentenced him to life imprisonment without possible release on each count. The sentences were to be served concurrently. The Court of Appeals affirmed. It rejected Rutledge's argument that his convictions and concurrent life sentences punished him twice for the same offense.

Question 

Can a criminal be given concurrent life sentences for conspiring to distribute drugs and operating a continuing criminal enterprise?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Rutledge, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 21 U.S.C. 848

No. In a unanimous decision, announced by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court ruled one of the two sentences must be dropped. Both of the offenses were based on the same criminal act. Justice Stevens wrote, "A guilty verdict on a (continuing criminal enterprise) charge necessarily includes a finding that the defendant also participated in a conspiracy."

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RUTLEDGE v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 04 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_8769>.
RUTLEDGE v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_8769 (last visited April 4, 2014).
"RUTLEDGE v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 4, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_8769.