Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, August 26, 2016

Gonzalez: No Double Jeopardy violation for convictions on two conspiracies

In U.S. v. Gonzalez, No. 13-15878 (Aug. 23, 2016), the Court rejected the Double Jeopardy challenges of a defendant convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and a separate count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. The Court noted the Double Jeopardy test is whether each offense requires proof of a fact which the other does not. Here, the § 371 conspiracy required proof of an overt act, whereas the health care fraud conspiracy did not. The § 371 required the United States government to be a victim whereas health care fraud did not. Hence, there was no Double Jeopardy violation in convicting Gonzalez under both statutes. On plain error review, the Court rejected Gonzalez’ argument that the jury instructions mistakenly told the jury that a conviction of one conspiracy would require a conviction of the other charged conspiracy. The Court further found that even if the instruction was mistaken, there was “more than ample evidence” to support Gonzalez’ conviction for both conspiracies.