Rutledge v. United States, 517 U.S. 292 (1996)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the seventh circuit

No. 94-8769. Argued November 27, 1995—Decided March 27, 1996

A jury found petitioner guilty of one count of participating in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in violation of 21 U. S. C. 846 and one count of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) "in concert" with others in violation of 848. The "in concert" element of his CCE offense was based on the same agreement as the 846 conspiracy. The District Court entered judgment of conviction on both counts and imposed a sentence of life imprisonment without possible release on each, the sentences to be served concurrently. Pursuant to 18 U. S. C. 3013, it also ordered petitioner to pay a special assessment of $50 on each count. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, relying on Jeffers v. United States, 432 U. S. 137, to reject petitioner's contention that his convictions and concurrent life sentences impermissibly punished him twice for the same offense.

Held: The District Court erred in sentencing petitioner to concurrent life sentences on the 846 and 848 counts. Pp. 297-307. (a) It is presumed that a legislature does not intend to impose two punishments where two statutory provisions proscribe the "same offense." The test for determining whether there are two offenses is whether each of the statutory provisions requires proof of a fact which the other does not. Blockburger v. United States, 284 U. S. 299, 304. This Court has often concluded that two statutes define the "same offense" where one is a lesser included offense of the other. For the reasons set forth in Jeffers, 432 U. S., at 149-150 (plurality opinion); id., at 158, 159, n. 5 (dissenting opinion), and particularly because the plain meaning of 848's "in concert" phrase signifies mutual agreement in a common plan or enterprise, the Court now resolves definitively that a guilty verdict on a 848 charge necessarily includes a finding that the defendant also participated in a conspiracy violative of 846. Conspiracy is therefore a lesser included offense of CCE. Pp. 297-300. (b) The Court rejects the Government's contention that the presumption against multiple punishments does not invalidate either of petitioner's convictions because the sentence on the second one was concurrent. That conviction amounts to a second punishment because a $50 special assessment was imposed on it. Cf. Ray v. United States, 481 U. S. 736 (1987) (per curiam). Even if the assessment were ignored, the force of

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