Law Offices of Richard Mucci
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October 2015 Archives

Single Act or Separate Act: Duplicative Convictions on Lesser Included Offenses in Massachusetts

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that no one shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."  Most people understand that the Fifth Amendment protects a person from being tried for the same offense after being acquitted, but it also prohibits convictions for both greater and lesser included offenses, unless those offenses are based on separate acts.A lesser included offense is one for which all of the elements are included in the charged offense.  The Supreme Judicial Court recently considered whether actions that lead to separate injuries in a single incident constitute a single act or separate acts in the case of Commonwealth v. Figueroa.

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