Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment commands that “[n]o person shall . . . be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” It is the oldest edict in the Bill of Rights. Double jeopardy rights date back to ancient Rome and Greece, and are even found in the Bible. In addition, the Double Jeopardy Clause is “one of the most frequently litigated [constitutional] provisions.” Despite this history, one justice of the Supreme Court has called the Clause “one of the least understood . . . provision[s] of the Bill of Rights.” The Court has repeatedly acknowledged this confusion in its double jeopardy jurisprudence, describing its cases as a tangled “Sargasso Sea.” The Court is right. In no other area of criminal procedure has the Supreme Court so frequently overruled its own recently created precedent.
Lissa Griffin, Untangling Double Jeopardy in Mixed-Verdict Cases, 63 SMU L. Rev. 1033 (2010)