It was announced on March 1, 2012 that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Mikal Xylon Wilde, of Humboldt County, with murder during a narcotics offense, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 1000 or more marijuana plants, use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense and crime of violence, use of a firearm causing death in the form of a murder, and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

These federal offenses are being charged separately and in addition to California’s own charges against Wilde. As such, the defendant is currently in custody in Humbodlt County on state murder charges arising from the incident. An unfortunate, yet common, trend in drug related offenses are concurrent state and federal investigations and prosecutions for the exact same conduct. In essence, the defendant can lawfully be tried twice for the same conduct. The doctrine of double jeopardy does not apply in instances of concurrent federal and state prosecutions because both the federal government and state government are distinct sovereigns. This concept, known as dual sovereignty, permits any number of sovereign entities to separately prosecute a person if the person’s action violates the laws of each sovereign entity.

Wilde pleaded not guilty to state charges back in September 2011 and his case is ongoing. However, in line with the concept of dual sovereignty, Wilde was indicted for federal offenses in March 2012. Murder is generally considered an offense best handled by state governments. But since Wilde’s offense involves large scale narcotics trafficking, the federal government probably thought it would be prudent to pursue the case as well. The defendant will make his initial appearance in federal court in Eureka before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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