Duplicate Crimes in Different States

Jeffrey Epstein, purportedly, had sex with underage girls at each of his homes - including in Florida, New York, and New Mexico.

There is, in existence, a little black book with the names and contact information of girls in all three of these locations.

He has only ever been charged in New York and Florida. Somehow these two states seem to have merged the case into one (?) and he plead guilty, serving his time in Florida.

Can someone in New Mexico open an investigation, or does the previous prosecution somehow prevent them from doing so?

Two states would share information but not “share prosecutions” for something like this.

(Sometimes state AGs get together and sue a company as one, but that’s in Federal court.)

Often one state is going to put the perp away for longer than another so the latter defers to the former.

A third state can come along at any time and start proceedings. But issues with transferring the perp for the trial, extra time and expense, etc. mean that the priority isn’t that great.

Each discrete event is a crime, and the New York and Florida prosecutions have no effect on what New Mexico decides to do. As a practical matter states generally do not prosecute people who are in another states prison for a lengthy time.

John Allen Muhammad and his accomplice (the DC snipers) were charged in several jurisdictions and may have even been tried in more than one. It’s unusual, but as others have noted, there is no barrier to doing so for different crimes.

I would speculate that the Florida case had the clearest evidence and the easiest prosecution. Once he is safely behind bars, the other prosecutors can take their time and make sure their cases are airtight, before they go to court.

Also, while he is in a Florida prison, the New York and New Mexico taxpayers don’t have to pay for his food and healthcare.

Epstein isn’t in prison. He served 13 months several years ago.

he was first tried in Virgina because they figured it would be easier for him to get the death penalty there and VA executed him in 2009. (the crimes were in 2002)

When a person has committed the same crime in several states, it’s fairly common for the various prosecutors to consult with each other to decide who should take the lead on prosecuting him. Factors include which specific one will be easiest to prove in court (most evidence), and which state has the most appropriate penalties in their laws.

Personal elements can enter into such discussions. Nearly every prosecutor wants to win a case against a notorious criminal, but they have to weigh that against the expense in their budget of a major prosecution case, and the expense to their state of a long term of prison (or not. Sometimes a capital case is specifically charged in a state that has capitol punishment).

Note that any such discussion among prosecutors is all voluntary.
Any one of them (or all of them) can decide on their own to file charges against the criminal, without regard for the others. The prosecutor who actually has the criminal in their own jail has an advantage, but any of the others can seek to have him extradited to their state (at their expense). Generally, they come to an agreement.

But the others can just wait (as long as the statue of limitations allows, and for murders it is forever) to see what happens in the other states’ prosecution. If theydon’t think the sentence is long enough, or if they think the criminal might be paroled, they can then initiate their own prodecution for the same crime done in their state. Even years later.

Heath v. Alabama USSC is good example, but not of a sex crime, this was Murder.