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Md. R. P. 911 provides: d. Review by Court in Absence of Exceptions. In the absence of timely and proper exceptions, the master's proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations may be adopted by the court and the proposed or other appropriate orders may be entered based on them. The court may remand the case to the master for further hearings, or may, on its own motion, schedule and conduct a further hearing supplemented by such additional evidence as the court considers relevant and to which the parties raise no objection. Action by the court under this section shall be taken within two days after the expiration of the time for filing exceptions.
Appellee minors brought a class action under 42 U. S. C. § 1983 seeking, on the basis of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment as applied to the States by the Fourteenth, to prevent the State of Maryland from filing exceptions with the Juvenile Court to proposed nondelinquency findings made by masters of that court pursuant to a rule of procedure (Rule 911) permitting the State to file such exceptions but further providing that the Juvenile Court judge, who is empowered to accept, modify, or reject, the master's proposals, can act on the exceptions only on the basis of the record made before the master, except that he may receive additional evidence to which the parties do not object. The District Court held that a juvenile subjected to a hearing before the master is placed in jeopardy, even though the master has no power to enter a final order, and that the Juvenile Court judge's review placed the juvenile in jeopardy a second time, and accordingly enjoined the appellant state officials from taking exceptions to either a master's proposed finding of nondelinquency or his proposed disposition.
Did the Double Jeopardy Clause prohibit Maryland officials, acting in accordance with Rule 911, from taking exceptions to a master's proposed findings?
The court reversed the decision of the district court and found that to the extent the juvenile court judge made supplemental findings either sua sponte, in response to the state's exceptions, or in response to the juvenile's exceptions, and either on the record or on a record supplemented by evidence to which the parties raised no objection -- he did so without violating the constraints of the Double Jeopardy Clause. The court noted that the procedure did not unfairly subject appellees to the embarrassment, expense, and ordeal of a second trial and that the proceeding did not provide the prosecution with the forbidden "second crack" because the state presented its evidence once, the record was closed, and additional evidence could be received only with the consent of appellees.