Concurrent-Sentence Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Concurrent-Sentence Doctrine refers to a principle that an appellate court affirming a conviction and sentence need not hear a challenge to a conviction on another count if the conviction on the other count carries a sentence that is equal to or less than the affirmed conviction. In short, where a defendant had been sentenced to equal concurrent sentences on different counts, some appellate courts, after upholding the conviction on one count, will not consider challenges to the remaining counts.

In Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (U.S. 1969) the Supreme Court concluded that concurrent sentence doctrine could not, be justified on mootness grounds but stated that it "may have some continuing validity as a rule of judicial convenience." Following Benton, all but two of the federal circuits have embraced the concurrent sentence doctrine as a discretionary matter of judicial administration; only a few state courts have followed suit.