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United States v. Dixon

United States Supreme Court
509 U.S. 688 (1993)


Facts

In this case, the Court addressed two different cases. In the first, Dixon (defendant) was arrested for second-degree murder and released on bond. The release specified that he could not commit “any criminal offense,” and if he did, the terms specified that he could be prosecuted for contempt of court. Dixon was arrested and charged for possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. The court ordered Dixon to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court. Dixon could not do this, however, and the court found him guilty of criminal contempt under a D.C. statute. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He moved to dismiss the cocaine indictment, claiming double jeopardy, and the trial court agreed. In the second case, defendant’s wife obtained a Civil Protection Order (CPO) against Foster (defendant) that prevented him from physically abusing her in any way. But over the course of eight months, the wife filed three motions to have her husband held in contempt for violating the order. Three serious threats and two separate incidents of abuse were brought to the court’s attention. After the court issued a notice of hearing and ordered Foster to attend, the wife was told that she would have to prove “as an element, first that there was a Civil Protection Order, and then [that] … the assault as defined by the criminal code, in fact occurred.” The court found Foster guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the two assaults, but acquitted him of the other charges. He received 600 days in prison as his sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office later obtained an indictment against Foster, charging him with five counts in all, including simple assault, threatening to injure another, and assault with intent to kill. Like Dixon, Foster claimed a double-jeopardy violation with respect to the all the charges and also claimed that collateral estoppel precluded the indictment for the threats to injure (for which he was not indicted). The trial court denied the double jeopardy argument but did not rule on the collateral estoppel claim. The government appealed the double jeopardy ruling in favor of Dixon, and Foster appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion. The district court, relying on our decision in Grady v. Corbin, 495 U.S. 508 (1990), claimed that double jeopardy barred both prosecutions. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (White, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Souter, J.)

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