Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,500+ case briefs...

United States v. Dixon

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


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


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (White, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Souter, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 264,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,500 briefs, keyed to 196 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.