Logourl black
From our private database of 13,800+ case briefs...

United States v. Ursery

United States Supreme Court
 518 U.S. 267 (1996)


Facts

Police found marijuana growing in a house belonging to Ursery (defendant). The United States (plaintiff) brought forfeiture proceedings against Ursery’s home on grounds that it had been used in the manufacture and distribution of an illegal substance. Ursery was also convicted of manufacturing marijuana. On appeal, the court reversed Ursery’s conviction. The court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause barred the criminal charge because Ursery had already been punished for the same conduct in the forfeiture proceeding. In a separate case, two men, Arlt and Wren, were convicted of making methamphetamine and money laundering. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Before their trial, the United States had brought an in rem action against property belonging to Arlt and Wren and to Payback Mines, a company Arlt owned. The forfeiture action was delayed until after Arlt and Wren’s criminal trial. The action was based on a statute that stated that any property involved in money laundering was subject to forfeiture. After the trial and conviction, the district court granted summary judgment in the forfeiture action in favor of the United States. On appeal, the court reversed the decision in the forfeiture action and held that the Double Jeopardy Clause barred the forfeiture action. Both the court in Ursery’s case and the court in Arlt and Wren’s case based their decisions on case law that they believed suggested that a forfeiture is punishment for double jeopardy purposes. The Supreme Court consolidated the two cases and granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

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 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.