Jack Fruth: United States v. Ursery (1996)

Jack Fruth: United States v. Ursery (1996)

United States v. Ursery (1996)  Jack Fruth United States v. Ursery (1996) Issue: Whether the Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment prohibits the State from both punishing a defendant for a criminal offense and forcing the forfeiture of defendant’s property for the same offense in a separate civil trial. Facts: The Supreme Court granted Certiorari and combined two cases for this decision: Ursery from the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Arlt and Wren from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Police found cannabis seeds, stems, stalks, and a growlight at Guy Ursery’s home in Michigan. The United States instituted civil forfeiture proceedings against the house, alleging that it had used for several years to facilitate the unlawful processing and distribution of a controlled substance. Afterwards, Ursery was indicted for manufacturing cannabis. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the criminal charge on the basis that the civil forfeiture counted as a “punishment” in terms of the Double Jeopardy Clause and so had already been punished for the crime and could not be again. Charles Wesley Arlt and James Wren were convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet the manufacture of methamphetamine, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and numerous accounts of money laundering. Prior to the conviction the United States filed a civil in rem complaint against various property seized from Arlt, Wren, and a corporation controlled by Arlt. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated their criminal charges under the same theory, applying United States v. Halper, 490 U. S. 435 (1989) in which the Supreme Court determined that some civil penalties can constitute a punishment. Rule: The Double Jeopardy Clause within the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution reads: “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice…

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Source : Jack Fruth: United States v. Ursery (1996)

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