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Haney v. United States

July 1, 2010


Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Cross Motions for Summary Disposition. (CMD6206-09) (Hon. Florence Pan, Trial Judge).

Per curiam.

Before KRAMER and BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Associate Judges, and NEBEKER, Senior Judge.

This case presents the question of whether administrative discipline imposed by a penal institution pursuant to its administrative process is a punishment for double jeopardy purposes such that it should preclude the government from proceeding with a criminal prosecution based upon the same conduct. Although other courts have addressed this issue, this court has not. We now specifically hold that the administrative discipline administered by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections does not bar subsequent prosecution for the same offense under the Double Jeopardy Clause.

While being held at the District of Columbia Jail pending trial in another matter, appellant Travis Haney threw a lotion bottle at a corrections officer's head, later threw a bottle of liquid that smelled like urine at another officer, and then later threw feces at another officer. As a result, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections imposed disciplinary segregation for sixty days and revoked appellant's privileges for sixty days. The government subsequently filed a criminal information charging appellant with three counts of assaulting a corrections officer based on those same incidents. Appellant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that the Double Jeopardy Clause bars his criminal prosecution because he has already been punished for those incidents.*fn1 The trial court denied the motion, finding that the administrative discipline was not punishment for double jeopardy purposes. On September 3, 2009, appellant noted an appeal,*fn2 and both parties have filed motions for summary disposition.

The Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause provides that no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." But in Hudson v. United States,*fn3 the Supreme Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar criminal prosecution following the imposition of an administrative or civil penalty. To determine whether a penalty is civil or criminal in nature, the Supreme Court requires an analysis of the regulation at issue, with a particular focus on whether the adopting agency intended the penalty to be civil or criminal. And then, even if the penalty was intended to be civil, courts must determine whether the penalty is "so punitive in either purpose or effect as to transform what was clearly intended as a civil remedy into a criminal penalty."*fn4

We hold that the regulations in question here*fn5 serve the purpose of regulating inmate behavior and maintaining order. These regulations expressly contemplate that administrative discipline may be imposed even if an inmate's conduct is also referred for criminal prosecution.*fn6 Consequently, we hold that these disciplinary regulations have a civil intent.*fn7

Next, the court must examine whether the discipline imposed is punitive in purpose or effect. Appellant argues that his subsequent criminal prosecution is barred by Hudson.*fn8

We note that Hudson provides a framework for this analysis, but it is also important to note that the factual scenario presented in Hudson is quite different from the situation of an incarcerated individual. In reviewing how other courts have employed the Hudson factors in similar situations, we find their analysis persuasive.*fn9

Although appellant argues that each of the Hudson factors must be considered equally, federal circuits have held that most of the Hudson factors cannot be weighed equally in cases involving inmates because of the special circumstances inherent in a jail setting. These courts have concluded that discipline imposed by penal institutions is remedial and thus civil in nature. Specifically, in a prison situation, remedial and punitive interests are inextricably intertwined and any form of sanction may seem punitive even where the discipline is remedial.*fn10 We are persuaded by the reasoning in these decisions, and thus hold that the administrative discipline imposed in this case was not punitive in effect or purpose.

Accordingly, we reject appellant's contention that the Double Jeopardy Clause precludes the government from prosecuting appellant for these same incidents.

Appellee's motion for summary affirmance is granted, and appellant's motion for summary reversal is denied.

So ...

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