Hudson v. United States

PETITIONER:Hudson et al.
RESPONDENT:United States
LOCATION:The White House

DOCKET NO.: 96-976
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 522 US 93 (1997)
ARGUED: Oct 08, 1997
DECIDED: Dec 10, 1997

Bernard J. Rothbaum – on behalf of the Petitioners
Michael R. Dreeben – on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case

John Hudson was chairman of the First National Bank of Tipton and the First National Bank of Hammon. Hudson used his position to regain bank stock he had used as collateral on defaulted loans through a series of bank loans to other parties. Upon investigation the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) found that the loans were made in violation of several banking statues and regulations. The OCC fined and debarred Hudson for the violations. Later, he faced criminal indictment in federal District Court for violations tied to those same events. Hudson objected, arguing that the indictment violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit eventually found for the Government in light ofUnited States v. Halper on the grounds that the original proceedings were civil in nature and not so disproportional to the proven damages to the Government as to qualify as a form of criminal punishment.


Are punitive fines and debarment by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency a sufficiently “criminal” form of punishment that a subsequent criminal indictment for the same violations would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment?

Media for Hudson v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – October 08, 1997 in Hudson v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – December 10, 1997 in Hudson v. United States

William H. Rehnquist:

I have the opinion of the Court to announce in No. 96976, Hudson against the United States.

In this case, during the early and mid 1980’s, the Petitioner John Hudson was the chairman and controlling shareholder of the — of two — two banks in Western Oklahoma.

During the same period, the two other petitioners in this case were officers of those banks.

In 1989, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency imposed monetary penalties and occupational debarments on petitioners for violating various federal statutes and regulations.

When the Government later criminally indicted petitioners for essentially the same conduct, they moved to dismiss the indictments on double jeopardy grounds.

The District Court ultimately agreed with them but the Court of Appeals reversed.

It held that under our decision in the case called United States against Halper, the actual fines imposed by the Government were not grossly proportional — disproportional.

In an opinion filed with the clerk of the Court today, we — we affirm that judgment but for different reasons.

The Double Jeopardy Clause provides that no person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice putting jeopardy of life or limb.

We have long held that this clause protects only against the imposition of multiple criminal punishments for the same offense and then only when such occurs in successive proceeding.

Our opinion in United States against Halper, marked the first time we applied the Double Jeopardy Clause to a sanction without first determining that it was criminal in nature.

We believe that Halper’s deviation from longstanding double jeopardy principles was ill-considered.

Its test for determining whether a particular sanction is subject to the strictures that Double Jeopardy Clause has proved unworkable and other constitutional provisions addressed many of the ills at which Halper was directed.

Thus, we today, disavowed the method of analysis he used in Halper and reaffirm that traditional double jeopardy rule exemplified in our opinion in United States against Ward, a case decided in 1980, applying traditional double jeopardy principles to the facts of this case.

It is clear that the criminal prosecution of these petitioners would not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.

Congress intended the OCC money penalties and debarments to be civil in nature and there is little evidence to say nothing of the clearest proof required by Ward that these OCC monetary penalties and debarment sanctions are criminal despite Congress’s intention to the contrary.

The Double Jeopardy Clause is therefore no obstacle to the trial of petitioners on the pending indictments.

Justice Scalia has filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Thomas has joined.

Justice Stevens and Justice Souter filed opinions concurring in the judgment.

Justice Breyer has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in which Justice Ginsburg has joined.