Standlee v. Rhay, No. 76-1297

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore CARTER and CHOY; JAMES M. CARTER
Citation557 F.2d 1303
PartiesDaryl STANDLEE, Petitioner-Appellee, v. B. J. RHAY, Respondent-Appellant.
Decision Date21 July 1977
Docket NumberNo. 76-1297

Page 1303

557 F.2d 1303
Daryl STANDLEE, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
B. J. RHAY, Respondent-Appellant.
No. 76-1297.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
July 21, 1977.

Page 1304

Thomas W. Hayton, Asst. Atty. Gen., Olympia, Wash., argued for respondent-appellant.

Phillip H. Ginsberg, Houghton, Cluck, Coughlin & Riley, Seattle, Wash., argued for petitioner-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Before CARTER and CHOY, Circuit Judges, and HOFFMAN, * District Judge.

JAMES M. CARTER, Circuit Judge:

The district court granted appellee's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and Warden B. J. Rhay appeals. Appellee had his parole suspended based on criminal charges for which he was later acquitted. The district court held that collateral estoppel prevented a finding of guilt on these charges in the parole revocation hearings. We disagree with this conclusion and therefore reverse.

Facts

Appellee was paroled on September 28, 1970, from his 1959 conviction for rape. In January 1971, he was arrested and charged with two counts of second degree criminal assault. Subsequently, he was charged with six parole violations based on the same acts for which he was criminally charged: two counts of abduction, two counts of second degree assault, one count of attempted rape, and one count of sexual molestation.

Prior to his trial on the two criminal charges, a parole revocation hearing was held on March 11, 1971, at which appellee was represented by counsel. At that time, appellee testified that he was in another state and had an alibi but refused to name the people who could testify to this fact. He was found guilty of all six violations, but the hearing was continued until after the conclusion of his trial.

The criminal trial was held in King County Superior Court, Washington. Appellee pleaded not guilty and again presented an alibi defense. Two witnesses testified that he had been in Portland at the time the assault took place. One of the witnesses was apparently a girl friend. The second witness, Mrs. Merrill, was a friend of the girl friend. The trial judge, sitting without a jury, believed the testimony of Mrs. Merrill led to a reasonable doubt about appellee's guilt. He stated:

Page 1305

"(T)he testimony of Mrs. Merrill impressed me, not only her testimony but her appearance and demeanor upon the witness stand. . . . (T)o me her testimony is the one that weighed the scales of balance, whichever way they would fall. . . . (S)he left a reasonable doubt in my mind as to whether or not this defendant was the man who committed the offense."

Appellee therefore was acquitted.

The parole revocation was re-opened on June 17, 1971. The question of appellee's guilt was reexamined, with the same defense testimony presented except that Mrs. Merrill did not personally testify. 1 The hearing officer independently weighed the evidence and concluded on a preponderance of the evidence that appellee was guilty of the six parole violations.

Appellee then sought habeas relief in the Washington courts. The Supreme Court of Washington denied relief. See Standlee v. Smith, 83 Wash.2d 405, 518 P.2d 721 (1974). It found the doctrine of collateral estoppel inapplicable because of the differences in the burdens of proof between criminal and parole revocation proceedings. Having exhausted his state remedies, appellee filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the district court. The petition was granted and appellee released. His present whereabouts is unknown.

Collateral Estoppel

Appellee argues that the doctrine of collateral estoppel prohibits the parole board from finding him guilty of violations when the issue of guilt for the same acts had been resolved in his favor by the trial court. Collateral estoppel is embodied in the fifth amendment guarantee against double jeopardy, Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436, 90 S.Ct. 1189, 25 L.Ed.2d 469 (1970), and is applicable to the states through the fourteenth amendment's due process clause, Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784, 89 S.Ct. 2056, 23 L.Ed.2d 707 (1969). The Supreme Court noted that collateral estoppel means "simply that when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit." Ashe v. Swenson, supra, 397 U.S. at 443, 90 S.Ct. at 1194. Collateral estoppel is an established rule in criminal as well as civil cases. Id.; Coffey v. United States, 116 U.S. 436, 6 S.Ct. 437, 29 L.Ed. 684 (1886).

The difference in the burdens of proof in criminal and civil proceedings usually precludes application of collateral estoppel. In Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391, 58 S.Ct. 630, 82 L.Ed. 917 (1938), the Court was confronted with an attempt by the Internal Revenue to assess a deficiency for fraud with intent to evade tax after the taxpayer had been acquitted for evasion of tax. The Court stated:

"The difference in degree of the burden of proof in criminal and civil cases precludes application of the doctrine of res judicata. The acquittal was 'merely . . . an adjudication that the proof was not sufficient to overcome all reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.' " Id. at 397, 58 S.Ct. at 632, quoting Lewis v. Frick, 233 U.S. 291, 302, 34 S.Ct. 488, 58 L.Ed. 967 (1914).

Because of this difference in burdens of proof, an adjudication of the issues in a criminal case "does not constitute an adjudication on the preponderance-of-the-evidence burden applicable in civil proceedings." One Lot Emerald Cut Stones v. United States, 409 U.S. 232, 235, 93 S.Ct. 489, 492, 34 L.Ed.2d 438 (1971). See also Neaderland v. Commissioner, 424 F.2d 639, 642 (2 Cir. 1970); Strachan v. Shea, 406 F.2d 521, 522 (5 Cir. 1969).

The nature of the sanction imposed by a proceeding also is determinative of whether collateral estoppel applies. Thus, an "acquittal on a criminal charge is not a bar to a civil action by the Government, remedial in its nature, arising out of the same facts on which the criminal proceeding was based . . . ."

Page 1306

Helvering v. Mitchell, supra, 303 U.S. at 397, 58 S.Ct. at 632 (emphasis added). Where, however, a punitive sanction results from a "civil" action, a prior acquittal in a criminal proceeding will bar the subsequent civil action. See Coffey v. United States, 116 U.S. 436, 6 S.Ct. 437, 29 L.Ed.2d 684 (1886). 2

This distinction is illustrated by cases involving forfeiture proceedings instigated subsequent to acquittals in criminal proceedings. In United States v. One 1967 Cadillac El Dorado, 453 F.2d 396 (9 Cir. 1971), this court held that the operative facts of a forfeiture proceeding were the same as those in a prior criminal proceeding so that the judgment of acquittal foreclosed the forfeiture proceeding. The court based its decision on the combined impact of collateral estoppel and the double jeopardy clause. If this case represented the law of this circuit, we might agree with the district court's reliance upon it.

But in United States v. Kismetoglu, 476 F.2d 269 (9 Cir.), modifying 468 F.2d 1386 (9 Cir.), cert. dism'd, 410 U.S. 976, 93 S.Ct. 1454, 35 L.Ed.2d 709 (1973), this court indicated that El Dorado had been overturned by the Supreme Court in One Lot Emerald Cut Stones v. United States, supra. There the Court held that a...

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87 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Standefer, No. 78-1909
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • October 11, 1979
    ...more than one opportunity to avoid conviction, and no reason to place a priority on the order cases are tried. 55 Cf. Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303 (9th Cir. 1977) (acquittal on criminal charge is not binding in a subsequent civil case inasmuch as burdens of proof 56 18 U.S.C. § 201(g). 5......
  • Wilcox v. First Interstate Bank of Oregon, N.A., Nos. 85-3640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 3, 1987
    ...1104, 79 L.Ed.2d 361 (1984) (difference in relative burdens of proof precludes application of collateral estoppel); Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303, 1305 (9th Cir.1977) The Supreme Court strongly suggests that the proper burden of proof of predicate acts in RICO litigation is by a preponder......
  • Edwards v. U.S., No. 77-1531
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 13, 1978
    ...the Supreme Court in Williams has subsequently been extended to the Parole Board by other federal courts. See, e. g., Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303 (9th Cir. 1977) (parole revocation based on criminal charges on which petitioner had been acquitted upheld because of differing standard of p......
  • Lucido v. Superior Court, No. S011151
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 6, 1990
    ...348] should be modified or revoked; a criminal prosecution seeks conviction for wholly new offenses. (Cf. Standlee v. Rhay (9th Cir.1977) 557 F.2d 1303, 1306-1307.) If the People prevail at the hearing, the result is not a new felony conviction (as it would be were they to prevail at trial ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
86 cases
  • U.S. v. Standefer, No. 78-1909
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • October 11, 1979
    ...more than one opportunity to avoid conviction, and no reason to place a priority on the order cases are tried. 55 Cf. Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303 (9th Cir. 1977) (acquittal on criminal charge is not binding in a subsequent civil case inasmuch as burdens of proof 56 18 U.S.C. § 201(g). 5......
  • Wilcox v. First Interstate Bank of Oregon, N.A., Nos. 85-3640
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 3, 1987
    ...1104, 79 L.Ed.2d 361 (1984) (difference in relative burdens of proof precludes application of collateral estoppel); Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303, 1305 (9th Cir.1977) The Supreme Court strongly suggests that the proper burden of proof of predicate acts in RICO litigation is by a preponder......
  • Edwards v. U.S., No. 77-1531
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 13, 1978
    ...the Supreme Court in Williams has subsequently been extended to the Parole Board by other federal courts. See, e. g., Standlee v. Rhay, 557 F.2d 1303 (9th Cir. 1977) (parole revocation based on criminal charges on which petitioner had been acquitted upheld because of differing standard of p......
  • Lucido v. Superior Court, No. S011151
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 6, 1990
    ...348] should be modified or revoked; a criminal prosecution seeks conviction for wholly new offenses. (Cf. Standlee v. Rhay (9th Cir.1977) 557 F.2d 1303, 1306-1307.) If the People prevail at the hearing, the result is not a new felony conviction (as it would be were they to prevail at trial ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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