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United States v. Newby

argued: October 5, 1993.


On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. (D.C. Crim. Nos. 92-00197-01, 92-00197-02).

Before: Hutchinson, Cowen and Nygaard, Circuit Judges.

Author: Cowen


COWEN, Circuit Judge.

Gene Francis Newby and Raynaldo Barber appealed from the sentences imposed by the district court as well as the underlying judgments convicting them of knowingly and willfully impeding and interfering with a federal prison guard in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1). Barber was also convicted of assaulting a federal prison guard in violation of section 111(a)(1). We conclude that the district court did not err and will affirm both the judgments of conviction and the sentences imposed.


While serving sentences in a federal prison, Newby and Barber engaged in an altercation with several prison guards. The prison authorities brought disciplinary charges against them for using intoxicants and assaulting prison guards in violation of prison rules. Following a hearing at the prison charging Newby and Barber solely with violating prison disciplinary regulations, both defendants were found to have violated the regulations. By reason of that violation of prison regulations, the prison authorities imposed on both a disciplinary transfer and segregation. In addition, Newby was deprived of one thousand days good time credits which he had previously earned for good conduct in the prison, while Barber was deprived of fifty-four days good time credits.

The United States subsequently indicted the defendants for the exact same conduct for which the prison disciplinary sanction was imposed, charging them with knowingly and willfully assaulting, impeding, and interfering with a federal prison guard, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1). Both defendants moved to dismiss the indictment on double jeopardy grounds, contending that the prison disciplinary sanctions they received barred the criminal prosecution. The district court denied the application to dismiss.

Following a jury trial, Barber was convicted as charged, and Newby was convicted of impeding and interfering with, but not of assaulting, a federal prison guard. From the judgments of conviction, Newby and Barber bring these appeals, and also present a challenge to the sentences imposed. The district court had jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3231. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.


Both Newby and Barber argue that prosecuting them criminally, after they had been deprived of their good time credits through the prison disciplinary sanctions, violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. This presents a matter of constitutional interpretation for which we exercise plenary review. See United States v. Ciancaglini, 858 F.2d 923, 926 (3d Cir. 1988).

We conclude that the defendants' argument lacks merit. We, as well as other courts, have held that a prison disciplinary hearing is not a prosecution for Double Jeopardy Clause purposes. Disciplinary sanctions imposed by prison authorities for infractions of prison regulations do not bar a subsequent criminal prosecution. United States v. Stuckey, 441 F.2d 1104 (3d Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 841, 92 S. Ct. 136, 30 L. Ed. 2d 76 (1971); United States v. Rising, 867 F.2d 1255, 1259 (10th Cir. 1989) ("administrative punishment imposed by prison officials does not render a subsequent judicial proceeding, criminal in nature, violative of the double jeopardy clause"); Kerns v. Parratt, 672 F.2d 690 (8th Cir. 1982) (administrative sanction through loss of good time does not bar subsequent criminal prosecution).

In Stuckey, the defendant was charged with violating a prison regulation forbidding the possession of a "knife-like" instrument. Following a hearing at which he was found to have violated the regulation, Stuckey was placed in a segregation unit for 15 days. Subsequent to this prison disciplinary sanction, he was criminally charged and convicted of possessing the same instrument. Stuckey, 441 F.2d at 1105. Stuckey argued that the Double Jeopardy Clause barred the criminal prosecution. In a per curiam opinion, this Court held that "administrative sanctions imposed by prison officials upon a prisoner following his apprehension in connection with the commission of a crime is not a bar to subsequent prosecution for the crime in a court of competent jurisdiction." 441 F.2d at 1105-06.

The rationale for this rule is that the prison disciplinary proceeding is one to determine whether prison rules are broken and to maintain institutional order, rather than a prosecution for criminal conduct. The forfeiture of good time credits is not in any sense dependent upon whether the ...

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