The case of United States v. One De Soto Sedan has again focused attention on some of the perplexing problems raised by the statutory imposition of both criminal and civil sanctions for the same wrongful act. The court held that an acquittal in a criminal prosecution for possessing liquor on which no federal tax had been paid was a bar to a civil in rem proceeding to forfeit claimant's car as having been used in the removal, deposit and concealment of the same liquor with intent to defraud the United States of taxes. Since the two proceedings involved the same parties and substantially the same issues, the authority of Coffey v. United States was controlling. The Coffey case had decided that even though the forfeiture suit is a proceeding in rem. and civil in form, it is so far criminal in its essential nature that the government cannot sue to enforce a statutory forfeiture after defendant has been acquitted in a prior criminal proceeding to punish his acts as a crime, when the forfeiture is based upon those same acts.
Edward W. Rothe S.Ed.,
JUDGMENTS - DOUBLE JEOPARDY - RES JUDICATA - EFFECT OF PRIOR CONVICTION OR ACQUITTAL ON SUBSEQUENT SUIT FOR STATUTORY PENALTY OR FORFEITURE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol48/iss8/7