United States v. Felix, 503 U.S. 378 (1992)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the tenth circuit

No. 90-1599. Argued January 14, 1992—Decided March 25, 1992

During the summer of 1987, respondent Felix manufactured methamphetamine at an Oklahoma facility. After Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents shut down that facility, Felix ordered additional chemicals and equipment from a DEA informant for delivery in Missouri. Federal Government officials observed the delivery, arrested him, and charged him with the offense of attempting to manufacture an illegal drug. At his trial in Missouri, the Government, in order to establish Felix's criminal intent, introduced evidence that he had manufactured methamphetamine in Oklahoma, and he was convicted. Subsequently, he was named in, inter alia, six counts of an indictment filed in a Federal District Court in Oklahoma. Count 1 charged him with conspiracy to manufacture, possess, and distribute methamphetamine. Two of the overt acts supporting this charge were based on the same conduct that had been the subject of the Missouri prosecution. The other counts charged him with substantive drug offenses, and at trial the Government introduced much of the same evidence of the Missouri and Oklahoma transactions that had been introduced at the Missouri trial. Felix was convicted, but the Court of Appeals reversed, relying on language in Grady v. Corbin, 495 U. S. 508, 521, that the Double Jeopardy Clause bars a subsequent prosecution where the government, "to establish an essential element of an offense charged in that prosecution, will prove conduct that constitutes an offense for which the defendant has already been prosecuted." With respect to the conspiracy count, the court observed that in both trials, the Government proved that Felix had learned to make, and had manufactured, methamphetamine in Oklahoma and had sought to purchase more chemicals and equipment in Missouri. The court also noted that the direct evidence supporting the substantive offenses—that Felix had purchased chemicals and equipment during the spring of 1987 and had manufactured methamphetamine in Oklahoma—had been introduced at the Missouri trial to show intent.

Held: The Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar Felix's prosecution on either the substantive drug offenses or the conspiracy charge. Pp. 384-392.

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