Department of Revenue of Mont. v. Kurth Ranch, 511 U.S. 767, 3 (1994)

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Cite as: 511 U. S. 767 (1994)

Opinion of the Court

James H. Goetz argued the cause and filed a brief for respondents.*

Justice Stevens delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether a tax on the possession of illegal drugs assessed after the State has imposed a criminal penalty for the same conduct may violate the constitutional prohibition against successive punishments for the same offense.1

*Dan Morales, Attorney General of Texas, and William E. Storie, Assistant Attorney General, filed a brief for the State of Texas et al. as amici curiae urging reversal, joined by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Grant Woods of Arizona, Daniel E. Lungren of California, Gale Norton of Colorado, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Robert A. Butterworth of Florida, Michael J. Bowers of Georgia, Robert A. Marks of Hawaii, Larry EchoHawk of Idaho, Roland W. Burris of Illinois, Pamela Fanning Carter of Indiana, Bonnie J. Campbell of Iowa, Robert T. Stephan of Kansas, Richard P. Ieyoub of Louisiana, Michael E. Carpenter of Maine, Hubert H. Humphrey III of Minnesota, Don Stenberg of Nebraska, Frederick P. DeVesa of New Jersey, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Michael F. Easley of North Carolina, Jeffrey B. Pine of Rhode Island, T. Travis Medlock of South Carolina, Mark Barnett of South Dakota, Jan Graham of Utah, and James E. Doyle of Wisconsin.

1 The Fifth Amendment provides that "No person shall . . . be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . ." The Double Jeopardy Clause protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal, a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction, and multiple punishments for the same offense. See North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U. S. 711, 717 (1969). Although its text mentions only harms to "life or limb," it is well settled that the Amendment covers imprisonment and monetary penalties. See, e. g., Ex parte Lange, 18 Wall. 163 (1874); United States v. Halper, 490 U. S. 435 (1989). In Benton v. Maryland, 395 U. S. 784, 794 (1969), we held that this guarantee "represents a fundamental ideal in our constitutional heritage, and that it should apply to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment." See W. LaFave & J. Israel, Criminal Procedure 1058-1059 (2d ed. 1992); 2 D. Rudstein, C. Erlinder, & D. Thomas, Criminal Constitutional Law

¶ 11.01[3][b], pp. 11-59 to 11-60 (1993).


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