Collateral Estoppel


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office
Bobby v. Bies (2009), 129 S.Ct. 2145 – Death row inmate back in court in a post-Atkins postconviction action claimed double jeopardy and issue preclusion based on his retardation having been given some weight by reviewing courts in the past. Held that Ohio courts were not barred from conducting a full hearing on retardation. State is not trying to increase punishment. Nor was retardation in the past an issue of ultimate fact.
Yeager v. United States (2009), 129 S.Ct. 2360 – That the jury hung on some counts sharing the same issue does not limit the preclusive force of verdicts of acquittal under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
State v. Wade, Franklin App. No. 06AP-644, 2008-Ohio-543 – At the first trial the defendant was acquitted of aggravated robbery and of the firearm specifications attached to other counts, including rape. The court of appeals reversed because of irregularity in responses to jury questions. On retrial he maintained collateral estoppel should bar testimony by the rape victim that he had a gun. Looking at the evidence, the first jury’s verdicts necessarily meant they concluded the defendant did not possess a gun. But force, not the use of a gun, was the ultimate issue upon retrial, and the claimed possession of a gun was an integral part of the victim’s account, which the jury was entitled to hear to give them a complete picture of the sequence of events described. But the court abused its discretion in refusing to give a limiting instruction that it could not consider the gun testimony in relation to the force element. Also see State v. Wade, 2008-Ohio-1797.
In re Burton, 160 Ohio App. 3d 750, 2005-Ohio-2210 -- Juvenile was charged with robbing the same foreign exchange student on two occasions, but the prosecutor got the date wrong for the first robbery since the defendant's alibi was detention at that time for a weapons violation at the school. The state was not collaterally estopped from using the display of a knife in the acquitted robbery as implied force in the second. Acquittal was based on the date, though the court indicate it believed the first robbery had taken place. Such evidence is also admissible as similar acts evidence.
State v. Duncan, 154 Ohio App. 3d 254, 2003-Ohio-4695 -- Guilty verdicts on felony murder, murder and voluntary manslaughter are inconsistent and must be reversed. Double jeopardy does not bar retrial on all charges. Nor does collateral estoppel. Court characterizes conviction on both as an error in instructions. Supreme Court declined further review. Better view is that conviction should have been entered on voluntary manslaughter as (1) it was proper to instruct the jury on all charges to be considered independently, (2) since purpose includes knowledge, the culpable mental state for voluntary manslaughter, the verdicts are not inconsistent, and (3) the finding on provocation settled that issue and precludes relitigation.
Ashe v. Swenson (1970), 397 U.S. 436, 443 -- "...(W)hen 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." Defendant, acquitted of robbing one participant in a card game, could not later be tried for robbery of others when acquittal turned on identification. Also see Hicks v. De La Cruz (1977), 52 Ohio St. 2d 71, 74.
State v. Thomas (1980), 61 Ohio St. 2d 254 -- Paragraph four of the syllabus: "Even though the same act or transaction may constitute a violation of two distinct statutory provisions and would permit the imposition of multiple sentences, successive prosecutions will be barred in certain circumstances where the second prosecution requires relitigation of factual issues already resolved by the first..."
Standefer v. United States (1980), 447 U.S. 10, 21-25 -- The doctrine of nonmutual collateral estoppel will not be applied in criminal cases prosecuted in the federal courts.
State v. Zanders (1997), 121 Ohio App. 3d 131 -- Collateral estoppel does not apply to a common issue on which the state prevailed at the first trial. Nor does it apply to an issue on which there were inconsistent verdicts.
State v. Brown (1981), 2 Ohio App. 3d 321 -- The doctrine of collateral estoppel did not bar prosecution of defendant in Ohio for rape after he had been acquitted of related kidnapping charge in Kentucky, as the parties were not the same. Additionally, the dual sovereignty theory dictates the same result.
State v. Starcher (1984), 21 Ohio App. 3d 94, 95-96 -- "...(C)ollateral estoppel will preclude successive prosecutions for separate but related offenses only in those situations where the second prosecution requires the relitigation of ultimate factual issues which have been previously resolved against the state and in favor of the accused in the first prosecution. The relitigation of factual issues previously resolved against the accused is not barred by collateral estoppel."
State v. Williams (1996), 76 Ohio App. 3d 290 -- Paragraph one of the syllabus: "The doctrine of issue preclusion does not preclude the relitigation in a criminal proceeding of an issue that was previously determined at an administrative-license suspension hearing." While all the requisites for application of the doctrine of issue preclusion (collateral estoppel) are present, an exception is made based upon the basic dignity of the two proceedings and considerations of public safety.
State v. Liberatore (1983), 4 Ohio St. 3d 13 -- Following the first trial where the jury found the defendant not guilty of aggravated arson and was unable to reach a verdict on an aggravated murder charge predicated on aggravated arson, the Double Jeopardy Clause barred retrial of defendant for aggravated murder. Applying the doctrine of collateral estoppel, that element had been resolved between the parties.
State v. Lovejoy (1997), 79 Ohio St. 3d 440 -- Jury at first trial found the defendant not guilty of aggravated murder premised on prior calculation and design, or lesser offenses of murder and involuntary manslaughter, but hung on second aggravated murder count premised on murder in the course of an aggravated robbery or kidnapping. Issue was whether the doctrine of collateral estoppel held to have barred retrial of the felony murder count. Paragraph two of the syllabus holds: "When a jury finds a defendant not guilty as to some counts and is hung on other counts, double jeopardy and collateral estoppel do not apply where the inconsistency in the responses arises out of inconsistent responses to different counts, not out of inconsistent responses to the same count." Reverses State v. Lovejoy (February 8, 1996), Franklin Co. App. No. 95APA07-849, unreported (1996 Opinions 444). Majority decision rests on inconsistent verdict analysis. See dissent.
State, ex rel. Owens, v. Campbell (1971), 27 Ohio St. 2d 264 -- Following acquittal on separately indicted breaking and entering charge, collateral estoppel barred trial of related rape and assault charges where evidence was that all three crimes were committed by the same person in rapid succession.
State v. Crago (1994), 93 Ohio App. 3d 621 -- Conviction for involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense to aggravated murder premised on kidnapping did not bar retrial on remaining count arising from the same death, which charged aggravated murder in the course of an aggravated robbery. Jury could have differentiated between purpose in the context of the different predicate offenses.
Sealfon v. United States (1948), 332 U.S. 575, 579 -- Acquittal on conspiracy charge collaterally estopped prosecution for underlying substantive offense when all the circumstances of the proceedings, set in a practical frame, including the instructions to the jury, indicate non-involvement in the substantive offenses.
State v. Bey (1999), 85 Ohio St. 3d 487, 491 -- Collateral estoppel applied to prevent defendant from renewing claim confession to another murder, tried separately, should have been suppressed. Objective was to prevent reference to that murder as similar acts evidence in the trial of another homicide.
United States v. Oppenheimer (1916), 242 U.S. 85 -- Adjudication of a statute of limitations claim, leading to dismissal of an indictment, bars relitigation of that claim in a subsequent prosecution for the same offense, even though the dismissal was later established to have been erroneous.
United States v. One Assortment of 89 Firearms (1984), 465 U.S. 354 -- Though the defendant was acquitted on charge that he was an unlicensed firearms dealer, the government was not collaterally estopped from proceeding on forfeiture of weapons seized from him.
Schiro v. Farley (1994), 510 U.S. 222 -- Because it was unclear why the jury failed to sign a verdict form clearly establishing its finding as to the element of whether a homicide was intentional, the doctrine of collateral estoppel did not bar further consideration of that issue during capital sentencing proceedings.
State v. Bloom (1989), 44 Ohio Misc. 2d 20 -- Guilty plea to misdemeanor charges does not collaterally estop defendant from litigating same issues in related felony.
State ex rel Davis v. Public Employees Retirement System, Franklin App. No. 04AP-1293, 2007-Ohio-6594, ¶17 -- "The doctrine of issue preclusion is one of two related concepts, along with claim preclusion, within the legal doctrine of res judicata…Claim preclusion holds that a valid, final judgment on the merits bars all subsequent actions based upon any claim arising out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject matter of the previous action….Issue preclusion, also known as collateral estoppel, provides that a 'fact or a point that was actually and directly at issue in a previous action, and was passed upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, may not be drawn into question in a subsequent action between the same parties or their privies, whether the cause of action in the two actions be identical or different' Fort Frye Teachers Assn. v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 81 Ohio St. 3d 392, 395, 1998-Ohio-435. While claim preclusion precludes relitigation of the same cause of action, issue preclusion precludes relitigation of an issue that has been actually and necessarily litigated and determined in a prior action…"
Hicks v. De La Cruz (1977), 52 Ohio St. 2d 71, 74 -- "The modern view of res judicata embraces the doctrine of collateral estoppel, which basically states that if an issue of fact or law actually is litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment, such determination being essential to that judgment, the determination is conclusive in a subsequent action between the parties, whether on the same or a different claim. A party precluded under this principle from relitigating an issue with an opposing party likewise is precluded from doing so with another person unless he lacked full and fair opportunity to litigate that issue in the first action, or unless other circumstances justify according him an opportunity to relitigate that issue."
Goodson v. McDonough Power Equipment, Inc. (1983), 2 Ohio St. 3d 193 -- Paragraph one of the syllabus: "In Ohio the general rule is that mutuality of parties is a requisite to collateral estoppel. As a general principle, collateral estoppel operates only where all of the parties to the present proceeding were bound by the prior judgment. A judgment, in order to preclude either party from relitigating an issue, must be preclusive upon both. A prior judgment estops a party, or a person in privity with him, from subsequently relitigating the identical issue raised in the prior action..." (i.e. Hicks was not meant to state a new general rule allowing non mutual offensive collateral estoppel.)
United States v. Mendoza (1984), 464 U.S. 154 -- Though the doctrine of res judicata does apply against the government, the doctrine of non mutual collateral estoppel does not because of the special circumstances surrounding government conduct of litigation in the federal courts.

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
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