Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation ("Students") sued for an injunction and a declaratory judgment that 20 U.S.C. § 1091(r) is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The district court
20 U.S.C. § 1091(r) provides:
The possession of a controlled substance: Ineligibility period is:First offense 1 year Second offense 2 years Third offense Indefinite. The sale of a controlled substance: Ineligibility period is:First offense 2 years Second offense Indefinite.
This court reviews de novo the grant of a motion to dismiss, "taking all facts alleged in the complaint as true." Koehler v. Brody, 483 F.3d 590, 596 (8th Cir.2007). "A motion to dismiss should be granted if `it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would entitle him to relief.'" Id., quoting Knapp v. Hanson, 183 F.3d 786, 788 (8th Cir.1999).
A double jeopardy claim is a legal question that this court reviews de novo. Morse v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue Serv., 419 F.3d 829, 834 (8th Cir.2005). The Clause provides: "nor shall any person be subject to the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." U.S. Const. amend. V. It protects against the "imposition of multiple criminal, punishments for the same offense, and then only when such occurs in successive proceedings." Hudson v. United States, 522 U.S. 93, 99, 118 S.Ct. 488, 139 L.Ed.2d 450 (1997) (emphasis in original) (internal quotations and citations omitted); Morse, 419 F.3d at 834-35.
Determining whether a particular punishment is criminal or civil is initially a question of statutory construction.
Regarding the first step, section 1091(r) does not expressly state whether it is a civil remedy or a criminal penalty. The district court correctly noted the section speaks in terms of "suspension of eligibility," not in terms of "penalty" or "punishment." Eligibility is determined by an administrative agency, which is "prima facie evidence that Congress intended to provide for a civil sanction." Hudson, 522 U.S. at 103, 118 S.Ct. 488; Morse, 419 F.3d at 835. A student has the opportunity to resume eligibility upon completion of a drug rehabilitation program. And the section was enacted as part of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, which were primarily designed to increase access to college and make it more affordable. 144 Cong. Rec. H9155 (1998) (floor statements of Rep. Peterson). Nothing on the face of the statute suggests that Congress intended to create anything other than a civil remedy. Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84, 93, 123 S.Ct. 1140, 155 L.Ed.2d 164 (2003), citing Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 361, 117 S.Ct. 2072, 138 L.Ed.2d 501 (1997).
Students contend that the primary purpose of section 1091(r) is deterrence, relying on: (1) its House committee report, which says that section 1091(r) will "serve as a deterrent to prevent drug offenses," H.R. Report No. 109-231, at 206 (2005); and (2) several floor statements (specifically those, over a course of several years, by Representative Gerald B.H. Solomon who proposed several bills nearly identical to section 1091(r), although none was enacted). These, though, are not the "clearest proof" necessary to override legislative intent.
"[A]ll civil penalties have some deterrent effect.... If a sanction must be `solely' remedial (i.e., entirely nondeterrent) to avoid implicating the Double Jeopardy Clause, then no civil penalties are beyond the scope of the Clause." Hudson, 522 U.S. at 102, 118 S.Ct. 488; see also Smith, 538 U.S. at 95, 123 S.Ct. 1140 ("both criminal and civil sanctions may be labeled `penalties'"). Section 1091(r) serves several non-punitive goals, such as rehabilitation, school safety, a drug-free society, and ensuring tax dollars are spent on students who obey the laws. 144 Cong. Rec. H2580 (1998) (floor statements of Rep. Mark Souder, author of amendment enacting section 1091(r)); 144 Cong. Rec. H2869 (1998) (floor statements of Rep. Solomon). These goals are "plainly more remedial than punitive." Smith, 538 U.S. at 94, 123 S.Ct. 1140. "Where, as here, the rational connection to nonpunitive ends remains as a rationale for enacting this provision, a court should not reject all those alternatives... save that one which might require invalidation of the statute." Jensen v. Heckler, 766 F.2d 383, 386 (8th Cir.1985) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Moving to the second step, in determining whether the statutory scheme is so punitive in purpose or effect, this court looks at several factors:
Hudson, 522 U.S. at 99-100, 118 S.Ct. 488 (emphasis in original), quoting Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 168-69, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644 (1963). No one factor is controlling. Hudson, 522 U.S. at 101, 118 S.Ct. 488.
In terms of these factors, the statutory scheme is not so punitive in purpose or effect as to transform it into a criminal penalty. First, the sanction does not involve an affirmative disability or restraint. While students are denied Title IV financial aid for a specified period, "this is `certainly nothing approaching the "infamous punishment" of imprisonment.'" Hudson, 522 U.S. at 104, 118 S.Ct. 488, quoting Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 617, 80 S.Ct. 1367, 4 L.Ed.2d 1435 (1960); see also Hendricks, 521 U.S. at 363, 369, 117 S.Ct. 2072. Second, "the denial of Title IV aid does not constitute punishment." Selective Serv. Sys. v. Minn. Public Interest Research Group, 468 U.S. 841, 847 n. 3, 104 S.Ct. 3348, 82 L.Ed.2d 632 (1984). Students are not deprived permanently of Title IV benefits. See id., at 853, 104 S.Ct. 3348 ("A statute that leaves open perpetually the possibility of qualifying for aid does not fall within the historical meaning of forbidden legislative punishment."). Third, the sanction does not come into play only on a finding of scienter. The statute says all students who were convicted for possession or sale of controlled substances are ineligible for aid, regardless of the student's state of mind. "The absence of such a requirement here is evidence that... the statute is not intended to be retributive." Hendricks, 521 U.S. at 362, 117 S.Ct. 2072. Fourth, though the statute will deter other students, this alone "is insufficient to render a sanction criminal, as deterrence `may serve civil as well as criminal goals.'" Hudson, 522 U.S. at 105, 118 S.Ct. 488, quoting United States v. Ursery, 518 U.S. 267, 292, 116 S.Ct. 2135, 135 L.Ed.2d 549 (1996). Fifth, the sanction applies to behavior that is already a crime in that it requires a conviction before a student is deemed ineligible. However, this is insufficient to render the sanctions criminally punitive, especially in the double jeopardy context. Hudson, 522 U.S. at 105, 118 S.Ct. 488; Hendricks, 521 U.S. at 362, 117 S.Ct. 2072 ("Thus, the fact that the Act may be `tied to criminal activity' is `insufficient to render the statut[e] punitive.'"). Sixth, although section 1091(r) is meant to deter other students from possessing or selling drugs on campus, it also encourages rehabilitation, school safety, a drug-free society, and ensuring
The judgment of the district court is affirmed.