Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
Charles Hampton
United States
Heard By 
(by appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the petitioner pro hac vice)
(Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioners)
Location: The Pud Bar
Facts of the Case 

Jules Hutton was a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant that made the acquaintance of Charles Hampton. According to the government, Hampton told Hutton that he could acquire heroin and was willing to sell it. Hutton replied that he would find a buyer and orchestrate a sale. Hampton and Hutton arranged two appointments with DEA agents posing as buyers. At the second appointment, Hampton was arrested. According to Hampton, he was unaware that he was selling heroin. He claimed that Hutton provided him with the drugs and that Hutton had told him they were counterfeit. Since the government, through Hutton, had provided him with the drugs, he had been entrapped and was therefore not guilty. Hampton was convicted after a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, alleging entrapment and a violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed his conviction.


Was Hampton's conviction a result of entrapment and in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment?

Decision: 5 votes for United States, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

No. In a 5-3 decision, the Court affirmed the judgment of the Eighth Circuit. Writing for the majority, Justice William H. Rehnquist relied on the Court's earlier opinion in United States v. Russell in that the "defense of entrapment was not available where…a Government agent supplied a necessary ingredient in the manufacture of an illicit drug." While Hampton's case involved distribution and not manufacture, Hampton was still "predisposed to commit the crime." As opposed to the Government inducing Hampton to commit the crime, "the police, the Government informant, and [Hampton] acted in concert." Therefore, no violation of due process occurred.

Cite this Page
HAMPTON v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_5822>.
HAMPTON v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_5822 (last visited August 25, 2015).
"HAMPTON v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_5822.