In situations where an employee is charged with misconduct after he or she has been convicted of a crime involving the same unlawful action or activity, the accused individual may argue that "double jeopardy" bars his or her being subjected to administrative disciplinary action involving the same events that led to his or her conviction of a crime.
Although the Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime and is typically raised as a "procedural defense" in a criminal proceeding, does not bar the filing administrative disciplinary charges against an individual against whom criminal charges have been filed involving the same event or events.
Indeed, as the Appellate Division held in Kelly v Levin, 81 A.D.2d 1005, if an individual has been found guilty of criminal conduct in a criminal trial, a disciplinary hearing panel cannot find the individual not guilty of the same offense[s] in a subsequent administrative disciplinary action.
Although an individual may be found not guilty of alleged criminal acts in a criminal action, he or she may be found guilty of such conduct in an administrative proceeding as there is a lesser standard of proof to be met in the case of an administrative action. In an administrative proceeding a person must be proved guilty of the acts or omissions alleged by "substantial evidence." In contrast, in a criminal trial "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" must be proved by the charging party.