Barry v. Barchi

In Barry v. Barchi (1978) 443 U.S. 55, New York's racing and wagering board suspended the license of a harness race horse trainer without a presuspension hearing. The applicable statute did not specify a time for a post-suspension hearing, and it gave the racing and wagering board 30 days after conclusion of any such hearing to issue a ruling. Although Barry concluded that the challenged presuspension procedures were satisfactory, that still left "unresolved how and when the adequacy of the grounds for suspension is ultimately to be determined. As the District Court found, the consequences to a trainer of even a temporary suspension can be severe; and we have held that the opportunity to be heard must be 'at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.' Here, the provision for an administrative hearing, neither on its face nor as applied in this case, assured a prompt proceeding and prompt disposition of the outstanding issues between Barchi and the State. Indeed, insofar as the statutory requirements are concerned, it is as likely as not that Barchi and others subject to relatively brief suspensions would have no opportunity to put the State to its proof until they have suffered the full penalty imposed. Yet, it is possible that Barchi's horse may not have been drugged and Barchi may not have been at fault at all. Once suspension has been imposed, the trainer's interest in a speedy resolution of the controversy becomes paramount, it seems to us. We also discern little or no state interest, and the State has suggested none, in an appreciable delay in going forward with a full hearing. On the contrary, it would seem as much in the State's interest as Barchi's to have an early and reliable determination with respect to the integrity of those participating in state-supervised horse racing. In these circumstances, it was necessary that Barchi be assured a prompt postsuspension hearing, one that would proceed and be concluded without appreciable delay. Because the statute as applied in this case was deficient in this respect, Barchi's suspension was constitutionally infirm under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." ( Barry, supra, 443 U.S. at p. 66.)