Friday, September 14, 2012

Perez v. United States case brief

Perez v. United States
      1. Issue:
        1. Whether Title II of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (18 USC 891) was a valid exercise of congressional authority under the commerce clause.
      2. Facts:
        1. § 892 of the CCPA declared it a federal crime punishable by a maximum of 20 years to make an extortionate extension of credit or to conspire to do so.
        2. Defendant Perez was a loan shark who engaged in extortionate credit transactions.
      3. Holding and Analysis:
        1. Like Lopez, the CCPA did not contain “affecting commerce” language and, thus, lacked an explicit jurisdictional hook.
        2. However, the Court looked to the congressional findings behind the legislation, which explicitly discussed the substantial effects of extortionate credit offerings on interstate commerce.
        3. “Extortionate credit transactions, though purely intrastate, may in the judgment of Congress affect interstate commerce. . . . In the setting of the present case there is a tie in between local loan sharks and interstate crime.”
      4. Dissent:
        1. Stewart argues that under the majority opinion, and individual may be convicted without any demonstration of interstate movement or any real effect on interstate commerce.
        2. Basically thinks that this is too far an encroachment on state regulation of criminal local activity that is contrary to the intentions of the framers of the Constitution.
      5. Not sure if this case has been overturned by Lopez, but I think it is important to note that both statutes did not contain the appropriate jurisdictional language to fall under the commerce clause. However, the Perez statute was upheld, while Lopez was struck down. Matt thinks that Lopez is a “blip on the radar screen,” almost an outlier, and that the scope of federal criminal law will only continue to expand.

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