Friday, September 14, 2012

United States v. Elliott case brief

United States v. Elliott: Several ∆s, including Elliot (∆), were tried and convicted of violating the RICO by being involved in a conspiracy to engage in criminal enterprise. Some of the ∆s allegedly furthered this enterprise by committing specific crimes of which the other ∆s were unaware. On this basis ∆ and the others appealed their convictions, arguing that proof of multiple conspiracies was improper when the charge was that a single conspiracy existed. In essence, the argument was that ∆s couldn’t be tried en masse for the conglomeration of distinct and separate offenses committed by others.
  • When the charge isn’t conspiracy to engage in a crime but conspiracy to engage in criminal enterprise, it is proper to try jointly ∆s accused of specific crimes committed in furtherance of the conspiracy but not w/in the knowledge of all ∆s and to introduce evidence of those crimes.
  • RICO allows a prosecutor to charge, in a single count, what might constitute multiple, smaller conspiracies. To be convicted as a member of an enterprise conspiracy, an individual, by his words or actions, must have objectively manifested an agreement to participate, directly or indirectly, in the affairs of an enterprise through the commission of two or more predicate crimes.
  • One of the implications of being involved in RICO in cases such as Elliot is the concept of having one trial w/ one jury and all of the Ds involved in the organization
    • D’s don’t want it is b/c if you are a minor player (like Elliot) you don’t want the jury to connect you to anyone who killed someone. Elliot is not being charged with AGREEING to kill someone or killing someone (this is what makes RICO really harsh!) but he is having a joint trial with the murders. Some crimes are like murder and some are like stealing meat – you don’t want the jury to know that you’re friends kill someone if you are a pretty minor player in the conspiracy. IF you were just on trial for the meat, then you have a better chance with the jury. Obviously the jury is not suppose to lump your crimes in with others, but in reality it happens all the time.

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