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Monday, June 08, 2009

Boyle v. United States: Not much structure needed for RICO

The Supreme Court held that an association-in-fact enterprise under RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), must have a "structure," but it need not be, as Boyle sought the jury to be instructed in his bank robberies case, "an ascertainable structure beyond that inherent in the pattern of racketeering activity in which it engages." The "structure" contemplated by the RICO statute has three features: a purpose, relationships among the associates, and longevity sufficient to permit the associates to pursue the enterprise’s purpose. The Court rejected Boyle’s argument the structure required additional features, such as a hierarchical structure or a chain of command. The Court also rejected the argument that its construction would create a merger of the RICO § 1962(c) crime with other federal offenses, pointing out that, in relation to conspiracy, it demands "much more" than proof of a "brief" agreement.