First Circuit Creates Split Re Application of RICO to Violent but Noneconomic Criminal Activity
Per U.S. v. Nascimento, --- F.3d ----, 2007 WL 1881304 (1st Cir. July 02, 2007):
The pivotal issue in this case concerns the application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1962, to a street gang engaged in violent, but noneconomic, criminal activity. That issue possesses constitutional implications weighty enough to have led one of our sister circuits to fashion a special, more rigorous, version of RICO's statutory “affecting commerce” requirement for use in connection with defendants involved with enterprises that are engaged exclusively in noneconomic criminal activity. See Waucaush v. United States, 380 F.3d 251, 256 (6th Cir.2004). Although we are reluctant to create a circuit split, we conclude, after grappling with this difficult question, that the normal requirements of the RICO statute apply to defendants involved with enterprises that are engaged only in noneconomic criminal activity.