10.26.2007

1st Circuit Creates Split Re Application of RICO Statute to Defendants Involved In Noneconomic Criminal Enterprises

Per U.S. v. Nascimento, 491 F.3d 25 (1st Cir.(Mass.) Jul 02, 2007) (NO. 06-1152, 06-1153, 06-1154):

The pivotal issue in this case concerns the application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. ยง 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. Based on that conclusion and on our resolution of a golconda of other issues ably raised by highly competent counsel, we affirm the appellants' convictions.

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