J B asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 10 years ago

What constitutional challenges have been leveled against RICO and how have the courts reacted to such assaults?

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  • 10 years ago
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    The ones that I found were too vague, rejected; too broad, rejected and violates double jeopardy, rejected.

    In Abell, et al v. Potomac Insurance Company of Illinois, et al the appeal was based on RICO being unconstitutionally vague. The 5th Circuit upheld the District Court's ruling that it was not unconstitutionally vague.

    Note 17 and 18 of the second link says

    http://www.thelaborers.net/court_cases/rico_explan... (go to page for hypelinks to the cases)

    17 See, e.g., United States v. Kragness, 830 F.2d 842 (8th Cir. 1987) (holding that conviction on both RICO conspiracy charge and various drug conspiracies did not violate the Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy clause).

    18 RICO initially produced two constitutional concerns: (1) it was too broad in scope, and (2) it was vague in its language. See United States v. Aleman, 609 F.2d 298, 305 (7th Cir. 1979) ("Being broad in scope is not synonymous with being vague."). Cf. Parnes v. Heinhold Commodities, 548 F. Supp. 20, 22-24 (N.D. Ill. 1982) (applying the broadly drafted RICO definitions in a way that would not "turn the English language on its head"). See also United States v. Sutton, 642 F.2d 1001, 1008 (6th Cir. 1980) (no ambiguity in use of the word "enterprise"); United States v. Thompson, 669 F.2d 1143, 1145 (6th Cir. 1982) (definition of "enterprise" clear and broad); United States v. Parness, 503 F.2d 430, 442 (2d Cir. 1974) (section 1962(b) not unconstitutionally vague).

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