Criminal Law Keyed to Johnson
United States v. Aulicino
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962 prohibits participation in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. Racketeering activity includes felonious acts or threats involving murder, kidnapping, or extortion, and a pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts within a period of ten years. Robert Aulicino, Jr., David Cleary, and Louis Ruggiero, Jr. (Defendants) were members of a kidnapping ring that was divided into two crews. One crew, led by Steven Palmer, identified the potential victims, while the second, led by Ruggiero and Cleary, abducted the targets and demanded ransoms. The ring assembled a list of ten targets and, over the next three-and-a-half months, attempted seven kidnappings. Otmar Delaney was abducted and escaped, but the ring continued to attempt to extort Delaney even after his escape. The ring also acquired a large ransom from Alvin Goings that was used to purchase vehicles for future kidnappings. Robert Mercedes was tortured and shot several times, while David Crumpler was shot and killed after Crumpler’s family refused to pay ransom. In early 1991, after Palmer’s death, the ring ceased the kidnapping activities. Eventually, most of the remaining members were arrested and charged with violating RICO. Cleary and Ruggiero were convicted under RICO and appealed, arguing that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish a RICO pattern, because their activities had only occurred over a period of three-and-a-half months and (2) the government had failed to prove any threat of continuity, because the enterprise had ended naturally.
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