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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77020 Find in a Library
Title: Trouble With RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law)
Journal: Police Magazines  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:39-44
Author(s): G Mitchell
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The development of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law is described, and the scope of a recent U.S. Supreme Court case that may determine RICO's future is outlined.
Abstract: The RICO section of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 authorized stiffer criminal and civil penalties for organized crime activities, broadened the classification of 'organized' lawbreaking to include political corruption and white-collar crime, and restored the concept of criminal forfeiture of ill-gotten gains. Although in its early days RICO enabled prosecutors to attack certain serious crimes that might otherwise have slopped through the system, the law has been running into hostility from the courts. In 1980, the U.S. Justice Department appealed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. The court overturned the conviction of a Massachusetts man named Turkette on narcotics, arson, and racketeering charges, declaring that RICO was enacted, not as 'an offensive weapon against criminals but as a shield to thwart their depredations against legitimate business enterprises.' On January 26, 1981, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and define the scope of RICO, probably by the end of 1981. The article includes interviews with Robert Blakey, a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, who helped draft RICO, with Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware; and with Brian Murtagh who is responsible for the nationwide administration RICO. A description of RICO's forfeiture provision and of the unsuccessful attempt to apply RICO to a chapter of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club in California are given. Photographs are included.
Index Term(s): Organized crime; Organized Crime Control Act of 1970; Organized crime investigation; Organized crime prevention
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