Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Boyle v. United States

United States Supreme Court
129 S. Ct. 2237 (2009)


Boyle (defendant) was charged with violating the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act), 18 U.S.C. § 1963(c). He was part of a group that engaged in a series of bank robberies. The group was “loosely and informally organized.” The group did not have a leader or a hierarchy, and it seemed to define the roles for the bank robberies (e.g., driver, lookout, etc.) on an ad hoc basis. The RICO Act stated that it was “unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.” The RICO Act did not define “enterprise.” Over Boyle’s objection, the district court instructed the jury that it could “find an enterprise where an association of individuals, without structural hierarchy, form[ed] solely for the purpose of carrying out a pattern of racketeering acts.” Additionally, the district court instructed the jury that “[c]ommon sense suggests that the existence of an association-in-fact is oftentimes more readily proven by what it does, rather than by abstract analysis of its structure.” The jury convicted Boyle, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. Boyle petitioned for certiorari on the ground that the district court’s jury instructions improperly defined enterprise. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 509,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 509,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial