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Marinello v. United States

138 S. Ct. 1101, 200 L. Ed. 2d 356 (2018)

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Marinello v. United States

United States Supreme Court

138 S. Ct. 1101, 200 L. Ed. 2d 356 (2018)

Facts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began investigating the tax activities of Carlo Marinello (defendant). Marinello was indicted by the government (plaintiff) in federal district court for violations of criminal tax statutes, including the omnibus clause of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a), which prohibited obstructing or impeding the due administration of the tax code corruptly or by force. A violation of § 7212(a) was a felony. At trial, the judge did not give a jury instruction stating that to convict Marinello under the omnibus clause, the jury must find that Marinello knew that he was under investigation at the time of the obstructive act and that he corruptly intended to interfere with the IRS’s administration of the tax code. The jury convicted Marinello on all counts, including the violation of the omnibus clause. Marinello appealed, arguing that the prosecution did not show that he had attempted to interfere with a particular pending proceeding that he knew was ongoing. The court of appeals affirmed Marinello’s conviction, holding that a defendant did not have to be aware of a specific pending IRS proceeding during an act of interference to be convicted for violating the omnibus clause. Marinello requested a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

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