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United States v. Alfisi

308 F.3d 144 (2002)

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United States v. Alfisi

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

308 F.3d 144 (2002)

Facts

Mark Alfisi (defendant) was a produce wholesaler. Alfisi purchased produce from commercial brokers. If a wholesaler claimed that produce did not meet a certain contractual standard, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection could be called to verify the quality and condition of the produce. USDA inspectors routinely accepted money from wholesalers to downgrade their quality assessment of produce so wholesalers could pay less. William Cashin was arrested for accepting money as a USDA inspector. Alfisi was arrested and charged with bribery, paying an unlawful gratuity, and conspiracy to commit bribery. At trial, Cashin testified that Alfisi paid Cashin $50 per inspection to falsely downgrade his report. Sometimes the produce was legitimately poor quality, and thus the report was truthful. Alfisi argued that he was a victim of extortion by the USDA officials and that he paid Cashin only to make certain that Cashin performed inspections properly. Some evidence indicated that some of Cashin’s inspections were accurate. The jury convicted Alfisi of seven counts of bribery, six counts of paying unlawful gratuities, and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, and Alfisi was sentenced to a prison term of one year and one day. Alfisi appealed his conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, arguing that the jury should not have been permitted to convict him for bribery if Alfisi paid Cashin to perform Cashin’s job honestly.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)

Dissent (Sack, J.)

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