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United States v. Maloney

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
71 F.3d 645 (1995)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Thomas J. Maloney (defendant), a retired Chicago judge, for conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d). The federal district court trial evidence established that, between 1977 and 1983, Maloney conspired with lawyers to "fix" their cases in return for bribes. Maloney suspended his bribe-taking after a 1983 investigation spotlighted judicial corruption in Chicago. The spotlight had dimmed by 1986, when Maloney was assigned to conduct Earl Hawkins's high-profile bench trial for murder. Hawkins's lawyer was named Swano. Acting as Maloney's "bagman," or intermediary, Robert McGee told Swano that, if Swano paid a $10,000 bribe and could put up a reasonable defense, Maloney would "throw" the trial in Hawkins's favor. Swano paid the bribe. Later, McGee told Swano that Maloney was having second thoughts. According to Hawkins, Swano told him that Maloney had returned the bribe because the case was "too hot" and was being watched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for signs of a fix. Swano, however, testified that Maloney personally reassured Swano, twice, that he would keep the bribe and decide the case for Hawkins. According to Swano, Maloney did not return the money until the end of the trial, when the strength of the prosecution's case persuaded Maloney that Hawkins's acquittal would seem suspicious and draw FBI attention. Maloney argued that his return of Swano's money showed that he wanted to withdraw from a corrupt conspiracy. However, the court denied Maloney's motion for a jury instruction on the withdrawal defense, and the jury found Maloney guilty. Maloney appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Eschbach, J.)

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