United States v. Masterpol

940 F.2d 760 (1991)

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United States v. Masterpol

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
940 F.2d 760 (1991)

Facts

Masterpol (defendant) was the owner of a construction company. Masterpol was indicted on charges arising from his attempt to defraud a customer by overcharging the customer for renovation work. During Masterpol’s trial, two former employees of Masterpol’s construction company testified that they had been paid less for their work on the renovations than Masterpol had reported to the customer. Masterpol was convicted. Before sentencing, Masterpol met with the two former employees and urged them to write to the judge and recant some of the testimony they gave at trial. Both former employees wrote letters stating that they had received either a combination of gifts and cash or just cash equal to the amount Masterpol had reported to the customer. One letter was attached to Masterpol’s sentencing memorandum, and the other was submitted to the judge by Masterpol’s attorney at sentencing. Masterpol was indicted and convicted for attempting to obstruct justice in violation of the obstruction-of-justice statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1503, for urging his employees to recant their testimony. Masterpol was convicted and appealed on the ground that § 1503 no longer covers witness tampering and if the government (plaintiff) wanted to charge him for obstruction of justice, it should have charged him with a violation of the witness-tampering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1512.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Meskill, J.)

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