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United States v. Sutherland

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
656 F.2d 1181 (5th Cir. 1981)


Facts

Glen Sutherland (defendant) was a judge at the Municipal Court of the City of El Paso. Edward Maynard and Grace Walker (defendants) agreed to collect traffic tickets and the associated fines, as well as a $10 premium, from Sutherland’s friends. Maynard and Walker gave the tickets to Sutherland, who then favorably disposed of the tickets. The collected money was split between Sutherland and whichever defendant collected the ticket. Walker and Sutherland participated in the scheme between 1975 and 1977, while Maynard and Sutherland worked together in 1979. All three defendants were indicted for willfully combining to conspire to violate § 1962(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Although the indictment was based on a single agreement among all three defendants, the government did not present any evidence establishing an agreement between Walker and Maynard. Sutherland, Walker, and Maynard were convicted and appealed. The government contended that a single conspiracy to violate RICO could consist of a pattern of agreements that, before RICO, would comprise multiple conspiracies. The government argued that the prosecution was therefore not required to prove any connection between Walker and Maynard, as the two conspiracies both involved the same RICO enterprise of the Municipal Court of the City of El Paso.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Randall, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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