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United States v. The Bonanno Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra

879 F.2d 20 (1989)

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United States v. The Bonanno Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

879 F.2d 20 (1989)

Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) filed a complaint alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in federal district court in New York against multiple defendants. One named defendant was the Bonanno Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (the Bonanno Family) (defendant). The Bonanno Family operated through groups called crews. Each crew was supervised by a crew chief. Crew chiefs reported to the boss, who was the head of the Bonanno Family, or to the underboss, who worked directly under the boss. Members of the Bonanno Family could only conduct illegal activities with permission from a superior. The government offered no evidence that any member of the Bonanno Family shared control of the enterprise with the boss or that any members were intended to be partners with the boss. The Bonanno Family objected to the complaint. The district court ruled in the Bonanno Family’s favor, finding that the Bonanno Family was not a “person” as defined under RICO and, therefore, could not be named as a defendant in the RICO action. The district court dismissed the case against the Bonanno Family. The government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conboy, J.)

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