United States v. Applins, No. 07-2193-cr (2d Cir. March 1, 2011) (Miner, Sack, Hall, CJJ)
This decision closes a hole in the Second Circuit’s RICO jurisprudence. The appellants, drug dealers who were members of something called the Elk Block gang, were convicted of RICO conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) in the Northern District of New York. The trial judge gave confusing jury instructions as to whether, for RICO conspiracy, the existence of an enterprise was an element of the offense.
The defendants pursued this issue on appeal, and the circuit affirmed, holding that “the establishment of an enterprise is not an element of the RICO conspiracy offense.” In a footnote, the court brushed aside its past decisions that seemed to suggest otherwise, deeming the relevant language “dicta.”