ADAMS v. UNITED STATES
474 U.S. 971 (1985)

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U.S. Supreme Court

ADAMS v. UNITED STATES , 474 U.S. 971 (1985)

474 U.S. 971

Tyrone ADAMS
v.
UNITED STATES.
No. 85-5046

Supreme Court of the United States

November 4, 1985

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE joins, dissenting.

This case presents the issue of the agreement necessary to support a conviction for so-called RICO conspiracy. For his part in a large-scale narcotics distribution scheme, petitioner Adams was convicted of both the substantive RICO offense defined by 18

Page 474 U.S. 971 , 972

U.S.C. 1962(c) * and conspiracy to commit this offense. Petitioner requested a jury instruction that he could not be found guilty on the conspiracy count unless the evidence showed that he had personally agreed to commit two acts of racketeering activity. The District Judge refused this instruction. In affirming petitioner's RICO conspiracy conviction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that, to be convicted of conspiracy to violate 1962(c), a defendant need only agree to the commission of two predicate acts of racketeering activity, and need not agree to personally commit those acts. 759 F.2d 1099, 1116 (1985).

The Courts of Appeals disagree as to the proper interpretation of 18 U.S.C. 1962(d), the RICO conspiracy statute. Some require, as the predicate for conviction under 1962(d) of conspiracy to violate 1962(c ), an agreement to personally commit two acts of racketeering activity. See, e.g., United States v. Ruggiero, 726 F.2d 913, 921 (CA2), cert. denied sub nom. Rabito v. United States, 469 U.S. 831, 83 L. Ed.2d 60 (1984); United States v. Winter, 663 F.2d 1120, 1136 (CA1 1981), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1011 (1983). Other Courts of Appeals agree with the Third Circuit that 1962(d) also makes unlawful an agreement that another violate 1962(c) by committing two acts of racketeering activity. See, e.g., United States v. Carter, 721 F.2d 1514, 1529-1531 (CA11), cert. denied sub nom. Morris v. United States, 469 U.S. 819 (1984).

Surprisingly, even the Government's interpretation of the RICO conspiracy statute has not been wholly consistent. In Winter, supra, the Government conceded that a count under 1962(d) of conspiracy to violate 1962(c) requires proof that the defendant "agreed to commit personally two or more predicate crimes constituting a pattern of racketeering activity." 663 F.2d 1136. [474 U.S. 971 , 973]


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