United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Sufficiency of indictment – Jury instructions
Judges Jacobs, Bianco, and Menashi
Background: The defendant appealed from a jury verdict finding him guilty of nine narcotics and money-laundering charges. He argues that his indictment insufficiently stated a continuing criminal enterprise count because it did not identify the conduct constituting the continuing series of violations. He further argues that the court improperly instructed the jury when it allowed the aggregation of drug amounts across the continuing series of violations rather than requiring that single narcotics offense involve at least 150 kilograms of cocaine.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed. The court held that the indictment was sufficient, as the indictment was not meaningfully different from the one considered in United States v. Flaharty, 295 F.3d 182 (2d Cir 2002). The Second Circuit held that the court plainly erred when it instructed the jury. However, the error did not affect the defendant’s substantial rights.
Robert Marangola, assistant United States attorney, for the appellee; Michael Joseph Witmer for the defendant-appellant.