Law 735
Federal Criminal Law

Syracuse University College of Law
Visiting Assistant Professor William C. Snyder
Fall 2015

Next Assignment: please read Lesson 26 for Monday, December 7, 2015.

Working Syllabus

The primary text is Richman, Stith, and Stuntz's Defining Federal Crimes (Aspen, May 2014, ISBN 9781454851349), hereinafter "DFL." 

Lesson 1 8/24/15

I. Institutional Design

A. Changing Boundaries (page 1)

1. The Growth of Federal Criminal Jurisdiction (2)

2. Negotiated Boundaries (8)

3. The Costs of Negotiated Boundaries (12)

4. Toward New Boundaries? (14)

B. The United States Department of Justice 15)

C. Federal Criminal Litigation: A Snapshot (16)

Introduction to Federal Criminal Practice (19)

D. Constitutional Structure (20)

Constitution of the United States (20)

The Constitution and Federal Criminal Law (23)

Assignment: For Lesson 1 on Monday, August 24, 2015, please read DFL pages 1 to 26.

Lesson 2 8/26/15

II. Jurisdiction: Federal Criminal Law and the Commerce Power (27)

A. ''Commerce . . . Among the Several States'' (28)

1. Historical Development (28)

Champion v. Ames (The Lottery Case) (30)

Notes and Questions (34)

Perez v. United States (37)

Notes and Questions (40)

Scarborough v. United States (40)

The Growth in Firearm Prosecutions (44)

United States v. Lopez (45)

Notes and Questions (51)

Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1995, 18 U.S.C. §922(q) (51)

2. The Present (54)

Gonzales v. Raich (54)

Notes and Questions (66)

United States v. Alderman (70)

Notes and Questions (76)

Assignment: For lesson 2 on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, please read DFL pages 27 to 82. Although this assignment is uncommonly long at 55 pages, I expect that you are familiar already with United States v. Lopez (1995) and Gonzales v. Raich (2005) from Constitutional Law.

Lesson 3 8/31/15

B. ''Commerce with Foreign Nations'' (83)

United States v. Clark (83)

Federal Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (92)

Assignment: For Lesson 3 on Monday, August 31, 2015, please read DFL pages 83 to 97 .

Lesson 4

9/2/15

Assignment: For Lesson 4, please read DFL pages 99 to 134.

III. The Separation of Powers: Interpreting Federal Criminal Statutes (99)

A. The Ban on Common-Law Crimes (100)

United States v. Hudson & Goodwin (100)

Notes and Questions (102)

B. The Definition of Criminal Conduct (105)

Brogan v. United States (105)

Notes and Questions (111)

The ''So-Called Rule of Lenity'' (117)

C. Criminal Defenses (119)

Dixon v. United States (120)

The Federal Law of Defenses (128)

 

Lesson 5

9/9/15

Assignment: For Lesson 5 on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, please read DFL pages 135 to 178.

D. Criminal Intent (135)

1. The Historical Debate (135)

United States v. Dotterweich (135)

Notes and Questions (137)

Morissette v. United States 139

Notes and Questions 147

2. Factual Knowledge 148

Staples v. United States 148

Notes and Questions 157

3. Legal Knowledge 163

Bryan v. United States 169

Notes and Questions 175

Lesson 6 9/14/15

Assignment: For Lesson 6, please read DFL pages 179 to 215.

IV.  Mail and Wire Fraud 179
  • §1341. Frauds and Swindles 179
  • §1343. Fraud By Wire, Radio, or Television 179

 

A. Scheme to Defraud 180

Durland v. United States 181

Notes and Questions 182

B. Prosecutorial Innovations and Judicial Constraints in Mail and Wire Fraud 187

McNally v. United States 188

Notes and Questions 195

Carpenter v. United States 196

Notes and Questions 199

United States v. Al Hedaithy 200

Notes and Questions 207

United States v. Ratcliff 209

Notes and Questions 214

Lesson 7 9/16/15

Assignment: For Lesson 7, please read DFL pages 215 to 249.

Resource: Bruno Indictment.

C. Honest Services Fraud 215

Interpretive Strategies Between McNally and Skilling 215

Skilling v. United States 221

Notes and Questions 233

D. Jurisdiction—Mailings and Wire Communications 238

Schmuck v. United States 238

Notes and Questions 242

Inter- versus Intra-State Communications 246

United States v. Phillips 247

Wire-Fraud Jurisdiction 249

skip

E. An Alternative Vision of Law Development 249

Dan M. Kahan, Is Chevron Relevant to Federal Criminal Law? 250

Notes and Questions 260

Lesson 8 9/21/15

Assignment: For Lesson 8, please read DFL pages 263 to 293.

V. Extortion 263

A. Coercion and Consent 264

1. Violence 264

United States v. Zhou 264

Extortion and Threats of Violence 269

2. Economic Threats 276

United States v. Albertson 279

Notes and Questions 289

Lesson 9 9/23/15

Assignment: For Lesson 9 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, please read DFL pages 293-331.

3. Informational Blackmail 293

United States v. Jackson 294

Notes and Questions 303

B. Obtaining Property 305

United States v. Gotti 305

Notes and Questions 317

Sekhar v. United States 322

Questions 330

Lesson 10 9/28/15

Assignment: For Lesson 10, please read DFL pages 331-363.

Supplemental: Word document for in-class notes.

VI. Official Corruption 331

A. Extortion Under Color of Official Right 332

McCormick v. United States 332

Notes and Questions 342

Evans v. United States 343

''Color of Right'' Extortion 351

United States v. Giles 354

Notes and Questions 358

Lesson 11 9/30/15

Assignment: For Lesson 11, please read DFL pages 363-389.

B. Bribes and Gratuities 363

§201. Bribery of Public Officials and Witnesses 363

Notes and Questions 365

United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers of California 367

Notes and Questions 374

Valdes v. United States 377

Notes and Questions 386

  Class did not meet on Monday, 10/5/15.

Lesson 12 10/7/15

Assignment: For Lesson 12, please read DFL pages 389-408.

Supplemental Material (not required): 10/14/1976 press release.

C. Program Bribery 389

18 U.S.C. §666 390

Sabri v. United States 391

Notes and Questions 394

United States v. Thompson 396

Notes and Questions 400

United States v. [Bravo] Fernandez 401

Notes and Questions 405

D. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 406

Notes and Questions 407

Lesson 13 10/12/15

Assignment: For Lesson 13, please read DFL pages 409-445.

VII. Criminal Violations of Constitutional Rights 409

18 U.S.C. §241. Conspiracy Against Rights 409

18 U.S.C. §242. Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law 410

The History of Criminal Enforcement of Civil Rights 410

A. Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law 414

1. ''Willfully'' 414

Screws v. United States 414

Notes and Questions 420

United States v. Bradley 424

Notes and Questions 427

2. Deprivation of ''Rights'' 428

United States v. Lanier 428

Notes and Questions 434

3. ''Under Color of Law'' 435

Screws v. United States 435

Under Color of Whose Law? 437

United States v. Giordano 438

Notes and Questions 443

Lesson 14

10/14/15

Assignment: For Lesson 14, please read DFL pages 445-465.

B. Civil Rights Prosecutions of Private Actors 445

United States v. Magleby 445

Notes and Questions 448

18 U.S.C. §245. Federally Protected Activities 449

The Enactment of §245 451

United States v. Allen 452

Notes and Questions 457

18 U.S.C. §249 459

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes

Prevention Act of 2009 460

United States v. Jenkins 462

Lesson 15 10/19/15

Assignment: For Lesson 15, please read DFL pages 465-494.

VIII. The Law of Criminal Organizations 465

A. Accomplice Liability 466

18 U.S.C. §2 466

What Constitutes Aiding and Abetting a Crime? 467

B. Conspiracy 476

18 U.S.C. §371 476

Distinguishing Between Conspiracy Liability and Accomplice Liability 476

Pinkerton v. United States 477

The Federal Law of Conspiracy 481

United States v. Franco-Santiago 488

Lesson 16 10/21/15

Assignment: For Lesson 16, please read DFL pages 494-523.

C. Money Laundering 494

Regulatory Background 495

18 U.S.C. §1956 496

Distinguishing Money Laundering from the Underlying Criminal Activity 499

United States v. Santos 500

Notes and Questions 511

United States v. Corchado-Peralta 513

United States v. Rivera-Rodriguez 517

Notes and Questions 520

Supplemental material:

Lesson 17

10/26/15

Assignment: For Lesson 17, please read or review the HANDOUT that was a supplement to the previous class meeting.

C. Money Laundering (Continued) (not in book)

18 U.S.C. §1957

Terrorism Financing

Lesson 18

10/28/15

Assignment: Please read DFL pages 523-566.

 

Supplemental materials:

  • Official 350-page DOJ Manual on RICO prosecutions.

 

D. Enterprise Crime 523

  • 18 U.S.C. §§1961-1964 524
  • The RICO Statute 528

 

1. Defining the RICO ''Enterprise'' 531

Boyle v. United States 533

The Meaning of ''Enterprise'' 540

United States v. Cianci 543

Notes and Questions 549

2. Conducting, or Participating in the Conduct of, the Enterprise's Affairs 552

United States v. Oreto 553

Other Ways to Participate in the Enterprise 555

3. Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity 557

H.J., Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. 557

The Meaning of ''Pattern of Racketeering Activity'' 561

4. RICO Conspiracies 563

Lesson 19 11/2/15

This is a special class to catch-up -- because we likely willfall behind during our discussion of conspiracy and RICO -- and to doscuss measuring federal prosecutions by a problem-solving rather than a convictions metric.

Assignment: Handout.

Lesson 20 11/4/15

Assignment: Please read DFL pages 566-600.

E. Material-Support Statutes 566

1. Criminal Enforcement Tools Against Terrorism 566

2. Material-Support Offenses 568

18 U.S.C. §2339A 568

18 U.S.C. §2339B 569

3. Liability Under §2339(A) 569

United States v. Stewart 571

Epilogue: Lynne Stewart's Sentencing 580

4. Liability Under §2339B 581

Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project 582

Notes and Questions 598

Lesson 21

Assignment: For Lesson 21, please read DFL pages 601-633.

IX.  Drugs and Punishment 601

A. Substantive Law 606

  • 21 U.S.C. §841(a) 606

 

1. Drug Scheduling 607

21 U.S.C. §812 607

Notes and Questions 608

United States v. Hussein 610

Notes and Questions 618

2. Federal Drug Law Within U.S. Borders 621

a. The Crime of Simple Possession 621

b. Prosecuting Drug Kingpins 622

c. Prosecuting Traffickers in Listed Chemicals 623

d. Marijuana Prosecutions in Changing Times 624

3. International Narcotics Trafficking 626

United States v. Martinez 627

Notes and Questions 630

Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 705 (631)

Lesson 22

Assignment: For Lesson 22, please read DFL pages 634-660.

HANDOUT (statute)

B. Drug Penalties 634

1. The Statutory Structure of Drug Sentencing Law 635

Mandatory Minimum Sentences 636

2. Calculating Drug Quantity 640

United States v. Pressley 640

3. The Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity 642

Notes and Questions 643

4. Sentencing Entrapment 648

5. Drugs, Guns, and Consecutive Mandatory Minimum Sentences 651

Notes and Questions 652

6. Sentencing Under Duress 657

A Judicial Plea to the Political Branches 657

Lesson 23
on 11/18/15

Assignment: For Lesson 23, please read HANDOUT.

[Not in Book] IX(A). Forfeiture

Lesson 24
on 11/30/15

Assignment: For Lesson 24, please read DFL pages 661-685.

X. Sentencing 661

A. Discretionary Sentencing 662

How Judges Exercised Broad Sentencing Discretion 663

B. The Advent, Operation, and Evolution of Federal Sentencing Guidelines 668

1. Introduction to the Guidelines 668

2. Real-Offense Sentencing 672

Stephen Breyer, The Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the Key Compromises upon Which They Rest 672

How the Guidelines Implement Real-Offense Sentencing 673

3. The Sentencing Guidelines and the Constitution 676

United States v. Watts 676

The Path from Watts to Booker 678

4. The Status of the Guidelines After Booker 682

Supplemental material:

Lesson 25
12/2/15

Assignment: For Lesson 25, please read DFL pages 686-708.

C. Defining Crimes Under Advisory Sentencing Guidelines 686

1. Mail and Wire Fraud 686

U.S.S.G. §2B1.1 686

''The Law of Fraud'' Under the Guidelines 687

United States v. Olis 689

Notes and Questions 695

2. Political Corruption 698

U.S.S.G. §2C1.1 699

How the Guidelines Redefine Political Corruption Crimes 700

United States v. Cruzado 701

Notes and Questions 705

Lesson 26
on 12/7/15

Assignment: For Lesson 26, please read DFL pages 708-731.

3. Drug Trafficking 708

a. Mandatory Sentences versus Mandatory Guidelines 708

Gerard E. Lynch, Sentencing Eddie 710

Notes and Questions 716

b. The Crack/Powder Disparity After United States v. Booker 718

Kimbrough v. United States 719

Notes and Questions 726

D. The Future of Sentencing Law 728

Nancy Gertner, Gall, Kimbrough and Me 729

Gerard E. Lynch, Letting Guidelines Be Guidelines (and Judges Be Judges) 730

Notes and Questions 731

Lesson 27

12/*/15

Assignment: For Lesson 27, please read DFL pages 733-766.

XI. Corporate Crime 733

A. Entity Liability 736

1. The Origins of Corporate Criminal Liability 736

New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Co. v. United States 736

Notes and Questions 741

2. Application 745

United States v. Singh 746

Notes and Questions 749

3. Recent Developments: Deferred Prosecutions, Corporate Monitors, and Prosecutors as ''Super-Regulators'' 753

a. Leveraging Respondeat Superior: The Use of Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements 753

b. The Use of Corporate Monitors 755

c. Prosecutors as Regulators: Deferred Prosecutions and the Anachronistic Nature of Corporate Criminal Liability 757

d. Current Department of Justice Policies 759

Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations 759

Notes and Questions 762

4. Prospects for the Future 762

a. Due Diligence Defense? 763

b. Limitation to High Corporate Officials? 765

c. Increased Judicial Oversight of Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements? 765

The Significance of Expansive Corporate Criminal Liability 766

 

B. Liability of ''Responsible Corporate Officers'' 767

United States v. Park 767

Notes and Questions 775

Park Redux 778

XII. Delegating Criminal Lawmaking 781

A. Delegation to Executive and Independent Agencies 782

1. Delegation to Independent Federal Agencies 783

2. Delegation to Executive Agencies 788

United States v. Dhafir 788

Notes and Questions 793

B. Delegation to States 793

United States v. Rocha 796

What Is an ''Enactment of Congress''? 804

C. Transnational and International Delegation 804

Delegation to a Supranational Agency 807

Examination -- 12/17/15, 1:00 PM. Room 352

 

 

 

 

 

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