Boyle v. United States

PETITIONER: Edmund Boyle
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Tommy Dono's "Social Club"

DOCKET NO.: 07-1309
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2006-2009)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 556 US 938 (2009)
GRANTED: Oct 01, 2008
ARGUED: Jan 14, 2009
DECIDED: Jun 08, 2009

Anthony A. Yang - on behalf of the respondent
Marc Fernich - argued the cause for the petitioner

Facts of the case

Edmund Boyle was convicted by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, bank burglary, bank burglary conspiracy, and attempted bank burglary. He was sentenced to 151 months imprisonment. Mr. Boyle appealed arguing that the government's case against him was factually contradictory. In his trial, the government charged that the robbery was an act of the Boyle Crew enterprise. However, in a previous case it had charged that the robbery was an act of the New Springfield Boys enterprise. Boyle maintained that this contradiction violated his right to due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the government's case was not factually contradictory. It reasoned that "[n]othing dictates that a single crime cannot be committed by two enterprises working together, each in furtherance of its own interests." Thus, the trial court did not violate Boyle's Fifth Amendment due process rights.


In order prove the association of enterprises in a criminal activity, does the government need to show connections between the enterprises beyond what is apparent in the criminal activity itself?

Media for Boyle v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 14, 2009 in Boyle v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 08, 2009 in Boyle v. United States

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

Justice Alito has the opinion this morning in 07-1309 Boyle versus United States.

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

This case is before us on writ of certiorari to the Second Circuit.

The petitioner in this case was convicted of violating the RICO Act by participating in the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.

The evidence at trial was sufficient to show that petitioner and other members of a loose and informal group without any hierarchal structure or long term plan committed a series of bank robberies over a period of years.

The District Courts during instruction on the meaning of a RICO enterprise relied primarily on our decision in United States v. Turkette.

The question presented is whether the Court erred in refusing to give a requested defense instruction to the effect that an association in fact enterprise under RICO must have “an ascertainable structure” beyond that inherent in the pattern of racketeering activity in which it engages.

We hold that an enterprise must have certain structural features but not those identified by petitioner and that an instruction that refers specifically to the concept of structure is not necessary.

We therefore hold that the District Court properly instructed the jury in this case and we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Breyer has joined.