Russello v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: A&P supermarket

DOCKET NO.: 82-472
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 464 US 16 (1983)
ARGUED: Oct 05, 1983
DECIDED: Nov 01, 1983

Samuel A. Alito, Jr. - on behalf of the respondent
Ronald A. Dion - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Russello v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 05, 1983 in Russello v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Dion, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Ronald A. Dion:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The sole issue that is being presented today is the scope of the RICO forfeiture statute that was passed by Congress in 1970, in particular, Section 1963(a)(1).

We will try, in the oral argument, to not get into a bingo contest.

Unfortunately, a lot of the sections in 1962 and 1963 are interrelated.

Most of the argument is going to deal with the interrelationship of those two statutes.

First of all, the simple question is whether or not the term 1963(a)(1) permits the forfeiture of income proceeds and profits of illegal racketeering activity or whether it does no so include it.

The first thing we need to do, of course, is go to the express wording of the statute.

As in many of these cases of statutory construction, both the government and the defense have argued that the express wording, as well as the intent of the legislature and the legislative history supports their respective positions.

If we take a look first at the express wording of 1963(a)(1), it is important to note, as several courts have held... In particular, I would like to bring to this Court's attention the case of United States versus McManigall which was decided after the briefs were filed, which is out of the 7th Circuit.

Each of those courts have held that it is of interest that the actual words 1963(a)(1).

It is important for two reasons.

One of the reasons that is relied upon that I think is secondary is the inclusion of the words in the C.C.E. Statute 848 which was decided and passed within two weeks of the passage of the RICO statute.

And, in fact, in that statute in the forfeiture provisions, Congress did in fact specify the forfeiture of proceeds.

However, I believe that is secondary.

I think first we have to look at the actual RICO statute itself.

If we take a look at 1962(a)--

William H. Rehnquist:

Where do we find that, Mr. Dion, in the papers?

Where do we find 1962(a)?

Ronald A. Dion:

--A copy of it is in our Appendix at Appendix 1, Your Honor.

1962(a) is most illuminating in that in that section Congress did in fact use the term "interest".

Did in fact use the term "income", and did in fact independently use the word "proceeds".

Now, the government's argument, at least one of the positions, was that when Congress includes language in one section of the statute and doesn't include it in another section, there must be a reason.

We obviously do not disagree with that at all in this context.

In 1962(a) Congress used the terms C.C.E. statute, when they wished to make it forfeitable, they said it was forfeitable.

The question then comes up to what is the interest included in 1963(a)(1)?

What are we talking about?

I would like to first take a shortcut.

One of the things that the government relies upon is a dictionary definition of the term "interest".

And, one of the dictionary... not the legal definition, but the common Webster's Dictionary of American Heritage Dictionary definition is that it includes the term "profit".