United States v. Cabrales Page 16

United States v. Cabrales general information

Media for United States v. Cabrales

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 29, 1998 in United States v. Cabrales

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

I'm not clear on your answer to that question.

You're talking about the Federal prosecutor, but murder would ordinarily be prosecuted by the State, and do you mean to say that the State prosecutor in Connecticut could not bring in the Connecticut State courts a murder charge when somebody dies in Connecticut, even though the poison was administered someplace else and the person stumbled home before he died?

John W. Rogers:

--I think that if you... I'm not... I... were... I don't think that if the person was shot in one district and then somehow they hopped on a plane and went somewhere else, I don't think that State would properly be able to try a murder prosecution there.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Suppose that the defendant intends the... his acts to have effects which it's the object of the statute to prevent.

I'm thinking of your answer in which the widow grieves in some other State, but that... it's not the object of the statute to prevent those effects, but suppose in this case the object of the statute was to make sure that this drug ring could continue to operate effectively.

John W. Rogers:

Well, if the statute was--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

And there was proof to that effect.

John W. Rogers:

--Sure.

If the statute was defined as then causing the narcotics enterprise to continue their activities by agreeing to launder their money, I think in that sense that they properly could be tried there.

Of course, that's an entirely different crime than what the Government's charged Ms. Cabrales with in this case.

They charge her with the substantive act of engaging in a financial transaction with... under certain circumstances with dirty money.

That is a far cry from a situation where someone's... someone where the statute's defined in the terms of causing a drug enterprise or a narcotics enterprise to continue.

And, in fact, they wouldn't be able to prosecute her under this statute because she... the money laundering, even if it did occur, didn't cause any drug enterprise to continue at all.

They were... the narcotics... as the Government points out, they've been convicted and tried.

It's clearly stopped.

The money laundering was something that happened after the fact.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Mr. Rogers, one aspect of this puzzles me and that is, this is presented to us as a very clean case.

She's been charged just with the money laundering in those counts, nothing with transporting it, and in reality usually these questions don't come up because it is a continuing offense.

She's involved in the original trafficking, she's involved in transporting it someplace else and in, finally, the money laundering, the beginning, the middle and the end.

But here, it was just presented so cleanly that the... that no, she had nothing to do with transporting the money.

She didn't have anything to do with the original sales.

That seemed to me odd.

John W. Rogers:

Well, in that situation, in the crime you're talking about, you've got a... you could have a conspiracy to launder money, or a conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Who did transport this money?

How is it that she had nothing to do with that?

John W. Rogers:

I... frankly, I don't know who transported the money.

I... there hasn't been a trial on this.

Antonin Scalia:

Your answer should be, what money?

[Laughter]

John W. Rogers:

Assuming the money was transported... assuming the money was transported, that has nothing to do with the substantive violation of money laundering.