June 20, 2006
Prosecutors Missing the Mailing in a Mail Fraud Count
The Chicago Tribune, in an article by Rudolph Bush and Matt O'Connor, reports here that a mail fraud count was dismissed by the court when prosecutor's were unable to prove the "mailing" aspect of the charge. The dismissal comes at the close of the government's case in what has been termed the "City Hall Corruption" trial.
Mail fraud requires proof of a mailing, or the defendant causing it to be mailed. It is a hook that provides the federal jurisdiction to this crime. Because it is usually so easy for the government to prove, it sometimes gets overlooked. As part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Congress added to the mail fraud statute "or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier." This addition allowed prosecutors to use mail fraud when the mailing was via private carriers like Federal Express.
But whatever the method of mailing be, it is still essential for the government to prove that there was a mailing.
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As a former Assistant DA in the Bronx, I saw more than one case dismissed because the ADA forgot to ask, "did all this happen in Bronx County?" No "Bronx County," no jurisdiction, no case.
I feel bad for those prosecutors...but they'll never forget that question ever again, will they?
Posted by: Howard | Jun 21, 2006 8:27:37 AM