Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The Supreme Court accepted for certiorari the case of U.S. v. Weyhrauch (see here), a case involving honest services mail fraud. The court earlier had accepted for cert another mail fraud case with a different issue (Conrad Black's case here). The Ninth Circuit, in anticipation of the Weyhrauch case, stayed the issuance of a mandate in U.S. v Inzuna. The Ninth Circuit, however, did go ahead and affirm the district court's judgments against two former members of the San Diego City Council. The court adopts what it terms "the majority rule" -- "that private gain is not an element of honest services fraud." In so doing it rejects strong precedent coming from the Seventh Circuit. The Ninth Circuit also rejected a requirement to "prove an independent violation of state law to sustain an honest services fraud conviction." There are other issues in the case, such as those related to the Hobbs Act and arguments premised on objections to closing arguments. The key in this case will be how the Supreme Court decides the Weyhrauch case.
U.S. v. Inzuna - Download Honest Services Fraud - US v Inzunza - 9th Cir 9-1-09
See also Kevin Cole, "Strippergate" Appeal, CrimProf Blog here
(esp) (w/ a hat tip to Evan Jenness)