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United States of America v. Carl A. Larson

December 5, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
CARL A. LARSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Pending before this Court is the second motion of Defendant Gerald E. Bove to dismiss Count One of the Superseding Indictment ("Sup. Indict."). (Docket No. 244.) Defendants Mark N. Kirsch, George Dewald, Michael J. Eddy, Michael J. Caggiano, Jeffrey A. Peterson, Jeffrey C. Lennon, Thomas Freedenberg, and Kenneth Edbauer have joined in this motion.*fn1 (Docket No. 266.) For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion will be denied.

II. BACKGROUND

This is a criminal action brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq. ("RICO"), and the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Over the course of about eleven years, Defendants, members of a construction union known as "Local 17," are alleged to have engaged in threats, physical violence, and property damage in an attempt to force construction employers in Western New York to hire Local 17 members for their projects.

In April 2010, Defendants jointly filed two motions to dismiss the Superseding Indictment(Docket No. 4), which were heard by the Honorable Hugh B. Scott, United States Magistrate Judge. On October 12, 2010, Judge Scott issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending Defendants' motions be granted. (Docket No. 184.) The Government filed objections to the R&R. After full briefing by the parties and oral argument, on August 10, 2011, this Court issued a Decision and Order setting aside Judge Scott's recommendations and denying the motions to dismiss.*fn2 (Docket No. 229.)

On October 13, 2011, Defendant Bove moved for leave to file a second motion to dismiss. This Court granted the motion, along with the motions of Defendants Kirsch, Dewald, Eddy, Caggiano, Peterson, Lennon, Freedenberg, and Edbauer to join Defendant Bove's motion. (Docket Nos. 249, 266.) The government filed a response to Defendants' motion, to which Defendants replied. (Docket Nos. 251, 263.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standards

Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that a motion to dismiss may raise "any defense, objection, or request that the court can determine without a trial of the general issue." Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(2). A pre-trial motion to dismiss an indictment under Rule 12 must satisfy a "high standard." United States v. Lazore, 90 F.Supp.2d 202, 203 (N.D.N.Y. 2000). In deciding a motion to dismiss an indictment for failure to state a criminal offense, a court must assume the truth of the allegations in the indictment and determine whether the indictment is valid on its face. United States v. Bicoastal Corp., 819 F.Supp. 156, 158 (N.D.N.Y. 1993). This Court is not permitted to "look[] beyond the face of the indictment and [draw] inferences as to the proof that would be introduced by the government at trial[.]" United States v. Alfonso, 143 F.3d 772, 776 (2d Cir. 1998).

Rule 7(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that an indictment contain a "plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged." Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(c). An indictment is constitutionally sufficient if it (1) contains the essential elements of the offense charged so as to inform the defendant of the nature and cause of the accusation; (2) contains enough detail to enable the defendant to plead double jeopardy in a future prosecution based on the same set of facts; and (3) prevents prosecution for crimes based on evidence not presented to the grand jury. United States v. Walsh, 194 F.3d 37, 44 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing United States v. Silverman, 430 F.2d 106, 110 (2d Cir.), modified, 439 F.2d 1198 (2d Cir. 1970)).

B. Sufficiency of Count One of the Indictment

At the outset, this Court notes that Defendants' motion only seeks dismissal of Count One of the Superseding Indictment, which alleges a RICO conspiracy. Defendants Caggiano and Freedenberg, however, are not charged in Count One. Defendant Caggiano is charged in Counts Two and Three (Hobbs Act conspiracy and one count of attempted Hobbs Act extortion), and Defendant Freedenberg is charged in Counts Two and Eight (same). (See Sup. ...


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