Frank D'Angelo


gangs, RICO, organized crime, interstate commerce, commerce clause, noneconomic activity


In response to the increasingly vast economic impact of organized crime, Congress in 1970 enacted the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to provide federal prosecutors additional tools to combat such crime. RICO requires that enterprises whose members are charged with violating the Act must “affect interstate commerce.” Courts have held that RICO may be applied to enterprises with no economic motivation so long as they minimally affect interstate commerce. However, given the Act's economic history and interstate commerce element, its application to noneconomic intrastate enterprises presents a special problem. This Note argues that, consistent with relevant Commerce Clause jurisprudence and doctrines of statutory interpretation, future courts should read RICO to require that noneconomic intrastate enterprises substantially affect interstate commerce.

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