What Constitues a Criminal Enterprise Under the RICO Statute ?
In Boyd v. State, 578 So. 2d 718 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991), the defendant was convicted of a RICO violation as well as various crimes committed during a two-week crime spree which included multiple armed robberies, auto theft, and a second-degree murder related to the shooting of one of his associates by the police. See 578 So. 2d at 719-20.
The Third District reversed the conviction for the RICO count on the ground that the State failed to prove the criminal enterprise element of RICO.
Boyd applied the definition of enterprise as adopted by several federal circuits. See United States v. Riccobene, 709 F.2d 214 (3d Cir. 1983).
Specifically, the court held the State must establish the following three elements:
(1) an ongoing organization, formal or informal, with an identifiable decision-making structure, for controlling and directing the group on an ongoing, rather than an ad hoc basis;
(2) that the various associates function as a continuous unit;
(3) that the organization have an existence separate and independent from the pattern of racketeering in which it engages. See Boyd, 578 So. 2d at 721-22.
The Third District concluded that the RICO statute was not intended for the prosecution of criminals who merely got together from time to time to commit sporadic criminal acts.
Rather, in order to come under RICO, "there must be proof, minimally, of a purposive systematic arrangement between members of the group." Id. at 722.
The jury instruction requested by Gross closely parallels the holding of Boyd.