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United States v. Maricle

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

October 30, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RUSSELL CLETUS MARICLE, DOUGLAS C. ADAMS, CHARLES WAYNE JONES, WILLIAM E. STIVERS, and FREDDY W. THOMPSON, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

KAREN K. CALDWELL, , Chief District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on multiple motions to dismiss filed by the Defendants.

The Defendants are charged with various violations of federal law, all of which are related to their alleged participation in a vote-buying and vote-stealing scheme in Clay County, Kentucky that lasted from 2002 to 2007 and encompassed three election cycles - 2002, 2004, and 2006. There are now five Defendants in this matter scheduled for trial: Freddy Thompson, Charles W. Jones, Russell Cletus Maricle, Douglas C. Adams, and William E. Stivers.

Trial is scheduled to begin November 4, 2013. This will be the second trial of these Defendants. Their first trial occurred before U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves. After seven weeks, the jury found all of the Defendants guilty of all counts. The Sixth Circuit vacated the Defendants' convictions finding that that the cumulative effect of various errors during the trial warranted a new trial. United States v. Adams, et al., 722 F.3d 788 (6th Cir. 2013). Judge Reeves recused from the matter and reassigned it to the undersigned. (DE 1311.)

Following is a summary of the charges against each Defendant:

Count Number Defendants Charged Charge Count 1 Maricle, Adams, Jones, Stivers, Conspiracy to violate RICO Thompson under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) Count 2 Maricle and Stivers Instructing a grand jury witness to testify falsely in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503 Count 3 Thompson Giving false grand jury testimony in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503 Count 4 Maricle, Jones, Stivers, and Conspiracy to oppress voting Thompson rights of citizens under 18 U.S.C. § 241 Count 5 Maricle, Jones, Stivers, and Conspiracy to buy votes in Thompson violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 42 U.S.C. § 1973i

In Count 1 of the superseding indictment, all five Defendants are charged with conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") under 18 U.S.C § 1962(d). RICO regulates enterprises "engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce." 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c).

On October 17, 2013, the grand jury issued a Third Superseding Indictment in this matter. The relevant changes in the Third Superseding Indictment were contained in the Count 1 RICO charge. The Second Superseding Indictment and prior indictments in this matter defined the RICO enterprise as the Clay County Board of Elections (the "Board") and asserted that the Board was engaged in interstate commerce and that its activities affected interstate commerce. (DE 272, First Superseding Indictment, ¶ 10; DE 1493, Second Superseding Indictment, ¶ 7.) The Third Superseding Indictment alleges that the RICO enterprise was comprised of "the Defendants and their associates" and that this association engaged in interstate commerce and its activities affected interstate commerce. (DE 1529, Third Superseding Indictment, ¶ 7.)

Four of the Defendants move to dismiss the RICO charge in the Third Superseding Indictment on various grounds. Each of these motions is addressed below.

I. Douglas C. Adams' Motion (DE 1538)

Defendant Adams moves to dismiss Count I arguing that it violates the "distinctness" requirement discussed in Cedric Kushner Promotions, Ltd. v. King, 533 U.S. 158 (2001). In that case, the Supreme Court determined that, "to establish liability under § 1962(c) one must allege and prove the existence of two distinct entities: (1) a person'; and (2) an enterprise' that is not simply the same person' referred to by a different name." Id. at 161.

Here, the indictment alleges two distinct entities: Adams, the person, and an enterprise consisting of Adams and his codefendants and their associates. It is true that the indictment alleges that Adams, the person, was a member of the enterprise. This is not a violation of the distinctness requirement. If so, the ...


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