SALINAS v. UNITED STATES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
96-738
Petitioner 
Salinas
Respondent 
United States
Opinion 
Advocates
(on behalf of the Petitioner)
(on behalf of the Respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

Hidalgo County agreed to take federal prisoners into its custody in return for federal money. During this agreement, Brigido Marmolejo, the Sheriff of Hidalgo County, Texas, and Mario Salinas, his deputy, accepted money and two watches and a truck respectively, from Homero Beltran-Aguirr, a federal prisoner housed in the county jail, in exchange for permitting his girlfriend to visit him. Ultimately, Salinas was charged with one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 USC section 1962(c), one count of conspiracy to violate RICO, section 1962(d), and two counts of bribery, section 666(a)(1)(B). The jury convicted him on all but the substantive RICO count. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Question 

Is the federal bribery statute, 18 USC section 666, limited to cases in which the bribe has a demonstrated effect upon federal funds? Does the conspiracy prohibition contained in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act apply only when the conspirator agrees to commit two of the predicate acts that RICO forbids?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for United States, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 18 U.S.C. 666

No and no. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Court held that section 666(a)(1)(B) does not require the Government to prove the bribe in question had a demonstrated effect upon federal funds. Additionally, the Court held that, to be convicted of conspiracy to violate RICO under section 1962(d), the conspirator need not himself have committed or agreed to commit the two or more predicate acts, such as bribery, requisite for a substantive RICO offense under section 1962(c). Justice Kennedy reasoned that section 666(a)(1)(B)'s "expansive, unqualified language, both as to the bribes forbidden and the entities covered" did not support the position that federal funds must be affected for a violation to occur.

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SALINAS v. UNITED STATES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 08 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_738%23argument>.
SALINAS v. UNITED STATES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_738%23argument (last visited July 8, 2014).
"SALINAS v. UNITED STATES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 8, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_738%23argument.