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Has the Constituency of Continuity Plus Relationship Put an End to RICO's Pattern of Confusion?

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Law Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: (Winter 1991) Pages: 201-249
B A Karwath
Date Published
49 pages
The increase in civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Statute (RICO) claims has augmented debate over the meaning of certain terms contained in the statute.
A RICO violation requires a pattern of racketeering activity. However, determining what constitutes a pattern of racketeering activity has been a source of confusion, resulting in the Federal circuit courts creating a "kaleidoscope" of RICO pattern approaches. In an attempt to clarify the circuit conflict over RICO's pattern requirement, the Supreme Court developed the analytical framework of "continuity plus relationship." However, there are five problems courts experience when applying this pattern standard: (1) whether closed-ended and open-ended continuity should be considered separately; (2) the extent to which closed-ended continuity is solely a temporal consideration; (3) what constitutes a substantial period of time for purposes of finding closed-ended continuity; (4) what factors should be considered when evaluating the presence of open-ended continuity; and (5) whether pre-H.J. Inc. pattern approaches are relevant to the pattern inquiry in the post-H.J. Inc. era. Because courts have problems applying the continuity plus relationship standard, the standard must be further clarified to prevent varied application of RICO's pattern requirement. 314 footnotes