102 Iowa L. Rev. 825 (2017)
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Iowa’s Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act (“IOCCA”) was patterned after the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and the Model Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act (“Model Act”). Yet, it exceeds the reach and intent of these acts, especially by excluding key provisions of the Model Act’s definition of “specified unlawful activity,” which limited its application to racketeering offenses or offenses characteristic of organized crime. This variation broadens the scope of people who can be charged under the IOCCA—a Class B felony with a 25-year sentence— thereby creating a prosecution tool to over-charge and intimidate defendants into taking plea deals. The ability to charge virtually any individual who commits two felonies in succession with an additional Class B felony for ongoing criminal conduct undermines the intent of the federal RICO statute and the Model Act to protect legitimate commerce from organized crime. It is also contrary to the principles of fairness and justice that society expects of the criminal justice system. This Note advocates that the Iowa Legislature constrict the reach of the IOCCA so that it only criminalizes what it was truly meant to combat: racketeering and organized crime. In doing so, this Note examines the problems and inefficiencies of the IOCCA, as well as the RICO statutes of other states, to determine the most effective approach to protect legitimate commerce from organized crime.

Sunday, January 15, 2017