United States v. Mancuso

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-01-2013
  • Case #: 12-30174; 12-30201
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bea for the Court; Circuit Judge Clifton; District Judge Mahan
  • Full Text Opinion

A single count alleging distribution of a controlled substance over a period of years in a variety of locations does not meet the nexus a continuing offense and must be charged in separate counts.

Jerome Mancuso was convicted of several crimes relating to cocaine possession, including possession with intent to distribute, distribution, knowingly using or maintaining his home for the purpose of unlawfully distributing and using cocaine, and using his dental office for the purpose of unlawfully distributing and using cocaine. Mancuso claimed that the first three counts were barred by the statute of limitations. The district court and the Ninth Circuit both rejected this claim on the grounds that the statute of limitations does bar entry of evidence of acts occurring outside the statutorily limited period, only that such evidence cannot be considered evidence of guilt for a charged crime. Mancuso next argued that the distribution and possession with intent to distribute charges were multiplicitous because they cited violations of the same statute in each, and the Government relied on the same evidence to prove his guilt. Both the district court and the Ninth Circuit rejected Mancuso’s claim, explaining that since each of the two charges required evidence the other charge did not, the possibility of two penalties for one crime did not exist, thus the charges could not be duplicitous. Mancuso finally argued that all four charges were duplicitous because multiple distinct offenses were all joined into a single count. The district court rejected this argument for all four charges, claiming that the charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute should be seen as continuing offenses, and therefore not duplicitous. The Ninth Circuit disagreed and vacated the charge of distribution, claiming that Mancuso’s various acts of giving and sharing cocaine with his friends were not sufficiently related to consider them a continuing offense, and therefore could be considered duplicitous. The panel also rejected both of Mancuso’s challenges to his sentence. AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.

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