Timothy O'Toole Comments on Ocasio Decision in Law360

"Attorneys React to High Court's Hobbs Act Extortion Ruling"
05.02.16Timothy O'Toole commented on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Ocasio v. U.S. "I think the significance of this case is in the dissents. As they point out, conspiracy has long been criticized as vague and elastic, fitting whatever a prosecutor needs in a given case. Nonetheless, for most of the past 60 years, the court has been very tolerant of increasingly broad uses of the conspiracy statute, often unanimously. Today's divided decision suggests that this historical tolerance may be reaching its breaking point," O'Toole said. "Statements like this one suggest that the court is troubled by the vast power that a broad reading of the conspiracy laws has given to federal prosecutors, especially when it comes to policing conduct of state and local officials. These critiques are not new generally, but until today they have not often been reflected in the court's opinions -- dissents or otherwise. To me, the Ocasio decision, read as a whole, signals that some limits may be coming for conspiracy law."
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