Loughrin v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 12-13-2013
  • Case #: 13-316
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 710 F.3d 1111 (10th Cir. 2013)

Whether the government must prove, in every case against a defendant prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, that the defendant intended to defraud a bank and expose it to risk of loss.

Petitioner admitted to police, after he was caught in the act, that he was involved in a plan to steal from a Target store. To accomplish the theft, Petitioner and an accomplice stole checks from mail boxes and altered the checks to purchase food and merchandise; immediately after purchasing the merchandise Petitioner would return it for cash. Petitioner was then charged with six counts of bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1344.

At the end of the United States case in district court Petitioner “moved for a Rule 29 judgment of acquittal based on insufficiency of the evidence.” The district court granted the motion in part stating that under the Tenth Circuit precedent, 18 U.S.C. § 1344 created to separate crimes with different elements. 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1) requires proof of intent, while § 1344(2) does not; the district court allowed the United States to continue under § 1344(2) since there had been no proof of intent demonstrated for the jury. The district court refused to issue Petitioner’s jury instruction stating that the intent to defraud a bank was a required element of § 1344. The jury convicted the Petitioner of all six counts.

On appeal, Petitioner challenged the district court’s denial of his Rule 29 motion and his jury instruction; the Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s rulings.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve the spit among the district courts, between the Tenth and Sixth Circuits who believe intent is not required and the First, Second, and Third Circuits which believe it is required.

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