Opinions & Commentaries

[††]We have before us two decisions of the Indiana courts, involving the application of that State's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and Civil Remedies for Racketeering Activity (CRRA) Acts to cases involving bookstores containing allegedly obscene materials.

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After a full criminal trial, petitioner Ferris J. Alexander, owner of more than a dozen stores and theaters dealing in sexually explicit materials, was convicted on, inter alia, 17 obscenity counts and 3 counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The obscenity convictions, based on the jury's findings that four magazines and three videotapes sold at several of petitioner's stores were obscene, served as the predicates for his three RICO convictions. In addition to imposing a prison term and fine, the District Court ordered petitioner to forfeit, pursuant to 18 U. S. C. § 1963 (1988 ed. and Supp. III), certain assets that were directly related to his racketeering activity as punishment for his RICO violations. Petitioner argues that this forfeiture violated the First and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution. We reject petitioner's *547 claims under the First Amendment but remand for reconsideration of his Eighth Amendment challenge.

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Three women's organizations sued various pro-life groups under RICO, alleging that the groups were conspiring to close abortion clinics through a pattern of racketeering activity, including extortion. The district court dismissed the case, holding that RICO could be used only against "profit-generating" enterprises. The Court of Appeals affirmed. RICO, among other things, prohibits a person from participating in a pattern of racketeering. 18 U.S.C. _ 1962(c). "Racketeering activity" is broadly defined in RICO to include extortion, bribery, fraud, and other crimes. 18 U.S.C. _ 1961(1). RICO is silent as to whether the racketeering must be motivated by profit.

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