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Spur-of-the-moment burglary spree does not support corrupt business influence conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that an impromptu burglary spree that lasted less than 48 hours does not meet requirements for a corrupt business influence conviction.

Seth Miller was convicted on four counts – corrupt business influence, burglary of a dwelling, and two counts of theft – after he and a friend stole items from a home and a car and then attempted to purchase items with a stolen credit card.

Miller appealed only his conviction for corrupt business influence.

In Seth A. Miller v. State of Indiana, 63A01-1210-CR-475, the COA agreed, finding the evidence in the case failed to establish the necessary element of an enterprise according to the meaning of the state’s statute. It reversed the conviction for corrupt business influence and vacated the sentence of eight years.

The court reviewed the Indiana Code and several court opinions, finding the corrupt business influence statute requires, “(1) a knowing or intentional degree of participation (2) in an enterprise (3) through a pattern of racketeering activity.”

In Miller’s case, the Court of Appeals concluded there was no evidence that Miller and his friend had burglarized homes before and no indication they planned to repeat their escapade.

The events occurred in a very brief period of time. In addition, there was scant evidence of a pattern of racketeering activity.  

 
 
 

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