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United States v. Gigante

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

October 20, 1998, Argued ; January 22, 1999, Decided

Docket No. 98-1001


 [*78]  WALKER, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-appellant Vincent Gigante appeals from a judgment of conviction [**2]  entered December 18, 1997, after a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Jack B. Weinstein, Judge), convicting Gigante of racketeering in violation of the RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c); RICO conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); conspiracy to murder in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5); an extortion conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951; and a labor payoff conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

Gigante raises three challenges to his conviction. First, he contends that the district court violated his confrontation rights under the Sixth Amendment by allowing a government witness to testify via two-way closed-circuit television from a remote location. Second, he argues that the trial court improperly allowed testimony under the co-conspirator exception to the hearsay definition. Finally, Gigante argues that the district court erred in finding that he was competent to stand trial. For the reasons set forth below, we reject each of Gigante's arguments and affirm his conviction.


 [**3]  This case arises from the government's continuing efforts to thwart the criminal activity of La Cosa Nostra, also known as the Mafia. The New York Mafia is comprised of five organized crime families: the Bonnano, Colombo, Gambino, Lucchese and Genovese families, each spearheaded by a boss. See United States v. Orena, 32 F.3d 704, 708 (2d Cir. 1994). The government asserted that Vincent Gigante was the boss of the Genovese family and supervised its criminal activity.

Gigante was charged with two major categories of crimes: murder and labor racketeering. The government alleged that Gigante was the ultimate authority behind the murders of many fellow members of the Mafia, which were generally intended to enforce the rules of the organization or to prevent cooperation with the authorities. The government also charged Gigante with conspiring to use extortion and kickbacks to effect the criminal infiltration of the window replacement industry in and around New York City. He followed a long line of other organized crime figures whom the government had already convicted for their participation in this "Windows" scheme. See, e.g., United States v. Amuso, 21 F.3d 1251, 1254 (2d Cir. 1994) [**4]  (describing progression of Windows prosecutions).

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166 F.3d 75 *; 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 806 **; 51 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee, v. VINCENT GIGANTE, also known as "Chin," Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History:  [**1]  As Corrected February 10, 1999.

Certiorari Denied January 18, 2000, Reported at: 2000 U.S. LEXIS 563.

Prior History: Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Weinstein, J.), after a jury trial, convicting defendant-appellant of a RICO violation, a RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to murder, an extortion conspiracy, and a labor payoff conspiracy.

Disposition: Affirmed.


conspiracy, closed-circuit, television, right to confront, deposition, confrontation, district court, Windows, hearsay, argues, murder, coconspirator, face-to-face, two-way, boss, competent to stand trial, clearly erroneous, incompetence, conspiracy to murder, defense counsel, Sixth Amendment, cross-examination, convicted, declarant, preserved, remote

Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Right to Confrontation, Criminal Law & Procedure, Trials, Defendant's Rights, Standards of Review, Harmless & Invited Error, General Overview, Preliminary Proceedings, Depositions, Scope, Witnesses, Unavailability, Evidence, Hearsay, Unavailability, Appellate Review & Judicial Discretion, Judicial Discretion, Appeals, Abuse of Discretion, Witnesses, Civil Procedure, Reversible Errors, Exemptions, Statements by Coconspirators, Statements by Party Opponents, Vicarious Statements, Evidence, Inchoate Crimes, Conspiracy, Elements, Exceptions, State of Mind, Statements Furthering Conspiracy, Rule Components, Statements, Racketeering, Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act, Present Sense Impressions, Pretrial Motions & Procedures, Competency to Stand Trial