Law School Case Brief
United States v. Davis - 965 F.2d 804 (10th Cir. 1992)
The Travel Act, codified at 18 U.S.C.S. § 1952, by its express language, does not require the actual commission of the underlying state offense for conviction, but rather the use of interstate facilities in furtherance of the commission of the underlying state offense.
Defendant Robert E. Davis used interstate means to purchase a house in Wyoming in a manner designed to conceal his ownership interest. He thereafter sought to do business in Wyoming and attempted to influence Wyoming legislation. In federal district court, Davis was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to use interstate commerce to facilitate the bribery of a public official in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 371 and 1952, and of use of interstate commerce to facilitate the bribery of a public official in violation of the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1952. The trial court sentenced Davis to 27 months imprisonment on both counts, to be served concurrently. Davis appealed his convictions.
Did the district court err in convicting Davis for violation of the Travel Act for the use of interstate commerce to facilitate the bribery of a public official?
The court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's judgment and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings. The court found that the introduction of the evidence that a public official had been charged with bribery and conspiring with Davis was not unduly prejudicial. The court concluded that the evidence before the jury was insufficient to support a verdict of guilty on the conspiracy count. The court noted that while the evidence was sufficient to prove Davis' intent to bribe the public official, the government did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a meeting of the minds between Davis and the public official, the only other alleged co-conspirator. The court held that Wyoming law did not require evidence of a bilateral agreement between the briber and the bribee, and that such evidence was not material to a conviction for violation of the Travel Act. The evidence was more than sufficient, however, to establish a violation of the Travel Act.
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