Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, September 28, 2015

McLean: Insufficient Evidence of Jurisdictional element of federal bribery

In U.S. v. McLean, No. 14-00061 (Sept. 24, 2015), the Court rejected the government’s appeal of the district court’s grant of a judgment of acquittal for a defendant charged with bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666. The Court found insufficient evidence of the jurisdictional element of the statute, that an organization, here, the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency (“MCRA”) of which McLean was a Commissioner, receive in excess of $10,000 under a Federal program. The Court recognized that the City of Margate received federal funds and the City in turn provided funds to MCRA, and the County used federal funds to construct six bus shelters which were placed in MCRA’s care. But this “minimal” showing was insufficient to establish a relationship to the structure operation and purpose of a federal scheme. A mere “stimulus” package is not a federal program. The Court rejected the government’s argument that the jurisdictional element was a question of law, finding, to the contrary that it was a question of fact for the jury to find.