Organized crime has existed and will continue to exist in society and the best way to combat organized crime groups is to put in place legislation that allows the government to have the capabilities and tools to track down criminal groups. Since the 21st Amendment’s alcohol prohibition is 1922, illegal criminal activities had progressively increased allowing Mafia to use its power to corrupt for a gain of a finance strength among citizens and business of New York and Chicago. In order to control organized crime, the US government had to put in the work and establish laws to combat criminal groups. Like, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that was establish in 1970 is a very powerful federal law that was enacted with the intention to combat organize crime, and it can impose both criminal and civil penalties if the organization or individual who are alleged to have acted with that organization are convicted. RICO has made it illegal for organized criminal groups to profit from any legitimate business operations while they are criminal activities. The offender could be charged under the RICO act if the offender is found guilty of racketeering or any form of criminal activity such as drug trafficking, money laundering, gambling, murder, human trafficking, or unsavory business practices. A convicted defendant for a RICO violation is sentenced to a maximum of twenty years in prison and fined to a maximum of $25,000. RICO was design with a main goal to destroy mafia and all during 1970s was using in that context as Grell states in his article, “Seldom was RICO used outside of the context of the Mafia, and it is not an overstatement to say that civil claims under RICO were simply not brought” (Grell, J).
However, during the 1980s RICO was used to complain of a RICO violation against business or property based on section 1964 (c). At that time, RICO violations became common asserted federal court claims because people were tried to relate other civil claims in business like breach of contract, law fraud or product defect as a RICO claim. However, that changed in 1990s when the United State Supreme Court gave the guidelines to not use RICO in all civil contexts. As for today RICO is relevant and an effective tool that has restricted organized crime to an admirable level, as it is applied as any other law.
On the other hand, The USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym that stands for the Uniting and Strengthening America by Proving Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, was signed on October 26,2001. The PATRIOT ACT gives the law enforcement freedom to collect information and use surveillance for terrorism-related crimes. Law enforcement no longer should worry about: boundaries, obtaining a search warrant, being able to get access to personal information on suspects of interests, or worry about having to release someone from custody who is considered suspect.
Under bill “H.R. 2975 – Provide Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct terrorism (PATRIOT) Act”, a bill revised and added into the USA Patriot Act which creates and changes criminal statutes, and strengthens law enforcements capabilities. Allowing them “to investigate, prosecute, prevent, and punish terrorism crimes” (H.R. 2975 – Provide Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act). This bill removed many existing barriers that stood in law enforcements way of getting the job done. Making it easier for them to prosecute and convict, with the ability to give tougher penalties, and longer prison terms to those who conspire or take part in a criminal act.
Section 804 establishes Federal authority over crimes committed at U.S. facilities abroad (USA PATRIOT Act,) this means their jurisdiction is nationwide if it is on U.S. soil, such as an U.S. Embassy or anywhere in the United States. Section. 213 of the US PATRIOT ACT authorizes law enforcement to conduct searches without a warrant; if they feel that serving the warrant might jeopardize the case. Even if no one is home they can still enter the premises without notifying the home owner for what is called a sneak a peek. It also states that law enforcement can confiscate or seize any property or material that classifies as evidence in a criminal offense. This is good because most criminals who are fugitives running from the law often move from place to place to avoid being caught and they usually have many assets purchased through illegal conduct. Imagine how frustrating it must be to get warrants for each of the houses where the criminal has resided and not being able to make an arrest due to a technicality.
Law enforcement also should have no problems with the gathering of information. Under “Title VII: Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection” (USA PATRIOT Act.) All forms of law enforcement know must participate and share information with other agencies outside of their jurisdiction. No more fighting or with holding of evidence because of jurisdiction problems. What happened on September eleventh could have been prevented if agencies had been able to share information. Crucial evidence of a plan for attack was overlooked and disregarded.
“Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures- Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize the interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications for the product of evidence” (USA PATRIOT Act). Section 206 of this title gives the federal government the ability to participate in roving surveillance under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act of 1978. This is where the federal Government gets to spy on you by wiretapping your phone lines, or catching you on film using video surveillance. Like in the movies where you see an F.B.I agent following you people around taking pictures of their every move.
Section 210 allows them to access personal information using computers such as your assigned network address as well as bank information. This is a good idea because now the federal government will be able to see how these attacks are being planned and funded. By considering these terrorist’s computer history, they will be able to see what kind of information or websites they are accessing. Giving them information on what kind of attack they might have planned in the future. Plus, they can monitor their bank account so know they will know when, where, and what is being purchased. If the government can track down and arrest the people financing these types of operations, there would be a better possibility of stopping or prevention another attack. The US PATRIOT Act of 2001 has made several changes in the Federal Government’s capabilities not only giving them more power but giving them more jurisdictions as well. However, they are not the only ones to receive these abilities, or President of the United States of America got some powers as well. Sec.106 of the US PATRIOT Act “authorizes the President… to confiscate any property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of a foreign person, organization, or country that he determines has planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in hostilities or attacks” (USA PATRIOT Act). He has these capabilities whenever we are engaging in battle or under attack from a foreign country. This gives the U.S. Government the power to control any situation by any means necessary.
The US PATRIOT Act has given the federal government the power to lock up and throw away the key on any one whom they fill is a threat; stripping them of their rights, as well as confiscating and seizing any assets owned by the accused without any proof, notice or compensation.
Clearly, the Patriot Act is necessary because it gives law enforcement more power to investigate terrorism, protects the American people, and prevents terrorist attacks against the US. The Patriot Act should not be repealed because it is an integral part of the fight against terrorism. Those who are against the act should consider what they value more: their liberties or their life.
Likewise, RICO was established to combat criminal groups that were tormenting citizens, the Patriot Act came about in response to the US citizens right after 9/11 attacks, to insure security and protect citizens but in a different legislative format as an anti-terrorism bill.