Washington Law Review


Robert lannelli and seven other petitioners were charged with conspiring to violate and violating 18 U.S.C. § 1955, a federal gambling statute which makes it a crime for five or more persons to conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own a gambling business prohibited by state law. Each petitioner was convicted of both offenses, and each was sentenced under both counts. On appeal the petitioners argued that conviction of both conspiracy and the substantive offense was precluded by Wharton's Rule, a common law exception to the principle that a substantive offense and a conspiracy to commit the offense are distinct and separately punishable. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the convictions, finding that a recognized exception to Wharton's Rule permitted prosecution and punishment for both offenses. The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, affirmed on different grounds. It held that Wharton's Rule is only a judicial presumption which was rendered inapplicable by a congressional intent to permit punishment for both the conspiracy and the substantive offense. Iannelli v. United States, 420 U.S. 770 (1975).

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