United States v. Pratt, No. 11-31049 (5th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Defendant, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962(d). On appeal, defendant challenged her sentence and conviction, which stemmed from defendant's use of her political influence and power to further the objectives of a criminal enterprise. The court concluded that the voir dire in this case was sufficient and rejected defendant's challenges to the Government's use of peremptory strikes under Batson v. Kentucky; there was no merit to defendant's assertion that she would be unable to raise a Double Jeopardy argument were she ever prosecuted a second time for conspiracy to violate RICO predicated on the same conduct alleged in the indictment; and the district court plainly erred in calculating the sentencing guidelines range of imprisonment based on money laundering instead of mail fraud. Accordingly, the court affirmed defendant's convict, but vacated the sentence, remanding for further proceedings.