United States v. Hicks, No. 20-2970 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
For about 30 years, Hicks worked as a Chicago police officer. He used his position to steal drugs and guns from pushers and to extort money. Hicks and his confederates obtained from informants and other officers information about where drugs might be found then used police cars and other departmental equipment to search drug houses and cars thought to be carrying drugs. They used forged search warrants to reduce resistance.
A jury convicted Hicks of eight felonies, including failure to appear on the day initially set for his trial. He was a fugitive for about 15 years. Sentenced to 146 months’ imprisonment, he did not contest the sufficiency of the evidence but challenged his convictions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962, and for stealing money belonging to the United States, 18 U.S.C. 641 (the FBI had provided money as bait in places they thought he might rob). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the jury could have confused the conspiracy with the “enterprise” or treated the pattern of other crimes (such as stealing or possessing drugs and guns) as if it were the RICO enterprise and that the jury instructions were defective because they did not state that conviction depended on finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Hicks knew that the money he stole belonged to the United States.