Ex-Rhode Island Mayor Charles Moreau's Conviction Vacated and More

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on March 03, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island vacated the conviction of Charles Moreau, former mayor of Central Falls, a financially troubled Rhode Island city. On Friday, the ex-Mayor walked out of prison after serving about half of his two-year prison term, reports the Associated Press.

Illegal Gratuities?

In 2012 Moreau pleaded guilty to illegally accepting gratuities in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666, and was sentenced to two-years' imprisonment on February 12, 2013. While serving his sentence, the First Circuit Court of Appeals decided an unrelated case, United States v. Fernandez, and held that 18 U.S.C. § 666 did not apply to the receipt of gratuities because, unlike quid pro quo, gratuities are "merely a reward for some future act ... or for a past act that he has already taken."

Though other circuits have held to the contrary, reports the AP, since Rhode Island is in the First Circuit, Fernandez applies. Accordingly, in early February, Moreau's attorneys asked U.S. District Judge John McConnell to vacate Moreau's conviction and release him, reports the AP.

Conviction Vacated and New Sentence

According to The Associated Press, prosecutors said they would not challenge Moreau so long as he still "pleaded guilty to the bribery charges." On February 26, Moreau entered a new plea agreement and the Government filed an information alleging violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666. Last Friday, Moreau filed a Waiver of Indictment and Judge McConnell resentenced Moreau to time served, with three years supervised release, 300 hours of community service, and $25,000 in fines.

Update on Whitey Bulger's Appeal

Whitey Bulger is serving two life sentences in Arizona, but his attorney is busy working on his appeal in Boston, and has asked for appointment of co-counsel, reports WCVB. Because of the complexity involved in the appeal, with "decades worth of evidence" David Frank of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly noted, "There's nothing surprising or unusual or improper about asking for a second lawyer to be part of the defense team."

Some people question whether Bulger will survive the appeals process, as he is 84-years old. According to Frank, "A quirk in the law exists. If Bulger were to die before the First Circuit made a ruling, he technically would die not guilty of the charges."

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