Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: The text of the bank fraud statute does not support the Tenth Circuit’s holding. The Tenth Circuit’s interpretation of section 1344 promotes the unwarranted expansion of federal criminal law. The number of federal crimes has increased dramatically in the past few decades. New federal crimes cover local conduct that has historically been prosecuted by the states. Some prosecutors and courts have further expanded federal criminal law in the absence of clear congressional intent. The over-federalization of criminal law has numerous adverse consequences. Increasing the number of federal crimes overwhelms the limited resources of federal courts. Overlapping state and federal jurisdiction leads to competition and inefficiencies in the administration of criminal justice. Federalizing crimes already prosecuted by the states does little to alleviate crime and undermines the vital role of the states in prosecuting crime. Over-federalization leads to the disparate treatment of similarly situated defendants. The unjustified severity of petition’s sentence illustrates the dangers of over-federalization.
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner and Urging Reversal.
Argument: The Court should reverse the court of appeals' decision and reinforce the principle that, no matter how culpable the defendant's behavior, a conviction may only be obtained under a statute that clearly encompasses the conduct at issue. In addition to the rules of statutory interpretation urged in petitioner's brief, the Court should interpret § 1344(1) in light of the principle that "unless Congress conveys its purpose clearly, it will not be deemed to have significantly changed the federal-state balance." To the extent ambiguity remains after the Court has interpreted the statute, "the tie must go to the defendant" under the rule of lenity.