Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2017
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Issue:  Specific Intent under Bank-Fraud Statute

Shaw v. United States

15-5991

QUESTION(S) PRESENTED

Following Loughrin v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 2384 (2014), the circuits remain openly and increasingly divided -now nine-to-three with the Ninth Circuit’s minority-view decision below -over the mens rea required under subsection (1) of the bank-fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. §1344. The question presented is that which was left open in Loughrin:

Whether subsection (1)’s “scheme to defraud a financial institution” requires proof of a specific intent not only to deceive, but also to cheat, a bank, as nine circuits have held, and as petitioner Lawrence Shaw argued here.

DECISION

Decided December 12, 2016 HOLDING

Subsection (1) of the bank fraud statute covers schemes to deprive a bank of money in a customer’s deposit account. Shaw’s arguments in favor of his claim that subsection (1) does not apply to him because he intended to cheat only a bank depositor, not a bank, are unpersuasive. With regard to the parties’ dispute over whether the District Court improperly instructed the jury that a scheme to defraud a bank must be one to deceive the bank or deprive it of something of value, instead of one to deceive and deprive, the Ninth Circuit is left to determine whether that question was properly presented and if so, whether the instruction given is lawful, and, if not, whether any error was harmless in this case.

Agree image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Sotomayor
Author image Justice Breyer
Author Breyer
Agree image Justice Thomas
Agree Thomas
Recused image Justice Scalia
Recused Scalia
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Agree image Justice Ginsburg
Agree Ginsburg
Agree image Justice Alito
Agree Alito
Agree image Justice Kagan
Agree Kagan

BREYER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
 

Text of Opinion
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ORAL ARGUMENT

Argued October 4, 2016

Appearences
On Behalf of Petitioner Lawrence Eugene Shaw
Koren L. Bell, Deputy Federal Public DeĀ­fender, Los Angeles, Cal.
On Behalf of Respondent United States
Anthony A. Yang, Assistant to the Solicitor General
Transcript
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Audio
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Merit Briefs
Brief for Petitioner Lawrence Eugene Shaw (pdf download)
Brief for Respondent United States (pdf download)
Reply Brief for Petitioner (pdf download)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)

CERTIORARI STAGE

Granted April 26, 2016

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)

PROCEEDING BELOW

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Decided March 27, 2015
pdf download