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Criminal Resource Manual 2180 Jury Instruction -- Affecting Interstate Or Foreign Commerce
Jury InstructionAffecting Interstate or Foreign Commerce
Interstate Commerce means commerce or travel between the states, territories, and possessions of the United States. Foreign commerce means commerce or travel between any part of the United States and any place outside the United States.
Commerce includes among other things: travel; trade; transportation and communication.
It is not necessary for the government to show that the defendant actually intended or anticipated an affect on interstate or foreign commerce. All that is necessary is that the government prove that the defendant's actions affected interstate or foreign commerce no matter how minimal.[FN1]
FN1. Practitioner's Note: See United States v. Aramony, 88 F.3d 1369 (4th Cir. 1996) (a de minimis effect on interstate commerce is an essential element upon which the jury must make a finding); United States v. Peay, 972 F.2d 71 (4th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1071 (1993) (a de minimis effect on interstate commerce is essential to show violation of § 1956); United States v. Lucas, 932 F.2d 1210 (8th Cir. 1991)(investment in shopping mall inevitably implicates interstate commerce); United States v. Jackson, 935 F.2d 832 (7th Cir. 1991) (check drawn on bank implicates interstate commerce); United States v. Gallo, 927 F.2d 815 (5th Cir. 1991) (drug money implicates interstate commerce); United States v. Farley, 760 F. Supp. 461,463 (E.D. Pa. 1991) United States v. Scarfo, 910 F.2d 1084 (3rd Cir. 1990); But see United States v. Kelley, 929 F.2d 582 (10th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 926 (1991) ("The requirement that the transaction be 'in or affecting interstate commerce' must be met in order to confer jurisdiction on federal courts. Such, however, is not an essential element of the crime charged.")(purchase of car from dealer who will use proceeds of sale to buy more inventory in interstate commerce).
Devitt and Blackmar, § 48.05
It is not necessary for the government to show that the defendant's transaction with a financial institution, that is with (name institution) itself affected interstate or foreign commerce. All that is necessary is that at the time of the alleged offense (name institution) was engaged in or had other activities which affected interstate or foreign commerce in any way or degree.
Here the government presented evidence that (describe affect on interstate/foreign commerce). If you accept that evidence, you should find that the financial transaction affected interstate or foreign commerce. If you do not accept that evidence, then you should not find an effect on interstate or foreign commerce.
Updated February 19, 2015