For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - 33

charge, thereby serving as a powerful tool that
could be (and was) used to increase the severity
of charges and thereby induce guilty pleas.
While Marinello precludes application of
the Omnibus Clause to elevate problematic
record-keeping practices or the failure to file
returns in a pre-investigation context to a
felony obstruction charge, the Court has left the
government some room to maneuver. Not only
is the Omnibus Clause available to prosecute the
destruction of records in the middle of an audit,
but by expressly permitting its use where an
investigation was "reasonably foreseeable," the
Court left open the possibility of a prosecution
predicated on evidence that the defendant
destroyed documents after learning that the
IRS had initiated an investigation of a business
associate, or had designated a particular industry
or type of transaction (e.g., offshore bank
accounts or tax shelters marketed by a particular
accounting firm) as an enforcement priority.
Nevertheless, the opinion will have the critical
effect of barring the government from turning
minor violations of the tax code, such as the
payment of a babysitter in cash or the failure to
file a Form 1099 for a housekeeper's salary, into
"a prosecutor's hammer that can be brought
down upon any citizen."26 More broadly,
Marinello is a continuation of the Court's efforts
to cabin broadly-worded criminal statutes, and
to remove from the hands of federal prosecutors
a level of discretion that, "insofar as the public
fears arbitrary prosecution, . . . risks undermining
necessary confidence in the criminal justice
system."27 In this regard, Marinello provides
defense lawyers with yet another tool to
represent their clients and to push back against
seemingly unbounded prosecutorial discretion.28

8. Id. at 224.
9. United States v. Marinello, 855 F.3d 455, 459 (2d Cir.
2017) (Jacobs, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing
en banc).
10. Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States, 544 U.S. 696
(2005) (interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1512); Skilling v. United
States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010) (interpreting 18 U.S.C. §
1346); Yates v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1074 (2015)
(interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1519); Johnson v. United
States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015) (interpreting 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)); McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355
(2016) (interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 201).
11. Marinello, 855 F.3d 456.
12. Id. at. 457.
13. See Marinello, __ S. Ct. __, 2018 WL 1402426 at *4
(quoting Aguilar, 515 U.S. at 600).
14. Id.
15. Id. (citing McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355
(2016); United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460 (2010)).
In particular, the Court rejected the government's
assertion that the requirement that the defendant act
"corruptly" limited prosecutorial discretion. Rather,
finding no appreciable difference between "corruptly"
and "willfully" - the mens rea standard for substantive
tax crimes - the Court "struggle[d] to imagine a
scenario where a taxpayer would 'willfully' violate the
Tax Code . . . without intending someone to obtain an
unlawful advantage." Marinello, __ S. Ct. __, 2018 WL
1402426 at *6 (citations omitted).
16. Id. at *6 (citation omitted). While not referenced in
the Court's decision, it bears noting that the use of
the Omnibus Clause in Marinello was seemingly at
odds with Tax Division Directive No. 129. While that
Directive does not explicitly preclude application of
the Omnibus Clause to conduct (or omissions) that
predate any proceeding, it notes that the Clause "is
particularly appropriate for corrupt conduct that is
intended to impede an IRS audit or investigation"
and that it "can also be authorized in appropriate
circumstances to prosecute a person who, prior to
any audit or investigation, engaged in large-scale
obstructive conduct involving the tax liabilities of third
parties."
17. Id. at *7.
18. Id. (citation omitted).
19. Id. at *8 (citing Arthur Andersen, 544 U.S. at 703, 70708).
20. Id. at *11.
21. Id. at *11-12.
22. Id. at *15.
23. Id.
24. Id. at *16.
25. Marinello, 855 F.3d at 457 (Jacobs, J., dissenting).
26. Id.
27. Marinello, __ S. Ct. __, 2018 WL 1402426 at *6.
PANTONE

2955C

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CMYK

90/78/39/30

NOTES:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

__ S. Ct. __, 2018 WL 1402426 (March 21, 2018).
Marinello, 839 F.3d 209, 213 (2d Cir. 2016).
Marinello, 839 F.3d 209.
144 F.3d 952 (1998).
515 U.S. 593 (1995).
Marinello, 839 F.3d at 221 (quoting United States v.
Willner, No. 07 Cr. 183 (GEL), 2007 WL 2963711, at *5
(S.D.N.Y. Oct. 11, 2007) (emphasis in the original)).
7. Id. at 219 (citation omitted).

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Vol. 3, Issue 2

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For The Defense

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - 4
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For the Defense - Vol. 3, Issue 2 - 2018 - 6
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