UPDATES IN IDENTITY THEFT

Recently in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in US vs. Harrell, No. 10-30176 (3-17-11)(Tallman with Fisher and Gould) a good question arose: what are parentheticals good for in statutes? Not much, according to the 9th. In this case, involving aggravated identity theft, the defendant used a false SSN number to sneak into a prison with contraband. She argued that agg identity theft, 18 USC 1028A, and specifically subsection (c), only refers to offenses "relating to fraud" of programs. The 9th doesn't go with this reading, because the parenthetical are descriptive, describing rather than limiting. If it was meant to be limiting, Congress knew how to draft with language that was clear.