Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 8 (1992)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

262

EVANS v. UNITED STATES

Opinion of the Court

careful not to interfere with legitimate activities between employers and employees. See H. R. Rep. No. 1833, 73d Cong., 2d Sess., 2 (1934). The 1946 amendment was intended to encompass the conduct held to be beyond the reach of the 1934 Act by our decision in United States v. Teamsters, 315 U. S. 521 (1942).10 The amendment did not make any significant change in the section referring to obtaining property "under color of official right" that had been prohibited by the 1934 Act. Rather, Congress intended to broaden the scope of the Anti-Racketeering Act and was concerned pri-"(b) Obtains the property of another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right." Act of June 18, 1934, ch. 569, 2, 48 Stat. 979-980.

One of the models for the statute was the New York statute: "Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, or the obtaining the [sic] property of a corporation from an officer, agent or employee thereof, with his consent, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right." Penal Law of 1909, 850, as amended, 1917 N. Y. Laws, ch. 518, codified in N. Y. Penal Law 850 (McKinney Supp. 1965).

The other model was the Field Code, a 19th-century model code: "Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right." Commissioners of the Code, Proposed Penal Code of the State of New York 613 (1865) (Field Code).

Lindgren points out that according to the Field Code, coercive extortion and extortion by official right extortion are separate offenses, and the New York courts recognized this difference when, in 1891, they said the Field Code treats "extortion by force and fear as one thing, and extortion by official action as another." People v. Barondess, 61 Hun. 571, 576, 16 N. Y. S. 436, 438 (App. Div. 1891). The judgment in this case was later reversed without opinion. See 133 N. Y. 649, 31 N. E. 240 (1892). Lind-gren identifies early English statutes and cases to support his contention that official extortion did not require a coercive taking, nor did it under the early American statutes, including the later New York statute. See Lindgren 869, 908.

10 In United States v. Teamsters, the Court construed the exemption for " 'the payment of wages by a bona-fide employer to a bona-fide employee' " that was contained in the 1934 Act but is no longer a part of the statute. 315 U. S., at 527.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007