Opinion of the Court
fee for services which should be rendered gratuitously; or when compensation is permissible, of a larger fee than the law justifies, or a fee not yet due; but this is not a complete definition of the offense, by which I mean that it does not include every form of common-law extortion." Id., at 30.
See also Commonwealth v. Brown, 23 Pa. Super. 470, 488- 489 (1903) (defendants charged with and convicted of conspiracy to extort because they accepted pay for obtaining and procuring the election of certain persons to the position of schoolteachers); State v. Sweeney, 180 Minn. 450, 456, 231 N. W. 225, 228 (1930) (alderman's acceptance of money for the erection of a barn, the running of a gambling house, and the opening of a filling station would constitute extortion) (dicta); State v. Barts, 132 N. J. L. 74, 76, 83, 38 A. 2d 838, 841, 844 (Sup. Ct. 1944) (police officer, who received $1,000 for not arresting someone who had stolen money, was properly convicted of extortion because "generically extortion is an abuse of public justice and a misuse by oppression of the power with which the law clothes a public officer"); White v. State, 56 Ga. 385, 389 (1876) (If a ministerial officer used his position "for the purpose of awing or seducing" a person to pay him a bribe that would be extortion).
The dissent's theory notwithstanding, not one of the cases it cites, see post, at 281-282, and n. 3, holds that the public official is innocent unless he has deceived the payor by representing that the payment was proper. Indeed, none makes any reference to the state of mind of the payor, and none states that a "false pretense" is an element of the offense. Instead, those cases merely support the proposition that the services for which the fee is paid must be official and that the official must not be entitled to the fee that he collected— both elements of the offense that are clearly satisfied in this case. The complete absence of support for the dissent's thesis presumably explains why it was not advanced by petitioner in the District Court or the Court of Appeals, is notPage: Index Previous 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Next
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