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NCJ Number: 77558 Find in a Library
Title: Efforts To Apply the Federal Crime of Extortion to Labor-related Violence
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:72  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1981)  Pages:499-523
Author(s): L J Cohen; T R Yellig
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 25
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Congressional efforts to revise the Federal Criminal Code to include labor-related violence in the Federal crime of extortion have not yet been successful and should be abandoned in view of the Emmons case decision.
Abstract: The Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Emmons (1973) held that efforts by labor unions to obtain improved terms and conditions of employment cannot constitute extortion as defined in the Hobbs Act, even when accompanied by violence, property damage, or similar coercive conduct. The Hobbs Act was aimed at curbing the coerced payment for a rejected standby job, where no employment relationship existed and no services were rendered. The 96th Congress reported a code revision bill for consideration that would have overruled, in some cases, the Emmons decision. However, the legislative history of the proposed recodification indicates that a definition of extortion which will punish the use of extreme acts of labor violence without also including minor incidents inherent in labor disputes is impossible to achieve. The danger of overreaching Federal jurisdiction and overextending the intended limits of such a statute greatly outweigh any benefit which might be gained by overruling the Emmons decision. In regard to other Federal, State, and local statutes which already prohibit the substantive criminal actions to which the proposed expansion of the Federal crime of extortion would be addressed, both policy and practice require recognition of the Supreme Court's Emmons decision that the crime is inapplicable to violent misconduct in the course of legitimate labor disputes. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Extortion; Federal Code; Federal law violations; Federal regulations; Labor relations; Property crimes; Strikes; US Supreme Court
Note: Presented at the Symposium on the Policies and Legal Theories Underlying the Proposed Federal Criminal Code.
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