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Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
Allen V. Adair and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

EXTORTION (119)

R.C. 2905.11 -- Extortion.

State v. Gaines, 193 Ohio App. 3d 260, 2011-Ohio-1475 – Mother who believed the owner of R&L Carriers obtained her 7-year old daughter’s cell phone number through the local sheriff wrote a letter and participated in meetings which led to indictment for extortion. Trial court sustained motion to dismiss. (1) Motion to dismiss went to the merits of substance of the indictment, and should not have been sustained. (2) Evid. R. 804 concerning admissibility of settlement discussions doesn’t apply in criminal cases. (3) Claimed sleazy conduct by the prosecutor is a matter for Disciplinary Counsel, not the trial court. (4) Facts don’t support clam of outrageous police conduct.

State v. Cunningham, 178 Ohio App. 3d 558, 2008-Ohio-5164 -- Following conviction and completion of probation the defendant harassed the victim of gross sexual imposition. He wanted her to recant her prior testimony. Such recantantation would have been a "thing of value" within the meaning of the extortion statute. Value may be either tangible or intangible. The "matter" he threatened to expose was her sexual relationships, which within the meaning of the statute could expose her to the opprobrium of others.

State v. Salupo, 177 Ohio App. 3d 354, 2008-Ohio-3721 – Defendant, also convicted of telecommunications harassment, asked ex-girlfriend to meet him, though it was a condition of the suspended sentence from a prior conviction that he have no contact. Evidence did not support extortion conviction because he did not induce her to perform an illegal act. He was subject to the stay-away condition but she was not.

State v. Conese, 102 Ohio St. 3d 435, 2004-Ohio-3889 -- It is possible to be convicted of coercing a political contribution even though no contribution ultimately was made. Syllabus: "When a threat is made with the purpose to coerce another into taking or refraining from taking action concerning which the person has a legal freedom of choice, the person threatening 'coerces' within the meaning of R.C. 2921.43(C)." Also see Disciplinary Counsel v. Conese, 102 Ohio St. 3d 439, 2004-Ohio-3888.

State v. Suber, 154 Ohio App. 3d 681, 2003-Ohio-5210 -- Defense to passing bad check charges was based on an opportunistic distortion of federal banking law allowing depositors access to funds before checks cleared. Defendant also threatened he would file liens against the property of the investigating officer if he wasn't released. Extortion conviction affirmed.

Heights Community Congress v. Smythe, Cramer Co. (N.D. Ohio 1994), 862 F.Supp. 204, 207 -- A threat to sue does not constitute extortion within the meaning of R.C. 2905.11(A). Nor does a demand for a settlement without a full disclosure of the evidence supporting the claim.

Mann v. The State, (1890), 47 Ohio St. 556 -- A demand for compensation for the tortious act of another, coupled with the accusation of crime and threat to prosecute if compensation is not paid, does not violate the extortion statute.

State v. Workman (1984), 14 Ohio App. 3d 385, 390, 393 -- That the matters the defendant threatens to expose happen to be true is not a defense to the offense of extortion. Also see Elliott v. The State (1981), 36 Ohio St. 318.

Williams v. The State (1929), 32 Ohio App. 124 -- An accusation that a prosecuting witness committed a crime, made for purposes of extorting gain, may be oral. It need not be in writing.

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