extortion, n.

1. The offense committed by a public official who illegally obtains property under the color of office; esp., an official’s collection of an unlawful fee.

¡ª Also termed common-law extortion. [Cases: Extortion and Threats 1.]

¡°The dividing line between bribery and extortion is shadowy. If one other than the officer corruptly takes the initiative and offers what he knows is not an authorized fee, it is bribery and not extortion. On the other hand, if the officer corruptly makes an unlawful demand which is paid by one who does not realize it is not the fee authorized for the service rendered, it is extortion and not bribery. In theory it would seem possible for an officer to extort a bribe under such circumstances that he would be guilty of either offense whereas the outraged citizen would be excused.¡± Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 538 (3d ed. 1982).

2. The act or practice of obtaining something or compelling some action by illegal means, as by force or coercion.

¡ª Also termed statutory extortion. [Cases: Extortion and Threats 25.

1. C.J.S. Threats and Unlawful Communications ¡ì¡ì 2¨C20.] ¡ª extortionate, adj.¡°The distinction traditionally drawn between robbery by intimidation and blackmail or extortion is that a person commits robbery when he threatens to do immediate bodily harm, whereas he commits blackmail or extortion when he threatens to do bodily harm in the future.¡± James Lindgren, ¡°Blackmail and Extortion,¡± in 1 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice 115, 115 (Sanford H. Kadish ed., 1983).

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