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State Statutes Criminalizing Speech and Due-Process Rights Violations

VARIOUS STATE LAWS CRIMINALIZE threats or exactions of penalties from anyone in order to coerce changes in testimony-- including testimony on a tax return-- to what the coercing criminal wishes to see. On this page will be found the collected statutes to this effect from each state of the union, as they are identified and accumulated. These resources can be used to make knowledgeable and well-prepared demands of state officials to initiate prosecutions against violators.

Click on the appropriate link below to find your home state statute. If you don't find your state listed, please research its criminal statutes yourself, find the one that applies to this heinous criminal behavior, and send it to me for inclusion below by use of the "contact" link at the very top of this page.

Illinois

Michigan

New York

Oregon

Vermont

Washington

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Illinois

SUBDIVISION 15. INTIMIDATION

(Source: P.A. 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11.)   (720 ILCS 5/12-6) (from Ch. 38, par. 12-6)    

Sec. 12-6. Intimidation.

(a) A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts:

(1) Inflict physical harm on the person threatened or any other person or on property; or

(2) Subject any person to physical confinement or restraint; or

(3) Commit a felony or Class A misdemeanor; or

(4) Accuse any person of an offense; or

(5) Expose any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or

(6) Take action as a public official against anyone or anything, or withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding; or

(7) Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action.

(b) Sentence.

Intimidation is a Class 3 felony for which an offender may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 2 years and not more than 10 years. (Source: P.A. 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11.)  

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Michigan

750.213 Malicious threats to extort money.

Sec. 213.

Malicious threats to extort money—Any person who shall, either orally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threaten to accuse another of any crime or offense, or shall orally or by any written or printed communication maliciously threaten any injury to the person or property or mother, father, husband, wife or child of another with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do or refrain from doing any act against his will, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 20 years or by a fine of not more than 10,000 dollars.

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750.122 Prohibited acts; witnesses; threat or intimidation; affirmative defense; violation as felony; penalties; applicability of section; definitions.

Sec. 122.

...

(3) A person shall not do any of the following by threat or intimidation:

(a) Discourage or attempt to discourage any individual from attending a present or future official proceeding as a witness, testifying at a present or future official proceeding, or giving information at a present or future official proceeding.

(b) Influence or attempt to influence testimony at a present or future official proceeding.

(c) Encourage or attempt to encourage any individual to avoid legal process, to withhold testimony, or to testify falsely in a present or future official proceeding.

(4) It is an affirmative defense under subsections (1) and (3), for which the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conduct consisted solely of lawful conduct and that the defendant's sole intention was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify or provide evidence truthfully.

(5) Subsections (1) and (3) do not apply to any of the following:

(a) The lawful conduct of an attorney in the performance of his or her duties, such as advising a client.

(b) The lawful conduct or communications of a person as permitted by statute or other lawful privilege.

(6) A person shall not willfully impede, interfere with, prevent, or obstruct or attempt to willfully impede, interfere with, prevent, or obstruct the ability of a witness to attend, testify, or provide information in or for a present or future official proceeding.

(7) A person who violates this section is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(b) If the violation is committed in a criminal case for which the maximum term of imprisonment for the violation is more than 10 years, or the violation is punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both.

(c) If the violation involves committing or attempting to commit a crime or a threat to kill or injure any person or to cause property damage, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $25,000.00, or both.

(8) A person who retaliates, attempts to retaliate, or threatens to retaliate against another person for having been a witness in an official proceeding is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both. As used in this subsection, “retaliate” means to do any of the following:

(a) Commit or attempt to commit a crime against any person.

(b) Threaten to kill or injure any person or threaten to cause property damage.

(9) This section applies regardless of whether an official proceeding actually takes place or is pending or whether the individual has been subpoenaed or otherwise ordered to appear at the official proceeding if the person knows or has reason to know the other person could be a witness at any official proceeding.

(10) This section does not prohibit a person from being charged with, convicted of, or punished for any other violation of law arising out of the same transaction as the violation of this section.

(11) The court may order a term of imprisonment imposed for violating this section to be served consecutively to a term of imprisonment imposed for the commission of any other crime including any other violation of law arising out of the same transaction as the violation of this section.

(12) As used in this section:

(a) “Official proceeding” means a proceeding heard before a legislative, judicial, administrative, or other governmental agency or official authorized to hear evidence under oath, including a referee, prosecuting attorney, hearing examiner, commissioner, notary, or other person taking testimony or deposition in that proceeding.

(b) “Threaten or intimidate” does not mean a communication regarding the otherwise lawful access to courts or other branches of government, such as the otherwise lawful filing of any civil action or police report of which the purpose is not to harass the other person in violation of section 2907 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.2907.

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750.423 Perjury; penalty; "record" and "signed" defined.

Sec. 423.

(1) Any person authorized by a statute of this state to take an oath, or any person of whom an oath is required by law, who willfully swears falsely in regard to any matter or thing respecting which the oath is authorized or required is guilty of perjury, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to a person who willfully makes a false declaration in a record that is signed by the person and given under penalty of perjury. As used in this subsection:

(a) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(b) "Signed" means the person did either of the following to authenticate or adopt the record:

(i) Executed or adopted a tangible symbol.

(ii) Attached to or logically associated with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.

750.424 Subornation of perjury.

Sec. 424.

Subornation of perjury—Any person who shall be guilty of subornation of perjury, by procuring another person to commit the crime of perjury, shall be punished as provided in the next preceding section.

750.425 Inciting or procuring one to commit perjury.

Sec. 425.

Inciting or procuring one to commit perjury—Any person who shall endeavor to incite or procure any person to commit the crime of perjury, though no perjury be committed, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 5 years.

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NEW YORK

h/t Steven Jones

N.Y. PEN. LAW § 135.60 : NY Code - Section 135.60: Coercion in the second degree

A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from engaging in, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage, or compels or induces a person to join a group, organization or criminal enterprise which such latter person has a right to abstain from joining, by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will:

1. Cause physical injury to a person; or

2. Cause damage to property; or

3. Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or

4. Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against him or her; or

5. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or

6. Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action injurious to some person's business; except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the act or omission compelled is for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or

7. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or

8. Use or abuse his or her position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his or her official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or

9. Perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person materially with respect to his or her health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.

Coercion in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

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N.Y. PEN. LAW § 135.65 : NY Code - Section 135.65: Coercion in the first degree

A person is guilty of coercion in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of coercion in the second degree, and when:

1. He or she commits such crime by instilling in the victim a fear that he or she will cause physical injury to a person or cause damage to property; or

2. He or she thereby compels or induces the victim to:

(a) Commit or attempt to commit a felony; or

(b) Cause or attempt to cause physical injury to a person; or

(c) Violate his or her duty as a public servant.

Coercion in the first degree is a class D felony.

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OREGON

Oregon Laws/Criminal Procedures/Chapter 163 Offenses Against Persons

§ 163.275 Coercion

(1) A person commits the crime of coercion when the person compels or induces another person to engage in conduct from which the other person has a legal right to abstain, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which the other person has a legal right to engage, by means of instilling in the other person a fear that, if the other person refrains from the conduct compelled or induced or engages in conduct contrary to the compulsion or inducement, the actor or another will:

(a) Unlawfully cause physical injury to some person;

(b) Unlawfully cause damage to property;

(c) Engage in conduct constituting a crime;

(d) Falsely accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against the person;

(e) Cause or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action injurious to some persons business, except that such a threat is not deemed coercive when the act or omission compelled is for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;

(f) Testify falsely or provide false information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or

(g) Unlawfully use or abuse the person's position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely.

(2) Coercion is a Class C felony.

[1971 c.743 §102; 1983 c.546 §4; 1985 c.338 §1; 2007 c.71 §45]

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Vermont

h/t James Lambert

Chapter 039 : Extortion And Threats

§ 1701. Definition and penalty A person who maliciously threatens to accuse another of a crime or offense, or with an injury to his or her person or property, with intent to extort money or other pecuniary advantage, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do an act against his or her will, shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $500.00, or both. (Amended 1971, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 1973, No. 109, § 6; 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedures Subchapter 001 § 2651. Definitions

(2) "Coercion" means:

(A) threat of serious harm, including physical or financial harm, to or physical restraint against any person;

(B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious bodily or financial harm to or physical restraint of any person;

(C) the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process;

(D) withholding, destroying, or confiscating any actual or purported passport, immigration document, or any other government identification document of another person;

(E) providing a drug, including alcohol, to another person with the intent to impair the person's judgment or maintain a state of chemical dependence;

(F) wrongfully taking, obtaining, or withholding any property of another person;

(G) blackmail;

(H) asserting control over the finances of another person;

(I) debt bondage; or

(J) withholding or threatening to withhold food or medication.

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Washington

h/t Dan Struthers

RCW 9A.36.070 Coercion.

(1) A person is guilty of coercion if by use of a threat he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from, or to abstain from conduct which he or she has a legal right to engage in.

2) "Threat" as used in this section means: (a) To communicate, directly or indirectly, the intent immediately to use force against any person who is present at the time; or (b) Threats as defined in *RCW 9A.04.110(27) (a), (b), or (c).

 (3) Coercion is a gross misdemeanor.