King & Spalding Seek To Limit Extension of Hobbs Act

A former Baltimore police officer was accused of agreeing with owners of a local repair shop to refer damaged cars to the shop in exchange for cash payments. Under settled precedent, this alleged conduct constitutes extortion “under color of official right.” See Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 2698, (1992). But the government went further and charged the former officer with a Hobbs Act violation by bringing a separate count for conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The former officer was convicted and the conviction was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit.

John Richter

Certiorari has been granted by the United States Supreme Court. According to NAFUSA member John Richter, a partner at King & Spalding, “The case presents an important question of statutory interpretation concerning the Hobbs Act: whether a conspiracy to extort ‘property from another’ under the Hobbs Act requires the government to show that the conspirators agreed to obtain property from someone outside the conspiracy.”

Richter has been seeking support from former United States Attorneys who are willing to join a brief in support of petitioner. The amicus brief is expected to be filed June 8 by Baker Botts.