United States v. Nardello
393 U.S. 286 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Nardello, 393 U.S. 286 (1969)

United States v. Nardello

No. 51

Argued November 12, 1968

Decided January 13, 1969

393 U.S. 286

Syllabus

Appellees were indicted for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1952, which prohibits travel in interstate commerce with intent to carry on "extortion" in violation of the laws of the State in which committed. In Pennsylvania, where the acts were allegedly committed, the statute entitled "extortion" applies only to public officials, while other statutes prohibit various aspects of "blackmail." The "blackmail" laws, which cover appellees' alleged activities, each define the offense as an act committed with intent "to extort." The District Court, believing that the term extortion was intended "to track closely the legal understanding under state law," concluded that the offense of extortion could only be committed by public officials, and dismissed the indictment against appellees, who were not public officials. The Government appealed.

Held: In light of the congressional purpose to assist local law enforcement officials in combating interstate activities of organized crime which violate state laws, and not merely to eliminate only those acts which a State has denominated extortion, the extortionate acts for which appellees were indicted, which were prohibited by Pennsylvania law, fall within the generic term "extortion" as used in 18 U.S.C. § 1952. Pp. 393 U. S. 289-296.

278 F.Supp. 711, reversed and remanded.

Page 393 U. S. 287

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