Sexton v. California,
189 U.S. 319 (1903)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sexton v. California, 189 U.S. 319 (1903)

Sexton v. California

No. 166

Argued and submitted January 28, 1903

Decided April 6, 1903

189 U.S. 319


Under sec. 6328, Rev.Stat., and the provisions of the Criminal Code of California, the state courts of that state have concurrent jurisdiction with the courts of the United States to try a person for extortion where the basis of the extortion was a threat to accuse a person of having committed an act which is a crime exclusively against the United States and made so by a federal statute.

Plaintiff in error was convicted in the Superior Court of the County of El Dorado, California, of the crime of extortion. Judgment was entered, and, upon appeal to the Supreme Court of California, it was there affirmed, and the plaintiff in error brings the case here for review.

The indictment upon which the conviction was had alleged that, on June 20, 1898 at the County of El Dorado, State of California, one S. H. Briggs and the plaintiff in error

". . . did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously obtain from one C. Greenwald certain personal property consisting of money, the property of the said C. Greenwald, to the amount and value of thirty dollars, with the consent of said Greenwald, induced by the wrongful use and exercise upon him of fear by means of a threat then and there made by the said John E. Sexton and S. H. Briggs to accuse him, the said Greenwald, of

Page 189 U. S. 320

the crime of having, in violation of the laws of the United States of America, sold and delivered cigars in a form other than in a new box not before used for the purpose of packing cigars therein, contrary to the form, force, and effect of the statute in such case made and provided."

After the finding of this indictment, the defendant Sexton moved the court to set it aside on various grounds, the ninth being that the court had no jurisdiction of the offense charged in the indictment, nor of the person of the defendant, and it was contended that the federal court alone had jurisdiction over the act for which he was indicted in the state court. The motion was denied, and the defendant then pleaded not guilty. Upon the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty as charged in the indictment, and he was sentenced to be imprisoned in the state's prison for the term of two years.

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