Legal Memorandum: Coercion in NY

Issue: What constitutes Coercion under New York law.

Area of Law: Criminal Law
Keywords: Coercion; Abstain from engaging in conduct; Physical injury
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: McKinney's Penal Law § 135.60, 135.65
Date: 04/01/2006

Applicable Statutes

1.         McKinney’s Penal Law § 135.60—Coercion in the second degree

A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he 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 has a legal right to engage, by means of instilling in him 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

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 position as a public servant by performing some act […]


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