United States v. Burhoe, No. 15-1542 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Here the federal government attempted to use the Hobbs Act to police the activities of members of a labor union. Defendants, two union members, were convicted of, inter alia, extortion under the Hobbs Act. The government charged that Defendants extorted property from nonunion companies when they threatened to take certain actions, such as picketing, if those companies did not give union members jobs and that Defendants extorted wages, benefits, and rights to democratic participation within the union from their fellow union members. The First Circuit (1) sustained the convictions of both defendants on count 29 under 29 U.S.C. 504(a), holding that the evidence was sufficient to support these convictions; (2) vacated the conviction for extortion of a nonunion company because the jury instructions allowed the jury to convict upon a finding that the work performed was merely unwanted; and (3) reversed all other convictions due to various errors and insufficiency of the evidence.