Re v. United States, No. 11-3714 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Re and Leach owned warehouses in Englewood, Florida. After leasing space in Leach’s warehouse, Daughtry told his agent that he did so because Leach stated that a sewer line essential to Re’s warehouse crossed Leach’s property without permission and lacked permits. The agent shared the information who Re, who hired assailants to beat Leach and threaten worse unless he broke the lease. Re was convicted under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951, for using extortion to injure Leach’s business in interstate commerce. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. In a petition under 28 U.S.C. 2255, Re claimed that his lawyers rendered ineffective assistance: trial counsel by stealing from Re and appellate counsel by omitting an argument certain to prevail. The district court denied the petition. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that threatening someone without “obtaining” money, or value, in return, does not meet the Hobbs Act definition. A jury could find that Re’s goal in having Leach beaten was to obtain Daughtry as a tenant to get rental payments. A post-trial crime by a lawyer against his client does not spoil the trial as a matter of law; prejudice must be shown. Re could not establish prejudice. The lawyer who embezzled his funds played only a peripheral role in the trial.