Law School Case Brief
Carbo v. United States - 314 F.2d 718 (9th Cir. 1963)
Under the Hobbs Act (as distinguished from the Sherman Act) it is not necessary that the subject of the extortion constitute commerce. All that is required is that trade or commerce be affected by extortion in any way or degree.
Defendants were involved in the business of professional boxing and fight promotion. Their technique for controlling champions and top contenders was through the use of economic and physical coercion. Defendants were convicted of extortion affecting commerce and conspiracy to extort in violation of the Hobbs Act, for the interstate transmission of threats and conspiracy to transmit and of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. Defendants appealed their conviction.
Were the defendants properly convicted for extortion under the Hobbs Act?
The court held that the indictments sufficiently charged the federal offenses because all that the Hobbs Act required was that the extortion affect trade or commerce in any way or degree. The declarations of defendants' co-conspirators were admissible, over defendants' objections, because there was independent proof that defendants were connected with the conspiracy. Evidence of one defendant's bad moral character and reputation was admissible because it was introduced to show defendants' plan to instill fear and the subsequent generation of fear in the victims. Electronic recordings of conversations were properly admitted.
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