Extortion can be committed in person, over the phone, by mail and via text or email. If interstate commerce was used, federal investigations may lead to it being charged as a federal crime. Extortion is considered a theft-related offense in Pennsylvania. Therefore, to be found guilty, the elements of the underlying crime of theft must be met, in addition to the element of coercion or intimidation.
It was recently reported that Philadelphia settled a lawsuit involving a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a police commander. The city paid $1.25 million to the woman. However, the commander who allegedly committed the assault remains on the force eight months after the settlement. These are not the first allegations to surface against the commander, though. Another woman claimed he forced her into a sex act, but she later dropped her lawsuit.
Criminal convictions may result in penalties other than incarceration. Those convicted of criminal charges in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may receive alternative sentences, such as a suspended sentence, probation, fines, restitution, community service or pretrial diversion. Judges have discretion whether to impose an alternative sentence based on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant's age, criminal history and degree of remorse.
Previous blog posts explained the crimes of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and discussed the legal defenses to voluntary manslaughter in Pennsylvania -- innocence, self-defense, insanity, accidental killing and involuntary intoxication. There are also several legal defenses available to defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter.