Wyoming Blackmail Statute – Court Interpretation of Statutes

The Wyoming blackmail statute is a law that stands against blackmail related crimes. According to the statute, blackmail happens when one he or she obtains property of another individual or compels the other individual to handover the property against the person’s will. The compelling may happen through threatening body injury, threaten to accuse the other party of immoral conduct, or crime that would tend to disgrace or degrade the person. Such blackmail related felony are punishable through imprisonment for not more than ten years.

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However, if an individual commits aggravated blackmail, the crime is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 5 years and not more than 25 years if the blackmail resulted in bodily injury. The law simply criminalizes the use of threats of any form to obtain a property owned by another individual by installing fear of being harmed or subjecting another person to harm in case one refuses to comply with the offender. Blackmail is considered to happen as long as one is threatened to give out his or her property unwillingly, even when the threat is not executed. In case the threat is executed the punishment becomes more severe (Justia U.S. Law, 2020).

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The Wyoming blackmail statute was employed in Wilkie v. Robbins’ petition. The case entails a damaging action against the Bureau of Land Management officials in their capacities as per alleged actions taken in the individual’s official regulatory duties in trying to get a reciprocal right-of-way across private property intermixed with public land.  The defendant was accused of violating Wyoming Statute by threatening to accuse Robbins of committing various offenses if he would not give way to the government property the defendant intended to supervise.

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According to the court, Wyoming statute is not ambiguous. It clearly states that a person commits blackmail if one threatens to accuse an individual of immoral conduct or crime which would tend to disgrace or degrade the person or put the person to contempt of society or ridicule if the person refuses to permit the offender to get something from him or her in return. According to the court, the defendant did not have any reason to do this since he had the authorization to use Robbins’ property to access the public property he intended to access. However, since Robbins was able to give enough evidence to confirm that the defendant used a threat to accuse him of crimes to get a right-of-way to demonstrate that the defendant violated statutory rights under Wyoming law (Justice.gov, 2006).

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