CASE LAW UPDATE: Whether the coercion statute must be struck down as unconstitutional?
Defendant was charged with coercion under Minn. Stat. §609.27. Defendant had threatened to expose his ex-girlfriend’s secret of smoking marijuana to authorities, and demanded payment of $25,000.00 to forego doing so. The defendant moved to strike down the coercion statute as unconstitutional on its face under the First Amendment. The trial court, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals, held that subdivision 1(4) of Minnesota Statute 609.27 was unconstitutionally overbroad and could not be saved through a narrowing construction, nor by severing part of it.
The Minnesota Supreme held that on its face, Minn. Stat. §609.27, subd. 1(4), which prohibits any written or oral “threat to expose a secret or deformity, publish a defamatory statement, or otherwise to expose any person to disgrace or ridicule,” violated that First Amendment because it criminalizes a substantial amount of protected speech and cannot be saved by a narrowing construction or severance. Affirmed.
State v. Jorgenson, A19-0323.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.