United States v. Aguon

851 F.2d 1158 (1988)

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United States v. Aguon

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
851 F.2d 1158 (1988)

Facts

Katherine Aguon (defendant) was the director of the Department of Education (DOE) of Guam. Aguon was charged with extortion under the Hobbs Act, based primarily on the testimony of Aguon’s codefendant at the trial phase, Pyong Hok Han, that he gave Aguon gifts and services worth at least $8,500 without asking Aguon to compensate him. Han claimed that he did this to make Aguon happy and to avoid any trouble regarding his DOE contract. The trial court instructed the jury that (1) the jury could convict Aguon of extortion if the jury found that Aguon operated under color of official right (e.g., as a public official) and (2) the jury need not find that Aguon engaged in any specific act. The jury convicted Aguon of extortion and conspiracy. Aguon appealed, and a panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed Aguon’s conviction, finding that inducement was a necessary element of extortion, even if Aguon was a public official. The Ninth Circuit then decided to rehear Aguon’s case en banc.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Scannlain, J.)

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