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United States v. Dykes

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
24 Fed. Appx. 718 (2001)


Facts

The French-American International School (FAIS) in San Francisco, California, hired British citizen, Isabel Dykes (defendant), to teach mathematics. The school gave Dykes the appropriate paperwork to complete so that should could obtain a J-1 visa. Shortly after beginning her employment, Dykes and FAIS had a falling out. The school decided to terminate Dykes’ employment and advised her that her J-1 visa would become “null and void” as a result. Dykes and her boyfriend responded by writing a letter to FAIS. The heading of the letter noted that it would detail “[t]he illegal methods systematically used by FAIS to damage those teachers hired from abroad” (emphasis in original). Dykes’ letter referred to the “illegal” manner in which FAIS tried to harm Dykes and the “illegal extremes” to which FAIS was prepared to achieve it. Further, Dykes wrote that FAIS continuously abused U.S. laws to “illegally get rid of those teaches who refused to be intimidated and forced into submission.” As a result, Dykes claimed that she would send the letter to British and French government, as well as other authorities, and to the media. Dykes closed the letter by stating, “The only way I can see for you and FAIS to get off the hook is for you to provide Ms. Dykes with an apology” and to “immediately pay Ms. Dykes her full salary of $40,000 plus $20,000 for the damages you have caused to her.” Dykes was charged with blackmail in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 873. Dykes was convicted and she appealed.

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