Extortion by Public Officer Law and Legal Definition

Extortion by a public officer refers to the corrupt demanding and receiving of money or other thing of value that is not due at all, or more than is due, or before it is due by an officer or by color of office. The act of a public officer to takes money or other valuables that are not due to him/her would constitute extortion instead of robbery.

In order to constitute the offense of extortion, the public officer should use a threat under the guise of exercising public duties. In Conway v. State, 8 N.J. Misc. 406 (Sup. Ct. 1930), the court observed that “when a public officer incorrectly claims authority to take that which the officer is not lawfully entitled to take, such act is known as acting under color of office.” Any demand by a public officer for a service or money under his/her personal capacity will not amount to extortion because such act is not performed under the color of office.