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Blackmail: A Crime of Paradox and Irony

  • Peter WestenEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Legal scholars have tended to focus upon whether blackmail is paradoxical rather than upon its substance. In actuality, federal and state blackmail laws vary considerably in their elements and defenses. After defining what I mean by blackmail, I discuss how jurisdictions frame prohibitions against blackmail in relation to prohibitions against theft, larceny, extortion, threats, coercion and intimidation; how extensively jurisdictions elect to prohibit blackmail; what, if anything, jurisdictions regard as defenses to blackmail; and how harshly or mildly jurisdictions penalize blackmail. I conclude by discussing the paradox of blackmail, including recent scholarly efforts by philosophers and legal scholars to resolve it.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan Law SchoolAnn ArborUSA

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