How Does KRS Define Coercion?

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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As we continue to learn more about the Governor’s actions toward various legislators, we thought it might be helpful to review what the Kentucky Revised Statutes have to say about “coercion.” We’re not saying that the Governor or others are guilty of coercion (yet); we just want everyone to have the actual definition in front of them as they discuss events.

Here’s the section of KRS that defines coercion:

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”509.080 Criminal coercion”]

(1) A person is guilty of criminal coercion when with intent to compel another person to engage in or refrain from conduct, he unlawfully threatens to:

(a) Commit any crime; or
(b) Accuse anyone of a crime; or
(c) Expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule or to impair another’s credit or business repute; or
(d) Take or withhold action as an official or cause an official to take or withhold action.

(2) A defendant may prove in exculpation of criminal coercion committed under subsection (1)(b), (c) or (d) that he believed the accusation or secret to be true or the proposed official action justified and that his sole purpose was to compel or induce the victim to desist from misbehavior or to make good a wrong done by him.

(3) Criminal coercion is a Class A misdemeanor.

[/thrive_text_block]

Obviously, bullet (d) seems tied to the road contract controversy. You might be able to also tie it to more general threats. But, based only on what is public at this point, proving criminal coercion looks to be difficult.

But the Governor’s voicemail certainly keeps it in the discussion.

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