The basics of the rule of law
There was no need for a constitution at common-law because the extortion laws were followed. Extortion is about property, trespasses to property, and permission.

What is property?
Property may be very difficult to define, but the best definition I came across is in the Canadian Income Tax Act, which defines property as a right of any kind whatever.

What is a trespass?
A trespass is interfering with somebody else's property without permission.

What is permission?
Permission is when the rightful owner permits another person to interfere with their property.

Example of permission to interfere with property
A man who is in possession of his employer's property, may use that property in accordance with permission. So if the employer wanted the man to negotiate a contract, the man would have permission to do so and it would be lawful.

Example of exceeding permission
If the man above were to receive a kick-back, it would be a trespass on his employer's property, and therefore a crime.

What is extortion
At common-law extortion was a trespass on the King's coercion. It is threatening to use or using official acts to obtain property not solely for the benefit of the Government. It is an anti-corruption law.

Courts of law
At common-law a court of law obtained rights for private third party benefit, and therefore courts of law had juries, and therefore no official acts were used. This is why an action for replevin at common-law was in a Court of law and not a court of equity.

Courts of equity
At common-law a court of equity enforced property rights and therefore a chancery would take or withhold official acts and enforce property rights. This is why specific performance was in a court of equity, rather than in a court of law.

At common-law police did not obtain property, but rather they enforced property rights by helping a citizen make a citizen's arrest and stopping trespassers.

What do the Courts say today about the extortion laws?

Official Right

At common-law extortion was a "separate public official offense punishing the conduct of public officials who sought personal financial gain under colour of their office. It has since been statutorily expanded in some jurisdictions, such as Canada, to include more familiar forms of blackmail." R v. Davis, [1999] 3 SCR 759.

At common law, extortion was an offense committed by a public official who took 'by colour of his office' money that was not due to him for the performance of his official duties. A demand, or request, by the public official was not an element of the offense. Extortion by the public official was the rough equivalent of what we would now describe as 'taking a bribe.' Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255 (1992).

The Supreme Court of the United States said in Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255:

As we explained above, our construction of the statute is informed by the common-law tradition from which the term of art was drawn and understood. We hold today that the Government need only show that a public official has obtained a payment to which he was not entitled, knowing that the payment was made in return for official acts.

Without Reasonable Justification or Excuse

In Canada there is a reasonable justification or excuse clause contained within the extortion statutes. In the United States, the threat needs to be one of force, or under color of official right. If a person is justified in their action, then they have done nothing wrongful. A person has reasonable justification or excuse if he is not demanding more than is due2 and he is using his or her own power or property to negotiate and not trespassing on other people's power, rights, or property.

Under Color of Official Right

Color is crossing the line between public and private beneficiaries and therefore the public official is not entitled to the payment. In Wilkie v. Robbins, 551 U.S. 537 (2007) the Supreme Court of the United States said:

The importance of the line between public and private beneficiaries for common law and Hobbs Act extortion is confirmed by our own case law, which is completely barren of an example of extortion under color of official right undertaken for the sole benefit of the Government.

The Right to a Jury

The right to a jury trial comes from the right not to be extorted. In Wilkie v. Robbins, 551 U.S. 537 (2007) the Supreme Court of the United States said:
Whaley was about a charge of extortion against a justice of the peace who wrongfully ordered a litigant to pay compensation to the other party as well as a small administrative fee to the court. Because the case involved illegally obtaining property for the benefit of a private third party, it does not stand for the proposition that an act for the benefit of the Government alone can be extortion.


A person can never be legally deprived of any of their rights by public officials not solely for the benefit of government. A jury is required to transfer rights from one private party to another, but no jury is required to get government help to enforce property rights.

Written by Joel Allan Sumner, x-esq, x-barrister & solicitor, x-gangster (see United States v. Goot, 894 F.2d 231). Mr. Sumner is proudly disbarred, as he refuses to be a member of a criminal organization that extorts criminal defendants. Mr. Sumner was threatened by the chief deputy district attorney John Patrick Kochis, without legal justification because Mr. Kochis obtain property with official acts for private-third party benefit by threatening Mr. Sumner that he would be prosecuted for crime if he filed a lawsuit. This makes it into a criminal act to peacefully and orderly petition the Courts for a redress of grievances. The Law Society says that Mr. Sumner must be a silent victim and cannot endeavour to make a lawful citizen's arrest.