United States v. Markle, No. 06-1600-cr (2d Cir. December 14, 2010) (Jacobs, Pooler, Parker, CJJ)
In United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396 (1973), the Supreme Court held that extortion liability under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951, did not extend to violence in pursuit of “legitimate labor ends” that occurs during a lawful strike that is intended to achieve “legitimate collective-bargaining objectives.”
Defendant Markle was convicted of attempted Hobbs Act extortion after a violent confrontation arising from two unions’ turf war over the right to perform “fine sweep work” – the preparation of a floor surface before installing tile – at a construction site in upstate New York. He argued both in the district court and on appeal that Enmons precluded liability.
The circuit disagreed. The Enmons defense is not available if there is no legitimate labor union objective. Courts have generally limited the defense to the context …