Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Thank you for explaining your situation. I understand what has happened, but I do not want to assume that I understand the question. How can I help?
In which state is this occurring?
Thank you---one moment while I pull up the statute so you can understand my explanation...
Texas Penal Code § 432.162. EXTORTION. A person subject to this chapter who communicates threats to another person with the intent to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity is guilty of extortion and shall be punished as a court-martial directs.
I apologize... that is actually found in the Texas Government Code, not Texas Penal Code.
Well, when being blackmailed/extorted, the victim basically has a choice--they can either submit to the blackmailer, or they can turn the matter over to law enforcement and risk the threatened exposure.
It is a serious offense, so the consequences are significant for the person making the threat--does your ex-wife understand the gravity of what she has done?
Included in the definition of extortion is a threat "with the intent to obtain anything of value or... advantage". I can't say whether this would constitute extortion, but I will also direct you to the Penal Code section for criminal harassment, 42.07:
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:
(1) initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
So, where someone is threatening to release nude pictures, you would expect it to constitute extortion, criminal harassment, or both, depending on the situation. Even if the question of "advantage" has some doubt for the purpose of an extortion claim, you can see how a threat like that would fit the definition of criminal harassment very well.
How to proceed is really your decision, but if you think she does not realize the seriousness of her threat, it might be a good idea to have an attorney just tell her.
It would be a sort of mutually assured destruction--she doesn't release the photos, and you don't take her threat to the police.
I would just recommend having an attorney handle that communication if you believe it is right for your situation, lest you do not accidentally commit the crime of criminal harassment yourself.
If that option is off the table, the remaining options are typically either to give in to the request, or go to the police. Personally, I would probably go to the police if trying to reason with the ex-wife did not work.
Does that make sense?
Great. Did you have any other questions?
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