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  • CORRUPTION BY THREAT OR FORCE AGAINST A PUBLIC SERVANT


    Because of their positions of power, public servants are given special protections by the Florida legislature. The legislature wanted to ensure that persuasion of public servants was done through traditional lobbying channels and not by threats or violence to those in power. With that said, white collar attorney Adam L. Bantner, II can help those that have been accused of this type of crime. Call 813.416.7965 for your free consultation today!

    THE STATUTE, FLA. STAT. 838.021

    (1) It is unlawful to harm or threaten to harm any public servant, his or her immediate family, or any other person with whose welfare the public servant is interested with the intent to:

    (a) Influence the performance of any act or omission that the person believes to be, or that the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of the public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in the performance of a public duty.

    (b) Cause or induce the public servant to use or exert, or procure the use or exertion of, any influence upon or with any other public servant regarding any act or omission that the person believes to be, or that the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of the public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.

    (2) Prosecution under this section shall not require any allegation or proof that the public servant ultimately sought to be unlawfully influenced was qualified to act in the desired way, that the public servant had assumed office, that the matter was properly pending before him or her or might by law properly be brought before him or her, that the public servant possessed jurisdiction over the matter, or that his or her official action was necessary to achieve the person’s purpose.

    (3)(a) Whoever unlawfully harms any public servant or any other person with whose welfare the public servant is interested shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    (b) Whoever threatens unlawful harm to any public servant or to any other person with whose welfare the public servant is interested shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    THE PUNISHMENTS

    A person who actually harms a public servant is guilty of a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or 5 years of probation.

    A person who threatens a public servant is guilty of a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or 15 years of probation.

    DEFINITIONS, FLA. STAT. 838.014

    (1) “Benefit” means gain or advantage, or anything regarded by the person to be benefited as a gain or advantage, including the doing of an act beneficial to any person in whose welfare he or she is interested, including any commission, gift, gratuity, property, commercial interest, or any other thing of economic value not authorized by law.

    (2) “Bid” includes a response to an “invitation to bid,” “invitation to negotiate,” “request for a quote,” or “request for proposals” as those terms are defined in s. 287.012.

    (3) “Commodity” means any goods, merchandise, wares, produce, chose in action, land, article of commerce, or other tangible or intangible property, real, personal, or mixed, for use, consumption, production, enjoyment, or resale.

    (4) “Corruptly” or “with corrupt intent” means acting knowingly and dishonestly for a wrongful purpose.

    (5) “Harm” means pecuniary or other loss, disadvantage, or injury to the person affected.

    (6) “Public servant” means:

    (a) Any officer or employee of a state, county, municipal, or special district agency or entity;

    (b) Any legislative or judicial officer or employee;

    (c) Any person, except a witness, who acts as a general or special magistrate, receiver, auditor, arbitrator, umpire, referee, consultant, or hearing officer while performing a governmental function; or

    (d) A candidate for election or appointment to any of the positions listed in this subsection, or an individual who has been elected to, but has yet to officially assume the responsibilities of, public office.

    (7) “Service” means any kind of activity performed in whole or in part for economic benefit.

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