United States v. Burhoe, Nos. 15-1542 15-1612.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtTORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.
Citation871 F.3d 1
Parties UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Joseph BURHOE, a/k/a Jo Jo, and John Perry, Defendants, Appellants.
Decision Date08 September 2017
Docket NumberNos. 15-1542 15-1612.

871 F.3d 1

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Joseph BURHOE, a/k/a Jo Jo, and John Perry, Defendants, Appellants.

Nos. 15-1542 15-1612.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

September 8, 2017


Miriam Conrad, Chief, Federal Public Defender, with whom Judith H. Mizner, Assistant Federal Public Defender, was on brief, for appellant Burhoe.

Michael R. Schneider, with whom Jeffrey G. Harris and Good Schneider Cormier were on brief, for appellant Perry.

Ross B. Goldman, Criminal Division, Appellate Section, U.S. Department of Justice, with whom Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, Sung-Hee Suh, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, Randall E. Kromm, Assistant United States Attorney, Laura Jean Kaplan, Assistant United States Attorney, and Susan G. Winkler, Assistant United States Attorney, were on brief, for appellee.

Before Torruella, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.

TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.

INDEX

INDEX...5

INTRODUCTION...6

I. BACKGROUND...6

II. HOBBS ACT OVERVIEW...7

A. The Hobbs Act and Labor Law...7

B. "Wrongful"...8

C. "Property"...9

III. EXTORTION OF NONUNION COMPANIES...10

A. Background...10

1. Four Pints...10

2. Brigham and Women's Hospital...11

3. U.S. Green Building Council & Wolfgang Puck Catering...11

4. Great Bridal and Westin Waterfront Hotel...12

5. Massachusetts General Hospital...12

B. Analysis...12

IV. EXTORTION OF UNION MEMBERS...22

A. Background...22

871 F.3d 6

1. Edward Flaherty...23

2. James Lee...23

3. Robert Wellman...24

4. 2009 CBA vote...24

B. Analysis...24

1. LMRDA Rights...24

2. Wages and Benefits...26

a. Property...26

b. Consent...28

c. Threats...29

V. RACKETEERING AND REMAINING CONSPIRACY COUNTS...31

VI. PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN PERSONS HOLDING OFFICE...32

VII. CONCLUSION...35

This case involves an attempt by the federal government to use the Hobbs Act to police the activities of members of a labor union. Joseph Burhoe and John Perry, who are union members, challenge the sufficiency of the evidence of their convictions for, inter alia, extortion under the Hobbs Act, as well as the jury instructions with respect to that offense. The government attempted to prove that the defendants extorted property from nonunion companies when they threatened to take certain actions, including picketing, if those companies did not give union members jobs. The government further charged that the defendants extorted wages, benefits, and rights to democratic participation within the union from their fellow union members.

We sustain the convictions of both defendants on count 29 under 29 U.S.C. § 504(a). We vacate the conviction for extortion of a nonunion company on count 4 and remand for a new trial because the jury instructions allowed the jury to convict upon a finding that the work performed was merely unwanted. On all other counts, we reverse the convictions.

I. BACKGROUND1

This case is factually complex. We therefore will initially set out only the most basic relevant facts and leave to later sections a more detailed exposition.

Teamsters Local 82 ("Local 82" or "the Union") was a division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("Teamsters") located in South Boston. Its members worked at trade shows and other events in Boston. This work included bringing in materials and setting up events ("load-in") and dismantling and removing materials from events ("load-out"). Most of the work occurred at the Hynes Convention Center and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, both of which require the use of union labor. Three local companies dominated the trade show industry: Freeman Decorating Services, Champion Exposition Services, and Greyhound Exposition Services. The Union negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements ("CBAs") with those companies. The Union also sought work at locations that did not have CBAs with the Union, including area hotels. Local 82 had a unit called the "strike unit" that would pursue jobs with employers currently using nonunion labor.

The indictment at issue here covers a period between 2007 and 2011. The Union had approximately 600 members during this time period. During this time the head of Local 82 was John Perry. Joseph Burhoe

871 F.3d 7

became a member of Local 82 in 1987, but was inactive for many years until he resumed active participation in 2007. He held no official position within the Union but was seen by many union members to be Perry's right-hand man. Perry and Burhoe were charged with extorting nonunion employers and other union members in a thirty-count indictment.2 They were also both charged with violating a prohibition against persons with certain criminal convictions serving in particular capacities within the Union. They were jointly tried in a trial that lasted over six weeks. Burhoe and Perry were each found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to extort and extortion of nonunion companies and union members, and serving (or allowing a person to serve, respectively) in a prohibited union capacity.

II. HOBBS ACT OVERVIEW

The Hobbs Act provides in pertinent part:

Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). This same Act defines "extortion" as "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right." Id.§ 1951(b)(2).

A. The Hobbs Act and Labor Law

The Hobbs Act explicitly states that its provisions do not "repeal, modify or affect" certain labor law provisions, including the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). 18 U.S.C. § 1951(c) ; see also 29 U.S.C. §§ 151 - 166. The NLRA "is a comprehensive code passed by Congress to regulate labor relations in activities affecting interstate and foreign commerce." Tamburello v. Comm-Tract Corp., 67 F.3d 973, 976 (1st Cir. 1995) (quoting Nash v. Fla. Indus. Comm'n, 389 U.S. 235, 238, 88 S.Ct. 362, 19 L.Ed.2d 438 (1967) ). It "reflects congressional intent to create a uniform, nationwide body of labor law interpreted by a centralized expert agency—the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Accordingly, the NLRA vests the NLRB with primary jurisdiction over unfair labor practices." Id.

The Supreme Court has held that "[w]hen an activity is arguably subject to § 7 or § 8 of the [NLRA], the States as well as the federal courts must defer to the exclusive competence of the National Labor Relations Board if the danger of state interference in national policy is to be averted." Id. (quoting San Diego Bldg. Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 245, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775 (1959) ). This is known as Garmon preemption and is generally taken to mean that when there is a question of how § 7 or § 8 of the NLRA should be interpreted, the NLRB's interpretations of that Act control. See Chaulk Servs., Inc. v. Mass. Comm'n Against Discrimination, 70 F.3d 1361, 1364-65 (1st Cir. 1995).

Of central concern, under this doctrine, is the desire "to shield the system

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from conflicting regulation of conduct." Id. at 1365.3 In United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396, 93 S.Ct. 1007, 35 L.Ed.2d 379 (1973), the Supreme Court cited to Garmon in narrowly construing the Hobbs Act so as to avoid creating a conflict with federal labor law. Id. at 411, 93 S.Ct. 1007.

B. "Wrongful"

We are of the view that the resolution of issues inherent in the overlap between the Hobbs Act and labor law (and its limits) is guided, at least in part, by Enmons. There, violence had "erupted" during the course of a lawful strike aimed at compelling an employer to accept certain provisions providing for higher wages in a CBA that was under negotiation. United States v. Enmons, 335 F.Supp. 641, 643 (E.D. La. 1971). While the violence was undoubtedly unlawful, the question before the Court was whether that violence qualified as Hobbs Act extortion when the end sought (higher wages through agreement to certain terms in a CBA) by means of an otherwise lawful strike was a legitimate labor objective under the labor union laws.

The Supreme Court stated that the term "wrongful," as included in the Hobbs Act's definition of extortion, "has meaning in the Act only if it limits the statute's coverage to those instances where the obtaining of the property would itself be ‘wrongful’ because the alleged extortionist has no lawful claim to that...

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9 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Brissette, No. 18-1254
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • March 28, 2019
    ...to be the extorted property. The District Court denied the motions.In September 2017, we issued our decision in United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2017), which concerned the scope of Hobbs Act extortion. The defendants thereafter filed renewed motions to dismiss the first superse......
  • United States v. Fernández-Jorge, No. 15-1900
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 26, 2018
    ...raised this issue should have their convictions vacated. First, the government has not taken this position. See United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1, 28 n.33 (1st Cir. 2017) (finding that the government had forfeited any argument that the defendants had waived a particular issue). The purpos......
  • United States v. Brissette, No. 16-cr-10137-LTS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 19, 2018
    ...job[s]"). After this Court's Order denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the FSI, the First Circuit decided United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2017), and construed various elements of Hobbs Act extortion relevant to this case. In particular, the First Circuit considered what ......
  • United States v. Fernández-Jorge, No. 15-1900
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 26, 2018
    ...raised this issue should have their convictions vacated. First, the government has not taken this position. See United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1, 28 n.33 (1st Cir. 2017) (finding that the government had forfeited any argument that the defendants had waived a particular issue). The purpos......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • U.S. v. Brissette, No. 18-1254
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • March 28, 2019
    ...to be the extorted property. The District Court denied the motions.In September 2017, we issued our decision in United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2017), which concerned the scope of Hobbs Act extortion. The defendants thereafter filed renewed motions to dismiss the first superse......
  • United States v. Fernández-Jorge, No. 15-1900
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 26, 2018
    ...raised this issue should have their convictions vacated. First, the government has not taken this position. See United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1, 28 n.33 (1st Cir. 2017) (finding that the government had forfeited any argument that the defendants had waived a particular issue). The purpos......
  • United States v. Brissette, No. 16-cr-10137-LTS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 19, 2018
    ...job[s]"). After this Court's Order denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the FSI, the First Circuit decided United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2017), and construed various elements of Hobbs Act extortion relevant to this case. In particular, the First Circuit considered what ......
  • United States v. Fernández-Jorge, No. 15-1900
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 26, 2018
    ...raised this issue should have their convictions vacated. First, the government has not taken this position. See United States v. Burhoe, 871 F.3d 1, 28 n.33 (1st Cir. 2017) (finding that the government had forfeited any argument that the defendants had waived a particular issue). The purpos......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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