Evans v. United States - Oral Argument - December 09, 1991

Evans v. United States

Media for Evans v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 26, 1992 in Evans v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1991 in Evans v. United States

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument now in No. 90-6105, John H. Evans, Jr. v. United States.

Mr. Abbott.

C. Michael Abbott:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The two issues presented in the case of Evans v. the United States have to do with first, under the Hobbs Act, title 18, United States Code, section 1951 (b)(2), whether an affirmative act of inducement by a public official such as a demand or threat has to be shown by the Government in an extortion case under color of official right.

The second issue presented is whether, in the absence of that Hobbs Act conviction, should we be successful here, the petitioner was properly convicted for making a false statement on his income tax return when he failed to report a $7,000 payment given by an FBI undercover agent.

Byron R. White:

What about if the conviction is valid?

C. Michael Abbott:

Then we are out of luck on count two, Your Honor.

Byron R. White:

Yes.

Thank you.

C. Michael Abbott:

The petitioner was convicted on one count of extortion, one count of false statement that was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in September of 1990.

Briefly, in summarizing the facts, in March of 1985 the FBI began an undercover investigation of John Evans that was to continue for approximately 31 months.

They were investigating allegations that there was public corruption in zoning matters.

The agent, the FBI agent, posed as a land developer who was new to the Atlanta area.

They first met with Evans in March of 1985.

That meeting essentially was one in which they indicated they would be meeting with governmental bodies.

Evans indicated that he would be glad to assist them if he were able to, and he made no attempt to recontact them after that meeting.

They met again in August of 1985 and the scenario is much the same except that that particular meeting was videotaped.

The focus of the investigation began or it began to heat up in May of 1986, because at that time Evans was running for reelection as a commissioner of DeKalb County, Georgia.

And if elected, it would be his second term.

There were two contributions made during the course of the investigation.

In May of 1986, in a meeting with the undercover agent and some associates, Evans was asked if in fact he needed any expenses.

There had been previous talk of campaign... of his reelection campaign, and he took the reference to mean campaign expenses.

He indicated that he needed expenses... or a campaign contribution for a precinct mailing.

They gave him $300.

He reported the contribution.

He sent a thank-you note.

He made no attempt to recontact the agents, and in fact, he spent approximately $300 that month for his precinct mailing.

He was not charged for that particular event.

The focus of this particular case concerns the events of July 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 1986.

There was another meeting on July 8th prior to that in which a specific parcel of land was identified by the undercover agent as one they were interested in rezoning.