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This essay about constitutional limits on criminal coercion concerns a piece of a larger puzzle; how freedom of expression impinges on crimes that involve communication. The essay has two interrelated purposes. One is to reach some rather specific conclusions about the kinds of coercive threats that enjoy constitutional protection and to suggest how legislative formulations of criminal coercion can minimize coverage of such threats. The second purpose, more general and theoretical, is to show how the boundaries of freedom of expression can be understood and how courts can employ those boundaries to arrive at specific tests of constitutional protection. The theory is brought to bear to resolve the practical questions, and the answers to the practical questions provide one very important test of the soundness of the theoretical claims.


Constitutional Law | Criminal Law | Law