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Name: People v. Sales
Case #: B156032
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 03/04/2004

A conviction for attempted extortion was not supported by sufficient evidence where the evidence showed only a frustrated attempt at future extortion, not a current threat to extort. The defendant questioned the victim about her past work as a prostitute, and she responded that she had abandoned prostitution because her boyfriend disapproved. The defendant then told the victim that it was fine if she wanted to straighten her life out, but that if he ever found out that she was working as a prostitute again, that she would hear from him and that he would be back to collect half of what she earned. The court held that the only reasonable inference from this evidence was that defendant had threatened to extort money from her if she worked as a prostitute in the future, and that the evidence was sufficient only to establish the preparation stage of a possible future crime, and not a current attempt. Because the crime of extortion requires a current threat, and because defendant removed the threat when he learned that the victim was no longer working as a prostitute, the evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction for attempted extortion.