There are two penal code sections in California which cover the bribery of judges or jurors. California Penal section 92 entails bribery of judges or jurors and section 93 entails bribery by judges or jurors. The distinction being who is commiting the bribe.
How Does The Prosecutor Prove Bribery Of Judges Or Jurors?
To prove that you are guilty of bribery of elected legislators, the prosecutor has to prove the following facts or elements5:
(a) You gave or offered a bribe
(b) To a judge or juror
(c) You acted with the corrupt intent6
(d) To unlawfully influence that judge’s or juror’s act/decision/vote/opinion
For example: Jane, the defense counsel in a highly controversial murder trial calls up one of jurors and tells him that she will give him $10,000 if he votes against a guilty conviction of the defendant.
How Does The Prosecutor Prove Bribery By Judges Or Jurors?
To prove that you are guilty of bribery by judge or juror, the prosecutor has to prove the following facts or elements7:
(a) A judge or juror requested or agreed to receive8
(b) Something of value
(c) With a corrupt intent
(d) For the purpose of influencing his/her decision in an official matter
For example, James, a judge, tells Patrick, an attorney that he is leaning towards denying his motion because he needs something else to persuade him to grant the motion and that something else has better help him pay his mortgage.
Who Can Be Charged With Bribery Under Penal Code 92 & 93 PC?
Generally anyone who offers a bribe to a judge or juror as defined above with corrupt intent can be charged with bribery. Moreover, even if the briber does not state specific words and does not engage in specific behavior, as long as the language used and the circumstances clearly show intent to bribe, he/she can be charged with bribery. Additionally, if a judge or juror requests or agrees to receive a bribe with corrupt intent, he/she can be charged with bribery.
How Can I Fight A Charge Of Bribery?
There are several defenses that can be asserted on your behalf.
- Lack of corrupt intent: because one of the elements the prosecutor has to show is that the defendant had corrupt intent, if you can show that you acted without such intent, you cannot be charged with bribery.
- Coercion ((Extortion is bribery with the additional element of coercion. Accordingly, the defendant cannot be guilty of receiving a bribe and extortion in the same transaction. (People v. Powell (1920) 50 Cal.App. 436, 441 [195 P. 456].))
- Entrapment ((The crime is complete once an offer is made. Accordingly, subsequent efforts to procure corroborative evidence do not constitute entrapment. (People v. Finkelstin (1950) 98 Cal.App.2d 545, 553 [220 P.2d 934]; People v. Bunkers (1905) 2 Cal.App. 197, 209 [84 P. 364].)) is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit and therefore may be a defense to criminal liability. In such a situation, because the idea originated with the law enforcement and not with the defendant himself/herself, it would serve as a defense to criminal liability.
- Intoxication: voluntary intoxication can be a defense if you can show that you were intoxicated and that as a result, you were unable to form the corrupt intent that the prosecutor has to prove.
What Are The Penalties & Punishment For Bribery Under Penal Code 92 & 93?
Punishable by imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years.
- In cases in which no bribe has been actually received punishable by a restitution fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) or not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or;
- In cases in which a bribe was actually received, punishable by a restitution fine of at least the actual amount of the bribe received or two thousand dollars ($2,000), whichever is greater, or any larger amount of not more than double the amount of any bribe received or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater, and, in addition, forfeits his or her office, employment, or appointment, and is forever disqualified from holding any office, employment, or appointment, in this state.
Information On The Criminal Case Process & Additional Articles On Bribery
Additional resources on the various stages of criminal proceedings.
Below is a list of articles covering other bribery charges in California and a Harvard survey on public corruption.
What You Should Do Now
If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about what attorneys charge.
If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.
If you are ready to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.
- As used here, a bribe means something of present or future value or advantage, or a promise to give such a thing, that is given or offered with the corrupt intent to unlawfully influence the public or official action, vote, decision, or opinion of the person to whom the bribe is given. Calcrim No. 2600; Bribe Defined. Pen. Code, §85. [↩]
- A judicial officer includes a juror, judge, referee, commissioner, arbitrator, umpire or other person authorized by law to hear or determine any question or controversy. [↩]
- The judge or juror does not need to have accepted the bribe. [↩]
- Offering a bribe does not require specific words or behavior, as long as the language used and the circumstances clearly show an intent to bribe. The thing offered does not need to actually be given, exist at the time it is offered, or have a specific value [↩]
- Elements. Pen. Code, § 92; CALCRIM No. 2600. [↩]
- Corrupt Intent Is an Element of Bribery. People v. Gliksman (1978) 78 Cal.App.3d 343, 351 [144 Cal.Rptr. 451]; People v. Zerillo (1950) 36 Cal.2d 222, 232 [223 P.2d 223]. A person acts with corrupt intent when he or she acts to wrongfully gain a financial or other advantage for himself, herself, or someone else. Corrupt Intent Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 3. [↩]
- Elements. Pen. Code, §92; CALCRIM No. 2603. [↩]
- Requesting or agreeing to take a bribe does not require specific words or behavior, as long as the language used and the circumstances clearly show that the person is seeking a bribe from someone else. The prosecutor does not need to prove that the other person actually consented to give a bribe. CALCRIM No. 2603. [↩]