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(a) No person, with purpose to coerce another into taking or refraining from action concerning which he or she has a legal freedom of choice, shall do any of the following:
(1) Threaten to commit any offense;
(2) Utter or threaten any calumny against any person;
(3) Expose or threaten to expose any matter tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to damage his or her personal or business repute, or impair his or her credit;
(4) Institute or threaten criminal proceedings against any person;
(5) Take or withhold, or threaten to take or withhold official action, or cause or threaten to cause official action to be taken or withheld.
(b) Subsections (a)(4) and (5) hereof shall not be construed to prohibit a prosecutor or court from doing any of the following in good faith and in the interests of justice:
(1) Offering or agreeing to grant, or granting immunity from prosecution pursuant to RC 2945.44;
(2) In return for a plea of guilty to one (1) or more offenses charged or to one (1) or more other or lesser offenses, or in return for the testimony of the accused in a case to which he or she is not a party, offering or agreeing to dismiss, or dismissing one (1) or more charges pending against an accused, or offering or agreeing to impose, or imposing a certain sentence or modification of sentence;
(3) Imposing probation on certain conditions, including without limitation requiring the offender to make restitution or redress to the victim of his or her offense.
(c) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under subsection (a)(3), (4) or (5) hereof that the actor’s conduct was a reasonable response to the circumstances which occasioned it, and that his or her purpose was limited to:
(1) Compelling another to refrain from misconduct or to desist from further misconduct;
(2) Preventing or redressing a wrong or injustice;
(3) Preventing another from taking action for which the actor reasonably believed such other person to be disqualified;
(4) Compelling another to take action which the actor reasonably believed such other person to be under a duty to take.
(d) Whoever violates this section is guilty of coercion, a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(e) As used in this section, “threat” includes a direct threat and a threat by innuendo.
(RC 2905.12; Ord. No. 54-74. Passed 3-25-74, eff. 4-1-74)