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Defendants Convicted of Violation of the Hobbs Act


The United States of America is the plaintiff and the appellee in this case. The defendants and appellants of the case are John Franklin Roper and Dr. Luther Lewis Ashley, Jr. The case is being heard in the fifth circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.

Criminal Case and Appeal

A New York DWI Lawyer said this is a criminal appeal as the defendants were convicted of violations of the Hobbs Act on four counts. The indictment charged Loren Ralph Fossum, Ashley, and Roper of extorting over three hundred thousand dollars from Eastern Airlines.

The United States government states that when Ashley and Fossum were visiting Atlanta at the end of March and beginning of April in 1976 they wrote and sent a letter to Eastern Airlines. The letter was sent to the airlines through a taxi and stated that there was a bomb planted at a terminal or Eastern Airlines in a southeastern airport. The letter also stated that if the airlines were to place three hundred thousand dollars in a suitcase marked “Timothy Swinton” and put in on a flight from Atlanta to Greenville, South Carolina, they would notify the airline in time to find the bomb and prevent it from going off.

Eastern Airlines contacted the FBI. The airline proceeded to fill the suitcase with forms and one hundred dollar bill that was marked. A New York DWI Lawyer said they placed the bag on the specified flight. The FBI failed to intercept Roper and he was able to pick up the bag at the airport.

A day later Fossum went to the FBI office located in Greenville and implicated both Roper and Ashley. On the third of April all three men were arrested. Fossum went on to testify against the other two with a grant of immunity. Both of the other men, Ashley and Roper, were convicted on four counts.

Ashley’s Case

Ashley makes the argument that he was not allowed by the trial judge to impeach the principal witness of the government, Fossum, based on the fact that Fossum had previously been convicted of shoplifting. Ashley states that the crime of shoplifting shows dishonesty and moral turpitude. In addition, Ashley states that there was possible inference in the presentence reporting as there is not any confidential information provided about Ashley.

We have made the decision to remand for the determination and resentencing for this particular case is granted.


Roper first states that his arrest was improper. He goes on to state that the evidence that was taken when he was arrested was not admissible during his trial. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said he states that there was no probable cause for his arrest. He also states that if there was probable cause, the police officers who made his arrest did not have the knowledge of the probable cause.

In establishing probable cause in this case, Fossum’s testimony is relied upon. He gave information about where they were to meet and details about the scam that only someone that was on the inside could have known. He gave a description of Roper as well as a description of the Jeep that was driven by Roper. This information is enough to establish probable cause.

After reviewing the case, we find that the conviction of Roper is correct and we affirm the previous conviction.

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