Generally, actions that constitute a violation of the blackmail statute will also constitute a violation of the extortion statute. The North Carolina Court of Appeals explained in 1989 that the blackmail statute “has been codified in substantially the same form since 1854.” The extortion statute was enacted in 1973. The rules of construction that govern the interpretation of criminal statutes state:
[W]hen a new penal statute practically covers the whole subject of a prior penal act, and embraces new provisions, plainly and manifestly showing that it was the legislative intent for the later act to supersede the prior act, and to be a substitute therefor, comprising the sole and complete system of legislation on the subject, the later act will operate as a repeal of the prior act.
State v. Greenspan (NC App 1989)
In other words, “[a] later penal statute repeals a former one when it covers the same acts but fixes a different penalty or substantially redefines the offense.” Therefore, the court of appeals concluded that the extortion statute supersedes the blackmail statute and that the defendant in that case was properly indicted under the extortion statute rather than the blackmail statute.