Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Gambling acceptable reason for murder in Arkansas

I think I'm moving. So homeboy killed a guy running a 3-card monte game because he was cheating (how do you cheat at 3-card monte? Isn't it supposed to be a scam?) and since he was trying to recover gambling losses, he gets off of death row.

So Grubby could murder the old woman who left a puddle at the Mr. Cashman machine and as long as he was stuck and chasing losses, it would be ok?

Wow. This is the state that gave you the Clintons. Any questions?

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- Arkansas' highest court ordered an inmate off of death row on Thursday, citing a 1940 court decision that gave an escape clause from an aggravated-robbery conviction to people trying to recover gambling losses.

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A 1940 ruling says one can't be convicted of aggravated robbery while trying to recover gambling losses.

Justices ordered a new sentencing hearing for Michael B. Daniels, who said he was attempting to recover $20 he lost in a game of three-card monte when he stabbed and killed James Williams, 52, on January 8, 2006. Daniels claimed during the trial that Williams had cheated in the game.

Justices cited a 68-year-old ruling that said someone couldn't be convicted of aggravated robbery while trying to recover gambling losses. Aggravated robbery was the underlying circumstance when a jury ordered Daniels to die for Williams' death.

The split court reversed Daniels' aggravated robbery conviction and the capital murder charge linked to it, but upheld his conviction for premeditated and deliberate capital murder.

In the majority opinion, Associate Justice Robert L. Brown acknowledged that some could argue the 1940 case was not in the public's interest, but said, "it is nonetheless still good law in Arkansas."

Daniels' attorney, Teri Chambers, said Thursday's ruling "makes sense because you have to be able to commit a theft in order to commit a robbery. You have to be taking someone else's property to commit a theft."

It was unclear whether the ruling had been used to get anyone else off of Arkansas death row.

During the trial, Daniels' attorney admitted that his client stabbed Williams in the head, chest and stomach with a Bowie knife. The attack was recorded on surveillance video.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Williams cheated during the card game.
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