FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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AG STRANGE ANNOUNCES PRECEDENT-SETTING DECISION
REGARDING INDICTMENTS CHARGING THEFT OF PROPERTY OFFENSES
(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the
Alabama Supreme Court today issued a precedent-setting decision in James R. Hall v.
State of Alabama regarding indictments charging theft of property offenses.
“This is an important case that changes previous holdings which would have
resulted in criminals being set free because of an insignificant technicality in the
language of an indictment,” said Attorney General Strange. “This means that criminals
will be held to account for their theft, whether it be of currency, a check, or other
medium of monetary exchange.”
Hall, a former commander of the Houston County chapter of Disabled American
Veterans, issued a $1,500 check from a DAV account to himself and refused to
reimburse the money when other DAV board members disputed the transaction. He
was convicted by the Houston County Circuit Court for second-degree theft of property
and sentenced to serve two years in prison on February 9, 2015.
On appeal, Hall claimed that his conviction should be reversed because the
indictment charged him with theft of currency but the evidence showed that he actually
stole a $1500 check. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Hall’s conviction.
Today’s Alabama Supreme Court decision overruled cases relying on antiquated
methods for valuating currency. For example, in long past years, five silver coins would
have been worth less than five gold coins, so the value of what was stolen depended on
its particular nature. Today’s Alabama Supreme Court decision modernized the law to
reflect modern financial practices, which recognize that the value of currency is
standardized and is not dependent on whether the medium of exchange is currency,
check, debit card, or credit card.
Attorney General Strange commended Assistant Attorney General Kristi
Wilkerson for her outstanding work on this case.
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