Luther Strange celebrates “precedent-setting” ruling in theft of property cases

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Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange recently released a statement hailing what he called a “precedent-setting” ruling that will have a wide-reaching consequences in theft of property cases.

The ruling was made by the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday in the case of James R. Hall v. State of Alabama. 

As former commander of the Houston County chapter of Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Hall wrote a $1,500 check to himself from a DAV account. After other board members called the transaction into question, Hall refused to pay back the money.

On Feb. 9, 2015, Hall was convicted of second-degree theft of property and sentenced to two years in prison. On appeal, Hall asserted the charges should be dropped, that he was convicted of “theft of currency” while he actually stole a check.

The Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction and the Alabama Supreme Court followed that affirmation with a decision that “overruled cases relying on antiquated methods for valuating currency.”

When referencing “antiquated methods of valuating currency,” Strange’s statement makes the following comparison:

“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.”

“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,” Strange said in a prepared statement. “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.”

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