Appeals Court Tosses Life Sentence For $15 Theft
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana appeals court has tossed out the life sentence for a man convicted of grabbing $15 from a parked car.
The court noted that Walter Johnson’s sentence was — in a sense — legal: Johnson had three previous convictions and was sentenced under a statute mandating life sentences for fourth-offenders.
But the court said this was unconstitutionally excessive in Johnson’s case.
The appeals court ordered a New Orleans judge to hold a new hearing, consider the evidence and come up with a reduced sentence.
Wednesday’s decision from a three judge panel of the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Johnson’s conviction. The panel rejected Johnson’s argument that he was entrapped when he snatched the cash through the open window of a car police were using to snare burglars.
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