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Fine Points of the Law

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Thomas Wimberly, 74, was arrested in July 2006 for stealing two hot dogs (value: $2.11, including tax) from a Quik Trip convenience store in Wichita, Kan. (though he said he had merely forgotten to pay). Because it was Wimberly's third misdemeanor theft charge, Kansas law required that the count be upgraded to a felony. Wimberly could not immediately make bail, and in fact was incarcerated for 71 days before his trial (once being subject to a bond of $100,000), but prosecutors insisted on a trial. In April 2007, a jury of 12 people (reportedly angry at having been called to such an insignificant case) found Wimberly not guilty. (The penalty, according to state law, if he had been convicted, was 12 months' probation.)

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