State Supreme Court Upholds Bank Robber’s Conviction

by Tony McVeigh on April 21, 2011

A Lexington bank robber’s conviction and prison sentence has been upheld by the Kentucky Supreme Court. But  unique details about the case led two justices to dissent.

In June 2005, Ronald Birdsong, with a bandana over his nose and mouth, robbed a Lexington bank. He never threatened any employees, but spoke loudly and knocked computer equipment over.

At trial, Birdsong argued he could not be found guilty of robbery because he did not use force or threaten to use force to harm anyone. The state argued Birdsong’s behavior constituted an implied threat to use force to harm a person.

The jury convicted him of second degree robbery and he got 12 years in prison. The conviction, later upheld by the Court of Appeals, has now been confirmed by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

In a 5-2 decision, the high court says even though Birdsong did not directly threaten bodily harm to anyone, it was not unreasonable for the jury to conclude his actions expressed an intention to inflict pain or injury.

Chief Justice John Minton and Justice Daniel Venters dissented.

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