Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Appeals Court Rules Judge Erred In Granting A Discharge

Court FightA funeral director, Ralph Zentner, recently was convicted of overcharging clients on the caskets that he would give them for their loved one. He would provide them a cheap casket even though he charged them for the expensive caskets. He would also receive money to dispose of the ashes of loved ones, but would never complete his end of bargain. In the end, Zentner "pleaded guilty to one fraud charge involving 55 separate incidents." The judge in his case gave Zentner a conditional discharge, which means that following the completion of the condition there would no criminal conviction on his record at all. The condition was that he successfully complete his 18 month probation and make a $5000 charitable donation. 

An Appeals Court recently held that Judge Krinke at the lower court overstepped his bounds and blatantly refused to follow the court's precedent. The appeals court decided that Zentner should receive prison time for his actions and be made to pay a $5000 fine. The appeals court here ultimately made its decision because it determined that sentence that Judge Krinke gave Zentner was basically no punishment for the crime that he committed.

See Kevin Martin, Appeal Court Rules Judge Erred in Granting a Discharge to Bridge Funeral Home Director Who Swindled Clients, Calgary Sun, Nov. 22, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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