A 66 year old lawyer in Pittsburgh was sentenced to one year on county supervised probationÃ‚Â by a Westmoreland County Judge in on Friday.
Larry Burns was convicted with 12 misdemeanor counts of gambling back in August of this year. The convictions stemmed from illegal poker tournaments Burns organized and held in and in support of fire halls in Adamsburg and SewardÃ‚Â in 2007.
Burns argued that these poker tournaments were not illegal, because poker is not a gamble, or a game of chance, but a game of skill.
During his probation, Burns is not allowed to participate in a poker game, play a tournament, or organize one.
The District Attorney in this case, John Peck, was admittedly hard on Burns, who is a lawyer himself, asking for a community service in addition to county supervision.
In fact, Burns could have received up toÃ‚Â a maximum sentence of 2 1/2 to five years in prison, and up to aÃ‚Â $10,000 fine.
PeckÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attempt to hold Burns to a higher regard because of his career as a lawyer was Ã¢â‚¬ËœoverruledÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ when Judge McCormick said Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mr. Burns is a lawyer. Frankly I don’t think it matters. This is no reflection on lawyers, he’s simply a citizenÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Burns will however have to report his conviction and the accompanying probationary sentence to the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court of the state of Pennsylvania.
As to the conviction, BurnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attorney David Millstein has already filed the appeal.
Prior to the appeal, some other forward movements were made.
Just a week after Burns conviction, State Rep. Bryan Barbin, a Johnstown Democrat, proposed House Bill 243, which would permit volunteer fire companies to hold poker game tournaments to raise money.
There’s been some backwards thinking too, in fact, the States Attorney General wants the 40k that was raised for rural fire departments.