STAFF EDITORIAL: Justice system falls short in rewarding convict

In the latest sign that the American legal system needs tweaking, a convicted murderer is going after one of his victims – through the courts.

Tremayne Durham, who was convicted of a 2006 murder in a hostage situation, is suing a surviving hostage for $18,000 he claims is still owed to him.

Durham hired Rob Chambers to build an ice cream truck. When Durham was unable to obtain a refund for the truck, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Durham, frustrated by failed attempts to reach Chambers, murdered Chambers’ friend Adam Calbreath, and then took Chambers hostage. Common sense would lead one to think any legal recourse to obtain a refund was voided by this heinous crime.’

Not in the U.S.

Durham, who is serving 30 years in prison for the murder, has successfully sued to get his refund. He also sued for travel expenses incurred in his voyage from his home in New York to Oregon, where Chambers and Calbreath lived.

Chambers could not afford a lawyer and did not respond to letters from the court, prompting an arbitrator to rule in the inmate’s favor.

Legal wrangling aside, why should this man who had his life turned upside down by a near-death experience have to answer to the source of that terror?

When will the proverbial light bulb turn on, prompting the American legal system to say ‘Hey, wait a minute. Something isn’t right here.’

What Durham is basically saying is that he didn’t want to take the proper legal steps to procure his refund, took a page out of Hollywood’s life manual, and when that didn’t work, decided to finally play by the rules.

By pulling the trigger, Durham waived his rights and is no longer entitled to an answer from anyone.

If for nothing else, this lawsuit should have been tossed out to set a precedent, lest other criminals begin thinking they now have the ultimate fallback plan.

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