Crime and Court Roundup: Electronic poker continues on at the Ho-Chunk Casino in MadisonWisconsin News
-- Electronic poker will continue to be played at the Ho-Chunk Indian casino in Madison.
Electronic poker will continue to be played at the Ho-Chunk Indian casino in Madison. State officials went to court after an independent arbitrator ruled that the games were not legal – and the tribe kept playing them anyway. But Judge Barbara Crabb said yesterday that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and did not have the power to ban the electronic poker. The Madison casino is different from the state’s other tribal gaming houses. It’s a Class-Two casino, which only allows games of chance like bingo – while it prohibits more tightly regulated Class-Three games like blackjack and slot machines that favor the house. The state argued that its gaming agreement with the Ho-Chunk requires that the tribe abide by the arbitrator’s decision. Eight electronic poker tables have been provided since late 2010 at what used to be known as the DeJope Bingo Hall. The state can appeal the ruling in a federal appellate court – but the Justice Department has not decided whether it will do so.
A state appeals court says a restaurant cannot be held liable for its employees’ actions, unless it’s proven that negligence by the management directly caused someone to get hurt. That was the reason followed yesterday, when the Second District Appellate Court threw out a 130-thousand-dollar damage award to a diner who found human hair in a steak. The case involves the Texas Roadhouse in West Bend, where Kevin Hansen complained that a steak was overdone four years ago. The manager promised a replacement steak – and the cook put some of his pubic hair in the new steak, saying that Hansen was just trying to get free food. Hansen said he was eating the replacement steak the next day when he saw the hair, gagged, and sought medical treatment. He filed a civil suit. A jury ruled that the restaurant was negligent and awarded damages. But it also said the negligence did not cause the diner’s injuries, and the cook – Ryan Kropp – was the one to blame. The restaurant said it was not liable since the jury assigned the blame to Kropp, and the appellate court agreed. Hansen’s lawyer said he’s disappointed in the ruling, but is not sure if his client wants to appeal the matter to the State Supreme Court. Kropp was criminally convicted of food tampering, and spent six months in jail.
A judge has ordered that two brothers be tried separately on charges that they burned down an Argyle home and killed three young boys and an unborn child. Armin and Jeremy Wand both pleaded innocent in Lafayette County yesterday to four counts of homicide, plus other charges of attempted homicide and arson. 32-year-old Armin Wand-the-Third is scheduled to stand trial February 25th. His 18-year-old brother Jeremy does not have a trial date set yet, and the status of his case will be reviewed on February 20th. Armin’s lawyer asked for the separate trials. And attorneys for both defendants have asked that the juries for the possible trials come from outside the Madison T-V market due to the heavy publicity the case has attracted. Judge Thomas Vale will not act on the change-of-venue request until the state responds to it. Authorities said the two men set fire to Armin Wand’s home on September seventh, so Armin could collect on the family’s life insurance policies and get a fresh start away from his family. Armin’s wife survived the fire, although she was severely burned and she lost the child she was carrying. Their young daughter escaped unharmed.