Wronged Member Seeks Recompense For YearsIn Prison
CARSON CITY, Nev. - (07/25/06) -- A federal appeals court hasreaffirmed an earlier ruling that a former member of Nevada FCU whospent 12 years in prison, was wrongly convicted for check fraud,and she now plans to file a civil rights case for damages. A LasVegas attorney representing 59-year-old Joni Goldyn said the formercredit union member will be seeking damages for her years in prisonand her children will be seeking damages for loss of consortium. Inits ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco saidit is without question that Goldyn bounced checks on her creditunion account, which she opened under an assumed name, but notedthat Goldyn, a habitual gambler, also had a check guarantee card,requiring the credit union to cover her checks. The appellate courtsaid though Goldyn was charged with writing bad checks the creditunion was obligated to cover them and so the bottom line isthat the checks Goldyn wrote were not bad, and the merchants whoaccepted her checks were not injured; they were paid infull. The court said the credit union could have tried tocollect its money from Goldyn using debt collection procedures torecover what amounted to a loan, but failure to repay a loanis not a crime; the days of imprisoning insolvent debtors are longgone. Goldyn was convicted of writing five bad checks on theLas Vegas credit union and, because she had four previousfraud-related convictions, was sentenced to multiple life terms asa habitual criminal. She won a pardon in 1999 and was paroled in2001 and placed on lifetime parole after her lawyer said shereformed herself in prison, earning two college degrees and forminga Gamblers Anonymous group behind bars.