Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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They say that crime doesn't pay, but that didn't stop Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s kidnapper from trying.
Tags:california court,clientelevision,crime does not pay,first amendment,frank sinatra,jr.,kidnapping,motion picture rights,profit from crime,selling story,son of sam statute,stealing sinatra movie
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They say that crime doesn't pay, but that didn't stop Barry Keenan from trying. On December 8, 1963 Keenan and his cohorts kidnapped Frank Sinatra Junior. They collected close to a quarter of a million dollars in ransom from his famous father, that is, before the state reversed the charges. Years after serving a sentence, Keenan still tried to profit from stealing Sinatra by selling the movie rights to his story. When the son of Sinatra objected, a California judge stopped payment on the 1.5 million dollar deal under a law named for the 'Son of Sam.' California statute took the profit out of crime by banning the sale of a convict story. Keenan tried to set the law aside. Would this kidnapper be foiled again? Not this time. California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. The justices thought that blocking the sale of Keenan's story would restrict his freedom of speech. California lost its 'Son of Sam' statute and the son of Sinatra lost to his own kidnapper. For the Legal Television Network, I'm Irwin Kramer.