NY JUDGE: POKER'S NOT GAMBLING UNDER FEDERAL LAW: NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that poker is more a game of skill than chance and cannot be prosecuted under a law created to stop organized crime families from making millions of dollars from gambling.
The decision by Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn was embraced by advocates of card games pushing to legalize Internet poker in the United States. The judge relied extensively on the findings of a defense expert who analyzed online poker games.
The ruling tossed out a jury's July conviction of a man charged with conspiring to operate an illegal underground poker club, a business featuring Texas Hold'em games run in a warehouse where he also sold electric bicycles. There were no allegations in the case that organized crime was involved or that anything such as money laundering or loansharking occurred.
"Because the poker played on the defendant's premises is not predominately a game of chance, it is not gambling" as defined in the federal law, the judge wrote in a lengthy decision that traced the history of poker and federal laws to combat illegal gambling.
FAMILY OF NY TEEN SWEPT TO SEA IN HAWAII FILE SUIT: HONOLULU (AP) — The family of a New York teen swept out to sea while hiking in Hawaii filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday, claiming tour guides were negligent for leading a group of teenagers to dangerous area.
Tyler Madoff's body has not been found since the 15-year-old was swept off the west coast of the Big Island during a kayak expedition on July 4. The White Plains teen is presumed dead.
The death of Tyler, a Scarsdale High School student, was caused by the tour guides' "outrageously reckless and irresponsible decision" to lead the group from the "safety of the bay to the treacherous lava rock area," according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Honolulu.
They were hiking near the Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay when they stopped to rest at a tide pool, authorities said. The teens were led to an area that's out of a state permitted area despite dangerous surf warnings, according to the suit.
"Some of the teenagers scrambled for cover and attempted to grab on to anything to keep them from being swept back out of the tidal pools into the ocean by the violently receding waves," according to the lawsuit. "Tyler was last seen being swept through the tide pool by the raging waters and over the shore line cliffs into the ocean, never to be seen again."
LOOSE SCREWS FOCUS OF RENO AIR RACE CRASH PROBE: RENO, Nev. (AP) — Federal safety regulators are focusing on loose screws in the tail of a World War II-era fighter plane modified to race faster than 500 mph as a likely cause of the horrific crash that killed the pilot and 10 others during air races at the Reno National Championship Air Races last September.
The National Transportation Safety Board released nearly 1,000 pages of documents and photographs on Tuesday while continuing to investigate the official cause of the accident that also injured more than 70 people at Reno Stead Airport.
Among other things, the documents point to potential deficiencies in the safety inspection procedures, something race organizers said they're addressing at this year's 49th annual National Championship Air Races, scheduled for Sept. 12-16.
One NTSB document shows inspectors noted about a month before the race that the screws were too short in one of the trim tabs that helped control the P-51 Mustang flown by Jimmy Leeward.
According to interviews with the technical inspectors and the crew, the trim tab problem "was due to one or more screws on the right elevator trim tab not having enough threads protruding from the nut and there was an area washer missing in the wheel well."