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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the case of a convicted murderer who graduated from law school and is being thwarted in his efforts to become a practicing attorney in Arizona. James Hamm served 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering a man in a drug-related robbery. Both victims in the 1974 shootings were unarmed. Last year, the Arizona Supreme Court denied Hamm’s application to practice law, saying he had failed to establish the good moral character necessary to be admitted. Supporters in his application included a letter from the judge who sentenced him for murder, from several practicing attorneys in good standing and from the president of the Arizona Psychological Association. The Arizona Supreme Court found that Hamm was not completely forthright regarding the murders because he says he did not intend to kill, but only to rob his victims. The Arizona Supreme Court said he shot one victim twice to make sure he was dead and shot the second victim to prevent his escape. In a filing at the U.S. Supreme Court, Hamm’s lawyers said he has “focused all his time and energy on progressively accepting responsibility for his crime, worked to change himself as a person and has spent the intervening 30 years attempting to atone for his actions.” Hamm earned a degree in sociology from Northern Arizona University through a prison program. After his sentence was commuted, he attended Arizona State University’s law school and passed the bar exam in 1999. The case is Hamm v. Committee on Character and Fitness of the Arizona Supreme Court, 05-1245. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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