I see you're posting moved through the servers at the University of
Maryland - hardly a repository of "code of the west" knowledge.
Nevertheless, assuming you are trying to increase your store of wild west
lore, let me disabuse you of what you hope to be the case:
Here's one example:
"Texas Penal Code 9.42 DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY"
"A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land
or tangible, moveable property:
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary,
robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal
mischief during the nighttime, or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing
burglary, robbery..., and
(3) he reasonably believes that
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the
land or property would expose the actor to... risk of death or serious
In the Joe Horn case, the two goblins had just committed a burglary and were
fleeing, thereby fulfilling (2)(B) above. Joe is in his 60's and the two
squints were young, strapping males. Even if Joe could catch them in a foot
race, and even if they were unarmed (the weren't - they had pry-bars and
other burglar tools) the chance of death or serious bodily injury is a
reasonable expectation, thereby meeting the requirements of (3)(B).
So, Joe simply sicced old double-barreled Betsy on their asses.
I'm sure Joe didn't have a Texas Penal Code checklist on hand so he could
mark off the nuanced requirements of the law.
He simply saw his duty and he did it.
All true, except for a couple of things.
Joe Horn failed to comply with a directive from the police department.
"Do not go outside."
The 911 person said this how many times? 3? And Joe still acted as a
Also look at (3)(a). There were officers in the area. This law is
designed to protect citizens from prosecution who live in very rural
areas where enforcement may not be so readily available.
(3)(b) also includes the words "other than deadly".
(2) also uses the words "to prevent" and "during the night time".
IOW, BEFORE the act is actually committed. Or at most, in the process.
The law does not give a person the right to "Shoot and kill".
It gives the citizen authority to hold and detain.
Joe Horn shot two people in the back. By doing so, he violated this
law. The only reason he is not being prosecuted is because the news
media has touted him as some kind of wild west vigilante hero.
Had Joe Horn been black, he'd be in jail.
The 911 operators are not cops and have no authority to issue commands. They
can make "suggestions," but they are not on the scene.
(3)(A) does not apply. The crime had already been completed. Further, the
law does not say "... applies only in counties of less than three thousand
Yes. But that's not a choice, it's a condition. If the use of "other than
deadly" force would subject the citizen to the risk of serious bodily
injury, then the citizen is justified in skipping the "other than deadly"
Right. But (2) does not apply. The offense had already been committed, now
we're dealing with the "fleeing" phase.
Oh yes it does. Any citizen in my state has the right to use deadly force -
with the possibility of death resulting from that use - under the
circumstances outlined above. I'm telling you this not only as a matter of
law, but from my time as a cop, as a matter of public policy.
Of course this law obtains in my jurisdiction. Your local laws, and
community attitudes, may be different. The laws are certainly different in
the UK, for example.
My view is that Joe Horn did not violate the law, but we'll let the system
decide the technical details. But irrespective of whether Joe violated the
law, there's no doubt he is a hero.
Maybe in Delaware, but not in Texas. Here's a recent case where a Houston
black man shot a burglar and got an award:
The facts are slightly different - the scrot didn't die - but deadly force
WAS used. Now you may say: "But it was self-defense! The misunderstood
citizen threw a knife at the shooter!" Well, yes. But the knife obviously
missed. Now the deprived, downtrodden, alleged thief is UNARMED and Miles
(the shooter) SHOT A DEFENSELESS MAN ANYWAY!" Here, we give testimonial
dinners and free passes to Six Flags for such actions.
Still searching for a rationale, you may pooh-pooh the situation by saying
Miles was a politician and got special treatment. Well, not so. Miles was
recently arrested for pulling his gun where he shouldn't.
Fulfilling 2B isn't enough under the law. And unless the theft happened
at night (the part you edited out - why?), even 2B wasn't fulfilled.
You also edited out that 2B is only part of the requirement before deadly
force can be used. 9.42 additionally rquires that he be justified in
using force under 9.41, which makes it clear that the justification
only applies to defending one's own property.
You are posting some seriously flawed legal advice on a very serious matter.
I hope no one relies on it to their detriment.
On 20 Jun 2008 14:50:34 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org (tjab) wrote:
Thanks for bringing that up. Most states allow a person to defend HIS
own home from intruders. Not be the watchdog and act under the color
of the law for others. Having called 911 is where his authority ends.
Crossing the street with a loaded shotgun, putting others in danger,
is where he crossed the line.
Shooting in the back is murder. Even if he did fire a warning shot.
No. Shooting someone in the back because he stole from another may be
frowned upon in Delaware, but not here.
The Texas Penal Code goes on in Section 9.43 PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S
PROPERTY with the same requirements and options for protection as for one's
own property. Specifically, deadly force is not disallowed to prevent the
commission of a burglary, arson, robbery, theft during the nighttime or
criminal mischief during the nighttime or to prevent the escape of someone
who has just committed such an act.
What's a "warning shot"?
What I posted was an example and wasn't meant to be dispositive. The
original assertion was that nobody can shoot a criminal in the back - I was
merely trying to dispute that flawed claim.
You attach 9.41 to 9.42 and that is correct. But you should have kept
9.43 PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using
force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, moveable
property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably
believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42
in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or tangible moveable
(1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes
attempted on consummated theft or or criminal mischief to the tangible
moveable property; or
(2) the actor reasonably believes that
(A) the third person has requested his protection or the land or property;
(B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or
(C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force
to protect is [related to the actor].
So far I have not seen either of laws state, "in broad daylight".
Each one has clearly used the words "during the night time".
Joe Horn has therefor violated the law in his act being performed in
the daylight hours.
Joe Horn will never be prosecuted because the news media portrayed him
as a vigilante hero. Then finding 12 honest people who would convict
him is not gonna happen.
I see how you can get there, but that's not the way laws in general - and
this one in particular - are interpreted.
To review the law(s) state: "(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission
of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime,
or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or..."
The above (and similar renditions elsewhere) is decoded to mean one may use
deadly force to prevent:
aggravated robbery (Texas-talk for 'armed' robbery) [anytime],
theft during the nighttime [nights only], or
criminal mischief during the nighttime [nights only].
Specific examples: (1) You may NOT use deadly force against a couple of kids
tagging your garage during the DAY. To be allowed the use of deadly force to
suppress criminal mischief, the mischief must be at night. (2) You can't
garrote a horse thief if the offense takes place during the day - you can if
Your deputy sheriff is a frickin loose cannon.
He should have been charged and placed on leave without pay.
Joe Horn was told several times by the 911 dispatcher that plain
clothes officers were on the scene. Yet, the man took the law into his
own hands and killed two people. Luckily, he got the right two. How
did he know those two goblins weren't cops?
Even texas cops get busted for violating the law.
Your friend just happens to be lucky so far.
Unless the jury prefers to believe the word of four guys who all
testify that the molester attacked the father and they just helped.
I suspect the child molester didn't want to risk going back to jail.
However, if they'd simply pressed charges they likely could have sent
Chester the Molester back to jail, instead of moving elsewhere to
continue offending against someone else's child.
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