Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Joe Horn: New Texas Law Covers Use of Deadly Force

Albert Einstein once said "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

Yesterday DBKP wrote about Joe Horn, the Texas man who was cleared by the Harris County Grand Jury after he shot two illegal "immigrants" when they had broken into a neighbor's home in Pasadena TX in November. Horn's actions, that of a private citizen using deadly force against someone committing a felony, were covered by a new Texas statute, the Castle Law, or Senate Bill 378.

“Don’t go outside the house,” the 911 operator pleaded. “You’re going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don’t care what you think.”

“You want to make a bet?” Horn answered. “I’m going to kill them.”

Horn had called 911 to report that he had witnessed the two men break into his neighbor's home in broad daylight. Horn, whose conversation was taped, ignored the operator's order to remain inside his home. The tape picked up the sounds of Horn "confronting" the two men as they left the house and headed for the street:

“Move,” Horn can be heard saying on the tape. “You’re dead.”






The two men died from gunshot wounds in the back while the whole incident was witnessed by a plainclothes detective who had just pulled up to the curb in front of Horn's residence. The detective stated that he had "ducked" under the steering wheel of his car when he saw Horn shoot the men for fear that Horn might mistakenly shoot him as the "wheel man".

“I had no choice,” he said, his voice shaking. “They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick.” [1]

Horn's attorney, Tom Lambright, said his client was attempting to "gather evidence" for the cops. What's interesting about Horn's case is that the Texas legislature signed a new bill in 2007 that applied to Horn's dilemna. The Castle Law, signed by Texas Govenor Rick Perry last March, went into effect on the first of September. Less than three months later this law protected Horn from prosecution and civil litigation for using deadly force as a private citizen.

“The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature,” said Gov. Perry. “Today, I am proud to sign the Castle Law which allows Texans to not only protect themselves from criminals, but to receive the protection of state law when circumstances dictate that they use deadly force."

The Castle Law, or Senate Bill 378, extends a person's right in the state of Texas to use "reasonable" deadly force when an intruder commits "certain crimes" such as attempted murder or murder, attempted sexual assault or assault, unlawfully trying to enter a protected place, such as one's home, workplace, or car, or when someone is attempting to "remove someone from a protected place". The law also protects citizens from civil litigation.

Because homicide and murder have no statute of limitations. Under Texas law if a grand jury returns a "no-bill" (no indictment) a future district attorney would be prohibited from reopening the case unless there were new evidence. This protects people from being indicted by any politically ambitious but uncscrupulous prosecutor like a Spitzer reopening a case for no reason other than noteriety and self promotion. Also, the "no-bill" will protect Mr. Horn from civil suits along with the new "castle doctrine" law that became effective last year. Source - Paleo Conservative, Free Republic

Horn's actions, shooting two men in broad daylight in the back while they were leaving a neighbor's house they had just broken into, were covered by this new law.

Read more of Joe Horn Covered by New Texas Deadly Force Law at DBKP.com


Hat Tip: Paleo Conservative, Free Republic
Hat Tip: Einstein quote - Alligator, Free Republic

Source - DBKP - Joe Horn Cleared by Harris County Grand Jury
Source - Texas Govenor's Office - Castle Law
Source - Texas Department of Public Safety
Source - DBKP - Joe Horn: Man Who Shot Two Burglars in the Back
Image - Vigilante

Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.

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