Friday, August 12, 2011

There is no statute of limitations for murder

Texas Penal Code § 19.02. MURDER. (a) In this section: (1) "Adequate cause" means cause that would commonly produce a degree of anger, rage, resentment, or terror in a person of ordinary temper, sufficient to render the mind incapable of cool reflection. (2) "Sudden passion" means passion directly caused by and arising out of provocation by the individual killed or another acting with the person killed which passion arises at the time of the offense and is not solely the result of former provocation. (b) A person commits an offense if he: (1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual; (2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or (3) commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual. (c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree. (d) At the punishment stage of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.
James Jones is the senior warden at the "Walls" Unit in Huntsville (TX)  that houses the Texas execution chamber. He is the man in charge when the State of Texas decides to murder an individual. He is the one who decides when it's time to pump the lethal drug cocktail into the arm of a prisoner strapped down to a gurney.

Mr. Jones knowingly and intentionally caused the death of Mr. Martin Robles on Wednesday night. Mr. Jones committed a first degree felony.
Texas Penal Code § 9.21. PUBLIC DUTY. (a) Except as qualified by Subsections (b) and (c), conduct is justified if the actor reasonably believes the conduct is required or authorized by law, by the judgment or order of a competent court or other governmental tribunal, or in the execution of legal process. (b) The other sections of this chapter control when force is used against a person to protect persons (Subchapter C), to protect property (Subchapter D), for law enforcement (Subchapter E), or by virtue of a special relationship (Subchapter F). (c) The use of deadly force is not justified under this section unless the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is specifically required by statute or unless it occurs in the lawful conduct of war. If deadly force is so justified, there is no duty to retreat before using it. (d) The justification afforded by this section is available if the actor reasonably believes: (1) the court or governmental tribunal has jurisdiction or the process is lawful, even though the court or governmental tribunal lacks jurisdiction or the process is unlawful; or (2) his conduct is required or authorized to assist a public servant in the performance of his official duty, even though the servant exceeds his lawful authority.
Mr. Jones could argue that his conduct in causing the death of Mr. Robles was justified through the public duty defense to criminal conduct. However, look closely at section (c) - the conduct is only excused if the actor has a reasonable belief that deadly force is "specifically required" by statute.

There is no criminal offense in the State of Texas that specifically requires the state to cause the death of the actor. In the case of Mr. Robles, there was another man who was convicted of the murders -- and he wasn't put to death. Therefore, one cannot have a reasonable belief that deadly force is "specifically required" when two men can be convicted of the same murders and given different sentences.

I find it interesting that section (d)(2) would seem to allow Mr. Jones to claim he was only carrying out orders. Funny, that defense didn't cut it at the Nuremburg Trials. Of course, since Mr. Jones can't justify his use of deadly force, he can't rely on the "just following orders" defense.
Texas Penal Code § 7.02. CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER. (a) A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if: (1) acting with the kind of culpability required for the offense, he causes or aids an innocent or nonresponsible person to engage in conduct prohibited by the definition of the offense; (2) acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense; or (3) having a legal duty to prevent commission of the offense and acting with intent to promote or assist its commission, he fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the offense. (b) If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy.
And this is where things get interesting. The medical personnel who assisted in the execution (and turned a blind eye to the oath they took upon finishing medical school) are just as responsible as Mr. Jones for the death of Mr. Robles. I just wonder if they will inform future patients of the role they played in state-sanctioned murder.

And let's not forget the black-robed prosecutors who gladly signed the paperwork ordering the death of another person. Each and every judge who sentenced a defendant to death, or affirmed a death sentence, is culpable as well. They all had the opportunity to prevent a murder, and they all sat there and let it happen.

There is another person who bears responsibility for this murder. That would be the fair-haired one, Governor Rick Perry. His signature is on the death warrant. Gov. Perry knew what he was doing when he signed the death warrant. His intention was for the state to cause the death of Mr. Robles. Gov. Goodhair caused Mr. Jones to engage in conduct that caused the death of another - Mr. Jones would never have presided over the killing of an inmate without being ordered to do so by the governor.

Rick Perry is a murderer, and there's no way to sanitize or sugar coat it.

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