Unethical Quote of the Month, Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Division: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California Law School

"Hey! If we riot, the Dean says The Supreme Court will have to see it our way!"
“Hey! If we riot, the Dean says The Supreme Court will have to see it our way!”

“Taken together, these rulings have a powerful effect. They mean that the officer who shot Michael Brown and the City of Ferguson will most likely never be held accountable in court. How many more deaths and how many more riots will it take before the Supreme Court changes course?”

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, in an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times titled, “How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops.”

The passengers on board the relentless Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck were recently honored by the addition to their number of distinguished legal scholar and law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who, it mist be said, apparently accepted his ticket in exchange for getting publicity in the Times for his new book,“The Case Against the Supreme Court.” If his op-ed is typical of his approach to that topic, I think I’ll pass.

Each of the three sentences in the quote above is ethically offensive, and, I think, well beneath what the public should be able to expect from the dean of a major laws school, and what the Times should tolerate from one.

Let’s take the last two first:

2. “They mean that the officer who shot Michael Brown and the City of Ferguson will most likely never be held accountable in court. “ The statement assumes that Officer Wilson ought to be held accountable in court, which immediately aligns the dean with the lynch mob demanding “justice” before they have any idea what justice is in this case. Chemerinsky is a political liberal, as one would expect in his position at that institution, but he has an ethical obligation to use his knowledge, erudition, influence and reputation to clarify a difficult situation for the public, not make it worse. Nowhere is his op-ed does he allow for the possibility that Wilson might be innocent of wrong doing in Brown’s death. In my view, he, like Eric Holder and so many others, is now pandering to the anti-police, race-grievance Democratic base, also known as “California.” His opening paragraph is carefully crafted—Chemerinsky has published a lot of papers, treatises, law journal articles, opinion pieces and book—to make it clear that he thinks the officer should be indicted. He begins:

“Last week, a grand jury was convened in St. Louis County, Mo., to examine the evidence against the police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and to determine if he should be indicted. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. even showed up to announce a separate federal investigation, and to promise that justice would be done. But if the conclusion is that the officer, Darren Wilson, acted improperly, the ability to hold him or Ferguson, Mo., accountable will be severely restricted by none other than the United States Supreme Court.”

Like any trained brief writer, Chemerinsky uses the technique of the advocate to presuppose the correctness of his point of view by the way he frames the issue at the start. As has become the insidious practice of most of the news media reporting on the case, Brown is always an “unarmed black teenager.” There is no evidence whatsoever that Brown was shot because of his race. Nor was he merely an unarmed man, but an unarmed 300 pound man who was fully capable of doing harm to the officer without a weapon. Chemerinsky, if he is to be taken seriously as an analyst, should not be presuming guilt and misleading the layman reader by omitting relevant factors that might exonerate Wilson while including inflammatory facts that may be irrelevant to the case.

Then the dean gets really cute. He notes that Eric Holder has taken measures to see “that justice would be done, ” but suggests the conclusion  that the officer, Darren Wilson, acted improperly, that is, if justice IS done through the grand jury indicting Wilson, justice may still be foiled. Again, we don’t know what justice is in this case, but Chemerinsky presumes that it can only mean one thing.

At the beginning and the end of his piece, Chemerinsky assumes the conclusion that Wilson has something to be held accountable for, which in his case would be some form of murder. Somewhere in his essay, he is obligated to note that at this point it is completely plausible that Wilson is innocent, and in which case his entire argument is moot. If Wilson is innocent, justice is served by his not being indicted, or being held accountable for anything, and the Supreme Court is irrelevant. Ah, but that will hurt book sales,,,

3. “How many more deaths and how many more riots will it take before the Supreme Court changes course?” The statement is irresponsible. Either it is unconscionably careless, or it is sinister. The dean appears to be suggesting the U,S. Supreme Court should be influenced by mob violence and riots, and also suggesting that rioting is may be justified. If that is not his intent, then he needs to employ a better editor. I personally think his meaning is intentional, and thus unethical in the extreme. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to study law at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine.

Finally, let’s look at the first sentence of the quote, “Taken together, these rulings have a powerful effect.”

Chemerinsky examines  several cases Supreme Court to make his point that the cards are stacked against efforts to hold Wilson accountable for the guilty act he is widely assumed to have engaged in. I agree with the dean on some decisions and disagree on others, but he employes  logical shortcuts, ideological bias and debate sleight of hand to make his case seem stronger than it is.

At the outset, he uses the hoary device of making a dubious proposition seem reasonable by stating it as if every rational person agrees with him. I sure don’t agree, not with this:

The most recent court ruling that favored the police was Plumhoff v. Rickard, decided on May 27, which found that even egregious police conduct is not “excessive force” in violation of the Constitution. Police officers in West Memphis, Ark., pulled over a white Honda Accord because the car had only one operating headlight. Rather than comply with an officer’s request to get out of the car, the driver made the unfortunate decision to speed away. The police chased the car for more than five minutes, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Eventually, officers fired 15 shots into the car, killing both the driver and a passenger.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and ruled unanimously in favor of the police. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the driver’s conduct posed a “grave public safety risk” and that the police were justified in shooting at the car to stop it. The court said it “stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.”

Notice how the dean describes this as egregious police behavior, as if there is no question that it was. He is presuming that a controversial law enforcement policy decision is obviously wrong: what does he know about field police work? Although advocates for criminal suspects managed to win the legal and public relations battle over whether police were justified in shooting fleeing suspects who refused to submit to an arrest—remember how, in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Burt the cop fires at George Bailey, who at worst frightened a spinster version of Donna Reed and is running away? In the  1940s, there was overwhelming consensus that if you didn’t stop when a police officer told you to, you risked getting shot, and should-–firing to stop a driver from fleeing in a deadly weapon, a speeding car, is hardly the brutal act Chemerinsky  supposes. He writes about the ruling..

This is deeply disturbing. The Supreme Court now has said that whenever there is a high-speed chase that could injure others — and that would seem to be true of virtually all high-speed chases — the police can shoot at the vehicle and keep shooting until the chase ends. Obvious alternatives could include shooting out the car’s tires, or even taking the license plate number and tracking the driver down later.

“Shooting out the tires?” I see nothing wrong with the law letting a citizen behind the wheel of a car know that if he is stopped by the police, fleeing the scene at high speed places him at risk of being shot and killed. Not allowing police to use deadly force will encourage flight, and the resulting deaths of innocent bystanders. Now, there is validity to the dean’s position as well, but Chemerinsky doesn’t make his case fairly or persuasively, except for those who are already biased against police officers and guns….and Officer Wilson.

Later, after accurately and correctly condemning the municipal immunity decision that allowed New Orleans to escape liability for having a lawless D.A, Harry Connick, Sr. (yes, the singer’s father) who essentially framed a man for a murder he didn’t commit, Chemerinsky argues..

“When there is not absolute immunity, police officers are still protected by “qualified immunity” when sued for monetary damages. The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia in 2011, ruled that a government officer can be held liable only if “every reasonable official” would have known that his conduct was unlawful. For example, the officer who shot Michael Brown can be held liable only if every reasonable officer would have known that the shooting constituted the use of excessive force and was not self-defense. The Supreme Court has used this doctrine in recent years to deny damages to an eighth-grade girl who was strip-searched by school officials on suspicion that she had prescription-strength ibuprofen. It has also used it to deny damages to a man who, under a material-witness warrant, was held in a maximum-security prison for 16 days and on supervised release for 14 months, even though the government had no intention of using him as a material witness or even probable cause to arrest him. In each instance, the court stressed that the government officer could not be held liable, even though the Constitution had clearly been violated.”

Yup, I don’t like the decision, or the doctrine, or the application of it to those cases. Nonetheless, if there were ever a situation in which the “every reasonable official” test is appropriate, Officer Wilson’s situation is it. In fact, I think in split second, life and death situations involving officers where they have to make an instant decision whether they are in peril, the stringent standard of reasonableness Chemerinsky favors will guarantee more dead cops, or more successful lawsuits against police for behaving reasonably under the threat of death or bodily harm. School officials dealing with an eight-year-old are not a fair comparison…obviously.

“Taken as a whole,” Erwin Chemerinsky’s analysis of the SCOTUS cases is sloppy and biased.

“Taken as a whole,” the whole quote, all three sentences of it, amounts to an unethical statement by a prominent legal scholar that simply helps speed the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck down the track.

______________________
Source: New York Times

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Month, Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Division: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California Law School

  1. Personally, I think SCOTUS should make its decisions on the law, rather than public sentiment. Sort of what they were started for, isn’t it?

  2. The whole article was good, Jack, but the part that particularly caught my attention was the business of firing at fleeing suspects and doing it from a moving vehicle. As you correctly noted, there are arguments about that from various sides (full disclosure: I’m in the “it’s a really bad idea” camp), but Mr. Chemerinsky argues for it in the most preposterous manner possible. “Well, OK, they can shoot at them, but only to shoot out the tires.” It’s hard enough to hit another car, when both are in motion, much less a person. Tires are smaller still and have proven to be, in actual tests, notoriously hard to hit at all, especially in a manner that resulted in flattening it. The good Dean has been watching too much television, methinks. This is right up there with the “shoot to wound at suspects” argument. Yeah. Just like that. Heck, why go that far, and simply require cops to shoot the suspect’s gun(s) out of their hands? The Lone Ranger could. Why not the average cop?

  3. Great (I skimmed this one, so I apologize if I am off track). A professor, no less, alluding to utilitarianism of riots for the sake of establishing justice.

    I’d like to test the perfesser’s consequentialist leanings with a question about U.S. use of atomic bombs against Japan.

  4. Perhaps it is the context of the article that made me think so, but I think you may have leapt to an unwarranted conclusion, based on your philosophical disagreement with the Professor. Human behavior is relatively predictable, and you can predict that riots will occur without endorsing them. The Court has written the law under the cloak of interpretation, and even you seem to believe they have gone too far. All the Professor seems to be saying in the article is that the Court’s unethical behavior has caused riots, and will do so in the future. The central focus of the article itself was the Court’s unethical behavior.

    • I think that’s an overly charitable interpretation of the essay. First of all, one can hardly say that the riots are “caused” by the SCOTUS decisions, since none of the rioters, I’ll bet, could tell you what any of them are. Moreover, the dean’s obvious reference point was the riots in Ferguson, which had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions he mentioned, but rather with demanding unethical “justice” in the form of an arrest and punishment of a police officer who has yet to be shown to be guilty of anything at all. At best, Chemerinsky’s is sloppy and irresponsible rhetoric.

      But also—come on. The device of “How many…before…?” is always intended to create guilt and pressure both, with the undertone of a threat: do what I say, or there will be blood on your hands.

      It is blackmail, essentially. And the fact that Chemerinsky, who is an extreme anti-law and order advocate, disagrees with SCOTUS (or that I do) doesn’t make the Court’s decisions unethical. They aren’t unethical. They are well-reasoned and well-supported by legal experts a lot more astute than either the dean or I. The may just be wrong on the issue of municipal immunity, but the reason to change will be a more persuasive legal argument, not to prevent more riots.

      • Jack M: “And the fact that Chemerinsky, who is an extreme anti-law and order advocate, disagrees with SCOTUS (or that I do) doesn’t make the Court’s decisions unethical.”

        An “extreme anti-law and order advocate”? I don’t find a shred of that in Dean Chemerinsky’s scholarly writings and besides, the idea that certain men are above and beyond the law simply because they carry a badge is, on its face, patently offensive to the rule of law.

        The only measure of whether a SCOTUS decision is ethical is whether it squares with the Constitution. And as the Dean has pointed out, there is nothing in the structure of the Constitution or pre-existing British law that can support the argument that the King can do no wrong. Justice Wilson laid waste to that conceit and especially, as it applied to a nation that had no king but the law, writing that it was

        “….a branch of a much more extensive principle, on which a plan of systematic despotism has been lately formed in England, and prosecuted with unwearied assiduity and care. … The principle is, that all human law must be prescribed by a superior. This principle I mean not now to examine. Suffice it, at present to say, that another principle, very different in its nature and operations, forms, in my judgment, the basis of found and genuine jurisprudence; laws derived from the pure source of equality and justice must be founded on the CONSENT of those, whose obedience they require. …

        “Judges ought to know, that the poorest peasant is a man as well as the King himself; all men ought to obtain justice; since in the estimation of justice, all men are equal; whether the Prince complain of a peasant, or a peasant complain of the Prince.” These are the words of a King, of the late Frederic of Prussia. In his Courts of Justice, that great man stood upon his native greatness; and disdained to mount upon the artificial stilts of sovereignty.” Chisholm v. Georgia.

        Kindly correct me if I am in error on this, Jack, but it seems that your bone of contention with the Dean is in where a line ought to be drawn. But that has little bearing on whether the Court has been writing law when their job is to interpret it. It is the task of Congress (and its state counterparts, of course) to draw that line, not the courts.

        Jack M: “First of all, one can hardly say that the riots are “caused” by the SCOTUS decisions, since none of the rioters, I’ll bet, could tell you what any of them are.”

        That argument is silly. When pressed, Sarah Palin couldn’t name a single Court decision that she disagreed with, and she was a sitting governor. It is ludicrous to insist that laymen point-cite cases they object to when even high and mighty governors can’t. All they need know is that the principle of official immunity is unjust, and it produces unjust results. It precludes accountability, as it does not distinguish between the innocent and guilty.

        The people want the prospect of justice, which is necessarily defeated by immunity and (routinely-abused) prosecutorial discretion. And riots have always been the voice of the voiceless. To say it will happen again is not a threat, but a prediction.

        • What is silly is arguing that 1) Government immunity is unreasonable, when in fact no government, especially this one, with this many lawyers, could exist if it was being constantly sued every time a citizen didn’t like a decision. Nobody rational disputes this, which is why the common law principle is entrenched in our government and everyone else’s. 2) Saying a riot is caused by that which neither inspired the riot nor caused the alleged effects the rioter object to. 3) justifying riots under any circumstances, 4) claiming that prosecutorial discretion is a problem, when it is, in fact, a necessity; and 4) taking gratuitous shots at Sarah Palin, who, whatever her faults, is irrelevant to this topic.

          The dean’s comments were ignorant, offensive and unprofessional….as I made clear in the post. There is no logical alternative to limited government immunity. If you aren’t an anarchist, your preferred policies would still lead to anarchy.

          • Jack M: “What is silly is arguing that 1) Government immunity is unreasonable, when in fact no government, especially this one, with this many lawyers, could exist if it was being constantly sued every time a citizen didn’t like a decision. Nobody rational disputes this, which is why the common law principle is entrenched in our government and everyone else’s.”

            False dilemma. This is the standard that virtually every country in the world (including our own government) agreed to:

            “3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:

            (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;

            (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

            (c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.”

            http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

            I agree with you that it is nutz to argue that we should all have a personal veto over legislation, or that every government official could be sued for every decision. But that isn’t on the table, and I would certainly disclaim even the appearance of anarchy. I am referring to the problem of what responsibility a government should have when its agents take the lives of its citizens under color of law.

            There is not much room for absolute official immunity here. If you believe the above standard manifestly unreasonable, please be kind enough to enlighten me as to why 95% of the planet’s representatives got it wrong.

            Jack: “2) Saying a riot is caused by that which neither inspired the riot nor caused the alleged effects the rioter object to. 3) justifying riots under any circumstances,”

            Decisions by public officials have caused riots and even the American, French, and Russian Revolutions. To hold as you do is to disclaim our own Declaration of Independence. Are you claiming that our Founders were wrong in holding their own little riot (the Boston Tea Party)?

            Jack: “4) claiming that prosecutorial discretion is a problem, when it is, in fact, a necessity”

            Every advanced nation I am aware of has a provision by which a citizen can force a criminal prosecution. Australia. Britain. Canada. Spain has it written right into their Constitution. And we have all seen how the ruling caste takes care of its own.

            Jack: “taking gratuitous shots at Sarah Palin,”

            I think you are demanding too much of the rioters. Sarah Palin is not a lawyer, and no one should reasonably expect her to point-cite the cases she disagrees with. But if that is true, how would it be any less so for a high-school dropout? Even a poor man can have an understanding of what is or is not just, even if he can’t quote Magna Carta.

            You may have taken offense to the Dean’s comments, and that might be part of a larger disagreement you have with him. I only know of him from his first-rate scholarship, and I found his statements reasonably fair. All I am saying is that there doesn’t appear to be a wide gulf between you.

            • I apologize for being excessively snarky in my original response, Art–the ridiculous “racist NBA e-mail” was eating into my brain like a worm in a Stephen King story. I almost kicked my dog.

              As soon as I get some time, I’ll give your thoughtful comment the thoughtful reply it deserves.

              Be warned that I have little respect for UN resolutions and similar documents. They are unenforceable, and are like John Lennon songs, as far as I can discern, full of aspirations and idealism, and intentionally vague.

              • Let me save you the time, by obviating the need to preach to the choir. While UN resolutions aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, this is from a multilateral treaty; treaties are the law of the land, intended to be enforceable in domestic courts. U.S. Const. art. VI, Head Money Cases. My thesis is that the gulf between you and the Dean looks more like a small lake.

                The cynic in me thinks that Levinson saw dollar signs. All I can do with that one is laugh.

                • Let me save us both time—Multi-lateral UN treaties are also not worth the paper they are printed on, since the UN doesn’t, won’t and can’t enforce them, and the individual nations can interpret them out of existence. But I presume you know that.

                  • Tu quoque? That is the best you can do? So much for the “thoughtful” reply you promised. I was interested in the standard itself. Why is it not a workable one?

                    That Zimbabwe ignores its obligations under international law permits the United States to do so??? Not exactly the answer I would have expected from an ethicist.

                    • I haven’t composed my response, Art. That was a throw-away, but yes: We have a democracy; we are not governed by the deceitful, useless, corrupt and anti-American failed experiment known as the UN; its treaties are by necessity over-broad and symbolic only, and the only reason Congress formally ratifies them is that they do NOT intend to enforce or abide by it. The public is never sufficiently informed of these treaties in the creation or permitted to debate them publicly. Yes, they are a farce, and I don’t see it as ethical for a democracy to be bound by farces directed by non-democratic international bodies. The real world relevance of international law beyond matters of commerce are ephemeral and narrow, and thank god for that.

                    • There are, I remind you, about ten active threads and over 50 comments every day, often more. I also have a family and a job, and events sometimes interfere with the best laid plans. If I don’t get to the reply I would like to have time to write, I will not take kindly to being chided for it. Name any blog with similar traffic that has as much active participation from the writer in the comments—there are few, if any. Go ahead, try it.

            • Regarding your comment:

              1. “3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:

              (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;

              (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

              (c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.”

              There are remedies for all such issues in the United States—civil law suits are simply not among them, and the UN does not deny or cancel the presumption of sovereign immunity. “Remedy” is among many weasel words in the treaty. It is a statement of broad intent, is void for vagueness under US jurisprudence, and not dispositive. Obviously such exceptions are assumed: the proof—diplomatic immunity, which robs citizens of redress in their own country even when crimes have been committed. Presumably the UN approves of THAT.

              2.Decisions by public officials have caused riots and even the American, French, and Russian Revolutions. To hold as you do is to disclaim our own Declaration of Independence. Are you claiming that our Founders were wrong in holding their own little riot (the Boston Tea Party)?

              So what? Fear of riots cannot and must not be an independent basis for judicial rulings and public policy—to assert otherwise, as the dean does, is to give legitimacy to mob rule.

              I’m pretty tired of advocates for anarchy pointing to the Boston Tea Party as precedent. A. “The founders” didn’t participate–name one. Maybe Sam Adams, maybe not. Hancock? I doubt it. John A? No—he disapproved. So do I. It was a famous rather than a pivotal episode. I very much doubt anything was changed by it. No—it was destruction of private property, and illegal. I would have approved if they had turned themselves in.

              3.Jack: “4) claiming that prosecutorial discretion is a problem, when it is, in fact, a necessity”
              Every advanced nation I am aware of has a provision by which a citizen can force a criminal prosecution. Australia. Britain. Canada. Spain has it written right into their Constitution. And we have all seen how the ruling caste takes care of its own

              “Everybody does it.” The US criminal system is far fairer and more just than most others, just don’t commit crimes. I am not impressed by appeals to other cultures. Ethical prosecution involves the discretion not to prosecute when it would be unjust. Is the discretion abused and misapplied? Sure. Prosecutors are human. It’s a hard job, and lives are at stake. None of those nations are analogous to the US.

              4. “Even a poor man can have an understanding of what is or is not just, even if he can’t quote Magna Carta.”

              Can have, but probably doesn’t. I get inquiries from college and grad school educated citizens who want to know why we bother to have trials when we “know” who is guilty. Can’t fool me: the average American;s gut concept of justice is juvenile and uninformed.

              5. You may have taken offense to the Dean’s comments, and that might be part of a larger disagreement you have with him. I only know of him from his first-rate scholarship, and I found his statements reasonably fair. All I am saying is that there doesn’t appear to be a wide gulf between you.

              Ugh. It’s his scholarship I object to! The dean has in the past and now indulges in the despicable tendency to make half-assed arguments for mass consumption, making logical short cuts and lame conclusions that he wouldn’t dare try among his colleagues. Here’s an example: discussing a controversy regarding whether a candidate for office had an obligation to reveal his legal clients (he doesn’t), the dean kept using the word “privileged” when he meant, or should have meant, “confidential.” That’s because the crucial difference is technical, and TV shows and the public lumps them together. But the result was that what he was saying was WRONG, legally, ethically, and factually, and literally made readers less informed. The identity of a lawyer’s client is CONFIDENTIAL, but not privileged. The Dean of a major law school wrote otherwise. Why? Because he’s careless, and because he lacks integrity.

              The silly second guessing about how police should “shoot the tires” of fleeing vehicles was more of the same. I never dumb down arguments for the public or laymen, and I have no respect for anyone, especially law deans with national reputations, who do.

  5. One of the great ways to tell the worth of a jurist is to note how well he can think in real world terms. For example, this “shooting out the tires” junk goes along with the equally bogus doctrine of “shoot to wound”. Any cop can tell you that, in practice under field conditions, trying to do either is not only difficult, but places the officer at risk.

    Just try to shoot out the tire of a suspect fleeing at high speed (even if he’s not weaving and with innocent bystanders around) while you’re in pursuit. Likewise, trying to shoot at the extremities of a known, violent suspect is also ill-advised. When you must shoot, you shoot to STOP. Otherwise, you take the serious risk of being killed by your subject, whether he’s unarmed or not. Note that this is what Officer Wilson apparently did.

    The logic and reality of survival on the streets should become quickly apparent to those whose lives hang in the balance. This professor has obviously had little experience in such matters or ignores it for the sake of his own agenda.

    • Just received this as an e-mail from a cousin:
      “Burglar’s relative says: “He could have used a warning shot first…”
      From WTTC News in Dallas, we get this heartwarming tale of a long-time criminal, 33 year old Deyfon Pipkin, who tried to climb in a window of a Texas home.
      Dead burglar
      The elderly owner occupant saw him and fired one shot, ending Deyfon’s criminal career. As the police do, they came by to investigate, gathered the corpse, then went to notify Deyfon’s family of his unfortunate demise. It seems that the family was very upset, because they showed up at the scene.
      “He could have used a warning,” Lakesha Thompson, Pipkins’ sister-in-law, complained. “He could have let him know that he did have a gun on his property and he would use it in self-defense.”
      COMMENT FROM THE SIDELINE:
      “That’s certainly true, Lakesha. He could also have invited him in and given him a beer, then helped him cart the TV out to the curb”. “Unfortunately for Deyfon, Texas is a Castle Doctrine state, and the homeowner chose to shoot Deyfon, as is right and proper to do in Texas ..
      “For that matter, Lakesha, you could have warned Deyfon. Why didn’t YOU tell him: ‘Deyfon, yo’ needs to quit breakin’ into those peoples’ houses and stealin they shit. Someone is goins to pop a cap in yo’ ass.'”
      “In light of the steadily increasing cost of ammunition, coupled with the rising scarcity of ammunition, a warning shot is a frivolous and unnecessary expense.””And, in this case a substantial savings of taxpayer money was a side result… no investigation expense, no jail time awaiting trial, no expense of a trial, and no prison costs after sentencing'”

      Don’t you just love it when things work out right?

      • Sorry I missed your post! It’s continually been asked as to why these “grieving” relatives never thought (apparently) to lead their little darling away from a life of crime to begin with. Besides, only a fool is going to give away his position in the dark to call out a warning or fire a warning shot at someone who’s breaking into their home. That’s exactly why property owners are traditionally given much leeway during the hours of darkness.

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