Constitution Cowboy

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

What's wrong with this?

Regarding the killing of the thief who robbed Trung Nham Duong's store the other day, District Attorney Wes Lane said that while he has no sympathy for thieves, the law doesn't allow the killing of unarmed shoplifters.

Well, Wes, the law doesn't allow anything. Laws DISallow things. A look at the definition of manslaughter in the first degree in the Oklahoma Statutes 21-711.3 reads: (Manslaughter in the first degree defined) "When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed." OK, we can ignore the last part because the crook didn't fail in his attempt. That leaves the first part to discuss. Was it necessary to shoot the crook to stop the crime? Obviously, the crook was still running away with the stolen goods when Trung shot him. It will be necessary for Wes Lane to prove that shooting the crook WAS unnecessary to stop the crime.

A look at 21-1289.16 will show that pointing a firearm in defense of one's property with intention of discharging the firearm is not unlawful. A decent lawyer should be able to quash this travestry before it goes to court. Please note that I like Wes Lane, voted for him, but I believe he is wrong to bring any charges upon Trung.

2 Comments:

  • Here's a really uninformative link to a story by Channel 5 in Oklahoma about the incident.


    When you get right down to it, we need more people like Mr. Duong. If we made criminal enterprises a dangerous profession again, criminally-inclined people might just look for real jobs.

    In Texas, the law is written basically the same as Oklahoma's when it comes to using a firearm to stop the theft of property, i.e. it's only OK when you think there's no way the property will be able to be recovered later. I would assume this to cover cash stolen from a register as it would not be easily recovered. Not to mention, Texas law also says that if the criminal is likely to be a danger to others AFTER the commission of his felony crime, you have a defense to prosecution for shooting him (i.e. an armed robber). In Texas, the prosecution would likely have to cut Mr. Doung loose.

    It reminds me of the "what if your assailant is unarmed" argument. A person could just whack you one across your skull once, or he could beat you to death. You don't know until it's over, so one would think it would be prudent to stop the attack as soon as possible, regardless of what the outcome COULD have been.

    I don't think this theft of property (armed robbery) issue is too different.

    COULD the man have been caught hours later by police and Mr. Duong's money returned to him? Yes.

    Is it LIKELY that he would be caught? That depends. How close is the nearest black & white at that specific time? Are they going to concern themselves with picking him up then, or is he under investigation right now for something else and the police have no intention of picking him up until they're ready to charge him with whatever else? Could the robber have suddenly changed his mind and walked back into the store to get rid of the witnesses? It's certainly possible.

    Who knows? And all the while the robber is taking food out of my family's mouth and decidedly NOT waiting for me to call the police and see when's the next convenient time for them to come by.

    Personally, I'd have shot him, too. Good riddance. And thanks to Mr. Duong for saving the taxpayers of Oklahoma a great deal of money.

    Sorry I wrote you a novel, Woody. Stories like this just get me all riled up. :)

    By Blogger MobileSuitPilotX, at January 13, 2005 at 9:22 AM  

  • Justin,

    Let's hope that Wes Lane, or at the least Duong's lawyer, read our comments.

    I get the feeling that if Duong gets off, the constabulary fear a blood bath will ensue with robbers being shot willy-nilly. They would soon be out of a job!
    The point is that robbers will pick a safer state to ply their trade in. Those who survive, that is.

    Woody

    By Blogger Woody, at January 13, 2005 at 5:28 PM  

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