Patterico's Pontifications


Joe Horn Has a Problem … Maybe (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle has updated its article to provide more information:

“On Friday, [Police Capt. A.H. “Bud”] Corbett described the shooting scenario that had been pieced together so far. According to a transcript of Horn’s 911 call, at 2 p.m., he became concerned that his next- door neighbor’s home was being burglarized after hearing some glass break. The dispatcher repeatedly urges Horn to stay in his house but Horn states that he doesn’t feel it’s right to let the burglars get away.

“Well, here it goes, buddy,” Horn tells the dispatcher. “You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going.” The dispatcher replies: “Don’t go outside.” Then the tape records Horn warning someone: “Move and you’re dead!” Two quick shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then a third shot.

Corbett said the plainclothes detective, whose name has not been released, had parked in front of Horn’s house in response to the 911 call. He saw the men between Horn’s house and his neighbor’s before they crossed into Horn’s front yard. Corbett believes neither Horn nor the men knew a police officer was present.

“It was over within seconds. The detective never had time to say anything before the shots were fired,” Corbett said. “At first, the officer was assessing the situation. Then he was worried Horn might mistake him for the ‘wheel man’ (get-away driver). He ducked at one point.”

When Horn confronted the suspects in his yard, he raised his shotgun to his shoulder, Corbett said. However the men ignored his order to freeze. Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.

“The detective confirmed that this suspect was actually closer to Horn after he initiated his run than at the time when first confronted,” said Corbett. “Horn said he felt in jeopardy.”

The wounded man crossed the street, collapsed and died, authorities said. At the same time, the other man had turned and ran away from Horn. Horn swung his shotgun around after shooting the first man and fired at the second one after he entered the neighbor’s yard, investigators said. He was hit in the back but continued running until collapsing a few hundred yards down the street, Corbett said.

According to a final ruling, Ortiz died of shotgun wounds to his neck and torso, said Ellie Wallace, an investigator at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office. The report said that Torres died of shotgun wounds to his torso and upper left extremity. Wallace could not confirm whether the men were shot in the back, saying the autopsy report only indicated they were shot in the torso.

Neither suspect was armed, but one had a “center punch,” a 6-inch pointed metal tool, in his pocket that might be used as a weapon, authorities said. Also, they were carrying a sack filled with more than $2,000 in cash and assorted jewelry believed taken in the burglary, police said.”

Police speculate there may have been a third person in a car, since no vehicle was located that belonged to Ortiz and Torres.

In many respects, the undercover officer helps Horn’s case.

H/T Ernest.


The Houston Chronicle reports that Joe Horn shot both burglary suspects in the back and the shooting was witnessed by a Pasadena undercover officer:

Two men suspected of burglarizing a neighbor’s home were shot in the back by Pasadena homeowner Joe Horn after the suspects ventured into his front yard, Pasadena police disclosed Friday.

Also, for the first time, investigators revealed the Nov. 14 shooting was witnessed by a plainclothes Pasadena detective, who had pulled up in an unmarked car seconds before Horn fired three shots from his 12-guage shotgun.

The detective’s name was not released as the new details emerged about the controversial shootings that have outraged minority activists but also brought an outpouring of support from others.

“We have now documented a summary of what we think happened. We will turn it over to the district attorney in a couple of weeks after we finish our extensive quality control review,” said Pasadena Police Department Captain A.H. “Bud” Corbett. The Harris County district attorney will then present the case to a grand jury to determine if any charges should be filed against Horn.”

I think Joe Horn’s outlook to avoid a grand jury indictment has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

Earlier posts are here, here, and here.


142 Responses to “Joe Horn Has a Problem … Maybe (Updated)”

  1. Hmmmm… they were lunging to the rear… perhaps Thomas Jackson’s overall world viewpoint is confirmed at its worse… maybe they were two “queer” illegal immigrants and were lunging with their asses?

    Now seriously… this confirms exactly the scenario I thought was most likely. Excellent post, DRJ.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. It’s a sad story. This guy will probably go to prison for a long time because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. He got so excited about shooting some Mexicans that he shot two defenseless, fleeing men in the back. Now he’s going to have to face the consequences.

    All of the gun rights people I’ve ever talked to about self-defense emphasized the importance of learning the law, and staying within it, so you don’t walk into this kind of trouble.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  3. I don’t see any proof of racism although it’s a possibility.

    “All of the gun rights people I’ve ever talked to about self-defense emphasized the importance of learning the law, and staying within it, so you don’t walk into this kind of trouble.”

    Hear, hear!

    Where it gets really interesting, Daryl Herbert, is nk very astutely pointed out Horn had a strong defense under § 9.43 (1) of the Texas penal code, but his lunging statement will likely come back to hurt him if its shown to be incredible.

    Now Horn’s repeated and even direct statement on the tape made before he left his home that he intended to kill the suspects without allowing for any other reasonable outcome (such as letting them comply with an order to surrender) coupled with his lies about both men lunging and what will now should be seen as his self-serving, “Move, you’re dead!” shout to give him cover one second before he began firing three shells into the men’s backs — will harm his defense.

    Horn’s credibility has suffered greatly. This can’t help him.

    Again, well analyzed, nk.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  4. * what will now should be seen

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. Christoph…
    “… he intended to kill the suspects without allowing for any other reasonable outcome …”

    And just where on the tape did he say that? That is a very serious accusation.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  6. “And just where on the tape did he say that?”

    For God sakes, he didn’t say that f’n word for word. It’s my interpretation of the tape. He said, “I’m gonna kill them,” and words to that effect more than once. It’s looking like my analysis of the situation itself is vastly more in alignment with the evidence than the majority of you — and certainly this is no surprise to me.

    “That is a very serious accusation.”

    It is. I’ve said several times I believe Joe Horn committed murder.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. Chrissy I guess its clear exactly what you are since you’re so focused on queers and why you try to protray this as a hate crime. No agenda here. Nothing to see here, Move along.

    Its been clear from the very start there were people attempting to exploit this as a hate crime rather than a law and order issue.

    Its awfully hard to conceal where a shotgun hits but thats neither here nor there, its clear these thugs were on his property. Now why were they there? If Horn says he was threatened are we to take his word or those of convicted criminals in the act of commiting a crime or those who act in their stead. Chrissy we all know what a devoted Mumia fan you are.

    Go peddle your hate crimes agenda somewhere else. You give bigotry a bad name.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  8. It will be touch and go. The detective’s testimony is not unimpeachable. If he saw a double murder being committed why didn’t he do anything about it? Going to back to the tapes, Mr. Horn is back in his house and the dispatcher is telling him “I have plainclothes officers out there”.

    nk (19e0fd)

  9. Christoph,

    These facts may adversely affect Horn’s self-defense claim but they do not contradict his claim that he was protecting the property of a third person. While I think he may be indicted (and he may not), I’m not convinced he would be convicted.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  10. Thomas Jackson,

    Please direct your comments to a discussion of the topic, not the people who comment here.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  11. “Chrissy I guess its clear exactly what you are since you’re so focused on queers and why you try to protray [sic] this as a hate crime.

    As always, Thomas Jackson, you remain the parody of a right-wing nut. You’ve read every single comment I’ve made on this topic as you delight in calling the ever eloquent, agree or disagree, Voice of Reason, Poor little troll, myself “Chrissy” and troll when I talk about the case, the law, and give my opinion, with references and reasoning, on either.

    You inevitably ignore what I actually say in place of your prejudices, biases, and inner daemons.

    I have a challenge for you which I predict in advance you will completely fail at because it’s impossible for you to succeed because I’ve never said what you said I said or what think I said: Show me once, ever, where I said this is a hate crime or as a result of racism? I explicitly said I saw no evidence of racism several times. Including here in direct response to you.

    You make me embarrassed to be a conservative and that we probably vote for similar candidates.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  12. DRJ #9, agreed.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  13. * or what you think I said

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  14. “Quality control review”. In Cook County we have Felony Review. Assistant State’s Attorneys will go to the police station, evaluate the evidence, and even attempt to question the suspect, before determining whether to charge a felony. I wonder how close Harris County’s procedure is.

    nk (19e0fd)

  15. Actually, wasn’t it vor who went out on a “racism” rant?

    And, Yes. I know that you think Joe Horn has committed a “murder”. I just think that you have not been able to prove the point.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  16. This will all come down to the racial makeup of the jury.

    j curtis (8bcca6)

  17. Actually, wasn’t it vor who went out on a “racism” rant?

    It’s his opinion racism that racism is likely involved and it could be. Personally, I see no evidence of that, which is to say I don’t know one way or the other. It’s a possibility. I presume he’s not unless someone shows me he is and no one has.

    What I do know is I listened to a tape of him where I heard him get (understandably) angry, he said he was going to kill people, and, by golly, he did. Then right away he lied to the nice (and responsible) dispatcher about the circumstances under which he did so.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  18. BTW: Actual recent Illinois case. Poor black man in a poor black neighborhood comes home to see three black burglars walking out of his house with his clothes and other stuff. He pulls out his fifty-dollar .25 caliber Saturday Night Special and wounds one in the knee and one in the stomach. He gets twenty-five years for aggravated batery with a firearm. When the verdict comes in, he says, “White people are stupid”.

    nk (19e0fd)

  19. Racial make up of the jury shouldn’t ever be discounted, but the Mexicans I know think black people are way more likely to be guilty than whites.
    Give me twelve Columbians colored from white to mocha and I’ll bet they don’t believe the coal black guy from the Caribbean coast is innocent of anything.
    The majority of the hispanic community won’t give a crap about two dead black illegal Columbians.
    The black community will care for about 15 minutes after they figure out no one speaks english. Hell, American blacks barely tolerate the Jamaicans and the only Haitian they ever liked was the one who got the nightstick up his butt… but if Horn gets a jury of liberal whites?
    He’s done

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  20. Let’s make sure he goes free so the lesson to be learned is ‘don’t burglarize’. Not ‘don’t protect your neighborhood’.

    Kevin (4890ef)

  21. The shooting was on November 14th. Does anyone else find it unusual that the presence of a plainclothes officer who witnessed the shooting is only coming to light now?

    rudytbone (913207)

  22. NK,

    Re: Your comment #18 – A true story and a true sentiment, at least in that case.

    I’ve thought more about this case and, even on these facts, Horn may satisfy the requirements of Texas Penal Code Section 9.43:

    1. He reasonably believed there was a burglary (which by my reading does not have to be at night, although it’s possible the case law provides otherwise).

    2. Horn’s actions were necessary to prevent the perpetrators from “fleeing immediately after committing burglary” and escaping with the property, and

    3. Horn reasonably believed the perpetrators were going to get away and the property could not be protected by any other means. (I don’t think he had any reason at that point in time to believe the police had arrived yet.)

    4. Under the new Texas law, Horn has no duty to retreat unless he provoked the perpetrators’ actions, which I assume means the burglary and he did not do that.

    As Patterico mentioned early on, the question will be whether Horn had a reasonable belief to act as he did. I doubt many will dispute Horn had a reasonable belief there was a burglary so the question is whether he was reasonable in believing he needed to use deadly force to stop them from escaping.

    Ortiz and DeJesus/Torres were bigger, younger, and running away. The police were on their way but (to Horn’s knowledge) weren’t there yet. The only police officer there was undercover.

    The only other issue I can think of (other than it looks bad to shoot people in the back) is to wonder if Ortiz and DeJesus/Torres spoke English well. They may not have understood the command “Move, you’re dead” to mean don’t move. Maybe they thought someone with a gun yelling “Move” meant they should M-O-V-E now.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  23. Now if Mr. Horn was an officer, he could take advantage of the “quickly turning suspect” defense.

    htom (412a17)

  24. Grand Jury will bind over, regular Texas jury will acquit.

    hazy (d671ab)

  25. The only other issue I can think of (other than it looks bad to shoot people in the back) is to wonder if Ortiz and DeJesus/Torres spoke English well. They may not have understood the command “Move, you’re dead” to mean don’t move. Maybe they thought someone with a gun yelling “Move” meant they should M-O-V-E now.


    Or he meant what he said on the phone, went out to kill them, used that as cover, as he did about his lie about them “lunging”.

    A defense lawyer may argue such things, but I believe he meant to kill them before he left the door. Not was willing to. Wanted to.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  26. Yeah well proving they didn’t understand english is gonna be a tough sell to me at this point.
    At least one of the guys has been in and around the US long enough for me to say that although If after ten years or so here you can’t figure out to freeze when confronted with a shotgun, then I’d say natural selection just rang the bell.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  27. I still don’t understand the idea of sending an undercover officer, especially when dispatch knows that there are armed citizens attempting to intervene. Someone shows up in plain clothes claiming to be a cop in those circumstances, I would be inclined to think that he was an accomplice.

    htom (412a17)

  28. For a few reasons, htom:

    One, geography. He was probably in the neighborhood and answered the call. Getting there quickly is a key to making an arrest. Two, intelligence. By staying their incognito, he can put eyes on the scene and report back to dispatch, also increasing the odds of an arrest and responding officer safety. Three, the dispatcher was pleading with Horn to keep his ass inside for officer safety. Four, other reasons I may have missed.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  29. If this is so cut and dried then why hasn’t he been charged?

    Ernest (bc1a39)

  30. The new piece of information here is that the alleged burglars “ventured onto the front yard” of Mr. Horn’s property, where he shot them.
    If they were fleeing the scene, why did they advance on Mr. Horn’s property? If they had to cut across his property from the burglary property, then they entered Mr. Horn’s zone of property owner protection. Even with the added detail of supposedly “shooting them in the back”, the fact that they were on his property makes this case totally different from what was discussed here earlier, namely shooting people who on his neighbor’s property.

    j.pickens (53ee7a)

  31. This is going to sound simple minded, redneck and disrespectful of the legal system.

    But the message that needs to be proclaimed loud and clear is DO NOT break into other peoples property! You might git killed! As in real dead!

    If this nation desires to see so called “property crimes” disappear, then let that be the law of the land.

    Oh and for those that might git killed as innocents? Could it be any worse than the numbers the badges kill every year?

    TC (1cf350)

  32. make it:
    “shooting people who were on his neighbor’s property”

    j.pickens (53ee7a)

  33. Self-defense claim
    Investigators believe a third person may have driven the men from Houston to the Pasadena neighborhood. Police could find no vehicle belonging to the pair parked in the area.
    On the 911 tape, Horn mentioned a new state law that allows residents to protect their own home from intruders.

    “This case is a little different,” Corbett said. “We’ll have to let the grand jury sort this one out.”

    Horn’s attorney, Charles T. Lambright, said his client fired in self-defense because he feared for his life.

    “One of them (suspects) moved and Joe thought he was coming towards him,” Lambright said. “They were in such close proximity (to Horn) that they could be on top of him in half a second.”

    The fact that a police officer witnessed the shooting but did not arrest Horn is further evidence that he acted in self-defense, he said.

    “You’ve got a trained police officer sitting there watching this, and he doesn’t arrest Horn,” Lambright said. “If the (plainclothes) officer thought it was not a righteous shooting, maybe the Pasadena Police Department would have arrested Mr. Horn for murder.”

    Ernest (bc1a39)

  34. Chrissy:

    As usual your comments don’t pass the laugh test. When you resort to using your feelings in place or reason; distort the facts of the case; misquote Texas law (refer to your earlier comments displaying an absurb disregard of the law and commonsense) and from start to finish protraying this as a racial incident I think its clear what your agenda is.

    No wonder the facts are so little importance to you. So put your filters on and tell us about your feelings once again. Don’t let the facts disturb your thesis.

    Poor little troll.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  35. Chrissy:

    I forgot its hard to think you could share my values since I value the fcats and have been trained to put value judgements aside in order to ascertain what the facts are. This comes from having spent so much of my life abroad where cultures have different values and it is necessary to put aside norms to understand what is going on. Now I find an forigner is telling Americans what he thinks is going on. Hmmm, perhaps I should ask my friends in Japan how they view it or why a similar stink wasn';t stirred up when a Japanese exchange student was killed when knocking on the wrong door.

    I do not recall the howls of protest or the constant inferences of racism or racial bias. It is clear that the usual suspects when quite clearly ready to believe the worst of this man without having the full facts and then trying him as we saw in the Duke case.

    I’d be ashamed for your accusations which have been proven reckless. Even Obermann makes more sense and doesn’t put as much spittle on the screen as you do.

    Take your lithium and try to subordinate your feelings. Or is it that time of the month?

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  36. DRJ:

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  37. Thomas Jackson, when you’re just going to flat outright LIE, for example this:

    “from start to finish protraying this as a racial incident”

    … there’s not really a lot I can say. You miserably failed in your challenge. You couldn’t even locate one time since it was always your own prejudices, biases, and inner daemons. Instead, you resorted to lying. Again.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  38. He said he didn’t want to shoot them.

    Patterico (faeccf)

  39. That’s true, Patterico. He said he doesn’t want to before after saying he was going to shoot, and then immediately after this he said he would have no choice to shoot, and went on, building himself up finally to, “I’m going to kill them.”

    He can argue self-defense and with the police officer’s testimony, if it breaks as it does above, will probably create reasonable doubt with no jury nullification required assuming it gets that far.

    A couple things. If you know for sure when you head out the door you’re going to kill and you’re not in the wild west, you’re on the phone with 911, have been for 6½ minutes, and they tell you police are coming, please stay the f— indoors you probably should.

    Second, I never said the man is racist. I believe he showed incredibly poor judgment and I still think he went out there to kill the men. But if the officer testifies as reported, I’d have to conclude he was justified in killing one of the men, at least, and that his statement he was lunged at was not a lie from his point of view.

    I haven’t concluded that yet, but am certainly open to the possibility. I’d rather be wrong about him being a murderer than to actually have him be a murderer if that makes any sense. And even if I thought he likely was, I would definitely consider proof beyond a reasonable doubt the standard if I were a juror.

    Final thought. A person who intends to arm themselves and prepare to use lethal force has an enormous responsibility. If you put yourself in a situation with fleeing suspects where the only outcome you can conceive of is killing them, you aren’t prepared for the situation and should avoid it. Using lethal force is sometimes the best thing, but it shouldn’t be the only possibility when you’re physically safe, no one is directly threatened, and the fellow working with the police is asking you to hang tight so they can deal with it.

    Every officer responding was prepared to use lethal force… but I’ll warrant not one of them had lethal force as the only outcome they could imagine to the point where they were telling their buddies they were going to kill someone.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  40. I’m about as pro-self-defense as you can get. I recognize that it’s not generally feasible or reliable to shoot to wound. And I can understand a homeowner reacting with deadly force when suddenly confronted by even unarmed burglars in his own house. But unless they come out armed, or carrying body parts and smeared in blood from a zombie feast, I’m not going to kill someone for fleeing a burglary in my neighbor’s house.

    No doubt the law is different in Massachusetts than in Texas, but this seems to me to be a matter of basic morality which is, although not universal, an obvious product of modern times and prosperity. (In a time and place of extreme deprivation relative to today in the US, where stealing a man’s horse or food might lead to starvation, things could be different.)

    That said, it is good that potential burglars are deterred by the fear of death.

    If I were on a grand jury I might look for some way to indict the shooter for something, but as I understand this case, I think I would see Murder 2 as a stretch. (Where on the spectrum of unlawful discharge, reckless endangerment, manslaughter, etc., I don’t know; ideally I think he should get something like weekends in jail followed by probation or parole; of course, it’s more likely he gets either nothing, or more than a year in jail.)

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  41. I lurk around a lot and this is a great site. This post just slightly OT but important IMO; will let Patterico decide whether or not to let it stand.


    Your points always make lots of sense, you’re clearly a very intelligent, thoughtful person. You’re a consistent conservative. And more often than not, your points are absolutely right.

    Dude. Ya gotta work on the delivery a little though. You wouldn’t believe how fast people would come around to your points if you would deliver them with just a little less “I’m so right and always have been and you’re all wrong and I’m not surprised” schtick. You have to ask yourself, seriously: what do you want? To crow about how right you are and put others down and say how wrong they are without actually changing anyone’s mind? Well then you’re doing good, keep going. But if you want to actually change minds and convince people of your good points? I have a suggestion.

    Try a little book, all about “how to say things in great ways” (don’t let the title put you off, it’s a great book) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’m sure you’ve got friends so focus on the the “influence people” part. I read this book about 20 years ago and reread it regularly. It’s shocking how well and how fast the suggestions in this book work. In fact I’ve seen you do it (say things in a respectful way) and am sure you’ve noticed that people agree w/ you right away w/out being put off by the “delivery method.”

    Am only saying this cause I agree w/ so many of your points and want you to succeed in convincing people, cause you should succeed. Keep up the good work and see you around the threads.

    conservative lurker dude (1ebbb1)

  42. Comment by DRJ — 12/7/2007 @ 8:24 pm

    Missed this comment last time through the thread. DRJ, apologies if my last post belonged elsewhere.

    conservative lurker dude (1ebbb1)

  43. At the very least, Mr. Horn is headed for a great deal of expense and a serious risk of a felony conviction. About the only good thing I can think that will come out of this is an object lesson in not getting involved in using a gun when one doesn’t have to, and he clearly didn’t have to.

    For his sake, I hope he has a good lawyer, and is following his lawyer’s advice (I think this is a safe prediction) to say nothing to anybody about this.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  44. “However the men ignored his order to freeze”

    Does this matter? It would seem that what would matter would be if they were threatening him or not. Ignore freeze order & run away, ok. Ignore freeze order and come at me? no.

    whitd (10527e)

  45. “He said he didn’t want to shoot them.”

    Makes sense to go click his shotgun and head outside them.

    whitd (10527e)

  46. Texas Penal Code Chapter 9 Section 43 (paraphrasing): A person is justified in killing another to protect property if the other is fleeing immediately after committing burglary and he reasonably believes the property cannot be recovered by other means.

    sean (acbde7)

  47. Ignoring the order to freeze does matter. At least in Texas it does. Had the decedents not attempted to flee and instead surrendered and awaited the arrival of the cops Horn would not have been legally justified in using deadly force to prevent them from fleeing the immediate commission of a burglary.

    A couple things. If you know for sure when you head out the door you’re going to kill and you’re not in the wild west, you’re on the phone with 911, have been for 6½ minutes, and they tell you police are coming, please stay the f— indoors you probably should.

    You stay indoors, and wet your panties for all I care. The police are merely an extension of the lawful authority of the citizenry. Perhaps one of the reasons we have gotten to where we are with crime is because too many people are unwilling, or too intimidated by that pathetic mindset to stand up and defend their society from the predators. This is morally wrong and should not be encouraged.

    Isn’t it amazing that some types of people who will tell law abiding victims to comply when faced with armed criminals are also the people who will take the side of the criminal who dies because he refused to comply with the orders of a legally armed citizen?

    ThomasD (9e8a29)

  48. Am I reading Texas’s Section 9.51 correctly that a peace officer is not allowed to shoot unarmed, fleeing burglars? (It seems identical to Illinois’s “use of force by peace officer” statute as well.)

    nk (19e0fd)

  49. 47
    Ignoring the order to freeze does matter.

    As it should. The assumption should be made that the criminal who doesn’t freeze will attack. An armed civilian can’t assume that there is no risk to himself no matter which direction the suspect appears to be moving after disobeying the freeze command. The criminal might duck behind something where he can open fire on the civilian from cover. Also, since Horn had a shotgun, range is an issue. The fleeing criminal need only put a few yards behind him and turn around with a handgun, making Horn a sitting duck.

    j curtis (8bcca6)

  50. nk #48…
    The law works (or doesn’t) in mysterious ways.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  51. One thing people will soon have to realize is that the police do not and are not designed to actually stop crimes. They are for the ‘after’. They (attempt to) solve crimes, arrest perps and hold them for the courts.

    It is only luck that has a police officer exactly where he needs to be to actually stop a crime and not report to a crime scene (after the fact). If the people that are the victims do not stop the criminals, the best you can hope for is justice after whatever the criminal wants to do is done.

    Lord Nazh (899dce)

  52. I feel this probably wasn’t these 2’s first criminal act. I feel they may have been the type to slap my mother to get her purse. I feel like they got accumulated justice for all there crimes. And further more feel safer with them dead and gone. And i think my feelings are important. Some people, like those who oppose the death penalty, wouldn’t think them being shot would ever serve justice even if they were stopped by gunshots from a child rape. I on the other hand found the Horn shooting quite resonable. And hope Mr horn recieves a medal and no prosecution.

    scooter (d427ec)

  53. nk #48: in this amateur’s opinion, yes. There are often different rules for LEOs and civilians, and while both law and practice generally allow cops more latitude than non-cops, it’s not always the case. In my own Minnesota, under Minn. Stat. 609.065, I could (in theory) kill an intruder in my home to prevent them from embezzling (not a violent felony, and yes, it’s difficult albeit not impossible to construct such a situation, nor is there any case law specifically on that point) while a police officer couldn’t.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  54. Joel #53,

    I have no problem with it. I think that it’s great that Texas imposes a stricter duty on its peace officers when it comes to them shooting its citizens. (Illinois applies the same duty to both.) Law geek that I am I like talking legalese.

    nk (19e0fd)

  55. An officer was on scene, saw the shooting & no arrest was made. When is the last time you heard of that happening? That fact alone tells me Joe is not going to be indicted.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  56. I dunno. I have heard of cops not arresting somebody on the spot when they’re utterly certain that they can pick him up, if need be. Combined with that and with the local cops likely having a lot more personal sympathy with Mr. Horn than the late unlamented burglars, I’m not sure that means much.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  57. NK and Joel,

    Following-up on your discussion regarding a peace officer’s ability to shoot a fleeing burglars vs a citizen’s, it seems to me the different standards are logical. Texas Penal Code Sections 9.41-9.43 allow citizens to shoot fleeing burglars who have a reasonable basis for believing a burglary occurred, e.g., they are the owners of the property, family members, neighbors, etc. A peace officer may have experience that tells him/her a burglary has occurred but would not have knowledge of the property the way the owner/family/neighbor would.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  58. Christoph –

    Burglars fleeing with stolen property still seems to meet 9.41, 2, 3.

    jim2 (c36902)

  59. I still remember the time here in Austin, Texas that a guy shot a couple of thieves in the act of breaking into his car. He shot them with a deer rifle from the window of his apartment on the second floor. My recollection is that he was never charged. His act was considered legal.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (bf2d8c)

  60. Rosenberg,

    Nonsense, not after they just shot & killed someone.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  61. It depends on the scenario, Stan Switek. In a self-defense case, I could see it. Analyze the evidence and let the prosecutor decide if the shoot was justified.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  62. In many respects, the undercover officer helps Horn’s case.

    Being justified in shooting the first one helps a lot. It takes one murder/manslaughter charge off the table, and it makes his shooting the second one more understandable (even if it was still wrong).

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  63. Christoph,

    I think that was Stan’s point. If the officer thought he had witnessed Horn act in self-defense or in lawful defense of property, he would not arrest Horn because Horn did not do anything illegal. Instead, the police would investigate the case to be sure the officer’s first impression was correct. On the other hand, if the officer thought he had witnessed a murder then he would have arrested Horn immediately.

    In other words, I think Stan was criticizing the suggestion that an officer witnessed Horn murder someone but that the officer might decide not to arrest Horn because he knew he could arrest him later.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  64. DRJ,

    You got it dead on. Thanks for explaining to Christoph what is so obvious to most of us. When the police see someone commit a murder, they make an arrest. When they see a lawful homicide, the police do not make an arrest.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  65. I agree with Joel Rosenberg.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  66. If this happened more often, we would have less crime. Horn did a great job and a great service to society. I bet that detective got their pronto because Horn told the dispatcher what he was about to do. Strangely, the dispatcher did not appear to tell him there was law enforcement already there. There are too many stories about slow 911 response and victims suffering as a result. Individuals must be prepared to protect themselves and their property.

    civil disobedience (8cfb7a)

  67. Has anyone mentioned how many other crimes the two crooks were likely involved in? I’m sure their identification will lead to the solving of other crimes & preventing may future crimes. These guys were obviously walking crime waves. I agree Horn did society a big favor.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  68. Did Horn break the law? I don’t know. But I can think of all sorts of people I could kill to do a favor to society. You still can’t allow that by law.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  69. “Did Horn break the law? I don’t know. But I can think of all sorts of people I could kill to do a favor to society. You still can’t allow that by law.”

    You’re last point will be made if the answer to the first point is yes. Otherwise, you can in fact allow that by law.

    Lord Nazh (899dce)

  70. I think the way it played out indicates that the police were onto the two thieves and had some reason to let them work through the theft. Perhaps they were hoping to nab an accomplice or a fence or maybe discover where the thieves lived. At any rate, they obviously had the action staked out and did not want Horn interfering. I doubt he’ll see any time or even an indictment given what I’ve read and given Texas law, but I also think he may very well have limited the scope of an investigation by abruptly terminating the main leads.

    Just Passing Through (d7a06d)

  71. DJR #57 — makes sense to me. All in all, I’m not in favor of using lethal force to prevent the commission of a property crime (and while the burglar still in the home can, I think, reasonably be presumed to be dangerous to persons — that was my main concern the night my wife and I woke up with the robber in our bedroom — the immediate danger to persons seems to me to go when he’s fleeing), I’m not thrilled with the idea of a homeowner overreacting being charged with a homicide crime of some sort.

    Holding an on-duty police officer to a stricter standard of behavior than a crime victim doesn’t seem to me to be unreasonable, either.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  72. Christoph:
    “Did Horn break the law? I don’t know…”

    Doesn’t this contradict your earlier, adament assertions that Mr. Horn committed murder?

    “Murder” seems to be always against the law, where “killing” somebody is not always against the law.

    We know that Mr. Horn killed somebody(s), what we haven’t determined yet is whether or not he murdered anyone.

    As Dennis Prager likes to remind callers who challenge him on the sanctity of life, the translation from the original Aramaic is “Thall shalt not murder”, not “Kill”. Otherwise, it would seem to me, the Jews would have been wiped out long ago without the ability to avail themselves of self-defense.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  73. Some things bothers me about this whole Chronicle story, the plain clothed officer.

    Horn had been on the phone for seven minutes with the Pasadena police department (I would bet the operator is not a police officer and not trained in defusing a crisis situation). I don’t recall anywhere on the tape the operator telling Horn that the police were 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes away. Is the response time in Pasadena that bad? If you were trying to talk a citizen out of taking the law into their own hands, would you not advise them how close the response team were?

    Now, to the plain clothed officer. He said that he was in his car trying to assess the situation and feared that Horn would mistake him as one of the criminals. Doesn’t anyone else have a problem with that story? When most officers saw they had a impending explosive situation, would they not exit their vehicle, badge in hand and telling the criminals “halt, police” letting Horn know he was on the scene? But instead, this officer sits in his car “assessing”?

    Every plain clothed officer I knew in Austin was a detective. If this officer was, in fact, a detective, he has some years and experience under his belt and from my point of view, he did nothing to stabilize the situation.

    If Horn shot the two perps in the back, the officer could have been able to assess immediately at the scene that but it seems he did not. (This officer needs assessment training in my book). At that point, Horn should have been arrested pending an investigation. He was not.

    Houston has had a wave of crime from illegal immigrants. The citizens of Houston are pretty fed up and the city, being a sanctuary city, seems to do little about it. In fact, most Texans are getting pretty fed up with the crime that we have been experiencing.

    Please, someone tell me when it is appropriate for an officer to be at the scene of a potential crime, watching burgulars cross from one yard to another with bags in their hands, getting closer and closer to a citizen with a shotgun, and choses to “assess” the situation from the safety of their car.

    retire05 (59411a)

  74. “As it should. The assumption should be made that the criminal who doesn’t freeze will attack. ”

    What if the criminal is the one that says freeze?

    whitd (10527e)

  75. whitd, then that is a threat.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  76. retire05,

    It seems to me that the officer’s assessment might have taken less than 30 seconds, and that waiting for such assessment (and backup) is perfectly appropriate. In his position, I certainly wouldn’t approach a hyped-up shotgun-wielding man in my plain clothes, even if I were sure he was a homeowner, and not an armed criminal.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  77. retire05 –

    We don’t tell the caller when we think the officers will arrive because we don’t know. There are too many possible delays and if something bad happens, there is significant liability. I only tell them that they are on the way and I’ll also tell the caller when they arrive out front, especially when the caller is armed.

    You’re assuming that the plain clothes officer had complete knowledge of the situation, i.e. who was who and where they were located. This is not always the case. For the officer to assume so would be a large judgment error. The situation as it was when he arrived may not have fit with the information he was given (or that he heard).

    I would have liked for the dispatcher to have been more insistent that Mr. Horn stay inside his house. Failure to do so jeopardized the safety of the field units. The dispatcher would have been more effective, IMO, had he explained more emphatically and repetitively to Mr. Horn that with plainclothes officers responding, there was a great likelihood that Mr. Horn may accidentally shoot the officer or be shot by him. My experience tells me that Mr. Horn would be more cooperative when told that he was complicating the police response and endangering the officers. I don’t think Mr. Horn was able to comprehend the passing comments about this in the state he was in.

    Actual (955d26)

  78. Joe horn is my hero, forget the stories, he did a job which saved the goverment in taxes and the state in defence costs, i would of done the same, he is a hero and should be congratulated for apprehending the thieves, well done joe horn you did me proud, what right do the thieves have to enter someone elses home and steal from them or did they have a bad upbringing !! so the story goes

    derek marjoram (9b7fb5)

  79. 1) Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect their own or another’s property to stop arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night..

    2) Houston Chronicle is notorious for printing falsehoods to support it’s ultra-left leaning agenda. for instance:

    And then printing:

    In which it says “According to a final ruling, Ortiz died of shotgun wounds to his neck and torso, said Ellie Wallace, an investigator at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office.

    The report said that Torres died of shotgun wounds to his torso and upper left extremity.

    Wallace could not confirm whether the men were shot in the back, saying the autopsy report only indicated they were shot in the torso.”

    3) On Dec 5th, the Chronicle ran the following EDITORIAL on the FRONT PAGE as a headline.

    Don’t ever believe anything you read in the Houston Chronicle.

    Hound_Dog (9531b2)

  80. DRJ #22. I think that you have the analysis perfectly right. Because the wounds appear to be on the criminals’ backs, this doesn’t look like a straight 9.41 Self defense. Accordingly, it turns to a 9.43 Defense of Another’s Property, which is permitted.

    NK #48. As to 9.51, the objective circumstances of that law is contingent upon the civilian acting under the direction of a peace officer. This situation does not qualify. Also, the statute has a no-conflict clause, so the use of force restrictions under 9.51 are not applicable to 9.43.

    509th Bob (96a8a6)

  81. This is beginning to sound like those ancient Jewish committees where Rabbis endlessly argued fine points of Talmudic law.

    Let’s boil this down to the brass tacks. Two burglars were stopped in midflight with the loot in their hands. Mr. Horn attempted to apprehend them because a lack of uniformed police and unknown to Mr. Horn and to the burglars, an undeclared undercover cop witnessing the events.

    The burglars ran. The undercover cop hid in his car. Horn blasted the burglars.

    I don’t have a problem with this, and I don’t see a real problem, except that Horn will be indicted by a GJ because Horn is not allowed to put up a defense before the GJ, nor is the GJ apprised of any exculpatory facts or testimony by the DA. In a full trial, the judge may declare for Horn on directed judgement, or the jury aquit. The problem is Horn will suffer financially for doing his civic duty. That is wrong, and the real crime here.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  82. #84 –

    I do not disagree with the account as you posted it.

    However it’s Texas and the laws are fresh and not old legacy statutes, and the events are widely public. I’m not sure a Texas DA would want to bring this to a GJ. The DA might reasonably fear gaining an indictment that could never be “won” in Texas and could only result in great personal consequences to the DA him or herself.

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  83. Apparently, Horn is covered by both the Castle doctrine, given the neighbor’s need for protection during the commission of a crime, and self-defense, given the plain-clothes officer’s description of the shooting.

    It’s interesting all of this information, as well as the immigration status of the burglars, took almost one month to come out.

    This sounds like an attempt by various folks (e.g., media) to cover up the facts surrounding this case, and the laws supporting those defending our property and rights.

    I am in full support of Joe Horn, and hope there are more out there like him. Get ready…we may need the “Joe Horns” again real soon.

    Rampaige (c5f84e)

  84. Of course, the police may have held their cards close to get all the facts together, so that makes sense. No “cover-up” there. Just interesting it took so long.

    Rampaige (c5f84e)

  85. In law school I was always amazed how over analyzed this stuff gets. Reality does not work like some kind of criminal law or torts exam. If it did OJ would be in jail. Two black illegal aliens commiting a crime + texas good ol boys = one “not guilty” hillbilly. Yippie Ki Yeah, MFs.

    Jeff (40c389)

  86. For the longest time, I have been trying to persuade my wife to let us move to Tennessee, with no glimmer of success. If Joe Horn is not indicted, I’ll shift tack for Texas. I’m afraid that she will only be amenable to San Antonio, though. 😉

    nk (26f031)

  87. #80

    Actual, OK, so you don’t advise when an officer will arrive, but an office HAD ARRIVED. Are you telling me that an officer had arrived on scene and didn’t notify dispatch that he was there? Since police officers work in shifts and Pasadena is a city of over 100,000, what if uniformed officers arrived and mistook the plain clothed cop for one of the perps? Do you think that ever officer in a city that large knows every other officer? Do you think that rookies can face I.D. plain clothes cops if they have only been on the job a few months?
    What the hell kind of Mickey Mouse police department would that be? The very FIRST thing that officer should have done was notify dispatch he was on the scene if for no other reason but to advise the officers en route. And since Horn was on the phone with the PD, he could have been advised that an plain clothed officer had arrived and to not mistake him for one of the perps. It is also the responsibility of dispatch to try to defuse a potentially explosive situation and if the Pasadena dispatch hasn’t been trained to do that, they should have put an officer on the line. Remember, the telephone conversation was 7 MINUTES LONG.

    God, you are giving the Pasadena PD such a pass on this one. No wonder they are called FIRST reponders. First reponders AFTER the fact.

    How long was the plain clothed officer there? Was he there longer than a minute? In our effort to be politically correct, are we now hiring mute officers who can’t say “don’t shoot, police” while holding up his badge? The Chron doesn’t say. But if you trust anything coming from the Houston Chronical you are already in deep trouble.

    And now we are to believe that the entry/exit would could not be determined immediately? Anyone with an knowledge of shotguns knows that is bull. Shotgun shells scatter once fired. Ask anyone who hunts.

    Advise? Don’t trust the Chron.

    retire05 (f6fbb5)

  88. 85, Yeah, what about Ronnie Earle? He’d indict a ham sandwich if it advanced Texas State Democrat’s agenda.

    Again, Most everyone here is arguing about the individual trees instead of taking in the forest as a whole.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  89. #91 –

    I would suggest that the surest way for Texas Dems to be swept out of office would to be to allow themselves to be labeled as favoring Horn’s being put on trial, let alone being convicted.

    Thus, the man you mentioned might indeed do anything that would advance Texas Dems, but Horn’s indictment would seem likely to hurt them, not aid them. I can see it now:

    “He tried to put Horn behind bars ….”

    Nope, that’s not going to win any elections in Texas!

    jim2 (6482d8)

  90. PCD “Most everyone here is arguing about the individual trees instead of taking in the forest as a whole.” [and] “The problem is Horn will suffer … for doing his civic duty. That is wrong, and the real crime here.”

    For me the forest here is that these two guys were committing a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in Texas, not punishable by death.

    The common-law rule, at a time when all felonies were punishable by death, allowed the use of whatever force was necessary to arrest of a fleeing felon, even deadly force. This was based in part on the concept that use of deadly force against a fleeing felon was merely a speedier execution of someone who has already forfeited his life.

    This has changed in the past centuries, however, and I have a real problem with a forest that says it is OK for someone to kill two people, even criminals, who otherwise would have faced only imprisonment. I don’t think this was Horn’s civic duty.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  91. 93, JayHub,

    Then you and I have to disagree. Common sense is that when you are thief and caught by a person with a shotgun, you do as you are told.

    Horn did not know what those two were running to. He thought one came at him. He could have been reasonable in thinking the other was seeking a weapon, a firearm.

    The first problem is saying it doesn’t matter that these two were caught red handed after a crime, but not escaped from the scene.

    The second is condemning Horn because he violated your ideas of law and order.

    The third problem is that when you act under the EXISTING law, that you still get indicted and have to pay lawyers huge fees to defend your not breaking a law.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  92. 93, JayHub,

    I also have a problem with a bunch of people who have to lawyer a situation to death because they don’t understand basic right and wrong.

    It is wrong to steal, PERIOD.

    It is everyone’s duty to stop a thief if they are able.

    Now, you saying they only faced imprisonment. With your thinking, you couldn’t shoot a rapist in the act unless you could prove in your kangaroo court that the rapist was killing the victim.

    Let’s take this scenario a step farther. Do you know if the rapist has AIDS or not? Could the rape actually be murder if the rapist was intentionally trying to infect the victim with AIDS? Would you quibble about the rapist’s intent if the rapist did have AIDS?

    PCD (09d6a8)

  93. PCD 95 – “It is wrong to steal, PERIOD. It is everyone’s duty to stop a thief if they are able.”

    I agree completely. The question, however, is if you can use deadly force to arrest them (stop their flight). The answer in the US and all civilized countries I’m aware of is NO. It’s not some sort of lawyer’s trick.

    Rape is, of course, a different question because injury to another is involved, and I have no harm using deadly force to protect another from death or serious bodily harm. But, even then, if you had stopped the rapist with the threat of a gun, but he then started to run away, you could not shoot him to arrest him.

    Now, if your position is that we should go back to the way things were 300 years ago in Britain (where children were routinely hanged for robbery), you have a right to it, but I think it’s barbaric.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  94. 96, Again, did you allow a person who killed another by transmitting AIDS to another to escape?

    PCD (09d6a8)

  95. PCD, the difference we seem to be circling around is between deadly force being used to PREVENT a crime, which is allowed when the crime may cause death or serious injury to yourself or another, or the use of deadly force to prevent an ESCAPE, which is not allowed and should not be unless there remains a risk of harm.

    Consider Colorado Springs. Case 1: Someone breaks into the church and steals something. When confronted, told to get on the ground, he runs. You shouldn’t shoot him. Case 2: Someone breaks into a church and starts shooting people. Confronted, told to drop the weapon and get on the ground, he runs. You should shoot him because he is still an immediate danger to others.

    Deadly force should be used only to prevent death or serious injury, or the imminent threat of death or serious injury. It should not be used simply to prevent escape.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  96. JayHub –

    In your #98, you said”

    “… the use of deadly force to prevent an ESCAPE, which is not allowed ….”

    Have you read Texas statutes 9.41, 9.42, 9.43? They sure read to me as allowing deadly force to prevent an escape with loot.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  97. Jim2 – This was a “Forest” discussion with PCD, not one of specific Texas law. PCD’s point is, I think, that it should be OK to shoot a fleeing thief who is not a violent threat, that’s your civic duty. I don’t agree. Texas law may allow Horn to shoot these two men in this situation. I think it’s immoral, legal or not.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  98. JayHub –

    Fair enough!


    jim2 (6482d8)

  99. Although Horn may have tried to do the right thing, he did it the wrong way and should be held accountable for his actions.
    Joe Horn did not act in self-defense because there is no evidence the two men attempted to use deadly force against him. However, evidence indicating that the burglars approached him in a physically threatening manner, given his age, physical condition and because they had just burglarized his neighbor’s home, may allow for an arguable defense.
    However, Joe Horn did not have an explicit right to protect his neighbor’s property from DeJesus and Ortiz unless he had been specifically requested to do so by the neighbor.
    Assuming a right to protect his neighbor’s property existed, Joe Horn did not have a right to use “deadly force” against DeJesus and Ortiz to protect that property because he had been instructed by the 911 operator that the police were enroute to the scene to handle the matter.
    While Joe Horn had a right to make a “citizen’s arrest” of DeJesus and Ortiz, he did not have a right to use “deadly force” to accomplish that arrest because (1) he did not act in the presence or at the direction of a peace officer; (2) he was not making a lawful arrest because he had been instructed by the 911 operator not to do so; (3) he did not announce his intention that he was making such an arrest; and (4) he had a duty (as well as an opportunity) to retreat before using deadly force against the two suspects.

    concerned citizen (bb5e7b)

  100. concerned citizen: See these comments.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  101. So you’ve copied that comment twice now, but again, we don’t see that 911 operator instructions exception in the Texas statute that likely controls.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  102. I’m betting driveby DRJ.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  103. I am seein people who say you must cower in the face of criminals. You must let them go with their loot if they are fleeing. You must be punished if you stop a criminal or defend yourself when you try stopping a criminal.

    To all of you, please post a sign in your front yard saying, “Don’t apprehend criminals looting my home. They have a right to steal unmolested.”

    PCD (09d6a8)

  104. PCD — I’m sympathetic to your feelings, but I would (and actually do; I’m teaching three classes this weekend) advise folks to think of their own self-interest. The risks of ending up in prison for shooting the burglar who is absconding with your stuff are serious; a good criminal lawyer will cost you a lot more than the stuff is worth.

    Nope; I’m not going to put up a sign. I’d love for the burglar to worry about it enough to go on to the next house, but I’ve got decent insurance, and no desire whatsoever to have either of the two good criminal attorneys I know prove how good they are with me as the test subject.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  105. And, as to cower? You betcha. My standard rap in my carry classes as to what I’m going to be doing if I happen to be around for a robbery at the local stop-and-rob is, “I don’t know about you, but if I’ve got any choice in the matter, I’m going to be behind the frozen foods case, crouched down like the coward that I am.”

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  106. Joel, As soon as people start putting criminals either in Jail or in the cemetary, then crime will drop and you’ll see criminal attorneys on the street corners selling pencils from cups they’ve liberated from the district courthouse.

    PCD (09d6a8)

  107. A paradise we can all wish for, PCD, but in the meantime, Joel’s comment is dead on. Believe me that the criminal defense costs and the civil litigation costs, of a good clean self-defense shoot are high enough that you really don’t want to be put in that position of shooting burglars just because they have taken your goods.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  108. I concur in part and dissent in part with Joel. If any criminal is directly threatening you or any other person, you must resist him even if he is armed and armored and all you can do is call him a coward and a shithead and face him with your bare hands and teeth. These punks are usually such punks that 1) they will go on a power trip and escalate the offense to whatever degree they are allowed to if they see weakness and 2) retreat like kicked dogs if you fight back.

    If it is a matter of protecting only property, I agree with Joel. There is no material thing in the whole world worth becoming a killer for.

    I like the way this situation was handled, though.

    nk (26f031)

  109. I think people are getting sick and tired of all of these lazy criminals. It’s bad enough these two lossers were trying to break in somone’s home but in addition to that they were illegally in our country. When is the United States going to wake up, I guess they’ll wake when these illegals finally take over. I think this is absolutely ridiculous and hope that Joe Horn gets to go back to his home in peace and if one of them Mexicians come back for revenge that Joe does the same to them.

    eg (4a92b4)

  110. Joel, that’s not cowering. That’s “finding concealment and cover”. Cowering would be kneeling in front of the freezer with your paws uplifted, whining that this wasn’t happening to you.

    htom (412a17)

  111. Joel, the possibility exists for a civil trial, but not for a criminal trial. Texas grand juries are instructed by the judge as to the law, and they only indict if they believe the evidence does not support self/property-defense.

    NK, if you believe that property isn’t worth defending, then don’t defend it. The rest of us will retain our right to do so. To hell with the criminal who forces a decision between killing him or surrendering our rights, by refusing to surrender stolen property when confronted.

    Sean (acbde7)

  112. Some of the postings here sound like what the kid in Colorado Springs wrote:

    “I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth, and I WILL shoot to kill. … My belief is that if I say something, it goes. I am the law. If you don’t like it, you die. If I don’t like you or I don’t like what you want me to do, then you die.”

    JayHub (0a6237)

  113. I must have missed those posts, JayHub.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  114. Sean: I’m reminded of an old joke.

    Lawyer: Don’t worry; they can’t put you in jail for that.

    Client: But, counselor, I’m calling from jail.

    Based on what I’ve heard, were I appointed King of Texas (not entirely likely, all in all) Mr. Horn wouldn’t be in danger of a Court Officer showing up to haul him off to the Tower of Austin (if I’m a King, I get a Tower; fair’s fair), but I am reminded of the other old saw about prosecutors and ham sandwiches (with all due respect to our host), and I’m by no means sure that Mr. Horn will escape indictment.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  115. You can never be sure, but the way you described it, it was a forgone conclusion that Horn would get indicted. It’s much more likely that he will not.

    Sean (acbde7)

  116. Joel, I must have missed those posts, JayHub.

    Exagerating to make a point, but I do have a real problem with folks who seem to think it is OK to shoot anyone who is a criminal, illegal, or loser. What part of the rule of law, decency and democracy don’t they understand?

    JayHub (0a6237)

  117. We follow the democratically established rule of law in Texas, JayHub. It sounds like your real quibble is that our version doesn’t seem decent or moral to you.

    DRJ (09f144)

  118. Sean — apologies for being unclear, then; I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion, either way. I’d put it at about 60-40 against.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  119. Yes, DRJ, that’s exactly right. My position, Texas law notwithstanding, is that we have two polar examples of armed citizen action here. Jeanne Assam, who put herself in harms way to protect others and should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Joel Horn, who became a law unto himself, acting as judge, jury and executioner, and should be tried for murder. I am completely opposed to those who support Horn’s actions, and think there are far more similarities between his mindset and Matt Murray’s, than his and Jeanne Assam’s. He should be ostracized, not lionized.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  120. JayHub — I dunno. I’ve been burglarized (well, actually, it was technically a robbery, what with one of the guys downstairs having a shotgun and the one in the bedroom having decided to cop a cheap feel on/off my wife before getting to more interesting things — which he didn’t; my announced intention to kill him persuaded him to leave, which is just as well for all concerned), and it’s a pretty severe violation. We never really felt safe in our home after that.

    While I think I’ve been clear about not advocating killing people over property, I think you’re implicitly understating the violation that intrusion into one’s home to stealing stuff is.

    Me, I’m not looking to give Joe Horn a medal, but I’m not looking to condemn the guy, either. YMMV, but, then again, so can others’.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  121. Joel, can’t agree as to Horn. I’ve been burglarized too (though I was asleep), and I agree you feel violated and unsafe in your home for a long time after. I don’t underestimate that and have no problem with the standard “castle” situation you describe, and no problem with your using a gun in that situation, to defend yourself or your wife, if necessary.

    But that’s nothing like Joel Horn. I see no justification for what he did, going against the explicit advice of law enforcement, charging outside and shooting two unarmed men, who were running away, in the back. You train people in self defense and sound like you do it very responsibly and well. I’m sure Mr. Horn didn’t take one of your classes.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  122. Jay, you’re the one missing the point about democracy, decency, and the rule of law.

    Democracy, because our rights come from God, not from government, and they are inalienable. Majority rule does not justify taking away our inalienable rights – in this case, the right to defend our property.

    Decency, because it is indecent to claim that one must surrender his rights whenever someone else who would take them by force, forces the victim to choose between surrender and killing.

    The rule of law, because you say that someone who clearly was within his legal rights “should be tried for murder”.

    Murray decided he could kill people he didn’t like. Horn killed two people who were taking away by force that which was rightfully someone else’s, and because they left him no other way to stop them.

    Sean (acbde7)

  123. going against the explicit advice of law enforcement

    Wrong. It was a 9-1-1 operator. Not a law enforcement officer.

    charging outside and shooting two unarmed men, who were running away, in the back

    charging outside and shooting two unarmed criminals attempting to flee capture who were running into his yard, in the back. Fixed that for you.

    JD (2c9284)

  124. Jay Hub – Democracy, decency, and the rule of law are not defined by What Would Jay Hub Do?

    JD (2c9284)

  125. joel – are you a Concealed Handgun instructor in texas?

    I do believe that Joe horn was within his rights according to the law.

    joe (596a02)

  126. Christoph… #25

    The undercover said the guy lunged. It wasn’t a lie. You appear to have an agenda. Are you Liberal?

    Roland (d85117)

  127. I’m not a liberal, at least not in law and order and use of force issues. I saw that report later. Read the other threads on this issue and my updated position.

    Summary version: That kills the prosecution. I still think Joe Horn had announced he was going to kill before he left his home anyway. But if the undercover officer testifies as such, I don’t see much room for the prosecution to gain a successful indictment and conviction.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  128. JayHub…

    1. It doesn’t matter if you see [feel] justification. You can read the law just like the rest of us.
    2. There was no law enforcement advise. 911 Operators are not law enforcement. Please educate yourself.
    3. “charging outside and shooting two unarmed men” Are you a reporter for the AP? He went outside to see where they were and found them heading towards him in his yard. He ordered them to stop “Move… you’re dead.” One lunged at him, and apparently didn’t get a good enough jump, he [Joe] fired.
    4. Not running away, escaping, leaving the scene of a crime, resisting arrest with stolen property that belonged to Joe’s neighbor.
    5. “in the back” In the neck and torso on one and in the torso on another.

    Actually, all of this is inmaterial and irrelevant to the case. The part of the law that gives him this right is what he believed was happening and what would happen if he did not act.

    The perps would still be alive today, if:

    1. They didn’t B&E houses to burglarize them.
    2. They weren’t career criminals.
    3. They weren’t drug dealers.
    4. They didn’t break into this country, more than once.
    5. They stopped when ordered to.

    The questions for me are, why didn’t the plains clothes officer identify himself and would the perps have acted the same had he done so?

    He either was too scared, as he ducked [his words] at one point not wanting Joe to think he was the getaway driver or he didn’t want to give the perps an advantage on Joe by startling him and taking away his attention from the confrontation.

    If it took more than 7 minutes to get to the scene, the officers were not in the area, or even close. The dispatcher could have told him, “Plains clothes officers are pulling up right now. You don’t have to go outside.” He gave Joe no assurance. Don’t go outside and oh, can you see what’s happening? Law enforcement and the uneducated people they hire as 911 operators need to get in sync.

    The call for help needs reassurance when and where the cops will be and what to expect. That didn’t happen here.

    Roland (d85117)

  129. Christoph…

    #127 – I agree but he still may be indicted. I don’t see a conviction in his future but Harris County has a lot of people we’d just soon not have here. If it does actually go to trial, the jury will be key. He will need at least one Conservative on the jury. If the makeup of the jury came from Pasadena, they wouldn’t even go to trial.

    Law enforcement said they were handing it over to a Harris County grand jury but were not making any recommendations, which is unusual. They would normally make a recommendation in a case like this. Not sure how to read it.

    Congratulations on not being Liberal.

    Roland (d85117)

  130. I think Horn left his home intent on killing the men and this was wrong. However, apparently the men ran past him according to that undercover officer giving him some reason, supposedly, to fear for his life.

    In any event, if I hear that testimony and I’m on the jury, that’s going to create reasonable doubt.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  131. “He went outside to see where they were…”

    He said he was going to kill them and, by golly, he did.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  132. Christoph, however that does not establish the logical link between the two.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  133. Christoph… you sound angry. How come?

    Roland (d85117)

  134. Well, it now over 2 months & Joe Horn is still a free man. So much for the yahoos that had trouble interpreting the simple language of Texas law…..

    Hound Dog (9531b2)

  135. I think there is a lot more to this than a simple robbery. That was a big house with a lot of places to stash $2000. It could take hours or days to search all the drawers, nooks and crannies in the place.

    The victims were said to be immigrants and the cop didn’t raise a hand to stop the killing.

    Possibly a drug deal?

    Monte Haun

    Monte Haun (016bd6)

  136. GOD Bless Joe Horn!

    If he had called the police they would have NEVER gotten there in time, the illegals would have been lost due to the fact that the don’t have any legal ID!

    Joe Horn is an American Hero. If his policy were enacted everywhere, we wouldn’t have burgleries!!

    KUDOS to Joe Horn and GOD Bless you!

    Legal Citizen (408a33)

  137. “THOU SHALT NOT STEAL” They were breaking two laws and maybe more, they got what was comming to them. Don’t break the law and you won’t get shot. Don’t come to America Illegally, or someone will shoot you. It’s a great message to all criminals. The legal system is TOO soft on criminals and TOO hard on the legal taxpaying system. It’s totally backwards. We should be throwing Joe Horn a party for making our neighborhoods safer, that is if these illegals and other criminals can read about what happen to those slime bags

    Legal Citizen (408a33)

  138. Don’t come to America Illegally, or someone will shoot you.

    Sorry, but illegal immigration is not and should not be a capital offense — and if it were, you’d have to have a trial, not summary executions.

    I’m not saying that’s what Horn did, but that’s what your language seems to suggest should happen.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  139. Well, it now over 5 months & Joe Horn is still a free man. And our laws remain intact.

    Hound Dog (4c05e5)

  140. Can anyone provide a link to the case referenced in comment #18? I have tried to Google keywords with no results.

    The mere fact that Joe Horn is still a free man is a testament that there’s a huge disparity in how justice is metted.

    Rudy (2f7ea6)

  141. the two dubass’s wouldnt have been shot if they got a job insyead if robing some hardworking persons home. dont matter if their black white or what have you. they screded up.

    brian (a6c99c)

  142. I haven’t read all the comments here, but I’ve read enough to make me ill.

    If we had a whole lot more Joe Horns in this country, we’d have a lot less murder, rape, abductions, gangbangs, beatdowns, mayhem and chaos.

    Some felons, illegal aliens with multiple identifications to boot, finally met somebody who wouldn’t put up with it anymore.

    What many of you don’t realize is that these thieving thugs who are wreaking havoc over the American populace run like the cockroaches they are when they learn that the odds of them choosing the wrong victim are increasing. If every last one of them was shot at dawn tomorrow this would be a much better country.

    And please don’t give me the fallacious lecture about how people with guns might make a mistake. First of all, there are plenty of criminals to go around. But most importantly, the “mistakes” are made by the judges, the cops, the legislators, the bureaucrats and functionaries who are paid to protect our borders and our cities that are overrun by these vermin.

    Oh, and if you don’t like guns, I’d be happy to horsewhip every last one of them until they’re nothing more than a gelatinous mass of quivering nerve endings.

    NoPlaceToHide (9bb821)

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