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Texas Penal Code Section 36.06:
OBSTRUCTION OR RETALIATION. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act:
(1) in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of another as a:
(A) public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant; or
(B) person who has reported or who the actor knows intends to report the occurrence of a crime; or
. . . .
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree unless the victim of the offense was harmed or threatened because of the victim’s service or status as a juror, in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.
Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(25):
“Harm” means anything reasonably regarded as loss, disadvantage, or injury, including harm to another person in whose welfare the person affected is interested.
Harm may includes reputational harm or embarrassment. So it’s a felony to embarrass a public servant (including an elected official) on account of his service or status as a public servant.
I don’t know that anyone has ever been prosecuted (explicitly) for embarrassing an elected official in Texas, but the statute allows it, so the statute is unconstitutional.
Does it really allow it? It doesn’t forbid it, and I don’t see how you read harm to exclude embarrassment and reputational harm. But just in case you do, Democratic Texas House Member Chris Turner of Tarrant County has a solution: House Bill 1061, which would add a fourth subsection to Section 36.06:
(4) “Harm” includes:
(A) financial harm, including harm to a person’s financial status or a person’s credit report or score;
(B) harm to a person’s reputation;
(C) harm caused by intentionally disseminating or using a person’s personal, private, or confidential information;
(D) harm caused by invading the privacy of a person.
That is Chris Turner. Chris Turner is a mouthbreathing dimwit who wouldn’t know the First Amendment if his favorite hand puppet read it to him slowly in very small words.
Fortunately, Turner was Wendy Davis’s campaign manager, so his bill has zero chance of success. Unfortunately, his bill is superfluous anyway: the statute makes embarrassing him a felony. And, so that I am clear enough that even the slackjawed moron Mr. Turner gets it, that is exactly what I am doing.
I write this blog post with the intent to harm Chris Turner’s reputation on account of his status as a public servant. Come and get me.Copyright © 2013 Houston criminal-defense lawyer Mark Bennett. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, the page you are viewing infringes the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint: 9fddc86334d71f22cfdb4b70fe23bb0e (188.8.131.52) .)
Keith is friends with Jeena, and saw no reason to attack her post too strongly and turn a friend into an enemy. So in concluding, he threw her a bone with some praise. Of course, it contradicts his point, renders his post pointless and is facial nonsense. Jeena didn’t remind anyone to structure behaviors so as not to do a disservice towards clients, but to not be a jerk because that’s not how she wants to be personally and therefore believes it to be intrinsically better.
“Jerk” is never used as a word of praise. Why? Because not being a jerk is intrinsically better than being a jerk. The world would be a better place if nobody was a jerk. Not being a jerk makes the lives of those around you easier, it lowers your blood pressure, and it satisfies the categorical imperative.
The point that I think Scott is trying to make is that we lawyers are not allowed to choose to do the things that make us feel better—things like making the lives of those around us easier, lowering our blood pressure, and satisfying the categorical imperative—over the client’s interests. If that’s Scott’s point, it’s a very good point, and one that bears making over and over.
What matters to the client is winning. We are not hired to be nice. If the client wants to put “be nice” above “win” in his list of priorities, that’s his choice and not the lawyer’s. If you’re not prepared to do unpleasant things when it is required for the good of the client, don’t get into the profession. If not for clients, attorneys wouldn’t even exist.
But by making the patently false claim that not being a jerk is not intrinsically superior to being a jerk, Greenfield loses the plot. It isn’t that one way of being is not intrinsically superior to another; it’s that sometimes we have to do the things that are intrinsically inferior—to spit on our hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats—for the good of the client.Copyright © 2013 Houston criminal-defense lawyer Mark Bennett. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, the page you are viewing infringes the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint: 9fddc86334d71f22cfdb4b70fe23bb0e (184.108.40.206) .)
Today the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association held a ceremony in honor all of the local criminal-defense lawyers who have died. There are 125 names on the list; I’m sure we’re forgetting some, but we only started keeping track in 2008 (it was Robb Fickman’s idea, during his presidency). Most of us will never find more than fleeting fame; the purpose of the ceremony is to remember those who have fought the good fight, and might otherwise be forgotten.
We invited Harris County’s thirty-seven criminal court judges to the ceremony. Three attended:
- The Honorable Brad Hart, Judge of the 230th District Court;
- The Honorable Ryan Patrick, Judge of the 177th District Court; and
- The Honorable Kristin Guiney, Judge of the 179th District Court.
The Honorable Marc Carter, Justice of the First Court of Appeals, also attend us to show respect for our fallen comrades.
The following did not deign to attend:
- Paula Goodhart;
- Bill Harmon;
- Natalie C. Fleming;
- John Clinton;
- Margaret Harris;
- Larry Standley;
- Pam Derbyshire;
- Jay Karahan;
- Analia Wilkerson;
- Dan Spjut;
- Diane Bull;
- Robin Brown;
- Don Smyth;
- Mike Fields;
- Jean Hughes;
- Ruben Guerrero;
- Michael McSpadden;
- Stacey W. Bond;
- Judge Marc Carter;
- David Mendoza;
- Mary Lou Keel;
- Katherine Cabaniss;
- Catherine Evans;
- Denise Bradley;
- Jeannine Barr;
- Jim Wallace;
- Vanessa Velasquez;
- Renee Magee;
- Jan Krocker;
- Brock Thomas;
- Susan Brown;
- Maria T. Jackson;
- Denise Collin; and
- Mark Kent Ellis.
I’m sure that every one of them has a Very Important Reason for failing to post, even though they were invited a month ago and reminded at least twice since then. I doubt that any of them (except maybe Billy Harmon) would admit that the Very Important Reason is that they can’t be bothered to feign respect for our fallen brethren, and by extension to us. It is not, after all, election season, so there’s no point in pretending to respect the role of the defense or those who fulfill it.
If we had the ceremony in the summer or fall of an even year, the judicial turnout would be much higher. That’s okay: “higher” is not “better.” This way we find out who are friends really are.
Today’s ceremony was about remembrance, and I promise that in the summer and fall of even years to come, when those listed above are seeking campaign contributions, endorsements, votes, and support, the defense bar will remember.Copyright © 2013 Houston criminal-defense lawyer Mark Bennett. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, the page you are viewing infringes the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint: 9fddc86334d71f22cfdb4b70fe23bb0e (220.127.116.11) .)