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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is all over the news. Here is one of many articles:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gP3OsajRB6BM1On6y5d66X8hodrwD91KJA7G1

:fudd:

Texas man cleared in shooting of possible burglars

By JUAN A. LOZANO â€" 2 hours ago

HOUSTON (AP) â€" A Texas man who shot and killed two men he suspected of burglarizing his neighbor's home cleared in the shootings Monday by a grand jury.

Joe Horn, 61, shot the two men in November after he saw them crawling out the windows of a neighbor's house in the Houston suburb of Pasadena.

Horn called 911 and told the dispatcher he had a shotgun and was going to kill the men. The dispatcher pleaded with him not to go outside, but Horn confronted the men with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot both in the back.

"The message we're trying to send today is the criminal justice system works," Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson said.

Horn's attorney, Tom Lambright, has said his client believed the two men had broken into his neighbor's home and that he shot them only when they came into his yard and threatened him.

The suspected burglars, Hernando Riascos Torres, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, were unemployed illegal immigrants from Colombia. Torres was deported to Colombia in 1999 after a 1994 cocaine-related conviction.

The episode touched off protests from civil rights activists who said the shooting was racially motivated and that Horn took the law into his own hands. Horn's supporters defended his actions, saying he was protecting himself and being a good neighbor to a homeowner who was out of town.

"I understand the concerns of some in the community regarding Mr. Horn's conduct," Magidson said. "The use of deadly force is carefully limited in Texas law to certain circumstances ... In this case, however, the grand jury concluded that Mr. Horn's use of deadly force did not rise to a criminal offense."

Lambright did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if it is reasonable to believe they are in mortal danger. In limited circumstances, people also can use deadly force to protect a neighbor's property; for example, if a homeowner asks a neighbor to watch over his property while he's out of town.

It's not clear whether the neighbor whose home was burglarized asked Horn to watch over his house.
I know this would never fly in Utah! You can't shoot people in the back and claim self defense.
 

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Retire Early said:
I know this would never fly in Utah! You can't shoot people in the back and claim self defense.
Too bad. (Not the overall story, but this one statement.)
 

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I have mixed feelings about this. The only thing that justifies it in my mind is that the bad guys were scumbags.

You still wouldn't catch me shooting someone in the back.
 

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Where are you getting that he shot them in the back? From what I have read, they came onto his property, he went outside and they threatened him, then he fired. If you are sure he shot them in the back, please provide a link to support that.
 

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PW said:
Retire Early said:
I know this would never fly in Utah! You can't shoot people in the back and claim self defense.
Too bad. (Not the overall story, but this one statement.)
I agree it is too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Where are you getting that he shot them in the back? From what I have read, they came onto his property, he went outside and they threatened him, then he fired. If you are sure he shot them in the back, please provide a link to support that.
From the AP article posted above:

Horn called 911 and told the dispatcher he had a shotgun and was going to kill the men. The dispatcher pleaded with him not to go outside, but Horn confronted the men with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot both in the back.
If you want to hear the audio recording of the whole incident, you can hear it at:

http://www.alphapatriot.com/home/archives/2007/11/27/911_recording_from_joe_horn.php

I too have mixed feelings about this. I don't understand how the Supreme Court can't use the death penalty on convicted child rapists, but Texas lets Joe Horn walk free.
 

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That does sound like UNEQUAL justice.

Let's not forget, though, that news articles almost always miss some critical element of a story which can completely change it.
Just b/c we have an audio recording of his 911, that does not relay all of the facts which led up to his "in the back" shooting. I am not arguing that shooting them in the back, carte-blanche, should be defensible -- just that we may not be getting the whole scoop which might include facts which might persuade us to see things Joe's way (or not). The news typically sucks.
 

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Based on the article, I think that Horn went too far, and I think he should have been prosecuted.

I'm all for laws that protect people who are defending themselves or others, but Texas goes too far. In Texas, you can shoot people for stealing your stuff or, apparently, your neighbor's stuff. I know some people think that property is worth taking a life. I don't. IMO, deadly force should be reserved for protecting people, not things.

I like Utah's laws in this area. You're allowed to use force to defend property, but not deadly force. And about the only time shooting someone in the back would be legally justifiable in Utah is if it were the only way to protect someone or stop a forcible felony, or if it were in your home. That's also as it should be.
 

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swillden said:
Based on the article, I think that Horn went too far, and I think he should have been prosecuted.

I'm all for laws that protect people who are defending themselves or others, but Texas goes too far. In Texas, you can shoot people for stealing your stuff or, apparently, your neighbor's stuff. I know some people think that property is worth taking a life. I don't. IMO, deadly force should be reserved for protecting people, not things.

I like Utah's laws in this area. You're allowed to use force to defend property, but not deadly force. And about the only time shooting someone in the back would be legally justifiable in Utah is if it were the only way to protect someone or stop a forcible felony, or if it were in your home. That's also as it should be.
:agree:

That's my exact take on the way things SHOULD be as well. If someone is stealing my stuff, I can intervene with my body. If they then attack my body, I can shoot to defend my body. Sounds fair enough to me.
 

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I also think it went too far. At least according to the information we get. I personally like the idea of protecting property with deadly force. I know it sounds extreme, but I know I would think tice about stealing something if I knew I could possibly be shot for something. While legally right, it seems so morally wrong to shoot someone in the back. My only reasoning for it was the two men turned out to be violent offenders. He didnt know that at the time, so it wasnt crossing his mind.
 

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From what I know of the story, Joe Horn did the right thing considering who he was and the circumstances he was in. Would I do what he did? Probably not! I've read that there was an undercover cop that witnessed the entire exchange, that the burglars moved towards Joe in a threatening manner when he confronted them, etc. etc. I've also read about how the deceased were "good family men, shot in the back" according to local sympathizing liberal media, when in fact they were nothing more than illegal immigrants with rap sheets longer than a really long thing. A local race activist came to protest Joe's actions in his neighborhood and was met with a staunch counterinsurgency of Joe Horn supporters. Joe Horn was under scrutiny by a grand jury, but they decided not to indict, and thank goodness! Long live Joe Horn, and the Castle Doctrine!

Now, was he in the right? I guess that all depends. The fact that the grand jury declined to indict him leads me to believe that he did not break the law. Did he break some social norms? Definitely. These crooks had apparently been casing the neighborhood and hitting several houses while the occupants were away at work or on vacation, as was the case with Joe's neighbors. Another reason that I believe that Joe Horn probably did the right thing was the level of support he received from his own neighborhood. Americans are angry: over illegal immigration, over the violation of our constitution, over many things, and unless things get better, more people will start to "take the law into their own hands".

Now, if I was in his situation, I don't think I would get involved. 1) I'm not too keen on shooting people, unless of course it is absolutely necessary, and 2) I'm not sure that people deserve to die for stealing consumer goods. If I had a video camera or something that I could use to record the incident, maybe, but even then, I wouldn't mind having a gun around in case the perps decided they wanted to mess with me as well, and if they did, well, that's where things would get interesting. Maybe Joe Horn really left his house with the intent to kill, and when the situation demanded it, he pulled the trigger. Multiple times. That the deceased escalated the situation is pretty dumb, considering the fact that they had a big-bore weapon pointed in their direction. Oh, and getting shot in the back, well, remember that the mainstream liberal media is writing and emphasizing that fact. These are the same people that defend cop killers, child rapists, and their ilk.

I remember a story (I don't remember where) about some older guy that was having problems with teenagers breaking into his trailer, so he set up a shotgun trap at his door. The next time the kids broke in, on of them got his lower legs blown off and he bled to death on the guy's porch. That guy is now in jail, but I don't think he's in Texas. Interesting how all these moral ramifications just go away if the initial crimes are never committed...

--Geoff
 

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In part, on some level, I agree -- not totally, but partially.

Years ago I kept suffering repeated attempts to break into my car -- it was just a crappy Geo but I had a decent stereo and speakers and a wallet of CD's and I lived back them in spotty apartments. Every time they tried it was by using a screwdriver to try and pry the locks out and it always failed but boogered up yet another lock (3 total). Finally they got in by deciding to out-right bash in the window. They broke the deck before realizing the face-plate wasn't in the car so stealing the deck was worthless, they put bit slices in my dash, and they got away with my sub and CD's.

As the officer was there making is report I asked what prevented me from rigging some sort of booby-trap for future instances of this. I was dismayed to find out it's pretty illegal and will land you in jail. Apparently some guy did this by welding fish-hooks under his dash and the thief got hung up on them all not long... yes, the thief was injured and was caught, but the owner went to jail.

Now *THAT* I just don't get... deadly force was not employed and it was clear what the thief was doing. :disgusted:
 

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swillden said:
Based on the article, I think that Horn went too far, and I think he should have been prosecuted.
:agree:
He should have just been a good witness. Based on what he did, I think he should be in jail. (I realize there may be other facts that I'm not aware of.)
 

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GeneticsDave said:
Where are you getting that he shot them in the back? From what I have read, they came onto his property, he went outside and they threatened him, then he fired. If you are sure he shot them in the back, please provide a link to support that.
Huh? :huh:

Read the article that was posted above, it says that they were shot in the back.
 

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Weird, the original articles I read didn't say anything about shooting them in the back... perhaps this is updated, sorry for the confusion, my bad.
 

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I read that there was a plain clothes cop in a car watching the whole thing go down. He was waiting for back up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_s ... ontroversy

A plain clothes police detective responding to the 911 call had arrived at the scene before the shooting and witnessed the escalation and shootings, while remaining in his car.[3] His report on the incident indicated that the men who were killed "received gunfire from the rear".[1] Police Capt. A.H. Corbett stated the two men ignored Mr. Horn's order to freeze and one of the suspects ran towards Joe Horn before he angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back. Pasadena police confirmed that the two men were shot after they ventured into his front yard.
 

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Ty said:
I read that there was a plain clothes cop in a car watching the whole thing go down. He was waiting for back up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_s ... ontroversy

A plain clothes police detective responding to the 911 call had arrived at the scene before the shooting and witnessed the escalation and shootings, while remaining in his car.[3] His report on the incident indicated that the men who were killed "received gunfire from the rear".[1] Police Capt. A.H. Corbett stated the two men ignored Mr. Horn's order to freeze and one of the suspects ran towards Joe Horn before he angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back. Pasadena police confirmed that the two men were shot after they ventured into his front yard.
From everything I have read and heard I am glad he was not charged. While not the smartest move on his part (should have just stayed inside) it was better than being injured or killed himself. From the reports I read only ONE of them was shot in the back, but I wasn't there so who knows :dunno:
 
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