Texas Grand Jury Declines to Indict Pot Grower Who Shot and Killed a Cop During an Early-Morning Raid

week a Texas grand jury
to indict a marijuana grower for shooting and killing
a sheriff’s deputy who burst into his home in the early morning to
execute a search warrant. Henry Goedrich Magee, who was indicted on
drug and weapon charges (the latter only because he was growing
marijuana), said he believed Burleson County Sgt. Adam Sowders was
a burglar. “This was a terrible tragedy that a deputy sheriff was
killed, but Hank Magee believed that he and his pregnant girlfriend
were being robbed,” Magee’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, told A.P. “He
did what a lot of people would have done. He defended himself and
his girlfriend and his home.”

DeGuerin, a well-known defense attorney who has been practicing
for half a century, said “he could not immediately remember another
example of a Texas grand jury declining to indict a defendant in
the death of a law enforcement officer.” That sort of outcome is
rare not just in Texas but throughout the country, since people who
shoot cops invading their homes usually do not get the same benefit
of the doubt as cops do when the roles are reversed. (Just ask
.) This double standard is reflected in the reaction from
the local district attorney:

Julie Renken, the district attorney for Burleson County, said in
a statement Thursday she thought the sheriff’s office acted
correctly during events that “occurred in a matter of seconds
amongst chaos.”

“I believe the evidence also shows that an announcement was
made,” Renken said. “However, there is not enough evidence that Mr.
Magee knew that day that Peace Officers were entering his

If there was not enough evidence that Magee knew Sowders was a
cop rather than an armed robber, why did Renken try to indict Magee
for capital murder? It was the police, not Magee, who created the
“chaos” in which Sowders was killed. His death is doubly senseless:
because violence is not an appropriate response to cultivation of
an arbitrarily proscribed plant and because, even if we take pot
prohibition as a given, there is no need to enforce it by breaking
down people’s doors while they are sleeping, a tactic that
inevitably results in tragedies like this one.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1l7IJOQ

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