>je...@franklin.com (Jesse Perry) writes:
>> I recently heard an urban legend to the effect that in Texas, a
>> valid legal defense against a charge of first degree murder is
>> to claim, "Your Honor, he needed killing." Is this true?
>> And if it is true, just what are the accepted legal standards for
>> convincing the court that your victim really did "need killing" ?
>There is absolutely no truth to this "urban legend". About the only
>defense, as in most states, is "self defense" or defending the life of
>another. Texas does, however, allow you to confront and use "deadly
>force" on an intruder in your home at night, unlike some states that
>require you to try to escape.
Texas does have some interesting defenses that are "unwritten" --
like you can kill someone if they are diddling your wife. One famous
case in my hometown concerned the Red Adair of his time, Tex Thorton.
He was seduced by/seducing the female half of a hitch-hiking pair, and
shot by/robbed by her husband. The pair got acquitted. The case was
fictionalized in a book/movie called "Twilight of Honor." Another
man in my hometown tried the same defense later, but the jury seemed
unconvinced that his stout matron of a wife was a literal femme fatale.
> I recently heard an urban legend to the effect that in Texas, a
> valid legal defense against a charge of first degree murder is
> to claim, "Your Honor, he needed killing." Is this true?
> And if it is true, just what are the accepted legal standards for
> convincing the court that your victim really did "need killing" ?
There is absolutely no truth to this "urban legend". About the only
defense, as in most states, is "self defense" or defending the life of
another. Texas does, however, allow you to confront and use "deadly
force" on an intruder in your home at night, unlike some states that
require you to try to escape.
Gene Kennedy - Ham Radio Operator, N5ABI -
ObUL: Factoid: Witches were burned in Salem, MA.
Truth: They were hung.
No, they were hanged.
scott "choke, choke" cranston
+---------^> "The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America"
| < -Massachusetts Division of Tourism
+-.-----. \ 7 "Right..."
Judge Jack Hampton, here in Dallas, Texas, about 2 years ago, gave
a comparatively light sentence to a young high school dropout who
had gone out for a fun evening of gay-bashing and killed two men.
Reportedly one was shot at close range as he knelt and begged for his
life. Hampton was quoted by the local press as saying that "some
victims deserve what they get", that he considered it mitigating
circumstances that the victims were "queers", and that one of the
victims was HIV positive, so his death didn't really count.
I paraphrase here, because I don't have the clippings from the Dallas
Morning Snooze at hand to quote accurately, but I don't think I
am seriously misrepresenting the spirit of his remarks.
I also believe that Judge Hampton was recently re-elected unopposed.
Urban legend? Nah, this is urban reality in Dallas, Texas...
Sorry, not even an ObUL to lighten up this posting, either... Anyone
suppose Judge Hampton would explode like a sea gull if we fed him
lots of Alka-Seltzer?
Paul Fowler | "If a war of races should occur between
dpr...@arco.com | the wild beasts and Lord Man, I would
ARCO Oil and Gas | be tempted to sympathize with the bears."
Plano, TX | - John Muir
Depends on whether the "They" refers to the witches or the jury.
Rob Stampfli, 614-864-9377, r...@kd8wk.uucp (osu-cis!kd8wk!res), kd...@n8jyv.oh
Umm, the witches were hanged, the warlocks were hung. *hee*
Actually, a number of 'witches' died in prison, and one
'warlock' was crushed to death under heavy stones. He
was being interrogated through the simple means of piling
stones on him until he confessed. His last words were
(supposedly): "More weight!"
--John "he had warlocks, I'll give him that much" Wichers
Her eyes were cold and || John Wichers || wic...@husc4.harvard.edu
harsh, which made them || 121 Museum St #2, Somerville Ma. 02143
tough to chew. - Danno || Anarchy - It's not a law, it's just a good idea.
|| Jesus saves sinners ... and redeems them for valuable cash prizes!!! ||
Actually, that wasn't to get him to confess (though they probably wouldn't
have minded him doing that); that was to get him to enter a plea. He
refused to plead either guilty, not guilty, or anything else, and the
trial couldn't legally start without him doing so. The bit about piling
on stones was actually a recognized means of forcing a plea out of the
accused, under the English law at the time.
Also, I think the Salem-folk called both males and females "witches".
John (couldn't they just have weighed him against a duck?) Ockerbloom
j...@crl.labs.tek.com ocker...@cs.cmu.edu (forwarded)
oc...@yalecs.bitnet (forwarded) 13461 SW Electric St., Beaverton OR 97005
Eric Rescorla resc...@rtnmr.chem.yale.edu
Yale University Department of Chemistry resc...@psun.chem.yale.edu
"No his mind is not for rent--to any God or government." Peart/Dubois
Is there any truth to the story I heard that you need an actual physical
corpse in Texas (as opposed to corpus delecti)? The story I heard was
that if you pushed your victim into a vat of white hot steel, in front
of 100 witnesses, you couldn't be prosecuted because there was no
> >ObUL: Factoid: Witches were burned in Salem, MA.
> > Truth: They were hung.
> No, they were hanged.
Since I spent most of a summer studying the history of old New England, I feel
you both are right. There were situations when witches were burned at the
stake. There were also a larger percentage that died in the stocks, a
particularly gruesome seating arrangement. |-) Although some female witches
were hung, the practice was largely frowned upon because it exposed their
undergarments, and was considered "unseemly".
dave@kharma (Dave Laird) | (___) | The Computer Concern, Springdale
SYSOP: Used Kharma Lot BBS | (O O) | Washington 509-233-8474 *HST*
_____________________________| (._.) |___________________________________
++ da...@kharma.dogear.spk.wa.us ++
What about the hunter down in Texas who saw a State Trooper killed while
making a traffic stop? He supposedly took his gun and killed the assailant
right on the spot. Not only did he get off scott free but he even got to
stuff and mount the body.:)
> I recently heard an urban legend to the effect that in Texas, a
> valid legal defense against a charge of first degree murder is
> to claim, "Your Honor, he needed killing." Is this true?
Actually, I just found out that this "urban legend" is from the book
"Trial" by Clifford Irving. Although entertaining and well researched
in some areas, he didn't do very well researching Texas law. In about
the first 100 pages or so, I noted at least five mistakes (including
this one) concerning the law. Oh well, it is fiction :-)
We did, however, have a guy in Dallas last summer who witnessed a murder
in the parking lot of a mall up there. This guy "happened" to be taking
his pistol to a nearby gunsmith (Texas Law prohibits the transporting
of firearms unless you are going to/from a range, gunsmith, or the store where
you purchased it [unless of course, you're travelling across at least three
county lines and plan to spend at least 24 hours there... ;-(] and he
took aim and killed the assailant as he fled in his car. (Actually, it took
the guy about three blocks to die...) The guy with the gun then panicked
and drove off. Police had no idea who he was until he
turned himself in 48 hours later.
Frontier Justice, Dallas style...;-)
> Up to the 1960's however, when I was researching strange laws for
> a paper, Texas did have an unusual law:
> If you were being arrested under a warrant that was "false on its face"
> i.e. wrong name, wrong statute cited, you were justified in using deadly
> force to keep your freedom.
> Don't know if this defense was ever used in court. It would take
> a chain of unusual circumstances to make it active.
Texas *Criminal* Laws were totally rewritten in the early 70s
(effective in 1973 I think). Almost nothing of the laws that existed
before this revision remained. The reason for the total revision was
that there were not only many odd laws still on the books but each
offense had it's own punishment assigned with little uniformity to the
ranges of punishment.
One of the strangest laws to survive into the late 60's was one in
Dallas that forbid the driving of cars on Main street, doing so would
scare the horses!
The man (whose name I forget) crushed to death was not crushed
for being a warlock, but for refusing to plead to the charge of witchcraft
(ref: an American book on the Salem witch trials, called something like
Witchcraft in Massachusetts, slightly dated now. Explains the whole
event as mass hysteria, but isn't all that clear about what mass
hysteria *is* precisely. You might say that it replaced one
witchcraft with another, more acceptable form).
Had he pleaded, I believe the crushing would have stopped, and
(presumably) he would have been found guilty and hanged instead. I
understand that this weighting was the conventional way of dealing with
those who refused to plead, although I don't know how common it was
for someone to be quite as obdurate as this.
Whether the 'witchcraft' of Salem was mass hysteria is anyone's guess,
but mass hysteria certainly exists. A few years ago, the marching band at
my high school was performing in some very hot weather. For reasons I am
not aware of, they were dressed in their heavy uniforms. At some point in
the program, a band member passed out from the heat. At that point, they
started dropping like flies. The mind can do some strange things.
The people in Salem who were affected by 'spells' could have been
suffering from a similar phenomonon. Or they may have just been getting
even with people they didn't like.
>Had he pleaded, I believe the crushing would have stopped, and
>(presumably) he would have been found guilty and hanged instead. I
>understand that this weighting was the conventional way of dealing with
>those who refused to plead, although I don't know how common it was
>for someone to be quite as obdurate as this.
I wonder what mental contortions they went through to justify this
Peace and long life,
- Eric L. Sedlacek
I always heard they were pressed to death under heavy stones.
Aside: Here in Virginia Beach, we have a major street named Witchduck Road.
The name comes from a couple of centuries back, when the deep pond at the
end of that road was used for determining whether a woman was or was not
a witch. The accused would be bound (not free, so she could swim) and
thrown in. If she floated, she was a witch. If not, well......condolences
to the family.
Werjun / \ I don't do no drugs, man.
\ / I'm hooked on phonics.
That's JUST the way those WITCHES behave! If he didn't have anything
to hide, then WHY didn't he enter a PLEA?!?!? The WITCHES are
destroying everything around you, and you QUIBBLE over legal
If he wasn't guilty, he should have SAID "not guilty".
Sheesh. <- But that doesn't count as a vote.
Brian "froth, froth" Scearce
Brian Scearce (b...@robin.svl.cdc.com -or- robin!b...@shamash.cdc.com)
I'm thinking about a Silicon Valley WATPUB. Am I the only one here?
Any opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect CDC corporate policy.
I thought the law was only one county line, and the event causing the travel
was non-regular (i.e., I live in Dallas County and work in Collin County, so
I couldn't carry a gun to work with me every day, even if TI allowed me to,
which they don't).
Texas Instruments - Component Test Facility
Disclaimer: I don't speak for Texas Instruments or the Component Test
Facility. I don't even speak for myself.
[Brian Scearce frothing at the mouth again about witches and anything
remotely satanic-related because there was this guy crushed to death
by rocks for not entering a plea to the charge of witchcraft deleted.]
+ If I remember correctly the reason he didn't enter a plea was that
+as long as he didn't say anything they couldn't confiscate his
Well, a lot of good THAT did him.
Terry "Hey, that's why I rent" Chan
INTERNET: twc...@lbl.gov BITNET: twc...@lbl.bitnet
"I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I
generalize, I don't care." -- Dave Barry
>No, they were hanged.
>scott "choke, choke" cranston
Well maybe the warlocks were hung; but then they and the witches were
If I remember correctly the reason he didn't enter a plea was that
as long as he didn't say anything they couldn't confiscate his
In <23...@tamsun.TAMU.EDU> x04...@tamuts.tamu.edu (Sean Malloy) writes:
>We did, however, have a guy in Dallas last summer who witnessed a murder
>in the parking lot of a mall up there. This guy "happened" to be taking
>his pistol to a nearby gunsmith (Texas Law prohibits the transporting
>of firearms unless you are going to/from a range, gunsmith, or the store where
>you purchased it [unless of course, you're travelling across at least three
>county lines and plan to spend at least 24 hours there... ;-(] and he
>took aim and killed the assailant as he fled in his car. (Actually, it took
>the guy about three blocks to die...) The guy with the gun then panicked
>and drove off. Police had no idea who he was until he
>turned himself in 48 hours later.
Heard a similar story which took place in New Mexico, another state
which prides itself on preserving the right to bear arms.
In many states, not located in the bleeding heart northeast, if you
shoot someone who has broken into your house at night, you may not ever
go to trial, and no jury would convict you. In New York city, it would
become a racial incident and Al Sharpton would march on your home.
Anyway, Cops have often advised people off the record, that if they
shoot somebody who is prowling around *outside* your home, that your
best bet is to drag the body inside and put a knife in his hand or
But that's not the story I came here to tell.
Apparently there was an incident of a someone attempting to break into
the house throught the window. The homeowner got his pistol, and
managed to scare away the would-be burglar. The homeowner chased this
person down the street and shot him in the back.
What I heard was that in NM there is some law which states that you can
shoot an escaping felon. Since Breaking and Entering is a felony, the
shooting was legal.
I heard this from my cousin who lives in New Mexico, although I don't
think he researched the facts.
Seems to me, the guy is not a felon until he is convicted in a Jury
trial, otherwise the person firing is judge jury and executioner.
Makes a neat UL though.
> + If I remember correctly the reason he didn't enter a plea was that
> +as long as he didn't say anything they couldn't confiscate his
> Well, a lot of good THAT did him.
It didn't help him so much, but it did allow his family to inherit the
property. It the property had been confiscated, his wife and children would
have ended up with nothing.
| NOTE: No part of this signature may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced
| into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means
| (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior
| written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in
| critical articles and reviews. <mikk...@breakr.enet.dec.com>
| * David Mikkelson Digital Equipment Corporation, Culver City, CA USA *
Oh boy! Strange and wonderful laws! :-) A former co-worker of
mine were swapping tales of such things several years ago. He informed
me that there was -- and still is -- a law on the books in Portland,
Oregon, which declares: "It shall be illegal for a gentleman to be in
the Park Blocks after 6:00 p.m. without his sabre." Like I said, it's
been a while since I heard this, so I may have the phrasing off a bit,
but that's the gist of it. I can just imagine the reaction of the
Portland Police if I were to wander around the Park Blocks with a sword
at my hip! Methinks I'd check the law books *very* *carefully* before I
attempted anything like that. :-)
BTW, which city was it that declared it illegal to wear
rollerskates in public restrooms?
|I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables.
Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark, | Dale D. Snell BIX: ddsnell
The Duke is fond of kittens. | The Net: da...@teksce.SCE.TEK.COM
He likes to turn their insides out, | C$erve: 7475...@compuserve.COM
And use their fur for mittens! | Disclaimer? I don't even KNOW her!
>>Had he pleaded, I believe the crushing would have stopped, and
>>(presumably) he would have been found guilty and hanged instead. I
>>understand that this weighting was the conventional way of dealing with
>>those who refused to plead, although I don't know how common it was
>>for someone to be quite as obdurate as this.
> I wonder what mental contortions they went through to justify this
My favourite (if you can call it that) is this test to determine if
someone is a witch: Tie him up and throw him into a lake. If he floats
he's a witch: Hang him! If he drowns, he's not a witch: Give him a
University of Copenhagen
"I know there are some people in the world who do not tolerate their
fellow human beings, and I just can't _stand_ people like that!"
(after Tom Lehrer)
PS. 'He' is used throughout as a generic pronoun ;-)
Barbara Bush said a couple of months ago that if Saddam Hussein was
convicted of war crimes, she would "like to see him hung."
Remember: "hung" = good, "hanged" = bad.
Ray Shea The road to a police state is paved
with good intentions.
Years ago, when I was in high school, the father of a friend called
me over to take a look at a picture he had painted. I said with a
straight face, "You should be hanged in the Metropolitan."
His wife touched me gently on the shoulder and said, "That should
be 'hung', dear."
Barbara Hlavin "Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine
tw...@milton.u.washington.edu weather and a little music out of doors,
played by somebody I do not know."
Bart, I thought you were hung.
And they was right!
- Blazing Saddles
Actually I believe that some were crushed by stones. It was the lEAST they
| Facts are the enemy of Truth -
--> David Esan d...@moscom.com | Don Quixote de la Mancha
Sue Klefstad Ill. Natural History Survey s-kle...@uiuc.edu
Should I worry? considering the droves of teens and teeny boppers
who wander barefoot in and out of our living room all summer...with
Daddy glued to the computer RIGHT THERE...
Robin "There, there, I won't leave you alone with all these kids" Hilp
> Is there any truth to the story I heard that you need an actual physical
> corpse in Texas (as opposed to corpus delecti)? The story I heard was
> that if you pushed your victim into a vat of white hot steel, in front
> of 100 witnesses, you couldn't be prosecuted because there was no
The problem is -proving- that the murder accually occured. With that
many witnesses I have no doubt there would be a conviction, but on the
other hand, we have a case in Galvestion currently where a young woman
was kidnapped and killed. The two men responsible have been convicted
of the kidnapping (there were witnesses) but have never been charged
with the murder since the body has never been found (no witnesses to
>Since we are talking about weird laws now, I vaguely remember reading
>once about a law in Pocatello Idaho that made it illegal to walk around
>town with a disillusioned look on your face. I'm going back there in a
>couple of weeks for a family reunion ...
You should be OK... just don't read talk.bizarre before walking down
the street :-)
Allen Gwinn (al...@sulaco.lonestar.org)
"If SCO would like to use this server in one of their products they have to
pay $100 for every copy they redistribute, cause I don't like this company
and their braindamaged products." - Thomas Roell on The Santa Cruz Operation
"They used to burn witches, but now they have electric ovens."
(pronounced electri covens)
(From an old "I'm sorry, I'll
read that again, again.")
Daniel A. Glasser One of those things that goes
dag%gor...@persoft.com "BUMP! (ouch!)" in the night.
The book is indeed called "The Devil in Massachusetts: An Iquiry
into the Salem Witch Trials" and it does include the pressing story.
col yisrael arevim zeh l'zeh, but just try getting a mortgage...
Joel Goldberg at Dept. of Chemistry, University of Toronto.
A small town in the western part of Norway actually did this, but it
was a looong time ago - like perhaps four months! :-)
Hmm... something tells me we're overdoing this tourist trapping
Martin Gilje II Jaatun # gi...@idt.unit.no
Div. of Computer Systems & Telematics # mart...@solan.unit.no
Norwegian Institute of Technology # Motto: "DGNGTS"
"Work is hell." "No it isn't. You're fired." (Matt Groening)
(resident of said city)
> >Actually, a number of 'witches' died in prison, and one
> >'warlock' was crushed to death under heavy stones. He
> >was being interrogated through the simple means of piling
> >stones on him until he confessed. His last words were
> >(supposedly): "More weight!"
> Had he pleaded, I believe the crushing would have stopped, and
> (presumably) he would have been found guilty and hanged instead. I
> understand that this weighting was the conventional way of dealing with
> those who refused to plead, although I don't know how common it was
> for someone to be quite as obdurate as this.
I'm not sure what you mean by "obdurate". Do you mean that he was
showing bravado by shouting "more weight"? It's my understanding
that the cry for more stones was to shorten the suffering and die