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Monday, February 13, 2006

No One Is Above the Law, Not Even the Veep

According to the Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 161.041. MANDATORY REPORTING OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS:
A physician who attends or treats, or who is requested to attend or treat, a bullet or gunshot wound, or the administrator, superintendent, or other person in charge of a hospital, sanitorium, or other institution in which a bullet or gunshot wound is attended or treated or in which the attention or treatment is requested, shall report the case at once to the law enforcement authority of the municipality or county in which the physician practices or in which the institution is located.
I would assume that such a report requires something more than just a quick phone call, as in paperwork and other information to be filed along with the expected police report from any investigation which is done into the VP's shooting incident. Will we ever see it? No idea, especially given how the local Sheriff has made no public statement and hasn't been all that forthcoming as to what has been done in any investigation that may have gone on thus far.

Were authorities notified immediately about the shooting by medical personnel? That's a question I'd like to know the answer to, along with the exact time of notification. If the shooting did, indeed, happen around 5:30 pm and the ambulance arrived on the scene at around 20 minutes later, according to Katherine Armstrong, then that would make the time of notification by medical personnel required in the 6:10 pm to 6:30 pm time frame. Was a call or radio transmission made to the Sheriff's department at that time? The 911 service or sheriff's office ought to be able to answer that question, since it would be public record.

Speaking of the Sheriff's department, my read of the Texas criminal code matches up with Jeralyn's earlier reporting on Texas Code Section 6.03. I took some time this morning to comb through everything I could find on applicable Texas criminal codes and came up with this as well:
22.05. DEADLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an
offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in
imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a
firearm at or in the direction of:
(1) one or more individuals; or
(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless
as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.
(c) Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor
knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another
whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.
(d) For purposes of this section, "building," "habitation,"
and "vehicle" have the meanings assigned those terms by Section
(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A
misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the
third degree.
If nothing else, the Veep ought to fit into the 22.05(a) category for investigative purposes. Whether or not this was an accident (and I have no evidence that it was anything other than an accident at this point, so let's go with that), the misdemeanor offense cited here from the Texas code does not require that the reckless conduct be "knowingly" done. It simply requires that the conduct in question be reckless.

I'm thinking shooting more than 50 bird shot pellets into a hunting companion at close range, lodging said pellets in the face, neck and chest area such that the man requires hospitalization in the ICU for several days might just be "reckless" conduct.

At least, it would be for the average American.

For the Veep, on the Armstrong Ranch in Texas, maybe the laws don't apply the same way they would for you and me. Not that I see anything in the law that allows for preferential treatment, but one has to wonder if that is what might be happening if a full investigation has not been done.

Given that there were questions about whether a Sheriff's Deputy was prevented from speaking with the VP by some Secret Service agents, I think the press ought to get on this horse and ride it until they get some answers.

(Graphics love to 4Seasons Productions.)

(posted by Reddhedd who can't get into Blogger so I'm doing it)