Texas man defends family, gets surprise decision from grand jury

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by U201491, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    No-knock police raid ends in blazing tragedy
    Texas man defends family, gets surprise decision from grand jury

    Published: 5 hours ago
    image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2015/02/swat.jpg


    Gun owners and self-defense advocates are lauding a rare victory in which a Texas grand jury has refused to indict a homeowner for shooting and killing a police officer who entered his home unannounced in the middle of the night.

    The homeowner, Henry Magee, 28, said he thought the officers who broke through his door were robbers and he acted in self-defense to protect his pregnant girlfriend and two children.

    Police were acting on a tip from a criminal informant that led them to believe Magee had more than a dozen marijuana plants, all at least six feet tall, in his rural home in Burleson County. Officers included a line on the warrant that Magee also had “possible illegal guns” stolen from the local sheriff’s office. The local magistrate signed off on the warrant, with deadly consequences.

    Before the sun came up on Dec. 19, nine deputies broke down the door to Magee’s mobile home and set off a flash-bang grenade. Magee confronted them, firing away as they barged through the door. One of the deputies, Adam Sowders, fell dead.

    When the dust settled, they found two small marijuana plants less than six inches tall and four guns, all legally owned by Magee, three of which were locked in a safe.

    What happened at the grand jury was nothing short of stunning.

    “I don’t know of any other case where someone shot and killed a police officer in the course of a drug raid has been no-billed by a grand jury,” Dick DeGuerrin, the attorney representing Magee, told the Washington Post. “At least not in Texas.”

    Forbes magazine reported: “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 Corey Maye.) 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 home.’”

    When presenting a search warrant to a judge in a drug case, police will often include the possibility of guns to get the judge to sign off on waiving the “knock and announce” requirement, defense lawyers say. It is also fairly common for police to ask for no-knock warrants in drug cases where the suspect could destroy evidence, although in this case Magee’s attorney told the Post it would have been impossible to flush six-foot marijuana plants down the toilet.

    What is less common is that the homeowner who draws a gun and acts to defend his family is not shot to death on the spot. Even more uncommon is that he should live and not be charged with first-degree murder, said John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney with the Rutherford Institute.

    “Yes, this is unusual. We had another case in Texas that the Supreme Court refused to hear, where the father was in his bed and the police entered the home because his son had a little pot and shot him because he went for his gun thinking it was a criminal intruder,” Whitehead told WND. “Americans have a right to defend themselves against intruders and especially intruders who smash through their doors unannounced with guns drawn in the middle of the night.”

    The District Attorney’s office released the following statement:

    “The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office would not have been there that day if Mr. Magee had not decided to live a lifestyle of doing and producing illegal drugs in his home. Therefore, we will fully prosecute the drug charges against him.”

    Whitehead said police are increasingly using no-knock raids to deliver arrest warrants for nonviolent crimes such as drug possession simply because the homeowner is a licensed gun owner.

    In asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Quinn v. State of Texas, Whitehead’s legal team argued that making lawful gun ownership the sole grounds for a no-knock warrant improperly penalizes and limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The court refused last year to hear the case.

    The number of no-knock raids conducted by police in the United States has increased exponentially since the advent of SWAT teams in 1980. Only a few hundred such raids took place in those early years, but last year more than 80,000 no-knock raids were conducted on American homes, Whitehead said. And 80 percent of SWAT raids are for mere warrant service.

    What started out as a rare exception has morphed into a routine police practice, said Whitehead, author of “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.”

    “In my book I discuss the case of Jose Guerrero. The cops came through and were intruders in his home, they were in the wrong house in that case,” he said. “What else do you do? Just sit down and say ‘kill my wife and my kids?’ Under the Second Amendment, Americans have the right to own guns and to defend their homes and families.”

    Get investigative reporter Cheryl Chumley’s ground-breaking book “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming Our Reality” from the WND Superstore.

    Also driving the increase in no-knock warrants is that many police departments receive federal money to make drug arrests.

    “Police get government grants to make pot busts, and that’s not right. No policeman should be going through your door to make money,” Whitehead said. “If we don’t slow the police down on these types of raids, it will be the end of property rights. When I was a young guy, the police always knocked at your door, and that was the main purpose, to identify that they have the right person. In this type of case, I think the defendant had the right to defend himself, his family and his property.”

    Whitehead sees the key constitutional principle as one of private property rights.

    “With a warrant or without a warrant, if they can smash through people’s doors without announcing and identifying themselves, then you don’t own your property anymore,” he said. “A man’s home is his castle, and our Founding Fathers believed that. Private property is the key. If you don’t have that one area where it’s sacrosanct from the state, you don’t have anything. If you can’t tell that policeman, ‘Back off guy, you can’t enter my home unless you knock and identify yourself,’ then you don’t own your property anymore. It belongs to the state. But, of course, that’s what they want you to believe, that all property is really theirs.”

    The psychology behind this type of police activity is meant to reverse the master-servant relationship, Whitehead said.

    “That’s where the state now becomes the master and the citizen is the servant,” he said. “That goes against everything the Founding Fathers believed in with the Fourth Amendment.

    “I hope this case is a good sign. Let’s hope. This was a pretty egregious case. But I’ve seen many that went the other way.

    “We’re in a police state. The question is: Can something like a grand jury acting rationally reverse the trend of this type of police activity?”

    In Burleson County, it could make the police and sheriff’s deputies think twice next time they decide to conduct a no-knock raid on a nonviolent suspect. But beyond that one county, the jury is still out.

    “It’s going to take more than one grand jury, but this case is encouraging because it seems to be getting some press,” Whitehead said.

    Burleson County District Attorney Julie Renken wouldn’t say if she’ll present the case again to a different grand jury.

    Magee remains in jail on felony drug charges.

    His bond has been lowered from $1 million to $50,000.
  2. chariot13

    Near Eugene/Springfield
    Well-Known Member

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    Someone should start one of those 'go-fund-me' donation sites for him. He's definitely not safe being locked up. If this happened more, police would realize that their lives are worth more than useless laws made to inflate the prison system & state's coffers.
    coyotecaller and Michael Js like this.
  3. IronMonster

    Free Idaho!
    Opinionated Member Lifetime Supporter

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    That is interesting. I would say its the right call. Prosecute the guy for the crimes he committed, murder not being one of them. I dont like the fact that that he shot the cop, But you cant blame the guy for protecting his home using what little information he had. That cop would still be alive if they simply would have knocked on his door during the day and served him papers. A guy with two 6" tall pot plants is obviously not a kingpin drug lord and if he had no history of violence why bring the Jackboot thugs down full force for a minor ordeal?
    Loptr, Mongo1, Capn Jack and 2 others like this.
  4. Riot

    Benton County, Washington
    Well-Known Member

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    No-knock warrants for Marijuana plants was one of the primary reasons why I voted for legalization...and it's surprising that a random "informant" can point a finger and a judge signs off on the warrant with no other probable cause.
  5. Provincial

    Near Salem, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    The "informant" should be a Accessory to Murder. Make the informant liable for the actions that occur during a raid.

    The low-lifes that inform have no material possessions, but they should have to risk prison time for a lie that results in a wrongful raid or injury/death that is a result of the raid.

    A no-knock raid that ocurrs at the wrong address, or at the address stated in the warrant, but the police don't find specifically what the informant described in the warrant (excepting public records - like gun ownership records) should result in mandatory damages paid by the police department. Damages should include 3x the property damages, 3x any physical injury, and 3x any "pain and suffering", including mental or emotional damages. This would slow down the rampant use of no-knock raids, and make the police more conscientious in analyzing the information from informants. Currently, they just get to shrug their shoulders if anything goes wrong.

    The family of the dead officer should be suing the Department for sending him on a raid based on faulty information from the informant.
    Mongo1, Capn Jack and coyotecaller like this.
  6. The Heretic

    The Heretic
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The thing is, growing plants, no matter what kind of plants, shouldn't be a crime either.

    This is why the whole "war on drugs" is a farce.

    If "a man's home is his castle" then what is his body?

    Should you not have the right to decide what you eat, smoke or drink without the "state" arresting you for "your own good"?

    This has been going on for decades; the government protecting us from ourselves - or so they say. And people are finally seeing, at least, that this is doing more harm than good.

    I go further - my basic philosophy is that a mentally competent adult should be able to do pretty much whatever they want to do as long as they do not harm others (that includes not stealing or polluting - which are things that harm others).

    Even if it was in the "best interests" of an individual to keep them from using drugs, since when do have the right to run the lives of others?

    I have an ex-wife who has ruined her life with drugs and other foolishness. I don't do recreational drugs myself, I don't smoke, I don't drink (not even just coffee). But I do strongly believe in the right of adults to do those things as long as they do not directly harm others.

    I used to say "I don't like the law, but you got caught, you should expect to do the time", but I am increasingly thinking that overall, it is better if such "criminals" who are not doing anybody any harm, should just get off free.

    The LE orgs on the other hand, maybe some of them are now seeing the consequences of their power and money grab (one of the reasons I got out of the USCG myself was that very thing; the USCG going from a primary mission of Search & Rescue to one of law enforcement - that was one of the few things where I saw the future 35 years ago).
  7. Martini_Up

    NW USA
    Well-Known Member

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    Rest in Peace, Mr. LEO... and God Bless Texas.
    Riot and Mongo1 like this.
  8. Mongo1

    Santiam Canyon
    Active Member

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    Although I don't smoke and have no intention to start smoking after it becomes legal here, the fact that recreational marijuana is legal (at that time) should prevent some of these no knock raids.
    I think Henry Magee will be more safe in jail where the police are responsible for his well being than out on the street where he could has an unfortunate accident or disappear forever.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015

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