Articles Tagged with Court of Criminal Appeals

For some of us, when we hear of a person making terroristic threats we think of a person causing trouble for political or religious reasons. But, according to the Texas Penal Code, just the mere threat of violence to a person or a person’s property is enough and the purpose behind the threat is not considered.

You can be charged with a terroristic threat charge if you threaten violence to a person or their property and (1) cause any type of reaction from an officer, volunteer, or any other agency that deals with emergencies; (2) put ANY person in fear of immediate injury to their self (3) prevent the use or interrupt the use of a building, public place, employment, aircraft, automobile, or other public place (4) cause interruption with any public communication, transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or any other public service (5) put the public or a number of people in fear of bodily harm or (6) influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

Nowhere in the code is it defined that these threats must be made with any sort of political or religious views as the basis of the threat. So basically under section (2) of 22.07 the State could snag anyone with this charge if that person threatens serious, immediate violence to a person who believes that an injury is immediate. Which is similar to Penal Code 22.01 Assault, where a person threatens another with immediate injury to their body.

I recently watched the Christohper Hicthens/Tony Blair debate on whether religion is a force for good in the world. To paraphrase Mr. Hitchens; “You can expect good people do good things, and bad people do bad things. To get a good person to do a bad thing you need religion.” The idea being that one can bypass ordinary human decency and morality by stating that an act is divinely warranted.

The parallels with statism, positive law, and the War on Drugs, are evident to a front line observer of the Texas criminal justice system. The state may not claim divine authority, but it does share religion’s ability to get good people to do horrible things.

Which brings me to our appellate case of the day- Hereford vs. State.

Contact Information