So killing a man is a nonviolent offense?

Apparently it is, according to Charles D. Butt. (emphasis mine — ed.)

A March 18 Express-News editorial (“Justice system is failing on DWI”) and subsequent letters to the editor criticizing Judge Pat Priest for his decision in the Clayton Don Stowe case are unfair to this honorable judge.

“Shock probation” was created by the Texas Legislature several years ago essentially to give the courts more latitude in sentencing individuals convicted of certain criminal offenses. The idea was to grant shock probation to someone without a prior criminal record in nonviolent and other type cases. DWI comes within that statute.

A judge can sentence an offender (as did Judge Priest) to a term of years (10 in the Stowe case) and retain jurisdiction for 180 days. If within that 180 days the judge considers it appropriate, he can bring the offender back from the pen or jail and place him or her on shock probation, as did Judge Priest.

For those of you just coming here, Mr. Butt was talking about Judge Priest sentencing Clayton Stowe to 10 years of this shock probation; Stowe pled guilty to killing San Antonio neurosurgeon Dr. Roman Hlatky as the former was drunk behind the wheel on IH-10 on the city’s near-northwest side.

He was arrested just after midnight on Sept. 20, 2006, after police said his pickup slammed into the back of Dr. Roman Hlatky‘s SUV as they both traveled westbound along Interstate 10.

It was probably blunt force trauma. That sure as hell doesn’t sound non-violent to me, especially considering the fact that Hlatky lost his life. And even if he hadn’t, Clayton Stowe should still be behind bars. Does anyone really think he won’t get behind the wheel drunk again?

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5 Responses to “So killing a man is a nonviolent offense?”

  1. Bob S. Says:

    This week in Fort Worth, on a road I drive nearly daily, a person who deliberately chose to drink and drive went the wrong way on I-30.

    The self intoxicated person drove his pick up truck several miles in the wrong lane before slamming into the cab of a fuel tanker truck.

    The tanker truck exploded, killing the driver. The blast and resulting fire damaged the elevated section of the road — the fire was so hot it melted concrete and steel.

    Tell me how that wasn’t “violent”?

    • Sabra Says:

      We have had so many drunken wrong way drivers here lately it’s no longer a surprise. 😦 I don’t know why the problem is becoming so pronounced; I don’t remember it so much from when I was a kid, but other than that the city is much less violent than it used to be.

  2. Les Says:

    Problem is, too many people see how on a bad day, they could have too much too drink, or take the prescription too late. They know they wouldn’t hurt anyone on purpose, so there is a some empathy with drunks. They want the problem stopped, but since they can see themselves possibly in the drunk’s shoes, they back off. This includes Judges and Legislators. Alcohol and prescription (and other) drug problems cover the whole spectrum of society. Consider that of the class c misdemeanors, speeding and open container are the only offenses that must be issued a citation (unless they don’t sign the ticket). I suspect a few legislators can see themselves speeding and with an open container. Extending that, killing someone while intoxicated will probably never be considered a violent offense, although it is edging closer.

    • Bob S. Says:

      Les,

      I get what you are saying but I guess I don’t understand the bias against weapons.

      If I’d 10 beers or more, grabbed a baseball bat and started swinging as I walked; no one would have trouble saying it was a violent crime if I hit and killed someone.

      Absolutely NO one would hesitate to label the drunken use of a firearm as a violent crime.

      So saying “I can see me driving drunk and killing someone but I can’t see me shooting someone while drunk” doesn’t make sense to me.

      Both boil down to “I made a decision to drink and killed someone”.

      • Les Says:

        I agree with you. The difference is this. The powers that be and want to be, want unarmed peasants to rule over. All current propaganda, right from grade school is that fighting and violence (self defense) is evil. You can see this in other countries. Self defense is no reason to have a weapon. Automobiles on the other hand (at this point, at least) are not discouraged. There are no attempts really to keep teenagers from driving, no mental tests or demands for any. The carnage is incredible and not newsworthy. Many folks who would not dream of owning a weapon almost all drive. A intoxicated driver thus gets some empathy. A drunken user of a weapon (shiver) is politically incorrect, and beyond the pale.

        As I say, I agree with you.

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