Birther Judy Burges' Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card for Killers

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Birther Queen and Gun Nut Judy Burges

Let's say you've just gunned down your best friend in a fit of rage over a gambling debt. Remorseful, you dial up 911 and tell the operator that your pal's dead and it's all your fault.

Normally, such a confession, recorded on a 911 call, would pretty much guarantee a guilty verdict on a homicide rap. But not if state House Representative Judy Burges -- a.k.a., Sand Land's Batty Birther Queen -- and other far-right wackadoodles, such as state Representatives Carl Seel and David Gowan have their way.

They and their cohorts in the state House are sponsoring a get-out-of-jail-free card for confessed murderers. Well, at least for those murderers who confess on a 911 call.

Here's the language from House Bill 2583. You can't make this stuff up.

A.  IF A PERSON IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY INVOLVED IN AN ACT THAT INVOLVES THE THREATENED OR ACTUAL USE OF DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE AND THE PERSON PROMPTLY REPORTS THE ACT TO AN APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE OR POLICE SERVICES, THE PERSON'S STATEMENT IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OR A CIVIL ACTION AGAINST THAT PERSON, EXCEPT FOR THE PURPOSES OF IMPEACHMENT.

B.  NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A STATEMENT THAT IS NOT ADMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION A OF THIS SECTION IS NOT A PUBLIC RECORD AND SHALL NOT BE DISCLOSED TO THE PUBLIC IN ANY MANNER.

Not only would the confession not be admissible, it wouldn't even be subject to a public records request.

Wacky? Yes, but there's a twisted reason behind it that's based on good old fashioned gun-nuttery. 

See gun nuts, and their legislative backers, want to be able to kill people with impunity, and claim self-defense.

So whenever there's a case where someone kills an unarmed person, and ends up getting convicted for it, the Arizona legislature gets to work trying to make sure such convictions never occur again.

This happened in the case of Harold Fish, the Arizona man convicted in 2006 of second degree murder. Fish had shot and killed an unarmed transient while hiking, saying that he feared for his life because the man was charging him. 

The legislature jumped in and shifted the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defense to the prosecution. It didn't help Fish, though he eventually beat the rap on appeal in any case.

Burges' bill seems a legislative answer to the conviction of Phoenix store owner Roger Garfield, who killed an unarmed homeless man, and was later found guilty of manslaughter.

Garfield, like Fish, claimed self-defense, but his claim was belied by statements he made -- you guessed it -- in 911 calls he'd made during a previous encounter with the same man. Those tapes were played during Garfield's trial. 

If Burges' bill had been law at that time, maybe Garfield would've skated.

Because if you're unarmed in Arizona and are blown away by some scaredy-cat white dude with a gun fetish, you get what you deserve. 

Or so the gun freaks seem to believe.

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22 comments
Info
Info

This is not anywhere near what you'd call journalism. It's just more liberal vitriol. This writer is horrible, zero credibility.

Charles
Charles

As a state certified defense instructor, I can tell you that there are MANY pitfalls in legitimate self defense, and there is always more to the eye than first appears. For instance in the Hal Fish Case, the assailant was NOT unarmed. He had a deadly weapon on him, but the evidence of it was excluded at trial. Also, Fish had fired a warning shot, and the assailant charged into a pointed gun. As a defender, one must assume that someone charging your loaded gun, will kill you if he gets control of it. The 911 immunity bill makes a great deal of sense, if you explore the background of the issue. Charles Heller, Tucson, Az.

David
David

Name calling immediately destroys the credibility of an article and it's author. The author simply needed to explain why he or she opposes a bill and encourage others to contact their reps in opposition. In this case, we can clearly see that the author is more concerned about baseless personal attacks than the proposed legislation. That tells me that there is likely much more to this story.

Purist223
Purist223

From Stephen Lemons:

“…a.k.a., Sand Land's Batty Birther Queen -- and other far-right wackadoodles…”

“See gun nuts, and their legislative backers, want to be able to kill people with impunity, and claim self-defense.”

“Because if you're unarmed in Arizona and are blown away by some scaredy-cat white dude with a gun fetish, you get what you deserve. Or so the gun freaks seem to believe.”

If there are "wackadoodles," Mr. Lemons should be at the top of the list.

Alan
Alan

It feels good to write vitriol like this Lemons fellow did. It's much more difficult to do research and learn about what you're writing about, so why bother. If you or anyone blabs something into a police voice recorder immediately after you're assaulted by a criminal, without benefit of counsel or exercising your right to remain silent, you can end up in a world of hurt. If the authorities can only "convict" you based on some inadvertent statement you made, and not on any evidence and solid police work, and that's all they have, is that justice? Police and prosecutors will face the same challenges to convict people they always have, they just can't rely on you convicting yourself -- or being twisted to make it look that way. It's the Miranda principle, that's all.

Veritas
Veritas

Hey Feathered Buttbyte... Did you forget to read this: "PROMPTLY REPORTS THE ACT TO AN APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE" or would you rather they were left to bleed out?

Are you serious
Are you serious

Why are we letting people be tried in the media? First of all, why would anyone want to call 911 if they just shot, stabbed, used a baseball bat on someone to defend themselves. The law does not require you to call 911. If you don't call, you are presumed guilty. If you remain silent, you are presumed guilty. If you ask for a lawyer, you are presumed guilty. All HB 2583 seeks to do in this regard is protect the innocent, and evidence, until trial, a worthwhile goal. The media understand this and openly accepts it for all other evidence. 911 tapes should be afforded the same protection.

tim1776
tim1776

Although I don't think I'd vote for such a law, I'm not sure it's as crazy as FeatheredB is assuming. If reminds me of laws that tell local police not to arrest illegal immigrants who come forward to report a crime. We don't want the police using their illegal status against them. Otherwise, illegal immigrants would be reluctant to report crimes to the police.

This is similar. If you just show someone, we want you to call 911 so that maybe the person can get help ASAP. Using 911 calls against people just gives them a strong incentive to not call 911 to help someone who is injured.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

We have always had wacky legislation, but there is a prolific bloom of stupid legislation this year. This season offers a chance to pass ANYTHING so every legislator with a pet issue will vote for the pet issues of others in exchange for votes on his/her pet issues. This is the time to do it because of the make up of the legislature and there is a spineless governor that will did what is right for Arizona and will sign most if not all of these wacky bills that come across her desk.

By the way, how is the Arizona economy coming along? Got that solved guys?

Tina
Tina

There are three sponsors to this craziness? News of their bill, which prejudges matters that should properly be handled by the judicial branch of government on a case by case basis, is bound to make the Rachel Maddow show.

Clarity
Clarity

Could it be that jared loughner was being rushed by 19 people all at once?Was he simply defending himself from the political nuts coming at him?

What if he just called 911 afterward to report it?

Marvelous!

Porter M. Corn
Porter M. Corn

Wow! I bet Shawna Forde will wet her little jailhouse panties when she sees this and Laine Lawless along with her. This is ridiculous

alehound
alehound

Go back East, you giant flatulent scrotum.

Rob
Rob

Goddamn this state has gone off the deep end. Where the fuck do we get these people from, let alone elect them to public office?

We're easily the laughingstock of the nation and late night TV monologues are supplied with enough material from Arizona to last through several ratings periods.

How long until the actual PEOPLE of Arizona wake the fuck up and realize THEY ELECTED these idiots?

Dragon
Dragon

This is exactly why they wrote this bill. I bet that I am the only one in here that actually was in the Committee when they talked about this bill. I doubt this lemon guy has ever seen a republican he could say anything nice about but for some reason I bet he like most democrats who do the same things. I hate this sort of bias, but he does have the freedom to do it, and we have the freedom to say he is crazy.

Rob
Rob

Can't say I blame them, I mean looking at it from their perspective....

You got a bunch of wackjobs that are trying to outdo each other...get it past them and then your dealing with governor who can't read or speak English (notice how there's no legislation about English language?) and your good.

Charles
Charles

No, it really isn't if you look into the facts. People who commit murder, usually get convicted, ala Shawna Forde. People who are truely in fear for their lives and use or threaten deadly force, are often in peril for their freedom. See the newly enacted ARS 13-421 for more info. It is a serious issue, and deserves serious consideration. I am certified to teach these issues, and this bill is a legitimate consideration for the problem it addresses. Charles Heller

Guest
Guest

so what your saying is Lemons has big balls?

Lik2bplyd
Lik2bplyd

typical response from a clueless person. Being a native here for MANY generations, im disgusted the way these "Elected officals" are running Arizona. Im embarrassed and ashamed. Just dont tell me to go East, dipshit i was born here, you go back to whatever state kick your big ass out. These fools are ruining Arizona. I say recall all of them.

Coz
Coz

Problem is, they're to stupid to care.

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