A Texas cop was facing six months in jail for illegally entering and searching the car of a PINAC reporter who had been unlawfully arrested for recording in public.
A Texas judge named Kerry Neves threw out the case before the trial even started Wednesday, citing a technicality that Galveston Police Sergeant Archie Chapman did not really trespass into Phillip Turner’s car because his feet never left the ground as he rummaged through the car without Turner’s consent.
But we expected that because the Galveston County judge has already proven to be biased in favor of cops.
So biased that he was threatened with a formal complaint last summer by defense attorneys after issuing a court order barring defendants from entering plea deals in cases where cops claimed to have been threatened or disrespected – which is pretty much every case considering how often cops exaggerate the facts.
Neves ended up withdrawing the court order two weeks after issuing it, which is a pretty strong indicator he was trying to abuse his judicial discretion in the hopes nobody would stop him.
So it’s not a surprise he issued a “directed verdict” today, which is basically a judge issuing a verdict in a jury trial rather than allowing the jury come to a verdict.
This is how Wikipedia defines it:
In a jury trial, a directed verdict is an order from the presiding judge to the jury to return a particular verdict. Typically, the judge orders a directed verdict after finding that no reasonable jury could reach a decision to the contrary. After a directed verdict, there is no longer any need for the jury to decide the case.
And chances are, the jury would have sided with the cop as juries tend to do. Especially juries in Texas where they view cops as gods.
But then why not let the jury do its job to ensure a fair trial?
Neves apparently based his decision on the “intrusion of the entire body” definition of “entry” in the Texas criminal trespass statute.
Sec. 30.05. CRIMINAL TRESPASS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person enters or remains on or in property of another, including residential land, agricultural land, a recreational vehicle park, a building, or an aircraft or other vehicle, without effective consent and the person:
(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Entry” means the intrusion of the entire body.
Turner said about a dozen uniformed law enforcement officers from the Galveston Police Department and Galveston County Sheriff’s Office attended the trial in support of their brother in blue.
The obvious question is, were any of them on duty at the time? And if not, then why were they wearing their uniforms?
The answer to that question is obvious. Their role was not just to offer support for their comrade, but to intimidate the jury into ruling in their favor.
But as it turned out, that was not needed because the judge did the dirty work for them.
PINAC reporter David Warden, who recorded Turner’s arrest that November 2016 and testified on his behalf, explains what took place today in the video below.