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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Texans Should Be Angry At Lavaca County District Attorney Heather McMinn For Wasting a Citizen’s and Grand Jury’s Time...

The other day I shared with you the story of a father who beat a man to death who was allegedly attempting to rape his four year old daughter.  And we have gotten enough of a picture to say that this is what happened; he was on top of her with his pants down, allegedly.  As I wrote there, I felt that barring something really surprising it looked like a justified killing—meaning it was either strictly in defense of his daughter, or an unintentional killing in the process of defending her.  And I felt that barring surprising evidence to the contrary, he shouldn’t have even been charged.

Well, they went to a Grand Jury anyway, and it came up goose egg.  They refused to even indict him.

And frankly that turns the case into an outrage.  Consider for instance this line in the article I just linked:

In declining to indict the 23-year-old father in the June 9 killing of Jesus Mora Flores, a Lavaca County grand jury reached the same conclusion as investigators and many of the father's neighbors: He was authorized to use deadly force to protect his daughter.

(Emphasis added.)  You got that?  Investigators didn’t think he committed a crime.  And they charged him anyway.

"He's a peaceable soul," V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney, told reporters at the Lavaca County Courthouse. "He had no intention to kill anybody that day."

(Emphasis added.)  I don’t want to focus on what his lawyer said, so much as he was forced to retain a lawyer.  Either he had to pay for that lawyer, or the citizens of Texas had to.

You want to know how heinous this is?  Here’s Heather McMinn, the District Attorney:

Notice that there is not one single word in that presentation discussing any evidence that his legal defense of the defense of his daughter was invalid.  So why did she even bother?

No, folks, it is an injustice that this even went to a Grand Jury.  And the citizens of Lavaca County, Texas, should have some hard questions for their District Attorney.

H/T: Hot Air.


Sidebar: By the way, Shiner, Texas, is home of the beer Shiner Bock.  I don't drink at all, but people who do tell me it is an excellent brew, so consider raising a glass to this father.


Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.


  1. Wait a second. You said "I felt that barring something really surprising," didn't you? If it isn't the job of a grand jury to determine such things, then whose is it?

    I'm all for smoking child molesters, but I hardly think that it should be a consequence-free activity. If you pull a weapon on somebody, you should - at a minimum - have it in the back of your mind that it might complicate your life some. And there was a time when that was a fundamentally conservative opinion.

    It's almost as if, and you appear to agree, that a single Grand Jury just made child rape a capital crime, which the legislature didn't envision and the Supreme Court prohibited in any event.

    Christ, Joe Horn, who by any sane persons's reckoning, is a double-murderer and he was no-billed, too.

  2. Aaron, I have to disagree with you here. I understand your point - and it is a valid one. But if I'm the district attorney, I'm bringing this to the Grand Jury too. The reason is that with all the media attention to the case, I can point to the Grand Jury's conclusion as definitive.

    It's the same reason that I thought the George Zimmerman case should have gone to the Grand Jury. If they indict - great, move to trial. If they don't indict - political cover.

    Also: as a criminal defense lawyer, I like it when DA's charge innocent people. Makes me money. (That's a joke, there...)

  3. So either:

    a) the DA was trying to make a name for herself (which I kinda doubt, given the law and the evidence), or

    b) she was trying to make it clear to any and all that the father was within the law in his actions (which I kinda doubt, since everyone who has heard of the matter already agrees that the father did The Right Thing), or

    c) she's a bureaucratic ticket-puncher who believes in Process Über Alles.

    Maybe there's another option. Oh, yeah:

    d) the DA just wanted to get her own name in the news.

  4. Aaron -- this Texan is going to disagree with you here. As in the Joe Horn case here in Houston a couple of years back, taking the case to the grand jury was the most sensible, most defensible course of action. It allowed a group of average citizens to decide if charges were warranted, not an official who would be standing for election in a relatively short period of time. Now nobody can say that the DA didn't do her job or take the case seriously -- she went the extra step to ensure that even a pedophile caught in the act will receive less than justice under our system of laws.

    Besides -- I suspect that the DA would take every homicide to a grand jury in a county that size. I believe that all or most are taken to a grand jury here in Harris County.

    On another note entirely -- hang in there. You are in prayer and are deeply admired and respected.

    Blogging at Rhymes With Right

  5. Reading a bunch of the news stories about the case, I kinda get the feeling that sending the case to a grand jury was just standard procedure. I can't find anyone--not even those who would ostensibly be on the "prosecution" side of this case (law enforcement, the district attorney, ...) who believed the father deserved to be charged or prosecuted. The local news stories and statements by all concerned treat it's going to the grand jury as unremarkable, and just the next (last) step in the process to clear the father of any legal wrongdoing...

    While I'm with you on it being a waste of money--and certainly burdensome on the father if he was obligated to pay for a lawyer for this (not to mention other "potential defendants" against whom no one in the law enforcement / legal community believes charges should be filed)--I'm not sure this is a moral or legal injustice, or that the district attorney is personally or professionally at fault, at least based on the way most of the news stories and statements by those involved and those familiar read...

    (I submitted comments to a few local news stories asking for clarification on this... I'll comment here again, if I see anything that speaks to the issue one way or the other...)

  6. Got a reply to my query from a reporter in TX: "in Texas, every case that is ruled a "homicide" -- death by other than natural causes -- is routinely forwarded to a grand jury even when prosecution is unlikely." - Grand Jury: father's action was justified | The Gonzales Cannon

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  8. Hey sorry for not publishing ya'll's comments faster. it was not hostility toward anyone disagreeing with me. I am just not like that. It was just that i don't know if any are waiting unless i specifically look.

    So sorry.

    Still respectfully disagree with those who disagreed with me, but sadly my inattention prevented a good discussion from forming. Everyone seems to be disagreeing in good faith which is the best kind of discussion.

    Someday i will be out from under the legal situation I am in, and on that day i will loosen up the moderation on this site. I still won't let people publish people's home addresses and the like, but will place more trust in the audience not to do it in the first place. But right now there are people who positively malevolent intent who would abuse the situation, who have declared that they are bound by no ethical or moral boundaries when dealing with me, so unfortunately this measure is necessary.

  9. Apparantly the father is even less guilty than a ham sandwich....

  10. Sorry, Aaron, can't agree.

    He killed someone. The only people (still alive) who saw the act were him and his daughter. Just like the people horrified- horrified, I say- that it was deemed "Homicide" I have to point out- this is how the justice system works.

    This is especially true in Texas, where we're less than gently inclined toward murderers.

    No one thought the Grand Jury would indict, no one I heard (including the DA) thought a crime had been committed. The Grand Jury had to be empaneled anyway; that's just how it works down here.