The Texas Tribune fulfils a need. The publishers decided that the Austin (Un)American Statesman was too conservative, and PRAVDA is no longer available. Thus, the Texas Tribune was born. How can one tell it is unbiased and non-partisan? The editors proclaim it.
The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Believe that and I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.
At any rate The Texas Tribune reports on the efforts of a group called “Ground Game Texas”. The organization got a proposed city ordinance on the ballot in five cities around Texas. It passed in all five cities. The initiative calls for no citation or arrest for possession of marijuana up to four ounces, setting limits on accepted norms of probable cause for criminal prosecution and the prosecution of police (class “C” misdemeanor) for cops who violate the ordinance.
A successful ballot initiative takes effect without any further action on the part of the affected city. In four cities the councils, city legal staff and city management did nothing but hunker down. In one City, Harker Heights, the city council took action. They immediately repealed the ordinance. There are ample grounds for doing so. However, you won’t find those grounds spelled out in the Texas Tribune article.
The Texas Tribune and Ground Game Texas ignore both the law and common sense. Does it surprise anybody that Ground Game Texas is a Soros funded project? Below are some legal considerations:
Front and center is the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
Article 2.13 Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires that “peace officers” arrest offenders without warrant in every case where the officer is authorized by law, in order that they may be taken before the proper magistrate or court and be tried. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 2.13 – Duties and Powers (public.law)
Regardless of what is going on within the city limits, possession of a usable quantity of marijuana is a criminal offense. The actions and discretion of peace officers is governed by state law.
Next there is the Texas Government Code (cited below).
Sec. 370.003. MUNICIPAL OR COUNTY POLICY REGARDING ENFORCEMENT OF DRUG LAWS. The governing body of a municipality, the commissioners court of a county, or a sheriff, municipal police department, municipal attorney, county attorney, district attorney, or criminal district attorney may not adopt a policy under which the entity will not fully enforce laws relating to drugs, including Chapters 481 and 483, Health and Safety Code, and federal law.Texas Local Government Code
Finally, there is long settled case law:
A municipality may not pass an ordinance that conflicts with state law, and if it does, the ordinance is void…YOUNG v. CITY OF SEAGOVIL | 421 S.W.2d 485 (1967) | sw2d4851865 | Leagle.com
Then there is the commonsense aspect. The proposed ordinance would prohibit the officer from mentioning the odor of marijuana as an element of “probable cause’. This prohibition would have no effect in cases tried in superior courts. A municipal court may be held to the prohibition. However, marijuana charges fall outside the purview of these courts. The courts that do have jurisdiction can and will ignore the prohibition.
Another consideration is that application of sanctions called for in the proposed ordinance may constitute a felony. The ordinance calls for peace officers who violate the ordinance be cited for violating the ordinance, a class “C” violation. This opens the door for those enforcing the ordinance to be charged with Retaliation, Texas Penal Code Section 36.06 – Obstruction or Retaliation (public.law).
Texas Penal Code, Section 36.
A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act:
(1) in retaliation for or on account of service or status of another as a:
(a) public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant; or
(b) person who has reported or who the actor knows intends to report the occurrence of a crime
Accepting that the ordinance is invalid and therefore void, any enforcement activity directed at an officer could be construed as a felony.
Why would a group like Ground Game Texas supported by The Texas Tribune put forth such a deeply flawed ordinance. The simple answer is to create a sense of outrage in a targeted community. The Texas Tribune article and the apologists in the article clammer that ” the electorate have spoken.” To void the ordinance, as was done in Harker Heights, is to deny the people a voice. Of all the affected cities only the council in Harker Heights have fulfilled their public obligation. The ordinance was in conflict with existing law and common sense and could not withstand judicial scrutiny. They had an obligation to void the ordinance and did.
It is time for me to dust off a blueprint for action, that I believe is being used. Set the way back machine for over fifty years and peruse the following manifesto: Mini-Manual Of The Urban Guerilla (English) (brushbeater.org). The author Carlos Marighella posited that the purpose of an urban guerilla was to demonstrate government incompetence and cause the government to overreact. (Over reaction was strictly in the eye of the beholder). The overreaction of the government would alienate the population. This alienation would cause more of the populace to join the cause.
On the other hand, it is possible that these good liberals are feeling nostalgic for the good old days. Here are some examples of local ordinances. The first is from Alabama.
SECTION 597. NEGROES AND WHITE PERSONS NOT TO PLAY TOGETHERBirmingham, Alabama Issues Racial Segregation Ordinances
It shall be unlawful for a negro and a white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.
Any person, who being the owner, proprietor or keeper or superintendent, of any tavern, inn, restaurant or other public house or public place, or the clerk, servant or employee or such owner, proprietor, keeper or superintendent, knowingly permits a negro and a white person to play together or in company with each other at any game with cards, dice, dominoes or checkers, in his house or on his premises shall, on conviction, be punished as provided in section 4.
The great liberal bastion of liberal thought Boston didn’t get around to repealing this 1675 ordinance until 2003.
MENINO SEEKS TO REPEAL 1675 LAW AGAINST NATIVE AMERICANS:
SYMBOLIC ACT SEEN AS STEP FORWARD
It was a symbolic move, but an important one for a city that prides itself on diversity, according to Mayor Thomas M. Menino: Yesterday, the mayor asked the Legislature to repeal the 1675 Indian Imprisonment Act, the Colonial law authorizing the arrest of American Indians who enter the city of Boston.The law, enacted during the bloody conflict known as King Philip’s War,Unaccompanied Indians may again be able to enter Boston legally (williams.edu)
Ground Game Texas and their ilk are playing a cynical and subtle game. They are depending on their supporters to be too stoned and MSM to be too stupid to look beyond the headline. Remember the goal of the news media is to sell tampons and toilet paper.