The State of Texas is preparing to execute a man (I know, what else is new). His crime? Being acquainted with a murderer:
They were there to call for Gov. Greg Abbott to halt the impending execution of Been’s uncle, Jeff Wood, who is scheduled to die on August 24, just five days after his 43rd birthday, for a crime that everyone, including prosecutors, admits he did not commit.
Wood was sitting in a truck outside the Texaco when Danny Reneau went inside and shot Keeran dead. Wood has said he had no idea that Reneau even had a gun or that Reneau would shoot his friend. Yet under the law of parties, prosecutors were allowed to impute to Wood the same level of responsibility for Keeran’s death as Reneau, the triggerman.
An extension of the theory of accomplice liability, the law holds that if two or more conspirators agree to commit one crime — say, a robbery — but instead, one of them commits another crime — say, murder — each party can be held responsible for the murder, regardless of individual intent, based on the notion that the conspirators should have anticipated that the crime committed would actually happen.
Guilt by association isn’t a crime. While Jeff Woods may have been friends with the murderer and in the vehicle with the murderer he wasn’t the murderer and therefore isn’t at fault for the murder. But in the magical Neighborhood of Statist Make-Believe the rules are made up and logic doesn’t matter. Things like having victims or causing damage aren’t necessary for putting a man to death. All that is needed are some arbitrary words written on a piece of paper and voted on by suit-clad mother fuckers in a marble building and suddenly a person can be executed for simply being acquainted with a criminal.
The fact that the State is willing to murder somebody for a murder he didn’t commit should be enough to illustrate the fact that the State doesn’t dispense justice.