We have a case that was filed with our office for Harassment by Persons in Certain Correctional Facilities with this fact pattern: Defendant in custody in the jail is brought from the jail to the courtroom at the courthouse (seperate facility) on a jail run. While there, he and his attorney approach the bench to do a plea. Defendant gets mad and spits over the bench, hitting the Judge in the face.
Obviously, this conduct is an affront to the judiciary and could be handled as contempt. But for the felony to be prosecuted, the question is, did the spitting occur "while imprisoned or confined in a correctional or detention facility", as the code requires. Obviously the defendant was in the custody of jail personnel, but is that enough? Clearly the conduct did not physically occur in the jail and, based on the definition of correctional facility, our courtroom and courthouse is not a correctional facility. An argument could be made that the "while" refers to a period of time or duration rather than the physical location of the jail (i.e. defendant is in jail during May, offense happens during May, therefore offense happened "while confined"), but does anyone buy that? I've read every case written on sec. 22.11 and there's nothing addressing this issue.
The Grateful Dead once suggested that one "whistle through your teeth and spit, 'cause it's alright." Appropriately enough, they did so in a song entitled "Touch of Gray," which is what the defendant's hair color will be the next time he breathes free air, if Darwinian justice obtains.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001