March 8, 2008

How readest thou the law?

Four years ago Victor DeLeon of Texas died following a loud thump. The said concussion was caused by his unfortunate contact with Lorena Guerra's Ford Expedition, which was observed moving away from the scene at a high rate of speed. Ms. Guerra was charged and convicted under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 550.023, a "Good Samaritan" law which imposes the duty to stop and render aid.

Ms. Guerra appealed her judgment of conviction on a number of grounds, including an asserted fundamental constitutional right "to be left alone" and the claim that § 550.023 impermissibly codified Christian doctrine in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment of Religion Clause.

As to the former, the appeals court reasoned, "Taken to its logical conclusion, Guerra is asserting a fundamental right to hit someone with her vehicle and not stop and provide any assistance to the victim." Because it could find no textual or other support for this proposition — not even in Ms. Guerra's own presentations — the court rejected that claim.

Ms. Guerra's Establishment Clause argument consisted of portraying
§ 550.023 as “imposing Christian conduct, custom, philosophy and principles to all drivers." The court similarly found this claim to be without merit, because laws do not respect an establishment of religion when they simply happen to coincide with religious beliefs.

Which just goes to show you, religion has no monopoly on good conduct, not even in Texas. Guerra v. State.

h/t Prof. Friedman.


capper said...

I readst the law with mine eyes. Why, how doest thou readest the law?

illusory tenant said...

Not quite as frivolously as Guerra's attorney.

capper said...

I don't believe her attorney was frivolous. Unscrupulous, yes. Frivolous, no. Incompetent, yes.

But then again, we are talking Texas.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese with nary a macaroni in sight.