Smells like a big pile of... well you know.
This is a discussion on Not really a success, just odd loophole within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/l...-5233067c.html Girl caught in crossfire and in law’s loophole KAREN HUCKS; The News Tribune Published: July 11th, 2006 01:00 A Pierce County prosecutors say they ...
Girl caught in crossfire and in law’s loophole
KAREN HUCKS; The News Tribune
Published: July 11th, 2006 01:00 A
Pierce County prosecutors say they can’t charge anyone for shooting a 17-year-old girl who was paralyzed after getting caught in a gunfight between two gangs Saturday in downtown Tacoma.
Tiffany Walker – who has no gang affiliation and just happened to be near the shootout – was hit by a bullet fired in response to gunfire that killed a member of one of the gangs, chief criminal deputy prosecutor Jerry Costello said Monday.
Whoever shot Walker was justified in shooting in self-defense, regardless of whether people were in danger, he said.
Costello has charged Verrick Vere Yarbrough with first-degree murder and first-degree assault for the shootings that killed 19-year-old rival gang member Rhaczio Simms and wounded a second bystander. Yarbrough pleaded not guilty to the charges and was jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
The prosecutor said he’s unable to bring additional charges in connection with Walker’s injuries.
“It’s very sad,” Costello said. “There’s just no provision under the criminal law that allows us to charge him (Yarbrough) for her shooting. He didn’t actually shoot her.”
The shootings – between members of two gangs that had been having recent altercations – happened about 1:15 a.m. Saturday in the 700 block of Pacific Avenue.
Walker was with friends near her car when she was shot, according to charging papers in Yarbrough’s case. They had just left Club Friday – an all-ages club in the Brick City building on Pacific Avenue and Ninth Street.
A bullet fired half a block away by someone in Simms’ gang hit her in the left side of her torso and lodged in her spine, paralyzing her.
Costello said Walker knew Yarbrough through a cousin, but has no gang connections. He said police were impressed with her as “a good kid.”
Her family did not respond to an interview request Monday from The News Tribune.
Costello said the specifics of the law limit what charges they can bring in Walker’s case.
To bring a charge of first-degree assault, prosecutors must prove the perpetrator intended to cause great bodily harm and either caused that harm or tried to do so with a deadly weapon. Someone is guilty of first-degree assault if they shoot at someone and miss.
So, prosecutors could theoretically charge Yarbrough with assault for anyone in his line of fire, because his intent to harm his victims would “transfer” to anyone he endangered or hit, Costello said.
Walker wasn’t in his line of fire, though.
“Had she died, (Yarbrough would) be responsible for that,” Costello said. “The law would allow a felony murder theory.”
Under that charge, prosecutors would allege that in the course of assaulting someone else, Yarbrough caused Walker’s death. It would be akin to a bank robber who causes a security guard to fire, but the security guard accidentally kills a bank customer. The robber is responsible for the murder of the customer, Costello explained.
However, there’s no legal equivalent for an assault.
Costello said he’ll try to get justice for Walker indirectly.
If Yarbrough is convicted, Costello said, he will seek an exceptional sentence, contending Yarbrough deserves it because he committed the crimes to maintain or advance his position in a gang and because the crimes had a destructive and foreseeable impact on people other than the victim.
Lew Cox, a crime victim advocate, said it’s odd that no criminal charge covers what happened to Walker.
“For crime victims, it’s an additional assault on them,” he said. “You’re assaulted with the wound and then you’re assaulted by a system that has a gap here that won’t cover this type of incident. There’s nobody taking responsibility.”
Karen Hucks: 253-597-8660
Dont know what to think about this, I was under the impression that if you were furthering a crime, you couldnt claim self-defense in a shooting. I guess its not actually illegal to be in a gang though (unfortunately) What do you guys think? This just came off the wires a few minutes ago. Tacoma is about 30 miles south of Seattle.
Smells like a big pile of... well you know.
Two of my favorite responses:
"What is it about gun control laws that makes you feel safe?"
"For the same reason I always wear my seatbelt."
Weird things happen in Pierce County all the time. Place is crooked as a dogs leg .
"He didn't actually shoot her"?....uh
So is she "actually" NOT paralyzed?
How about reckless endangerment? assault with a deadly weapon?
Actually it makes sense, IF the 2nd gang was justified in shooting back as self-defense. It functions no differently that if one of us used legitimate self defense and a bystander accidentally got hit. She could recover civilly, but since the shooter was justified in shooting back, there is no more reason for the law to punish him criminally than it would punish any of us should such a tragedy occur while we were lawfully defending ourselves. Being a gang member does not automatically make someone a criminal, nor does it remove his right to defend himself. This whole thing is tragic, but there is no objective reason to prosecute the shooter. Also, it doesn't make too much sense to prosecute the original shooter since he wasn't shooting anywhere near her. Some states may have laws which would allow such a prosecution, but I'm pretty sure they are in the minority.
all the best,
Did the 'person' who shot the girl have the firearm legally?
Thats what I've been trying to figure out. The stories pretty new so it's a little hard to get all the details. You can't legally own a firearm with a rap sheet so you wouldn't think so. Guess the guy could have been one of the few "clean" gang bangers, didnt think that was very common though...Originally Posted by sigma man
Sigma Man it wouldn't matter if the person who actually did shoot her was carrying legally, which very likely the person was not.
At best that unnamed person could be charged with a firearm charge toward illegal possesion or maybe a misdemeanor toward discharge but thats about it as what was stated by Fargo and the persons within the article.
Criminals and gang bangers not otherwise prior in the commision of a crime have the right to self defense just as you or I whose professions differ.