Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ruckus Over Legislator Spiking Proposed Bill

The bill would have increased the penalty for fleeing a police officer on foot and was named for a fallen law enforcement officer. State Representative Jim Dunnam killed the bill saying:
“I just think that’s going way too far (in changing the penalties),” Dunnam said. “I don’t think a kid running on foot evading a shoplifting charge should be convicted of a felony.” Source: Waco Tribune
Dunnam's action killed the bill and drew the ire of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT). CLEAT's position is that police chases are inherently dangerous and put officers at risk. It's a laudable goal to try to reduce the number of people who run from the police but will the way this bill is worded really do it.

Recently the law concerning evading arrest in a vehicle was changed to increase the penalty to a felony. I am not sure we are seeing any fewer people fleeing though. Especially since these people aren't really prosecuted as a felony with the courts tendancy to hand out "deferred adjudications" sentences to many felony offenses.

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