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Texas: 16 year old Girl Charged With Three Counts of Capital Murder

crime scene tape.jpgA female teenager in Texarkana, Texas has been formally charged with three counts of capital murder in the deaths of a Texarkana woman and her two children. According to reports, the suspect’s mother contacted officials saying that her daughter confessed. After being interviewed at her home, the teenage girl was arrested and remains at a juvenile detention facility. According to police, the girl had information about the May 11th fire that killed the three individuals that only someone at the scene would have known.

There are several ways that a murder becomes a capital offense in Texas. One being whoever “intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit…arson…” Tex. Penal Code ยง19.03.

This case raises two interesting legal points. First, privileged communications that are recognized under the law. The Texas Rules of Evidence govern what privileged communications are not admissible in court. There are certain privileged communications that the courts will not allow to be admitted against a defendant in court. For example, the common privilege is the attorney-client privilege. Other common privileged communications are the husband-wife privilege, clergy-penitent privilege, and the physician-patient privilege. There is no parent-child privilege specifically addressed by the Texas Rules of Evidence. There have several attempts by lawmakers to add a parent-child privilege to the Federal Rules of Evidence, however none of them have ever passed. Thus, it remains in Texas and in Federal Court that parents may be forced to provide incriminating information against their own child. Even the few states who do recognize parent-child privilege only apply the privilege to communications between a minor child and his or her parent.

The second legal issue is that this child cannot be executed for this offense, even though it is a capital crime. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roper v. Simmons that executing an individual who was under the age of 18 when he or she committed the offense violated the 8th Amendment’s right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. In additional to not allowing the execution of a child, the U.S. Supreme in Atkins v. Virginia ruled that mentally retarded individuals could not be executed either.
If you or a loved is being investigated for a crime, you need an experienced attorney to assist with dealing with sensitive and sometimes complicated legal issues. Contact the Law Office of Dayna L. Jones at (210) 255-8525 immediately to set up your free consultation.

If you or a loved is being investigated for a crime, you need an experienced attorney to assist with dealing with sensitive and sometimes complicated legal issues. Contact the Law Office of Dayna L. Jones at (210) 255-8525 immediately to set up your free consultation.