Texas Judge Charged With Shooting At Husband’s Girlfriend In Driveway Standoff

download-2A bizarre case has unfolded in Texas where Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas has been charged with shooting at the girlfriend of her husband. Smoots-Thomas was previously suspended after allegations that she spent campaign funds on jewelry, luxury items, her mortgage payments, and other personal expenses.  The case could raise some novel defenses.

Smoots-Thomas is facing 10 counts of wire fraud involving $25,000 in campaign funds but still ran for reelection. What is astonishing is that, despite the allegations, she still made a runoff in the recent election. (She was ultimately defeated).

Smoots-Thomas reportedly pulled into the woman’s driveway and began honking.  The girlfriend came outside with what is described as a “board” and tried to smack the gun away from Smoots-Thomas.  Police told the Houston Chronicle that Smoots-Thomas then fired three shots and fled the scene.

Assuming the gun was legal, Smoots-Thomas could argue that she had a right to bring the gun in the car and that she was defending herself if the shots were fired after the girlfriend used the board.  A jury would be understandably skeptical at such a defense but Texas has robust Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground protections. Texas Penal Code §9.32(c) codified the common law rule that you do not have a duty to retreat if attacked so long as you have a legal right to be at the location; you did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used, and you were not engaged in criminal activity at the time deadly force was used.

The prosecutors can argued that Smoot-Thomas was arguably trespassing but also provoked the encounter. She can argue that she came to the house to confront her husband and his girlfriend and only used force in self-defense.

As I stated, it is a tough criminal defense case to make for a jury.

Smoot-Thomas received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas and her J.D. from South Texas College of Law.

Here is the relevant provision under Texas Penal Code §9.32(c) :

(a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:

(1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31 ;  and

(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

(A) to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force;  or

(B) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

(b) The actor’s belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:

(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;

(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;  or

(C) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);

(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used;  and

(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

27 thoughts on “Texas Judge Charged With Shooting At Husband’s Girlfriend In Driveway Standoff”

  1. What we don’t know is when the gun was pulled. The OP just says the gal tried to hit the gun away.

    If the judged pulled the gun in response to the board wielding girlfriend, then self defense seems reasonable. However, if she had the gun drawn and then started honking the horn and being provocative, then she could be in trouble. Without any other information, it seems less likely that she was displaying the gun before the board wielder approached b/c who takes a board to a gun fight, especially in TX?

    If the recent case in Austin where a BLM protester carrying an AK-47 is any indication, law enforcement might side with the version of events reported by the shooter. I think the threshold imminent threat is something along the lines of would a reasonable person in that situation feel like their life was being threatened.

  2. LOL! I didn’t see the judge’s party affiliation mentioned…so I assume she’s a Democrat! Sheesh! They sure are unhinged, these Leftists. You can’t make this stuff up…

    1. wire fraud, mortgage payments, jewelry, luxury items being purchased with campaign funds… Yep… sounds about right for a typical demoncrap political.

      1. It’s amazing to me that the perported education in the law that this person received has done nothing except to clearly illustrate the giveaway diploma mills if your the right color. No, all you have to do is show up to class – and that is likely to be just 50% of the time. This is how the ‘whites’ make amends to minority classes. So there goes what standards were left. Like I have oft said, it’s the teachers, stupid!

    2. While you’re demonizing the Democrats, take a look at the Republicans and Trump, American fascists.

      The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism. Let’s see which boxes Trump checks off…

      1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism ☑️ Check
      2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights ☑️ Check
      3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. ☑️ Check
      4. Supremacy of the Military ☑️ Check
      5. Rampant Sexism ☑️ Check
      6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. ☑️ Check
      7. Obsession with National Security ☑️ Check
      8. Religion and Government are Intertwined ☑️ Check
      9. Corporate Power is Protected ☑️ Check
      10.Labor Power is Suppressed ☑️ Check
      11.Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts ☑️ Check
      12.Obsession with Crime and Punishment ☑️ Check
      13.Rampant Cronyism and Corruption ☑️ Check ☑️ Check ☑️ Check
      14.Fraudulent Elections – ☑️ Check ☑️ Check ☑️ Check ☑️ Check ☑️ Check

      1. Other than 1 and 7, loving one’s country and believing a strong military is the best defense against tyranny, which Democrats disdain, could you point to any of the other 12 characteristics that are not embedded in the Democrat platform? Democrats are internationalist fascists

    3. The press never mentions the party affiliation when a democrat is involved.

    4. Correct. The attached link shows that she defeated her Democrat challenger in the primary despite her outstanding charges of embezzlement, but lost in the general election, presumably to a Republican.

    5. A wonderfully flamboyant news story involving Texas and guns and not one peep from the MSM. The American Journalism Community needs to clean up and fire their soft and doughy Editors.

  3. Trump pays Lara Trump and Kim Guiolfoiyle – the significant others of his sons – campaign funds when they speak at his rallies. (Actually, he does this indirectly by paying an outside firm owned by his former campaign manager, who pays them) Certainly, this money can be used by Lara and Kim for jewelry, other luxury goods, and mortgage payments.

    So why have they not been charged with wire fraud, as this black congressional candidate has?

    1. Because you would have to show proof. And proof it was Smoots -Thomas. In case you forgot, innocent UNTIL proven guilty. Just in case you skipped over part of the orig post, “in the recent election. (She was ultimately defeated). And after these charges, she is likely to lose her Law license – as did Bubba Clinton did for perjuring himself. Now these are the correct applications of the law.

      1. For common areas like driveways and paths to doors, you’re not trespassing until refusing to leave when asked to do so.

  4. Stand your ground. But. It was the other person’s ground. In some ways.
    The McCloskeys case should come into discussion.
    The woman who defended her ground- her driveway- had a board which was for her defense.
    In days of old I knew a judge who kept his pistol on the bench by his right hand. If anyone questioned him he said he was left handed. He was a Democrat.

  5. Family law is always the most fun to read about, however not the most fun to practice, from what I have been told. If she is brandishing the gun as she trespasses, I would think she is in the wrong. However, I think Texas has is an open carry state, please correct me if I am wrong.

    I look forward to someone following this one. 😉

    1. Paul C– I don’t practice family law because of Willie. Early in my career, while waiting for my case to be called in Houston, a divorce hearing was holding things up because the obviously very wealthy couple could not agree on who got Willie. I later learned Willie was a plant. I decided then and there that I did not care and could never care who got Willie.

      1. honestlawyer – I have seen joint custody of the dog, where the couple met in a neutral parking lot to trade off the dog. I hate to think what the rest of the divorce was like.

    2. In TX, you have to have a permit to carry a pistol and it does not need to be concealed. There is a caveat for businesses that can post a sign saying openly carried pistols are not allowed (meaning they must be concealed), or that neither forms of carry are allowed on that site. Also, businesses that make the majority of their revenue from alcohol sales must display a “51%” sign and that means no guns are allowed on site. This might have been modified recently.

      Additionally, you can’t even take the pistol out in public to show it to a friend or inspect it, etc. That must be done privately as far as I understand it.

      Long guns (n/a in this case) don’t require a permit for open carry, but when they are carried, the person cannot point it at anyone or otherwise use it to threaten others. Just having it in public is not considered to be a threat to others.

      1. Permits are required to CARRY a pistol but there’s no requirement for a permit to have them on your property or in your vehicle.

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