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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Hero for Saving Storm Refugees? Nah, You're in Jail.

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Author Topic: Hero for Saving Storm Refugees? Nah, You're in Jail.
David Ricardo
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Lovely. The same incompetent government officials who keep maxing excuses about "we never could have imagined..." jail an 18-year-old kid for bussing 100 refugees from New Orleans to the Astrodome in a school bus that he appropriated to save himself and 100 other New Orleans victims.

Don't they have better things to do than jailing some kid to whom they should instead be giving a medal? Or do we only give medals for incompetence nowadays?

http://mainstusa.blogspot.com/2005/09/in-massachusetts-wed-call-this-yankee.html

quote:
A friend on a lawyer listserve sent me this story. This kid is definitely getting a pro bono lawyer. He found an abandoned bus in New Orleans, packed it with survivors, and drove it to the Astrodome. The reaction of the officials? They're going to charge him with theft. Unbelievable.

This kid is a hero. They should give him a medal. He evacuated 100 people faster than FEMA.

The link is to the video from the television story, followed by the transcript.

http://www.newschannel5.tv/Video/News/4255

Taking refuge in the Astrodome

Thursday, September 01, 2005 Updated: 07:55 PM

HOUSTON -- NEWSCHANNEL 5 crews were in Houston as some desperate refugees arrive in a stolen bus.

HOUSTON -- Thousands of refugees of Hurricane Katrina were transported to the Astrodome in Houston this week. In an extreme act of looting, one group actually stole a bus to escape ravaged areas in Louisiana.

About 100 people packed into the stolen bus. They were the first to enter the Houston Astrodome, but they weren't exactly welcomed.

The big yellow school bus wasn't expected or approved to pass through the stadium's gates. Randy Nathan, who was on the bus, said they were desperate to get out of town.

"If it werent for him right there," he said, "we'd still be in New Orleans underwater. He got the bus for us."

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control.

"I just took the bus and drove all the way here...seven hours straight,' Gibson admitted. "I hadn't ever drove a bus."


The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there.

"It's better than being in New Orleans," said fellow passenger Albert McClaud, "we want to be somewhere where we're safe."

During a long and impatient delay, children popped their heads out of bus windows and mothers clutched their babies.

One 8-day-old infant spent the first days of his life surrounded by chaos. He's one of the many who are homeless and hungry.

Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome.

But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus.

"I dont care if I get blamed for it ," Gibson said, "as long as I saved my people."

Sixty legally chartered buses were expected to arrive in Houston throughout the night. Thousands of people will be calling the Astrodome "home," at least for now.

This 18-year-old kid pulled off the successful evacuation of 100 people (something that all of FEMA had failed to accomplish in over 4 days), and the government is going to throw him into a jail cell for having the initiative and common sense to commander an abandoned school bus to save over 100 lives?

No wonder the government can't seem to get anything right. They give medals to all the incompetents and jail away and/or fire anyone who has any common sense.

[ September 02, 2005, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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The Drake
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"Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome. But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus."

I have to say, the kid is not in jail or even arrested right? The "news" report, if you want to call it that, is awfully sketchy. I would be interested to get better information, and if they charge him with anything, I'll contribute to his defense fund.

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TS Elliot
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Care to display a scan (of your bank statement) of that? Cause this is surely going down, they're that stupid.

[ September 03, 2005, 04:05 AM: Message edited by: TS Elliot ]

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WarrsawPact
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How many people could have fit onto these?
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TS Elliot
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I just knew this guy was black:

http://www.vg.no/pub/vgart.hbs?artid=288731

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ender wiggin
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You can fit 75 people on a normal school bus under extreme circumstances (3 to a seat) Including small children, this could have happened. 100 seems a tad excessive though.
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KnightEnder
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Ten to one this kid ends up running for public office, and wins. [Smile]

KE

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Loki
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'he's a folk hero'
'he's a criminal'
'most folk heroes started out as criminals'

A little Slapshot reference.

This guy is awesome, way to go.

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TS Elliot
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he looks so innocently down to earth.
and in all the reports I've found, it wasn't a hundred people but 70-ish. Even it was 100, maybe a lot of them were kids? But I just think the reporter that said 100 fcuked it up.

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Jesse
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TS Elliot, kids do read this board man.

I swear like a sailor in my personal life, I drop F-bombs like crazy, but that's really not apropriate here.

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The Drake
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I think TS Elliot's profanity is the least risky of that person's posts to our nation's youth [Wink]
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RickyB
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"Oh yes...you're the young man who doesn't know how to spell the word f-ck"
[Big Grin]

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foliated
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So W.W.J.R.J.O (What Would John Roberts, Jr. Opine?)

in other words, let's suppose this really happened, Mr. Gibson gets prosecuted and convicted. After all, doesn't the case seem pretty open and shut? He did take the bus which didn't belong to him and took it several hundred miles away from where it belonged, and freely admitted to these things in the media. His attorneys appeal the conviction, of course. The case goes before Mr. Roberts. Are his hands tied in this case? Are there any grounds on which he can overturn the verdict?

Is there any provision in American law that makes it explicit that actions like Mr. Gibson's, undertaken with the clear intent of saving lives, can trump other considerations? I'm under the impression that Jewish law explicitly allows for this (I remember Lieberman said he wouldn't have any problems serving as VP in an emergency during the Sabbath for that reason, but pls correct me if I'm wrong), but does something similar hold in American law? Or, at least, do courts/prosecutors/judges reason that way? Have originalist judges ever been known to reason this way?

Assuming the facts as stated in the quoted article, does Mr. Gibson have a defense?

I mentioned Judge Roberts, of course, because of the case of the 12 year old on the Metro. "General disapproval of the very idea of arresting/prosecuting" doesn't seem to be a valid basis for overturning verdicts.

(sorry if this is a silly question. Too much bridge or something.)

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Dagonee
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There are justification and necessity defenses for most crimes. The specifics are very jurisdiction-dependent, but usually include elements of imminent danger outweighing the harm caused by not acting, not having contributed to the danger, and there not being a specific legislative statement about which danger is considered worse.

I would think this guy's best shot at avoiding conviction (if he's ever prosecuted) is jury nullification, set up by a necessity defense and an attempt to get all 70 people to testify on his behalf. Long shot with most judges, but if an element is a comparison of the harm, then each bit of harm is relevant.

quote:
I mentioned Judge Roberts, of course, because of the case of the 12 year old on the Metro. "General disapproval of the very idea of arresting/prosecuting" doesn't seem to be a valid basis for overturning verdicts.
If I recall correctly, the case wasn't about the criminal conviction but about the civil rights action brought by the girl and her mother. So different standards entirely would apply.
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TS Elliot
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What different standards? The same principle applies:
How to criminalize young black persons while upholding harsh laws. But of course, you'd regard that a rant.

IMHO, this could be argued as a self defense case.
I'm soooo curious who have the balls (and lack of frontal lobes) to prosecute this guy.

[ September 10, 2005, 12:52 AM: Message edited by: TS Elliot ]

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Kosmic_Fool
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Dag: do you know of a website that publishes the mandatory sentences for specific crimes. I've been trying to find the ms for grand theft auto and haven't been able to.

That said, I wonder if Gibson couldn't just plead guilty and ask for leniency from the judge. Given the extraordinary nature of the circumstances, as well as his age, a judge would probably just let him go with nothing, a slap on the wrist at most.

For that matter, has the kid been charged with anything yet? Given the outcry that must have gone up when the potential charges were revealed, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'officials' mentioned didn't just let him go and pretend it never happened.

quote:
What different standards?
The different standards between a civil suit and a criminal suit. Pretty much the biggest difference possible.

quote:
How to criminalize young black persons
Just noting that if, as Dag said, the case with the girl and her mother was a civil action, then there's no way it could criminalize them.

quote:
I'm soooo curious who have the balls (and lack of frontal lobes) to prosecute this guy.
Probably a DA who was told to and would be looking for the fastest possible way to end it. Just because a prosecutor is prosecuting a case -- or a defense counsel is defending one, for that matter -- that doesn't mean that he/she believes in the 'rightness' of the position he/she is advocating.

I once asked one of my lawyer friends how he dealt with defending people he was sure committed the crime. He said that, in those cases, his job was to make sure that the prosecutor did their job and that full due process, however harsh, was given to his client. Same deal here.

edit: Used 'I wouldn't be surprised' too often. My mind just gets stuck in a rut sometimes . . .

[ September 10, 2005, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Kosmic_Fool ]

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