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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Court must retain common sense

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Back in 2001, for whatever reason, Edward Chacon of Kansas City got into a shouting match with Thomas Brown Sr. and Thomas Brown Jr. over a traffic infraction. Police aren't certain who said what or who did what. All they know is that Chacon lost his life.

Following the heated exchange of words, the Browns spotted Chacon's vehicle parked at a restaurant. Armed with a hammer and a knife, the Browns went into the restaurant to settle a score with Chacon.

It's important to note that the Browns both weigh over 300 pounds while Chacon was a small man weighing only 115 pounds. By any measure, it was not going to be a fair fight.

What happened in the restaurant formed the basis for the Browns' murder trial. By some accounts, Chacon reached for a butter knife when the conversation turned ugly. By most accounts, the butter knife never left the table. Either way, Chacon was stabbed and killed. And the Browns were both sentenced to several years in prison.

But a state appeals court has overturned the conviction because of a technical error by the prosecutor. But even that technicality is in question because of conflicting testimony during the trial.

Here's my belated point. The Browns entered that restaurant fully armed and seeking a conflict. Their victim was no match in size. He was unarmed. And he must have been afraid as anyone his size might be when confronted with two angry, large men.

How can the courts overturn a conviction when there is no dispute over the facts listed above? Whether Chacon was able to actually reach for a butter knife or not is unimportant. What is important is the fact that this father and son entered that restaurant armed and ready for revenge. How they handed out their justice is far less important than the fact that their intentions were clear.

All too often we allow the courts to trump common sense and logic. No one wants an innocent man to spend one day behind bars. But the Browns were far from innocent and Edward Chacon paid with his life.

But now the taxpayers will fork over more money for yet another trial that will surely end the very same way.

What a waste!

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen