Let's say you've just gunned down your best friend in a fit of rage over a gambling debt. Remorseful, you dial up 911 and tell the operator that your pal's dead and it's all your fault.
Normally, such a confession, recorded on a 911 call, would pretty much guarantee a guilty verdict on a homicide rap. But not if state House Representative Judy Burges -- a.k.a., Sand Land's Batty Birther Queen -- and other far-right wackadoodles, such as state Representatives Carl Seel and David Gowan have their way.
They and their cohorts in the state House are sponsoring a get-out-of-jail-free card for confessed murderers. Well, at least for those murderers who confess on a 911 call.
Here's the language from House Bill 2583. You can't make this stuff up.
A. IF A PERSON IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY INVOLVED IN AN ACT THAT INVOLVES THE THREATENED OR ACTUAL USE OF DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE AND THE PERSON PROMPTLY REPORTS THE ACT TO AN APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE OR POLICE SERVICES, THE PERSON'S STATEMENT IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OR A CIVIL ACTION AGAINST THAT PERSON, EXCEPT FOR THE PURPOSES OF IMPEACHMENT.
B. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A STATEMENT THAT IS NOT ADMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION A OF THIS SECTION IS NOT A PUBLIC RECORD AND SHALL NOT BE DISCLOSED TO THE PUBLIC IN ANY MANNER.
Not only would the confession not be admissible, it wouldn't even be subject to a public records request.
Wacky? Yes, but there's a twisted reason behind it that's based on good old fashioned gun-nuttery.
See gun nuts, and their legislative backers, want to be able to kill people with impunity, and claim self-defense.
So whenever there's a case where someone kills an unarmed person, and ends up getting convicted for it, the Arizona legislature gets to work trying to make sure such convictions never occur again.
This happened in the case of Harold Fish, the Arizona man convicted in 2006 of second degree murder. Fish had shot and killed an unarmed transient while hiking, saying that he feared for his life because the man was charging him.
The legislature jumped in and shifted the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defense to the prosecution. It didn't help Fish, though he eventually beat the rap on appeal in any case.
Burges' bill seems a legislative answer to the conviction of Phoenix store owner Roger Garfield, who killed an unarmed homeless man, and was later found guilty of manslaughter.
Garfield, like Fish, claimed self-defense, but his claim was belied by statements he made -- you guessed it -- in 911 calls he'd made during a previous encounter with the same man. Those tapes were played during Garfield's trial.
If Burges' bill had been law at that time, maybe Garfield would've skated.
Because if you're unarmed in Arizona and are blown away by some scaredy-cat white dude with a gun fetish, you get what you deserve.
Or so the gun freaks seem to believe.