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SCOTUS Overturns Cop Killer's Conviction

May 26, 2011  | 


The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man who fatally shot a police officer who discovered him planning a bank robbery with four other people in a Florida cemetery.

The court overturned the conviction of Charles Fowler for the 1998 shooting of Haines City (Fla.) Police Officer Todd Horner. Fowler was convicted of violating a federal witness tampering statute of preventing Officer Horner from communicating with a federal officer.

Fowler and several other men met on March 3, 1998, to plan a robbery of a Florida bank. Officer Horner approached a suspicious vehicle at about 6:40 a.m. After asking four subjects to exit the vehicle at gunpoint, one man distracted Officer Horner, while a fifth subject hiding in a nearby orange grove attacked him from behind. The men disarmed the officer.

Fowler then said, "Now we can't walk away from this thing." He then shot the officer in the back of the head.

In his majority opinion, Justice Breyer wrote that the government didn't prove Fowler's intent to prevent the communication. In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that the government needs only prove a "reasonable likelihood" that Officer Horner would have communicated information about Fowler's criminal activities to federal law enforcement.

The case is Fowler v. United States, 10-5443.

By Paul Clinton

Tags: U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Cop Killers


Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Morning Eagle @ 5/26/2011 6:46 PM

What!?!? Apparently the lobotomy of Breyer and those who agreed with him on this was very successful. Our "justice system" is rapidly being turned upside down by the bleeding heart thinking that produces such inexplicable decisions. Fowler executed the officer and to overturn on such a senseless technicality is ridiculous. The courts are going overboard to defend the “rights” of the defendant with almost total disregard for any rights of the victims.

Tim Martin @ 5/26/2011 9:02 PM

Hmm. So shooting a person that just witnessed crime in the head would indicate the intent was to prevent him from reporting it. There's logical reasoning there.

Ed Ellinwood @ 5/27/2011 7:32 AM

I would one day like to see a member of the U.S. supreme court make a stand and just ask the other justices, "Is this really the right thing to do" 'Have we all lost our minds?" I became an officer of the law to serve and protect. I make decisions in a matter of seconds and live with my decision. This individual did just the same, as he shot an officer of the law in the back of the head-let him live with it. In prison for the rest of his life with no chance of parole-EVER, now he can, Live with it.

Cmdrtim @ 5/27/2011 8:45 PM

WOW! I guess I will move to Russia or China.. AT least there I expect to get it up the Axx. Our country is on the highway to hell for sure. I sure when Breyer needs help I'm there!

David @ 9/28/2011 6:16 AM

Why wasn't Fowler convicted of 1st degree murder and executed?

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