Texas Penal Code Section 36.06:
OBSTRUCTION OR RETALIATION. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act:
(1) in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of another as a:
(A) public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant; or
(B) person who has reported or who the actor knows intends to report the occurrence of a crime; or
. . . .
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree unless the victim of the offense was harmed or threatened because of the victim’s service or status as a juror, in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.
Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(25):
“Harm” means anything reasonably regarded as loss, disadvantage, or injury, including harm to another person in whose welfare the person affected is interested.
Harm may includes reputational harm or embarrassment. So it’s a felony to embarrass a public servant (including an elected official) on account of his service or status as a public servant.
I don’t know that anyone has ever been prosecuted (explicitly) for embarrassing an elected official in Texas, but the statute allows it, so the statute is unconstitutional.
Does it really allow it? It doesn’t forbid it, and I don’t see how you read harm to exclude embarrassment and reputational harm. But just in case you do, Democratic Texas House Member Chris Turner of Tarrant County has a solution: House Bill 1061, which would add a fourth subsection to Section 36.06:
(4) “Harm” includes:
(A) financial harm, including harm to a person’s financial status or a person’s credit report or score;
(B) harm to a person’s reputation;
(C) harm caused by intentionally disseminating or using a person’s personal, private, or confidential information;
(D) harm caused by invading the privacy of a person.
That is Chris Turner. Chris Turner is a mouthbreathing dimwit who wouldn’t know the First Amendment if his favorite hand puppet read it to him slowly in very small words.
Fortunately, Turner was Wendy Davis’s campaign manager, so his bill has zero chance of success. Unfortunately, his bill is superfluous anyway: the statute makes embarrassing him a felony. And, so that I am clear enough that even the slackjawed moron Mr. Turner gets it, that is exactly what I am doing.
I write this blog post with the intent to harm Chris Turner’s reputation on account of his status as a public servant.
[Update: I’m also violating Texas Penal Code Sections 33.07 (Online Impersonation) and 32.51 (Fraudulent Use of Identifying Information) either one of which could be a predicate unlawful act for a 36.06 prosecution.]
Come and get me.