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May 10, 2023

Man convicted of murdering BLM marcher, whom Texas Gov has pledged to pardon, sentenced by judge to 25 years in prison

This new AP article, headlined "Army sergeant who fatally shot BLM protester in Texas sentenced to 25 years," reports on the latest legal development in a high-profile case which first caught my attention when Gov. Greg Abbott announced on social media that he would pardon a just-convicted killer.  Here are some of the details:

A U.S. Army sergeant plans to appeal his 25-year prison sentence for fatally shooting an armed man during a Black Lives Matter protest in Texas, and will cooperate with efforts by the state’s Republican governor to issue a pardon, his attorney said Wednesday.

Daniel Perry, 36, was convicted of murder in April for killing 28-year-old Garrett Foster during the downtown Austin protest in July 2020....  Perry attorney Clinton Broden said in a statement that his client would appeal. He called Perry’s conviction the product of “political prosecution” and said the defense team would “fully cooperate in the pardon process.”

Perry’s conviction prompted outrage from prominent conservatives, and Gov. Greg Abbott, citing Texas’ Stand Your Ground laws, has said he would sign a pardon once a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles hits his desk.  The board — which is stacked with Abbott appointees — is reviewing Perry’s case on the governor’s orders, but it is unclear when it will reach a decision.

District Judge Clifford Brown delivered a statement during sentencing that didn’t address the potential pardon directly.  But he insisted that Perry had a “fair and impartial trial” and that the jury’s decision “deserves our honor and it deserves to be respected.” 

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said it was Abbott “who decided to insert politics in this case.” Garza said he’s been in touch with the board and has been assured that prosecutors will be allowed to present a case against a pardon, and that it will include a presentation from Foster’s family.

The pardon process is a valuable check on the court system, Broden said. “Those who claim that Governor Abbott’s expressed intent is based on politics simply choose to ignore the fact that it was only the political machinations of a rogue district attorney which led to Sgt. Perry’s prosecution in the first instance,” he said.

Perry was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Austin, when the shooting happened. He had just dropped off a ride-share customer and turned onto a street filled with protesters. Perry said he was trying to get past the crowd and fired his pistol when Foster pointed a rifle at him. Witnesses testified that they did not see Foster raise his weapon, and prosecutors argued that Perry could have driven away without shooting.

Perry said he acted in self-defense. His lawyers asked the judge to consider his more than a decadelong military career and hand down a sentence of no more than 10 years. Army spokesman Bryce Dubee has said Perry is classified as in “civilian confinement” pending separation from the military.

On Tuesday, prosecutors submitted into evidence dozens of texts and social media posts Perry wrote, shared or liked, including some shockingly racist images. They had been excluded from Perry’s trial, but were publicly released after his conviction and allowed into the sentencing phase by Brown. “This man is a loaded gun, ready to go off at any perceived threat,” prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez said, urging Brown to issue a sentence of at least 25 years. “He’s going to do it again.”

Perry, who is white, was working as a ride-share driver in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, when he shot and killed Foster, an Air Force veteran. Foster, who was also white, was legally carrying an AK-47 rifle as he participated in the demonstration against police killings and racial injustice, following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.

Prior related post:

May 10, 2023 at 04:44 PM | Permalink


Any pardon by its nature "disrespects" the outcome of the judicial system. Indeed, that's the whole reason for them. I've thought for some time before this that they should be subject to more of a check than they are, but my opinion seems to be pretty lonely.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 10, 2023 4:59:06 PM


I don't think you are alone at all in your sentiments. I believe there are many, if not most, who would want a full (or fuller) explanation as to why or why not a pardon is or is not issued. Along with a reasonable "explanation", a system of 'checks and balances' or some type of oversight should be instituted, although the chief executive (president or state governor) should continue to make the ultimate decision.

Posted by: SG | May 11, 2023 6:11:12 PM


Let's prosecute this guy too . . . .

Posted by: federalist | May 12, 2023 8:27:32 AM

SG --

We agree in part. I don't think the executive should be required to explain the absence if a pardon, since defaulting to the judicial outcome is presumptively proper, and is the result in 99+% of the cases anyway.

Separately, let me ask you this: Do you tell the people you have in drug counseling that they are responsible for their own lives and decisions -- not someone else and not "the system" -- and that their future success depends squarely on stepping up to meet that responsibility? I suspect that is what you say, which is why you and I have discovered something that makes a conversation possible.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 12, 2023 9:25:51 AM


You ask: "Do you tell the people you have in drug counseling that they are responsible for their own lives and decisions..."?

The short answer is: of course, yes. I say that and a whole lot of other stuff. However...
my words, or your words, or words of a judge, prosecutor, probation officer, or any other person who think that their pearls of wisdom will effect significant change in the life of an addict, criminal, etc. who is seeking change, is a false assumption, based upon the speaker's own ego/narcissism ("My pearls will cause them to have life-changing epiphanies, and they will stop using drugs and committing crimes, and be totally cured because of what I say to them"..which is 100% complete horse crap).

What is far more important is that the addict/criminal is (1) in a supportive environment where, (2) "right living" is modeled by others/peers who may also be in recovery and who (3) expect and demand that the subject adheres to that community's standards and rules, and (4) success is greatly determined by the level of participation in the process by the subject who (5) develops motivation to seek and assume responsibility for themselves and for others. In other words, change is possible in an environment that provides to the subject the information (i.e., "you are responsible for yourself"), the setting and the resources, and by the subject "being there" (in other words, if they choose to split, the process is pretty much over).

My spoken words to the subject is, in the larger scheme of things, not all that important, but it could be helpful and inspiring. But it's not "me" who changes them. And now you know.

Posted by: SG | May 12, 2023 6:11:23 PM

SG --

Again, we agree in part. I 've said many times that what the government does is not what matters. What matters is whether the defendant actually understands deep down that the way he's been living is both morally wrong because of what it does to others and self-destructive because of what it does to him. If in his heart -- a place the government can't reach -- he believes this, his chances are decently good. If he doesn't believe it, it doesn't matter what programs the government offers. His chances are bad.

Whether sarcastically characterized as a "pearl of wisdom" or not, the truth is that the individual is responsible for his own life and behavior. When that gets through, there's at least a chance for a better life. Until it gets through, there isn't, and society is left with no realistic choice but to protect itself.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 12, 2023 10:30:54 PM


And you believe that a prison is the place where such insights and epiphanies are more (or most)likely to occur?? If so, I think this is where you and I will part ways. I believe a prison setting is the LEAST likely place for such an event to occur. Recidivism rates seem to bare this out. We can do much better than this, and at a far lower cost, in terms of money and human suffering.

Pragmatically,if your car didn’t work, you would take it to your mechanic for repairs. After it was in his shop for a while, and present to you his bill for $2500. If there was no significant improvement or if the same problem persisted…you would refuse to pay the bill, and then go find another mechanic. It’s just common sense.

Posted by: SG | May 13, 2023 1:03:32 AM


What if the new mechanic breaks more things?

It’s not an issue of whether prison works in regard to recidivism. I’m inclined to agree.

1. The safety of the community is the first priority. Incapacitation works.
2. Other things are being tried right now. Go to SanFran, NYC, Chicago, DC, and Los Angeles to see the results.
3. It’s not enough to say, “We need to try something different.” You need to actually come up with something and make a case for why it would work. I did that in the other thread.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 13, 2023 2:56:37 PM


"I did that in the other thread." I must have missed that one. If you would, please direct me to the posting so I can read/review.

I am quite pleased that you at least are open to the concept of alternative approaches to prison. I have yet to hear that from Bill Otis, or any other of the "tough on crime" mob.
I have advocated for such changes literally for decades now.

I am a firm believer in the "therapeutic community" approach, as long as the govt. does NOT interfere by setting regulations, conditions, etc. etc. Govt. always screws it up due to politics, money, power, etc. Keep them out of it.

The "therapeutic community model" has been found to be the most successful when addressing the "re-education" of drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals, etc. (I can personally attest to this). I believe at least some will have a fighting chance to turn things around if such a change were instituted.

Please keep in mind that there is never a "100% guarantee" of any particular outcome. No "guaranteed cure". Some will succeed, some won't. It totally depends on the committment, dedication, mind-set of the addict/criminal, and the environment in which they find themselves (or so ordered by the court, as I was at age 20).

As to "incapacitation", the 'subject' can be offered the opportunity to partake in this "alternative", and as long as they remain in the program, they are in effect "incapacitated". Should they decide to leave, they would then be in violation and the probation officer/judge can decide what the next step would be (prison cell, or another program, or home detention, etc). I appreciate your points of view.

Posted by: SG | May 13, 2023 11:19:54 PM


From the other thread:

“ This issue will never be answered because the real question is never asked.

Prisons were always tough places. Much tougher in say, the 1940’s, than now. In light of that, it’s impossible that “mass incarceration” is the problem because there would have been more incarceration then.

It’s only a criminal justice issue tangentially. A person’s path in life has generally been decided even before seeing the judge that first time.

It’s a societal problem, as its fabric becomes more and more torn by the day. Having mom, dad, siblings, grandma, uncles, and aunts has been replaced by bastardy and single moms of four kids. In the rare case that did happen, the church would step in and provide financial and emotional support. Another family might involve your son in their activities and the dad become a male role model for your son. You knew everyone in the community and if you got out of hand, the babcia were all out on their stoops acting as the security cameras ready to tell mom and dad what you were up to.

As Edmund Burke said, family, church, and community were the “little platoons” that orient mankind towards virtues such as “temperance and fortitude.”

All of that has been replaced. We don’t know our neighbors, churchgoers are seen as just wackos, and we treat single moms as heroes and dad as doing well as long as he makes those CP payments.

The state has become “daddy.””

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 14, 2023 1:55:26 PM


All great points. Unfortunately, it is an almost certainty that we will never re-create such community support on a scale that would make a difference. So what do we do now? To date, the government has stepped in and assumed the role of “Daddy”, carrying the big stick and seeking to modify bad behavior by sending the wrongdoers to prison for long periods of time. And I say that this approach is an abject failure. Just look at the tragic results.

Posted by: SG | May 14, 2023 4:54:38 PM


Your comment is interesting. You are saying we will never recreate that “community support,” and that is exactly what you are trying to accomplish, albeit in a sterile and still government controlled setting. A paid employee will never love my kid as much as my church and I do.

I’m trying to prevent cancer while you are looking to treat it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 14, 2023 8:49:15 PM


For the love of GOD, where did I say, imply, infer anything close to this? You wrote: "that is exactly what you are trying to accomplish, albeit in a sterile and still government controlled setting".

Government controlled setting? Sterile?? What the actual hell? Were you sober when you wrote this? Where did you come up with such b.s.? Perhaps you have me confused with someone else.

Do I advocate for creating a community in which an addict can be re-educated, etc? Damn right I do. But the government should have NOTHING to do with it, other than to allow the person access to such alternative programs.

Really, Tarls. Come to your senses and stop this ridiculous trolling. I thought you were a serious person.

Posted by: SG | May 15, 2023 6:24:26 AM


Of course your program includes the government.

Who sends the person there? Who puts him in prison if he denies the program or leaves it?

Now, I see some merit to your idea for first time nonviolent offender types as long as there are real consequences for the offender who refuses to participate. However, let’s not pretend that government is not, in reality, a big part of the equation. All laws are eventually enforced at the end of a gun.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 15, 2023 12:43:57 PM

SG --

Do you believe in punishment for seriously bad behavior? If so, do you believe that Western countries have been wrong all these decades in thinking that incarceration is a legitimate form of punishment?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 15, 2023 2:29:41 PM


Please re-read my posting, especially the part where I state: "Should (a deft.) decide to leave (i.e., a rehab program), they would then be in violation and the P.O./JUDGE can decide what the next step would be (prison cell, or another program, or home detention, etc)."

Of course the VIOLATION would be a violation of a COURT ORDER (i.e., a branch of our government) in which a judge had ordered the deft. to enter the program as an alternative to a prison sentence (duh). And if they split, the JUDGE would then decide what the appropriate next step would be.(again..duh)

And if I did not specify EACH and EVERY step in the process, please do not infer that I do not understand or am not aware of the roles that ALL govt. employees play in this scenario, including law enforcement officers, jailers, bailiffs, court clerks, stenographers, bus drivers, and on and on.

Tarls, on a personal note, I found your response somewhat irritating, and this leads me to believe that perhaps this was your intent. I sincerly hope it was not.

Posted by: SG | May 16, 2023 5:21:57 AM


You asked two questions.


"Do you believe in punishment for seriously bad behavior?"

Answer: This depends on your definition of punishment, to some extent. Let's agree on our terms. "Oxford Languages" defines punishment as: "the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense". If you more or less agree with this definition, then YES, I believe incarceration, as an infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for "seriously bad behavior", especially violent behavior, is legally and morally legitimate.

I also believe in punishments that are commensurate and proportional to the offense, which I find often to be 'out of whack' in our country.

Question #2:

"Do you believe that Western countries have been wrong all these decades in thinking that incarceration is a legitimate form of punishment?"


In many respects, I think Western countries have been 'wrong' in the use of incarceration for many offenders, but not all (i.e., violent and/or repeat offenders), which I beleive is a necessary and useful differentiation.

If your question pertains to the moral and ethical legitimacy of the use of prisons and penitentiaries for non-violent offenders, then my answer is NO, incarceration (prison or jail) is not a 'morally and ethically legitimate' punishment, although legal in nature and available to our society as a result of Congressional approval.

The original concept of a penitentiary (prison) was a place where wrongdoers would be collectively sequestered and held safely away from the general public, and where they would theoretically engage in 'penitence', defined as "the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong".

The intent and purpose of any alternative to incarceration would be to re-educate, re-form and re-constitute morals, which includes a time for personal reflection and efforts to attain insight (i.e., penitence).

Posted by: SG | May 16, 2023 7:32:08 AM

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