The Charges of Retaliation and Obstruction
The law aims to provide victims of crimes with justice as swiftly as possible, but the fact is that any number of things can slow down the process. One such impediment that the law actively attempts to thwart is people who purposely intervene with and slow down the legal process, which is why the charges of both retaliation and obstruction are on the books. Texas is committed to its legal system and is motivated to actively penalize anyone whose intention is to disrupt the legal process.
Retaliation and Obstruction
Although retaliation and obstruction are separate charges, they both contain the same three qualifiers, which include:
The accused is alleged to have intentionally or knowingly harmed or threatened to harm – in an unlawful manner – someone else.
The unlawful harm in question was intended to prevent a specific action on the part of the victim or to retaliate after the victim has taken a particular action.
The specific action in question involves reporting a crime, the work of a public servant, or the testimony of a potential witness.
At their core, the charges of retaliation and obstruction are to punish anyone who interrupts or attempts to interrupt the court's processes or the work of other public servants. Still, there is even more to it than this.
The charge of obstruction specifically refers to an act that delays or prevents someone else from performing a task as a public servant, as a witness, as an informant, or as a person reporting a crime. However, this charge only applies if the accused is alleged to have harmed or threatened to harm the person whose action was obstructed. The harm in question doesn't need to be physical harm, but it must be unlawful harm, such as damage to one's property or finances, slander, unlawful firing, and the like.
While the crime of obstruction occurs before something happens, retaliation is the crime of harming or threatening to harm someone after taking a specific action, such as providing testimony, reporting a crime, or performing a task as a public servant.
The latest addition to the obstruction and retaliation lineup is known as doxing, sometimes referred to as doxxing. This term refers to the act of publicly posting someone else's personal information, such as the person's private address or personal phone number, as a means of harming that person for their role as a public servant. Such acts are illegal, and the State of Texas takes these maneuvers seriously.