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Roddy Pippin: Shannon's Take.

I wasn't aware of this story until Shannon (fellow d-blogger at LADAdeeda) emailed me and asked me to help her raise awareness of this story.  Apparently, Roddy Pippin stole cattle.  And is being held for eight consecutive years, without proper medical care.

Roddy has type 1 diabetes.

Shannon has contributed a guest post about this issue, but I wanted to also add a link to a post on Roddy's Ride 4 Life page, about the crime he committed and the punishment he is receiving.  Check it out and draw your own conclusions as to whether this punishment fits the crime, and please read Shannon's post below for her take on Roddy Pippin.

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Many years ago, I watched a movie called Return to Paradise.  A thrilling premise, it centered on a young man imprisoned in Malaysia for drug trafficking.  He was sentenced to death by hanging unless his two friends, who also bought and used the drugs in question, returned to Malaysia and accepted their share of the responsibility – three years in prison if both returned, six years if only one returned.  The deal, while not in writing, was promised by the Malaysian justice department.  One friend ultimately complied.

But, in an unbelievable twist, an American reporter wrote a story about the young man, his sentence, and the “unjustness” of Malaysia’s justice system.  As a punishment for this negative portrayal of Malaysia, the judge on the case refused to abide by the terms of the agreement.  The first man’s death sentence remained, and the other was sent to prison.

Watching this film, I waited for the dramatic rescue of the man.  As he was led to the gallows, I waited for the last-minute stay of execution or other intervention.  None came, and he was hanged.

This movie was a fictional account, but it’s not difficult for us to imagine this sort of scenario happening in Malaysia.  It’s easy to picture it happening in China.  Or Indonesia.  Or even Mexico.  But, do we expect that sort of thing to happen here in the United States?  I never did.

Roddy Pippin is just twenty-six years old.  When he was nineteen, he committed a crime.  While it might not seem all that serious to me, I recognize that it is very serious to his victims.  His crime?  Cattle rustling.  He stole livestock from hardworking farmers in his Texas community.  At nineteen, he made a stupid, juvenile mistake.  One that he might pay for with his life.  Roddy has type 1 diabetes.

I think most T1s have thought about what would happen if we suddenly lost the tools we rely on to manage our diabetes.  I’ve even had the thought about what life in jail would be like for a T1.  It’s even worse than I thought.
As I’ve learned more about Roddy’s experiences, I know that being a T1 in jail is harsh.  Having your care managed by those who really don’t care at all is the reality.  Recurring hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are common.  After all, people die from DKA all the time.  In fact, in a recent, highly-publicized Texas case, the parents of a sixteen-year-old girl are facing manslaughter charges in her DKA-caused death.  They took her insulin pump away, she became sick, and within days, was dead.

So, Texas recognizes that deliberately withholding insulin from a T1 diabetic is murder (or at least, manslaughter).  Yet, they care little for Roddy’s health.  Instead of giving him access to adequate medical care, Roddy has instead been moved to a facility that houses violent criminals, even death-row inmates.

Where is the justice in this?  How large should Roddy’s debt to society be?

*   *   *

Your thoughts?


wow what awful stories. I have often had anxiety nightmare dreams where I get sent to prison and they neglect my diabetes....scary that this actually happens!

While I am by no means defending the system, I would like to point out that a single head of cattle is worth anywhere from $1,200 to as much as $8,000 per head. So stealing even just a few can be ruinous to the rancher.

My question is how well was he managing it before he went to prison?

Responding to Nick:
Roddy's extremely brittle with Somogyi Effect. Nonetheless, he didn't have a single hospitalization during his two-year shock probation. Following is an excerpt from the December 21 Affidavit of Roddy’s Houston Endocrinologist:
“The week prior to his return to the custody of The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Roddy's A1c was 6.4% on November 2, 2009. On December 17, 2009 it had jumped to 10.0% which indicates that his average glucose levels have been at least 250 mg/dl, far in excess of his previous normal average glucose of 130 mg/dl just days before his incarceration. This increase has great significance given the rapidity of its rise which indicates that immediately after becoming an inmate his glucose levels rose to extremely high levels because he was unable to manage his own care, something that he had successfully performed for many years. Last week he had to be transported to LBJ Hospital in Houston for treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis which followed
many days of intractable nausea and vomiting, a sign of the metabolic decompensation that subsequently caused him to develop diabetic ketoacidosis. If his care had been delayed by even one day he would have

I was allowed to examine Roddy on December 17, 2009, the day after his two day treatment in the
intensive care unit at LBJ. At that time he appeared to have lost significant weight, had marks on his wrists consistent with recent too-tight handcuffing, and had collapsed veins on his right arm indicative of
frequent intravenous infusions for prolonged periods of time. The veins in his left arm filled slowly indicating that only minimal vascular function remained. He had no sensation on examination of his feet indicating severe recent neuropathy caused by the elevated glucose levels which damaged the nerves in
his feet. These findings were all new and were not evident on my examination performed on November 2, 2009 in my office. He is served high carbohydrate foods especially at breakfast, which is compounded by the addition of even more improper foods at other meals. If he refuses to eat all of his meals a negative report is issued. Insulin administration is not adjusted for this, or any other events that occur on a daily basis.” (End of affidavit excerpt.)

There’s absolutely no excuse for cattle theft. As a teen, Roddy was the youngest of nine who stole the cows. Everybody involved should have been punished. None of the other nine served meaningful time, and most served none. A healthy Texas cattle rancher family guy who according to press reports stole literally hundreds of cows served only about two years. Roddy has already served more than twice that, at great cost to his health and to the taxpayers of this state.
I would be happy to provide details that I have. – Robert McCausland, Coppell, TX

Nick, you're absolutely right. I agree that stealing from someone's livelihood is terrible. However, Roddy made an offer of full restitution to his victims. It was rejected.

This is in response to Nick. I have owned and my father has had cattle all my life. I would like to know where you sell your cattle, because I would like to take mine there. Back in the 80’s there was some registered Simmental cattle that we paid around $1200 for a pair, but most cattle bring anywhere from $500 to maybe $1,000 (never had but very few) at best and that is when the market is high. I have never ever heard a cow bringing $8,000 unless they were show cattle or top PBR bulls or something like that. I know those big time ranchers may have all registered cows, but that is still quite a lot of money for them. And I am not condoning cattle rustling either. What he done was wrong, but he has paid for the crime he committed and he should not have to pay with his life. There is murderers that get off easier than he has.

I'd like to say I'm shocked by what's happening to Roddy, but I can't. This is simply another example of how people with power bestowed on them by the government act in their own best interest instead of societies. Officials are showing how "tough on crime" they are rather than actually caring about rehabilitation or restitution.

While I agree that people should be held responsible for their actions, I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. For Roddy to pay with his life for stealing cows while a fellow Texan was recently sentenced to two years in prison for killing two people while driving drunk. The Texas tax payers are paying for extensive health care, food, and lodging to keep a young man encarcerated for mistakes that he made as a teenager while he could be at home where his family and loved ones would care for him at no expense or danger to Texas taxpayers. This is a young mans life at stake, is that worth less than some cows, or a political position?

Let us not forget vital players in this tale- the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association.Why did this particular teen get so much attention? Why has the local DA and others so strenuously opposed any modification of this sentence? TSWCRA are big donors to DA's, judges, sheriffs come election time. Shame on TSWCRA! They have been behind this horror to the hilt. They need to get their share of the attention- publicly.

I really don't know much about this case, but what strikes me is that this was a PLEA BARGAIN. That means that Roddy Pippin was represented by an attorney and agreed to the prison sentence.

The facts must be pretty bad for an attorney to agree to that kind of plea deal. And from what I understand, he was represented by a Texas Super Lawyer. Those are the best defense attorney's around.

Here are the facts for you, Rhonda:

When arrested, the public defender assigned to his case was quite sick, and met with Roddy only once before being hospitalized and falling from the scene. Many weeks passed with no active representation. Roddy was never able to bond out, so he remained in a local jail for literally months. Unable to locate the public defender, Roddy’s mother retained the services of a young lawyer who aspired to become county attorney.

I was reading up about this and while most of the stoies about Roddy are all the same ones I saw this http://www.aginfo.com/index.cfm/event/report/id/Open-Range-15013
It says "The lure of steeling cattle must have been stronger than the fear of prison. Pippin served two years for cattle rustling in 2004 and when released continued snuck back into ranches 25 times for more cattle." Is any of that true? I was just wondering. I still feel if he is in prison he should get constant med. care.

No, Ricky -- that is not true. The truth is simple -- Roddy was the youngest of nine who together stole far fewer than now-free cattle family guy Jerome Heath Novak. Roddy is the victim of his disease, and of some evil or uninformed people who spread rumors. Roddy never bonded out, and has been constantly incarcerated save two years of flawless performance on shock probation during which he was on an e-monitor and confined to his mother's premises. He's a wonderful, good-hearted, highly-religious kid with a horrible disease who regrets his teenage sins. - Robert McCausland

Ricky, I saw that same comment as you did on AgInfo.net. In my anger I fired off a scorching rebuttal to the woman who wrote it, Sue Allen. She has a cattle-related radio show up in the NW of the country. This bit of story seems like disinformation spread by the cattlemens association a long time ago. After my email, Ms. Allen wrote back, and I realized I had judged far too hastily. She is a good woman who now wants regular followups on Roddy's status.

If you Google cattle theft, you'll find the TSCRA's own listing of thefts cleared. It is striking to see case after case of rustling settled with deferred adjudication. Roddy's case leaps out for the draconian nature of his punishment. Later this week I'll post the TSCRA investigator's recent email to me, and you can see for yourself where all this comes from.

This is all interesting, because I am assisting Roddy at this time 9 months after this "line" with legal research; he recently requested something on any documented court action in Texas of the 19th Century variety on the subject of..."hanging by the neck until dead" proposition for cattle rustling.
I've found a dirth of Texas Ranger's quaint bullshit around and through the subject; but nothing archived in a county district or Federal court for West Texas counties he primarily wants.
Any of y'all out there with
something to add e-mail me "Twitch" at

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