Usually when you see signs reminding people of penalties for crimes, it’s because a particular offense carries with it a harsher-than-usual penalty — “Fines Doubled In Work Zone,” “Assaulting a Transit Employee is a Felony,” “Failure to Follow Cabin Crew’s Instructions May Result in Arrest”… that kind of thing. But the wording on one sign in Louisiana makes us wonder how little the folks of that state value taxi drivers.
“Killing of a taxicab driver may be a First Degree Murder offense in the State of Louisiana, punishable by death,” reads the notice sent in by Consumerist reader Kathleen (@kathleenlago).
The fact that one even needs a sign to remind taxi passengers to not slaughter the man or woman behind the wheel is disconcerting. While we’ve had more than a few bad or rude hacks over the years, we’ve never once thought of doing any physical harm to them, let alone going so far as to end their lives.
And we’re pretty sure that anyone who may be considering killing a cab driver — whether it’s for the cash, the car, or just for some bizarre thrill — is already well aware that it’s First Degree Murder.
The second thing that’s odd about the note is the “may be a First Degree Murder” part. While it is possible that a taxi passenger could cause the death of the driver in such a way that it falls under the Louisiana definitions of Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter, or Negligent Homicide, the killer in those situations wouldn’t have been sitting in the back seat planning to kill the driver. So the sign doesn’t apply to them.
Perhaps there should be a longer version that says “Killing a taxicab driver in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, or terrorism, even though you have no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm, may be a Second Degree Murder offense, punishable by life in prison without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.”
Or maybe a sign that simply says “Whatever you’re thinking about doing, just don’t do it because you’ll go to jail.”