Monday, March 21, 2011

Self-defense, Australian style

By now, most people have seen, or at least heard of, Australian internet sensation Casey Heynes.  But in case you haven't, Casey is a young, well-spoken Aussie lad that was bullied by other school children for years.  In interviews, Casey described the bullying as both verbal and physical, and he said that it was the rare day that he wasn't struck by other kids.  But watch the following clip and see what happened when Casey, the portlier of the two chaps, finally said "enough is enough."

Youtube has deleted the video, but it can still be found on numerous websites, including this one:  

Now, assume that these two combatants were young adults instead of children, and that this happened in the United States.  Further assume that the bully (the loser of the fight) went to the police, and the local prosecutor decided to charge Casey (the winner of the fight) with battery.  Would a jury consider Casey's actions to be in self-defense? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Isn't Legal Advice: Exploring Legal Myths and Oddities with Michael Cicchini

Read the recent Q&A about my book, But They Didn’t Read Me My Rights!, on The Super Lawyers Blog.  In the interview, Adrienne Schofhauser and I discuss some interesting issues, including religion’s influence on the law.  When she asked me about that topic, I couldn’t help but think of the Wisconsin prosecutor who threatened to criminally charge school teachers for teaching state-approved sex education.  (That threat makes the teachers’ current battle with Scott Walker look tame by comparison.)  I also wondered why the prosecutor would charge contributing to the delinquency of a minor—I mean, why stop there?  Why not go for party-to-the-crime of child sexual assault?  People have been convicted of aiding and abetting that felony for doing far less than teaching sex education.

In any case, the Q&A can be found here, and my earlier recorded interview on Point of Inquiry, which also includes a discussion of religion and the law, can be found here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy March Madness!

The Legal Watchdog is taking time off to cheer for Marquette in the Big Dance and to celebrate March Madness, which is by far the most wonderful time of the year. 

March Madness is “Individuals rising to fulfill unknown potential.  Teams proving their sum greater than their parts.  . . . It’s the ability to compete no matter where you come from, no matter how few believe in you.”  So good luck to all the underdogs in the bracket, including the Blackbirds from Long Island, the Zips from Akron, the Gauchos from Santa Barbara, and the Sycamores from Indiana State.  (Remember Larry Bird?) 

But alas, March Madness only guarantees the pursuit of the Final Four, not an actual Final Four birth.  So here are The Legal Watchdog’s picks:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

State v. DeVera update (and a solution to Wisconsin’s fiscal woes)

In The Legal Watchdog’s first post, I wrote about a judge that made up facts out of thin air to justify sending a developmentally disabled, twenty-one-year-old defendant to prison for having a “non-coercive” sexual relationship with his minor girlfriend.  Even the prosecutor had asked for probation, but the judge justified her draconian sentence by citing DeVera’s poor performance while released on bond during the case, and while on probation in a previous case.  What the judge overlooked, however, was that DeVera was never released on bond, nor had he ever been placed on probation.  Therefore, because the judge’s sentence was built on pure fiction, the appellate court “was constrained to reverse and remand for resentencing.”  So what happened next?