American law is just so weird

Three white men have been convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black jogger who was shot dead while running through a residential neigbourhood in Georgia.

Travis McMichael, 35, his father Greg McMichael, 65, and their neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, were found guilty after a jury deliberated for 11 hours.

Someone threatens you during a riot and you shoot him and that’s not guilty. Some bloke runs through the neighbourhood and you shoot him and that’s murder.

Blimey, who could understand such a mess? Almost as if three’s some weird principle behind all this, wonder what it could be?

18 thoughts on “American law is just so weird”

  1. Doesn’t sound weird to me. Sounds like normality and proper justice. Self defence is one of the few situations where the burden of proof is swapped. Normally the prosecutor has to prove an act happened. With self defence the prosecutor has to prove that the act didn’t happen.

    There is also the state not liking it’s population taking the law into their own hands. It wants to have the monopoly, so if someone sees an alleged burglar they mustn’t do everything they can to capture that person, they must instead get the state to do that.

  2. SBML: ’ There is also the state not liking it’s population taking the law into their own hands. ’

    Because they tend to be better at it?

    After all, the State didn’t manage to halt Arbery’s life of petty crime and shoplifting, did they?

  3. Some bloke runs through the neighbourhood and you shoot him and that’s murder.

    He didn’t get shot whilst jogging through a neighbourhood, he got shot after specifically running towards a guy with a shotgun, which included running around a vehicle to get there, grabbing hold of the gun and struggling for control of it.

  4. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    Are both verdicts cause for further mostly peaceful protests?

    Would the inverse of both verdicts be cause for further mostly peaceful protests?

  5. Aside from legal quibbling about who did what, all white people have benefitted from slavery so all are guilty of murder.

  6. SBML

    I rather think our genial host is being sarcastic. 🙂

    For my part:
    – The KR acquittal is bang on. It should not have taken 3 days to reach, but then the whole thing should never have come to trial. And the ADAs prosecuting it should be disbarred for their misconduct during the trial.
    – The Georgia case is just much more of a mess.

    I didn’t follow it properly and it’s a mess trying to work out what the issues at stake were just from the closing arguments. What we DO know is:
    – The neighbourhood felt under siege and TPTB were doing nothing about it
    – Arbery was a menace and had been seen lurking around the construction site at night many times
    – for all the racist overtones of “long dirty toenails”, this is strong evidence that Arbery was in absolutely no way just an innocent jogger.
    – Arbery did turn towards the McMichaels and reach for the gun.
    – How in hell any of this adds up to “false imprisonment” is a complete mystery
    – the judge completely abrogated his responsibility to clarify the law around citizens arrest – the jury’s job is to decide on _facts_ in dispute: it’s the _judge’s_ role to resolve the _law_ in dispute. He failed to do so.

    BUT…
    – I can’t see a way that you can construct self-defence in this case that doesn’t give an armed robber a self-defence get out which, I submit, would be a bad thing.
    – it’s all going to shit if the police won’t do their jobs and you can’t do anything about it either.

    🙁

  7. “an unarmed black jogger who was shot dead while running through a residential neigbourhood in Georgia”

    This sentence is a little economical with the actualité

  8. The KR acquittal is bang on. It should not have taken 3 days to reach,

    I rather like to think that this was like Sid James in the Hancock skit Twelve Angry Men, where he realises that they are on 10 bob a day… The verdicts were probably agreed on the first vote.

  9. “The verdicts were probably agreed on the first vote.”

    Not sure that’s true – there was a lot of kerfuffle with wanting to see the drone video, taking instructions home overnight etc. My suspicion was one hold out that took 3 days to be battered into submission.

    Either that or – these are not mutually exclusive – they knew that if they came back in 10 mins, the only remaining bits of Kenosha not already destroyed last year would now be smoking ruins…

  10. When the story first emerged I was struck by the number of American blog commenters who just giggled at the idea that the crim was a “jogger”. I can quite believe that the verdict is fair – the jury heard the evidence and I haven’t – but similarly I can’t help but feel that the gigglers probably have more experience of American society than I have.

  11. Unsympathetic accused, a shitty judge and a realisation that another acquittal would cause ten more Waukeshas did for the good ole boys.

  12. I love you guys. Someone (unarmed) gets followed for 5 mins of a run by 3 armed guys and then shot, and you think it’s his fault. Because he tries to wrest the shotgun from the shotgun-wielding bloke? Would it make a difference if he was a different color? (Don’t bother to answer, I know it already.)

  13. “Because he tries to wrest the shotgun from the shotgun-wielding bloke? ”

    Yes. This is what’s known as the initiation of violence you fucking prick.

  14. – the judge completely abrogated his responsibility to clarify the law around citizens arrest – the jury’s job is to decide on _facts_ in dispute: it’s the _judge’s_ role to resolve the _law_ in dispute. He failed to do so.

    This will be the basis of the appeal.

    He pretty much had to do that because if he decides, he is obliged to resolve in favour of the defence and the whiteys walk. But this was a political stitch-up, so that couldn’t happen. I see the Feds are now going after them with hate crime charges, so El Federales fear the prospect of an appeal.

  15. This is what’s known as the initiation of violence you fucking prick.

    Yeah, there was a case in the UK some years ago (maybe the 90s) where some toerag was either stealing a car or stealing from it; the owner came out with a baseball bat or some such and in the confrontation the toerag stabbed him. Got off with self-defence. Harsh but technically correct.

  16. Nigel
    “Someone (unarmed) gets followed for 5 mins of a run by 3 armed guys and then shot”

    Someone [who had been seen on multiple occasions lurking around neighbouring properties at night] gets followed for 5 mins [which shows that they weren’t absolutely out and out trying to kill him ] of a run [ahahahaha!!! the only running bit was that he was running away from them because he wanted to avoid being arrested – he had literally no form of jogging in this neighbourhood – that’s complete smoke and mirrors] by 3 armed guys [actually only 1 and he didn’t know that until he suddenly stopped running away] and then [only when he suddenly lunged for the shotgun] shot [in the ensuing struggle]

    Fixed it for you.

    Now. I didn’t follow the case closely and there’s a whole stack of things in this that stink – on both sides. The real problem here is that America is fast becoming a low trust society.
    – The McMichaels were fed up with burglars and the lack of response from the police – they were pushed into “vigilante” justice.
    – Arbery had zero trust that, if he put hands up, he wouldn’t be shot anyway.

    The really interesting bit is that the MSM’s appalling coverage of the Rittenhouse case reinforces subsequent Arbery-types fears that they would shot without repercussions for the shooters.

  17. Is this that subtle British sarcasm, where that “weird principle” is clearly self-defense?

    Because if you’re seriously confused about the verdicts in these cases, then you’re just as ignorant and out of touch as your pal Ritchie is about economics.

  18. @The Pedant-General – “How in hell any of this adds up to “false imprisonment” is a complete mystery”

    That’s because you don’t understand how citizen’s arrest works. It varies between jurisdictions, but generally citizens and police have the same power of arrest. The difference with police is their immunity from error. If a citizen arrests someone and it turns out that the arrestee was actually innocent, the citizen is guilty of false arrest. A police officer would not be (as long as there was reasonable suspicion). This is why a shop security guard will detain someone that they personally can be sure was stealing, but not someone who might be innocent.

    In the case of Arbery, it seems that the criminals who pursued him had not witnessed him commit any crime and were merely suspicious that he might have committed one or that at some vague time in the past he might have. That was a huge gamble. If Arbery had turned out to have been returning with stolen goods (or if they had been able to be specific about a crime, such as they could prove he had stolen some specific goods from them on a specific occasion), they’d have been ok, but he wasn’t. Therefore the gamble failed and they were guilty of false arrest and consequently any violence or threats they made to detain Arbery were illegal, and you can’t avail yourself of self-defence when it’s you who is the criminal.

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