Powered by TypePad

« Notable real-world account of efforts to reform sexual offense laws in Pennsylvania | Main | Another reminder that some of my silly hypos can be all too real for some »

November 3, 2021

A few of many notable self-defense headlines and stories

As I mentioned in class, a quick news search on the internet turns up lots and lots and lots of stories about self defense claims by a variety of folks in a variety of settings.  Here is a recent sample (with no expectation that anyone checks out more than a few of these news accounts):

From Florida, "Prosecutors offer probation to Valrico man in deadly ‘Stand Your Ground’ shooting on basketball court"

From Georgia, "‘A fraught jury selection’: Impartial minds tough to find in Arbery case"

From Indiana, "Murder suspect testifies she killed Domino's Pizza deliveryman in self defense"

From Pennsylvania, "Pa. Mom Pleads Self-Defense to Charges That She Stabbed a Man in the Heart After Argument Over Food"

From Texas, "Texas homeowner mounts 'stand your ground' defense after killing Muslim man who pulled into his driveway"

From Vermont, "Self-defense or violent rage? Judge agrees to release murder suspect."

From Washington, "Murder suspect in McDonald’s parking lot shooting tells jurors it was self defense"

From Wisconsin, "Kyle Rittenhouse trial: When can you shoot as self-defense?"

From the not-so-friendly skies, "SoCal Man Charged In Assault on Flight Attendant Claims Brain Injury, Self-Defense"

The last of these articles provides an interesting variation on the legal and conceptual issues that we will discuss in the battered woman cases, namely how should the "objective reasonable person" standard used in assessing self defense claims incorporate the unique "subjective" features of an individual which might make that person more likely to feel threatened or fearful.  Here are the basics of this high-profile airline case along with the notable "subjective" details of the defendant:

The story of the October 27 assault on American Airlines Flight 976 made national news and it comes after a year of thousands of similar stories in which flight attendants have been made the victims of unruly passengers — most often stemming from pandemic-related mask mandates.  In the case of 20-year-old Brian Hsu, however, the conflict appears to have arose when a flight attendant asked Hsu to return to his seat because the fasten-seatbelt sign was on.

The flight was bound from New York's JFK Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, and according to the injured flight attendant and passengers who witnessed the incident, Hsu was standing near an airplane lavatory when the flight attendant told him to step away and return to his seat.  As the New York Times reports via court filings, prosecutors say that Hsu then "punched her in the face with sufficient force to cause her to hit the lavatory door."

The flight attendant then reportedly exclaimed that her nose was broken, and another flight attendant instructed Hsu to return to his seat, where he was restrained with duct tape and zip ties with the help of passengers.  The plane then made an emergency landing, and Hsu was detained by authorities there before he was returned to Irvine and arrested at his family's home there....

Hsu has submitted his own account of the incident to the FBI, and his mother has provided corroborating statements about his condition.  Hsu has allegedly suffered from a traumatic head injury he received last year — something for which he says he was being treated in Rhode Island.  He reportedly underwent brain surgery in Rhode Island, which involved "reconstructing portions of his skull," and he's reportedly suffered "psychological damage."

According to a statement, Hsu was assaulted while in New York in 2020, which led to the brain injury.  Hsu also claimed that a recent "football injury" rendered him unable to make a fist.  Hsu apparently is a college student in New York City.

As the East Bay Times reports via the court filings, Hsu's mother told investigators that Hsu "seems to become more easily angered" lately after the injury, and she claimed that he had trouble sitting still and "frequently felt the need to stretch."  Also she claimed that her son had been "afraid of people touching his head."

Part of Hsu's account is that the flight attendant "became agitated" after he bumped into her and that she was wildly waving her arms near his head when he struck her in self-defense.  He further said he feared that "an impact to his head in its current state could cause him severe injury or death."

November 3, 2021 in Current Affairs, Notable real cases | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.