Interesting Self-Defense Case

From the Chicago Daily Herald. Throwing a rock through a car window might not at first seem like much by way of self-defense, especially if the fear is that the car will run you over. But I take it that the court’s rationale — which seems sensible — must have been that showing signs of a willingness to retaliate might deter bullies, who might worry that the next rock will hit them directly, or might even just psychologically intimidate them:

A [17-year-old] girl who hurled a rock through a car window after its occupants repeatedly drove by yelling threats and homosexual slurs [at her 15-year-old] male companion] was found not guilty of a criminal damage to property charge Tuesday by a McHenry County judge who ruled she acted in self-defense….

“I believe she believed she was in danger of being hit by a car and her feeling was that (the harassment) wasn’t going to end,” [Judge Charles] Weech said while issuing his verdict….

Note this quote from the judge:

“Was there another way to handle it? You bet,” the judge added. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, and you made a wrong move by throwing the rock.”

The judge’s verdict — and self-defense law more broadly — does reflect that one wrong (the initial harassment, which is reasonably interpreted as threatening violence) may make the other wrong (throwing a brick) into a right.

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