June 29, 2017

"He was with my purse and he took off and I took off after him. Me being five months pregnant, I chased a little ways then come back, jumped in the car..."

"... threw it in gear and come across the curb and ran him over. I was not going to let him get away with it. It's not right, it's not fair."

Said Christine Braswell, quoted in "SEE IT: Pregnant North Carolina woman mows down shirtless purse thief with her SUV in Walmart parking lot." The "see it" is real: You can see video of the woman running straight into the man.

86 comments:

Achilles said...

Seems like the outcome that will lead people to make better decisions.

Kate said...

He's lucky he didn't try to rob Serena Williams.

Kevin said...

She was only making a very professional citizens arrest. Isn't that how they do it in every buddy cop movie?

buster said...

You can't inflict serious bodily injury in defense of property, as opposed to person. The lady's guilty of aggravated assault. Prosecutorial discretion, though.

Renee said...

Considering how close she was, it seems like she may have been in/at the vehicle. Putting bags in the back or bringing the carriage back. So having an open window with a purse in it is probable, and not stupid.

Jason said...

JURY TRIAL! JURY TRIAL! JURY TRIAL!!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Oh come on people. It was only a little baby bump.

Clyde said...

As I noted a few threads down, there's not a jury in North Carolina that will convict her.

Michael K said...

That will teach him to get in front of a woman driver !

Does that date me ?

Bill R said...

Thanks Prof. Althouse. I watched it four times. Made my day.

Virgil Hilts said...

They need to add clips from this story to the America F-Yeah! compilation video.

Curious George said...

"ambalance"

Sample Commenter said...

Just give your shit to them. They need it for drugs you selfish jerk!

The Godfather said...

Yes, you aren't supposed to use deadly force (and a car is a deadly weapon) under these circumstances. But aren't most of us glad she ran the prick down? Show of hands!

traditionalguy said...

Sometime Tai Chi won't get it done. You have to take him down and sit on him with 4,000 lbs of steel. Really nice driving by a NASCAR babe. Is her name Earnhardt?

MadisonMan said...

She should've just called the POlice and waited. And waited. And waited.

paul said...

I found it amusing that the video started with an ad for Ford trucks. I wonder if that was universal.

Just an old country lawyer said...

The story didn't say whether the woman was charged with anything. Since it happened in Western North Carolina, there's a good chance she won't be. If she is, however, the age old defense of, "the sum bitch had it coming," will no doubt be successfully deployed. In that event look for a jury trial demand.
No doubt the old boy needed meth money.

Humperdink said...

Paraphrasing a comment from an earlier thread: "Yeah right, because if the woman hadn't used a car the man would still have died somehow."

AllenS said...

Something tells me, don't try this in Madison WI.

Dave from Minnesota said...

araphrasing a comment from an earlier thread: "Yeah right, because if the woman hadn't used a car the man would still have died somehow."

One thing we know is that he would have (and probably still will) be committing similar crimes. Maybe the next time he'll use a weapon but his victim will be a conceal carry holder.

Birkel said...

buster:

In some states with which I am familiar (upper plains and mountain west) you can use deadly force to stop the commission of a felony. It varies widely. People on the East Coast assume cops are around to serve and protect. No such assumptions are made in less populous and larger states. So the rules tend to favor self defense.

I am not sure how North Carolina views these matters. But many states have moved toward the western U.S. view.

And juries, as you say, are unlikely to find what she did wrong enough to convict.

Curious George said...

"AllenS said...
Something tells me, don't try this in Madison WI."

Unless you're Muslim.

PatHMV said...

buster, you are generally allowed to use reasonable force in order to protect your property. If he still had her purse when she drove after him, then I would say that's reasonable. If he had dropped the purse, and she was simply trying to stop him from fleeing, then she's no longer protecting her property and would be more culpable.

The specifics of the law on defense of property vary from state to state. North Carolina may have existing jurisprudence on the subject.

PatHMV said...

Just an old country lawyer, at the very end the article says the woman was charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Can part of her defense be "I thought he may be a methhead and you never know if he will turn around and attack me with a weapon".

Just an old country lawyer said...

Yes, I saw that she had been charged the second time I read through the article. I predict she will be just fine, even if it comes to trial.

William said...

Poetic justice is fine, but pulp fiction justice is the most deeply satisfying. Fried chicken vs kale.

urbane legend said...

Curious George said...
"ambalance"

That's a technical term in the South. :-)

Qwerty Smith said...

When Socrates was convicted, he told the Athenian jury that in light of his crime's social benefits, he should be sentenced to free public meals.

It's a shame North Carolina juries don't have that kind of discretion.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

And yet one more reason not to drive a Smartcar.

Jim Gust said...

Feel-good story of the week.

buster said...

Birkel, didn't know that. Thanks.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Now that's female empowerment.

buster said...

PatHMV, not sure that running someone over with a car is reasonable in the circumstances. But I agree that the lady will be a sympathetic defendant.

Jake said...

She shouldn't have done that. That said, IDGAF that she did.

Big Mike said...

I like a feisty woman. Braswell's husband is lucky to have her (N. B., I've been married to my "small but feisty" lady love for 42 years.)

Note to millennial SJWs, there's a significant difference between feisty and bitchy, and between feisty and perpetually aggrieved.

Steve said...

WTF, I guess I am going to have to turn in my "Law and Order" card. This woman commits aggravated battery (maybe attempted murder) and people are joking and encouraging her? Are things that bad out there that Charlene Bronson can strap on a Ford Explorer and go hunting without anyone thinking twice about it?

Pretty sure the "He needed killin'" defense is only still effective in Texas.

Snark said...

Her fetus is a bit rattled and hoping for five shots of Wild Turkey tonight rather than the usual four.

Etienne said...

I think I saw a rebel flag on her truck. She should have cut off his ears and hung them from her rear-view mirror.

mockturtle said...

For some reason, I couldn't play the video but I'll admit the plot is satisfying.

glenn said...

Right or wrong legally some people need their consequences on the spot. Mookie is probably lucky this gal wasn't packing.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Just an old country lawyer said...
The story didn't say whether the woman was charged with anything. Since it happened in Western North Carolina, there's a good chance she won't be.

It's the Whitopia of Asheville, sort of like an Appalachian version of Madison. She'll probably lose custody of her baby and go to jail. The Hollywood types that have invaded the place are probably planning fund raisers for purse snatcher as we speak.

Oso Negro said...

If women routinely down purse snatchers it wouldn't be much of a problem, would it?

John Tuffnell said...

Good thing he was white. Or we have a much different story.

exiledonmainstreet said...

buster said...
PatHMV, not sure that running someone over with a car is reasonable in the circumstances."

A friend of mine took her shoe off and started hitting her husband over the head with it when she was 6 months pregnant because he said something that pissed her off. They were on the freeway at the time. She is normally a mild-tempered woman (they are still married) and was appalled by her own reaction in hindsight.

Those hormones...

Snark, it's simply deplorable that these rednecks don't let themselves be victims. How unsophisticated! Every low -T Pajama Boy knows that if you are attacked the thing to do is curl up in a ball, pee yourself and then march with a candle and a teddy bear later.

Darrell said...

I wouldn't convict.

Snark said...

"Snark, it's simply deplorable that these rednecks don't let themselves be victims. How unsophisticated! Every low -T Pajama Boy knows that if you are attacked the thing to do is curl up in a ball, pee yourself and then march with a candle and a teddy bear later."

You misjudge me. I personally have exceptionally high hopes for this fetus. I bet anything he'll be able to count up to a six pack and be able to recite his DCFSs before he's even two!

MikeR said...

"Meanwhile, Braswell has been charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon." My goodness. Did she think that she could run a man over for stealing a purse?

Birkel said...

People who believe civilization sprang forth as if from Zeus' head need to recognize you are wrong. Failing that recognition, and expecting others to be civilized as you define it, is a fool's errand.

Over to you, Snark.

Darrell said...

For those whose browsers don't let them watch the posted video.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4650448/Dramatic-moment-pregnant-woman-runs-suspected-thief.html

JAORE said...

Yep,she had no legal right to mow him down.

Bet she won't spend any time in jail.

Jury nullification.

Birkel said...

MikeR:

I assume you are an East Coaster. Is that correct?

Here is a statute from Utah.

Relevant portion:
A person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the person or a third person as a result of another person's imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Lawful use of deadly force to prevent a felony in the less populous states is very different. I doubt North Carolina allows such wide latitude. But don't mistake your personal preference for the law.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Weird how almost no one is describing the guy as "unarmed," isn't it?
Let's say she had used a firearm to take the (presumably fleeing) guy down--same kind of cheers and "you go, girl!"s from people who are ok with her use of her car?

Thinking deeply about it: shouldn't the answer be the same either way, just as it shouldn't matter which one of them was which gender, etc?

Oh well. If it takes pregnant women being the victims for soft-hearted people to side against criminals, I guess that's still some kind of progress.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Hoodlum, no. You can't shot a fleeing person. But I'm cool with her running him down.

Even if it is just the optics. There aren't thousands and thousands of people out there saying I shouldn't own a car and will use this video to try to ban private car ownership. But that would happen if she pulled out a firearm and shot the criminal.

Mark Caplan said...

Last week a Long Island man was charged with reckless endangerment for intentionally plowing into and killing two men who were allegedly fleeing with his brother's stolen dirt bike.

Richard Dolan said...

Bernie Goetz, where are you? According to the report, she's charged with a misdemeanor, and in most states there is no right to a jury trial for such offenses (no federal constitutional right either if the maximum punishment is less than one year).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Dave from Minnesota said...Hoodlum, no. You can't shot a fleeing person. But I'm cool with her running him down.

Ok, but why? The "can't" is doing a lot of work in your sentence. Apart from the optics, why can't you shoot a fleeing person? Could you throw a knife, or a dart, or a javelin at a fleeing person?
What is it about using a car that makes it ok? Certainly with a car, as with a firearm, the risk of accidentally hurting someone else is very much present.

Rocketeer said...

"Pretty sure the 'He needed killin'' defense is only still effective in Texas."

I would advise not to make that assumption if you ever try pulling shit like that in rural Kentucky.

John Tuffnell said...

We all know the law discourages this because of the real possibility of someone else getting hurt or killed. Driving an SUV on the sidewalk is a dangerous act. Same reason you generally cannot shoot at the fleeing criminal. The forcible felony has already happened that point. It's different if you have reason to think he's going to harm or kill others, has kidnapped someone, etc.

The only ones who don't get charged with blowing away innocent bystanders are cops who are trying to do their jobs, even if negligently. Miss Preggers didn't hurt or kill anyone else so she gets off or gets off light.

Birkel said...

Dave from Minnesota:

Barely two comments above is a relevant statute from Utah. But please talk more about what the law provides. Ignore an actual quoted law, with a link included for your convenience.

HINT: When talking out of your respective asses, do so in private.

Birkel said...

John Tuffnell:

I quoted a statue from Utah. Read an actual law before opining on what the law is.

HINT: It varies.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Hoodlum, as part of Conceal Carry training (which I have not had, but read the conditions that have to exist before you can use a firearm in self defense) you have to be in immediate danger with no option to retreat. If you fire at a fleeing person and hit him in the back of the head, he'll probably die.

Chase someone with a car....well, this guy didn't even get a material injury. Sure, charge her with a low level crime. See if she gets in trouble in the future.
And a pregnant gal hitting a white thug will probably get more sympathy than if any other conditions existed.

Birkel said...

No need to consider the laws we don't like?

readering said...

Both cases will get pled out in a way satisfactory to all sides. I wonder if they impounded her suv until trial? That would be some punishment.

Big Mike said...

@Birkel, my son tells me that until early in the 20th century "he needed killing" was a perfecy valid defense to a homicide charge in some states. He's not a lawyer be he does have a degree in Civil War history.

Rusty said...

Mock @ 9:43
You really should. It's worth it for the dialogue alone.

prairie wind said...

"I thought he was reaching for his car and I was in fear for my life."

Works for cops.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Dave from Minnesota said...Hoodlum, as part of Conceal Carry training (which I have not had, but read the conditions that have to exist before you can use a firearm in self defense) you have to be in immediate danger with no option to retreat. If you fire at a fleeing person and hit him in the back of the head, he'll probably die.

Right, sure, the CC training sounds like it's fully in agreement with the law; I agree completely. Similarly I'm sure there's a law prohibiting running people down w/your car!

The thing is, though, that many people here are ok with the car being used as a weapon but would not not be ok with a firearm (or other weapon) being used in the same way. I'm trying to work out why that's the case.

I get what the law says, I really do. I understand that some criminals/people who break the law are more sympathetic than others, and likewise that some people who are victims of crimes are less sympathetic than others. Thinking deeply though, is there anything else to it?

Pregnant woman's privilege? Think with me here.

Rocketeer said...

"The thing is, though, that many people here are ok with the car being used as a weapon but would not not be ok with a firearm (or other weapon) being used in the same way. I'm trying to work out why that's the case."

Just in "thinking out loud" mode (or whatever it's corollary is for typing) but potential for endangering innocents is greatly increased with a distance weapon like a firearm. I do feel differently about a vehicle/knife/bat being used in this manner and if I'm genuinely trying to make sice of my "gut distinction" that is it.

Rocketeer said...

Sense, not "sice.' Ugh.

Jason said...

"No reasonable prosecutor..."

Expat(ish) said...

@Dave, @hoodlum - CCW training varies a lot by state. I've qualified in three states and the rules are substantially different as to who you can shoot and when.

For example, in NC you can't shoot someone who is in your house unless they are actively threatening you. So you can't shoot a guy who is unhooking your TV to carry it out. But you can fire away if he's coming through the window. The reasons are obvious.

In Florida that is not true.

In LA you can shoot someone on your property if you have a reason to feel threatened - you don't have to see a weapon, and "utterance" is a good reason.

However, all three of my instructors did agree: "blandish" and pay $10K, "point" and spend $100K, shoot and spend everything you own.

Good advice, I think.

-XC

Khesanh 0802 said...

Just got here. Good for her. Who says women need protection and coddling. Not in NC apparently!

Etienne said...

If you shoot, you will be in court for years. Possibly decades.

Prosecutors and DA's are not the friends of citizen performing capital punishment.

Even if you are in the right. Even in some rebel states.

If selected for jury duty, my advice is nullify. The armed citizen by default.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@Hoodlum It is more a sympathetic reaction to this outstanding move than a rational reaction. There has probably been a situation when each of us here has been tempted to take the equivalent action that this woman took. She's five months pregnant, she was going to run the asshole down on foot , but her condition didn't permit it. With some really quick thinking and, obviously great judgement, she runs the son of a bitch to ground, hurts no one else and does no property damage. Come on, there's a time when the law's a fool and this is one. If she had been armed she would have dropped the guy when he got out of her car. She would have been perfectly justified in doing so. There are still times when frontier justice seems the best justice.

Snark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snark said...

Hilariously, I just read that this happened in Montreal, Canada yesterday too. Except it was a graveyard instead of a Wal-Mart, the guy ended up under the car rather than in front of it, and the not pregnant woman won't be charged because the man won't lodge a complaint. Presumably there were a lot more sorries involved too.

mikesixes said...

Hey, if he ain't dead, the force wasn't deadly, was it? Good for her.

John Tuffnell said...

Birkel said...
John Tuffnell:

I quoted a statue from Utah. Read an actual law before opining on what the law is.

HINT: It varies.

Birkel cites a law from a state that has no connection with the event. But let's pretend it has relevance.

The portion of the law you cite does not support your position. What forcible felony was she preventing at the time she ran him over? He stole her purse from her car and was running away. She was not in fear for her life or safety at that time.

Need more evidence? She admitted she ran him over to prevent him from getting away with her purse.

Then there's the rest of the statute that goes on to define what a forcible felony is that would allow deadly force. Not surprisingly, running away with property isn't on the list.

Finally, you dont address the problem of vigilante justice when it hurts other innocent people. If she ran over an innocent pedestrian in her quest for revenge to recover her lipstick and kleenex, even in Utah, she'd be doing serious time in jail.

She was an idiot and she got lucky.

The Godfather said...

The way this is likely to work out (even in leftish Asheville) is that the cops will tell the perp that he better agree in a binding agreement not to sue or file a complaint against baby-mamma, otherwise he's facing hard time. Then baby-mamma will plead (probably) nolo and pay a small fine. That sounds like justice to me.

Expat(ish) said...

I have a friend-of-a-friend who is a long time attorney in A-ville. He tells me that this is the talk of the town amongst the po-lece and legal set. Nobody believes the woman will get anything more than community service.

Apparently she was a minor celebrity during her booking.

-XC

Birkel said...

John Tuffnell

If you opine what the law is, I say it varies and offer a statute to prove the point, it is unseemly in the extreme to pretend your statement of the law was accurate. If you prefer to limit your comment to North Carolina law, use appropriate modifiers so that a reader might know.

And, the law apcited does apply if the theft was a forcible felony. Felony often requires only $500 in issue but varies from state to state. It varies. The Utah statute only requires felony commission and force.

So, swing and a violent miss.

Birkel said...

"...I cited... " was butchered.

Birkel said...

From the law I cited:

Burglary of a vehicle, defined in Section 76-6-204, does not constitute a forcible felony EXCEPT when the vehicle is occupied at the time unlawful entry is made or attempted.

Again, it varies.

Birkel said...

My emphasis added, above.