By Alex P. Vidal
“What do you expect me to do about it?”—John Dillinger
I WAS surprised when New York Police Department (NYPD) cops handcuffed and arrested the landlord or owner of our apartment in Queens July 24 evening.
Minutes earlier, I heard him shout violently in the ground floor. When I checked, I saw a man, a tenant in the basement, hurriedly ran outside. The owner of the apartment, who continued to shout, followed him.
Responding to a 911 call made by the tenant, four NYPD cops arrived.
One police officer interviewed the tenant, while the other pacified the landlord, who was ranting outside telling the police officer he had caught the tenant videoing the landlord’s teenage daughter using a cellphone.
“After you caught him videoing your daughter, did you punch him?” asked the police officer. “I pushed him,” the landlord replied.
“Carlo (name of the tenant) said you punched him,” the police officer snapped back.
At this juncture, the police officer placed a cuff on the landlord’s hands in the back.
Here’s a case where the supposed “offender” (Carlo who allegedly videoed the landlord’s daughter) was not arrested, while the “offended” (father of the alleged victim of unauthorized videoing inside her room) was the one arrested and landed in jail.
In the Philippines, it would have been the other way around.
But in New York or in the United States for that matter, the law is different.
Under the New York’s “One Punch” rule, the intent of throwing one punch is considered a criminal act. According to New York law, a single punch can not be used as a basis for homicide charges.
The “one punch” rule can limit misdemeanor assault charges if there was no intent to harm or minimal harm. When the victim was involved in the fight, the one punch rule may be invoked. This is similar to a barroom brawl. Even though criminal negligence is not possible, negligence presumes that the defendant knew or should have known about a danger of death. A reasonable person would not think that throwing one punch poses a danger of death. (Source: The Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald).
Although there have been numerous legislative attempts to eliminate the “one-punch loophole”, none of these efforts have succeeded.
A defendant who throws one punch that causes death or serious injury can only be charged with misdemeanor assault under current law. More serious charges could be brought against a prosecution if they can prove intent to cause serious injury or death.
Criminal law usually requires that you only intended to do the crime, and not that you are aiming for a specific result. A defendant who intentionally shoots another person with a gun and causes them to die can be charged with murder even though they intended to only scare or minorly harm them.
However, certain aggravated crimes require that the defendant intended the outcome. These are called “specific intent” crimes. For example, a murder conviction requires that the defendant intended for the victim’s death, according to the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald.
“Mga Binalaybay sa Kahapunanon” (Ginsulat kag ginbalhag ni Ambassador Leo Tito L. Ausan, Jr. sang mga 11:00 sang aga, ika 25 sang Hulyo, 2023, sa Dhaka, Bangladesh…)
Nga mayor nga sangkap sa akon obra, katulad sang Pagtuon sang Kasuguan, isa man ka maimon nga Kirida,
Bilog ko nga kabuhi kag tanan ko nga panahon kinahanglan nga Ipahanungod ko lamang sa iya,
Labi na gid subong sa sini nga tion, nga Ambassador na ako diri sa Dhaka,
Kag ngaa abi indi, kay kubos ako nga alagad, sang aton Mahal nga Pungsod, kag tanan nga mga Kababayan kag Kasimanwa?
Sang nagliligad nga inadlaw, kag semana, gintingu-haan ko,
Nga sang pila ka mga binalaybay, makasasulat pa bisan masaku gid ako.
Sa sin inga serye, nakabalay pa gani ako sang mga bale walo,
Apang subong sini nga ako sa buluhaton ginatagaliog na,
Ang padayunon magsulat sang manami nga mga binalaybay nga inyo tanan igakalingaw kag igakalipay, para sa akon duro KABUDLAY NA!!
Gani, bisan luyag ko pa,
Nga kontani kamo nga akon mga sumulunod kag mga bumalasa,
Sang padayon ang lingawon kag paga pahalipayon pa!,
Ining akon serye nga , “Mga Binalaybay sa Kahapunanon”, subong nga adlaw paga untatan ko na.
Sa sining pag-untat, sa inyo tanan, ako hugot kag tampad gid nga nagapangayo sang pasaylo kag pasensya.
Salamat gid, kon inyo mahangpan, nga ordinaryo lang ako kag may mga kakulangan man nga tinuga,
MADAMU GID NGA SALAMAT SA INYO TANAN, NGA SA AKON MGA BINALAYBAY NAGSUBAYBAY KAG NAG BASA, SA PAGHANGOP KAG PAGBATON SINING AKON, PAG-PAALAM, NA,
KAG GAMAY NGA KUMPAS SANG DIPLOMASYA.
HUMALIN SUBONG KABAY NGA MAKAAGUM PAGID TANI KAMU TANAN SANG MAS MADAMU NGA BUGAY KAG GRASYA,
HALIN SA ATON MAGAGAHUM KAG MALULUY-ON NGA MAHAL NGA DIWA!!..
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)