Man Requests ‘Trial By Combat’ in Iowa Court

Joe: 106.7 WIZN, that is Bad Company and “Shooting Star.” Heard Eddie Money before that, Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday Rock and Ride Home. Earlier I was talking about this story about a guy requesting a trial by combat, and I thought that was a good subject to talk about with my friend Ben Barry from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Ben.

Ben: Joe, how are you doing?

Joe: I’m good, I’m good. So calling you with this crazy story. It’s coming out of Des Moines, Iowa. Guy, his name is David Ostrom, and I think he’s divorced. I’m not even sure what’s going on, but he’s basically in a legal battle with his ex-wife, and he has asked the judge to sanction a trial by combat. And so, I’m going to ask you the dumbest question I think I’ve ever asked anyone in my life. Will this work?

Ben: In Iowa? Maybe. In New York or Vermont or Massachusetts, it certainly would not, and I would venture to say it won’t work anywhere. I do not think any court will be sanctioning any trials by battle any time in the near future, in part because, in a civil proceeding, a court would not encourage or sanction two parties to violence, and they also can’t lawfully sanction them to do something that would run afoul of other laws.

Joe: Right.

Ben: So in a civil court, there are a lot of things that can happen. But any time two people were engaging in, I guess, battle, or in exchanging various types of assault onto one another, they would be running afoul of the criminal law because their intention is to cause harm or death, dismemberment. And so a court that is trying a case civilly and issuing an order, those orders have to be in compliance with the other laws of the country and of the state, and so I don’t think that a court will be encouraging participants to solve their disputes with guns or knives or swords.

Joe: Well, you know what? That’s disappointing because I really thought that we finally hit “Game of Thrones” territory.

Ben: I don’t think so, not yet.

Joe: Such a shame. All right. Thanks, Ben.

Ben: Thank you, Joe. Have a good one.

Joe: That has to be the most out of left field question I’ve ever asked, Ben. All right, remember you can call Ben at any time at 1-800-LAW-1010 or go online to I’m outta here, turning things over to Mel Allen now, he’s got music from Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam next.