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The Ninth: no, bare hands are not deadly weapons

March 23, 2010

This case began when inmate Victor Rocha pulled another inmate’s feet out from under him during a prison brawl. Rocha had been hanging out when he “observ[ed] the fight from below” and ran up to join the fight. Other inmates had already stabbed the victim four times by the time Rocha ran up to the 6 foot 7, 300 lb. victim and pulled his legs out from under him. (Which begs the question…how big is Rocha??)

The jury convicted Rocha of assault with a deadly weapon prompting his appeal.

So obviously, Rocha is not a nice guy and one can see why he’s in prison, but assault with a deadly weapon? The government tried to argue the combination of Rocha’s hands and the floor = assault with a deadly weapon. Using witty and snarky commentary, Lowering the Bar opines on why it took the Ninth Circuit 9 pages to come to the conclusion that no: bare hands are not a deadly weapon.

Here’s the case: United States v. Rocha, No. 08-50175 (9th Cir. Mar. 18, 2010)

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