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The Harold Fish case


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  • The Harold Fish case

    I know this is an older story, but it's been on my mind lately and it seemed like a decent alternative to the current discussions on the election.

    For those who aren't familiar with the Harold Fish story, here's a link to a decent article on the case.

    In short, Mr. Fish was a retired school teacher who was out hiking in the Arizona mountains. Near the end of a day hike he was charged by two dogs while their "owner" (it turned out later the dogs were on "loan" from a Humane Society) just watched and ignored calls to call off the dogs. He drew and fired a warning shot into the ground, which turned the dogs away. Then Grant Kuenzli charged Mr. Fish in a rage, Mr. Fish tried to warn him off, then wound up firing 3 rounds into his chest at close range as Kuenzli closed in. In the end, Mr. Fish was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10 years with no possibility of parole. There's a lot more to the story, this is just a thumbnail.

    From what I've read, Mr. Fish was "no-billed" 3 times by grand juries, but the prosecutor kept taking it back and finally got a ruling in his favor. There was a fair amount that was excluded from the trial, especially about Kuenzli's background. I have to say, if I was facing charges where a large amount of material was excluded from the jury, I'd give serious thought to waiving my right to a jury trial and ask the judge, the only person in the room with all the information, to make a judgement.

    After this case, and largely in response to this incident, the Arizona legislature passed a law which shifts the burden to the state to prove the use of deadly force in self-defense isn't justified, but it was ruled that it could not be applied retroactively to Fish's case.

    What are your thoughts?

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