Crime Victim Uses Submission Hold; Suspect Eventually Dies. Now What?

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,718
Reaction score
2,806
Location
Michigan
Interesting story. From what I can glean, I'd have to come down on the side of the victim here; the suspect authored his own demise when he leaped upon the victim. However, I agree that when the threat subsides, so must the response. In this case, I don't think that threshold was exceeded; but perhaps I do not know the entire story.

In any case, it's yet another cautionary tale - this man may well end up in a courtroom, even if it is to respond to a lawsuit - so just being in the right legally does not always mean you walk away without consequences...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/ca...-submission-hold-alleged-burgl?urn=mma-wp1243

Back in July of 2010, Montalvo fought off a burglar, slapped on a submission hold and left Douglas Uhler unconscious on the street. Uhler never fully recovered and died yesterday at 19 years old.
 

SFC JeffJ

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
9,141
Reaction score
43
Well, that's one cockbite who won't be assaulting or robbing anybody else. Pity he was so young though. He might have been able to get out of that life.


Jeff
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Seems to me the guy should go to jail. He injured a guy so badly that he died. That has to be manslaughter. He was not protecting property and it can not be self defence. He had chased the guys to the next block so there was no longer a threat. It could be argued that the guy who died was trying to protect his mate who had been knocked out. Technically you could argue that that was assault (or battery).

That's not to say the thieves were blameless but you can't be judge, jury and executioner.

Manslaughter is the killing or cause to death of a person without a pre-meditation or intention to kill or cause death.
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,718
Reaction score
2,806
Location
Michigan
Here's some more information:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/bridgewater_teen_accused_in_ca.html

The street justice was administered by a 42-year-old Bridgewater man who heard people breaking into his car. A grand jury considered charges against the man, identified in court papers as Alex Montalvo, but none were brought.

"New Jersey law allows you to defend your physical self as well as your property," said Jenny Carroll, an associate professor at Seton Hall Law School. "You’re allowed to kill people under certain circumstances, particularly self-defense. If I jump on you, you’re allowed to do what is required to make me stop hurting you. But if I pause, you can’t just start kicking me in the head."
Carroll said there are no clear-cut answers.
"Here’s the trick in this case — did the homeowner exceed the need to protect his property?" she said. "If the kids are still in the process of taking the homeowner’s property, then he has a right to defend his property and to use force. The prosecutor must decide whether the homeowner used justifiable force, and whether it was reasonable.
"Even in the heat of passion, if you’re trying to subdue someone, it isn’t reasonable to kill them," Carroll said.
However, she said, the homeowner was defending himself against two people and might not have realized he was "using deadly force."
"I understand the dad’s emotional response and he may have a legal basis for it," Carroll said. "We have a dead kid and a homeowner who says his car was broken into. He could have stayed inside the house and just called the cops."

The father of the dead boy has said that there is no proof his son was involved in the break-in, and since he was never taken to trial for it (he was judged incompetent to stand trial due to the injuries he received), we'll never know. However, his friend and the person he was apparently defending that night has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

I think if it was me, I'd have stayed inside and called the police; not because I feared killing someone, but because I feared getting killed myself. Those kids could have been armed; there is nothing in my car worth my life. However, it seems that according to NJ law, the man did have the right to pursue the criminals he observed taking his property. Having knocked out the first suspect, he was set upon by the second suspect, and at that point, it was self-defense (my opinion). Since the Grand Jury investigated and no-billed it, I think that's it as far as criminal prosecution goes. However, he might still be sued. Win or lose, it's going to cost a lot of time and money. I wonder if that was worth whatever the kids were stealing?
 

LuckyKBoxer

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Messages
1,390
Reaction score
38
On July 31 at 3:39 a.m. in Bridgewater, N.J., Montalvo and his wife heard their car alarm go off. The 42-year-old ran to the street, identified two suspects and chased them to the next block.

this alone is going to more likely then not open the guy up for civil charges.
he pursued the men after they had given up their crime and were fleeing. Any good lawyer will state that the kids felt they were being attacked by the 42 year old and felt they could not escape so had to turn to "defend" themselves.

my guess is the guy will most likely not be criminally charged since the trial will most likely be iffy at best to get a conviction and will likely be high profile and costly.

the civil lawsuit that is going to come is most likely going to hurt this guy very badly though.

my opinions... but it is what it is.
 
OP
Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,718
Reaction score
2,806
Location
Michigan
this alone is going to more likely then not open the guy up for civil charges.
he pursued the men after they had given up their crime and were fleeing. Any good lawyer will state that the kids felt they were being attacked by the 42 year old and felt they could not escape so had to turn to "defend" themselves.

my guess is the guy will most likely not be criminally charged since the trial will most likely be iffy at best to get a conviction and will likely be high profile and costly.

the civil lawsuit that is going to come is most likely going to hurt this guy very badly though.

my opinions... but it is what it is.

I don't know about his pursuit being a problem.

Citizens generally have the right to arrest people whom they have witnessed to commit a felony; in some cases, even a misdemeanor. Almost every state I can think of would have no legal problem with a person pursuing a person they had witnessed committing a crime; it does not matter that they are no longer doing it.

If I see someone knock over a little old lady and run off with her purse, I can pursue him as a citizen. Even if he throws away the purse while he's running and I know that, I can tackle the sucker and hold him for the police - even if it means knocking him out by punching or choking him.

That doesn't mean I am justified in using deadly force on him - in some states yes, in some states no. However if his buddy jumps out of the bushes at me and attacks me and I choke him out as well, it becomes a different situation. Now it's self-defense if I reasonably thought my life was in danger and I am justified in using deadly force in most states.

The fact that the Grand Jury no-billed kind of says it for me. As to civil suit - sure, anyone can sue for anything. I don't know if they will in this case, and if they do, if they'll prevail. About all they could argue would be the facts of the final assault, though. I don't think that the initial pursuit could play a part in it; the family argues that their son wasn't even there, right? If he wasn't there, he wasn't being chased, so the legality of the chase itself doesn't matter at all. What matters in this issue would be what happened from the moment that their son allegedly jumped out at the guy. They could dispute that he actually attacked him, or that as you said, he thought he was defending his buddy - his buddy who admitted he was burglarizing the victim's property...hmmm.

In any case - I'd still have stayed inside if it had been me. Not because I didn't have the right to defend my property - but because I don't want to get shot or sued over a stereo tape deck.
 

SFC JeffJ

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
9,141
Reaction score
43
Now that I've done the research, I retract my previous comment. I know better than that for crying out loud.

Also, someone might want to check the language filter and add the word I used.

Jeff
 

punisher73

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Messages
3,605
Reaction score
631
I don't know about his pursuit being a problem.

Citizens generally have the right to arrest people whom they have witnessed to commit a felony; in some cases, even a misdemeanor. Almost every state I can think of would have no legal problem with a person pursuing a person they had witnessed committing a crime; it does not matter that they are no longer doing it.

If I see someone knock over a little old lady and run off with her purse, I can pursue him as a citizen. Even if he throws away the purse while he's running and I know that, I can tackle the sucker and hold him for the police - even if it means knocking him out by punching or choking him.

That doesn't mean I am justified in using deadly force on him - in some states yes, in some states no. However if his buddy jumps out of the bushes at me and attacks me and I choke him out as well, it becomes a different situation. Now it's self-defense if I reasonably thought my life was in danger and I am justified in using deadly force in most states.

The fact that the Grand Jury no-billed kind of says it for me. As to civil suit - sure, anyone can sue for anything. I don't know if they will in this case, and if they do, if they'll prevail. About all they could argue would be the facts of the final assault, though. I don't think that the initial pursuit could play a part in it; the family argues that their son wasn't even there, right? If he wasn't there, he wasn't being chased, so the legality of the chase itself doesn't matter at all. What matters in this issue would be what happened from the moment that their son allegedly jumped out at the guy. They could dispute that he actually attacked him, or that as you said, he thought he was defending his buddy - his buddy who admitted he was burglarizing the victim's property...hmmm.

In any case - I'd still have stayed inside if it had been me. Not because I didn't have the right to defend my property - but because I don't want to get shot or sued over a stereo tape deck.

A good defense attorney is going to say that they didn't even commit the crime. They were going to commit it, but then changed their mind when the alarm went off and tried to leave. They never actually commited anything, it was attempted. Just playing devil's advocate.

There are a lot of factors in the case to consider. Would he have had charges filed if he had chased down the two men and then shot and killed the second one? What is the law in their state for police officers using the choke hold? I think the biggest concern is that they don't want to punish someone for protecting their own property. I wouldn't want to be the grand jury to decide whether or not to bring charges or the prosecutor's office.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Too bad, so sad. Since his partner pleaded guilty to burglary charges, it can be argued that Uhler's death occurred during the commission of a crime. Therefore, his buddy Johnston should be slapped with a murder charge.
 

sgtmac_46

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
4,752
Reaction score
187
Interesting story. From what I can glean, I'd have to come down on the side of the victim here; the suspect authored his own demise when he leaped upon the victim. However, I agree that when the threat subsides, so must the response. In this case, I don't think that threshold was exceeded; but perhaps I do not know the entire story.

In any case, it's yet another cautionary tale - this man may well end up in a courtroom, even if it is to respond to a lawsuit - so just being in the right legally does not always mean you walk away without consequences...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/ca...-submission-hold-alleged-burgl?urn=mma-wp1243

In Missouri it wouldn't be a civil or criminal case........one has the right to use lethal force in defense of self if force is threatened in the commission of a felony.......and the affirmative defense in the criminal case is considered an affirmative defense in the civil case requiring anyone who files a civil case to pay all fees associated with the case for filing it as frivolous........and the fact that the force used doesn't meet the definition of 'lethal' by Missouri statute, despite the outcome, makes it even far more dubious anything would come of it.......as in Missouri they'd be good to go if he'd shot the guy dead.



I did like the clown commenting about blaming MMA......that's some asshat logic.
 

sgtmac_46

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
4,752
Reaction score
187
Too bad, so sad. Since his partner pleaded guilty to burglary charges, it can be argued that Uhler's death occurred during the commission of a crime. Therefore, his buddy Johnston should be slapped with a murder charge.

YEP! Felony murder rule should apply......wouldn't that hack the family off.......but the reason they haven't charged him, is they haven't decided to charge the victim or not yet........because charge the suspect would negate the charge against the victim because it would be a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that the death was in the commission of a felony.
 

MA-Caver

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
14,960
Reaction score
307
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Same thing happened to me long, long time ago in my early twenties when I was walking towards a destination late at night (missed the last bus) and a guy had jumped me wanting my (non-existent) money. In the course of our fight I gave him a slashing sword hand strike to his throat, he dropped to the sidewalk gasping and I just walked away from him as fast as I could. I have NO idea of his fate, I would like to imagine that he managed to breathe well enough and got up and staggered on home that much wiser. I hit his windpipe dead-on and pretty hard... :idunno: like I said... dunno what was the result... only that I was able to get away. I don't think the guy had any intention of killing (neither did I) but it happens... same as a cop who fires back when fired upon... he hopes that it won't kill but if it does... then it's one less scumbag for them and the average citizen to worry about.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Same thing happened to me long, long time ago in my early twenties when I was walking towards a destination late at night (missed the last bus) and a guy had jumped me wanting my (non-existent) money. In the course of our fight I gave him a slashing sword hand strike to his throat, he dropped to the sidewalk gasping and I just walked away from him as fast as I could. I have NO idea of his fate, I would like to imagine that he managed to breathe well enough and got up and staggered on home that much wiser. I hit his windpipe dead-on and pretty hard... :idunno: like I said... dunno what was the result... only that I was able to get away. I don't think the guy had any intention of killing (neither did I) but it happens... same as a cop who fires back when fired upon... he hopes that it won't kill but if it does... then it's one less scumbag for them and the average citizen to worry about.
The differences are:
1. You were physically confronted.
2. You responded appropriately.
3. You didn't use excessive force or continue your response after the threat was removed.
4. You walked away.

You ticked all the boxes for lawful self defence.
 

Twin Fist

Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
7,185
Reaction score
210
Location
Nacogdoches, Tx
makes me glad I live in texas, where we are not so civilized as to think the right response is to "ask for help"

my yard? he would have had rounds in him before he got to the next block

one less scumbag in the world. Feel bad for his mom tho.....
 

chinto

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
2,026
Reaction score
36
I would have to say if they can not prove that the intent was to kill, and the technique is normally used to restrain and or submit with out using what would normally result in death.. ( chokes and strangles) then I would be hard pressed to find him guilty of anything.
 

MA-Caver

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
14,960
Reaction score
307
Location
Chattanooga, TN
The differences are:
1. You were physically confronted.
2. You responded appropriately.
3. You didn't use excessive force or continue your response after the threat was removed.
4. You walked away.

You ticked all the boxes for lawful self defense.
True that... but at the time I didn't think about it... just acted/reacted and acted again. Also I walked away for couple of reasons... 1. in fear that he may have others nearby and will entrap me, 2. I was angry enough to want to actually kill him. I've had many months and years to think about this... though it has been a long time since my last thoughts have been upon this incident. Oddly I feel no regret or remorse upon it even though I do not know the fate of the attacker.

"Even in the heat of passion, if you’re trying to subdue someone, it isn’t reasonable to kill them," Carroll said.
However, she said, the homeowner was defending himself against two people and might not have realized he was "using deadly force."
"I understand the dad’s emotional response and he may have a legal basis for it," Carroll said. "We have a dead kid and a homeowner who says his car was broken into. He could have stayed inside the house and just called the cops."
That he could have stayed in the house and called 911 but he didn't.
To say that two people who might not have realized that he was "using deadly force"... that sounds presumptuous on what the kids were thinking when they were intending to rob the man of his property. Anyone knows... anyone with good common sense would know that if you intrude onto another's property with ill intent (steal, vandalize, destroy, whatever!) you're going to be dealt with harshly... that includes the possibility that the home/property owner may use deadly force to stop you... and be in the right to do so. It's trying to project the innocence of a couple of kids who by that age of 19 would definitely already know better and are aware of possible consequences.
Granted that they may have speculated that the worse that could happen is that they get busted and go to jail. But surely they had in their minds that the guy could come out with a gun and shoot 'em... of course he didn't... and they learned that there are other ways to be deterred.

Sad that a 19 year old boy had to throw away his life choosing the path which lead him to his death.
 
Top