An MMA fighter and sometimes bouncer awakens to find a gay guy sleeping in his bed with his hands down his pants. Naturally, the fighter removes the gay guy’s hand and beats him to a pulp. At trial, the fighter claims the brutal assault was in self defense.
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I woke up with some dude’s hand down my pants and had to nearly beat him to death just to get out of the room I’d have… zero dollars because that never freaking happens.
But that’s the story Dale Edward Cutler told a Michigan appeals court. Yet, even assuming Cutler’s facts to be true, the appeals court still ruled that his use of force was too excessive to claim self defense….
The Michigan Messenger has the report on the case. The victim who got beaten up, Ryan Young, denies that any sexual assault took place. Young’s version of events has Cutler and Young going home together after a party and Cutler administering a pre-meditated beating.
Cutler was convicted at trial and sentenced to 11 to 25 years. But since Cutler was denied the right to use self defense as an argument at trial, he appealed. And when looking at the self defense issue, the Appeals Court had to take Cutler’s side of the story as truth, and that side went something like this:
Cutler, however, told the court and jury that the two had gone to bed in the same bed, and he awoke to find Young with his hand in Cutler’s pants. Culter is quoted by the Appeals Court as saying this during testimony:
“There was a struggle. I think it was my momentum that threw him off the bed but we ended up rolling off the bed and I ended up on top. . . . I think the hold broke when we fell to the ground. . . . Then I was on top then and I punched him . . . Probably about four or five [times] . . . . Then I got up and left.”
Cutler admitted to beating Young into unconsciousness in order to make sure he didn’t do anything to prevent him from leaving.
The appeals court ruled against Cutler, but a dissenting judge argued that the majority simply didn’t believe Cutler:
Judge Douglas Shapiro wrote a dissenting opinion in which he argued the majority had ruled the way it had because it did not believe Cutler’s story. He wrote that the majority judges — as well as the trial judge — were not supposed to judge the credibility of the witness, that was “for a jury to decide.”
“I would expect that the majority would not have affirmed had the defendant been a woman.”
I think that argument ignores some of the other characteristics of this “fight.” This is how the majority puts it:
Under the circumstances, even accepting defendant’s testimony that the victim sexually assaulted him and punched him once in the head, defendant cannot assert self-defense because he used excessive force to repel the attack he claims was mounted by the victim. Indeed, defendant did not try to merely subdue the victim, but punched the victim in the face hard enough to knock out teeth until the victim was unconscious. Given defendant’s fight training and the size difference between him and the victim, this far exceeded the force necessary for defendant to defend himself
So yeah, if a woman goes to bed with a guy she is much bigger than, then wakes up with his hands in her pants, and then beats that guy to a bloody pulp using some specialized professional fighting training, I don’t think a lot of people would call that self defense either.
That’s how I think it looks if we are forced to have the conversation without looking at the 800lb homophobic gorilla in the room.
Of course, since I’m not a judge, I don’t even have to pretend to believe Cutler’s story in the first place.
Appeals court says gay panic is not self defense [Michigan Messenger]