Like most normal people, I don’t condone picking on the weak. So when I read that an MMA fighter had allegedly assaulted an amputee, I was quite appalled. Yes, I did come up with a “SWEEP THE LEG” joke in my head, but I felt bad about it.
However, thanks to the due diligence of the American judicial process, James Michael Marohl had a felony assault conviction overturned by the Washington (state) Supreme Court.
According to court documents, Marohl had originally been found guilty of third degree assault for putting Joseph Rex Peterson in a choke hold and slamming him into the floor.
As it turns out, Peterson was quite inebriated and after being cut off by the bartender, walked back to his table with a glass of water. Navigating through a crowded bar is hard enough for a klutz like myself, and to make things worse, most chairs are exactly the right height so that one false move means my nuts will likely absorb the impact.
Who knows whether he was protecting his testicles or simply stupid and off balance, but Peterson knocked over a chair that almost smacked into the wife of one of Marohl’s friends. Two things can happen here: either a fight starts, or the heavily inebriated person tries to apologize in an extremely over-friendly manner. Peterson went for option two, putting his arm around the lady’s husband to say “sorry.” This is ideal for providing maximum homoerotic discomfort and blowing stale whiskey breath into someone’s face.
I’m guessing the gentleman didn’t appreciate this gesture or Peterson’s refusal to remove his arm and let go of the loving embrace. Marohl went to get between the two and move Peterson’s arm. There things get a bit conflicted. One witness and friend of Peterson claimed that Marohl slapped on a choke hold and drove him into the floor. But another account suggested that Marohl was just trying to move the man away and out of the bar to prevent trouble, and the fall to the floor was inadvertent.
The impact with the casino floor caused Peterson to suffer bruises and scrapes on his face, and his prosthetic arm broke off above the elbow joint. Marohl got to his feet and walked away but then returned to try to help Peterson off the ground.
Marohl had been convicted by a lower court, but appealed on the grounds that he did not use the floor as an “instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm.” To support the assault charge, the state prosecutor had argued Marohl had used an arm-lock/choke hold and slammed him to the ground. The court sided with Marohl and agreed that the state did not have sufficient evidence for a third degree assault conviction.
And remember kids, as the great Seanbaby at Cracked.com once wrote, “Bar fights are started when beer is applied to douches or sexual frustration. They are ended with karate.” Indeed.