Monday, September 10, 2018

A Heroic Mother Faces a Miscarriage of Justice

File photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters
Krissy Noble killed a man in self-defense: legal, courts say. But she used her husband’s gun. Cue the prosecution.
Last December, while 11 weeks pregnant, Krissy Noble was attacked in her Arkansas home by an intruder. The intruder had come by the apartment earlier, asking for her husband, but she didn’t know him. On checking, she found out that her husband did not know the man, either; it later turned out that the name he gave Noble was false. When he came by again, she was on the phone with her husband, who said that he would send a neighbor to check out the situation. At the door, however, she was tackled and punched. Breaking free, and fearing for her life — and that of her child — she grabbed her husband’s pistol, which she had placed on the coffee table after the first suspicious visit, and shot the man three times. Then she ran to the neighbor’s apartment and told her to call 911.
When the police arrived, Noble led them to the body and handed over the gun. Police found duct tape and a rolled-up duffel bag on the attacker’s person. Later, having investigated his identity, they discovered that he had a history of assault. Taking these two factors into account, the police concluded “that Krissy Lenae Noble was justified in her use of force and that this is a justifiable homicide, which does not merit the filing of criminal charges with regard to the homicidal event.” Noble gave birth to her child this year.
Last week, however, prosecutors decided to press charges against Noble — not for the killing itself, which is still held to be justified in self-defense, but for illegally possessing a gun at the time she was attacked.
The situation is absurd as it sounds: Nearly a year after the fact, Noble is being charged not for killing someone with a gun, but for holding a gun at the time she killed someone — an exquisite slicing of principle that makes a farce of our system of justice. The idea that a person is not to be held culpable for the use of a given instrument if the cause is self-defense goes back to the Codex Justianus of Roman law, and it’s enshrined in the common-law tradition that passed from England to America. By determining that her act was lawful but her tool was not, prosecutors in Arkansas are taking aim at a bedrock principle within American life.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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