Why isn't this crime a felony?

My stepbrother got sucker-punched about a week ago. The guy got in his face at a crowded bar and then attacked him with no provocation, landed three punches to the face. He got thrown out by the bouncers and ran away, but was VERY well known to the police for two reasons: one is the identifying tattoo right across his face, the other is the fact that this guy does this on a regular basis. He is also homeless and has no income or property.

So my stepbrother had to get a CAT scan, stitches, and has bone fractures as well as injuries to his eye, and will have to get veneers on at least three of his teeth. He doesn’t have health insurance, so this is all going to come out of his pocket. And the cops told him that the best he could do was to pursue this guy for a misdemeanor, and that it was useless anyway since the guy wouldn’t be able to pay anything regardless of conviction.

How is this not a felony? This guy serially assaults people, causing serious injuries. He is well-known to the police. What is the justification for these cops to let this guy go every time? He causes major physical injury to people on a regular basis. Can someone please explain why nothing can be done about this guy? Or, alternatively, is there a way to get this guy in jail where he belongs?

Lets see…
[li]Face tattoo[/li][li]No income or property[/li][li]Violent lunatic[/li][/ul]

Who is Mike Tyson?

Assualt, yes.
Maybe the police have tried and given up due to judge, court, local system, etc. and get nowhere.
This guy needs to pick on the wrong victim just once and get the book thrown at him.
Other that that past victims might gang up on him and ‘convince’ to change his ways.

Quite frankly, there is no justification, other than lazy cops who don’t want to deal with transients.

I think it depends where you live. In Florida, they do have a charge called Felony Assault. Most states have them. It sounds like your brother came across some lazy cops.

In California, and I suspect in most jurisdictions, simple assault isn’t a felony. Period. Assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to cause great bodily harm, and assault on various persons or with intent to commit a number of other felonies, yes. Just hitting somebody with your fists? The defense attorney AND the judge would have to be drunk or asleep.

It’s a shame this guy is allowed to do this to other people, but it won’t help your brother’s situation with regard to the hospital bills. If the dude is homeless, arresting him won’t help that situation. But he should be locked up.

I had a friend who was helping a girl who was getting knocked around by a man. The guy sucker punched him and he fell and hit his head on the curb and died.

He was found guilty of murder.

Slight hijack i realise, apologies to the OP, however can someone please explain what is meant by a felony exactly?

From what i’ve been able to dig up it seems that misdemeanors carry maximum imprisonment time of one year. Is that right? Assaulting someone only carries a max one year term in the US?

How serious an assault does it need to be to become a felony?

That’s the general definition. The federal definition of felony is a crime with a punishment that can be over one year in prison; one year or less is a misdemeanor. Most states follow the federal definition.

Depends. In Texas, a simple assault is a Class A misdemeanor unless it occurs against a public servant or certain protected classes, in which case it’s a 3rd degree felony (2-10 in prison). Aggravated assault is an assault which causes serious bodily injury, or in which a deadly weapon is used or exhibited, or both, and is a 2nd degree (2-20 in prison) or 1st degree felony (5-99 in prison), depending on whether there’s a deadly weapon finding, or if it was an assault against a public servant or protected class causing serious bodily injury, or both. “Deadly weapon” is a bit misleading; fists and feet have been ruled deadly weapons.

It could be charged as aggravated assault, it seems to me, if they wanted to (it’s the Prosecuting Attorney that decides the charge IIR). In California, maiming is very heavily sentenced, but there is probably a definition involving loss of more of a bodily part than teeth.

Your stepbrother could go higher up the police chain of command, to the Prosecuting Attorney, or to the City Council Member for his district, or the Mayor or to the Press. I’d want him to pursue it, for the sake of other people.

This guy’s violating the social compact which is why we have laws in the first place.

We have a friend who is a convicted felon. He stole a cell phone. What constitutes a felony anymore can be rather surprising.

It sounds like lazy cops to me, considering I have heard anedoctally that spitting on someone can be considered attack with a deadly weapon.

If the police are aware this guy continues to do this and the courts keep letting him go, I wonder if there is any recourse? If I allow my dog out to bite folks, I’m held responsible.

Why do you say “lazy cops?” There are 2 things you should consider:

  1. The police don’t prosecute and convict the offenders.
  2. As mentioned above, some places simple assault isn’t a felony.

What state/jurisdiction did this occur in?

And,of course, your stepbrother has sworn out a warrant, correct? That’s how you go about getting someone off the street.

If he didn’t, then don’t complain.

Unless I’m mistaken, in some areas if one repetively commits the same misdemeanor it can rise to the level of a felony. Dunno how that works, but that’s what I heard. YMMV.

I was under the impression that one would have to have been convicted repeatedly for the usual misdemeanor for the next instance to rise to a felony.

Here is the crux of the matter. The cops weren’t lazy. Simple assault is a misdemeanor crime (in my area and in many others.) Given that it is a misdemeanor and it happened outside the presence of a police officer, the victim/witnesses of the crime must take out the warrant. The police cannot do it. For example, take a drive-off of gas (someone pumps gas, then drives off without paying.) You saw it, you flag down the police car that cruises by a few minutes later and as you are telling him what happened, the culprit cruises by. Can the officer go chase him, or even pull him over based on your say-so? **You ** can take out a warrant and you can prosecute, because you witnessed the crime. The officer didn’t witness the crime. He can’t testify that he did. If someone randomly pointed at you and said “he stole gas” you would be livid if the police pulled you over with nothing more than that to go on. No probable cause or even reasonable suspicion exists.

Another example: shoplifters. The store personnel arrest the shoplifter and swear out the warrant. The police just transport them to the jail, at least that’s how it works in my area. Of course, that also applies if the level of theft is such that it rises to a felony, over $250, IIRC, in my area. Store security personnel are very experienced in the laws regarding shoplifters.

The victim of this crime needs to take out a warrant and he needs to go to the DA’s office and express his interest in prosecuting this case. It is possible now that the extent of his injuries are apparent, it can be bumped up to a felony.

This happened in Santa Rosa, CA. I’m not sure what my stepbrother has done about pursuing this guy. Obviously he talked to the cops. My stepbrother tends to be a bit idealistic about people and has little or no confidence in the police; also, this happened very recently and he was in the hospital for a while, so I doubt he’s done anything at this point.

How long does he have to pursue this matter? He is travelling for the next month or two in Europe and will be unreachable by telephone.

BTW, he did tell me he is friends with the owner of the bar and would prefer not to sue him (although I said he might want to reconsider due to the sheer cost of the medical care and the fact that his friend probably has some sort of insurance for this type of thing).

Also, I’m not “complaining,” I am legitimately interested in helping my stepbrother out so fuck you, samclem.


Ghanima, flaming like that in GQ is not allowed.

Official warning - take it to the Pit if you feel the need to talk to other posters like that.


I can prosecute?
When did that start?