POLITICS

Can Kyle Reitenhaus be sued for negligence?


[1.] Yes. A criminal acquittal does not preclude a civil case beyond the same claim. First, the acquittal of innocence only cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt (need, say, a> 90% confidence level); The standard of civil liability is the predominance of evidence (which requires only> 50%, or perhaps ≥50%, if the injury is easily proven and the burden is shifted to the defendant to prove self-defense).

Second, liability may be based on a negligence theory; The charges against Reitenhaus were based on the theory that he acted recklessly or intentionally, depending on the charges. Of course, the negligence investigation has made its way into the analysis, as the self-defense claim has turned out to be whether he had a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm; Any citizen will also play a role in the claim. But at least in principle, there may be more room for civil disobedience claims than for a criminal murder, attempted homicide, or reckless endangerment case. (One way this can happen is that the value of criminal negligence in a criminal case is generally higher than that of a civil negligence, although in this case the jury guidelines do not seem to reflect that.)

This is why, for example, Oz Simpson could lose a civil wrongful death case even though he was acquitted in a criminal trial. If anyone on the other hand Convicted In a trial, including evidence beyond reasonable doubt, which usually makes him liable automatically in a civil case on the basis of the same information and a similar legal theory: if the guilt is proved at 90% confidence level, then it must also be proved at a> 50% level. But not the opposite.

[2.] What about the money? How much can an 18 year old person have? Well, he had success raising funds for his criminal defense, and he may be able to raise funds for a civil defense, but I doubt anyone would pay him, so the plaintiffs could sue him for compensation. . (I can’t say if there are any uncontrolled contributions left from the criminal case fundraising.)

On the other hand, if the parents of the retinhouse own a home and the homeowners have insurance, it can also cover widespread negligence claims against their minor children (many homeowners insurance policies do this), and not just claims due to injury. In the house. It is possible that a claim that “Reitenhaus neglected to shoot me because his fear that I would kill him or seriously injure him was unreasonable” would be subject to such a policy, although it would certainly depend on the exact terms of the policy. Such a policy would cover both defense costs and potential judgments, at least up to the financial limits of the policy; And it can pay for litigation (which is, of course, how many litigation has been settled).

That being said, my idea (based on a quick look at the media accounts) about the economic situation of the retinhouse is that they may be tenants and there is no possibility of having other sources of liability insurance. The main source of such liability coverage is usually homeowners insurance, or, for a small and wealthy percentage of the population, umbrella policy or similar liability coverage.

[3.] Naturally, a jury may conclude that Rittenhaus did not neglect, even under the predominance of evidence criteria, in which case he would win the civil case. (Self-defense in a civil case is a valid defense, although again value is the predominance of evidence.) And, especially if no insurance policy is available, potential plaintiffs may conclude that it is pointless to even try to sue. But in principle, a civil liability following a criminal acquittal is possible.



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