Friday, July 22, 2011

Lawyer Allegedly Force-Feeds iPhone to Girlfriend

I’m not sure how many times you’ve heard a phone go off in a movie theatre, or other inappropriate place, and thought “I’d like to shove that effing phone [in to/up] [his/her] [choose an orifice]” but I sure have.  Don’t judge me.  I really like going to the movies.  And it says really big ON THE SCREEN before the movie starts that you are supposed to TURN YOUR PHONE OFF.  Anyway, if you’re like me and you’ve ever had that impulse but didn’t act on it because you aren’t a complete psycho, this blog post is for you.

37-year-old Brian Anscomb, a New York City Patent Attorney, was recently arrested based on allegations that he "force-fed" an iPhone to his girlfriend during an argument.  According to court documents referenced by the New York Post, the force-feeding bruised and cut the mouth of his 23-year-old (presumably “ex”) girlfriend.

There is an incredible lack of information regarding the particulars of the allegations.  Neither the New York Times, nor the only other internet site I checked in an incredibly hasty effort to throw together facts, told exactly how Anscomb allegedly attacked the young woman or how he was supposed to have forced an object the shape and size of a friggin’ iPhone down the girl’s throat.

Based on said absence of information, I doubt that the force-feeding described by the Post led the woman to actually swallow the phone.  Right?  I mean, that’s got to be virtually impossible.  I wonder if it had a protective casing on the iPhone...hmm...either way, the guy could use a good assault lawyer. 

Anyway, let’s take a look at the Kentucky Revised Statutes in order to get a better handle on what the charges might look like in a Commonwealth such as ours.  I have no idea whether any of the allegations against Mr. Anscomb are true or not.  So let’s make a hypothetical situation, where “Bob” is a Kentucky resident and during an argument, he force-fed an iPhone to his girlfriend named “presumably ‘ex’ girlfriend.”  For the sake of today’s conversation, assume the girl has some scrapes and bruises in her mouth, but no tearing of the esophagus or trachea.  First let’s look at Assault in the First Degree, commonly referred to as “Assault with a deadly weapon.”

KRS 508.010   Assault in the first degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the first degree when:
(a) He intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
(b) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person.
(2) Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony.

Let’s take last things first and define “deadly weapon” and “dangerous instrument.”  Then we’ll see if an iPhone fits into one of those categories.  We find the definitions for those two phrases in KRS 500.080, which defines them as follows:

"Deadly weapon" means any of the following:
(a) A weapon of mass destruction;
(b) Any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged;
(c) Any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife;
(d) Billy, nightstick, or club;
(e) Blackjack or slapjack;
(f) Nunchaku karate sticks;
(g) Shuriken or death star; or
(h) Artificial knuckles made from metal, plastic, or other similar hard material;

Obviously the definition of “deadly weapon” includes some pretty specific language concerning what is and what is not a deadly weapon.  KRS 500.080(4) excludes iPhones from the definition of “deadly weapon” by omitting the same in an exhaustive list.  In addition, and on a personal note, KRS 500.080(4) really makes me want to go buy some Nunchaku karate sticks.  Before I do that, let’s talk about the next definition.

"Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, including parts of the human body when a serious physical injury is a direct result of the use of that part of the human body, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury[.]

Although the definition of “dangerous instrument” is clearly more vague and encompassing than the definition of “deadly weapon,” I think most judges would agree that an iPhone isn’t something that is (reasonably) “readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.”

First things last, this particular act wouldn’t qualify as Assault in the First Degree because the injuries received by presumably “ex” girlfriend weren’t serious enough to rise to the level of “serious physical injuries.”  Without getting too complicated, the injuries received by the girl in our scenario would qualify as “physical injury” but not “serious physical injury.”  Any experienced Louisville assault lawyer would tell you that Bob is not guilty of Assault in the First Degree.

How about Assault in the Second Degree?
KRS 508.020   Assault in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree when:
(a) He intentionally causes serious physical injury to another person; or
(b) He intentionally causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
(c) He wantonly causes serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
(2) Assault in the second degree is a Class C felony.

The same reasoning applies, and our guy Bob is not guilty of Assault 2 because there are no “serious physical injuries” to presumably “ex” girlfriend, and the iPhone isn’t a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

Assault in the Third Degree is inapplicable, as it is generally reserved for assaulting a government employee of some sort (commonly referred to as “Assaulting an Officer”).  So we will move on to Assault in the Fourth Degree.

KRS 508.030   Assault in the fourth degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree when:
(a) He intentionally or wantonly causes physical injury to another person; or
(b) With recklessness he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
(2) Assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

Assuming Bob didn’t “accidentally” force feed the iPhone to presumably “ex” girlfriend, under KRS 508.030(1)(a) it would appear that Bob is guilty of Assault in the Fourth Degree because he intentionally caused physical injury to her.  Pursuant to the last subsection, Assault 4 is a Class A misdemeanor.  However, if Bob and presumably “ex” girlfriend have a child together, are living together, or have lived together in the past, this act could qualify as a domestic violence assault.  Under KRS 508.032, that means that Bob has committed a Class D felony, not a Class A misdemeanor.  Either way, Bob needs a good Louisville assault lawyer.

In conclusion (Not really.  I'm just going off on a different tangent about impulse behavior.), it seems like a lot of my clients get in trouble because they act on impulse when they get angry.  Whether it's shoving a piece of modern technology into a loved one's orifice, or putting a noose around their spouse's neck and making them stand in the back yard naked as punishment, or setting fire to a co-worker's lingerie because they stole customers at a strip joint, lots of people tend to act on impulse out of anger.  Please be advised that some proactive anger management can eliminate a lot serious legal issues.

If you are charged with Assault in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Elizabethtown or the surrounding areas, call 502.618.4949 or visit  At Gruner & Simms, PLLC, we know that assault is a serious crime.  You should have an experienced Louisville assault lawyer on your side. 

Results.  As fast as the law will allow.

Questions answered in this blog post:  How do I find a good Louisville assault lawyer; What is criminal assault; what is the story about the lawyer who force fed an iPhone to his girlfriend; what is a deadly weapon; what is assault in the fourth degree; how do I find a good Louisville assault 4th degree lawyer; what  is assault in the second degree; how do I find a good Louisville assault 2nd degree lawyer; what is assaulting an officer in Kentucky?

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