Pop into any courtroom while an arraignment is taking place and you will undoubtedly hear defense attorneys reciting: “We enter a plea of not guilty, your honor, demand discovery, and set the case for trial by jury.”
What you probably won’t hear is “…and set the case for trial by combat.” But one lawyer in Staten Island, NY, did just that–he demanded a trial by combat after being sued for allegedly helping his client shelter money from a civil judgment.
Wikipedia has an interesting historical recount of trial by combat, and I’m sure the subject as it relates to Florida criminal law is best left for those with superior intellect, but I wonder if one of our clients, if informed that trial by combat was, in fact, an available option, would elect to proceed that way. I fear I shall never know the answer to that question.
On another note, a quick search of the term in WestlawNext yielded no meaningful results in Florida. However, some courts have made some passing references to the procedure.
This blog was authored by Hollywood criminal defense lawyer Jordan Redavid, founding partner of Fischer Redavid PLLC.
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