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The Legend of Zelda


The Legend of Zelda

Not Even Grimm's Actors Can Save Three Days of Rain from Itself

Broccoli, Ballads, and Barry


Broccoli, Ballads, and Barry

An Interview with Barry Manilow

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You're Better Off Bringing Your Teeth to a Knife Fight

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

The state appellate court published an interesting ruling today, clearing up a question I'm not sure I'd ever thought about: Should your teeth—if you use them to, say, gnaw on someone's ear—be considered a "dangerous weapon" under Oregon law?

Saying yes would open chewers and biters to first-degree assault charges—with a mandatory minimum sentence (thanks, Measure 11!) of 90 months. Saying no would mean only a second-degree assault charge—with the difference being nearly two fewer years behind bars.

The question came before the court after a defendant in Marion County appealed his first-degree ear-snacking sentence last summer. In appealing his circuit court conviction, defendant Scott Russell Kuperus looked to the law's definition of a "dangerous weapon," which relies on terms like "weapon, device, instrument, material or substance."

And a panel of appellate judges, saying only "scraps" of evidence suggest lawmakers ever intended otherwise, agreed.

A "weapon" should be viewed as something with which a person could be armed or fortified. Because a defendant does not arm himself with his own body and parts thereof, including his teeth, his own teeth cannot be considered a dangerous weapon for purposes of first-degree assault.

The lesson for all you brawlers out there? Stow your switchblades and start sharpening those canines.


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