Boxer's Bare Hands Qualify as "Deadly Weapons"?
We've all heard the joke about someone claiming they're such a skilled fighter that their bare hands are classified as deadly weapons. Silly, of course.

Or is it? I just came across a Minnesota court of appeals case in which the court affirmed a trial court finding that two left hooks to another fellow's face constituted the use of a deadly weapon because the puncher had a 20 year career as an amateur and professional boxer, and still trained regularly. The puncher ended up convicted of second degree assault, and this conviction was affirmed by the appellate court.

Ultimately the MN supreme court heard the case and decided that although bare hands could potentially qualify as deadly weapons, that determination would have to be based on the actual manner in which they were used and not merely on the puncher's training and experience, so they overruled the trial and appellate courts on this issue.

Nevertheless, they didn't give the puncher a new trial, they merely mitigated his conviction to third-degree assault (which doesn't require the use of a deadly weapon as an element).

So, remember, if you're ever wondering if your exceptional fighting skills, training, education, experience, expertise, "can be used against you in court," the answer is almost always yes, that you'll be held to the standard of someone who possesses those exceptional characteristics. And it's kind of hard to argue that you shouldn't be. 

Maybe we'll cover this case as the "Law of Self Defense LIVE Show" "Case of the Week."  If your'e not a Tier 2 or Tier 3 patron, you can gain limited and temporary access to our weekly "LIVE Show" at this URL: 

Here's the link to the MN supreme court decision in this case, State v. Basting, 572 N.W.2d 281 (MN Supreme Court 1997).   

And here's the link to the MN court of appeals decision that was overturned on this particular finding:  State v. Basting, 1997 Minn. App. LEXIS 31 (MN Ct. App. 1997)