Richard Luthmann, a New York-based lawyer, is currently under investigation for the role he allegedly played in an illegal wire transfer scam along with one of his clients. As a part of his legal defense, Luthmann, an avid fan of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, has requested that he be allowed to prove his innocence via trial by combat.
Staten Island Westeros, it is common practice for people accused of breaking the law to invoke their rights to trial by combat, a process in which the accused fights their accuser to the death.
If the accused wins, they walk free. If they die, well then they’re dead and the trial’s a moot point. It’s worth pointing out that, traditionally, people who choose trial by combat can also appoint a champion to fight in their stead in the event that they themselves are physically incapable of fighting.
“Defendant invokes the common law writ of right and demands his common law right to Trial By Combat as against plaintiffs and their counsel, whom plaintiff wishes to implead into the Trial By Combat by writ of right,” Luthmann’s court filing reads.
According to Luthmann, trial by combat's legality has never actually been addressed by any American courts since 1776. Prior to American independence, the country inherited British common law and, technically speaking, trial by combat was still an acceptable way of settling legal disputes.
“No American court in post-independence United States to the undersigned’s knowledge has addressed the issue," Luthmann argued. "[T]hus the trial by combat remains a right reserved to the people and a valid alternative to civil action.”
Whether Luthmann's judge will accept his proposal remains to be seen, but the real question is: Which weapon would he choose?