Deadly Hands

One of my cow-orkers (sounds so much worse than co-worker, right?) studies Mixed Martial Arts. He claims — to my hearty laughter — that if he were involved in some sort of fight, and came before a court due to said fight, he might receive a harsher sentence due to his hands being “deadly weapons”.
Now, I’ve heard the age-old myth that the hands of professional boxers, trained martial artists, etc. need to be “registered as deadly weapons”. Of course, this is bunk. A brick could be a deadly weapon, yet one is not asked to register it. Indeed, I own numerous firearms and I am not asked to register them. Would the TSA require the removal and checking in the cargo compartment of one’s hands prior to flying? As I said, an absurd myth.
He claims that laws in several states allow for hands to be classified as deadly weapons, and the owner of said hands can be penalized for using them in violent acts. In the age old tradition of science, I told him “cite or GTFO” (also known as “prove it”). He has yet to come up with any sort of facts on the matter. Would any of my readers have any information readily at hand (no pun intended) that would indicate the facts either way?
I could believe that someone might be charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” if they used their fists and had some disproprortionate advantage, such as great size or strength, compared to their victim, but I doubt that your average person, even a martial artist, would be charged as such if they were caught fighting by the police.

6 thoughts on “Deadly Hands”

  1. Your cow-orker may just be confused.
    In some states, it is illegal to defend oneself from an attacker (even with just fists) if you have an ability to escape – people have been charged, convicted, and sent to prison for failing to do so (Iowa v. Mette). But I’ve never heard of a state charging anyone with assault specifically because they had an advantage over their attacker.

  2. Ah, my mention of being charged with assault due to having an advantage was meant in the context of criminal, aggressive assault, not in the context of self-defense. I should have been more clear.
    That is, if a 300lb bruiser of a guy beats up a little old lady with his enormous fists in order to steal her purse, that’s definitely assault and robbery. It may or may not be considered assault with a deadly weapon or armed robbery, due to his enormous size and strength difference.
    Personally, I’m of the opinion that “deadly weapon” or “armed” crimes should actually require the use of a weapon, even if the weapon is a rock, brick, or pointed stick (Bananas are right out.) This may or may not actually be the case, though.
    My cow-orker is a rather boastful person, and I often have reason to disbelieve him.

  3. i believe that in some states, bare hands are specifically NOT deadly weapons… i am fairly sure that several states have court precedent governing this… in fact i have seen it recently somewhere but i cant remember what site i got it from.

  4. I think what he was getting at is that if he made it clear to his victim that he was trained in some form for martial art that he could be given a harsher sentence because of that alone. I think he was trying to get at the idea of pre-meditation, like wearing body armor in an armed criminal act would be considered automatic pre-meditation.

  5. In most States, having a disproportionate advantage in size, weight, age etc. changes “simple assault” into “aggravated assault” as these things are aggravating factors.

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