LI Man Booby Traps Home

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Michael Wechsler

Staff member
Here is an interesting story and a modern day version of the law school example that is in most torts textbooks, Katko v. Briney.

Police reported the following: A Long Island man was arrested after booby-trapping his apartment door with a crutch, an elastic cord and a large knife and was charged with reckless endangerment. A building superintendent discovered a "ready-to-stab" device while trying to open the man's door Thursday. The superintendent and a Verizon agent had come to the man's home for a visit the super had warned Stetz would be necessary, police said. When their knocks went unanswered -- the man was not home -- the super went to open the door, felt resistance and found the rigged contraption. The man's mother said her son had rigged the device with a steak knife to protect himself from squatters who had taken up residence in the building.

The law requires that you only use reasonable force to meet imminent danger. In this instance, the man used deadly force when it was not required. Additionally, if he was not home the man was not in fear of his life. While I have a great deal of sympathy for the man, you can see how his actions could have severely wounded someone making a legitimate entry into his residence. While sad, it is certainly an interesting case.
Great Story Buddy,

I looked at the size of that knife and never new a Long Island steak was that big!!!! No wonder it's expencive to live there.

Maybe it was justifiable!
haha I remember watching a Boston Legal episode with similar details. A man booby trapped his home and wired all the entryways to trigger a high voltage shock in case of a break-in. Sure enough, a burglar was jolted and left paralyzed from the waist down. The burglar then pressed charges on the man for reckless endangerment, I think.

I personally have not been to Long Island, so what is the crime rate there like? Would it have even been necessary for the man to use that large of a steak knife?? Surely an entrapment device would be far more effective and less messy.
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