Party On!

sad-clown1Before Barack Obama came along with his whole Audacity of Hope thing, the Jews had another way to describe crazily gutsy, brazen behavior. We called it chutzpah. (Let that word roll through the back of your throat and you’ll get a very good sense of its meaning.)

Well, Scott T. Zielinski, a 23-year-old Michigan man serving an 8-year sentence for robbing a party store, is a man with chutzpah coming out of his prison jumpsuit. Mr. Zielinski has decided to sue the owners and three workers at Nick’s Party Stop, the place he robbed in November 2007, for using excessive force when they tried to prevent him from stealing their cash and merchandise.

Zielinski, who was unarmed when he tried stealing from the shop, wound up getting shot twice and beaten during his quashed crime spree. So he’s now seeking $125,000 from his would-be victims. A Michigan Circuit Judge, David Vivianohas, just ruled that the case can be heard, but is forcing Zielinski to post a $10,000 bond to cover the attorney’s fees of the store owner and its employees in case they prevail at the trial.

What the? How is this even possible?

Well, the legal question hinges on the principle of the use of “excessive force.” And though you are absolutely allowed to defend your home and property, the law says that “force should be used in only the minimum amount needed to achieve a legitimate purpose.” So the question that will now go before a Michigan jury is this: was it necessary to shoot Zielinski twice–in addition to beating him–for trying to burgle a party shop when he was unarmed?

It’ll be interesting to see how the good people of Michigan decide this one. But one thing’s for sure: whoever’s doing the post trial party planning will be wise not to use the five finger discount if he’s shopping at Nick’s.

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