Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Pyrrhic Victory

A thought experiment: you’re the attorney for one of the largest school districts in America. The parents of a student in one of your schools are suing the district because one of your teachers sexually assaulted their child, a student at your school. The teacher was convicted of the crime a few years back, so you’re going to have to get a little creative here. From CBS Los Angeles:

“Why [isn’t] it her fault that she planned on having sex with her teacher? That she lied to her mother so she could have an opportunity to have sex with her teacher,” attorney W. Keith Wyatt said in a radio interview with KPCC. “That she went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn’t she be responsible for that?”

TOO CREATIVE! TOO CREATIVE! ABORT! ABORT!

The LA School District actually won the case. The jury found that the school district had no knowledge of the assaults and therefore should not be liable for them. The article notes the teacher had a reputation for being handsy with students. Whatever the jury decided, their verdict probably had nothing to do with:

Remarks by attorney W. Keith Wyatt that crossing the street was more dangerous than deciding to have sex with a teacher.

spit take noise goes here

Now that is a really interesting argument. On the one hand, yes: I would be willing to bet that no one has ever been hit by a car while being assaulted by a pedophile. That is some sound statistical reasoning. On the other hand, you’re shockingly devoid of basic human empathy and seem hell-bent on blaming a kid for being assaulted.

All right, I can’t. Let’s roll up our sleeves. You want a stupid argument based on statistics? Let’s go, W. Keith Wyatt of the California law firm Ivie, McNeil & Wyatt. You and me. It’s a good ol’ fashioned stats-off.

Statistics For Lawyers 102

Take a gander at this other tragic story from a few weeks back. A small plane crashed into a building in Kansas and killed three people who were inside a flight simulator in that building.

This year, about 650 million people will get on a plane in America. According to a 2013 census of non-military flight simulators, there are about 330 commercial simulators (like for a 747 or Airbus) in America.

Stay with me here: even if there are a thousand “prosumer” flight simulators for each commercial simulator (there aren’t), and each of those hundreds of thousands of hypothetical prosumer simulators used three times a day every single day (they aren’t), there are still many orders of magnitude more people on planes than people in flight simulators in America each year.

About 25 people die on random, non-commercial flights in America every month. But because there are so many more people in the air every month, for the month of November, you were more likely to die in a flight simulator than on a plane. Statistically speaking.

Boom. How you like that stupid argument?

Oh also

Yeah, LA fired that firm so hard. What kind of jackass shows up to a sexual assault trial to blame the victim like that? That’s disgraceful.