Motion calendars in family court can be dull affairs involving discovery disputes and defaults. In a twist, a Kansas man asked a judge to grant him a rare motion, he wants to resolve his family law case in a trial by combat.
Extreme Family Law
David Ostrom, 40, of Paola, Kansas, claims in court documents that his ex-wife, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, destroyed him legally in their lengthy divorce. Now he wants to end his family case in a duel known to Game of Thrones fans as a trial by combat.
He also asked the Iowa District Court in Shelby County to give him 12 weeks “lead time” to source or forge Japanese samurai swords such as the katana and wakizashi swords.
Florida Family Law Trials
I’ve written about family law issues before, especially trials. Let’s face it, a typical family law trial can be a little boring. The trial in a divorce is when spouses and their lawyers square off in court because they could not come to an agreement on some or all of the issues. At that point, the parties need to have a judge make the final call.
A trial (not one by combat) works similarly to how they are portrayed on TV and in the movies. Attorneys from both sides will present an opening statement, witnesses will be called and cross-examined, evidence will be introduced, and at the end, both attorneys will give closing arguments.
In some cases, the judge is able to make a ruling at the trial on all of the issues presented. More often, the judge will spend time reviewing the testimony and evidence and render a decision for the case.
The lawyers typically leave their Japanese swords at the office.
With Superbowl LIV upon us, maybe people feel it’s time to take another look at trial by combat? To this day, trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in the United States, in fact it was used as recently as 1818 in Britain.
Traditionally, trial by combat was a method under law to settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or a confession. The two parties in dispute fought in single combat. The winner of the fight was proclaimed to be right.
“It should be noted that just because the U.S. constitution does not specifically prohibit battling another person with a deadly katana sword, it does prohibit a court sitting in equity from ordering same.
Ostrom said his motion stemmed from his frustrations with his ex-wife’s attorney. “I think I’ve met Mr. Hudson’s absurdity with my own absurdity,” he said. Ostrom said his ex-wife can choose her attorney as a “champion,” or stand-in fighter.
Hudson filed a response to the trial-by-combat motion by first correcting Ostrom’s spelling and then argued that because a duel could end in death, such ramifications probably outweigh those of property tax and custody issues.
Hudson asked the court to suspend Ostrom’s visitation rights and order him to undergo a court-ordered psychological evaluation.
“Respondent and counsel have proven themselves to be cravens by refusing to answer the call to battle, thus they should lose this motion by default.”
The court did not rule on either party’s motions.
Kansas City Fox4kc has the article here.