The Frenemy Defense: New York Man Insists He Shot His Friend Because The Victim Wanted To See What Being Shot Felt Like

There is an interesting criminal case out of Stockholm, New York where Shawn Mossow, 25, is charged with shooting a man. Nothing remarkable there, but the victim admits that he begged Mossow to shoot him in the leg to see what it feels like to be shot. That is perfectly legal. Shooting your friend with a .22 caliber rifle is not.

Mossow was charged with reckless endangerment while it is perfectly legal to solicit someone to shoot you. They went for a charge in the first degree. The two options are below.

S 120.20 Reckless endangerment in the second degree.
A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree when
he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of
serious physical injury to another person.
Reckless endangerment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

S 120.25 Reckless endangerment in the first degree.
A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the first degree when,
under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he
recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to
another person.
Reckless endangerment in the first degree is a class D felony.

The nice thing about reckless endangerment is that there is no defense for consent. This is a difference between criminal law and torts that we often discuss in class. However, it is worth noting that, even in torts, courts routinely ignore consent as a matter of public policy. You generally cannot consent to illegal acts.

Mossow will not be able to use his friend’s invitation as a defense but might be able to use it to mitigate on sentencing. A plea seems like a good idea. The use of the first degree may have been a way to allow for a charge to be pled down. The first degree charge indicates “a grave risk of death to
another person.” Being shot with a .22 in the leg does carry a risk of death if you hit an artery or have some other complication, though it is generally not a life-threatening wound.

Of course, as the Matchbox Twenty song Bright Lights says, they now have “a scar I can talk about.”

Source: KSEE as first seen on Reddit

20 thoughts on “The Frenemy Defense: New York Man Insists He Shot His Friend Because The Victim Wanted To See What Being Shot Felt Like”

  1. I don’t think there is “depraved indifference for human life” here. It’s 2 buddies being stupid.

  2. So, if a guy asks his buddy to punch him hard in the shoulder, that is assault and battery? I thought intent was important in all felony crimes?

  3. This sounds very Nazi-like in its thinking. Like in Nazi-Germany killing people to see how long it would take.

  4. Prison for this guy? Oh, heck no. This is an easy notch in a prosecutor’s reputation, there isn’t even a defense of consent. I don’t trust prosecutors to know what’s best for victims, perps or society in cases like these; that’s not what they get paid for.

    First thing he needs (both of them actually) is a nice sit-down with a mental health professional (and possibly some medical tests) to find out if there is an organic or disease based reason for their ridiculous actions.

    If it’s just ‘teh stupid’ then something less harsh than actual prison that might prompt him to connect the dots more expertly in the future is what’s called for. What’s years in prison going to do for him that 30 days in a local pokey won’t? Except possibly destroy what passes for his life?

  5. rafflaw 1, May 17, 2012 at 7:47 am

    How about charging him with Stupid in the First Degree!? These guys are too stupid to be not in jail.
    =================================================
    Ditto for Saudi Arabia who shot us after we evidently asked for it, because now DOJ doesn’t want them held accountable.

    “The nice thing about reckless endangerment is that there is no defense for consent.” – JT

  6. Mr. Mossow will now have an opportunity to see what it feels like to be jailed.

  7. Anon, very good point. I would not have thought of it but I think it bears some real investigation. If you have two people who together decide to do something they know to be dangerous, something that, furthermore, can (and probably WILL) implicate the participation of the taxpayers’ resources at some level (medical care? police response? other?) should they not both be accountable for that act? Especially when it employs a fire-arm?

  8. I don’t see any indifference to life. Had he shot him in the head or chest they yeah, probably. Probably what he needs is some rehab time to help him see how drugs and alcohol can impair judgment. I would personally be in favor of sterilization for both of them but thats just my POV.

  9. Here is another issue as addressed by the first degree text.
    The first degree speaks of “depraved indifference to life”.
    How does a defense lawyer argue against that?

    And then:

    “Of course, as the Matchbox Twenty song Bright Lights says, they now have “a scar I can talk about.”

    The scars I refer to are those which caused all this, on
    both sides of the trigger.

  10. Dear Government,

    The people do not want to be shot by you. They do not want to be plundered by you. They do not want to be your servants.

  11. This seems to be the attitude politicians have. You asked for it, when we really did not ask for it:

    A day before Congress weighs an amendment to end indefinite military detentions in the U.S., a federal judge Wednesday ruled the law that allows the practice unconstitutional.

    Saying the measure has “chilling impact on First Amendment rights,” U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, of New York’s Eastern District, found that a group of reporters and activists who brought the lawsuit had no way of knowing whether they could be subjected to it. That makes it an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment’s free speech right and the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process, Forrest said in a written opinion.

    (HuffPo). With “friends” like the right-left-wing politicians, who needs another frenemy!

  12. “but the victim admits that he begged Mossow to shoot him in the leg to see what it feels like to be shot. That is perfectly legal.”

    I’m certainly not a lawyer, but then again, Gene H apparently is, so why shouldn’t I ask, isn’t this solicitation of crime or incitement of an immiment action (and hence, illegal)?

    Volokh Conspiracy: Minister Prosecuted for Teaching Parishioners to Hit Children “on the Bare Buttocks with Wooden Dowels”

    But if Caminiti had specifically counseled particular parents about what to do with their particular children in particular contexts — “minister, my child did this-as-such; should I beat him tonight for it?” — this might qualify as either incitement of imminent criminal conduct, or as constitutionally unprotected solicitation of crime. The line between solicitation, which is unprotected even when it calls for action in the indefinite future (e.g., “please send me some child pornography, whenever you happen to have some”) and incitement, which is protected unless it calls for imminent action, is unclear. Urging people that some general course of action is morally obligatory, without reference to a particular proposed action dealing with a particular person or a particular item, would be a classic example of material covered under Brandenburg (general advocacy) rather than Williams (solicitation). But the more specific the advocacy, the more likely it is to be seen as unprotected solicitation (or as unprotected incitement, if it’s advocacy of what the parent is to do right away).

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