New York Lawyer Demands Trial By Combat, Game Of Thrones–Style

Tyrion Lannister would be proud

The Bill of Rights and the laws of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros collided in a Staten Island courtroom.

It happened July 24 when Richard A. Luthmann, an attorney in the New York borough, filed a court brief asking a judge to grant a trial by combat in a civil suit, according to

'Defendant invokes the common law writ of right and demands his common law right to Trial By Combat as against Plaintiffs and their counsel, whom plaintiff wishes to implead into the Trial By Combat by writ of right.'

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Luthman argues that this form of justice was never outlawed when America was a British colony and is therefore preserved thanks to the Ninth Amendment. (Westeros is the continent where much of the action in Game of Thrones takes place. It's comprised of the Seven Kingdoms.)

In the brief, which is actually a pretty entertaining read, he references several times the idea of naming a "champion" to take on the combat in the defendant's place. He also offers some arcane—if unverified—history on trial by combat. For instance:

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'Early trials by combat allowed a variety of weapons, particularly for knights. Later, commoners were given war hammers, cudgels, or quarterstaves with sharp iron tips. The duelling ground was typically sixty feet square. Commoners were allowed a rectangular leather shield and could be armed with a suit of leather armor, bare to the knees and elbows and covered by a red surcoat of a light type of silk called sendal. Id. The litigants appeared in person. The combat was to begin before noon and be concluded before sunset.'

The Washington Post points out that "the argument is obviously not going anywhere."

It should come as no surprise that Luthman is a Game of Thrones fan, according to

In the HBO series, which is based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, there have been three instances of trial by combat so far. One of the main characters, Tyrion Lannister, played by actor Peter Dinklage, twice invokes his right, naming champions to fight on his behalf. The results are mixed.

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