Might Will Smith face felony prices for Oscars slap? Authorized specialists weigh in – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca

Could Will Smith face criminal charges for Oscars slap? Legal experts weigh in - National | Globalnews.ca

2022-03-30 06:49:33

Will Smith‘s slap seen around the globe on the Oscars was clearly against the law, authorized specialists say, however the probabilities of prosecution are slim and even when convicted he’d probably face little greater than a slap of his personal – on the wrist.

Smith left tens of millions of witnesses shocked Sunday when he marched onto the stage of the Dolby Theatre and smacked Chris Rock within the face after the comic made a joke about his spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith, who was sitting with the actor within the entrance row.

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The Los Angeles Police Division has mentioned it was conscious of the incident however was not investigating as a result of Rock declined to file a police report.

Whereas police may technically open an investigation primarily based on the Academy Awards broadcast, they wouldn’t accomplish that with out Rock’s participation, mentioned protection lawyer Alan Jackson, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor who oversaw high-profile circumstances.

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“Would they ever in a sensible world try this when Chris Rock is saying, ‘I gained’t cooperate with a felony investigation?’ Not in one million years,” Jackson mentioned. “LAPD might be respiratory a relative sigh of aid that they don’t need to become involved with two high-profile actors duking it out on a world stage.”


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The Los Angeles metropolis legal professional’s workplace, which prosecutes misdemeanor crimes, declined to remark, however mentioned it couldn’t carry prices with no police referral.

“If he’s going to be charged, I can’t communicate to what the cost could be,” spokesman Rob Wilcox mentioned.

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Information of celebrities in hassle has been a fixture in LA since Hollywood’s early days, and questions often come up about whether or not the wealthy and highly effective obtain a unique model of justice.

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“The movie star factor is coming into play, sadly,” mentioned former LA District Lawyer Steve Cooley. “If some Joe Blow dedicated this act in entrance a police officer, would he would have the ability to stroll away from it? Most likely not.”

If Smith just isn’t charged, it may imperil the justice system’s credibility, mentioned Jody Armour, a legislation professor on the College of Southern California.

“How can what seems to be an apparent felony act dedicated within the open publicly not end in any felony penalties?” Armour requested. “Do totally different requirements apply to celebrities and noncelebrities? Apparently, we appear to all acknowledge that’s the case. However what does that recognition say to us concerning the legitimacy and credibility of our felony justice system?”


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Second: Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on-stage after Oscars joke about spouse’s coiffure

Whereas the well-known can use their standing to affect decision-makers, their fame can work towards them if the prosecutor decides to make an instance of against the law by somebody well-known.

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“I’d shocked if the town legal professional doesn’t critically think about it as a result of it was so public,” mentioned Alison Triessl, a felony protection lawyer who has dealt with many misdemeanor battery circumstances. “Are they sending the fallacious message in the event that they don’t prosecute him?”

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Triessl mentioned there’s no query against the law was dedicated, and there’s no want for the sufferer to file a report. Fees are routinely introduced in home violence circumstances with out cooperation from the sufferer as a result of the crime is towards the state for violating its penal code.

“It sends a message that you would be able to commit against the law and also you gained’t be punished,” she mentioned. “This was a really fallacious message.”

If Smith have been charged, he would face a misdemeanor battery rely, which carries a penalty of as much as six months in jail. Even when prosecuted and convicted, there are options to going to court docket that would result in a penalty as gentle as having to attend anger administration courses.


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Cooley mentioned if he have been advising Smith, he’d have him voluntarily enroll in anger courses after which attempt to persuade prosecutors to not carry prices within the curiosity of justice as a result of he had acknowledged his drawback and was coping with it.

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Cooley mentioned he’d need extra data on the case as a prosecutor earlier than making any selections. He mentioned mentioned LAPD was untimely in asserting they weren’t getting concerned.

Stephen Downing, a retired LAPD deputy chief, mentioned a case could possibly be introduced. However he mentioned it was affordable to not waste sources when Rock apparently wasn’t injured or ruffled sufficient to file a grievance.

“Rock carried on as if nothing occurred to him,” Downing mentioned. “He didn’t even put a hand to his cheek. There didn’t seem like an damage. If he had knocked him to the ground and rendered him unconscious, I believe motion would have been taken.”

Related Press journalist Stefanie Dazio contributed to this report.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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