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Saturday, July 26, 2008
Minor League Pitcher Charged With Felonious Assault in Brawl

The AP reports that Peoria Chiefs pitcher Julio Castillo will be charged with felonious assault in the aftermath of a brawl between the Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons. Castillo has been arraigned and ordered to give up his passport.

During a bench-clearing brawl (which you can view in its lengthy entirety here or here, Castillo seems to have thrown a baseball towards a member of the opposing team, or perhaps (as some reports suggested, but as the video seems to contradict) towards the opposing team's dugout. The baseball went into the stands, however, and struck 44-year-old fan Chris McCarthy.

In Ohio, the crime of "felonious assault" requires that a person knowingly cause "serious physical harm to another" or knowingly "cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another . . . by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance." The fan here was released from the hospital that night, so it would not seem that we have a case of "serious" physical harm. Instead, what the prosecutor must be thinking is that a baseball, at least in the hands of a single-A pitcher, constitutes a deadly weapon.

"This charge is a result of outlandish and inexcusable conduct by a professional baseball player," Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. said in a statement.
Perhaps true. But there are numerous examples of inexcusable conduct during bench-clearing brawls that don't lead to criminal charges. What is obviously different here is that a fan got bloodied.

For a discussion of criminal liability for on-field behavior, see Greg's posts here and here.


Don't you have the whole transferred intent issue here. If he was throwing the ball into the dugout (or attempting to throw it into the dugout) from where he was, I think you have a very real threat of causing serious bodily harm to someone.

I haven't seen the layout of the field, but it looks like he is on the foul side of the foul line. Assuming he is within 30 feet or so of the dugout, I think this charge is legit.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/26/2008 3:27 PM  

All fans got bloodied in this one. I want to know who the guy was that tackled this criminal after he threw the deadly weapon. That guy has guts.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/26/2008 4:14 PM  

Maybe this explains why he missed the dugout (as reported in Baseball America):

"Control has been an issue for Castillo throughout his brief pro career. In his U.S. debut in 2005, Castillo walked 12 in 21 innings in the Arizona League. He returned the AZL in 2006 and put together a K-BB ratio of 13-17 in 33 innings, with an 8.73 ERA.

In 2007, Castillo started the season with Peoria but put up a 7.27 ERA while walking 15 in seven appearances for the Chiefs. He later made seven appearances for short-season Boise but again had control issues, giving up 24 hits and handing out 15 free passes in 23 innings pitched."

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 7/27/2008 6:34 AM  


Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/27/2008 8:58 AM  

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