Previous Post
Next Post

I don’t play one on TV, but I’m a lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer, in Washington State as a matter of fact. As such, I read today’s IGOTD with great interest.  (And if you haven’t read Brad’s post, read it before you read here any further.)  With my lawbooks handy, I thought I might give you a lawyer’s take on how our IGOTD may have really f–ed up.  Or maybe how he didn’t.

[Note: none of this constitutes legal advice regarding any individual situation, and none of it is applicable outside of Washington State in any way, except to satisfy our morbid curiosity about this sordid affair.]

Washington’s Definitions of Criminal Assault

Washington State has a rather expansive definition of ‘Assault’, which doesn’t require that any injury be inflicted or physical harm be caused. An assault is defined as (1) an attempt, with unlawful force, to inflict bodily injury upon another [attempted battery]; (2) an unlawful touching with criminal intent [actual battery]; and (3) putting another in apprehension of harm whether or not the actor intends to inflict or is capable of inflicting that harm [common law assault].

Mr. Gooden appears to be charged with Assault under the third prong, for allegedly ‘putting another in reasonable fear of imminent harm’. The degree of Assault now depends on the injuries, the intent, or the instrument used.

1st-Degree Assault involves inflicting or intending to inflict great bodily harm (losing a limb, or nearly dying) or the use of a firearm or deadly weapon. 2nd-Degree Assault involves the use of a deadly weapon or ‘substantial’ bodily harm (disfigurement, a broken bone, or injuries that just hurt like hell). 3rd-Degree Assault involves negligently causing harm with some kind of weapon, and 4th-Degree Assault involves no weapons at all.

Sentencing Implications

If (and this is a big if) Mr. Gooden acted as the police claim, he could be looking at a minimum of nine years in prison for 1st-Degree Assault (with a firearm) plus a possible five-year enhancement for the use of a firearm. Even though he has no prior criminal record. If Gooden’s convicted of 2nd-Degree Assault–the charge that seems to be on the table—he faces a six-month minimum jail sentence with a possible three-year enhancement for the use of a firearm.

Any felony results in the loss of gun rights, and any serious violent felony means you lose them forever. Nothing short of a full pardon by the Governor can restore them then.

Castle Doctrine

Brad mentioned the ‘Castle Doctrine,’ which I’m proud to say is already the law of the land around here. Two fairly recent decisions by our State Supreme Court have held that “The law is well settled that there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where he or she has a right to be.” This means your crib, your ride, and even your place in line at the hot-dog stand.

The Castle Doctrine may not play an important part in this case, however.

Statutory Rape and the Age Of Consent

Mr. Gooden may have the theoretical right to stand his ground. But to stand his ground against what? Infuriating as it surely is to find two naked teenage boys rolling around with one’s sixteen year-old daughter, it’s not illegal. As long as all the parties are sixteen years old, there’s nothing illegal about teenagers gettin’ it on in the Evergreen State. There are some complex rules involving the difference in ages between participants, but they don’t apply here.

Washington’s age of consent is sixteen. So Gooden wasn’t protecting his daughter from statutory rape. And since the laddies were invited into the house by a resident (the daughter), Gooden wasn’t protecting his home against a burglary or trespass either.  When you pull a gun, you gotta be defending yourself or someone else from imminent serious harm. If you’re not, under Washington law, you’re just another perp with a gun.

It could certainly be arguable that Gooden wasn’t aware of the boys’ ages, at least initially, and that for a split-second he may have thought that his daughter was being gang-raped. This perception, however, wouldn’t have lasted very long once the daughter ‘fessed up.

This is pure speculation in a case like this, since Mr. Gooden doesn’t seem to claim that he thought the two aspiring Lonely Island singers were too old to be rolling around with his daughter.  Nope, he apparently just thought they were too naked.

Facts: The Last Refuge Of The Scoundrel

So Gooden might not have the greatest ‘legal’ defense at his disposal, but he’s still got a good ‘factual’ defense.

With no physical evidence of gunplay, the felonious aspects of this case devolve into a classic “He Said/ They Said” swearing contest. Or lying contest, depending on your level of cynicism. If you believe the nekkid teens, Mr. Gooden waved his gun around in a nearly-homicidal rage after finding them in flagrante delicto with his daughter. And he slapped the hell out of her too, which is the basis for the 4th-Degree Assault charges.

If you believe Gooden and his daughter, he put his gun away first and then had a minor tantrum while he searched for the other Lothario. If he slapped his daughter on the arm, this could be an entirely justifiable use of force under the ‘Parental Discipline’ exception. If he slapped her 50-100 times, this would not. But, as Brad pointed out, there’d better be some photos of the swelling and bruising or else the nekkid teens are going to look like complete liars.

Do We Really Need “The Moral Of The Story”?

No.  We already know it, and none of us would ever want to be in Mr. Gooden’s shoes in any part of these sordid events. If the allegations are true, they constitute a near-textbook example of what not to do with a gun.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Hold on a second. This is starting to get out of hand. How did you guys get from one to two to THREE naked boys? Something about this story seems to have captured your imaginations. Everyone needs to calm down or this story will soon have 12 or 15 naked young males in it.

  2. Y’all have missed the main point here.

    Which is you shouldn’t have daughters.

    Would this have happened if our hero had come home to find his 16 year old son rolling around with three naked (or “nekkid”) girls?

  3. @Magoo…was having the same thought as you, but then re-read the story. There were three, but the transitions in the story (going from 1 to 2 and then stating that there were 3) wasn’t done in the best way and was admittedly confusing.

    But there were indeed 3 boys involved in the “rodeo”, no more and no less.

    • I only see two boys in the story. The boyfriend who was the naked one, and his friend with no mention of nakedidity. The story is poorly written and you have to track the various characters when they do a jump back in time. I see the timeline as follows:
      1. Father comes home, finds naked daughter and one dressed boy, who is the boyfriends friend.
      2. Father finds naked boyfriend’s clothes and allegedly threatens to shoot all the closets before girl confesses boyfriends location.

      • Where does the story say the daughter is naked?

        No offense, but mention one naked person and everyone’s critical reading skills seem to go straight out the window. There is one person in the story who is described as naked: the second boy found in the bathtub. We have no particular reason to assume anyone else is naked… except for our dirty little minds.

        This reminds me of a joke…Doctor shows patient an entire series of Rorschach blots; patient says each one is people having sex. Doctor finally says, “You sure do think about sex a lot.”

        Patient says, “Hey, you’re the pervert with all the dirty pictures.”

        • Uhm, Brad, you need to critically analyze Magoo’s little joke.

          Magoo — you still feeling that white liberal guilt? Has my pardon worked at all?

        • Sorry, you are correct, I got that idea from the commentary. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Toyota Maxima Culpa

          (Can’t sleep. Brain is throwing up weird pics at every slightest perceived imperfection. Me having insomnia means you get to share in these brain shots. Don’t you feel special?)

        • From your first comment:“You still have it wrong. There weren’t two naked boys in the story, only one. “

          From your second:“There is one person in the story who is described as naked: the second boy found in the bathtub. “

          Since you are the only one on this board who knows how to read, can you explain the discrepancy to my puny little brain?

        • Sure. There were two boys, one clothed and one unclothed. The father came home and confronted the (clothed) daughter. He then drew out the first (clothed) boy, then the second (unclothed) boy.

          It’s all in the story and it’s not the least bit hard to follow… unless you have a dirty mind and tend to read in things that are not there. For example, nowhere does it say the girl was unclothed, but people somehow paint that picture for themselves.

  4. Oh gosh, as I try to know my state laws (Kansas), is there something I missed? Or worse acted impulsively which will land me in deep do-do?

    Sometimes it seems so complicated, but not really.

  5. Personally, I don’t believe the father should be charged with anything. I hope he gets off. Seems like a he said/she said thing besides.

    • The daughter is actually 17; I gave 16 as an example because even if she were 16 and they were 19 it would still be legal in Washington State. I was less than perfectly clear about that, however.

  6. If you beleive the boy’s version of the facts, then Gooden could face civil suits as well. False imprisonment and intentional inflictional of emotional distress (IIED) are obvious causes of action.

  7. It’s easy to be a sergeant after the skirmish but he should have told all 3 of them to sit in chairs in front of him and given them a 2-hour lecture. It is more memorable than showing a gun, it causes more emotional distress and it’s perfectly legal. I am a mean SOB, no?

    • @ Wellington: You are not a mean SOB, just a misguided one. Forget trying to a sergeant- you need to brush up on your law. Again, its not “perfectly legal” to detain someone against their will. In this case, the father could have detained his daughter and lectured her for two hours (because he is her parent and she is a minor), but if the two boys said “we are outta here” and the girl’s father refused to allow them to leave, that would be a crime in many jurisdictions, and would constitute the tort of “false imprisonment” in almost all states. As to your point about “causing emotional distress,” that is also a tort, if the distress caused is severe enough.

      • There is no doubt, Joe, that I am misguided and worst—my wife reminds me of it frequently.

        But I would not have “detained” the boys. Asking somebody to sit down is not detaining them. They could have left, of course, but I would have insisted. There is a way to make it hard for a boy to leave.

  8. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what
    I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any tips and hints for first-time blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here