The following CNN crime news video comes out of Vancouver, Washington. It is about Jeffery Barton, who was arrested and charged with illegal discharge of a shotgun. Barton claims that he was following Vice President Joe Biden’s advice. This video was added to the CNN website on July 17, 2013. It was provided by KOIN.
Barton will not successfully be able to use the “Biden told me to do it” defense. He will have to rely on some other justification. In this case, the facts seem murky. Barton says people were breaking into his car. The police say there is no evidence of vehicle looters. But it seems Barton must have seen something since he did fire his weapon (apparently just a warning shot).
First of all, Biden is not the king and has nothing to do with Washington state law. So that is simply not a defense. Second, why would you take the advice of any politician when it comes to self-defense. By their nature, politicians make statements for selfish reasons. Who knows why Joe Biden talked about firing warning shots in the air if you have a problem. But he was probably talking about actual self-defense. And the problem for Jeffery is that seeing people looting your car, even if true, does not give rise to self-defense.
Barton interpreted Biden’s use of the word “problem” to mean any crime-related problem. But Biden wasn’t talking about just any problem, so it seems. He was talking about if your life is threatened. That wasn’t happening in this case. In any event, citing a president or vice president or your grandfather or the Pope’s advice is not a defense in criminal law, anyway.