Is “Trial By Combat” Legal? A New York Lawyer Thinks So

By August 10, 2015

The United States of America is a nation of laws. Law is seen by many as a sturdy and top-line profession, and decisions of law are at the heart of much of our discourse concerning a wide range of social and political issues. Still, as is often said, “the wheels of justice move slowly.” One New York lawyer thinks they move so slowly, in fact, that he wants to bring back a way to decide a legal case without any litigation at all. Instead, he wants a fight to the death.

According to the New York Post, a Staten Island lawyer named Richard Luthmann has filed papers with the New York State Supreme Court to be granted the right to decide a case through a trial….by combat. Luthmann — who, according to the piece is an “admitted fan” of HBO’s popular series “Game of Thrones” — is under scrutiny for allegedly assisting a client of his in fulfilling a fraudulent transfer of money. So, naturally, that leads someone who went to law school, has passed the bar exam, and has practiced law to the conclusion that this case can only be settled in a fight to the death.

In the profiling piece at the Post, Luthmann claims that, from a legal perspective, his request is a reasonable one that should be taken seriously by the court as a viable request.

The common law of Britain was in effect in New York in 1776 [when the United States was established]. And the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution recognizes the penumbra of those rights. [In layman's terms,] it’s still on the books.

So, how is this request actually worded in the court filing? Like this:

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.

So, is this actually plausible? Probably not. It seems like Luthmann is likely to run into some pretty stiff legal hurdles, especially considering that murder is codified law at local, state, and federal levels, saying nothing of Constitutional protections. That’s not going to stop the issue from being taken seriously, though. The plaintiff’s laywer released a statement saying,

It should be clear that we do not find the brief amusing and, we believe, neither will the court, both from a legal and ethical perspective.

That being said, we’ll have to see if Luthmann gets the chance to fight in the “armor of Robert Baratheon,” as he seems to want so strongly.

Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • David Johnson

    Somebody has a Mountain or Bronn tucked away!!!!!