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Anger Management Class Ends in Stabbing

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By Jason Beahm on October 18, 2010 2:27 PM

My favorite headline: "This is probably going to hurt her grade."

A woman from Bellevue College in Washington state has been charged with second degree assault. Faribah Maradiaga allegedly lost it during her anger management course and stabbed a classmate. According to police, the student from the Pacific Northwest "blew up," attacking her classmate after they exchanged words. The woman suffered wounds on her arm and shoulders.

So why was Maradiaga in anger management in the first place? According to police, she already had a pending assault charge and is now being held on $50,000 bail in King County Jail, The Seattle Times reports. Maradiaga entered an anger management classroom on the Bellevue campus around 9 a.m. Saturday while a video was being shown on the topic.

Apparently, Maradiaga had serious artistic differences with the creator of the video. Maradiaga became verbally critical of the film, which was disruptive to the class. When the victim told Maradiaga that she liked the video and to give it a chance, it got ugly.

According to witnesses, Maradiaga, who was seated a couple of rows from the victim, stood up and started heckling her victim. She then pulled out a 3-inch knife and stabbed the other woman. For added effect, Maradiaga also allegedly threatened to kill the victim's family.

It's a strange case, and we could spend our time just laughing at the weirdness, and that would be totally justified. But instead, what if we consider whether Faribah Maradiaga could have been charged with attempted murder in addition to assault? At common law, assault is when one creates the reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily harm or offensive contact by another party. In this case, Maradiaga's alleged attack likely meets not only the definition of assault, but also battery, which is the act of using force againt another person that results in either bodily injury or offensive touching.

But what about attempted murder? No one is suggesting that the attack was premeditated, so we would be looking at a maximum of second-degree attempted murder. Second degree murder is an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable "heat of passion" or, a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender's obvious lack of concern for human life. Historically, a reasonable "heat of passion" exception exists in situations such as a man coming home to find his wife in bed with another man. There was not a special exception for arguments involving the quality of anger management videos.

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