Daredevil’s day in court on a murder charge will have huge implications for every vigilante out there who could face arrest for their heroics.
Daredevil set precedent for all vigilante heroes during his murder trial. Several in attendance, including Luke Cage and Captain America, could face litigation now that the courts have gone after Daredevil. Any hero that bloodies their fist on a bad guy could turn around and be charged criminally since Daredevil went down for his vigilantism.
Matt Murdock’s alter ego was prosecuted for killing Leo Carraro after he died due to complications from being knocked around by the Red Devil. The blind but super sensitive and powerful Daredevil is the protector of Hell’s Kitchen in New York. That title often means using his incredible martial arts skills to pummel goons. But after being accused of the murder Matt, altruist that he is, turned himself in in Daredevil #24 by Chip Zdarsky and Mike Hawthorne.
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Daredevil had planned for Tony Stark to buy up the open properties in Hell’s Kitchen to keep crime out of the area while Daredevil does hard time. He figured he could go behind bars knowing Hell’s Kitchen was safe. Daredevil worked out a plea deal with the prosecution to take a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter and do some prison time. Prison isn’t easy for anybody but it’s especially a hotbed of hate for Daredevil, where he is sure to run into some of the people he put there.
The fact that the courts can put a masked vigilante in cuffs and locked up with all the other riff raff has huge implications for other heroes. Especially the ones who work a beat similar to how a cop would. Despite their extrajudicial efforts to fight crime, these vigilantes have no real legal authority to do so. And the state has finally cracked down now that one of those masked individuals has caused a death. Matt didn’t resist the accusation of murder and instead went straight into custody and took a plea deal acknowledging his guilt.
While it’s pretty tough to prosecute superheroes—what with the secret identities and the super abilities to outrun or fight off authorities—Matt’s situation opens the door for more prosecution of spandex-wearing protectors. If Spider-Man webs up a purse thief and the thief torques a shoulder getting out of the webbing, would Spidey be liable for damages? If Luke Cage puts a robber through a brick wall and the robber is now paralyzed, can Luke be charged for battery causing great bodily injury?
The ramifications here are huge. For the most part authorities in the Marvel Universe have only pursued heroes for prosecution halfheartedly. And when they do get a day in court, superheroes tend to get off on technicalities or sympathetic juries. But Daredevil taking the fall for a killing means prosecutors can sharpen their knives for bigger heroes. While the bar for prosecution is set pretty high (murder) that doesn’t mean a guaranteed win with that other heroes on the docket.
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