It was wrong for the judge to deny Cantwell bail for his thoughts on self-defense
Piece by a staff member, unless directly mentioned by name below giving his thoughts, not Cantwell’s words
Christopher Cantwell was not at the scene where Heather Heyer died nor did he organize the unpermitted march Antifa and other leftists held during the state of emergency which contributed to her death. However, Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney Robert Tracci thought it was proper to bring out Cantwell’s opinion on Ms. Heyer’s death to try to get the judge to deny Mr. Cantwell bail even though Mr. Cantwell said in his Vice interview that her death was “unfortunate.”
One of things Mr. Tracci failed to acknowledge in his criticism of Mr. Cantwell’s comments about Ms. Heyer’s death is that Mr. Cantwell specifically talks about it in the context of self-defense. In his interview with Vice news reporter Elle Reeve, he mentions he saw a video of James Fields’ car, the person charged with her death, being struck with a bat, to justify his reasoning as to why her death was “justified.” Ms. Reeve notes he watched one video and while one might make the argument that his opinion was “wrong” or “unqualified,” in no way was his opinion about her death illegal nor was he calling for or advocating for the initiation of violence when one is not under direct attack.
Questions are currently being raised as to why Ms. Heyer was out in the streets marching during a state of emergency, what Antifa and other leftists did to cause Mr. Fields to accelerate his car, and what really caused Ms. Heyer’s death.
In the course of the next 15 minutes, they meet up with the Antifa mob parading down Water Street. This is the end when she [Heather Heyer] turns down Fourth Street with Marissa Blair, Marcus Martin and Courtney Commander. They had been parading through traffic for an hour looking for trouble when this happened. Commander [a friend of Ms. Heyer’s] even said several times that what they were doing was “really, really dangerous.”
It was also foolish and illegal and the Charlottesville Police, Virginia State Police and National Guard made no effort to deter them even though under their orders they were supposed to be “providing for the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians.” They were incapable of even closing the intersection of Fourth Street and Market Street which was supposed to be closed until 7 PM
It has been revealed that Ms. Heyer did not die from injuries from being struck by a car, but from a heart attack, most likely brought on by her obesity and smoking (since she was only in her early 30s). Video evidence suggests she might not have been hit by a car. Other people sustained direct hits, yet she was the only one who died.
When Tracci quoted Cantwell’s statement praising the murder of Heyer, [Cantwell defense attorney] Woodard objected to the use of the word “murder.”
It is incorrect to Ms. Heyer’s death as a “murder.” The definition of “murder” requires it be done “unlawfully” and at the time of this post no one has been convicted of her death. Mr. Fields might be found not guilty of second degree murder if the jury finds that Ms. Heyer’s death does not meet the legal requirements of second-degree murder. Connor Murphy at XYZ wrote an excellent piece, examining the evidence and why in his opinion, Mr. Fields won’t be found guilty of murder. (There’s too many great quotes to quote, so I highly encourage you to read the whole article)
My view is that after the bat/club attack, James panicked and accelerated rapidly. Given that no one appeared to be caught between the Challenger and the slow/stationary car, it stands to reason that there was actually no one in front of James when he began his acceleration, once again affirming that James was seeking to escape, not kill.
So what does this mean? it means that James isn’t a murderer and is not guilty of malicious harming, due to lack of intent. Further, if James can prove that he personally had a reasonable fear of being stuck in his car whilst being attacked, his attempts to escape, no matter how extreme in the aftermath, are not criminally chargeable. They are criminally chargeable though if it can be proved that it was unreasonable for him to attempt the method he chose, which may result in him being guilty of manslaughter and reckless negligence causing harm. But given he had already been attacked in his own vehicle on the street, and is likely to have witnessed violence earlier in the day at the Rally, it stands to reason he had a reasonable fear of being murdered or harmed given the numbers of potential enemies and their armaments.
It is possible that a jury of Mr. Fields’ peers might concur with Mr. Cantwell’s opinion that Ms. Heyer’s death was “justified” due to Mr. Fields’ car being attacked and find him not guilty of murder. As untasteful as one might find Mr. Cantwell’s thoughts and opinions, they are just that, his words, his free speech, protected under the First Amendment. It is unjust and unconstitutional for that judge to use that as part of her reasoning to deny him bail for giving his thoughts on a recent news event.