A Kansas man has demanded his right to trial by combat in a custody battle with his ex-wife, asking the court for time to source a pair of Japanese swords (or forge them himself) and arguing that duels are still legal in the US.
David Ostrom has petitioned a court in Shelby County, Iowa, asking for 12 weeks to hunt down a katana and wakizashi (large and small Japanese swords) in order to take his courtroom battle literally, local media reported on Monday. Failing that, he’s suggested he’ll forge them himself. Ostrom, who hails from Paola, Kansas, observed in court documents that “trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States.”
Because Ostrom’s ex-wife Bridgette Ostrom and her lawyer Matthew Hudson have “destroyed [him] legally,” he seeks to take the courtroom fight “to the field of battle where [he] will rend their souls from their corporal [sic] bodies,” he declared in the court motion. His ex may use Hudson as her “champion” or pick another stand-in, Ostrom explained, acknowledging he has no sword-fighting experience but insisting he is serious about crossing katanas with the lawyer (or substitute).
If Mr. Hudson is willing to do it, I will meet him. I don’t think he has the guts to do it.
Hudson poked fun at his opponent’s spelling error (“Surely [Ostrom] meant ‘corporeal’ body”) in a resistance filed against the trial-by-combat request, suggesting that the estranged father should receive court-mandated psychotherapy and lose his visitation rights entirely. If one or both participants were to die mid-duel, the lawyer reasoned, it would outweigh the custody and property tax issues that brought both of them into court in the first place.
“Although [Ostrom] and [the] potential combatant do have souls to be rended, they respectfully request that the court not order this done… Just because the US and Iowa constitutions do not specifically prohibit battling another person with a deadly katana sword, it does prohibit a court sitting in equity from ordering same.”
Ostrom admitted to misspelling ‘corporeal,’ but denied any mental health issues and pointed out that a duel need not end in death – one party could “cry craven” and yield to the other. He plans to request the same method of hands-on dispute resolution for any other issues that come up in court, he told local media, citing his frustration with his ex’s lawyer.
“I think I’ve met Mr. Hudson’s absurdity with my own absurdity.”