Pity the Wet Bandits of Home Alone. Possibly the most luckless criminals in movie history, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) attempt to rob the seemingly unoccupied home of young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), only to emerge beaten, bruised, burned, and broken. What’s worse, according to this list by law student Steve Cady, these two are facing quite a list of charges when they’re brought to justice. Cady claims his “legal analysis” of the 1990 comedy is his way of “studying for the bar exam during the holidays.” So what crimes, specifically, have Harry and Marv committed here?
For starters, Cady says the duo could be brought up on charges of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. “Harry and Marv specifically intended to break into the McCallisters’ home with the purpose of committing a larceny therein,” he writes. And then there’s the matter of attempted voluntary manslaughter. “Since Harry and Marv do not actually succeed in killing Kevin, they will only be guilty of the attempted crime.” It’s not attempted murder because the thieves are acting “in the moment, without much time to cool off and reflect on their actions.”
But what about Kevin? Surely, that sadistic little bastard has violated some laws with his cruel traps. “Kevin himself commits various torts and crimes against Harry and Marv in his attempt to defend his home (assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc.),” Cady writes. However, common law will probably come to the child’s rescue. “One is entitled to defend their home and property by the use of reasonable force.” Whether paint cans, tarantulas, heated doorknobs, and icy stairs constitute “reasonable” force is another matter. Again, though, the law favors Kevin:
Here, Harry and Marv breaking and entering into Kevin’s home to commit the burglary would most likely be enough to justify him in using deadly force to defend himself. The situation would be different if he were merely robbed of his property in public, in a less threatening way, etc.
The complete analysis is available here.