Perhaps the greatest Marvel movie yet and almost certainly the best movie of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy excited comic book fans and haters alike with its charming cast of ragtag heroes. But this clan is far from squeaky clean as their rap sheets indicate. So given that Xandar is an Earth-like planet with similar laws as ours, what are some of the legal issues in this summer blockbuster? San Diego criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss is happy to share. Be warned, there are some minor spoilers ahead!
When four our heroes are arrested after brawling in the street, their mug shots include detailed information on their past crimes. Before the movie was released, Marvel released these a trailer featuring these mug shots, including one for Drax, who the others don’t even meet until they are in prison. As it turns out, a fistfight in the middle of a major city is perhaps the most minor crime these ruffians committed. Drax has been charged with 22 counts of murder and 5 counts of inflicting great bodily harm. Gamora is accused of killing 12 people. Rocket has not only been charged with 13 counts of theft, 15 counts of arson and 7 counts of mercenary activity, he has also escaped from 14 prisons. Groot is the most innocent of the bunch, having only inflicted great bodily harm on 3 people. Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, is the least dangerous of the group, facing 1 count of fraud, 2 counts assault and one sex crime related to the manipulation of a Gramosian Dutchess. With rap sheets this long, even a top San Diego criminal attorney like Peter Liss would have a pretty hard time getting anyone but maybe Groot out of custody without some period of incarceration.
Of course, after becoming the Guardians of the Galaxy and saving millions of lives, the Xandarian government offers to “forget” about the gang’s past crimes. But with so many crimes in question, it would be a great idea for the Guardians to contact a professional, whether a criminal lawyer in San Diego or one in Xandar, because this process would be incredibly complex and they certainly wouldn’t want to later be arrested for a crime they should have already been excused from. Aside from the vast number of crimes involved, this process would become further complicated by the fact that some of the crimes would require pardons, some would require expungements and a handful may even require both. That’s because an expungement involves the extracting warrants, arrests, records and other documents related to an arrest, detention or trial of an offense. Pardons, on the other hand forgives someone for the offense they committed without absolving them of guilt, most often this is used to excuse someone who could be prosecuted for a crime but has not been convicted yet. Since each person in the Guardians has already been convicted of many crimes, “forgetting” them would require expungement, but crimes, such as escaping prison, that they have not been charged with yet would require a pardon.
After everything is said and done, the Guardians would be considered heroes rather than criminals, but one character that should still consider seeking legal advice would be The Collector, who could be charged with kidnapping, torture and false imprisonment for his living zoo. It was made all-too-clear that he did not obtain permission to hold the people and creatures he has collected, and he may even be guilty of slavery, given that his servant seems to have no option but to follow his command. Should The Collector be charged with these crimes though, it is possible he may be able to fight the accusations given that the floating head of a Celestial Being is not under the jurisdiction of the Nova Corps. Even if that was the case though, his defense lawyer would still have to fight the kidnapping charges by showing that The Collector also captured his specimens in areas that were also outside of the Nova Corp’s territory and that they were never illegally transported through an area under the Nova Corp’s control. The universe may be pretty expansive, but it’s pretty likely the prosecution would be able to offer some compelling evidence that these victims were abducted or transported through Nova Corp territory before ending up in The Collector’s collection, so he would still likely end up behind bars.
If you are arrested and charged with any crime in San Diego, be it interstellar, interstate or inner city, Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with your own private Guardian, a top San Diego criminal defense attorney.