United States v. Zabawa, No. 11-1519 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
While awaiting a hearing, Zabawa made threats and behaved in an agitated way. Officer Murphy decided to handcuff Zabawa to prevent him from disarming an officer. Before he could do so, Zabawa lunged at Murphy and started punching him. Murphy blocked the attack, and got Zabawa onto the floor by elbowing, kneeing, and headbutting him. After a struggle, Murphy handcuffed Zabawa with the help of other officers. During the fight, Murphy suffered a cut over his eye that required stitches. Murphy testified that he did not know whether the cut happened when he headbutted Zabawa or when Zabawa punched him. A grand jury indicted Zabawa for assaulting and “inflicting bodily injury” on a federal officer, 18 U.S.C. 111(a)(1) and (b). Zabawa’s trial did not take place for more than five and a half years. After Zabawa was found competent to stand trial, the court denied a motion to dismiss based on the delay. Zabawa was convicted and sentenced to 222 months’ imprisonment. The Sixth Circuit reversed, reasoning that “inflict” is a narrower term than “cause” and that Murphy admitted that the injury might have resulted from his application of force to Zabawa, rather than from force Zabawa applied to him.