A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wonder Woman: Double Jeopardy?

The new DC Solicitations for December includes this listing:

Jump aboard for a new era of MANHUNTER with the start of the 5-part story "Unleashed," guest-starring Wonder Woman! Manhunter Kate Spencer takes on her biggest case yet with Wonder Woman as the client, but the stakes are higher than anyone knows! Is the Amazon princess guilty of murdering Max Lord?

This is a surprise, since DC already had a trial of Wonder Woman for Lord's murder in her own title last year. I even critiqued it. Granted, that last trial never actually had a resolution that I can recall, and there's no double jeopardy prohibition against Diana being tried by a U.S. court after standing trial before an international court. But it still feels like going to the same well twice.

I said before that only two countries would have jurisdiction over the killing of Maxwell Lord: Switzerland and Themyscira. It didn't cross my mind at the time, but the United States would likely be able to claim jurisdiction over the event as well. The "passive personality" principle allows countries to exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed against that country's nationals when they are abroad. Since Max Lord was (presumably) a U.S. citizen, the United States could prosecute Wonder Woman for killing him.

I'm not sure why the U.S. would be terribly interested in doing so, given Max's villainous conduct at the time of his death. And as I shared before, I firmly believe that Wonder Woman acted in self-defense, as well as in the defense of others.

In any case, I'm looking forward to December, and I'm glad that Manhunter got an extension on life.