Assuming U.S. Jurisdiction:
In the case of The People vs. Hansel and Gretel Holzfaller:
Ms. Gretel Holzfaller is charged with the following:
1 Count of Murder in the First Degree (Murder of Ms. Witch Hazel)
1 Count of Grand Larceny (Theft of precious metals and jewels from Ms. Hazel)
1 Count Petty Theft (Theft of Candy)
1 Count of Vandalism (Bite marks left in Gingerbread Masonry)
1 Count Trespassing
Mr. Hansel Holzfaller is charged with the following:
Ms. Holzfaller has raised the Affirmative Defense of Self-Defense. The defense is problematic on the onset as the court must consider the nature of the case. As a Duty to Flee state, Ms. Holzfaller must show that there was no reasonable way to flee the Witch. The court finds sufficient evidence exists, given that both defendants were detained against their will by Ms. Hazel.
Next, we must consider if Ms. Hazel's actions were within her legal rights. Common law allows citizens to make a "Citizen's Arrest" if they are witnesses to criminal activity and when no law officer is appointed. Should the court find in favor of the state on this ground, then Self-Defense is not applicable as Ms. Hazel was acting within her right to hold the children for crimes committed against her.
This court, however, will not find in favor of the State. Ms. Hazel had kept the children confined to her home for sufficient time for Mr. Holzfaller to put on the substantial weight given his family's inability to provide sufficient meals for a child of his age. Mr. Holzfaller was described as starving and lean upon his disappearance and, upon recovery of Mr. Holzfaller, contemporary media reports took note of his "fat and plump" appearance. Ms. Holzfaller had similarly put on sufficient weight in this time, though not to the degree of her brother. This amount of weight gain in a child is rather unhealthy and disturbing to consider, but more shocking to this court is that any reasonable person could consider such a duration of time a justifiable "Citizen's Arrest". This is in addition to the fact that Ms. Hazel was intending to engage in the murder of the children and the consumption of them. This court cannot find Ms. Hazel's actions reasonable or just and thus will not consider her to be affecting Citizen's arrest.
While Ms. Holzfaller was not herself likely in immediate danger, she was asked to prepare a stove for her brother's imminent murder and consumption. Self-Defense need not apply to one's own self, but can be a legitimate defense when one is defending others from becoming victims of a crime. Furthermore, as the witch was clearly stronger than either Holzfaller's child, Ms. Holzfaller was using only the most reasonable amount of force necessary to incapacitate Ms. Hazel. As such, this court renders the verdict of Not Guilty by means of Self-Defense to Ms. Holzfaller's charge of Murder in the First degree.
With a not guilty verdict rendered, this court will dismiss the charge of Accessory to Murder against Mr. Holzfaller.
We now turn to the lesser sentences of trespassing, vandalism, and petty theft. This court must recall that at the time of the abduction, the children were both younger. In addition, while Ms. Hazel is not able to stand trial for her alleged crimes, given the nature of the previously dismissed murders, this court must consider that the children were enticed by the house and its unusual choice of confectionery as a construction material and that this was exactly the incident Ms. Hazel intended to induce the children into committing. This is not sufficient in and of itself to excuse the Children from their behavior and this court will not allow an excuse based solely on the fact that Ms. Hazel wanted to trap children to satisfy her unusual palate.
As the children were significantly younger when they were engaged in these activities, however, we can reasonably assume that these children were below the Age of Criminal Responsibility and thus did not have the adequate mental development to know that these actions were of a criminal nature. Thus, this court will dismiss these three charges against both defendants.
Finally, on the charge of Grand Larceny, this court finds sufficient merit to go to trial. There is no excuse for theft of property from someone, even if they were trying to eat you. Given the nature of the case, however, this court would be satisfied with dismissing the charges if Mr. and Ms. Holzfaller returned the stolen property to the Estate of Ms. Hazel, and the estates' current custodian, Mr. William Wonka. The Holzfaller family has stated that they believe Ms. Hazel's actions warrant punitive actions against Ms. Hazel's estate, but as this is a criminal court, we find that the property in dispute is rightfully Mr. Wonka's pending the outcome of a civil suit on the matter.
Next on the Docket: The People v. Rumpelstiltskin on 3 charges of Counterfeiting Currency.