How To Beat A Wife-Beating Rap If You’re A Foreigner: Plead ‘Cultural Incompetence’

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Ever get the impression that there are two sets of laws in this country, one for American citizens and another for foreigners?

But that’s not really true, right?  That’s crazy talk, isn’t it?

Consider the case of Augustin Bahati, an immigrant from Congo arrested last year on domestic violence charges in Manchester, New Hampshire. The victim, a woman who was 27 weeks pregnant at the time, told police that Bahati, 33, hit her, pushed her, grabbed her, kicked her, and pulled her hair out, according to court documents cited by The Union Leader.

Yet prosecutors decided to dismiss charges against him. Not because the victim recanted or wouldn’t testify. Not because of new evidence exonerating him or throwing doubt on his guilt. So why?

“Cultural incompetence.”

What does that mean?

Well, prosecutors are understandably reluctant to talk about the case. But it appears to mean that Mr. Bahati comes from a culture so steeped in wife-beating that he is unable to understand the quaint American custom of frowning on wife-beating. Wife-beating is illegal in America? Who knew? And who can even understand why?

Cultural incompetence.

On the strength of a finding of “cultural incompetence,” six charges went poof.

This wasn’t just some immigrant advocate or public defender, or even just some judge, mind you. The prosecutor recommended dismissal.

You’re a foreigner from some country so different from the United States that you don’t understand American laws and American culture? Presto! Charges be gone!

What a country!

This head-spinning logic highlights multiple problems in American society.

If you need evidence that our immigration policy is broken, here’s a case for you. We have ordered things exactly backward:  Instead of offering a foreigner from a Third World country the opportunity to become an American, we are bending the American system of justice to accommodate the foreigner’s Third World culture.

But it also betrays the destructiveness of cultural relativism. Don’t believe that American culture is superior to, say, Congo’s culture? You might feel differently if you were the victim of domestic violence.

On the other hand, if you were the perpetrator of domestic violence, you might also find some advantages in American culture.

After all, there’s nothing like a get-out-of-jail-free card.