For reasons unimportant to the question all divine/infernal beings and deities took a hiatus from interacting with the earth in the dark ages. For reasons equally obscure they are back and busier than ever. Law enforcement, corrections, mental health staff, and the US legal system now must deal with a massive influx of demonic and paranormal related crime (every cultures entities and deities are now real with predictable chaotic results). In my prior question I attempted to find a plausible method for field testing to ascertain the difference between demonic possession and mental illness so that authorities could provide the adequate response.

The Situation

So our overworked and underpaid law enforcement get a man in booking exhibiting signs of possible possession. The field test is administered and consists of blind tests that an insane person could not react to properly. He exhibits signs of discomfort when touched within the presence of a holy icon despite being held in a position where he could not possibly know the difference between the object and any other. The man begins speaking of personal details of jail staff that he could not possibly know without the presence of paranormal ability. He is determined to be possessed by a low level demonic entity of the Judeo/christian variety by testing his blind reaction to contact with various religion's holy icons.

The Dilemma

At this point detention staff are calling for a mobile tactical priesthood squad to arrive and perform an exorcism when the demon within the man demands that he be allowed to speak to a lawyer. Furthermore, he claims that the victim was a willing host and that forced contact with holy icons is painful to both himself and the host and violates his and his host's civil rights as it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The question

Is this claim valid under US law? Can this Demon claim that he is afforded civil rights?

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    $\begingroup$ I am afraid "civil rights" is inherently opinion based. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ Insert "how about the one that's already elected to (office)?" joke here... $\endgroup$ Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ "We have update our terms due to the new General Demons and Paranormal Regulation law, A.K.A. GDPR" $\endgroup$
    – Kepotx
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ @user553733: Only at a bench trial. Cannot possess the whole jury... not to mention $\endgroup$
    – hszmv
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ Related en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:46

5 Answers 5


As it stands, the U.S. court system is barred from hearing cases that are not based in some factual question and the person petitioning the court can be potentially harmed by the law in question (standing). Thus we cannot say for certain how the real life court would rule as demons have made no such claim.

That said, we do have a few laws that could justify the police's actions. First the 13th amendment bars slavery in any form within the United States. Thus the Demon cannot own the possessed individual. The demon must therefore enter into contract where the possession of the individual is appropriately compensated. Consider it similar to a landlord and a renter, where a contract is signed by the two acknowledging a legal agreement including duties and responsibilities of both individuals as well as the compensation of the possessor to the possessee. The demon's claim can be assessed if he is able to temporarily relinquish his hold on the individual so that the police and priests can properly assert that the individual did enter into the contract in good faith.

Now, the tricky part is assessing that the contract was a fair bargain. While I would hate to be accused of being an anti-demonite, demons do have a reputation of entering into deceitful contracting laws. If the individual did enter into a contract with the demon, however, did not comprehend that possession was part of his end of the negotiation, it could be held that the demon entered into a deceptive or fraudulent contract with the individual. Contract Law in the United States typically goes in favor of the defendant (the individual in our scenario) if the language was deceptive or predatory in nature and the defendant was not aware of the negotiate bargain was against his interests.

As the Demon is claiming rights under the United States, I would hardly think a rational modern day court would oppose such a request provided the creature was capable of understanding the rights afforded by the constitution. However, as such, any agreement made in the jurisdiction of a US court would mean that the contract is reviewable under the U.S. Legal system as opposed to the... Damned Legal System (The Court of Hell, lest anyone find room for an Evil Lawyer Joke). As such, the contract can be ruled null and void in part or in full by a Judicial Lawyer.

I would hold that while the Demon does have rights, the contract can only be enforced if the possessed entered into the contract of his own free volition and fully aware as to the terms he was agreeing too.

Should all this be in order, I would like to point that the demon was discovered in the process of booking for an arrest for a possible criminal action. As we would not hold the landlord accountable for a criminal action committed by a tenant on the landlord's property, if we presume the landlord was not aware of such action. Since the demon is under arrest, the police would have the right to remove the demon from his place of residence (the possessed) and hold him in proper incarceration facilities until such time as the demon can appear before a judge to enter his plea and have appropriate bail set. The demon can be asked to come quietly or be forcibly removed from said residence by means of force, both natural and supernatural, if he refuses to willingly surrender to peace officers. Furthermore, the assumption of a fair contract in place, the demon may be held liable for damages to the property incidental to his arrest insofar as described in the contract.

As to the nature of the injuries, the demon does not appear to have received lasting permanent injury. As part of booking procedures, criminals are subject to a number of uncomfortable procedures to acquire possible evidence to identify the nature of the arrested. The demon has not presented any evidence that lasting physical harm was caused by these tests to ascertain his nature nor damage to the possessed. The court would probably find that any utterances of confessions, threats of apocalyptic doom, deciphered speaking of tongues, or general unpleasant language found only in the darkest depths of hell or Enlisted Navy Personnel's minds shall be inadmissible as evidence as they could be construed as compelled testimony. As established, the demon does have full rights under the United States Constitution including his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Edit for Addendum:

In consideration to @CreedArcon's concern, the first amendment holds that congress shall make no law establishing a religion nor infringing upon the free exercise of religion. The finding of the mock-court is the police in this scenario did limit to solely Judeo-Christian demons in testing for possible demon. The defendant reacted to confirm at least one test of an indeterminate religion that has yet to be disclosed to the mock court. The defendants' first amendment rights thus were not violated in this respect. The employ of tactical exorcism units is also acceptable as the government has allowed chaplain services to conduct religious services for troops and police units.

The mock-court also finds against Mr. Arcon's assertion that the defendant must provide papers stating his intent. As with all criminal cases the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, the defendant has a fourth amendment right to be secure in his papers and possessions. Thus the mock-court finds the defendant need not provide evidence. Assuming that the defendant was properly read his Miranda rights at arrest, and admitted to the police that he had a contract drawn up to his possession of his host, the mock-court finds sufficient evidence to issue a warrant for said document. Additionally the mock-court finds sufficient evidence to issue warrants to search for evidence related to the crime which the defendant was arrested for. The accusation of Violent over throw of the United States Government (by means of raising Hell) requires evidence that proves intent beyond reasonable doubt and the burden of this proof must be met by the prosecution. While Mr. Arcon believes that Hell may be aiding and abetting a crime and thus has liability the Mock-Court finds that if we do not afford the defendant his right to proper defense, there will certainly be Hell to pay.

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    $\begingroup$ This reads EXACTLY like the legal paperwork I process in the jail every day! (warrants, civil papers, noticese to appear etc etc) Thanks! exactly the kind of example what I was looking for! $\endgroup$
    – TCAT117
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ @TCAT117 don't forget that the US is very Christian, and laws by be built to not allow demonic possession of any kind (at least in some states). The demon would need to prove his intent in remaining in the host. Like is he just out to take in the views of the US or is he going to rip a hole into hell and bring about the end times. so even if the demon had all the paper work in place (and all legal) an exorcism could still be used if the demon had hostile intent and banished back to hell (and make hell pay for it). $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ Fun twist. The demon in question is completely unprepared for the relentlessness of human lawyers, and ends up being exiled, fined and jailed, all at the same time. In the end it returns to the demon pits scared of lawyers and / or with a plan to have human lawyers create Demonic Pact Law... $\endgroup$
    – MBender
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ "As it stands, the U.S. court system is barred from hearing cases that are not based in some factual question" Many cases, and all appellate cases, revolve around issues of law, not fact. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Acccumulation: But there has to be an actual "controversy". U.S. courts aren't allowed to offer advisory opinions about whether an action would be legal, or whether a law would be constitutional, or whatnot; rather, the act has to have actually happened (or been contended to have happened), or the law has to have actually applied, or . . . you get the idea. The case may resolve a matter of law rather than a matter of fact, but it must do so in the context of reality. $\endgroup$
    – ruakh
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 22:38

There was once a court case where a fellow sued Satan. Several things happened:

1) Satan did not appear for the court date, nor did anyone authorized to represent him.

2) Rather than find for the plaintiff due to the defendant not appearing, the judge determined that Satan, as the head of a foreign power, had diplomatic immunity.

Based on that precedent, this would mean that Demons would need to be treated as immigrants, and would need to follow the processes of immigration.

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    $\begingroup$ US successfully tried and imprisoned a head of the foreign power. $\endgroup$
    – user58697
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ Wonderful out-of-the-box thinking by that judge. I'm sure similar solutions would appear in the scenary described by the question. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ It is not diplomatic immunity, because Satan is not an ambassador. It is Immunity from prosecution $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ The Wikipedia article actually says the issue was that "the plaintiff had not included written instructions for how the U.S. Marshal could serve process on Satan." With Satan actually around, this seems like it might not be an issue. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ I mean, I doubt Satan would really care a human was suing him, much less show up :P $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:29

Everything changed after the RFD (Rights For Demons) association started...

Shortly after The Change some people started to demand that their demonic posess- ... dear friends receive the same rights as other people. They started to grow in numbers, especially in regions that were low on priests. These people didn't demand any changed to the current laws. But they demanded a certain way to interpret the laws.

Organisms in the human body can be good. We wouldn't survive without a healthy gut flora for example. But at the same time parasites can be very, very bad to us and we need to kill them in order to safe the human.

The same applies to demons. Some are nice and helpful. Maybe their single voice is just so much louder than your normal voices and thereby helps you to sleep good at nights. But some demons can be bad, for example if they force you to sacrifice a couple virgins from the neighbourhood.

That's why the law now says that nice demons are allowed and simply part of the human being, meaning that a possessed human (or, to be politically correct, multiple-entitiy-controlled-humanoid) has the same rights as the previous host. If the demon is determined to be bad for the host overall, for example by slowly feasting on their soul, it doesn't have any rights and everything is allowed to safe the host, no matter how much it may hurt the host.

The thing is: how do you check whether a demon is slowly feeding on the soul of a victim?

There are some specialists that can objectively determine this, but they are rare. That's why you have to write a document and testify that you are planning on getting posessed. It was determined that voluntary posession doesn't result in soul consumption in 99.8% in a clinical study conducted by the RFD.

The RFD also has a lot of lawyers for some reason. And for other reasons there are always papers appearing that testify that a demon that's been arrested is allowed to actually stay in the host with all his rights. As if they were communicating with the lawyers who store these documents and order them whenever they are afraid to land in jail...

And you better not mess with the RFD. They know lots of people very well.

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    $\begingroup$ I actually did have the idea that demon rights activists would pop up. The idea in this story is that up until this point demons have been inherently evil and destructive. People who are voluntarily possessed are part of extremist groups and used similar to suicide bombers. This event in the story is supposed to somewhat mirror or be based off of the civil rights cases of known terrorists who were clandestinely tortured in the war on terror. Basically demons suddenly stop shredding their way through shopping malls and suddenly demand person-hood. (they "promise" they wont do it again.) $\endgroup$
    – TCAT117
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 19:40

It really depends on how they behave.

To start, One does not simply enter the United States. In the elegant British vocabulary, the immigration office must agree to land you, literally giving you a stamp of approval "that it better serves the country's interests to let you visit". Immigration officials lightly presume you'll be bad, and allow you to prove you'll be good. That's a high bar for a demon. The demons would be tempted to enter the country illegally.

This means they are already not behaving well. If that's all they do, that is merely awkward.

If they enter illegally and then harm Americans as a plan or creed, that's a problem and they risk the "enemy combatant" label.

And if they enter illegally and commit crimes on a large scale, that's an invading army. Civil rights is now out of the picture entirely. Demon Nation is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, so the US does not owe them protections. They have no rights whatsoever.

The US might honor the Conventions anyway on hope the demons would too. But if the demons did not reciprocate -- gloves off.

  • $\begingroup$ You're either assuming these demons are corporeal, or that they'd follow rules that they'd have absolutely no reason to. I doubt getting a SSN is high on their list of priorities - if it was they wouldn't run around possessing people. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazura I'm not assuming it, I'm contemplating it: running through the numbers of what it would look like if they wanted to behave civilly. I'm not saying that's what demons would do, I'm asking whether it's realistic to expect demons to do all that. Then, I'm pointing out that not doing it has fairly large consequences. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:00

There's no dilemma, demon or no (presumed) demon.

"(the demon within) The man demands that he be allowed to speak to a lawyer."

"Lawyer." - end of story, and begin: collection of inadmissible evidence.

The Fifth Amendment will not prevent statements made after a period of silence from being used as evidence, unless the suspect clearly communicated a desire to invoke the right to remain silent.

Even when a suspect fails to properly invoke the right to remain silent, it must be established that the suspect waived the right in order for statements made during interrogation to be admissible as evidence against the suspect. However, this waiver does not need to be explicit. Suspects can waive their right to remain silent if they proceed to make voluntary statements after being informed of and understanding their Miranda rights.


The claim of demonic possession was made under duress, directly following an explicit statement requesting a lawyer.

Can police question someone with out a lawyer present after you've asked for one? (avvo.com)

The police are not allowed to question you after you have asked for a lawyer.

However, if you agreed to talk to them after they read you your Miranda rights and you did so voluntarily (without pressure, duress, coercion, etc), then the questioning is legal and the answers you gave can be used against you.

If you were questioned after you told them you want a lawyer and/or the answers you gave were not given voluntarily, then the answers you gave can be excluded from evidence. In order for the answers to be excluded as evidence against you, your lawyer must file and argue a motion to exclude the statements and the Judge must grant the motion.


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