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Defending George Zimmerman with Facts
Opposingviews ^ | 5 April, 2012 | LegalBoom Not For Profit INC

Posted on 04/10/2012 6:48:34 AM PDT by marktwain

A slew of questions have been raised in this investigation and calls for justice have been heard from all corners of our country. What's important is that we the citizens have the proper information to draw a conclusion about what actually happened that night. Everything else is pure speculation. I will attempt to do just that here with you, step by step.

The night started with a 911 call from Mr. Zimmerman about a suspicious looking person walking through the neighborhood. Mr. Martin was a guest in the neighborhood and was difficult to identify by familiarity. The 911 dispatcher asked for identifying characteristics of Mr. Martin to which Mr. Zimmerman replied a black male in jeans with a hooded sweat shirt. This brings us to our first question.

Was Mr. Zimmerman's identification of Mr. Martin as a black male an indication of pre-meditation in a hate crime, or otherwise a pre disposition to illustrate facts in any other matter then straight forwardly? It would stand to reason that the physical characteristics played little into how Mr. Zimmerman made his conclusion to involve the police. It was likely linked to the hyperbole surrounding the recent crime in the area and the zealotry Mr. Zimmerman experienced as the watch Captain.

As a result race was a non issue it was the relation to a body, be it white or black in the neighborhood "looking suspicious”. What's suspicious? That’s merely up to perception. Then could it have been a "Hate crime"? A hate crime is defined as such- "In crime and law, hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, gender identity, social status or political affiliation."

Probably not considering the race of Mr. Martin was only called into question by the 911 operator and not freely given by Mr. Zimmerman; furthermore Mr. Zimmerman concluded "I think he's black". That degree of uncertainty can call into question any intent Mr. Zimmerman may or may not have had prior to engaging Mr. Martin. From there Mr. Zimmerman goes on to say "He's checking me out" "He's putting his hand in his waist band" "he's got something in his hand; I don't know what his deal is".

I think this is instrumental in fueling Mr. Zimmerman’s mindset. That coupled with the apparent frustration of "These assholes, they always get away". The next question is- Why did Mr. Zimmerman pursue Mr. Martin and confront him? And was it considered stalking? After these events you can hear on the recording Mr. Zimmerman exiting his vehicle. He goes on to say "He's running" you then begin to hear wind and heavy breathing as if a pursuit has been initiated. The 911 operator asks "Are you following him"? To which Mr. Zimmerman replies "Yes" the operator says "Ok we don't need you to do that". There are two very important points to take away from this as there seems to be some confusion here.

First, the "Command" was merely a suggestion as phrased by the 911 operator. Secondly the suggestion as it were was from a telecommunications operator NOT a police officer with any authority over what Mr. Zimmerman does. Mr. Zimmerman replied to the operator after the suggestion to desist was given "ok". The sound of wind and heavy breathing then ended. He then went over more details with the operator for approximately one minute and forty five seconds while returning to his truck. He states when the operator asks him for his home address "I don't want to give that out I don't know where this guy is".

The call is ended shortly afterward when Mr. Zimmerman agrees to meet the responding officer at his truck. In short this unequivocally proves he ended the pursuit as suggested by the operator, contrary to what the media has been reporting. As far as the stalking theory is concerned, Mr. Zimmerman was not guilty in his twenty second pursuit of Mr. Martin. Language in F.S 784.048 provides the legal definition of stalking.  (2)Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Now these are all interesting points because it defines stalking as “Malicious, repeatedly and with harassment”. Mr. Zimmerman’s short winded pursuit of Mr. Martin was not malicious in intent, was not a repeated act and was not harassment as defined in Florida statute. Harassment is defined as such-  (a)“Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose. Now what is considered as a course of conduct is a little ambiguous in Florida’s definition however is clearer in Federal language.  

Florida statute- (b)“Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.” Such constitutionally protected activity includes picketing or other organized protests.

Federal law- (2) Course of conduct. - The term "course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of 2 or more acts, evidencing a continuity of purpose. So that should serve to further clarify the intent of the legislature when creating stalking laws, and what conduct actually consists of in relation to the act of stalking. What happened after the 911 call is shrouded in controversy and mystery; however one conclusion can be drawn.

The police apprehended Mr. Zimmerman after the shooting and took him in for questioning. What was found afterward with both physical evidence, testimony from Mr. Zimmerman and from two separate witnesses was that it was self defense. The idea that this must be some vast conspiracy with the denizens of the neighborhood and Sandford PD is not only ridiculous but offensive to the integrity of the very men and women who protect us day in and day out. Another assertion drawn from the masses is that the Stand Your Ground Law is a "License to kill" This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Florida legislature has built language and provisions into this law to prevent it being used maliciously. Below is the exact verbiage as it is stated on the Florida legislature's website. "776.013 (3) 

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." This is quite clear that the defendant must "Reasonably" believe that they must use deadly force if they believe such force is the only way to prevent great bodily harm or death to themselves." That being said I have a question for you. If someone assaulted you from behind, punched you in the face, then took you to the ground and pummeled your head repeatedly into a sidewalk would you reasonably believe that was "Imminent death or great bodily harm"?

If so would you be willing to do what it took to stop the commission of that crime and protect yourself with whatever means you had available to you? That is at the very core of the war being waged between both sides. Now a lot of the opponents to the Zimmerman defense story have said that because Mr. Zimmerman "Pursued and stalked" Mr. Martin that Mr. Martin then had the right to stand his ground and Mr. Zimmerman had then forfeited his right to self defense because he was the aggressor and that it was no longer a "Stand your ground" issue. Firstly I would like to quash the idea that we can take "Stand your ground" as literally as it has been portrayed.

The law has adopted the moniker "Stand your ground" because of the verbiage within it and the precedent it set. The true name if any can be given to this law is simply a number F.S 776.013 here I will show you the verbiage in its entirety from the legislature website. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." "(3) From what is within that law it could be argued that whether a chase had occurred or not that Zimmerman had the right to be in any public place and so could stand his ground no matter where he was. Your personal space moves with you, and with it the area under which you can "Stand your ground". You will only be standing your ground when the situation comes to a halt and a assault occurs. That seems to be quite contradictory and has a gaping hole in it as it stands. That is why the legislature built in this beautiful provision for the justifiable use of force, which I believe fits in perfectly with this situation.

Arguments have been made that Zimmerman provoked the confrontation by following him which was of course disproven by the un- redacted version of the 911 tape that was not released initially to the media. Now! Even if it wasn't, and we were still under the assumption that Zimmerman was the aggressor this law shows how one could still fall under the stand your ground law legally. Use of force by aggressor.

The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who: "776.041 Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (1) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless: (2) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;" (a) If Martin assaulted Zimmerman after any pursuit was made Zimmerman could still use deadly force to end any assault that made him "Reasonably believe that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm". Right wrong or indifferent this is the law and its intent was to protect everyone legally so that just because you’re a hot head you wouldn’t have to die for it in fear of what would legally happen to you if you defended yourself. The next and to me the most disgusting portion of this debacle is the accusation that the police department "Failed" to arrest Zimmerman and that the investigation was botched. Here is a statute that will 100% remove any doubt of the conduct of the police department and their judgment that night.

A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant." 

Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—(1) "776.032 With the evidence both physical and witness testimony it was proven that Zimmerman acted in self defense and so the Police had no probable cause to make the arrest. How can people cry for justice and in the same breath in ignorance of the law ask for circumvention in the law? Justice is defined as a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair. There is nothing Rational about jumping to conclusions with sensational headlines, asking for justice via breaking a well founded law and asking for a punishment that is not warranted.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: banglist; fl; martin; standyourground; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
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To: marktwain

Her name is Dee Dee. ABC said they confirmed the call. Gave exact time it began and ended. Would like to see that time in direct comparison of GZ/dispatcher call.

Have always thought it peculiar that people would think GZ would use a racial slur to someone he could not see and had no idea what color THEIR skin is.

My take on the “Fn COLD” dispatcher’s comment was that the dispatcher was telling him to get out of the cold. ‘You don’t have to
DO THAT=get out in the weather.

41 posted on 04/10/2012 10:50:52 AM PDT by hoosiermama
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To: Sherman Logan
But there are a number of things Zimmerman could have done to precipitate the fight, constituting assault, and therefore preventing him from claiming self defense.

Not true. Instead of talking generally, let's go to the actual Florida law. Chapter 776 (Justifiable Use of Force) of Florida Statutes existed before passage of the Florida Stand Your Ground Act in 2005, but it's where the provisions of the SYGA were incorporated into existing Florida law.

The Stand Your Ground Act contemplated limited situations under which an aggressor could still use deadly force or force likely to result in great bodily harm, and be justified in doing so. Here's the link to the entire Chapter 776, but concentrate on Florida Statutes 776.041(2).

Even under common law, it's not accurate to say as a generalization that a party who commits assault can never claim self-defense. For example, under a standard application of common law, the assailant can stop the fight, achieve clear physical separation, and state clearly an intent to cease fighting. The assailant still has liability for the initial assault. However, if the other party continues fighting at that point, then the original assailant can practice and claim self-defense from that point forward.

Those elements are incorporated by statute in Florida Statutes 776.041(2)(b) - but allow the use of deadly force without retreat, which often is not permitted at common law without retreat.

42 posted on 04/10/2012 11:56:57 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Scoutmaster
Let assume, for purposes of discussion, that George pulled his gun on Trayvon without physical provocation.

If so, this constituted assault with a deadly weapon, and Trayvon would have been fully justified in defending himself with physical force. If he'd had a gun, he would have been justified in shooting his assailant. Since he didn't, he was fully justified in attending himself the best he could.

the assailant can stop the fight, achieve clear physical separation, and state clearly an intent to cease fighting.

Fairly obviously this point is not reached until the victim of assault gets control of the weapon.

I have no idea whatsoever if that is what happened, but it is certainly possible and does not conflict with any of the known facts, AFAIK.

43 posted on 04/10/2012 12:22:19 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
I was responding to your statement in Post 10 that someone who commits assault cannot claim self-defense. That's not true under Florida statutory law (Florida Statutes 776.041(2)) or under common law, as I pointed out above. With all respect, the assumed set of facts don't have anything to do with the fact that a person can commit assault and then claim self-defense.

Fairly obviously this point is not reached until the victim of assault gets control of the weapon.

Umm. No. First, both parties could lost control of the weapon (it could drop from a bridge into the water below). Second, the original assailant could pull the trigger several times, with no shots fired, then holster the weapon and fight for several minutes before announcing he was giving up, and physically separating, and turning away. At that point, he's still liable for the original assault, but attacking him can be deemed another assault under the law. Or - he can even eject the magazine, announce that he has ceased fighting, physical separated, walk a mile away, and turn himself in at the police station. He's still liable for his assault. However, if you get into your car, drive, find him at the station, and strike him an iron pipe from behind, you can be liable for another assault. At some point, there's a separation of space and time such that one assault stops and a new one occurs. Get it?

I can make up these parades of horribles all day long, but let's get back to my original point. I was simply pointing out that, as a matter of law, your statement that someone who commits an assault cannot claim self-defense. At common law, there are facts under which an assailant can claim self-defense against what is deemed at law to be a subsequent, additional assault. And by some statutes - in Florida, notably, Florida Statutes 776.041 under the Stand Your Ground Act of 1995 - the person who is the initial assailant can use deadly force or force likely to cause great bodily harm against the party the assailant initially assaulted under certain circumstances.

I don't have to speculate about Zimmerman pulling a gun. I'm just correcting an unintentional misstatement of the law.

44 posted on 04/10/2012 5:13:02 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Scoutmaster

You are quite correct. There are exceptional circumstances under which a perpetrator of an assault can claim self-defense, though he would presumably be liable for the original assault. There is at present no evidence I have seen that would indicate that was the case here.

However, when a lethal weapon is present and the two parties are struggling for possession of it, I believe it is perfectly obvious that each party has excellent reason to believe he will suffer death or great bodily harm if the other party gets control of it. The presence of a gun changes the dynamics of the situation.

I believe Zimmerman’s own testimony shows this. He says he had to shoot because he was afraid Trayvon would get hold of the gun. Had Trayvon been the survivor he would no doubt say he was trying to get control of a gun used in an assault upon him when it went off, killing his assailant.

IOW, if a gun is in play, neither party will, accurately, believe he can safely back away unless he has control of the weapon.

45 posted on 04/10/2012 7:15:48 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Aunt Polgara
I do not believe a single word Trayvon's GF says. Not. One. Word.

You don't think she would say anything at all to make Trayvon into the innocent bystander the lamestream media has been portraying him as?

Unfortunately for her, the evidence doesn't support her lies.

46 posted on 04/10/2012 9:56:27 PM PDT by Houmatt (NObama in 2012!)
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To: Houmatt; Aunt Polgara
About that conversation that was supposed to be going on between Trayvon and his GF. It was supposed to be going on with Trayvon using a bluetooth headset

There are several rules and observations one needs to be aware of regarding the presence of a bluetooth headset. As a routine user of such a device I can safely state the following:

  1. The most basic BT device has a range of 10m (roughly 30ft). So, unless it is turned off or out of range, it continues to function.
  2. The phone the BT headset is connected to does not have to be open if it is one of the clamshell design phones. So, you can carry your phone in a pocket and (in some cases) initiate a call, hold a conversation and then end the conversation without touching the phone.
  3. If something should happen to cause the connection to break between your BT and phone, the phone remains on and connected to the party you are conversing with.
  4. Since your phone can be out of sight, you can look a bit crazy talking to yourself. I imagine many of you have already come across someone with a headset you didn't see until you were up close and thought that person was acting a bit strange until then.
Which brings us to some discrepancies about the conversation Dee Dee says Trayvon and she were engaged in up to the moment Trayvon and GZ tangle.

If he is having a conversation with DD (as reported by DD) up to the moment the "scuffle" begins how come GZ did not hear it going on prior to the "scuffle"? Anyone who has used a cellphone headset, BT or not, knows you cannot whisper into the headset when outdoors. So you cannot be sneaky and use one.

What happened to this conversation? DD, I'm being followed by some guy. He looks white and kinda tubby. He's driving a pickup, license number ____. Yadda, yadda, yadda while facing the guy following him so that guy knows Trayvon is talking to someone and providing info about his follower.

I keep hearing questions about why he turned on GZ. Has anyone thought about what happens to a kid's head when his mom and dad are getting/have gotten a divorce and that kid is around one of them and that parent's new "significant other"? And dad has gone out with his girlfriend and he has to babysit for them. And kid wants to be with his own girlfriend for his own face time. And kid was suspended for a week from school and sent to be with his dad. Wanna bet that 17-year-old boy is getting hot? And then some whitey starts following him around, its starting to rain, and... ...what do you think is going to happen next?

I think she either heard everything that happened that night, because the phone was still on and sending every sound it picked up all around Trayvon to her phone until she hung up, or her conversation with Trayvon never took place. Those call records they show only indicated when the calls were received, not when they ended. For all we know they might have had a fight during the earlier call listed so he called her back and she hung up on him. On top of the stuff I listed earlier he could have been angry about that as well.

Like Houmatt, I cannot trust a thing she says about what happened that night.

47 posted on 04/11/2012 1:06:14 AM PDT by egfowler3 (Why do I even bother? No one's listening.)
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To: egfowler3
Like Houmatt, I cannot trust a thing she says about what happened that night.

Yes, I agree with you that we probably don't have the whole story, but what she did say seems to me to support that Trayvon started the fight. If Z was planning on shooting Trayvon, why would he get so close? And since he knew the cops were coming, why would he initiate a brawl? Doesn't make sense to me. What makes more sense is that Trayvon felt dissed about being challenged for being there and sucker punched Z when Z went for his phone. Trayvon may have thought Z was going for a weapon. Tragic case all around.

Since we know that the media is fanning the flames, it's entirely possible that the police have a more complete statement from the GF than what the media showed, especially since the Martin attorney was present for the interview.

48 posted on 04/11/2012 5:16:30 AM PDT by Aunt Polgara
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To: Sherman Logan
IOW, if a gun is in play, neither party will, accurately, believe he can safely back away unless he has control of the weapon.

For those of you just tuning in, Mr. Logan and I are discussing the law in general and are not specifically discussing the Martin/Zimmerman case or facts, so I'd ask that you please don't think that either of us is assuming facts with respect to that case at this point.

SL: So, I'd agree with you if no outlier facts such as those I mentioned above are present, and two people are on the ground, in bodily contact, struggling with each other. You simply don't give up control of the weapon to the other party at that point because you don't know the other party's intent once they gain control of the weapon.

However, you come to the next point. What does the party who gets control of the weapon do with it once he/she gains control? Assuming no accidental discharge, you then have to look at the facts surrounding the decision to fire. Has the other party already done enough damage and evidenced willingness to continue doing enough additional damage that you're justified in firing immediately? Is the other party still continuing to batter you after you have possession of the gun (and is the other party justified in doing so precisely because you have possession of the gun and the other party doesn't know what you're going to do with the gun)? Have the facts leading to the altercation suggested a need to announce a 'stop, or I'll fire'? I think I could posit facts (as to how the altercation started, as to what went on in the altercation, and what was still going on) where the answer would be a fairly clear 'yes' and facts where the answer would be a 'h*ll, no.'

It's always factual. But back to the original point: In Florida, by statute and likely by common law, one who commits an assault can, in some situations, still claim self-defense, even up to the point of the use of deadly force. By common law, there are facts under which the initial assailant in a fight can claim the right of self-defense. A gun changes dynamics, but doesn't always eliminate the ability to claim self-defense at common law or by statute, even if the person who holds gun did commit an assault. And it's always the facts. What makes something reasonable or unreasonable, right or wrong, justified or unjustified, depends on the facts and a reasonable interpretation of them under the circumstances - not pontificating about them at leisure, but under the circumstances.

All of that is theoretical and is not based on the Martin/Zimmerman case.

49 posted on 04/11/2012 8:12:37 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Scoutmaster

I agree.

BTW, I’m not an attorney and I’ve never played one on TV. So my understanding of law and particularly FL law is not that of an expert. I appreciate your careful instruction.

50 posted on 04/11/2012 8:19:39 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: egfowler3

If the records are anything like those for my phone, they show when the call started and how long it lasted. For billing purposes. So it ain’t hard to come up with a finish time.

51 posted on 04/11/2012 8:23:20 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
Actually I was basing my reply on the ABC interview article linked to in your reply #31. There is a photo provided at that site of the girlfriend's supposed call record showing calls at 7:04 & 7:12, both incoming and neither showing the length of the calls.

I once worked for Sprint Telecom in their customer records and billing division and you are right, the phone companies do have the start, stop, length and more phone call information, but that is not what ABC shows in their photo. ABC implies that there was an ongoing continuous conversation, but the photo only indicates when the calls started and indicates nothing else whatsoever.

So, if the Florida law enforcement folk provide that information to the public, I will then believe the time line. However, I have no reason to trust media that use false or misleading information to boost their ratings.

52 posted on 04/11/2012 9:43:09 AM PDT by egfowler3 (Why do I even bother? No one's listening.)
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To: egfowler3


All the info is obviously available to develop an accurate timeline.

I doubt any in the MSM will be interested in doing so because it will likely weaken the case against Z.

Happily, we don’t need to depend on the MSM anymore and bloggers will put it together.

53 posted on 04/11/2012 9:49:03 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: djf
Just mentioning it because I don’t want fellow FReepers to automatically assume something a 911 operator says is “just a suggestion”. So people should check their local jurisdictions.

You are correct. My aunt was dispatcher for the Pasadena, Texas Police Dept. for more than 30 years. She carried her badge in her purse instead of on her chest but she most certainly was a LEO.

54 posted on 04/11/2012 10:07:42 AM PDT by houeto
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To: Aunt Polgara
I'm sorry. I was trying to point out that the claim made by Trayvon's GF of an ongoing conversation vs the statements by GZ that he was suddenly attacked without any warning do not fit. I think the GF heard exactly what happened and does not want the truth to be told, or someone is making her withhold the truth. Assuming, of course, there was a conversation at that time.

Of course there could have been an argument going on between TM and his GF and she could have been hung up on just prior to the "brawl".

I can see it now, Trayvon walking along with his cell phone in hand connected to him by a headset of some sort while talking to his girlfriend as he approaches Zimmerman and begins to argue. Now, I am in my 60's and a bit clumsy to boot. I've walked into my share of doors, walls, poles and such while talking on the phone. Yes, my headset, both wired and unwired, popped out of my ear on many of those occasions. And I quickly learned the phone was still on and I could put the headset back in my ear, apologize to the person on the other end and keep talking. So, as someone a week or so ago remarked, how did that headset (and attached phone) get turned off when the brawl/fight/beating started?????

My thoughts are that the phone was either on and she heard more than is being provided or it was off and she heard nothing whatsoever.

55 posted on 04/11/2012 10:09:04 AM PDT by egfowler3 (Why do I even bother? No one's listening.)
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To: Sherman Logan
I’m not an attorney and I’ve never played one on TV.

It's something I regret daily and apologize for almost daily.

You learn some law in law school, but at the larger law schools a lot of what they teach you is a system of thinking (that drives you crazy for the rest of your life and annoys everyone around you).

No matter what the law is, you can always find facts that make the law irrelevant. And no matter what the facts are, you need to know what the law is.

Then, the annoying part is that the words used in the law almost always have specific meanings, or require specific tests, given them through multiple appellate court opinions, that aren't the general meanings used in common conversation or found in normal dictionaries.

It's enough to drive you crazy (although for me, that would have been a short trip, even on foot).

56 posted on 04/11/2012 12:28:08 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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