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Why I'd have flunked out of law school...

'Cause I don't get stories like this: In May, a 20-year-old woman approached her rival, a 29-year-old woman, pepper-sprayed the rival, temporarily blinding her, beat the rival to the ground, and then kicked the prone rival and stomped her head till onlookers broke it up.

The 29-year-old woman suffered serious brain trauma and has been hospitalized in a coma ever since. She is fed through a tube now, and doctors say she will probably remain in a vegetative state the rest of her life. That means no more interaction with her 9-year-old son.

When the 20-year-old was first arrested, she was charged with attempted murder.

Makes sense, right? You pepper spray someone, and stomp them in the head till they're unconscious, you're trying to cause damage, right?

Prosecutors agreed with that assessment till now. They have reduced the criminal charge from attempted murder to aggravated battery, a much less significant charge that comes with much less potential jail time.

Prosecutors' logic? They can't prove the 20-year-old was trying to kill her rival. There's no evidence the assailant "tried to kill the victim with premeditation," a spokesman for the Florida State Attorney's Office says, adding that evidence suggests "the defendant wanted merely to fight the victim."

So why didn't the defendant approach the victim and punch her, or challenge her to a (fist) fight?

Seriously, I swear I'd have failed at least the class that covered this scenario had I attended law school.

If I Mace you, and then stomp you in the head as hard as I can, I am trying to cause you serious harm.

If you die or fall into a coma later as a result of my beating, then I should have to deal with the consequences of your death or coma. I shouldn't get to say "I didn't mean it! I just meant to wound him, your honor!" That's no better than saying "oops!"

http://twitter.com/jamesburnett

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insomniac

i agree that the harsher penalty is more deserved but i think its a matter of how much the prosecutors think they are likely to achieve. there is no possibility of dropping back to a lesser charge once they see in court that they are going to lose. if they don't succeed on the attempted murder charge then she walks away with no penalty. at least with the lesser charge she'll get some jail time, but not enough for true justice

the sarcasticynic

Involuntary man-vegitator?

Wavemancali

Once assault moves from punching, to kicking in the head while down, it should move from assault to attempted murder.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

I suppose I can see the point in changing the charge to the aggravated battery -maybe in the heat of the moment or the thrill of beating the living tar out of another person, one could go overboard. Yeah, right. If we are supposed to be in control of our emotions at all times and in all situations then why not in one like this too. My opinion is prosecute for attempted murder and make the case stick!

BobG

I have to agree with you, James. The fact that the woman deliberately incapacitated the victim before attacking her shows a planned attack, and her striking an incapacitated person with the type of blows she used tells me she was either trying to kill her, or at the least seriously maim her.

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