Angry Mom’s Revenge – 11th Circuit Florida Judge Dismisses Excessive Force Charges in Case of Butler v. Sheriff of Palm Beach County and Dorethea Collier

July 30, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

A pistol-packing mom -- who flew into a rage upon finding a nude young man carousing with her teenage daughter -- has been acquitted by an 11th Circuit Florida judge of the Florida crime of excessive use of force.

The incident that kicked off the legal firestorm occurred in early November 2009. 19-year-old Uzuri Collier invited a friend, Larry Butler, over to her house to "watch TV." Shortly after Butler's arrival, the young adults started to engage in sexual relations. But their liaison was short-lived. Collier’s mother, Dorothea, arrived home to find them en flagrante. Her reaction was, to put it mildly, displeased. Here's how the court's decision described what happened next: “Collier discovered Butler stark naked in her daughter’s closet. She yelled at him and punched him one time. Then Collier picked up her utility belt, put it back on, and drew her gun. She told Butler that if he moved or did not follow her commands, she would shoot him.”

Collier, who worked as a corrections officer for Palm Beach County, then called her husband and ordered to him to come home. Then she forced Butler to get down on his knees and handcuffed him, still while at gunpoint. She called her supervisor to ask whether she could file charges against her nude guest. The supervisor said that since Butler had been invited over by her daughter, there was no way she could press charges.

Eventually, Collier relented and allowed Butler to go on his way, humiliated and shaken.

After the incident, Butler filed a lawsuit against Collier and the Sheriff of Palm Beach County, Ric Bradshaw. Collier was arrested and hit with charges of aggravated battery and false imprisonment, but a Circuit Judge dismissed the excessive force allegations, comparing Collier to a character in the lyrics of a famous song by folk singer Jim Croce: “If the allegations are true, Collier’s treatment of Butler was badder than old King Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog…she might have even acted like the meanest hunk of woman anybody had ever seen. Still, the fact that the mistreatment was mean does not mean that the mistreatment was [illegal].”

Lessons for your Florida criminal defense

Even if you acted in an extremely aggressive or negligent manner, you may still have significant defensive options available to you. Understand, however, that time may be of the essence. The quality of legal representation you retain (or fail to retain) can powerfully impact your ultimate sentence – and the course of the rest of your life. The experienced Florida criminal defense team here at Seltzer Law, PA, would be happy to provide a free case consultation to you and give you the peace of mind and perspective you need to move forward with your life.

Call today for your free consultation: 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).