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Shooting at George Zimmerman Illegal, Florida Man Learns

George Zimmerman, the garbage human infamously acquitted in the homicide of Trayvon Martin, became the victim of a shooting himself last year, in an apparent road rage incident. The man who shot at Zimmerman, Matthew Apperson, was convicted of attempted second-degree murder last month, and last week was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The irony is that Zimmerman himself was charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death, and was perhaps fortunate his victim wasn't around to testify at his trial. Road Rage For his part, Zimmerman testified that Apperson was following him in May 2015, flashing his lights and honking his horn. Apperson then pulled up alongside Zimmerman's car and opened fire, bullet shattering his window and narrowly missing its intended victim. Apperson disputed that account, saying it was Zimmerman who threatened him, and he was acting in self-defense. "Mr. Apperson pulled that trigger and didn't care. In fact, he joyfully bragged about killing me and said, 'I got him. I shot George Zimmerman,'" Zimmerman told the jury during sentencing. "He thought he had killed me, and he was happy about it." Zimmerman thanked jurors for convicting Apperson, adding, he "showed absolutely no care for human life." Outrage It's not hard to see why someone might have wanted to take a shot at Zimmerman. Aside from the Martin shooting, Zimmerman was charged with resisting arrest and battering a police officer, accused of domestic violence by an ex-fiancé, accused of molesting his cousin, pulled over speeding through Texas with a firearm, accused of domestic violence by his then wife, charged with aggravated assault for pointing a shotgun at his then girlfriend, and arrested and charged with aggravated assault for throwing a bottle at his then girlfriend. He has had multiple restraining orders issued against him, and had a defamation suit he filed against NBC thrown out. His latest brush with the law may have others believing that justice takes many forms. Related Resources: George Zimmerman Shot In Face (FindLaw Blotter) Zimmerman's Wife Shellie Files for Divorce: Reports (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Zimmerman a 'Manipulator,' But Out of Jail Again (FindLaw Blotter) Zimmerman Trial: Opening Statements Shouldn't Be Stand-Up Comedy (FindLaw's Strategist)
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5 Things You Need to Know About Restraining Orders

A restraining order or order of protection can be a person's last resort against threatening or harassing behavior. They can also be a person's only means to stop domestic violence or abuse. In some cases, restraining orders can save lives. In other cases, they can ruin lives or be a tool for harassment. There are two sides to every restraining order, and cops and courts are often caught in between. When properly administered, restraining orders are an important tool in keeping people safe. So here what you need to know about restraining orders: 1. What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)? Start with the basics -- a restraining order or protective order is a court order enforceable by police that prohibits contact between two people. In many instance, it forbids one person from coming within a certain distance of another, and in some cases can include additional restrictions regarding gun ownership. 2. How to Get a Restraining Order Many courts publish protective order processes on their websites. Either there or at the courthouse you should find and fill out a petition for a restraining order and file it with the court. Generally the court will set a hearing on the matter and grant a temporary restraining order in the meantime. 3. Legal How-To: Responding to a Temporary Restraining Order A person against whom a restraining order has been filed must receive notice of the order, the conditions, and any future hearings on the matter. Normally, this entails a written response filing and participation in the court hearing, which can include presenting evidence and witnesses. 4. How to Enforce Your Restraining Order in a New State Nobody seems to stay in one place anymore. So does your restraining order follow you when you move to another state? Federal law requires all states to honor and enforce valid protection orders issued by others states, but are there additional steps you need to take? 5. Legal How-To: Appeal a Restraining Order Even though a court has issued a restraining order, that order can still be appealed, amended, modified, or dismissed. A restraining order can be appealed on paper or, more likely, in court, and there are better and worse ways to appeal a restraining order. The best source of information on restraining orders, whether you're thinking of filing one or trying to fight one, is an experienced attorney -- if you've got restraining order questions contact one in your area today. Related Resources: Find Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Legal How-To: Fighting a Restraining Order (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Domestic Violence: Getting a 'Permanent' Restraining Order (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can Facebook Contact Violate a Restraining Order? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Legal How-To: Appeal a Restraining Order

Retraining, protective, or stay away orders can arise in a multitude of situations, from business arguments to domestic disputes. And fighting a restraining order can take many forms, depending on the type of order involved and the particular circumstances of your case. Most restraining orders are orders from a court, and therefore can be appealed. It may not be easy to get a restraining order amended or overturned, but it's not impossible. Here's what you need to know if you're appealing a restraining order. The Right Response Normally you should receive notice that a restraining order has been filed or requested against you, and how you respond to the restraining order can make all the difference. If you receive the notice in court, be respectful and try to avoid any outbursts -- you may not be able to win your case right then and there, but you can certainly do some damage. So let your attorney make any in-court legal arguments. If you receive notice through the mail or in-person delivery, most states provide a form or instructions for responding to the restraining order. For instance, California provides an information sheet answering questions from how long the order will stay in place to how it could affect a green card or citizenship. Make sure you follow any instructions and don't violate any temporary orders before you have the chance to appeal. The Right Hearing You will either file a response to the restraining order, or, more likely, be asked to attend a hearing. Most courts will set a hearing date to discuss the order; if not, you may be able to request one. Don't miss your court date -- this may be your only chance to appeal the restraining order. Prior to your court date, you should begin gathering evidence that supports your side of the story. Make sure you have any witnesses, recordings, or documents ready to go on your court date. Your attorney should be able to tell you what you'll need. If your hearing has already come and gone, and you want to amend or end a restraining order, you may have to file an appeal and request another court date. Just as you did with your original hearing, make sure you have any evidence of compliance with the original order and any change in circumstances since the restraining order was first filed. An experienced attorney will your best resource for appealing a restraining order -- contact on e near your today. Related Resources: Browse Criminal Defense Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) Details on State Protective Order Laws (FindLaw) What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Proof Do You Need for a Restraining Order? (FindLaw Blotter)
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5 Legal Tips for Sexual Assault Victims

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an effort to educate the public about the crime, its consequences, and how to prevent it. Sexual assault occurs when a person forces you to participate in sexual contact without your consent. It can have devastating and long-lasting effects on a victim, but victims should try to remember that legal protections are in place to help them on their road to recovery. Here are five tips for sexual assault victims to keep in mind when seeking help from the legal system: Report your attack to the police. You are encouraged to report any sexual assault, rape, dating/partner violence, domestic violence, stalking and/or hate crimes. Authorities will investigate your complaint and help you move forward with criminal charges. That being said, filing a police report does not necessarily mean that you have to press criminal charges. You may need a restraining order. A restraining order is a court-ordered tool used to stop someone from engaging in threatening behavior. When you decide you want to request a restraining order, you should make a list of all of the threatening or intimidating behaviors you want to stop. Specific examples are important. Know your rights as a victim. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you have the right to make your own choices about how to respond to what has happened to you. Don't be afraid to tell your attorney how you want to approach your situation. What to do at trial. A trial can be an overwhelming experience and cause you to re-live memories of your assault. But there are certain steps you can take to ease the painful and emotionally exhausting process of coming face-to-face with your attacker. A lawyer may be a big help. Through direct legal services, a sexual assault attorney can not only help you in your case, but also help protect your mental health, medical, and education records. Your attorney can also help restore the necessities of your life -- housing, employment, education, public benefits, privacy, safety, and, in some cases, citizenship and immigration. To learn more about sex-related offenses, you may want to explore FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes. Related Resources: State Sexual Assault Laws (FindLaw) Military Sex-Assault Reform Bill Fails in Senate (FindLaw's Blotter) Ex-Teacher Andrea Cardosa Charged in Sex Abuse Case (FindLaw's Blotter) Man in Beer Pong League Charged With Sex Abuse (FindLaw's Blotter)
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