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Jim Croce Court Decision: Florida Judge Dismisses Case Against Dorothea Collier In Folk Singer Tribute

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You don't mess around with this judge's decision.
You don't mess around with this judge's decision.

Get caught fooling around with a corrections officer's daughter, and you might be the baddest man in the whole damn town.

An 11th Circuit Florida judge drew from the wisdom of the late folk singer Jim Croce in dismissing excessive-force allegations against a cop mom who threatened a young man at gunpoint when she found him in her home with her daughter "wearing nothing but a look of surprise."

"In one of his ballads, Jim Croce warned that there are four things that you just don't do: 'You don't tug on Superman's cape/ You don't spit into the wind/ You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger/ And you don't mess around with Jim,'" Judge Carnes wrote in his decision, referencing Croce's 1972 hit, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim."

"He could have added a fifth warning to that list: 'And you don't let a pistol-packing mother catch you naked in her daughter's closet,'" he continued, according to a document obtained by Courthouse News.

The decision begins with a phone call on Nov. 2, 2009.

"Nineteen-year-old Uzuri Collier called Larry Butler, who was of a similar age, and invited him to her house," Carnes wrote in 17-page report. "Butler responded to the invitation the way most young men over the age of consent would have -- he went. Once Butler was at Uzuri's house, he and she consented to watch television for a while. Then they consented to do what young couples alone in a house have been consenting to do since the memory of man (and woman) runneth not to the contrary."

LOOK: The Bad, Bad Document

What Butler did not see coming was Uzuri Collier's mother, Dorothea Collier, a corrections officer with Palm Beach County.

The elder Collier arrived at home to find her daughter getting to know Butler "in the biblical sense," leaving the young -- and very naked -- man only moment to bolt for the bedroom closet, according to the decision.

"Collier discovered Butler stark naked in her daughter’s closet," according to the decision. "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."

Butler pleaded with Collier and explained that he was an invited guest, but the enraged mom maintained that he broke into her home. She forced the still-naked Butler to his knees and handcuffed him at gunpoint.

Collier called her husband and instructed him to immediately return home. She then contacted her supervisor regarding potential charges she could file against her daughter's nude house guest. The supervisor broke the bad news that as an invited visitor, Butler could not press charges.

With her husband home, Collier allowed Butler -- still at gunpoint -- to dress himself and leave.

Following the incident, police arrested Collier and charged her with aggravated battery and false imprisonment, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Butler also sued Collier and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, only to have the case dismissed by the judge, who is presumably a fan of Jim Croce.

"Collier was an angry parent who happened to be in uniform, have handcuffs and a firearm, which she used for the private ends of scaring a young man she caught in bed with her daughter," Judge Carnes found.

"Although Collier did use the pistol that she wore as an officer, any adult without a felony record can lawfully possess a firearm (and tens of millions do)," the judge added.

"If the allegations are true, Collier's treatment of Butler was badder than old King Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog," Carnes wrote, returning to Croce's lyrics. "She might even have 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 under color of law."

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