South Florida Deputy on Trial for Stealing Phone

Broward County sheriff’s deputy Paul Pletcher was off-duty when he got into road rage altercation with another woman, so he pulled her over, stormed up to her truck and began berating her.

Her passenger pulled out a cell phone and began video recording, clearly capturing him saying, “give me the phone,” three times before reaching into the vehicle and snatching the phone.

Pletcher then drove off, smashing the phone in a nearby parking lot, where it was later retrieved by Plantation police officer, whom were responding to the woman’s call.

Pletcher was eventually arrested and charged with several felonies where he is facing 11 years in prison.

His trial began this week.

His defense: He thought the phone was a concealed weapon, which caused him to fear for his life.

That fear is evident from the recovered video, which captured the following exchange:

> “Give me the phone!” he repeated, reaching into the car and toward the camera lens.
> “No talking to me like that.”
> “Give me the phone, Now!”
> “Don’t touch me.”
> “Give me the phone!”
> “Wait! Wait!”

Despite the visual and audio evidence against him that he was committing strong-armed robbery, his attorney is still able to look the jury in the eye and state the following:

> “”Paul Pletcher saw somebody who was driving erratically … Paul Pletcher took the position that when that cell phone was out and being used it could have been a concealed weapon.”

Pletcher has [__gotten away with stealing cameras__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul-pletcher-road-rage_n_1247354.html) from citizens before, so he is confident he will get away with this crime, especially considering it took authorities seven months to charge him after the 2011 incident and [__more than a year to fire him__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2012/09/21/broward-deputy-fired-more-than-a-year-after-stealing-womans-cell-phone/), which might explain his smirking mugshot and his celebratory [__Facebook page.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul.pletcher.7)

**UPDATE:** A mistrial has been declared, postponing the trial for later this month, [__according to CBS.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/mistrial-declared-in-fmr-bso-deputys-road-rage-trial)

> A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy accused in a road rage incident.
> After opening statements and witness testimony on Tuesday, the first day of Paul Pletcher’s trial, Wednesday’s proceedings never quite got off the ground.  The jury was not brought in during the morning hours because of a last-minute deposition of a former Ft. Lauderdale police officer.  The court recessed around 12:30 p.m. for lunch.  When court resumed around 1:30 p.m., Circuit Judge Michael Usan said he had a family emergency and had to leave.
> Pletcher’s defense immediately moved for a mistrial to which the prosecution didn’t object.  Circuit Judge Martin Bidwell, who took over after Usan left, granted the mistrial.   The next hearing on the matter is set for January 22nd.

Now Pletcher has another few weeks to party as he is obviously fond of doing, according to his Facebook page (since taken down), which was highlighted by the [__Miami New Times.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul_pletcher_road_rage_blackberry_trial.php)

Broward County sheriff’s deputy Paul Pletcher was off-duty when he got into road rage altercation with another woman, so he pulled her over, stormed up to her truck and began berating her.

Her passenger pulled out a cell phone and began video recording, clearly capturing him saying, “give me the phone,” three times before reaching into the vehicle and snatching the phone.

Pletcher then drove off, smashing the phone in a nearby parking lot, where it was later retrieved by Plantation police officer, whom were responding to the woman’s call.

Pletcher was eventually arrested and charged with several felonies where he is facing 11 years in prison.

His trial began this week.

His defense: He thought the phone was a concealed weapon, which caused him to fear for his life.

That fear is evident from the recovered video, which captured the following exchange:

> “Give me the phone!” he repeated, reaching into the car and toward the camera lens.
> “No talking to me like that.”
> “Give me the phone, Now!”
> “Don’t touch me.”
> “Give me the phone!”
> “Wait! Wait!”

Despite the visual and audio evidence against him that he was committing strong-armed robbery, his attorney is still able to look the jury in the eye and state the following:

> “”Paul Pletcher saw somebody who was driving erratically … Paul Pletcher took the position that when that cell phone was out and being used it could have been a concealed weapon.”

Pletcher has [__gotten away with stealing cameras__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul-pletcher-road-rage_n_1247354.html) from citizens before, so he is confident he will get away with this crime, especially considering it took authorities seven months to charge him after the 2011 incident and [__more than a year to fire him__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2012/09/21/broward-deputy-fired-more-than-a-year-after-stealing-womans-cell-phone/), which might explain his smirking mugshot and his celebratory [__Facebook page.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul.pletcher.7)

**UPDATE:** A mistrial has been declared, postponing the trial for later this month, [__according to CBS.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/mistrial-declared-in-fmr-bso-deputys-road-rage-trial)

> A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy accused in a road rage incident.
> After opening statements and witness testimony on Tuesday, the first day of Paul Pletcher’s trial, Wednesday’s proceedings never quite got off the ground.  The jury was not brought in during the morning hours because of a last-minute deposition of a former Ft. Lauderdale police officer.  The court recessed around 12:30 p.m. for lunch.  When court resumed around 1:30 p.m., Circuit Judge Michael Usan said he had a family emergency and had to leave.
> Pletcher’s defense immediately moved for a mistrial to which the prosecution didn’t object.  Circuit Judge Martin Bidwell, who took over after Usan left, granted the mistrial.   The next hearing on the matter is set for January 22nd.

Now Pletcher has another few weeks to party as he is obviously fond of doing, according to his Facebook page (since taken down), which was highlighted by the [__Miami New Times.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/paul_pletcher_road_rage_blackberry_trial.php)

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Carlos Millerhttps://pinacnews.com
Editor-in-Chief Carlos Miller spent a decade covering the cop beat for various newspapers in the Southwest before returning to his hometown Miami and launching Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC News in 2007. He also published a book, The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which is available on Amazon.

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