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Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:44 PM

Help me understand something about the Trayvon Martin case.

Since things have settled down, I wanted to revisit an old issue:


I'm no legal expert, but it seems to me the Trayvon Martin case - which I find a very confusing case - was essentially, "Blame the law, don't blame the jury," am I right? That is to say, under the parameters of the law, the jury didn't really have much choice but to acquit Zimmerman?


If so, then why did many people get angry at the jury instead of the law? Would convicting Zimmerman have actually been the right choice, under the parameters of the situation? Seems to me the jury had little choice but to acquit.


It's immensely confusing.


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Arrow 51 replies Author Time Post
Reply Help me understand something about the Trayvon Martin case. (Original post)
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 OP
Warren Stupidity Oct 2014 #1
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 #5
hollysmom Oct 2014 #10
Dont call me Shirley Oct 2014 #23
JaneyVee Oct 2014 #2
phil89 Oct 2014 #15
phil89 Oct 2014 #15
phil89 Oct 2014 #15
etherealtruth Oct 2014 #32
mainstreetonce Oct 2014 #3
KurtNYC Oct 2014 #18
Jenoch Oct 2014 #19
mainstreetonce Oct 2014 #25
Jenoch Oct 2014 #35
bravenak Oct 2014 #4
valerief Oct 2014 #6
msanthrope Oct 2014 #7
Skittles Oct 2014 #8
raccoon Oct 2014 #50
DesMoinesDem Oct 2014 #9
flamin lib Oct 2014 #12
flamin lib Oct 2014 #11
ZombieHorde Oct 2014 #13
antiquie Oct 2014 #14
JI7 Oct 2014 #20
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 #22
JustAnotherGen Oct 2014 #27
CreekDog Oct 2014 #31
ieoeja Oct 2014 #21
Skittles Oct 2014 #26
hack89 Oct 2014 #24
DrDan Oct 2014 #28
YarnAddict Oct 2014 #29
JI7 Oct 2014 #30
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #33
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 #43
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #47
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 #51
Nye Bevan Oct 2014 #34
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #36
Nye Bevan Oct 2014 #37
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #39
Nye Bevan Oct 2014 #41
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #48
Nye Bevan Oct 2014 #49
hack89 Oct 2014 #38
Blue_Tires Oct 2014 #40
DirkGently Oct 2014 #42
Nye Bevan Oct 2014 #44
DirkGently Oct 2014 #46
PlanetaryOrbit Oct 2014 #45

Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:45 PM

1. I blame both. The jury got it wrong. The law is stupid.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:48 PM

5. What exactly did the jury do wrong? That's my question.

Was it the part about the evidence and guilt beyond reasonable doubt?

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:55 PM

10. there is resonable doubt and unreasonable doubt.

I can't really talk, I served on a jury where I knew the guy was guilty, just knew it, and the lawyer was prosecuting her first case and also was no bright light, worst presentation ever, no follow up questions, no objections to pure theatrics - the defense was a drama king, and seemed to exaggerate, i.e. lie, to the extremes. we were denied by the judge the ability of looking at the transcript (he said this is a simple case, we should have listened).... and so it went, we had to let him go because the evidence was shown was a he said she said, even though there were half a dozen people there, we were only provided with the one witness - and this was for armed robbery. The excuse was that he was kidding he was not robbing them, because that is a funny joke, but he did not know any of these people. but that was not even challenged by the prosecutor. and so and so on. We all knew he was guilty, but we all voted to let him go. Hated it.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 04:16 PM

23. The case wasn't being presented as SYG, but the judge gave SYG instructions anyway

to the jury. The prosecutor clearly was not trying to win the case.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:45 PM

2. Personally, I blame the prosecutors.

 

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:58 PM

15. Me too.

 

when the prosecution puts up witnesses who confirm the defense version of events... I don't know what othe option the jury had

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:58 PM

15. Me too.

 

when the prosecution puts up witnesses who confirm the defense version of events... I don't know what othe option the jury had

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)


Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 08:00 PM

32. I don't know if the prosecutors are minimally competent ....

... but I sure know they presented the case as if they were

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:47 PM

3. The jury shouldn't have considered

the SYG law because Zimmerman initiated the confrontation.

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Response to mainstreetonce (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:04 PM

18. +1 in a nutshell that's it -- Serino: That's not fear. You know what I mean?

Serino, the police investigator nailed Zimmerman to the floor over his BS story but the case wasn't presented to the jury this way:

the tape plays - Zim exits the SUV to chase TM

Serino: OK, so you basically jumped out of the car to see where he was going?
Zimmerman: Yes, sir.
Serino: OK. Thatís not fear. You know what I mean?
Zimmerman: Yes, sir.
Serino: Thatís one of the problems I have with the whole thing, or Iím gonna have. I mean, I donít have any problems at all, itís just thatÖ itís gonna be a problem.



More excerpts:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023147402

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Response to mainstreetonce (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:04 PM

19. The defense did not use SYG as part of the case.

 

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #19)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 05:06 PM

25. SYG was part of the jury's instructions

...

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Response to mainstreetonce (Reply #25)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 05:14 AM

35. You are wrong.

 

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:47 PM

4. I blame the media and the law and the jurors.

 

And the people who donated money. And now look at him.... He's exactly what I thought he was.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:48 PM

6. The jury has the power of jury nullification, I think, just like OJ's jury had. nt

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:49 PM

7. He didn't plead SYG. He pled self-defense. Blame the jury.

 

I've had clients convicted on less.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:50 PM

8. it's a disgrace

the fact is Trayvon would be alive today if he had not encountered an armed lunatic with a record for being a thug, who was out LOOKING FOR TROUBLE

TRAYVON was the one who was standing his ground and he was EXECUTED for it

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Response to Skittles (Reply #8)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 04:39 PM

50. Well said! nt

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:54 PM

9. Zimmerman did NOT use Stand Your Ground for defense.

 

The talking heads on TV just talked on and on about it to give people another thing to be outraged about.

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Response to DesMoinesDem (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:56 PM

12. SYG is part of self defense in Florida and part of jury instructions whether it is a defense or not.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:55 PM

11. I saw police who didn't want to charge, prosecutors who didn't want to try and a jury that couldn't

Find their ass with both hands being lead by the wife of a lawyer who was biased and bigoted.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:57 PM

13. A jury can vote however they wish.

I didn't follow the trial, so I don't know what the jury was exposed to, so I don't judge them. That said, Zimmerman is a creepy fucker, in my opinion.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 02:58 PM

14. Judges jury instructions played a part.

 

Jurors also didnít have all the court instructions for self-defense cases. The judge withheld instructions that the jurors could have used to determine that Zimmerman was an ďinitial aggressor,Ē a finding that could have denied him a self-defense defense. But the defense successfully argued ó and the state did not forcefully protest ó that prosecutors failed to show how Zimmerman was an aggressor.

ďLosing the initial aggressor instruction may have been the moment the state lost its case,Ē criminal-law professor Alafair Burke wrote in the Huffington Post.

more

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:09 PM

20. the jury was racist

Defense made sure to get that type. State tried to get that one racist off but wasn't able to.

If trayvon was white it would have been an easy conviction.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #20)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:39 PM

22. Wasn't there an African-American juror?

And doesn't it take just 1 juror to get a hung jury?

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 05:18 PM

27. Nope

Hispanic/Latino woman who had moved from the Great Lakes area.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 07:57 PM

31. why would you assume that blacks can't be racist against other blacks?

in a country where racism against blacks is the norm?

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 03:32 PM

21. I take solace in the fact that Zimmerman is now legally the greatest coward in the history of man.

 


Someone was heard begging in a tearful voice, "oh, god, please don't kill me." There are two possibilities:

1. Trayvon was begging not to be killed after Zimmerman pulled his gun. Of course, that would mean pre-meditation murder 1 for Z.

2. An armed Zimmerman was begging not to be killed by the unarmed Trayvon. That would make Z the greatest coward in history.


I happen to think #2 is so ridiculous that it can not possibly be true. But that is what the jury decided. So Z's place in history has been recorded.


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Response to ieoeja (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 05:10 PM

26. THANK YOU

Zimmerman's story is absolutely RIDICULOUS and shame on ANYONE who bought it

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 04:21 PM

24. When you have prosecution witnesses supporting Zimmerman's story

then it is very likely that he was not going to be found guilty.

It was always going to be a tough case to try because there were no witnesses to the actual shooting. Without hard evidence creating reasonable doubt was not going to be hard - remember that trials are skewed towards the defendant.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 06:14 PM

28. I watched the trial as it occurred 40 miles or so away

I can fully understand the reasonable doubt from the jury. Every one of the state's witnesses was, in the end, supportive if the defense's case. Not so in reverse. No surprise here reasonable doubt was in evidence.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 06:20 PM

29. Self-defense

 

Apparently the jury believed that GZ was in fear for his life, and deadly force was his only choice to save himself.

Who knows what GZ was thinking? No one can know what anyone else is thinking, so reasonable doubt.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 07:13 PM

30. all we have to consider is if Trayvon was White and a Black man had shot him

and all the other evidence was the same what would the jury have done ? anyone really think they would have let a black man go free with that evidence ?

would "armed with the sidewalk" be taken seriously ?

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 09:23 PM

33. Ok...I'll bite

Exactly what do you find "immensely confusing"?

And why have you not looked into the thousands of past DU threads on the topic?

and so I can "understand" something, please tell me your basic demographic info...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #33)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 02:02 PM

43. What do you need my demographic info for?

To stereotype?

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Reply #43)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 04:01 PM

47. I don't need it

I just like knowing who I'm talking to, just so I can properly stage my argument....

And while my unofficial statistics are of course unscientific, 100% of the people I've met who claim to not "understand" this case or don't believe racial profiling exists are white...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #47)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 05:22 PM

51. I'm not white.

Nor was my thread about race to begin with.

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 09:44 PM

34. When a seemingly credible witness states that Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman,

"pounding him MMA style", one can see why the jury could conclude that they could not convict Zimmerman of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

http://www.hlntv.com/article/2013/06/28/questions-still-loom-over-george-zimmerman-trial

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #34)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 10:18 AM

36. Of course that witness wouldn't lie in order to protect a neighbor



And then I should mention the two jurors who admitted to the media that their minds were already made up to acquit before the trial even started...

People believe the narrative they want to believe...Things like truth and fact had nothing to do with Zimmerman's acquittal, but playing to latent prejudices plus a shockingly weak prosecution did...

But this isn't something I'm in the mood to tear the scab off of for the hundredth time, and I suspect the OP is taking a piss with this little hand grenade of a thread, so this will be my only post on the topic...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #36)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 10:35 AM

37. I think very, very few people would risk going to prison for perjury

by lying about something one of their neighbors did.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #37)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 01:18 PM

39. You're saying people have never lied on the stand to protect a friend?

Especially when the only person to counter the official story is dead?

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #39)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 01:45 PM

41. No, but I would think it is very rare,

especially in a case like this one where they were only neighbors as opposed to friends. As a juror, I would not find it credible that this witness would risk a perjury conviction to save Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was dead, but there were other witnesses, and for all he knew when he was giving his eyewitness account to the cops, there may well have been CCTV footage.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #41)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 04:28 PM

48. Sometimes it's just a matter

of a juror believing Zim's freedom was worth more than some dead black teenager nobody cared about and got what was coming to him...

And sometimes it's just a matter of neighbors getting together and making sure they all "saw" the same thing, which was especially easy since the cops didn't get any definitive accounts from neighbors that first night, and it took the fucking cops 3 weeks (and national media pressure) to even pretend to start "investigating" the case, which was plenty of time...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #48)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 04:34 PM

49. Possibly your theory is true.

But a possible theory of guilt is not equivalent to proof of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what was needed for conviction.

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #36)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 10:38 AM

38. So why did the prosecution put him on the stand?

the state never said after his testimony that he had lied to them as to what he saw.

The prosecution was inept.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #38)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 01:20 PM

40. The prosecution was probably on the take

or just protecting their bosom buddies on the police force...

The lives of black folks have always been expendable in this nation's long history...

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Response to PlanetaryOrbit (Original post)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 01:48 PM

42. It was a gun problem & an evidence problem.

The public outrage and presumptions of guilt on the part of Zimmerman came from the underlying circumstances:

Z got out of his car, with a gun, and confronted Martin because he suspected him of some wrongdoing, which many presume was based in some part on Martin's race or his dress. If I recall correctly, it came to light that there had been break-ins in the neighborhood, and Z believed black youths had been seen. He apparently thought he had stumbled on "those people."

So the end result -- Martin's death, was completely avoidable but for Z's assumptions and presumptions, and his notion that he should carry a weapon and go around guarding his neighborhood from anyone he felt didn't belong.

The problem with convicting Zimmerman in front of most any jury in most most any state, was that

1) *Ordinary self defense laws* permit the use of deadly force based on a reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm, AND

2) No one, and no clear forensic evidence, could contradict Z's story that Martin knocked him down and commenced beating him senseless. Z. also told police Martin threatened to kill him.

The way gun laws work, almost everywhere, is that you can get a license and carry one. The way self-defense laws work, almost everywhere, is that if you are, say, pinned down and believe you are about to be subject to severe injury or death, you can respond with deadly force. There is not a lot of law that allows for who "instigated" things or caused the initial problem to begin with. Once someone is in "reasonable fear" of being greatly hurt, they can use deadly force.

"Stand Your Ground" was mentioned in the jury instructions, but was not raised by Z, nor did any of the facts bear on that law. If Z was pinned and unable to flee as he said, the generic self-defense laws in effect anywhere would allow him to defend his life with a gun. "Stand Your Ground" only takes away the obligation to flee if you can safely do so. "I was pinned to the ground" eliminates applicability of that law entirely.

My personal take is that the biggest problem is allowing people to walk around with weapons, with no special responsibility to avoid *putting themselves* in a situation where they might then claim the need for deadly self defense. I think it is entirely possible Martin was beating Z up after Z's creepy stalking behavior. But I don't think he was going to kill him via punches to the face. If there was a legal reason for Z's defense to lose, in my opinion it was in the question of whether he was ever in "reasonable fear" of losing his life or suffering great bodily harm. He was receiving an ass beating, not a murdering.

The other problem with carrying guns is -- assuming again for a moment Z's story was true -- once the gun "appears," someone is likely to get shot. Z claimed Martin saw the gun in the shoulder holster and grabbed for it.

But once it was in view, didn't they both HAVE to grab for it? You can't have a gun sitting there in the middle of a fight and simply let it be. A deadly weapon automatically escalates any physical conflict into life and death.

Of course, because of the lack of evidence, it's possible Z was even worse than he appears, and executed Martin for no reason. But absent that evidence, a jury had no business making such an assumption, no matter how much contempt they may have had for Zimmerman.

For what it's worth, I spoke to several attorneys casually about the case, and they felt the same regarding the inapplicability of SYG and the overall lack of evidence to refute Z's self-defense story.

So here we are. A person can a) carry a gun almost anywhere, and b) shoot anyone they somehow come to "fear," even if they instigated the situation. We couldn't have a better recipe for people who don't like or don't trust certain "types" of other people to end up killing them, in my opinion.

But it wasn't because "Floriduh," and it wasn't because the jury was racist, and it wasn't even the stupid, should-be-repealed Stand Your Ground nonsense. This is the law everywhere. If we don't like it, we ought to do something about it.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #42)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 02:02 PM

44. With UK-style gun control, the night would have likely ended with both parties going to the ER,

getting patched up, and being sent home. Allowing racist wannabe-cops like Zimmerman to go strutting around with guns is a recipe for disaster.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #44)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 02:23 PM

46. I think that as well. Instead we patted

Zimmerman on the head and told him to go on his way. He is a hero to the very worst of gun-as-self-defense afficionados -- those who imagine they can go and *seek out* trouble, secure in the notion that as soon as it doesn't go their way, they can employ their personal "superpower" -- a bullet.

It's exactly the kind of behavior a fearful, insecure person -- like a racist -- would find appealing.

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Response to DirkGently (Reply #42)

Wed Oct 8, 2014, 02:03 PM

45. A factual, well explained response.

Thank you.

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