Chattahoochee Chatter: May we use the restroom?

November 6, 2013 

Let's start this week's Chatter in court …

Often juries deliberating in criminal trials have questions for the court -- inquiries about evidence, individual testimony, verdict forms and intricacies of the Georgia code.

When jurors privately pondering a case in isolation send forth a question, it comes in a note to the presiding judge, who then summons all the attorneys and defendants to the courtroom and reads the question aloud, so that both sides can hear it and offer input into how the judge should answer.

Or at least that's how it usually happens.

On Wednesday attorneys awaiting the verdict in a murder trial were called to court when the jury sent Superior Court Judge William Rumer a question. Sticking to the usual protocol, Rumer called the court back into session, bringing in the prosecutors, defense attorneys and defendants and making sure all were present before he unfolded the note jurors had sent him.

Then he laughed.

The question was: Can the jury take a break and use the restroom?

For once in the sometimes contentious trial, attorneys on both sides agreed: Jurors should be allowed a bathroom break.

Still the formal inquiry got a formal response: Rumer sent back a written answer to say yes, jurors could put their deliberations on hold while they relieved themselves.


There were amazing sights and sounds, from cute to horrifying, in Sears Woods during trick-or-treating on Halloween.

At first glance, the dude on the well-kept front yard in the giant teddy bear costume seemed like he would welcome the youngsters to his home in a wholesome way.

But then he whipped out a chainsaw and revved it long enough to scare the bejabbers out of them.

And to ensure he freaked out more folks, he hopped in the bed of a pickup truck and terrorized the rest of the neighborhood.

He probably was the weirdo who handed out orange Tootsie Rolls.


Who says there's no free lunch? Or dinner, appetizer or drink for that matter?

That is, if you're someone who has served our nation honorably in the military.

Veterans Day is coming up Monday and, as usual, there are a number of restaurants offering freebies to those now in uniform or who have done so at some point in their lives.

This will be the sixth year that Texas Roadhouse in Columbus, 2970 Northlake Parkway, has offered free lunch to those connected to the armed forc

es. They will be able to choose from 10 entrees and a non-alcoholic beverage from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proof of military service is required and it is not open to family members of the veterans or soldiers.

But Texas Roadhouse is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg lettuce, so to speak. lists a variety of eateries offering free food or drinks to the military community. It includes some outlets in the Columbus area, but it's wise to check with the specific restaurant to make sure they are participating.

The list includes Applebee's, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Chili's Grill & Bar, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Golden Corral, Hooters, Krispy Kreme, Little Caesars, LongHorn Steakhouse, O'Charley's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Red Robin and TGI Friday's.

With that said, enjoy your meal or appetizer or doughnut, veterans.

You've earned it. And thanks.


More than two dozen members of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning have volunteered to man entry points at the 16th Annual Pig Fest in downtown Richland, Ga., this weekend.

The event is expected to attract hundreds to the rural town on Friday and Saturday. Members of the 3rd Brigade are working with organizers as part of their partnership with the community, said brigade spokesman Maj. Ellis Gales Jr.

Col. Charlie Costanza, commander of the brigade, and other soldiers will team up with fest judges for the barbecue contest.

The event and parking are free.


Thousands are organizing for the 23rd annual School of the Americas Watch protest outside the gates of Fort Benning, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"We've got a pretty good report," said Hendrik Voss, a spokesman for SOA Watch.

Edward DuBose, former president of the Georgia State Conference for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is listed among the speakers for the Nov. 22-24 event on Benning Road near the entrance of the post.

Since 1990, SOA Watch has gathered to protest the former School of the Americas and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation under its new name since 2001.

The protesters gather to call for the closing of the institute.

SOA Watch has compiled a data base linking some students with a human rights record before attending the school at Fort Benning.

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