SEPARATING LAW AND LEGEND IN THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT

zimmermantrayon-martin-picture1Below is a slightly expanded version of today’s column in USA Today on the Zimmerman verdict. As I wrote before the case was sent to the jury, I saw no alternative to acquittal even on manslaughter and expected the jury to render a full acquittal. I respect the conflicting views of many on this blog on the case and how it was charged and handled. We will now have to wait to see if the Justice Department will re-try Zimmerman as a civil rights matter. I have serious reservations about such an effort, but that can be for a later discussion. For now, a few observations on the verdict can serve to as a foundation for our own discussion.

SEPARATING LAW AND LEGEND IN THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin was not minutes old when an outcry was heard over racial injustice and demands for yet another prosecution by the Obama Administration. There was even a call for President Barack Obama to address the nation from the Oval Office to promise action to quell projected violence. With the verdict, the George Zimmerman case entered the realm of legal mythology – a tale told by different groups in radically different ways for different meanings. Fax machines were activated with solicitations and soundbites previously programmed for this moment. The legal standards long ago seemed to be lost to the social symbolism of the case.

Criminal cases make for perfect and often dangerous vehicles for social expression. They allow long-standing social and racial issues to be personified in villains and victims. We simplify facts and characters – discarding those facts that do not fit our narrative. We pile meanings on the outcome that soon make the actual murder secondary to the message. George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin became proxies in a long-standing our unresolved national debate over race.

Before the case is lost forever to the artistic license of social commentary, a few legal observations should be considered, even if unpopular, before condemning this jury.

First, many of us from the first day of the indictment criticized State Attorney Angela Corey for overcharging the case as second-degree murder. While Corey publicly proclaimed that she was above public pressure, her prosecution decisions suggested otherwise. Investigators incorporated the family in key interviews. For example, one key witness was first interviewed by an attorney for Martin’s family and then talked to prosecutors in the home of Martin’s mother. The prosecutors were accused of withholding evidence from the defense until shortly before trial — a delay that the defense said denied them the ability to use text messages that portrayed Martin in a more violent image.

However, the widespread protests and anger over the shooting seemed to have its greatest impact on Corey’s decision to charge the case as murder in the second degree. This was clearly a challenging case even for manslaughter and the decision to push second-degree murder (while satisfying to many in the public) was legally and tactically unwise. The facts simply did not support a claim beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman acted with intent and a “depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will.” Had Corey charged manslaughter, the case might have been closer but would have still been a challenge.

Many people were highly critical of the prosecution for putting on what seemed like a case for Zimmerman. The prosecution clearly made its share of mistakes like leading its case with the testimony of Trayvon Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel. Jeantel was a disastrous witness who had to admit to lying previously under oath and produced conflicted testimony. She also stated that just as Zimmerman was accused of calling Martin a derogatory name, Martin called Zimmerman a “cracker.”

The prosecution consistently overplayed its hand in a desperate attempt to overcome its own witnesses, such as handling the damaging testimony from the detective that Martin’s father clearly denied that it was his son calling for help (He later changed his mind after listening to the tape 20 times). Even after being criticized by many experts for overcharging the case, the prosecution proceeded to make a demand at the end of the trial that the jury be able to convict Zimmerman on a different crime: third degree murder based on child abuse. The judge wisely rejected that demand but allowed the jury to consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

However, in the end it was the case and not the prosecution that was demonstrably weak. The fact is that we had no better an idea of what happened that night at the end of this trial than we had at the end of that fateful night. Jurors don’t make social judgments or guesses on verdicts. While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood. That is not unlawful. It was also lawful for Zimmerman to be armed. The question comes down to who started the fight and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

Various witnesses said that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and said that they believed that Zimmerman was the man calling for help. Zimmerman had injuries. Not serious injuries but injuries to his head from the struggle. Does that mean that he was clearly the victim. No. It does create added doubt on the question of the use of lethal force.

There is also no evidence as to who threw the first punch or committed the first physical act in the struggle. A juror could not simply assume Zimmerman was the aggressor. Zimmerman was largely consistent in his accounts and his account was consistent with some witnesses. After 38 prosecution witnesses, there was nothing more than a call for the jury to assume the worst facts against Zimmerman without any objective piece of evidence. That is the opposite of the standard of a presumption of innocence in a criminal trial. There was evidence to support both accounts but that evidence remained in equipoise, leaving the jury with no objective basis to reject one over the other.

Even for manslaughter, the jury had to find that George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin. but was told that “a killing that is excusable or was committed by the use of justifiable deadly force is lawful.” The jury instruction on deadly force states in part: “A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.” That lesser charge still brings the jury back to the question of who started the fight and how the fight unfolded. The prosecutors never had evidence to answer that question in a reasonably definitive way. In the end, the jury had no serious alternative to acquittal. That does not mean that they liked Zimmerman or his actions. It does not even mean that they believed Zimmerman. It means that they could not convict a man based on a presumption of guilt.

Of course, little of this matters in the wake of a high-profile case. The case and its characters long ago took on the qualities of legend. A legend is defined as “a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated.” People will make what they will of the murder trial of George Zimmerman. However, this jury proved that the justice system remains a matter not of legend but law.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors.

203 thoughts on “SEPARATING LAW AND LEGEND IN THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT

  1. Surprised that you would cite the “cracker” comment as equally weighted as the Zimmerman comments. It’s a question of subtlety, accuracy of reading…. which our justice system is not equipped to accommodate and therefore is fatally flawed in its conception, at least in terms of the society it has to serve today. Disappointed to see such a narrow reading…..

  2. While I agree with your point on second degree murder, I have a hard time using your logic in this case. Let us use another example using different hypothetical combatants. A man is angry at his wife, he retreats but falls back, trips over a chair. She gets on top of him and starts beating on him. He then pulls his gun, after having sustained head scrapes and a broken nose, shoots and kills her. Can he reasonably claim fear of death or bodily injury and use self defense? Another case, a bar fist fight in which one guy knocks the other down, gets on top and starts hitting him. Will that case mean the guy on the bottom losing a fight, has the right of self defense and can use deadly force?

    I was quite concerned at the all woman jury since I figured it would be good for the defense. I know that a jury of Texas cowboys would have had a far different take on this. It is bad form to even use a knife in Sat night fights,much less a gun.

  3. Repeating:

    The sponsor of the self defense law successfully used by Zimmerman is Florida State Representative Dennis K. Baxley and the law itself ain’t that old as it made its way through the Florida legislature in 2005.

    (Back in 2005, the National Rifle Association identified about two dozen states as fertile ground for the passage of laws just like this one. Florida was the first state to pass such a law. Today, at least 20 other states have followed suit.)

    “As Florida police chiefs predicted in 2005, the law has been used to justify killings ranging from drug dealers’ turf battles to road rage incidents. Homicides categorized as justifiable have nearly tripled since the law went into effect.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/opinion/floridas-disastrous-self-defense-law.html

  4. @JT Re these bits:
    It was also lawful for Zimmerman to be armed. The question comes down to who started the fight and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

    Various witnesses said that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and said that they believed that Zimmerman was the man calling for help. Zimmerman had injuries. Not serious injuries but injuries to his head from the struggle. ….
    ———-
    I think I understand your approach to this. One that is very lawyerly considering “just the facts”. But it seems to me that you are missing the point while being, doubtless, correct on the various legal arguments. (I certainly don’t have the legal training to debate you at that level.)

    First in direct response to a couple of your points quoted above:
    > I listened for, and never heard anybody note the contradiction of the claimed “bodily harm” done to Zimmerman, having his head pounded against the pavement as was claimed and yet, no real damage to said head? I think it was noted that he cleaned up and didn’t even go to a Doc. Hardly substantiating a head beating on the sidewalk. This seems like a major flaw in the received story. One that on its own gives the lie to the theory of him feeling his life was in danger.

    > You say the question who started the fight is the determinate factor in this case. And since we cannot know this absolutely then there is no basis for a conviction. This seems glib and not substantiated by the given facts. How is it that a man who is armed, all legal as you say, told to stand down, does not, certainly has the power in his hands because of the gun, and knows it, is allowed to provoke the assault if in no other way then just by his refusal to back off and let the police handle any actual problem. And then shoot to kill.

    It does seem to me that this is a case that demonstrates and surfaces a virulent racism in our country. And I assert that it is this fact that has driven this case from the beginning.

    It is simply not serious to imagine a black man in the exact same circumstances but playing the part of Zimmerman would get the same treatment by the police and the subsequent verdict. And if that is true then this is what is important about this verdict and this case.

    As if to underline this point and in direct counterpoint to this Zimmerman case, there is this case about a woman, black of course, denied the “stand your ground” defense and facing 20years… And she didn’t even kill anybody. But, as it is reported ..”the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them”. But it didn’t. Zimmerman’s did. He walks. She walks into prison for essentially the rest of her life. This is not justice.

    Reported here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/19/marissa-alexander-gets-20_n_1530035.html

    I appreciate your (JT) limited legal analysis of the case. I can agree that 2nd degree murder may have been too much. Who knows. But manslaughter seems more relevant than your analysis allows.
    Either way, the case, sure seems to be larger than that small container you have fitted for it.

  5. I also follow a blog by David Simon of HBO “Wire” fame. He has a poignant comment about this case that I think addresses it at the level that the case is actually functioning. Racism and Guns.

    Read the comments as well. It is a substantial commentary driven by someone who knows these corners of our society well.
    http://davidsimon.com/trayvon/

  6. What was described by Zimmerman was not a marque of queens bury rules round of sport fisticuffs, but a violent assault…..it is ironic that those MOST dismissive of Zimmermans right to defense on the grounds that it was ‘just a fight’ are those LEAST experienced in real violence…..you have it backwards on the cowboys…..they’d have thrown this out if the courtroom…..mothers were the best chance of getting a conviction.

    There is a reason that referees stop MMA matches very quickly when they reach the ground and pound stage and one fighter appears to be ineffectively defending himself…..very real risk of serious physical injury…..that risk is heightened by the application of concrete…..should I cite case after case if real works incidents nearly identical that have resulted in death it serious physical injury to damn the arguments of the smugly and ignorantly dismissive?

  7. It is as if there are two realities, one where the facts matter…..the other where the emotional impact if this case and what folks want it to be about matters…..it’s becoming clear to me that these two Americas are increasingly irreconcilable…..I have nothing in common with the side of this case that fixated on absurd interpretations and bizarre analysis that are nothing but politically self serving and fallacious. It’s not a difference if opinion, some if you folks are angry at this verdict because you want your own facts….facts that don’t exist in reality but you feel need to be fabricated to appease sons bizarre sense of fairness.

  8. Is it not germane that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by stalking for no reasonable reason? And is it not germane that Martin was unarmed, while Zimmerman held a loaded gun? Is it not germane that Zimmerman suffered injuries no greater than most of us (guys) did in schoolyard scuffles? And is it not germane that none of this would have happened had Zimmerman simply followed his instructions (don’t approach)?

    There was no ‘great bodily harm’ inflicted on Zimmerman. The confrontation was initiated by Zimmerman when he left his vehicle and began chasing Martin.

    I respect you, professor (we’ve spoken via phone for articles I’ve written), but it seems clear to me that Zimmerman, by leaving his vehicle and giving pursuit absent compelling reason, initiated the confrontation.

    Manslaughter should have been a slam dunk.

  9. Michael, For a different case but similar facts, check out what happened to Craig Washington when a car at night tried to run him down on his own property. He fired at the car, hit it three times, yet he was arrested the next day. Craig is a black former member of Congress and well respected, but they did not credit his claim of self defense. So I find it quite interesting that he was forced to go to trial and be arrested despite being assaulted with a deadly weapon.

  10. @Mac : “It is as if there are two realities, one where the facts matter…..the other where the emotional impact if this case and what folks want it to be about matters…..it’s becoming clear to me that these two Americas are increasingly irreconcilable”
    ————–
    I agree with you. Certainly there are two , at least two, realities. I encourage you to read thru the D.Simon posts I referenced above. It will elucidate some of these realities.

    And then there are your “facts”. Here you seem to assert that the facts of the case are fully in Zimmerman’s favor. Where the only “fact”, according to JT in the original post, is whether Zimmerman or Trayvon initiated the fight, with the implication that if Trayvon did then the shooting was justified. And since we cannot know (because of the weak prosecution!) there is reasonable doubt.

    I say there are more ‘facts’ than this simple one that are relevant. rpwbp does a good job of laying out some of them.

    And then there is the larger issue of the morality of the underlying Stand Your Ground law. To which DSimon speaks eloquently to and which I posted a parallel case that shows the selective justice being applied. (See above). And then there is the meta context of the racism, which I and others are attempting to assert into this conversation. These also are facts. Just not ones addressed by the limited view you and JTurley seem to be advancing.

    It may have been “legal” by some twisted sense of the term, for Zimmerman to kill Trayvon. It was legal to string blacks up like “strange fruit” as well years ago. It was legal to have Jim Crow laws. And while that much has been changed, is it not apparent by this, and so many other recent examples in the news that the underlying racism in this country has not abated?

    That also is a fact.

  11. Well, I think this case needed a closer look and likely a trial.
    The defense did well, and the prosecution did not have a strong case.

    After a legitimate trial, I can see too that Zimmerman should be acquitted.

  12. Mac, Let me list the things which I have had applied to my head in fights. folding chairs,twice, pool cue once, fists, tables, and I found out that my head bleeds like a stuck pig. So I can say that I truly bloodied my oppenents one way or another, mostly with my own blood. I also got big goose eggs,yet I saw NONE on Zimmerman. Yet I never thought I needed to have a gun for self defense. Since I am not very well schooled in fighting, I asked some former Marines who work with me about how many times have YOU ever heard one of the combatants cry out for help. I know I never did, nor did I ever hear my opponents do so since we were more concerned with fighting and defending ourselves than crying for help if we were losing. They said they never heard of that either, so my experience is not unique.

    So I DO have practical experience with violence especially against ME. Unfortunately, I was not just an observer. I can also say that I had gotten hit on the side of my head with a gun in a mugging, but that one doesn’t count since it was not much of a fight on my part. I broke my ribs in that one because I fell on my camera while running after a crook who had stolen my wallet, and his partner was following me and nailed me. I got this from the witnesses and they could not believe that I did not see the partner. I was too focused on the theif.

  13. I would love it if someone who feels that justice was done would address the issue of Zimmerman being, essentially, the aggressor in this matter. @GaryT ?
    He had the gun, and the power that comes with that. And he did not walk away, as he was told to do. He is was explicitly driven by some degree of racial motivations – that much is stipulated in the testimony. You can debate the degree, but not the fact of it. And in this confrontation that he initiated he ends up shooting the kid.

    In any other state that did not have this horrid and brutalizing law “Stand your ground” it would have been no contest. (According to other legal posts I have read.) A man was indeed slaughtered.

    So, in accepting the justice of this verdict you are essentially validating the justice of this law?

    I understand how this verdict was arrived at in Florida. I don’t understand how it is accepted by the rest of the country, and some on this board, as justice.

    Please make that case.

  14. I agree with Professor Turley’s interpretations here. As far as the federal civil rights prosecution goes, I do not believe there is probable cause to support an arrest. That doesn’t unfortunately guarantee this administration would not instigate such a prosecution.

    For one, it is going to be an uphill battle to claim malice on the federal case when a jury has ruled on the state level the defendant was not guilty, and if there is a finding of self defense. Additionally, despite what some might see as objectionable, I don’t feel from the legal community there is a belief the trial was nothing other than fair and legitimate.

    Coupling this with statements, and I have watched two examples of this, the attorney of the family of Trayvon Martin’s stipulated this was not a case of racially motivated attack. Plus, George Zimmerman was not an employee of the state or a law enforcement officer and a civilian is going to have less scrutiny.

    I think it is going to be wrong to make a federal case out of it. The pistol was lawfully possessed, the serial numbers were not removed, Zimmerman was not previously convicted of a violent felony or drug possession so he is not federally banned from possessing a firearm or ammunition. So if the administration is going to go after him just to quell the masses or try to champion themselves in the minds of some members of the public, it would be objectionable to many.

  15. The questions at the root of it all are highly unlegal and unanswerable: would Zimmerman have thought that a white youth was suspicious? And equally: would Martin have reacted in this way to a black neighbourhood watch following him? I think you’ll find that the probable answers are uncomfortable to all, and say a great deal about the problems of race relations in the US.

  16. here’s the problem for me….

    Along with the audio recordings of six calls to Sanford police that George Zimmerman made in the weeks before the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Sanford Police Department has posted reports of 46 911 and nonemergency calls it says Zimmerman made between August 2004 and Martin’s shooting.

    The Daily Beast has compiled a list of the calls from the reports. Verbatim excerpts of the reports appear in quotes. An explanation of Sanford County police codes can be found here.

    General Terms:

    TEL = non-911 police number (answered by 911 dispatcher)

    BM = black male

    LSW = last seen wearing

    46. Feb. 26, 2012 – 7:20 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Repeats prior report

    45. Feb. 26, 2012 (night of Martin shooting) – 7:11 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Black male “late teens lsw dark gray hoodie jeans or sweatpants walking around area” … “subj now running towards back entrance of complex”

    44. Feb. 2, 2012 – 8:29 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: “BM lsw: black leather jacket, black hat, printed PJ pants, he keeps going going to this” location

    43. Jan. 29, 2012 – 5:38 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Children “running and playing in the street”

    Neighborhood Watch Death

    Orange County Jail / Miami Herald / AP Photos

    42. Dec. 10, 2011 – 5:29 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: “At the club house” … “Male subject [arrived on scene] that thought he was employed by” Zimmerman … “Subj is expected to get paid for serving food.” … Zimmerman “said that he didn’t wish him to serve at the [event]” … Zimmerman “hired someone else, subj sounded upset and wants to get paid”

    41. Oct. 1, 2011 – 12:53 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Two black male suspects “20–30 YOA in [white] Chevy poss Impala at the gate of the community.” Zimmerman “does not recognize subjs or veh and is concerned due to recent” burglaries in the area

    40. Sept. 23, 2011 – 11:08 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Neighbor/Suspicious activity
    Report: Zimmerman reports “open garage door” … Describes “neighborhood watch mtg last night with Sgt Herx who [advised] to report anything [suspicious]” … Zimmerman “is part of neighborhood watch” and is concerned because of recent burglaries in the area

    39. Aug. 6, 2011 – 10:20 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Two black males, one wearing a black tank top and black shorts, the second wearing a black t-shirt and jeans … “Subjs are in their teens”

    38. Aug. 3, 2011 – 6:45 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Black male last seen wearing a white tank top and black shorts … Zimmerman “believes subject is involved in recent” burglaries in the neighborhood

    37. May 27, 2011 – 9:18 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Alarm
    Report: Zimmerman “has a self responding alarm that just notified him of” an alarm at this location

    36. April 22, 2011 – 7:09 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Juvenile black male “apprx 7–9” years old, four feet tall “skinny build short blk hair” last seen wearing a blue t-shirt and blue shorts

    35. March 18, 2011 – 9:26 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Animals
    Report: Zimmerman requested an officer meet him regarding a pit bull in his garage

    34. Nov. 26, 2010 – 2:54 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Alarm
    Report: Zimmerman was out of town and a motion alarm he monitors himself went off

    33. Nov. 8, 2010 – 6:54 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Maintenance
    Report: Zimmerman reports “trash in roadwy”

    32. Oct. 2, 2010 – 1:55 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Zimmerman reports “blu jeep grand Cherokee female driver yelling at elderly passengers … windows are tinted” … “the veh was rocking back and forth and he could hear the female yelling”

    31. June 26, 2010 – 11:00 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: “Loud party … approx 50 subjs & blocking the street”

    30. June 12, 2010 – 11:13 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Subject “at the clubhouse & pool areas having a party”

    29. April 28, 2010 – 9:02 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: “White older model four-door Buick or Oldsmobile” obstructing road

    28. Feb. 27, 2010 – 4:46 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: “Residence w/a lot of [suspicious] activity” … “multiple vehs are constantly coming to the” location … “unk subs run out to the vehs and run back inside” … “the subjs are always outside w/the garage open” … “the subjs hang out towards the st all night//ongoing problem”

    27. Jan. 12, 2010 – 10:25 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Neighbor
    Report: Open garage door … Zimmerman says “this is very unlike his neighbor” … “there is a lot of electronics in the resd and posb in the garage”

    26. Jan. 1, 2010 – 4:34 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Zimmerman reports reckless driver in “purplish Ford Ranger single cab”

    25. Nov. 3, 2009 – 5:04 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: White Ford F350 that was “cutting people off”

    24. Nov. 21, 2009 – 2:26 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Unclear

    23. Oct. 23, 2009 – 9:18 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Animals
    Report: “Aggressive white and brown pitbull” sitting outside Zimmerman’s home

    22. Sept. 22, 2009 – 6:00 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: “Yellow speed bike … was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic and doing wheelies”

    21. Sept. 7, 2009 – 9:01 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Maintenance
    Report: “Pot hole in the road” … “it is deep and can cause damage to vehicles”

    20. Aug. 26, 2009  – 8:35 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: “Gold Caprice … male driving with no headlights … speeding”

    19. Aug. 21, 2009 – 6:57 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Conflict
    Report: “Landlord is trying to take [Zimmerman’s] money for rent … and home in foreclosure”

    18. June 16, 2009 – 3:50 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Persons in the pool area playing basketball, “jumpin over the fence going into pool area and trashin the bathroom”

    17. June 10, 2009 – 1:55 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Alarm
    Report: Fire alarm going off

    16. May 4, 2009 – 4:07 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Reports a blue Audi A4

    15. March 12, 2009 – 6:58 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Patrol
    Report: Patrol request between March 13 and March 22

    14. Jan. 5, 2009 – 10:53 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Alarm
    Report: Fire alarm going off

    13. Nov. 25, 2007 – 12:40 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: “Ex roommate is letting people that [Zimmerman] don’t like in the” house

    12. Nov. 25, 2007 – 12:21 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: White male ex-roommate last seen wearing a red Florida State University shirt

    11. Oct. 14, 2007 – 4:10 p.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Possible criminal mischief to the tire of Zimmerman’s black Dodge Durango

    10. June 24, 2007 – 12:48 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: “By the pool”, two Hispanic males and one white male with “slim jim”

    9. Nov. 4, 2006 – 2:37 a.m.
    Type: TEL
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: A call regarding a “late model red” Toyota pickup “driving around the neighborhood and apt complex for the past 5 min”

    8. Sept. 23, 2005 – 7:03 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Zimmerman’s “little sister just call him from above” his address and advises “there was a” suspicious person “at the front door”

    7. Sept. 21, 2005 – 9:00 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Animals
    Report: Reports a stray dog

    6. April 27, 2005 – 12:40 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Neighbor
    Report: Open garage door

    5. March 17, 2005 – 7:21 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Maintenance
    Report: Pothole “that is blocking the road”

    4. Oct. 20, 2004 – 9:13 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Disturbance
    Report: Drunk pedestrian walking in the road

    3. Aug. 20, 2004 – 11:33 p.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Neighbor
    Report: Reports an open garage door

    2. Aug.12, 2004 – 10:03 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Repeats earlier report

    1. Aug. 12, 2004 – 9:59 a.m.
    Type: 911
    Subject: Suspicious activity
    Report: Places a call reporting a male in a green Ford pickup

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    its extremely funny how no one else but killerman called all all the reports of suspicious black men in his area guess he was the only one who saw them.. and please with the suspicious behavior because many of those calls are just about them walking in or near the area.. they say he was worried about a recent rash of break ins. well if i wanted to be a bigoted racist i could surmise. that they wont ever catch the burglars because they are focused on black young men and not white young men who steal also and a gut instinct says that who is doing the robbing. it has to be someone who has inside knowledge of when the people robbed would not be home. and sorry but it isnt, and wasnt trayvon martin. and now to get on a anger rant….. TRAYVON HAD A ICE TEA AND A BAG OF SKITTLES IN HIS HANDS. exactly what about made him suspicious? and everyone keeps talking about how trayvon should have gone right home. BLEEP THAT IF I KNOW SOMEONE IS FOLLOWING ME AND NOT THE REASON WHY.. NO WAY AM I GOING STRAIGHT TO MY HOUSE WHICH WOULD LEAD THEM TO MY FAMILY.

    also when killerman was first arrested the pictures and cops said he had no injuries and we saw none in the pictures or videos of him during that time. yet 4 months later suddenly they began posting pictures of his so called head injuries.; NOT!!!!!!!! how well photo shop worked for him. good thing his father is jewish, a mason and a ex judge.. hip hip hooray@@@@

  17. There is something obscenely wrong with a thought process / law that would limit itself to considering the fight only and completely discount the immediate lead up to it.

    I saw a good one-liner a while ago:

    The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George ZImmermans.

    The opportunity to see justice served was destroyed by an utter buffoon trying to justify an overcharged M2.
    Had the prosecution used a vaguely competent lawyer to persue a manslaughter charge, thing would have been very considerably clearer.
    .

    In the absence of independent evidence of what exactly happened at the moment of the shot, one surely must look back at the circumstances.

    The shot itself appears to have been very deliberate – according to Zimmerman.
    Despite being on the point of passing out due to a frenzied head-pounding, he ‘achieved wrist control’ – drew his gun – ensured his own orm was not in the way – shot Martin cleanly in bodymass center.
    THere is no evidence of him using alternative means to physically escape during a fight that seems to have lasted over a minute and ranged over at least 50 feet. He did not exhibit any defensive bruising. What was he doing with his hands all that time?

    We don’t know for sure how the fight started.
    We do know absolutely for sure that the Martin/W8 call dropped an *absolute minimum* of 17 seconds *after* the fight began.
    Here’s part of something I posted in another place:

    ————————————————————————-

    I can take timestamps from MOM’s timeline.
    When did the call between Martin and W8 drop? 7:15:43
    When was Lauer’s 911call picked up by the dispatcher? 7:16:11
    Ah! That’s when it was picked up. When did it start ringing? The answer is in the Event Report for the call. It was a 911 call, so the metadata for the call is automatically collected. The Event Report shows that the system detected the incoming call at 7:16:00

    Lauer finished dialling 911 at 7:16:00
    This is just 17 seconds after the Martin/W8 call dropped.
    17 seconds
    The fight had to start. The noises had to be come noticeable. Lauer muted her TV. She listened. She decided that a 911 was appropriate. It seems there was a problem with phones. It might have been 20 to 30 seconds after she decided to dial 911 before she dialled.
    What this very obviously means is that the fight had been in progress for some significant time before the Martin/W8 call dropped. This sounds like W8’s version of what she heard.
    Alternatively…. Martin attacked Zimmerman while still holding his phone in one hand. Seriously? He went and took on some guy whose fighting abilities were a complete unknown while holding a phone?
    The phone was found on the grass some 50 feet South of the T-junction. Did Martin carry the phone all the way there while assaulting Zimmerman one-handed? Or..did the phone show any signs of being used as a weapon?

    ————————————————————————-
    .

    Working backwards from the fight…….
    What Zimmerman did in following/same_direction into the dark someone he describes as a very threatening person was reckless in the extreme.
    Very early in his Extra Vehicular Activity, his own words in the NEN prove that he was aware of the danger.
    .

    Again from another of my posts, where I was responding to MOM’s 4-minute pantomime……
    ————————————————————————-

    What could *Zimmerman* have been doing during those 4 minutes? It’s a long time.
    He wasn’t heading for his truck for all that time.
    He started the 4 minutes by heading away from his safe truck and straight at a dark corner around which a person had sort of skipped – a suspicious person who might be on drugs or something and had just circled his truck with confrontational body language, hand in his waistband and something in his hand.

    Let’s ignore for the moment that heading blind at that dark corner might have been a reckless thing to do. Not illegal – but just plain crazy and reckless. He had no guarantee that the person would not be just around that corner in the dark. He also knew that the person was not alone not running, but was also not in fear.
    Wut? Martin NOT running? And not in fear? Yup! That’s what Zimmerman asserted and confirmed under query on the Hannity show.
    .

    Dispatchers are not allowed by policy to tell people what to do. This is because they could be held legally responsible for the outcome. The dispatcher hears (wind)noises and asks “Are you following him? – Yeah – We don’t need you to do that.” He can’t instruct Zimmerman not to follow. All he can do is suggest some really sound advice.
    It is not clear if the advice would have been put in stronger terms if Zimmerman had told him that Martin had just circled the truck with confrontational body language.
    As an aside, Zimmerman in his written statement later that night wrote: “The dispatcher told me not to follow him.” Told me.

    But maybe Zimmerman did not have the common sense to realise the potential danger of what he is walking into.
    He soon does realise this.
    A few seconds later, we hear him in the NEN confirming that he has become aware that the ‘suspicious person who might be on drugs or something and had just circled his truck with confrontational body language, hand in his waistband and something in his hand’ could actually be so close to him in the dark as to overhear his conversation.
    The dispatcher asks for Zimmerman’s home address, as Zimmerman was unable to supply any other address than the clubhouse. Zimmerman speaks out his address and then immediately says “Oh crap. I don’t want to give it all out, I don’t know where this kid is.”
    He voices that realisation of potentially being in very real danger of attack just 1 minute 11 seconds after Martin’s 4 minutes began.

    Zimmerman has nearly 3 minutes after which he clearly says in the NEN that he is aware that the ‘suspicious person who might be on drugs or something and had just circled his truck with confrontational body language, hand in his waistband and something in his hand’ could be right beside him.
    When he was safe in his truck, he wound up the window on Martin’s approach. Presumably his doors were locked.
    Now he’s out in the open in the dark. Apparently he’s not a fighter. He has no idea that he is carrying a gun. He has completely forgotten about it. He won’t even remember about the gun until he is reminded about it by Martin’s hand heading South.
    What would any *reasonable and prudent* person do under such circumstances? They would immediately head for safety.
    What did Zimmerman do?
    He started his 3 minutes of clearly being aware of a danger.
    What happened in Martin’s 4 minutes and Zimmerman’s 3 minutes? (Actually, Zimmerman actually had the same 4 minutes that Martin had.)
    Note: On Hannity, Zimmerman’s minutes are reduced to “Less than 30 seconds” – which seconds apparently begin on “We don’t need you to do that.” Why…..is he so fixated on denying the following and the length of time that he spent inside that dark area?

    ————————————————————————-
    .

    Working backwards again to the events at the truck in Twin Trees..
    Any reassonable person would see that Zimmerman is lying about significant matters.
    In particular his tightrope walk on Hannity – attempting the impossible of promoting Martin as dangerous and threatening while simultaneoously downplaying any suggestion that he should have exercised caution – shows his dishonesty

    ————————————————————————-
    “Let me know if he does anything” – twice
    As I wrote in a previous thread, it was effectively asked only once. It’s twice in the transcript, but if you actually listen to the NEN, it’s just one occasion. Zimmerman describes Martin coming to check him out. He adds more detail to his description of Martin. He begins to sound concerned. Hand in his waistband – something in his hand – don’t know what his deal is.
    The dispatcher does what he is trained to do. He coaches the caller, trying to keep them calm and focussed on describing whatever the situation is. What they (or the best of them ) do is coach callers into being observers.
    Listen to the 911 call made by the W#18. The dispatcher in that call is absolutely superb. The caller is desperately upset and frightened. The dispatcher puts a lot of effort into calming her and coaches her into giving a good report of what she can see out of her window. He stays with her, trying to ensure that she will get comfort from neighbors or friends.

    Zimmerman sounds concerned by Martin’s approach. “Let me know if he does anything” is as much to soothe Zimmerman as to ask the literal question.
    What happens then?
    Zimmerman ignores the question. He actually interrupts the end of the question to ask about getting an officer over here. The dispatcher needs to soothe/coach again and repeats the question (that Zimmerman had ignored and interrupted).

    In the courtroom, MOM represents the question as two entirely separate questions. Then he goes on a short tour with his glass of waster, pours some and returns.
    This was not a straightforward parallel to what he was purporting to illustrate.
    What did he not do?
    He didn’t circle the jury with his hand in his waistband and with confrontational body language. If he had done, I am sure that everyone watching would have noticed. They might even have commented on it. Twitter-Storm! BDLR would probably have leapt to his feet – possibly defending the jury by striking MOM with the dummy.

    Listen to the NEN, the dispatcher gets the second attempt at coaching in. He wants Zimmerman to report if the guy does anything. Last he heard, the guy was coming at Zimmerman with something in his hand, etc.
    Can you hear Zimmerman saying anything like “He’s freaking circling my freaking truck”? Nope!
    Instead, the conversation turns to people always getting away and to the location of the truck. We must assume that Martin was then walking away. The dispatcher must have assumed that too. Crisis over.
    Maybe Zimmerman thought the circling was no big deal, and not worth reporting – even if he had been asked to report anything the guy did. He did mention it later in his written statement and in the walk-through.
    Maybe Zimmerman was so upset/ terrified/confused by the circling at the time that he couldn’t get the words out? No. On the Hannity show, he says that he was not particularly alarmed by Martin’s actions. But then, on Hannity, he doesn’t mention circling.
    Could it be that the circling never actually happened? Zimmerman was asked to report if the guy did anything. He was asked twice – if you really insist that it was twice.

    ————————————————————————-
    .

    If it is true that the law can only consider the moment of the fight, that’s frightening.

    The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George ZImmermans.

  18. Adding another bit…..

    The 2.5 minute gap (Nen to 911 pickup)

    Zimmerman says in the walk-through that he headed back for the truck immediately after the NEN.
    This is impossible in the timeline. He was never questioned about the time gap because Singleton got the wrong time for the start of the NEN call from the Sheriff’s Office. The time she got shortened the gap in her timeline by 1 minute 38 seconds. Effectively, as far as she and Serino were concerned *at the time*, there was no gap that was significant to require explanation.
    We don’t have any testimony from Zimmerman that attempts to explain the gap.
    MOM acknowledged the gap and offered a theory that Zimmerman might have been looking around during the ‘missing’ time. Looking for what? Where? It’s dark, cold and rainy. He’s already been out of the truck for minutes. What’s to look for?

  19. I should add that the “danger” that Zimmerman should have realised and apparently did realise at “Oh crap. I don’t want to give that all out” what simply what he says was his perception of Martin.
    It does not mean that he was actually in that danger. He simply beleived that there was a danger.
    He made no move to get away from that perceived danger in that dark deserted place.

    Rather the indications are that he went in search of that “danger”.

    Did he actually think he was in danger?
    What followed “”Oh crap. I don’t want to give that all out”?

    “I don’t know where this kid is”.
    Did he think that he was searching out someone he could detain?

  20. This is not the first time that i have seen the law subvert justice.

    Our society will be poorer for it, once again, as those who once put their trust in the ‘system’ will now look elsewhere . Groundswells like the ones that form almost immediately surrounding events like this are occurring more and more rapidly around the occurrance…soon they will break like a wave and the ‘law’ will be cut out of the equation altogether. What has been accomplished? No one has disproved that Trayvon Martin was stalked, accosted and (even giving GZ the benefit of the doubt…) may have in that unwitnessed moment, objected to being stalked, and accosted for being black, wearing a hoodie, having the unmitigated gall to go to the corner market without a cadre of witnesses to buy skittles and a drink. In the phucking rain.

  21. this trial worked out exactly as the Constitution provides. not a surprise to lawyers. sure zimmerman is a *ick, but they are on show for every ethnicity. bad behavior is not always punished.

  22. If it were a white teenager being stalked and killed by an African-American it would be hard to imagine there would be the same result in Florida. Having said that, maybe educating the public to this reality would be the best deterrent to avoid similar bias in the future.

    Zimmerman was not on his property and Martin did not trespass on his property so Stand Your Ground could apply to Martin but not Zimmerman. Martin also had a relative that resided in the gated community.

    The prosecutor also over-charged and the jury selection was questionable which should be thoroughly scrutinized.

  23. According to Zimmerman’s justification: If Zimmerman had a free hand to grab his gun why didn’t he use that free hand against Martin’s hands? Also Zimmerman could have shot a warning shot first to see if Martin would be scared by his gun? That would seem to fit someone trying to avoid a fatality.

  24. Perhaps there was overcharging in this case but I am not sure about that. When an armed man who is told by the police not follow an unarmed man follows that unarmed man, on foot. There seems to be ill will and malicious intent. No one can read ZIMMERMANN’s mind but no one needs to, his intent can be inferred from his actions. I must respectfully disagree with the Professor on the outcome in this case. Many people said that he would be acquitted not because the law was on his side but because of the race of the victim. I would prefer not to think that that but it is hard not to do so. The prosecution seemed flat footed and confused. It did not appear to bring its A game. The defense was dismissive and at times offensive. In the end the lawyers looked bad and the law that allowed Zimmermann to kill an unarmed man he followed with a loaded gun looks bad.

    We are all now at risk from the Zimmermans of this world who beleive they rule the night because they have a gun and they are so angry and “afraid”. Floridians stay in doors.

  25. Mark O’Mara: If George Zimmerman Were Black ‘He Never Would’ve Been Charged With A Crime’
    The Huffington Post
    By Danielle Cadet
    Posted: 07/14/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/mark-omara-george-zimmerman-black_n_3593337.html

    Excerpt:
    In the hours after the George Zimmerman trial verdict was released, both the defense and prosecuting attorneys answered questions about the trial and their reactions to the jury’s decision.

    The case consumed the country’s attention for more than a year, sparking heated racial debate. While some criticized Zimmerman for racially profiling 17-year-old Martin, others said the teen was, in fact, the aggressor.

    Although counsel was advised to leave race out of the discussion during trial, during the post-trial press conference, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, remarked that if his client were black, “he never would’ve been charged with a crime.”

  26. “….during the post-trial press conference, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, remarked that if his client were black, “he never would’ve been charged with a crime.”
    —————————————-

    What a grossly stupid, grossly dismissive, grossly bizarre statement. To ‘suppose’ that the color of he shooters skin in this instance would change the public perception of transpired events does exacerbate and inflame the entire question of race and racial profiling in the overstepping of law enforcement. Why not just hand out guns with that moronic statement?

  27. The only thing that’s clear to me today is that, in Florida and in other “stand your ground” states, it’s open season for bigots and racists, as long as they don’t leave any living witnesses.Historically, it’s been the killer’s state of mind that distinguishes between various degrees of murder and manslaughter. In this case, Trayvon Martin was presumed guilty by many in the right-wing echo chamber, because he conveniently wasn’t available to defend himself.

    George Zimmerman will have to live with himself for the rest of his life. Maybe he will reach some epiphany. I doubt it. And there will be many more Trayvon Martins, in Florida and elsewhere.

  28. http://gawker.com/the-zimmerman-jury-told-young-black-men-what-we-already-770650992 To stay alive and out of jail, brown and black kids learn to cope. They learn to say, “Sorry, sir,” for having sandwiches in the wrong parking lot. They learn, as LeVar Burton has, to remove their hats and sunglasses and put their hands up when police pull them over. They learn to tolerate the indignity of strange, drunken men approaching them and calling them and their loved ones a bunch of niggers. They learn that even if you’re willing to punch a harasser and face the consequences, there’s always a chance a police officer will come to arrest you, put you face down on the ground, and then shoot you execution style. Maybe the cop who shoots you will only get two years in jail, because it was all a big misunderstanding. You see, he meant to be shooting you in the back with his taser.

    Trayvon Martin is dead—and so many young men like him are dead or in prison—because in America it was his responsibility to take it. It was his responsibility to let a stranger with a gun follow him at night in his own neighborhood and suspect him of wrongdoing. It was his responsibility to apologize for being a black kid who scared people. It was not George Zimmerman’s responsibility to let a boy get home to his family.

  29. Michael Beaton – “Stand Your Ground” was irrelevant in this case, and this statute was not even cited by the defense. Why do you refer to it in multiple posts? This was a straightforward self-defense case, in which SYG played no role. Seems to me, you have an axe to grind. Like it or not, we all have the right of self-defense (except against brutal cops, evidently.) Personally, I thought the 2nd degree murder charge was overreach on the part of the State, but that the lesser manslaughter charge might have resulted in a conviction. I am not sympathetic to wanna-be cops nor am I sympathetic to those who jump them from behind. Also, unlike many of those who post on this forum, I have no legal training, just a citizen’s interest in the law.

  30. Distortions abound: a rational legal track is throwing pearls to swine and still brings out the worst in the mob rule / racially charged*** intuitive prejudices that want vengeance and venting more than truthful conviction or real truthful disclosure of transgressions all around.
    ***(racially charged despite the awkward fact that Zimmerman is not entirely white, and probably has experienced racism himself…).

    Truly another version of public and media mania and one can not say that this is not in the same boat as the OJ trial when it comes to blind popular consensus and public manipulation…white or black it has been a travesty of social conduct more than a test of our legal system.

    In the prison system the criminals all speak of injustice to themselves; and in the racial divide there has been more than too much of that banter from prejudiced people that could not have possibly known what truly went down. One has to wonder if they are being intellectually honest with themselves, or just opportunists looking to vent their own dispositions?

  31. Professor Turley pointed out:

    With the verdict, the George Zimmerman case entered the realm of legal mythology – a tale told by different groups in radically different ways for different meanings.

    (emphasis added). Legal fiction is a healthy, ongoing enterprise in its own rite.

    But the main legal myth going on is that the petite criminal jury, the grand jury, and the petite civil jury were all conceived of as a way of bringing Western Civilization’s best form of moral justice to the fore.

    Not so at all.

    Actually, it was designed to keep rogue government in its cage:

    A legal historian once said in the late 19th century:

    It is remarkable that no History of Trial by Jury has ever yet appeared in this country.

    (History of Trial by Jury). The US Constitution, our supreme law, provides us with three distinct juries.

    One such jury is the criminal grand jury (5th Amendment), another is the criminal petite jury (6th Amendment), and the third is the civil petite jury (7th Amendment).

    Without an adequate understanding of the experiences of our forefathers and foremothers who founded this country, we won’t understand why all free people must have a robust trial-by-jury system.

    (Why Trial By Jury?). The main reason is public protection from the corrupting influences of power on those who govern the public:

    That wisdom of the ages simply means that we know governmental power contains toxins within it, and those toxins must not be allowed to run amok and infect the people with oppression. The election cycle is a process of purging those who have been overcome with those toxins while in office.

    But it was the desire to have day-to-day immunity from the effect of those toxins of power (based on their day-to-day experiences under tyrannical systems operated by tyrants) that led them to design a day-to-day immunity beyond the less frequent and not so day-to-day election cure. After all, federal and state-wide elections are not so day-to-day.

    One of the fundamental oppressions tyrants used was the day-to-day event of false charges for crimes. An innocent person was charged because of dissent from the view of the tyrant, not because the accused had really committed a crime. Therefore, a day-to-day cure was wisely developed. Since justice is the absence of the use of tyranny, our American ancestors gave us the gift of the jury system which has the effect of a day-to-day remedy.

    The grand jury was designed to prevent or resist government oppression by nipping it in the bud. A grand jury of ‘a lot of folk’ (more members than a petite jury) must be convinced that there is some reasonable degree of probability that a felony crime may have been committed before an American can even be charged. Not convicted, charged.

    Once the grand jury returns an indictment, still another petite jury must be convinced unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual who was charged is in fact to be held accountable for those charges. And the person charged need not say a single word. The prosecutor carries the entire burden to prove it. Is that fair? No. But it is safe.

    (ibid). Some of the amendments apply only to the federal government, others apply to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment.

    But the gist of it is that the purpose of the American jury system is to protect the public from tyranny in government.

    The final decision is up to the jury.

    That has been done in State v. Zimmerman.

    But even if you think that ultimate justice was or was not forged from the trial, remember that the notion of a jury system has another main purpose — an ultimately important purpose for a free society.

    Even when a jury make mistakes in a particular case that is in no way an argument to extinguish the jury system itself.

  32. @ Mac: Very realistic points that should also include fear, confusion and the fact that Zimmerman had no way of knowing the full extent of his dangers.
    Also, it does not make sense that an armed man with intent to use his weapon would allow himself to be taken down in the first place.

    @Robin H.
    i am not sure that Zimmerman’s use of 911 was as frivolous as you want to make it out to be, or implications really exist in the descriptions he made to police since this was a gated community and these calls were precisely what he was supposed to do.

    He called 911 so many times but no one was ever shot in all of those calls.

  33. The best person to speak on CNN last night was Zimmerman’s brother on the Piers Morgan segment. This guy is very articulate and he took the sanctimonious No Guns Piers down some notches.

    It is bantered about that the Justice Department is being pressured to prosecute Zimmerman for some civil rights violation. If the Obama administration does this then I will vote RepubliCon in the next Presidential election unless the next Democrat denounces the prosecution.

    I thought there would be an acquittal yesterday and was surprised that it took so long.

    The Race Factor in this case was promoted by CNN and the other networks. They have the pro Trayvon the Skiddles victim and black like me side and then on another angle a fair trial side. There was not an NRA side or a protect your neighborhood from thugs side. The fair trial side was fairly good. That Sonny chic was a bit much. That guy that has never tried a jury case or a criminal case in his life named Jeffrey Toobin was a joke. Piers Morgan is a joke and needs to go back to Liverpool. Don Lemon was good last night.

    My lesson from this is that Stand Your Ground laws have to be articulated in stronger fashion. Gated communities should be truly gated. The residents of that particular community should be truly grateful to Z. The medical examiner Bao needs to get a real job. The people of Sanford need to rehire their police chief. The CNN people need to show the world the news and not spend fourteen days showing a show trial. O’mara and West should have strenuously voiced objection to the show trial being televised and O’mara was a schmuck to put his client on Hannity. The judge did a fairly good job on the Instructions. The jury did justice despite the Show Time Trial pressures. The NAACP wont get a nickel out of me after they have called for a Justice Department prosecution. Trayvon’s parents ought to own up to the fact that they born and bred a punk.

  34. DogBiscuitGuy here: Where is my Post? WordPress? Censors for political expression now on this blog?

  35. HumpinDog here: Where is My post or comment? That last one was DogBiscuitGuy’s questions as to where His comment went on WordPress censorship.

  36. The Z trial is a travesty of justice. The State of Florida puts this Stand Your Ground Law on the books and then turns around and prosecutes this guy for doing so. Well, he stood his head on the ground, he was not “standing”. So, by law he could have shot the punk before getting knocked down on his back with his head being pounded into the curb. The City of Sanford needs to rehire the Chief that they fired. If you live in Florida, forget “gated community”. Move back north to Newark or where ever you fled. At least you might have some cops to protect the neighborhood– from the hoods.

  37. Dredd: “(Why Trial By Jury?). The main reason is public protection from the corrupting influences of power on those who govern the public:”

    My Off topic reaction:
    Why am I thinking about the secret FISA court right now?

  38. The dogpac wants to know where the comments are that DogBiscuitGuy (a true human) and HumpinDog tried to post. Censorship of our comments has no place on a so called ConLaw Blog. Justice? The thing speaks for itself. Did you not like the word “Punk”? Turley: answer these complaints.

  39. Dogpac:

    you cant have more than 2 links and the following words are not allowed:

    b*tch
    fuk
    a$$hole
    c&nt
    sh*t

    or variations on those themes.

    B*tch seems problematic because that is being a specieist. Seeing as how in dogdom it is commonly known as a female dog or is that just humandom?

    And why is b*tch a bad name? Every female dog I have ever had was a real sweetheart. Seems to me that ought to be a compliment.

  40. In weighing the opinions here, two things jump out: stand your ground was not at issue in this case and the police did not order Mr. Zimmerman not to follow Mr. Martin.
    I don’t see how anyone could believe Mr. Zimmerman was legally guilty based on the evidence and Florida’s self-defense law. My our opinion is that he was factually not guilty as well.

  41. hey michael you are right. I dont know what Mr Turley was thinking about when he quoted a racist comment from Martin. We all know blacks cannot be racist and it takes 40 black racist slurs to even equal one single slur that a white person says.

    so sick and tired of the black apologists. Yeah blacks got a raw deal for a long time. But the excuse train rolled out a few decades ago. Ive lived in mostly black areas and i can tell you for a fact ive heard way more racists slurs directed at white people than the white people make about the blacks. You dont see it because you probably live in some lily white area protected in some white community where you can imagine the social injustices that no longer really exist while ignoring how the whites are now the ones being discriminated against.

    its 2013. NO MORE EXCUSES.

  42. There are laws against “assault by intimidation” that do not require contact. There are laws against stalking that do not require contact.

    I regard being followed, at night, and hunted for by a stranger as an act of aggression or intimidation in and of itself; equivalent to “stalking” in the literal sense. I disagree with this verdict, it is clear to me who “started” the fight before a punch was ever thrown.

  43. hey swartmore, we need stand your ground everywhere. Then maybe the crime rate will go down.

    oh an this

    for every 1 white person who violent attacks a black person

    40 blacks commit a violent crime against a white person

    thats from the DOJ

  44. and did i mention they are only 13% of the population? They are responsible for what? 75% of all crime?

    everyone spends so much time blaming everyone and everything for the black communitys problems instead of the biggest reason of all, the black community itself.

  45. The fact is that we had no better an idea of what happened that night at the end of this trial than we had at the end of that fateful night

    Yes we do. A racist stalked and murdered and unarmed child.

  46. hey riccardo if GZ racially profiled it might be because Martin fit the profile of the overwhelming majority of criminals

  47. Bruce,

    “the fact that Zimmerman had no way of knowing the full extent of his dangers.”

    1) He had (should have had) the common sense that any reasonable and prudent person would have. Plus…
    2) He had been warned of the dangers by formal NW sessions
    3) “We don’t need you to do that.” This advice was given to him by the dispatcher even though Zimmerman had not mentioned to him the Martin had circled the truck. In fairness this failure to mention such an extremely arming event was probably due to the event not actually haven happened.
    4) “Oh crap. I don’t want to give that all out. I don’t know where this kid is.”
    “This kid” – that he is explicitly aware could be only feet from him in the dark has apparently the following characteristics:
    ‘suspicious person who might be on drugs or something and had just circled his truck with confrontational body language, hand in his waistband and something in his hand’
    .

    It does not make sense that an armed man with intent to use his weapon would allow himself to be taken down in the first place.

    The point about the manslaughter charge (which is the only charge that should have been brought in the absence of eyewitness to the shooting) is that he did not set out to shoot Martin.

    Look at it from Martin’s point of view:
    1) He was entering the gated community by the route that even Frank Taffe says is the normal pedestrian route that everyone uses.
    2) Some guy in a truck stops and takes an interest in him
    3) He continues homewards and there’s that guy in the truck again looking at him.
    4)The truck and guy have followed him into Twin Trees
    5) He has to pass the truck to get home
    6) As he nears the truck, the guy winds up the window
    7) As he passes the truck, the guy is staring at him looking crazy.
    THis is because if you listen to the NEN, Zimmerman is freaking out at that stage. He has ignored the dispatchers request to tell him what ‘the suspect’ is doing. He is urgently asking the dispatcher about “When can you get an officer over here?”
    8) He heads up the footpath and turns right down the central pathwat at the T-junction. He feels safer now becaus e the truck can’t follow him and at this stage in that cerntral footpath area, he is “right by” his father’s house.
    9) He slows to concentrate on the phone conversation with the girl. SHe tells him to run. He says he’s not going to run.
    10) The crazy guy appears on foot.
    11) The only sensible thing for Martin to do is to stop moving.
    12) The guy gets closer. RIght up to him.
    13) Martin asks him “What you following me for?”
    14) The guy does not explain. He says something like “What you doing around here” and he goes for his waistband.
    WHOA!! “Hand in his waistband”?? Even Zimmerman knows that means a weapon. Holy sh*t! This situation calls for Self Defence!
    .

    “He called 911 so many times but no one was ever shot in all of those calls.”

    That’s because “they always get away”. They had always been at a distance and had run away between the houses. This one walked right up to him and eyeballed him. Alternatively Martin walked past him in order to innocently make his way home. The truck was in his path. To Zimmerman, it seemed that the punk was doing something outrageous that no punk had ever, ever done before.
    .

    People bang on about Race-ism.
    There are a lot more ‘-ism’s going on around this case.
    One of those is Opportun-ism – on both ‘sides’ of the question.
    Another is Authoritarian-ism ….. which is where a lot of the ” ‘He’s the NW captain. Watching over his community. Concealed Carry is Righteous ” prejudice is coming from.

  48. blah blah blah sling. Heres a tip. People are getting fed up with criminals roaming around unchecked. When they do get arrested they are out on parole or bond quickly anyways even if they have a long rap sheet.

    As Dan Linehan, a blogger at Wagist.com, pointed out, correspondence with Martin on Twitter before he died alludes to an incident with a bus driver. “Yu ain’t tell me you swung on a bus driver,” Martin’s cousin wrote to him on Feb. 21.

  49. The prosecution was incompetent. They never used the testimony by defendant that his pistol was holstered behind his right side, making it impossible for him to access it while he was on his back. Thus, he had to have drawn it while stalking the deceased before the fight. They never painted this picture for the jury. They also didn’t play up enough about the wannabe cop aspect or the classes the accused took.I feel the verdict would have been different. There’s a possibility that a civil rights case loom in the future. Perhaps better prosecution will prevail.

  50. SwM,

    The self-defense aspect used by Zimmerman’s lawyers was made possible only recently:

    In recent times, “stand your ground” laws extended this concept in many states beyond the home to any place where a person might lawfully be found, such as a bar or a public sidewalk. Florida’s version enacted in 2005 (over the objection of many in law enforcement) is one of the most far reaching.

    The law states that a person “who is attacked” anywhere he is lawfully present has “no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm.”

    Importantly, a person cannot invoke this provision if he is “engaged in unlawful activity” or “initially provokes the use of force against himself.” Finally, in Florida, once self-defense becomes an issue at trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense — a heavy burden.

    It’s a bad law brought to you by the fine folks at the NRA who at the behest of gun manufactures want to make sure one can use their product without fear of prosecution. To that end Trayvon Martin was nothing more than a marketing tool.

    Want to protect yourself from the perennial losers like George Zimmerman? We have just what you need … now what caliber do you want?

  51. If we hold our jury system in such high esteem, why do we not extend the same judgement (and trust in our citizenry) towards the grand jury system? If Florida had given this case over to a grand jury (one of which was already empaneled and ready to go), many legal issues may have been more appropriately handled, and the unfounded characterization of Zimmerman as a racist may have been short-circuited at the outset. When weeks later, after the case had drawn national attention and become politicized, special prosecutor Corey was appointed by Gov Scott and decided on her own to bypass the grand jury and file charges herself. That alone should be cause for concern. In Florida, only a charge of 1st degree murder is required to include a grand jury indictment. If a grand jury had participated at the outset, the issues of probable cause, arrest, and the level of charges would have been taken out of the hands of politically pressured officials.

    This legal right is guaranteed to us at the federal level by the 5th Amendment. While not necessarily advocating the incorporation process, I will note that this is one of the few rights in the Bill of Rights that has not been extended to the states. Florida and other states that have not followed this grand jury model should consider making changes in light of this case.

  52. I wonder if during the physical fight, ..what if Zimmerman had got a great punch in and knocked Trayvon out? The cops show up and cowboy George is standing over Trayvon, who has yet to come around. George starts telling his story, … Trayvon comes to and says he was walking to his fathers house. What happens?
    This tragedy started because Trayvon was walking while black. …. and or walking while a teenager in a hoodie and black. Zimmerman with no authority, appointed himself “sheriff” then armed with a gun followed Trayvon/ after reporting to the police/ after the words/ “we don’t need you to do that sir”
    What Trayvon could not tell the jury, what I think is true. Trayvon felt he was being stalked, he was being hunted. …. Should he go to his fathers house? bring this predator to his fathers doorstep?.
    GZ instigated this whole thing. He is guilty of Stupid in the 1st degree, Vigilantism in the 1st degree, and in my opinion involuntary manslaughter. GZ actions brought about Trayvons death.
    The Prosecution spoke, the Defense spoke, the Jury spoke.

    I repeat, what if Zimmerman got a great punch in and knocked Trayvon out?
    I think GZ would have been charged with assault. ….. maybe???
    How would the court handle this hypothetical; He said, He said, scenario.

  53. hey david, if blacks do not want to be profiled then i suggest they clean up their community and put an end to the criminal element. There are more blacks in jail than there are in college. Spare me the excuses. Nobody is forcing them to be criminals.

    You act like they are segregated by whites when the truth is they segregate themselves. People like you are not helping them, YOU ARE HINDERING THEM.

  54. The only “self-defense” in this case was Martin’s evidently successful (temporarily) rebuff of Zimmerman after he was profiled, stalked and confronted. But minding your own business is no defense to “walking while Black” in a nation that worships bullies.

    The stipulated facts in this case make Zimmerman’s use of deadly force an outrage to decency. The rule of law has failed us.

  55. @SlingTrebuchet: I respect what you present. Nevertheless it remains only
    Sensible speculation for a sympathetic TV version (which is sure to come out in some popular perspective). Unfortunately it is mostly a fictive version based upon what if rather than authentic facts as they are known. Another person might well project a scenario that makes Zimmerman look like he actually had no choice at all. There are so many atrocities appearing across the country that would have been better examples of abuse that would stand on fact, and some of them have presented on this blog site. The case here was distorted from the start. Showing baby pictures is not a legitimate indication of what happened on that night from one side or the other. It was sensationalized from the start.

    If any question is raised by this case study it is that ‘stand your ground’ should go before Congress on a National Level of inquiry. Lethal force is abused daily by cops and authorities in this country and “we don’t need you to follow him” is not a standard of restraint that holds any true meaning against an extension of that lethal force to the civilian wannabes. But then again, we haven’t solved illegal weapons or outraged against gangland drive-by shootings with anywhere near the intensity that this situation provokes. How do you think average civilians are going to surrender their own weapons when the cops and robbers game is getting worse by the day, and the police force is looking like paramilitary occupation teams? Turn on the TV in the evening and tell me that everything is just normal entertainment when gruesome murder and mayhem is the real standard. The national attention here was not comprehensive, it just allowed alot of people to write their own script and vent on their private inclinations.

    It’s a tragedy indeed, but unfortunately we can only admit that there is no clear and obvious factual evidence that compels us to accept your story…and there is a good deal of quiet “local” circumstantial evidence to provide some degree of doubt. The bottom line is that none of us were there! The jurors heard the evidence as it holds up, and they were Moms.
    I don’t think they wanted to see injustice compounded. They weighed the facts and it did not support your scenario.

  56. Once again, marv, a whole lotta hate coming off that screen. I don’t even bother reading your posts anymore. Frankly, you are exhibit A for why conceal/carry shouldn’t be allowed. Were you victimized in prison or something?

  57. Maybe it would be useful here if every commenter would write down how much of the actual courtroom testimony he or she watched and listened to.

  58. Robert Zimmerman Jr: ‘What Makes People Angry Enough To Attack The Way Trayvon Did?’
    By Jermaine Spradley
    Posted: 07/14/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/robert-zimmerman-jr_n_3593739.html

    As the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial settles into the American consciousness, Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, sat with Piers Morgan immediately following the verdict to discuss the trial and what he thinks is next for his brother.

    Near the end of the interview, CNN anchor Don Lemon felt compelled to ask Zimmerman Jr. a question on the potential opportunity for racial healing now that such a polarizing case has come to an end.

    Lemon asked:

    “You said you want to start some sort of dialogue, and much has been made about race in this particular case. And you, your brother, your family—you have a unique opportunity in this country to address that. What would you like to see happen when it comes to race, healing the divide, and do you plan to do anything about that, and will you ask your brother to do anything about that?”

    What seemed like a chance for Zimmerman Jr. to begin some semblance of a reconciliation process quickly morphed into a bizarre indictment of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

    “I want to know what makes people angry enough to attack someone the way Trayvon Martin did. I want to know if it is true, and I don’t know if it’s true, that Trayvon Martin was looking to procure firearms, was growing dru.. marijuana plants or was making ‘lean’ or whatever he was doing. I want to know that every minor, high schooler that would be reaching out in some way for help and they may feel it’s by procuring firearms or whatever it is they may be doing, that they have some kind of help.”

    This is not the first time Zimmerman Jr.’s words have caused controversy. In March, Zimmerman Jr. tweeted a picture that showed perceived similarities of Trayvon Martin and De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, a teenager from Georgia accused of killing a 13-month-old boy.

  59. I’ve been having trouble posting comments. I’ll try again.

    How about showing a little respect for the dead? The latest from Robert Zimmerman:

    Robert Zimmerman Jr: ‘What Makes People Angry Enough To Attack The Way Trayvon Did?’
    The Huffington Post
    By Jermaine Spradley
    Posted: 07/14/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/robert-zimmerman-jr_n_3593739.html

    As the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial settles into the American consciousness, Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, sat with Piers Morgan immediately following the verdict to discuss the trial and what he thinks is next for his brother.

    Near the end of the interview, CNN anchor Don Lemon felt compelled to ask Zimmerman Jr. a question on the potential opportunity for racial healing now that such a polarizing case has come to an end.

    Lemon asked:

    “You said you want to start some sort of dialogue, and much has been made about race in this particular case. And you, your brother, your family—you have a unique opportunity in this country to address that. What would you like to see happen when it comes to race, healing the divide, and do you plan to do anything about that, and will you ask your brother to do anything about that?”

    What seemed like a chance for Zimmerman Jr. to begin some semblance of a reconciliation process quickly morphed into a bizarre indictment of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

    “I want to know what makes people angry enough to attack someone the way Trayvon Martin did. I want to know if it is true, and I don’t know if it’s true, that Trayvon Martin was looking to procure firearms, was growing dru.. marijuana plants or was making ‘lean’ or whatever he was doing. I want to know that every minor, high schooler that would be reaching out in some way for help and they may feel it’s by procuring firearms or whatever it is they may be doing, that they have some kind of help.”

    This is not the first time Zimmerman Jr.’s words have caused controversy. In March, Zimmerman Jr. tweeted a picture that showed perceived similarities of Trayvon Martin and De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, a teenager from Georgia accused of killing a 13-month-old boy.

  60. MARV:

    not that it matters but are you African American?

    What that fellow Tommy Sotomajor says can be applied to all people, not only blacks. The whole world is upside down concerning morals.

    And it is all children who are being oversexualized not just blacks. Pedophiles must run things or so it seems.

    Many single white women have trouble raising children. It isnt only single black women.

    What you point out is just what happens when natural laws are not followed. I am not talking religion or god here. Human beings are animals and as such are subject to the laws which govern our nature, when we are in harmony with those laws things take care of themselves. When we are in disharmony there is chaos.

  61. We don’t have the same punk problem here at our gated community and marina that those folks in Sanford and Son had. Our punks from the nearby trailer park hood are white. So if one of us old farts gets assaulted and beats up the white punk we wont get all this Piers Morgan apCray about hoodies and skiddles and there wont be pressure on the police chief to prosecute the old fart victim. Now we have had some old fart victims of crime here who were black and if they get killed by a white hoodie then we can get CNN involved. And Sonny whatshername and Jeffrey never tried a case yet legal expert Toobin can climb on the media bandwagon.

    We wore dog tee shirts here in our gated community: “Walk Free Z!”

    I have one thing to add: Get rid of Word Press or the person who reads our comments and holds them up or refuses to post them. I am originally from New Hampshire and believe in the adage: Live Free or Die.

  62. SlingT gets to the heart of the matter with the quote about the real danger that could result from this case: more George Zimmermans.

    For me, this ain’t about race, never was, it’s about guns in the hands of idiots. Worse than beer muscles, this “caliber courage” is already giving lie to the claim that more guns will result in a reduction in crime. They do not. Studies are now showing that more gun violence is occurring, and occurring with deadlier results, in states that allow conceal/carry from confrontations that would not have taken place at all, but for the possession of a handgun by one of the parties. These confrontations stem from small insults that would have normally been overlooked (or not offered), and altercations that would have been limited to non-lethal physical fights. In other words, gun possession laws are leading to an escalation in lethal violence in a way that can be analogized to the way seat belts supposedly embolden riskier driving behavior.

    It’s very unlikely that Zimmerman is following that kid if he doesn’t have a gun, and there’s no way he stops and confronts him otherwise. This was one criminal case that could have been used to make good social policy in a nation that appears to be heading towards embracing the handgun the way it embraced the automobile.

  63. Bruce,

    “Unfortunately it is mostly a fictive version based upon what if rather than authentic facts as they are known.”

    I invite you to point out whatever authentic facts indicate against the alternative that I presented.
    It is no more ‘what if’ based than is Zimmerman’s account.

    There was a fight? Yes for both.
    Zimmerman was losing that fight? Yes for both.
    The Martin/W8 call dropped 17 seconds before Laeur finished dialling 911. Meaning that the fight had been in progress for some time before the call dropped? Yes forauthentic facts. No for Zimmerman’s account – unless Martin jumped him while still on a phone call..
    That Zimmerman (if he actually went to RVC) started immediatley for his truck after the NEN ended? Impossible in the authentic timeline. It’s what Zimmerman claimed (and in fact on Hannity claimed something even more impossible – “less than 30 seconds”).

    There are no authentic facts that prove how the fight started.
    A reasonable person would agree that Zimmerman was reckless in
    1) Following/going_in_the_same_direction as someone whom he claimed had threatened him
    2) Staying exposed in the dark area after explicitly voicing a realisation that the person that he claimed had threatened him could be very close by

    A reasonable person would look in particular at the Hannity interview v all that Zimmerman had sais initially – and conclude that Zimmerman was lying outrageously.

    Manslaughter – completely unpremeditated
    A mutual understanding.
    Zimmerman thought Martin was a burglar and went to follow and locate him – against all good sense and advice – against prudence and reasonability.
    Martin thought Zimmerman meant him harm.

    When they encountered, even by Zimmerman’s own account, Zimmerman’s rresponse could only have inflamed Martin’s misunderstanding of what Zimmerman was up to.
    See http://zimmermanscall.blogspot.com/p/quiz.html
    .

    Zimmerman screwed up – bigtime. Martin died. Manslaughter.

  64. It seems that it would be impossible for Zimmerman to be convicted when the burden of proof is at the level of beyond a reasonable doubt and the witnesses in favor of the prosecution had so many problems with their testimony, including an admission for one of them that she had lied previously under oath.

  65. Marv, the tenor of your posts speak much to the reasoning of your thoughts. No thanks Marv, I avoid people with your mindset.
    Skin color has nothing to do with a humans intrinsic worth or ability.
    Your eagerness to claim it does exposes your ignorance to the facts of genetic proof.
    Your eagerness to site statistics and then link them to skin color as the cause IS Racist. It is lazy thinking that suits the laziness of lazy minds.

    Education, Health, Equal access to Opportunity will unite the human race.
    These three things being absent from any humans life, are barriers few can overcome.
    I rail for (and with statistical facts) the need to improve Education, Health, and Equal Opportunity.

  66. Excellent analysis….. The question remains whether the Obama DOJ will seek to retry the matter…… He’s in a no win situation….. Now if he’d paid as much attention to the eliminating of the Constitituon protections as he’s paid to this case I could see him justifying prosecution…. Other than than… The matter should not be prosecuted based upon public popularity…. If that were the reasoning…. He should have gone after the banksters…..

  67. The latest from George Zimmerman’s brother Robert:

    Robert Zimmerman Jr: ‘What Makes People Angry Enough To Attack The Way Trayvon Did?’
    The Huffington Post
    By Jermaine Spradley
    Posted: 07/14/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/robert-zimmerman-jr_n_3593739.html

    As the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial settles into the American consciousness, Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, sat with Piers Morgan immediately following the verdict to discuss the trial and what he thinks is next for his brother.

    Near the end of the interview, CNN anchor Don Lemon felt compelled to ask Zimmerman Jr. a question on the potential opportunity for racial healing now that such a polarizing case has come to an end.

    Lemon asked:

    “You said you want to start some sort of dialogue, and much has been made about race in this particular case. And you, your brother, your family—you have a unique opportunity in this country to address that. What would you like to see happen when it comes to race, healing the divide, and do you plan to do anything about that, and will you ask your brother to do anything about that?”

    What seemed like a chance for Zimmerman Jr. to begin some semblance of a reconciliation process quickly morphed into a bizarre indictment of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

    “I want to know what makes people angry enough to attack someone the way Trayvon Martin did. I want to know if it is true, and I don’t know if it’s true, that Trayvon Martin was looking to procure firearms, was growing dru.. marijuana plants or was making ‘lean’ or whatever he was doing. I want to know that every minor, high schooler that would be reaching out in some way for help and they may feel it’s by procuring firearms or whatever it is they may be doing, that they have some kind of help.”

    This is not the first time Zimmerman Jr.’s words have caused controversy. In March, Zimmerman Jr. tweeted a picture that showed perceived similarities of Trayvon Martin and De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, a teenager from Georgia accused of killing a 13-month-old boy.

  68. I said it last night on another thread, and I’ll say it here, after the case went to the jury Mr. Turley’s take on the case was spot on. He nailed it unlike so many legal pundits who often seem to be the most controversial. If this were a bench trial, I would want Mr. Turley handling it. And, he would have handled the abuse by the prosecutors regarding the exculpatory evidence differently than the minor leaguer trial judge in this case.

    The jury did their job. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the vast majority of jurors take their civic duty seriously. They work hard, stay focused, and work cooperatively in the deliberation room. I’ve only been a juror once, but that was my experience. However, I have worked on over a thousand criminal and civil cases as a PI. I have testified hundreds of times in front of juries. They look @ you intently, they listen, take notes, they are fully engaged. And, in the vast majority of cases, even when the verdict went against my side, they get it right. During the closing arguments, when the prosecutor gave a tug @ the heart soliloquy about the Martins never having their son w/ them anymore, one of the jurors was crying. Five of the jurors were mothers. But, they put that aside because that is IRRELEVANT. They decided this case on the facts. God bless them and God bless our jury system.

  69. This was an easy case for acquittal. Those who think otherwise either misunderstand the law or the facts.

  70. Yet another reason to stay out of wild west Florida. Only the coming glacial melt water will cleanse it away now.

  71. Swarthmore Mom and Elaine,
    The Stand your ground laws are just another reason why we need less guns on the street. Mr. Zimmerman is someone who should never have a hand gun in his possession.

  72. I hope (as the OJ Simpson trial did) this now goes to a civil suit, where the “preponderance of evidence” will be the lesser standard of proof, and Zimmerman loses all possible gain from this act to the Martin family.

  73. Professor,

    I recognize that it is settled law that the United States can prosecute Zimmerman even after his state court acquittal. However, doesn’t the settled law conflict with the wording of the 5th Amendment which says “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy …”? I recognize that the “offense” for which the federal government might prosecute Zimmerman would be technically different than his state court charges, but should that make a difference? Certainly, the State of Florida couldn’t put Zimmerman again in jeopardy by bringing additional charges arising out of the same incident. The precise wording of the 5th Amendment should also preclude re-prosecution by the federal government.

  74. Sling: There are no authentic facts that prove how the fight started.

    On the contrary, as I stated earlier, it is already in the law that one can commit assault by intimidation without ever touching the victim; one can already commit a crime by stalking, invading privacy, and creating fear in another without touching them.

    The facts clearly show that Zimmerman “started the fight” by stalking and intimidation of somebody legally minding their own business, striking fear into Martin. It makes no difference who threw the first punch, by the time that happened Zimmerman was already the aggressor clearly seeking a confrontation; there is no possible way to read the facts otherwise.

    Turley has it wrong and so did the jury, had I been on it we would have been hung on manslaughter.

  75. Zimmerman is immune from any civil action by the Martin family.

    Though the “Stand Your Ground” law was not employed at the criminal trial, the juries determination will have a role in applying the “Stand Your Ground” law to provide immunity to Zimmerman from any civil action.

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String&URL=0700-0799%2F0776%2FSections%2F0776.032.html

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.012.html

  76. It’s no surprise that pro-Killerman people end up, intentionally or not, revealing their racism and white privilege, including Jonathan Turley. The only reason I came to this blog was it’s been interesting for me, a lay person, to glean a legal perspective on issues. But this is a deal-breaker for me. Jonathan Turley was just chomping on the bit to gloat over this verdict, and cloak his gloating in “objectivity.” With all his ability for legal analysis, does he ever engage in self-analysis? He talked about social narratives and applying “facts” to fit one’s own narrative; does he admit to having one himself? How the hell do I unsubscribe from this blog? I no longer have any respect for anything coming out of Turley’s mouth.

  77. TonyC, there’s absolutely no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was engaged in an unlawful activity at the time the fight began. THAT is the legally relevant issue. There’s a reason the prosecution did not make the argument you’re trying to make and it’s because the evidence was not there. If you disagree, please cite the Florida criminal statute that you believe Zimmerman to have been violating and any supporting evidence.

  78. Pollyanna wrote:
    “It’s no surprise that pro-Killerman people end up, intentionally or not, revealing their racism and white privilege, including Jonathan Turley.”
    ~+~
    So now Professor Turley is a racist, or does this include everyone else that disagrees with your position?

  79. Nick & Darren,
    We have an ample supply of those types.

    The jury ruled based on the evidence presented. Sometimes the prosecution is incompetent and a person guilty of something gets acquitted. By the same token, sometimes the defense is incompetent and an innocent person is convicted of something they did not do. Or perhaps to a charge worse than deserved.

    If both the prosecution and defense are competent, the jury has more to work with and justice is done.

    I used to know a prosecutor whose office was notorious for overcharging. What came as the last straw for his career was charging drag racers with capital murder when they hit and killed a couple of young women. The charge carried a potential death penalty….for drag racing. That particular prosecutor lost the next election. When the case finally did come to trial, the jury brought back a verdict of manslaughter, which is what it should have been all along.

  80. Darren,

    You’ll soon see the race card over and over played as well as be labeled a mysogynist for saying anything against Hillary….. Just keep posting….. You’ll see….

  81. @RogerJ : Michael Beaton – “Stand Your Ground” was irrelevant in this case, and this statute was not even cited by the defense. Why do you refer to it in multiple posts? This was a straightforward self-defense case, in which SYG played no role. Seems to me, you have an axe to grind. …
    ———-
    I refer to it as crucial to the case because a) it was the original justification for not even charging Z. in the first place. Thus it was this law that was the basis of the original handling of the case. b) If it wasn’t mentioned in the trial still it was the unspoken context for this case, and many other cases like it.
    Others have done a detailed job of laying out the particulars of this point. It seems to me to be self evident that the law itself if flawed and creates a context where events like this can happened with impunity.

    I have no axe to grind. I hate injustice. I hate the never ending and seemingly unendable racism in this country. In cases like this I am moved by the human consequences of this extraordinary racial bias and hatred.
    I am also moved by the ongoing incremental dismantling of our so called justice system. This is just one more chapter in the story. This board details example of the violation of basic principles that often have no consequence for the perpetrators.
    The end result of this is the “wanna be cops” you spoke of, and the militarization of the police, as others have pointed out. And the hopeless attempts of powerless citizens to actually expect, much less receive justice. And so much more.

    Maybe I have this axe in the grinding in re this case:
    That the overall split between the Points of View on this issue seem to be depending on how big the context of the case is seen. If you only start the case at the point of the “fight”, then J.Turley’s point about the only question being “who started the fight” is the relevant point. And if the “law” is so limited as to only start there then “The Law is an Ass”.
    If you allow the larger context of the entire event, and the even larger context of the STG law in the even larger context of toxic racism, both systemic as well as G.Zimmerman’s in particular (as has been well documented even on this board), then it becomes apparent that a crime was committed and a boy died and the killer walks.

    I hate that also. I hate it for the family, and the boy. And I hate it for the sake of the country.

  82. “The point about the manslaughter charge (which is the only charge that should have been brought in the absence of eyewitness to the shooting) is that he did not set out to shoot Martin.”~SlingTrebuchet

    “The prosecution was incompetent. They never used the testimony by defendant that his pistol was holstered behind his right side, making it impossible for him to access it while he was on his back. Thus, he had to have drawn it while stalking the deceased before the fight.” ~ Mr. Ed

    ————–

    I was told that the type of gun that was used was one that had to be cocked w/2 hands prior to firing….so that would be impossible for someone who was on their back getting their head beat on the ground……that in order for the gun to be fire ready the bullet had to have been cocked into the chamber ….is this true? If so why wasn’t that presented to the jury? The scenario of Zimmerman stalking Martin with gun out, cocked and at the ready, becomes more apparent and the other so less believable…

    so sad the conversations today at church….one person (blk) talking about how his grandkids, in their 20’s , don’t even want to learn to drive because the risk involved in sufferring harm by ‘legal’ assault (usually assault by being stopped by the ‘law’) has become so inescapable…

  83. ps; the only ‘Legend’ I see here is how this incident will be looked on for it’s absolute expression of fear based and subconsciously driven racism…right down to that moronicically racist comment by the defense after the trial…..

  84. Grats bron to figure it out. Yep im black. Not african, iam american.
    Im sick and tired of the left telling me how i need their help like black people are inferior or something. Thats how the left views us. At least with the klan type i know up front how they feel. Most of you leftist are closeted bigots. Go to hell

  85. Allysa: I am not a lawyer and I won’t pretend to be one by citing law. However, I have been a juror, and they did not require me to use anything but my common sense.

    A common sense reading of this evidence tells me that in this fight Zimmerman provoked fear in Martin, and therefore instigated this fight. Martin’s response was initially flight, but when (from his point of view) Zimmerman pursued him, it changed from flight to fight in the form of confrontation.

    As I said before, had I been on the jury, we would have hung over manslaughter before I would vote for “not guilty.” That would have been my right as a juror. I have already stated the reason I think that is reasonable; existing law prevents assault by intimidation and existing law recognizes stalking and threats as crimes. Even the SYG law recognizes that, note they do not require a physical assault before the use of force is warranted.

    Not all acquittals are fair, and a declaration of “not guilty” does not imply “innocent,” it only says those jurors were not convinced, and in my view they were not convinced because the prosecuting was incompetent in their presentation of case.

    Emotionalism aside, this fight clearly was instigated by one party; and while it is legal to follow somebody, it is not legal to intimidate somebody, and not legal to stalk somebody, and not legal to threaten somebody. So I will let you point at the law that defines the bright line between legal following and illegal intimidation or stalking.

    But I believe, because of my laymen’s reading of those laws and the SYG law, that line is in the mind of the person being victimized and whether they feel threatened by the person following them, stalking them, or intimidating them.

  86. Woosty asked:
    “I was told that the type of gun that was used was one that had to be cocked w/2 hands prior to firing….so that would be impossible for someone who was on their back getting their head beat on the ground……that in order for the gun to be fire ready the bullet had to have been cocked into the chamber ….is this true?”
    ~+~
    The pistol used by Zimmerman was a Kel-Tec PF9

    This type of pistol is what is referred to as Double Action Only (DAO). This means the pistol to be loaded and made to fire a loaded magazine is inserted into the grip, the slide is racked back and allowed to spring forth to load the chamber with its first round. It is in this position the gun is usually carried. To cock the gun, the trigger must be pulled , which pulls back the firing mechanism and then releases it to fire a round. The same trigger pull is used for each subsequent firing.

    Some people carry their pistols with an empty chamber, requiring that the slide be racked back to load the chamber. This is becoming increasingly uncommon due to modern guns having more safeties that eliminate the advantage of an empty chamber plus it does require that two hands generally be used to prepare the gun for fire and this is very disadvantageous in an emergency.

    Most of the time a DAO pistol is loaded, the slide racked to put a round in the chamber and then it is holstered. I haven’t read exactly what configuration Zimmerman used, but I would suspect is as I describe in this paragraph.

  87. Great insight Darren. Wouldn’t keeping the pistol loaded, with a round in the chamber, increase the chances of accidental discharge, even with safeties?

  88. Four words to remind all that the law trumps personal opinion as to guilt:

    Casey Anthony Not Guilty

    And Casey Anthony looked MUCH MUCH more guilty than Zimmerman.

    Get over it.

  89. “Turley has it wrong and so did the jury, had I been on it we would have been hung on manslaughter.” (Tony C.)

    It wouldn’t have been hung, Tony, it would have been conviction … manslaughter … you and I both know why and more importantly, how. ;)

  90. Tony C said: “Not all acquittals are fair, and a declaration of “not guilty” does not imply “innocent,” it only says those jurors were not convinced, and in my view they were not convinced because the prosecuting was incompetent in their presentation of case.”

    ***************************************
    That cannot be repeated too many times. Because of the nature of burden of proof, an acquittal is not a pronouncement of innocence. It simply means the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. No jury ever comes back with a verdict of “Innocent.” The verdict is, “Not Guilty;” i.e., the prosecutor did not prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Of course, if this goes to civil court, the burden is less, and becomes preponderance of the evidence. 51% is a lot lower hurdle than 95+%.

  91. Nick: “They decided this case on the facts.”

    To be pedantic —- They decided the case on what selective facts they were presented with – and with the manner of selective presentation bound to have some impact on their interpretation of those.

    What they got was theatrics from both sides presenting arguments.
    The arguments were often supported by facts, but the facts were presented selectively piecemeal hand-in-hand with a very selective interpretation. That’s what lawyers do. Truth is not their job.

    BDLR ( an absolute buffoon ) – and to a less extreme extent, Guy – bestrode the stage like very bad Shakesperian actors.

    MOM was also a stage act, but he was an illusionist, employing misdirection.

    In his own previous posting that the Prof refers to he says:

    This lesser charge still brings the jury back to the question of who started the fight and how the fight unfolded.

    If that is actually the law, and if it is actually true that one is not permitted under law to look further back than the moment the fight started, then Zimmerman walks on the basis that it can not be proven beyond reasonable doubt that he did not genuinely fear imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. We don’t know who initiated violence in the immediate. This is to define ‘starting the fight/ initiating violence’ as being the first to physically contact the other. We might be able to demonstate clearly who provoked the situation as a whole, but that is apparently entirely irrelevant. End of.
    .

    However, if one can look back further than the start of the fight (defined as the first physical contact by one on the other), then the situation changes completely.
    The situation is like that of …….
    A driver who can be shown – by the standard of “a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances” to have been reckless. The driver kills a pedestrian.
    The driver blames the pedestrian, but he can be demonstrated to be lying about the event in *significant* details.
    This is the precise parallel situation with Zimmerman.
    .

    however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

    If “danger” is the danger of a physical confrontation, then Zimmerman was demonstrably not reasonable or prudent.
    Going in blind was reckless. It fails the “reasonably cautious and prudent person” test.
    Saying that he thought that Martin had kept moving is not a valid defence.
    If it had some virtue then this is undone when he voices the realisation that “the kid” might be close by in the dark. From that moment on he undeniably fails the “reasonably cautious and prudent person” test.

    Even finishing the NEN call in that place is demonstrably reckless if one accepts Zimmermans assertion of threatening appearance by Martin.

    Where are the demonstrable lies about significant detail?
    There is a gap of 2.5 minutes after the NEN. It was never put to Zimmerman to explain this gap. This is because of an error made by the cops in checking the timeline.
    Zimmermans stories in any case absolutely deny the possibility of any such gap.
    MOM acknowleded the gap. He suggested that Zimmerman might have been “looking around” during that thime. THis is not evidence from Zimmerman. THis is simply a “what if” suggested by MOM.
    But…. MOM!…No,no,no,n,no!
    Zimmerman has always expressly denied delaying to “look around” or delay for any reason whatsoever.

    Any other demostrable lies about significant detail?
    Yup! Compare his Hannity Interview to all that went before.
    He/MOM are obviously aware of the “reckless” interpretation.
    So Martin is less dangerous. Zimmerman is now “not particularly” alarmed by Martin’s actions. It was just a bit of confrontational body language. No circling. Zimmerman therefore was not reckless in going in blind. Having gone in there blind, he was attacked by Martin in “less than 30 seconds”. Again, there was absolutely no delay or “looking around”.

    What we have is a driver who
    Was objectively reckless. He did what no “reasonably cautious and prudent person” would do “under the same circumstances”.
    A person died as a result directly leading from that recklessness.
    He demonstrably lied afterwards about significant detail.
    .

    He had options to avoid the shooting all the way along.
    He had the option to state his business when Martin passed the truck.
    He had the option to stay in the safety of his vehicle as advised by NW.
    He had the option to turn around on “We don’t need you to do that”.
    He had the option to retutn ASAP to his truck on “Oh crap. I don’t want to give that all out. I don’t know where this kid is.”
    He had the option to run away the moment that he knew for sure that Martin was near.
    He had to option to explain his business on the final encounter. Even by his own story, his reaction could only serve to inflame the situation.
    a) He gets all cute. “No. I don’t have a problem.”
    b) His hand goes for his waistband.
    “He’s got his hand in his waistband” is something worthy of reporting to the dispatcher. Yes…weapon. Although… actually circling the truck is not worthy of reporting to the dispatcher …even if the dispatcher is saying “Let me know if he does anything.”

    Manslaughter. Aggravated by demonstrable blatant lying after the event.

    Unless……
    If the law is actually so incredibly broken that the demonstrable recklessness and incompetence leading up to the moment of the shot have to be completely ignored….as well as the demonstrable lies afterwards….. then he walks.
    But that would be completely insane. It’s a licence to kill.

  92. I am glad to hear to Prof. Turley has serious reservations about Federal intervention into the George Zimmerman case. The Federal intervention into the Rodney King case was wrong, and the error of rewarding devastation and destruction of cities and looting should not be repeated here.

    There are times that intervention is necessary, but that should occur only when the legal system has failed. In the Zimmerman case, the system worked.

    There are also cases in history in which intervention is necessary because a jury has wrongly convicted a person. One of the most powerful such cases is the Leo Frank trial in 1913 that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, and in which Frank was convicted of murdering a 13-year old employee, Mary Phagen, at the pencil factory where Frank was the manager and son-in-law of one of the owners.

    I won’t go into all the details here, if you are not familiar with the case, but when the evidence was looked at objectively, guilt actually pointed to Jim Conley, the factory’s janitor, and the prosecution’s star witness AGAINST Frank. (Later, William Smith, Conley’s own attorney would acknowledge that he believed that his client was guilty, not Frank.)

    This was a different time, but an instructive one for us today. In the Frank case, the all-white jury chose (or was pressured) to “believe” a black janitor over a Jewish manager, even though the people of Atlanta, Georgia at that time generally considered blacks to be inferior and untrustworthy. The sad “moral” of this story: hatred for Jews trumps racism.

    Appeals followed the guilty verdict, but justice was again denied. The case went all the way to the SCOTUS. But Frank lost again in a 7-2 vote. Only Oliver Wendell Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes dissented. (And they certainly don’t make SCOTUS justices like those two anymore–but that should go without saying.)

    One man (other than Leo Frank himself), however, demonstrated exceptional bravery and character in this tragic case: departing Governor of Georgia, John M. Slaton. Slaton investigated and recognized the grave injustice and failure of the legal system, and intervened, commuting Frank’s sentence–one day before Frank was scheduled to be hanged.

    But the tragedy did not end there. A lynch mob would take the law into their own hands anyway, and they broke into the facility where Frank was being held, kidnapped him, and then hung him from a tree. The lynch mob gave Frank one last opportunity to admit his “guilt.” But Frank was amazingly calm and dignified to the end and told his captors that he was innocent, and only asked that they give his wedding ring to his wife.

    The lynch mob included “law” officers, politicians, and even “judges.” This was America nearly 100 years ago.

    The case has been dramatized several times, and I’ve seen three of them–each very well done, as far as they go. One was a TV show from the 1960s as part of the “Profiles in Courage” series based on the JFK book by that name, with Walter Matthau as Slaton; another as a miniseries from the 1980s with Jack Lemmon as Slaton (who, interestingly, was a close friend of Matthau’s, and they are buried next to each other at Westwood Cemetery in LA); and the other was a musical version entitled “Parade” that I saw performed last year. There are also many books on the case, and I’ve read several of those too.

    Bottom Line: The jury system is the best system we’ve got, but there are cases where intervention is needed because the system has failed. But the Zimmerman case is not one of them.

  93. Darren:” I haven’t read exactly what configuration Zimmerman used, but I would suspect is as I describe in this paragraph.”

    He had it in 7+1 configuration.
    7 round capacity in the mag.
    Rack the gun to get a round in the chamber.
    Remove the mag and insert a round to replace the one that went into the chamber.

    The only ‘safety’ in that configuration is the 5-pound (nominal) pull required on the trigger.

  94. Larry:

    It might be with this pistol “theoretical” of having an accidental discharge but it is highly unlikely (that is a discharge from being dropped or such not be a mistaken action by the shooter)

    The pistol is equipped with a hammer block which prevents the hammer from moving unless the trigger is engaged. If the hammer does not move, the pistol cannot fire because there is no movement to discharge the primer of one of the cartridges.

    Also, if the chamber is carried empty it means one less round is available and this pistol doesn’t carry many (7 fully loaded) For this and the tactical disadvantage of requiring two hands to shoot the first round are the main reasons that it is not carried with an empty chamber. Also, I wouldn’t want the tradeoff of losing these two advantages for a tiny and very remote chance the gun will discharge itself accidentally.

  95. Sling

    Sorry you are right 7+1 is fully loaded for this gun. Also, it does have safeties, they are mostly internal, that is the automatic hammer block.

  96. OS, “Found Innocent” is one of my pet peeves. You see news people, both tv and print, use it all the time.

  97. I’m just making a guess here. But I believe if your were to review this judges history in criminal cases this was probably the most favorable she has been to the prosecution. Again, her ruling on the exculpatory evidence was flat ass wrong. Research her rulings on exculpatory evidence from the past, and I bet she was much tougher on the prosecution. The attorneys who present cases in front of regularly know. I’m just guessing.

  98. I wanted to comment on the prosecution’s legal theory because I think it was flawed. They never should have harped on Zimmerman wanting to be a cop. Whether true or not, that Zimmerman was a cop-wanna-be does not speak to whether he was justified in shooting Martin in the moment. The prosecution needed a theory to address Zimmerman’s decision in the moment, the decision to pull the trigger. They should have simply argued that based on Zimmerman’s account of the events, he did not need to pull the trigger. Once his gun was out, all he needed to do to end the confrontation was to threaten to shoot. In other words, once Zimmerman had his gun out and trained on Martin, Zimmerman had almost total control of the situation. He could have simply told Martin to back off or be killed. But instead Zimmerman simply shot him.

  99. Pollyanna: How do you unsubscribe to the blog? Just quit pooping in the yard like any other dog would.

  100. marv:

    I am not a leftist.

    Personally, I see black Americans doing well everywhere I look and dont think they need my sympathy or help, they seem to be doing pretty well without it.

    Your sentiments are understood though.

  101. I woke up late today and heard that Z got acquitted. Then I just read that the Justice Dept is investigating the case for bigotry. About time. Zimmerman is half Jewish and half Hispanic. He was prosecuted for his two minority ethnic status. Those Itals in that State always go after Hispanics, particularly if they are not Cuban. Z would have to n letters on the end of his name if he was not Jewish. That is the American way. What was the vote by the jury anyway? I slept until just an hour ago and have not heard much on tv.

  102. Darren Smith 1, July 14, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I agree with Professor Turley’s interpretations here. As far as the federal civil rights prosecution goes, I do not believe there is probable cause to support an arrest. That doesn’t unfortunately guarantee this administration would not instigate such a prosecution.

    =================================
    The DOJ today said it has reactivated the federal investigation now that an acquittal took place.

    They had it on hold while the state prosecution proceeded.

  103. Pharmel.

    That’s because the police had no legal authority to hold the pistol and they were required to give it back to him.

  104. Nick, you’re right. The meaning of the decision “not guilty” has been described countless times by lawyers, both real and fictional ones in novels, movies, and TV, and yet many people still get it wrong, including media commentators. Many continue to erroneously think “not guilty” is equivalent to ‘innocent.”

    The jury, for example, could have been 85% sure that Zimmerman were guilty–which would be far from a conclusion that Zimmerman were innocent–yet rendered a not guilty verdict, because 85% would still not have met the threshold of “beyond a reasonable doubt” required by law to render a guilty verdict.

  105. I find it depressing that a commentator with the knowledge and skills of Prof. Turley would stoop to covering what is essentially an infotainment story.

    With all of the other societal and earth threatening issues facing us, it’s really amazing that he and the commenters here would join in the ‘watch the birdie over here and not the corruption over there’ game.

    Shame on the lot of you.

  106. Staying on that gun….

    Here’s a video that I use on my own mini-blog.
    Kel-tec PF-9 Recoil Demonstration & Failure to Eject

    I was interested in the nature of the recoil action – as when Zimmerman fired, his grip would have been very considerably less secure than the two-handed arms-braced and stretched grip that you see in the video.
    He would have been holding it one-handed right in front of his face – with his elbow on the ground sharply bent, and then his wrist sharply bent to get the shot directly flat through Martin’s chest.
    The gun is very light – one of the lightest 9mms – only 18 ounces in fully-loaded 7+1 configuration – as Zimmerman had it.
    The lighter the gun, the more it tries to behave like the bullet in the “equal and opposite reaction”.
    It’s got a hell of a kick. Watch the video. It shows the considerable kick and the two guys show the effect on their hands.
    Zimmerman had the worst and weakest possible grip on the gun. I had a theory that the recoil action would have driven his hand back onto his nose.

    I was interested when MOM started to try to get his animation entered as *evidence*.
    There was a big fuss about the technology involved. There was a volley of questions about where and when he had testified using this software in cases similar.
    The guy spoke of how he works with bullet trajectories to reconstruct …yadda-yadda.
    I thought “Looks like the trajectory in this guy’s model won’t be damaging to Zimmerman if MOM’s doing this.”
    Ha! He wasn’t and had no intention of doing so. Which might be thought of as strange as it might scientifically confirm the actual posture that he was claiming.

    There was to be no gun or use of trajectories in the animation. There were no measurements of the limbs used. Why? “That’s not what the purpose of the animation is.”
    For all the guy’s experience with reconstructing crime scenes and trajectories – for all his motion-capture suits – the animation was going to be the actions of actors posing as instructed by MOM and with their movements captured digitally.
    In short it was an attempt at gigantic fraud. It was argument attempting to masquerade as scientific evidence.
    It would have been far easier and as valid to simply video actors acting out MOM’s arguments. But….. the problem was that a proper ‘argument’ would have been done in the same level of darkness – resulting in a black movie.
    The digitised animation wilfully set out to fool the jury.
    They raised the light level – giving the entirely false impressions that the eyewitnesses would have seen what is shown in the animation.
    They played the 911 recording beside it – for no other purpose than to fool the jury into accepting the thing as ‘real’/more credible.
    The song and dance about the guys’s experience in reconsrtucting crime scenes by incredibly complex and clever means would be intended to blind the jury with science. None of that cleverness would in fact be used.

    It would be interesting to get that guy or another to use his software to reconstuct the actual positions as indicated by the trajectory and the powder. It would have to be done with accurately measured body components for both of them.
    Where precisely in relation to Zimmerman’s face would that gun have had to be positioned? What then of the significant recoil action we see in the video above – when the grip would have been so weak as well as being on the end of two very weakened pivot points?
    For some strange reason, the animation was not going to show such things – even though the software was designed to do exactly that.

  107. Sling, what is your video and lengthy discussion attempting to establish? That the gun’s recoil is what caused Zimmerman’s facial injuries? If so, that’s not a plausible scenario at all. I have fired both 9mm and 38mm guns, and have done so one-handed and my accuracy is dead-on for a relatively short-range target. The recoil is there, of course, but it’s relatively small in impact, and would certainly not account for Zimmerman’s facial injuries in any event.

  108. Okay, ccrider, although I wouldn’t characterize Prof. Turley’s version of the discussion of the Zimmerman trial “infotainment” by any stretch, what issues would you prefer be addressed on this forum? You have the floor, and are welcome to make suggestions.

  109. There are a few points that are misleading.

    “Investigators incorporated the family in key interviews. For example, one key witness was first interviewed by an attorney for Martin’s family and then talked to prosecutors in the home of Martin’s mother.”

    Misleading in the sense that it was the Martin family and their attorney who found the witness while the police didn’t even look.

    “The prosecutors were accused of withholding evidence from the defense until shortly before trial — a delay that the defense said denied them the ability to use text messages that portrayed Martin in a more violent image.”

    The defense found the deleted and/or pw texts and pictures on their own. If they had entered this information into evidence the state could have included gz’s texts and pictures, including one that was extremely insulting to Tracy Martin, his violence against a woman when he was a bouncer and the fact that he lost his bouncer job b/c of his temper and violence, his arrest for assaulting an undercover police officer even after the officer identified himself, the protection order taken out by his ex-fiance due to domestic violence, and who knows what else. While gz’s texts were all under seal the defense plastered Travon’s all over the media, you know, that media that was so unfair to his poor client.

    “The facts simply did not support a claim beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman acted with intent and a “depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will.” Had Corey charged manslaughter, the case might have been closer but would have still been a challenge.”

    gz was out to get those “a$$holes who always get away” and the “fxnking punks” after having many 8-10 meetings with the pretty young white thing who was scared of a couple of Black teens at her door, and the plasterers who actually found and reported the guys. Damn that must have hurt his ego. I read somewhere that shooting someone is, in and of itself, an act of depraved indifference. I’ll see if I can find the reference.

    “Many people were highly critical of the prosecution for putting on what seemed like a case for Zimmerman.”

    Agreed.

    “The prosecution clearly made its share of mistakes like leading its case with the testimony of Trayvon Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel. Jeantel was a disastrous witness who had to admit to lying previously under oath and produced conflicted testimony. She also stated that just as Zimmerman was accused of calling Martin a derogatory name, Martin called Zimmerman a ‘cracker.'”

    Rachel told two lies, both not of probative value, her age b/c she didn’t want any publicity and her reason for not attending the funeral. After 7 hours of cross examination by a very nasty West, the basic elements of her story were solid. Tayvon was followed by a “creep ass cracker”. She explained that this was slang and suggested a pervert. He also called him a “nigah”, another slang term that’s not the same as the “n” word. He ran to get away from the CAC, that’s when their call disconnected. Trayvon made no more mention of the CAC until he was suddenly in front of him. Trayvon said, “what you following me for” (gz said essentially the same but not identical). “A heavy breathing man said, ‘what you doing here’ ” (too bad the state didn’t point this out but heavy breathing suggests that gz had been running). She then heard something hit Trayvon’s phone, then the sound of grass and Trayvon saying “get off, get off”.

    “….the damaging testimony from the detective that Martin’s father clearly denied that it was his son calling for help (He later changed his mind after listening to the tape 20 times).”

    Actually, Serino didn’t say that Tracy clearly denied it was Trayvon. He left room for his misinterpretation. Neither Serino nor Tracy saw Singleton in the room and there is no report anywhere that Singleton was there. Her testimony on this point is part of the blue line – one cop lies and there’s another to back him/her up.

    “third degree murder based on child abuse.”

    I guess stalking and shooting a child isn’t child abuse.

    “While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood. That is not unlawful. It was also lawful for Zimmerman to be armed.”

    Would you make that same argument if it were YOUR child instead of Trayvon?

    “The question comes down to who started the fight and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.”

    No eyewitness but one ear witness that you so cavalierly dismissed.

    “Various witnesses said that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and said that they believed that Zimmerman was the man calling for help.”

    ONE witness said this. FOUR witnesses identified gz as the person on top and at least some of them said the screams were from a child. Is this sexism on your part? That you only hear what the one male witness had to say and you were deaf to the four women witnesses, as well as Rachel J?

    ” Zimmerman had injuries. Not serious injuries but injuries to his head from the struggle.”

    Self-serving statements from gz that they were from the struggle.

    “There is also no evidence as to who threw the first punch or committed the first physical act in the struggle. ”

    Again, you’re ignoring the ear witness testimony of Rachel Jeantel.

    While I expected the 5 mothers to not want their children profiled, stalked and attacked as Trayvon was, I forgot about white privilege. 4 mothers were white. It is more likely that they identified with the cop wanna be who was out there protecting the neighborhood from Black teens walking home.

    gz’s bigoted friend Frank Taffe, a supposed sequestered witness, was on Nancy Gracy every night. When the jury sent out the request for more information re: manslaughter, Taffe said that they were at 5-1 for acquittal. Other information indicates that it was the Black/Hispanic mother of 8 who was the holdout.

  110. I’m profoundly disappointed in Professor’s Turley’s take on this. I think his gz posts show more white privilege that legal analysis. I’ve enjoyed all the guest bloggers and will miss them.

  111. Ralph: “I have fired both 9mm and 38mm guns, and have done so one-handed and my accuracy is dead-on for a relatively short-range target.”

    You see the kick in that video?
    Unload and safety-check that gun model or one of a close size.
    Lie on the ground with the gun in your hand and get someone to straddle you, leaning in over you with their hands on your mouth and nose.
    Position the gun to that it will fire flat front to back into their chest as Martin was shot. Make careful note of your arm and wrist postions. In particular note the position of the gun in relation to your face.
    Get up and load the gun . 7+1
    Lie down on your own and position the gun exactly as you had it with the person leaning in over you.
    Pull the trigger.
    Let us know what happens then.

    The accuracy of a one-handed shot is not the question.

    .

  112. Sorry, Sling, but although I don’t agree with you, I’m not going to try out your theory just to prove you wrong because I would never experiment with a gun in a way that could endanger someone. That’s just the kind of guy I am. However, other gun experts have examined the facts and circumstances of the case, and I’ve seen one who would agree with you.

  113. Here’s a thought for today that received more than a thousand thumbs-up so far from a poster named “C”:

    “On Thursday, July 11, police discovered the rotting body of 17-year-old Darryl Green, a black child from the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Green’s body was found behind a boarded-up house in the 6500-block of South Damen, face down on basement stairs. The body was so badly decomposed that originally, local news reports suggested that he had died of blunt force trauma. On Friday, an autopsy showed he had been shot to death. Relatives reported that Green had refused to join a gang at school.
    wheres the OUTRAGE here? you wont see any because it cant be used to incite racial riots, race baiting….. black on black crime cant be used.”

  114. Sling, make that: “However, other gun experts have examined the facts and circumstances of the case, and I HAVEN’T seen one who would agree with you.”

  115. Ralph:

    you have a hand held 38mm? WTF is that? Some new hand held cannon?

    You been hanging out with those crazy coon a$$es at Red Jacket?

  116. bettykath, you say: “I’m profoundly disappointed in Professor’s Turley’s take on this. I think his gz posts show more white privilege that legal analysis. I’ve enjoyed all the guest bloggers and will miss them.”

    You’re leaving this blog because you don’t agree with Prof. Turley’s analysis? I don’t agree with many of his opinions, but that doesn’t stop me from reading his columns nor from reading the columns and posts of other posters, whom I also may disagree with.

    What kind of World would this be if everyone agreed 100% with each other? Deadly dull and with no hope of progress or development. Are the only alternatives left to either fight or avoid one another? We need to learn to respect our differences and disagreements.

    So I hope that you change you mind.

  117. “There is also no evidence as to who threw the first punch or committed the first physical act in the struggle. ”

    Again, you’re ignoring the ear witness testimony of Rachel Jeantel.

    Also note that the evidence clearly shows that the Martin/Jeantel call dropped some time after the fight had begun.
    This is objective auto-recorded evidence that supports Jeantal’s account of what she says she heard.
    .

    While on the topic of witnesses whose credibility might be questioned, consider John Good.
    His first sworn statement to SPD had Martin raining punches MMA-style together with head-pounding. It had Zimmerman calling for help.
    His next sworn statement has him not seeing much at all because it was so dark. He has the two of them lying horizontally with Martin on top. He can’t see any hands or faces. He simply assumed that the one underneath was shouting as that seemed logical to him. He only saw them for a number of seconds. As he left they were heading for the path in that same horizontal wrestling configuration. The one underneath appeared to be raising his shoulders off the ground but falling back.

    His evidence that caried so wildly was absolutely material to the case. It was vital.
    Jeantal had told peole that she didn’t go to Martin’s wake because she went to hospital. This was not true.
    In her sworn statement to BDLR, she was asked if she went ” to the hospital or somewhere” She answere “Yeah. I had high blood pressure”.
    Claiming under oath that she went “or somewere” is perjury of the most serious type, as it is key to the entire case.
    Claiming under oath a rain MMA-syle punches, etc and then claiming under oath that no such thing was seen is not perjury. It’s just getting it a bit wrong. It was dark after all. Nobody’s perfect.

  118. sling:

    I dont think the recoil from a 9mm is going to break a nose. Bones are pretty strong.

    Although it was a good thought.

  119. bettykath:

    I second Ralph, I dont agree with anyone on this site and they dont agree with me. that is what makes it interesting.

    you should stay.

  120. Ralph: “I’m not going to try out your theory just to prove you wrong because I would never experiment with a gun in a way that could endanger someone”

    Perhaps you did not read my post carefully enough.
    For the last bit, where you pull the trigger with the loaded gun in front of your face, the person is not going to be leaning over you. I thought that I had made that clear.
    Do this is a safe area and in a position where there is no danger of the bullet hitting anyone. I know you said that you got good accuracy with oine-handed firing, but it would be safer to assume a wide cone of possible trajectories for the bullet.

    In these circumstances the only person who could be endangered would be yourself.
    You are certain that this danger would be non-existent. So why not try it out. It’s completely safe, you say.
    At the same time, it might be no harm to have a medic on hand.
    Just in case, y’know

  121. Yes, Bron, with my hand-held 38, I’m able to take extremely smooth, detailed, and elegant crane shots. With a lot more practice, I may be yet accomplish something like this classic crane shot:

  122. Ralph,

    Can you supply a link to the studies done by by others?
    I would be interested to read them.

    Bron,

    Zimmerman had a suspected closed fracture.
    The medical assistant who examined him in daylight the next morning wrote that the closed fracture was suspected as the bruising was typical of such an injury.

    Have a look at the recoil ….of that particular gun… even while held in a decent two-handed arms-braced grip.

    Now that Ralph understands that the test firing of that gun in front of his face would be under circumstances that would avoid any possible injury to anyone other than himself, I feel sure that he will be happy to give it a try.

  123. Bettykath,

    I second/third Ralph and Bron.
    Posting in echo chambers is boring.

    I often post in Mike McDaniel’s Stately Manor,
    Yes.
    Me.
    In full verbose mode. Paragrah upon paragraph.
    Posting stuff that goes down like fresh rat sandwich over there :)
    engaging with people who have a very different world view.

    As it happens, the tone over there is almost always respectful – even to me. And of course that’s how I post too,
    This blog can be a bit of a bear garden by comparison.

  124. Sling:

    if you got whacked in the face by recoil, such that it could break your nose, there would be some mark from the gun on your face. It would cause a funny looking bruise. When I was a kid I got hit with a baseball and you could see the stitches and the seams with the holes.

    I am not saying it isnt possible, I am just saying if that had happened it would be very unusual for there to be no mark from the back of the weapon. A hammer mark or something. An ME should have picked up on it.

    Do you have a site with close ups to Zimmerman’s face and the brusising?

  125. bettykath, leave it to the imaginative Charles Beaumont and the Twilight Zone team from the 1960s TV show to give us some insight into a “perfect world” where everyone is the same–or virtually the same. Enjoy this episode, as these usually don’t last long on YouTube:

  126. bettykath, You do as you see fit. However, I personally would never want to be around or discuss subjects w/ people w/ whom I always agreed. It stunts your growth. Always effort to not make emotional decisions. You’re a great commenter. I hope, and believe, you’ll be back.

  127. I haven’t gone just yet. It isn’t just this one thread, it’s all the threads re: gz.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_19?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=robert%20zimmerman%20sr&sprefix=robert+zimmerman+sr%2Caps%2C268

    Robert Zimmerman, Sr., father to the non-racist gz’s book identifies the true racists in this country: The National Basketball Players Association, Black Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, National Black United Fund, United Negro College Fund.

    The second book on this page by Knox is a so-called forensics expert who took down his website after much of his analysis was debunked by non-experts who just paid attention.

  128. Bron,

    I am unable to do that test where I am right now. There would be ‘issues’ involved in getting a Kel-Tec PF-9 to play with.

    From a dry run, without the (dubious) benefit of a “jumper” as the guys in the video describe that particular gun’s remarkably strong recoil, what comes at my face, pivoted at my sharply-bent elbow and sharply ‘downward’-bent wrist is not the gun itself but that nice big hard bone at the base of my thumb – with my hand preventing the gun from touching my face.
    No sharp edges. It’s a very blunt instrument that heads my way.

    The recoil impact is not an article of faith with me. It simply looked like a good possibility. I raised it only as the gun had been mentioned above with regard to safety and ammunition.

    The fight could have taken place with Martin punching Zimmerman, but that would have been Martin reacting in self defence to the creepy follower in the dark not explaining his purpose and instead going for his waistband (weapon) or indeed drawing a gun.

  129. “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” – Lyric interpreted from 1964 quote by Ella Baker:

  130. Darren,
    If Zimmerman did not have a bullet in the chamber, Trayvon might be alive today, but we will never know. Is that a type of gun favored by law enforcement? Why would someone like Zimmerman choose this particular gun?

  131. Rafflaw,

    It’s a really cheap gun. Very populat apparently.

    Cops use such guns – Double Action Only with a long hard pull on the trigger that draws back the hammer and releases in one motion.
    They just dwaw and shoot. No safety to fiddle with. No safety also means no problems with left and right handers.

    That long hard pull is one reason that they generally can’t shoot for Cr*p.
    It’s one of the reasons that , for example, those two cops injured so many innocent bystanders near the Empire State last year.

    They use hollow point so that if they do happen to hit someone – whether the target or an innocent bystander – the bullet will tend not pass through the body and hit someone behind that person.
    If you get hit accidentally by a hollow-point, it’s a problem. They are designed to break up on entry and inflict ‘stopping’-type damage.

  132. This article was pulled from the Guardian website:

    Open season on black boys after a verdict like this

    Let it be noted that on this day, Saturday 13 July 2013, it was still deemed legal in the US to chase and then shoot dead an unarmed young black man on his way home from the store because you didn’t like the look of him.

    “F-ing punks,” Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night. “These a-holes. They always get away.”

    So true it’s painful. And so predictable it hurts.

  133. Sling:

    thanks. they dont show much do they. But it does take some time for a bruise to appear.

    That nick on the bridge of his nose could be from a hammer if that particular pistol had one external. Or maybe the rear sites?

  134. Sling, this summarizes the defense expert’s assessment of the circumstances and the nose blow:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/national_world&id=9167445

    If your theory had any merit, surely the prosecution would have found some expert willing to testify that the recoil from the gun caused Zimmerman’s facial injuries. There are many experts that would be willing to say that the moon is made of blue cheese for $1,000 an hour. I know. I’ve seen several of them testify. But when those “hired-gun” experts are deposed, they are usually demolished by the opposing attorney, rendering their “expert” deposition testimony useless in a trial.

    I’m sure that the prosecution search far and wide for somebody to testify to exactly the point you raise. Maybe they even went through a mock-depo exercise. But in any event, the reason such testimony was presented is because the prosecution knew that theory held no water.

  135. The back of the sight is what put those those two pin pricks on the tip of his nose, the source of all that blood in the bloody not photo. He did not have a standard bloody nose where the blood comes from the thingees in the nostrils.

  136. Darren Smith
    1, July 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm
    ———————————

    Darren thank you for the explanation and insight….it is beyond me but the person I spoke to today is a gun afficionado and said just the opposite….that one was NOT to walk around with a bullet in the chamber w/this gun?…..so given what I know about this, I don’t know…

  137. Woosty, gz’s friend osterman said one in the chamber is the way the cops do it and that’s what he recommended his non-cop friend do. Obviously it was dangerous to Trayvon.

  138. Woostie

    Thank you. It is still a matter of preference. I don’t know of any police who carried their pistols unchambered, myself included when I did that line of work. But if someone wants to do so, it’s their choice.

  139. bk,

    I hope you stick around. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think there is a single guest blogger who hasn’t disagreed with JT at one time or another. Sometimes quite strongly.

  140. bettykath, you say: “The back of the sight is what put those those two pin pricks on the tip of his nose, the source of all that blood in the bloody not photo. He did not have a standard bloody nose where the blood comes from the thingees in the nostrils.”

    That’s a similar speculation to Sling’s. He seems to want me to try to replicate the circumstances by actually firing a gun from that angle (because I mentioned that I’ve fired 9mm and 38mm guns using one hand and was accurate at very short distance targets, and the recoil was not too strong). However, I’m not going to try his particular experiment because I’m not a professional with guns, and would leave that kind of testing to the experts.

    However, if you and Sling have thought of your theory, don’t you think that the prosecution did too, or someone suggested it to them? Of course, that happened. And I believe that they actually attempted to engage forensic pathologists and ballistics experts that might be able to testify that the facts and circumstances of the case comport with the theory you two have posed. They either couldn’t find anybody to testify to your theory, no matter how much they were paid, or they did find some experts who agreed to testify in accordance with your theory, but they were demolished when the prosecution attorneys went through a mock cross-examination.

    Bottom line again: The theory that Zimmerman’s facial wounds were caused by the recoil from firing his own gun or were self-inflicted holds no water. And the prosecution knew that. The prosecution wasn’t stupid, and if they could have presented your theory, they would have.

  141. Bron,

    Ralph’s 38mm handgun is approximately 1.5 caliber, so it fires bullets 1.5 inches in diameter.
    Ralph, being a stud, can fire his 38mm one-handed, and doesn’t notice any appreciable recoil.
    If Zimmerman had only fired one of those, it wouldn’t be necessary to try him. It would have required extensive cutting by the medical examiner to remove the pistol from his skull.

  142. Bob, you have obviously not had much experience with firearms. And I did not say there was no recoil. I said that it did NOT affect my aim at short distance targets. My accuracy goes way off dramatically as the target distance gets further away. But relatively close range, no problem. And in Zimmerman’s case, he’s using a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, where the recoil would have been nominal.

    Bottom line again: Martin pounced on Zimmerman and beat him, striking him in the nose and elsewhere, and Zimmerman responded by drawing his 9mm and firing. The gun caused none of the facial injuries. Defense hired a forensic pathologist to support this case. Prosecution hired nobody that they were willing to risk putting on the stand. End of story.

  143. Thought for today: from Yahoo, posted by Curtis

    A 24 year old waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack was killed for her tip money after she got off work. She was killed by Michael Craig, Stephen Lee Henderson, and William Blasingame. Why is the media not outraged at this? Because she is white and the killers are black.

  144. Another thought for today: from Yahoo, posted by George

    Of course, most of the protestors considered the O.J. Simpson case to be verification that the legal system works. However, they consider the Zimmerman judgment to be a miscarriage of justice. It just depends on whether the deceased is white or black.

  145. And where was the outrage from the NAACP, the New Black Panther Party, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and all the other race hustlers demanding justice for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman because the jury failed to convict the defendant?

    I must have missed that. Did any of you catch that?

  146. Ralph,

    That “bloody nose” photo is simply Zimmerman’s face with blood on it.
    The same goes for the photos of the back of the head.
    The defence blew them for pimping because the blood has shock value – as if the amount of blood indicated the level of injury.
    It’s pure emotion.
    WIpe the blood off and you will see what injuries might lie beneath.
    Even Prof Turley was taken in by this nonsense. He posted a Zimmerman innocence thread with that photo at top.

    That sharp nick on his nose is there in the “BLOOD ZOMG ZOMG BLOOD!!” photo.
    The nose does look puffed up in that one. Apart from the blood, that’s it.

    If you want to know what his injuries actually were, read the report made by the medical assistant the following morning. That is the first and only formal report.

    The defence was also pimpping an EMT saying that Zimmerman’s head was 40% covered in blood.
    I think that 40% is something like John Good’s vertical and horizontal.
    Look at the pair of ‘bloody’ photos. To me, “40% covered in bllood” should mean that 40% of the skin on his head (including shaven hair) was obsured by blood.

  147. Ralph,

    ” (because I mentioned that I’ve fired 9mm and 38mm guns using one hand and was accurate at very short distance targets, and the recoil was not too strong). However, I’m not going to try his particular experiment because I’m not a professional with guns, and would leave that kind of testing to the experts. ”

    To save you the trouble of scrolling up, here is that video again.

    It shows two experienced guys who review a lot of firearms.
    They are testing THAT particular gun – the Kel Tec PF-9
    The test that they are conducting is specifically the recoil action.
    The video does not just happen to show recoil.
    Recoil is the purpose of that particular session.

    They show the recoil from back and side. They show it real time and slow-mo.
    You can see the significant kick, and that’s with a proper two-handed stance. These guys are experienced. They demonstate and talk clearly about the recoil. They show their hands after firing. “It’s a kicker all right!”

    You being quite accurate when firing some guns one-handed is irrelvant. You tconsidering the recoils from some guns you might have fired as “not too strong” is irrelevant.
    Those two experienced guys specifically demonstrating the significant recoil from *that particular gun model* is relevant.

    Have you watched that video, or are you in denial?

  148. Why did the defence not do things like
    – use foresics rather tham Shakesperian bombast to propose reasons for some/all of Zimmerman’s injuries
    – counter MOM’s 4-minute stunt with their own 3-minute stunt for Zimmerman’s unexplained time even after he had realised that Martin might not have kept moving
    – use large graphics to illustrate the missing minutes in Zimmerman’s accounts v his consistent demials that he delayed at any stage
    – point out clearly on a timeline graphic that the Martin/Jeantal call dropped some time after the fight started – just as Jeantal had reported
    – counter MOM’s little “tell me if he does anything” walk with Zimmerman not saying *then* that Martin was circling his truck. ie.e he invented this later – and indeed dropped it in the Hannity interview.
    – show the impossibility of Zimmerman’s Hannity account on a timeline and v. his previous stories.
    – List all these lies ( NOT using a stream of PowerPoint slides please!!)

    Why?
    Because they are buffoons! Unbeliveably inept! Morons!

    They spent their time reenacting Falstaff describing a terrible massacre of women and children.
    What they should have done was to graphically illusttrate a very clear case of manslaughter.

  149. It is very very very simple. The cornerstone of our criminal justice system is INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. The fact that the prosecution could not PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT who was on top of whom means that there was REASONABLE DOUBT.

    Justice means making the right legal decision no matter how unpopular or what the social costs might be. You cannot convict someone because you don’t like them or you feel for the victims family. In order to convict you need to be convinced beyond any REASONABLE DOUBT that the person is guilty. That is the standard.

    This case from the start should not have had charges brought. The Sanford PD and DA made the right call. They knew that no matter the OUTRAGE and IRRATIONAL EMOTIONAL calls for some type of perverted “JUSTICE” that they did not have the evidence to prove murder or manslaughter under Florida law BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

    It cuts both ways… O.J. Simposon was acquitted because the prosecution could not meet the standard. I did not see any “OUTRAGE” when that happened???

  150. Steve,

    It’s very simple.
    It cuts both ways.

    Doing what no “reasonable or prudent person would do under the same circumstances” = reckless

    There in NO REASONABLE DOUBT but that Zimmerman was reckless in following blindly into the dark on the heels of someone he asserts had circled his truck and threatened him.
    Added to that, there in NO REASONABLE DOUBT but that Zimmerman was reckless in staying in that dark area for at least 3 minutes after he explicitly stated in the NEN that he believed that the person he says had circled his truck and threatened him could by close by in the dark.

    Reckless actions leading directly to a death. Manslaughter.
    It was a completely unnexesary death.
    It would not have happend had Zimmerman not been grossly reckless.

  151. Steve McAllister: The fact that the prosecution could not PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT who was on top of whom means that there was REASONABLE DOUBT.

    That’s ridiculous; why does being on top mean anything at all? In high school I was in wrestling matches, and no matter where I started, 80% of the time I ended up on top. If somebody tackles you and knocks you down, does that mean you cannot ever end up on top? Obviously you have very little experience grappling or fighting, the aggressor in a street fight doesn’t automatically win every fight.

    Steve McAllister: Justice means making the right legal decision no matter how unpopular or what the social costs might be.

    No, it doesn’t. The idea of Justice existed before the law, the idea of Justice is that people that do bad things get punished and those that had good valid reasons for doing what they did do not get punished. If Justice meant only making the right legal decisions, juries would be made only of people that passed law school. But they aren’t, they are made of common people with no training in the law at all. The law exists to help us mete out justice, but it can get things wrong: That is why we allow ourselves the leeway to make NEW law to better approximate justice, and repeal OLD law we realize had led to LESS justice.

    Staying within legal boundaries is just supposed to more reliably produce justice, it is not guaranteed to produce justice. We put the case to a jury of common citizens to figure out, as best they can, what happened. The case is put with overview by experts in the law to prevent what we know are logical errors in the law that might unfairly influence the jury, because only people with extensive training in how such errors manifest themselves can recognize them and excise them.

    But both the law and the jury can make mistakes, we know in the past that innocent people have been put to death and ruthless killers have gone free. That is not “justice,” neither got the punishment they deserved. Justice is about the outcome and whether people deserve the freedom or punishment they get. The law is our imperfect and evolving (and sometimes devolving) definition of what is right and wrong and how we are allowed to get to the right outcome.

    Steve McAllister: This case from the start should not have had charges brought.

    That is ridiculous too. Should we just pre-judge all cases? If a person is killed and the only person that really knows the circumstances of that killing is the killer, should we always just take their word for what happened?

    Wouldn’t that be a terribly convenient rule for hit men? Just find a way to lure a victim into walking through a door that puts them alone in a room with the hit man, and murder them. Then the hit man claims the victim attacked him, he had no choice, and the police say, “Amazing how often that happens. Off you go, then.”

    Charges and the court system are our creaky machine for finding out what really happened, and there are two reasons it does nothing: First and foremost it does nothing because that is the right thing to do; but secondly it does nothing when it fails to determine what happened with enough certainty to risk doing something. But such failures do not mean that what really did happen did not deserve punishment, it only means our law and judgment are not good enough at getting to the truth, and need more work.

  152. Correction; I said, The case is put with overview by experts in the law to prevent what we know are logical errors in the law that might unfairly influence the jury,

    I did not mean the law was in error; I meant “to prevent what we know are common logical errors in argumentation, identified by the law, that might unfairly influence the jury, …”

    Sorry, I was already thinking about a subsequent argument while typing that one.

  153. Sling, you are nuts. You are in denial:

    Bottom line again: The theory that Zimmerman’s facial wounds were caused by the recoil from firing his own gun or were self-inflicted holds no water. And the prosecution knew that. The prosecution wasn’t stupid, and if they could have presented your theory, they would have.

    So, Sling, was the prosecution stupid, lazy, or they couldn’t find an expert who they would be willing to risk putting on the stand? Those are the ONLY alternative explanations for not presenting an expert to present your theory. (Well, only LOGICIAL explanations. And I realize that logic means little to you.)

  154. I am a criminal defense trial attorney, practicing criminal law since 1977. My “two cents”: the judge did a great job handling the objections and rulings on admission/denial of proffered evidence; the government had a very difficult case to prosecute based on the ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE; I personally believe the original charge was very difficult to prove based on all the facts it had; but, the system worked.

    Whether you agree or disagree with the 6 member verdict, Zimmerman has a constitutional right to be presumed innocent and only convicted by a 6/6 vote (under FL state law), based upon competent admissible evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, of each element of the crime(s) charged. The government did not reach it’s burden of proof, in my opinion.

    As I explain, when asked: the jury is not asked if Zimmerman was “GUILTY or INNOCENT”, but rather, “Guilty or Not Guilty” beyond a reasonable doubt by the evidence it heard. The criminal justice system is flawed, but after 36 years, I still believe in the system, acknowledging it needs to be monitored, reviewed, questioned and tweaked.

    We should agree to disagree on this site and remain civil and professional.

    I am reminded of a quote I still strongly believe and adhere to:
    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
    Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

  155. @frankmascagniiii
    I appreciate, and accept, the basic point of your post.

    So saying it seems to me that it is a matter of scope and context; meaning, In the small context of this case, this courtroom et al, as you detailed, yes, your conclusions make perfect sense.
    In the larger context, which you allude to in your quoting of King, the case does not make the same sort of sense. Certainly not in the sense of “justice”.

    My particular angle on this and other issues is one to make distinctions and to deal with issues/points at the appropriate levels. Sometimes, like this one, there are more than one level at which a thing/event operates. I think much of the rage, and the move to irreconcilable positions even as exampled on this board, re this post, is an example of what happens if we muddle the discussion with a lack of clarity of what level is under discussion.

    Here is one example I would love your take on:
    In this article http://www.salon.com/2013/07/15/zimmerman_trial_juror_to_write_book/ (apparently a book deal is already in the works) there is this line justifying the book and apparently the verdict: “…how important, despite one’s personal viewpoints, it is to follow the letter of the law.”

    I say that both of these premises are flawed. It is not only ones personal viewpoints, but a larger and more salient understanding (even a “gut” understanding) of “Justice” that should have been counterpointed. And the point about the need to follow the letter of the law sounds too much like “… we were just following orders…”. If that were or if that is the governing proposition in a jury trial, then it seems that basically what the judge allows essentially trumps the reason we have juries.

    I don’t think that is correct? But it reads like it is. Is it?

    I have been under the notion that juries were there to allow a sort of “common sense” “common man” corrective to a system that sometimes/often times gets so full of itself that it cannot render justice.

    Michael

  156. I meant to add that my intuitive recoil at the notion of the “letter of the law” trumping all other considerations. The letter of the law is, as I understand it, a starting point, not the end point of consideration.
    Otherwise there would be no need for courts to examine the facts of the case, and to make determinations about how to apply the law in the specific case.

    That said, I think it is this legal fundamentalism that drives much of our society today leading to such disasters as “Three Strikes” laws, Profoundly errant “Drug Wars”, and mandatory sentencing laws.

    Thoughts?

    Michael

  157. Now we’ll get to know what happened in the jury room. One of the jurors, B37, has a literary agent to hawk her book.

    http://gawker.com/george-zimmerman-juror-b37-hates-media-called-trayvon-787873533

    The link provides her entire voir dire. A couple of snippets:

    – She referred to the killing of Trayvon Martin as “an unfortunate incident that happened.”

    – Asked by George Zimmerman’s attorney to describe Trayvon Martin, she said, “He was a boy of color.”

    She also characterized the protests wanting an arrest as “riots”.

  158. Michael Beaton:

    Thanks for your response.

    When trial lawyers are in a jury trial, you frequently hear them in voir dire, openings and closings state to the jury in sum and substance: “you are to set aside your personal feelings, sympathies and emotions and render a verdict on the facts and the applicable law as given to you by the judge”. This is said along with ” …you don’t set aside your life’s experience, your common sense…” in reaching a verdict.

    It is interesting, to watch or be an attorney in a criminal jury trial. My take would be that a criminal jury trial is not really a “search for the truth” because both sides to the litigation are looking for a biased jury… biased to their point of view. Both sides argue to admit or exclude evidence under the rules of criminal evidence and reported case law in their jurisdiction. A trial is not real life in that sense. It is a portrait of a “crime”/”defense” limited by the law and governing rules of criminal procedure and evidence rules; by the skills/or lack thereof, of the prosecutor and defense counsel; knowledge of the presiding judge, etc. It really is not supposed to address and cure other considerations of race, public opinion, conventional wisdom, etc.

    So it is restricted to what the jury actually hears during the trial. I sometimes remark in closing to the jury, I wish you could have heard the case at the bench conferences, instead of seeing my backside and growing impatient with all my objections and interruptions.

    It is truly a unique experience. I still enjoy the practice of law. I have disagreed with some jury verdicts, but I always understood how they reached their conclusions; I’ve seen “guilty” clients walk out or with a lesser sentence than charged and sought; I’ve seen “innocent” clients get convicted. But I must say, I respect the system and am proud to state it works most of the time.

    I quoted Martin Luther King in my earlier post to affirm that I do believe “justice” was done in this case. Not the same “justice” perhaps that was sought by the state, nor by anyone affected by the verdict concluding that it was not the correct one, but one affirming the criminal justice system worked. I man was charged, both sides had their day in court, and the parties did their jobs, including the jury, based on the restrictions placed upon them by the law in that jurisdiction.

    As to the question about the juror book: I don’t like these kinds of publications ( I didn’t buy any of the O.J. Simpson ones, Rodney King’s nor Casey Anthony). Welcome to another American concept: capitalism.

    I trust I have responded to your thoughts.

  159. Mr. Turley,
    Thank you for your excellent insight on this issue. I have seen almost no person who hasn’t based his or her comments on this case without bias, one way or the other.

  160. What Frank Mascagni said. The system worked, but we need to change the law in Florida and everywhere there is the ALEC written Stand your ground laws.

  161. Bett,

    I see no reason for people to leave when they disagree with someone…..The most growth in knowledge comes when someone can process what one knows to be truth against something that they totally disagree with and still be able to reconcile that other folks truths may not be their truth…..and still be friends….

  162. The older expression “beyond a shadow of a doubt” did a better job of communicating what was needed. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” contains a subtle ambiguity. After all what is reasonable? For that matter what counts as reason? If I were a juror I would find the shadow rather than the reasonable a better guide.

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