Law and Legend: How The Zimmerman Case Was Lost By The Prosecution

zimmermantrayon-martin-picture1Below is today’s column on the Zimmerman trial, which is a close follow-up to the web column from the night of the acquittal.  As expected, it appears that we have lost a few regulars upset with my opinion of the case.  I am always sorry to lose people on our blog.  However, this has never been an echo-chamber blog that maintains a party line or ideological view.  While we remain fervently pro-free speech and civil liberties at this blog, we often disagree about the outcome of trials or the merits of cases or policies.  We try to maintain a site where civil but passionate disagreements and debate can occur.  As an academic and a legal commentator and columnist, I have always tried to be fair and call these cases as I see them regardless of how unpopular those views may be.  At the same time, I have enjoyed reading the opposing views of others on this blog who often make fast and lethal work of my opinions.  I realize that the killing of Trayvon Martin is loaded with social and racial meaning.  Yet, this site is dedicated to tolerance and diversity of views in discussing the legal and policy issues of our times.  I hope that those who stated that they would leave the site will return and rejoin our discussion. This is  a blog that values differing opinions and free thought. This is a chorus not a solo performance and it is the variety of voices and views that makes this blog so unique.

Here is today’s print column:

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.

With the verdict, the Zimmerman case entered the realm of legal mythology — a tale told by different groups in radically different ways for different purposes. Fax machines were activated with solicitations and sound bites programmed for this moment.

Criminal cases often make for easy and dangerous vehicles for social expression. They allow longstanding 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. Zimmerman and Martin became proxies in our unresolved national debate over race.

Many have condemned this jury and some even called for the six jurors to be killed or demanded that they “kill themselves.” The fact is that this jury had little choice given the case presented by the prosecutors. This is why I predicted full acquittal before the case even went to the jury.

Before the case is lost forever to the artistic license of social commentary, it is worth considering what the jurors were given, or not given.

State attorney’s misstep

The problem began at the start. Many of us 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 interviewed a key witness at the Martin home in the presence of the family — a highly irregular practice.

The decision to push the second-degree murder charge (while satisfying many in the public) was legally and tactically unwise. The facts simply did not support a claim beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted with intent and a “depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will.” Had Corey charged manslaughter, the case might have turned out differently.

The prosecutors then made that bad decision of charges worse by overplaying their evidence to overcome the testimony of their own witnesses.

For example, the prosecution inexplicably decided to lead the case with testimony of Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel. Jeantel was a disaster, admitting to lying previously under oath and giving conflicted testimony. She also stated that just as Zimmerman was accused of calling Martin a derogatory name, Martin called Zimmerman a “cracker.”

The prosecution’s zeal for conviction seemed to blind it to the actual strengths and weakness of the case. It also led to allegations of withholding key evidence from the defense to deny its use at trial, though Judge Debra Nelson seemed to struggle to ignore the alleged misconduct.

Some questions unanswered

Ultimately, 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 judgment or guesses on verdicts.

While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood. 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 Martin was on top of Zimmerman and said they believed that Zimmerman was the man calling for help. Zimmerman had injuries. Not serious injuries but injuries from the struggle. Does that mean that he was clearly the victim? No. It does create added doubt on the use of lethal force.

A juror could not simply assume Zimmerman was the aggressor. 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.

Even for manslaughter, the jury was told that Zimmerman was justified in the use of force if he feared “great bodily harm.” That brought the jury back to the question of how the fight unfolded.

The acquittal does not even mean that the jurors liked Zimmerman or his actions. It does not even mean 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 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.

July 15, 2013

180 thoughts on “Law and Legend: How The Zimmerman Case Was Lost By The Prosecution

  1. Legally you’ll never get a conviction, but this guy had a gun, and a kid is dead….it should never have come to that….

  2. Professor, your assessment of the case is on point. I’m an attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. I listened to much of the testimony on line while working at my desk. I was surprised at the prosecution’s case because of all inconsistencies I could pick out while listening. The jury instructions were also confusing making self-defense a viable option.

  3. Here is illustrated the difference between ‘legal’ and ‘moral’. A 17 year old is dead and there are really no witnesses. The jury had conflicting testimony, all of it opinion. They had to presume innocence. They are not at fault. Could the prosecution have done a better job?

  4. 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.

  5. JT reminded us:

    However, this has never been an echo-chamber blog that maintains a party line or ideological view.

    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.”

    (italics added). Acquittal in Zimmerman is a characteristic of the Rodney King case, and a few others.

    The ebb and flow of racial tension at work is the sensation.

    The State v Zimmerman case is the type of case where the racial tension often overflows into harmful rhetoric and worse.

    I said I would accept the verdict, and I do accept it.

    I also would accept a federal court verdict against Zimmerman and officials in Florida who perpetuate racial hatred, yet that seems unlikely.

    The downside is that the Zimmerman case keeps our minds off the military NSA case and the, IMO, more important lawsuit taking place in the federal court (ACLU v Clapper et. al.).

    However, I do understand the importance of moving forward in the abysmal state of racial inequality in this nation as well:

    Our jury trial laws and practices express an ancient understanding about those in power, which can be readily seen by the statistic that Twenty Seven Percent of U.S. Presidents have been slave owners:

    Of the first five presidents, four owned slaves. All four of these owned slaves while they were president.

    Of the next five presidents (#6-10), four owned slaves. Only two of them owned slaves while they were president.

    Of the next five presidents (#11-15), two owned slaves. Both of these two owned slaves while they were president.

    Of the next three presidents (#16-18) two owned slaves. neither of them owned slaves while serving as president.

    The last president to own slaves while in office was the twelfth president, Zachary Taylor (1849-1850).

    The last president to own slaves at all was the eighteenth president, Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877).

    So twelve of our presidents owned slaves and eight of them owned slaves while serving as president.

    (U.S. Presidents Owned Slaves, 12/44 = 27%). We can hypothesize that, since far, far less than 1% of citizens owned slaves, freedom is more of a function of what the people want as individuals, such as their civil rights and their common good.

    (The Germ Theory – of Government – 7). One thing is for sure, JT, your blog “got game.”

  6. How does the legal community expect civilians to understand the jury instructions? If I remember Casey Anthony instructions were the size of a novel. Just the Manslaughter charge in the GZ trial was 28 pages. How are we suppose to make any sense of these instructions in deliberating and wanting to come to a just verdict?

  7. I watched more of the televised drama than I should have. This article articulates the various aspects of the case and the national debate as well as anyone has and is exceptional. I had never seen the jurors, so I did not know what we had here other than what was described. I would expect a jury of 12 to acquit but I do not trust a jury system of less than 12.

    I have a couple of comments about some aspects not discussed. The witnesses. Some admitted lying in the past like the first witness. But the police were very honest. Their police chief got fired over this case. Some outsider comes in to prosecute and over charges Z. The police were straight. They deserve protection from firing. In California there is a statute denominated as Police Bill of Rights. In New Jersey there is a statute for all state employees, not municipal, which protects whistleblowers. I point that out because some states have no protection of police for telling the truth, whether in court under oath or in reporting corruption. In this case the prosecution was a persecution. The Chief gets fired for not following some racial profile script expected when a young black kid gets killed in what the nutcases portray as his line of duty: going out minding his own business, walking as he pleased, to get his Skiddles. The weenies who get assigned to the case from out of town follow the party line. The police who investigated the case do not lie, exaggerate, hide facts or change their opinions. Serino told the truth and he told his opinion as to his opinion on Z’s veracity. Lead detectives have to form opinions as to the veracity of suspects and other witnesses. This is the key to crime investigation. His boss got fired for following the collective wisdom of the police investigation. If Serino gets fired we need to protect his rights.

    I said before that the key factor in the case is age not race, and criminal disposition not race. A young person wandering a neighborhood and looking in windows is suspect. Trayvon was not a meter reader. The sauntering, the cell phone, the window shopping, the hoodie, and then the assault on Z are indicative of a punk, a hood, a gang member. Those of you who have not lived in or near a gang neighborhood can be clueless and are the first to fall into the Crump apCray. The nation got sold a bill of goods by the Crump team early on–both with the photos and the race based mantras.

    The best spokesperson on television “for he system”, in the time since the verdict, has been Robert Zimmerman. I was especially please when he put that twink from Liverpool named Piers in his place on CNN two nights ago.

    The worst spokesperson for the race baiters is the head of the NAACP with the weird last name of Jealous. He is demanding that the Justice Department continue the persecution of Zimmerman. If they do file anything against him I will change political party and vote for a RepubliCon for President if that candidate opposes this apCray. Obama, you better get outta the gutter on this one. Zimmerman is a minority and has been treated like one. There are those here in Florida who think he is both Jewish and Hispanic and hate him for both. This is something that is avoided like the plague on CNN. Whitey Bulger would have been treated much better in Seminole County and the Orlando area and much better on CNN. Florida has shown its failings. The firing of the Chief, the appointment of the prosecution team, the over charging, the race card game, all put Florida within the characterization of a Pirate Territory. If you are 65, live in Neward, need to go somewhere to retire and avoid taxes, think again if you have entertained Florida as a retirement destination. Z’s female neighbor, who was a witness, in the case had her house ransacked and herself in fear of the punk pirates who invaded her home. It was her experience which motivated Z to report this Trayvon punk to the cops and observe him on his so called Skiddle run. Because of this prosecution (persecution) you wont see any neighbors watching out for you in Florida anymore.

  8. Lost a regular or two?

    Fear not Professor!
    The best of us will remain here to point out to you the errors in your thinking. Please take comfort from that thought :)
    .

    While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood.

    There is nothing in the Constution that forbids people from being unbelievably stupid or reckless.

    In the particular circumstances of the night and in the particular dark location that it ended, Zimmerman totally fails the “reasonable or prudent person in the same circumstances” test.

    He fails it in following blindly into the dark on the heels of someone (now unseen) that he later claimed had just circled his truck in a threatening manner with hand in waistband, etc. He said that the person’s actions had alarmed him so much that he had wound up his window to avoid a confrontation.

    He fails it in remaining exposed out in the dark on that path after explicitly saying in the NEN that he realised that the person – that he later claimed had just circled his truck in a threatening manner with hand in waistband, etc. – could be close by in the dark.

    Remarkable inconsistencies between his accounts – for example of what was said in the NEN – could be put down to stress and bad memory.
    However…..
    Perhaps you have a theory as to why having been asked to report on Martin’s actions, he did not mention the threatening circling that he later claimed was taking place right as he was being asked to report on what was happening.
    Perhaps your theory might be that Zimmerman was so traumatised by this threatening circling that his brain could not make his mouth move. If that is the theory, perhaps you have a theory as to why on the Hannity Show, he said that he was “not particularly” alarmed by Martin’s actions.
    .

    Any reasonable and prudent person should agree that Zimmerman’s actions in following blind and remaining there were extremely reckless.

    It is clear to me from the Hannity Show, that O’Mara very probably took this view.

    The Hannity Show was used to change the story so that Zimmerman would appear not or less reckless. He drops the ‘circling’ story. He says that the was “not particularly” alarmed by Martin’s actions.
    This is a tightrope act. He has to try balance asserting less threat from Martin while still portraying Martin as the sort of thug who would attack him.

    The Hannity Show was also used to push a story in which Zimmerman’s actions were no cause for an innocent person to feel alarm. Martin is no longer running. Hannity queries. Zimmerman confirms. Not alone ‘not running’ but also ‘not in fear’. Even Hannity has a problem eating that one.
    .

    The only reason a manslaughter charge would fail would be that the law absolutely prevents consideration of Zimmerman’s reckless ( and provocative) actions in the immediate lead-up to the encounter.
    These actions would include Zimmerman lingering in the area for nearly 2 minutes before the encounter despite insisting that he did not delay.

    The Hannity Interview is particularly interesting
    http://zimmermanscall.blogspot.com/p/hannity-interview.html

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

    Professor, in the sentence above to whom does the personal pronoun “he” refer. To me it is ambiguous does it refer to TM or to GZ.

  10. Mr. Turley, I applaud your ability to be rational, providing clear legal analysis, despite your desire for a different outcome.

    I thought Angela Corey offered terrible commentary after the verdict. It had the aire of “we put him on trial like everybody wanted, and now we have the results… it was a good trial, thank you everybody, this is what you wanted.” I speculate that Zimmerman was innocent, yet even I was nauseated by her comments. I can only imagine how those who believed Zimmerman is guilty, those who she was fighting for, would feel about it.

  11. Professor, why do you criticise Rachael Jeantel for using the word “cracker”. If Travon used this word surely she was obligated not to hide the fact.

  12. davidm2745.

    I do not think that it is safe to assume that the prosecution actually wanted to win.

  13. As I have said all along Trayvon was railroaded by the prosecution with intent to lose. The charge should have been murder with death penalty sought and instead it was a circus of charges and bumbled evidence. This guy did not stand his ground, he was hunting blacky in the south, did you really expect justice and a good trial? Really? Who cares what Zimmerman story was, there was a story because of his actions. He looks like he self inflicted the wounds, requiring a band aid. He pumped this kid with a 9mm and did not even reach over to revive him as he bled out. So now every murderer will shoot someone, punch himself in the face a few times and claim self defense. This media circus only diffuses you from seeing those evading justice are the white cracker banksters and politicians who have robbed hundreds of millions of American’s of 50% of their home values and evaded charges of ECONOMIC TERRORISM (a war and eugenics crime) that has led to millions of suffering and deaths. Hows bout our leaders war crimes that kill and drone millions worldwide in illegal wars of aggression or their torture of innocent people and detentions like Gitmoschwitz. The people should be rioting in the streets but not over this poor boy but the whole damn corrupt system and the 1% gaining from it. Oh where oh where has the Justice gone in our country, it looks like it has been hijacked by criminals.

  14. Shut up, Dredd! I worked for almost a decade in criminal appeals in Chicago. I am one of a very small group of attorneys in this country that have overturned a felony conviction, by successfully proving that a criminal jury was selected in a racist manner. (People v. Kirk vis a vis Batson v. Kentucky). Moreover, when I was a varsity basketball player at a high school which had two major race riots and an active Black Panther Party group, I was warned by one of my black teammates, prior to the second staged riot that: “Rick, tomorrow you’re white.” A well-received warning because I was known in my large urban high school as one of the few that moved between the racial groups. Today, I do not actively practice law. I teach middle school students in one of the most hard scrabble neighborhoods in my state. More than 90% are non-white, more than 90% qualify for free and reduced lunch. When the Zimmerman case exploded in the spring of 2012, many of my students bought into the MSM propaganda. We have a heavy gang presence in my school. I brought out the evidence of the Zimmerman case, as opposed to the propaganda, and many, if not most, of my students told me that we haven’t heard this. I told them that based on the facts of the case George Zimmerman would not be successfully prosecuted. Game, set, match. Three days ago, a young black man, aged 17 (Trayvon’s age) was gunned down two blocks from the school where I teach. Where was Al Sharpton? Where were marches down Payne Avenue? Where were the “no justice, no peace” chants.” Nowhere, because “Mo” Rollins was gunned down by the person most likely to murder another young black American–another black American. Since 1976, 94% of all black Americans murdered have been murdered by other black Americans. George Zimmerman mentored two black children, unpaid, whose father was serving a life sentence for 1st degree murder. Nobody mentions that. Zimmerman is a Democrat who voted for Obama. Nobody mentions that. I am sick and tired of listening to mock-pundits like you, Dredd. You have no clue and you don’t walk the mean streets of our republic. By the way, where was Trayvon’s “family” on the night of his demise. He was kicked out of his mother’s house, and traveled from Miami to Sanford to his father’s latest girlfriend. He was alone that night. Exactly, like the vast majority of black students. Instead of hanging with his family watching the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, he left his father’s girlfriend’s house to purchase some snacks. A troubled teenager was left alone by his “family”. Trayvon had no family. In fact, officials were unable to contact his family for almost 48 hours to claim and identify his body. The real legacy of this case is not a not guilty verdict, but the reluctance of this republic to acknowledge the cultural holocaust which is occurring in our black communities. Finally, I have two words for Al Sharpton: Tawana Brawley. Just sayin’. Over and out.

  15. “Some expert legal analyst believe that 85% of court cases are won and done with the jury selection.” (See wikipedia’s jury selection site).

    Knowing this, is it safe to assume that an all black (or majority black) jurors would have convicted Zimmerman?

    Furthermore, knowing this about the significance of the jury selection, it truly doesn’t matter how much evidence, whether or not the prosecution overcharged this case, or if the prosecution were sloppy or made errors, the case was ‘won and done’ after 5 of 6 jurors were white.

  16. What George Zimmerman Can Do Now
    By Charles P. Pierce
    7/14/13
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_End_Of_The_Daily_Trayvon

    Excerpt:
    Calm is prevailing. For now. At least, that’s something.

    However, in theory, at least, here is what is now possible. Some night very soon, if he so chooses, George Zimmerman can load his piece, tuck it into the back of his pants, climb into his SUV, and drive around Sanford, Florida looking for a**holes and f*cking punks who are walking through neighborhoods where he, George Zimmerman, defender of law and order, doesn’t think they belong. He can drive around Sanford, Florida and check out anyone who is dressed in such a manner as might frighten the average citizen who has been fed a daily diet of “Scary Black Kids” by their local news and by their favorite radio personalities, and who is dressed in such a manner as might seem inappropriate to their surroundings as determined by George Zimmerman, crimebuster. He can drive around Sanford, Florida until he spots an a**hole or a f*cking punk and then he can get out of his SUV, his piece tucked into the back of his pants, and he can stalk the a**hole or the f*cking punk, the one who is in the wrong neighborhood, or who is dressed inappropriately, at least according to George Zimmerman, protector of peace. If the a**hole, or the f*cking punk, turns around and objects to being stalked — or, worse, if the a**hole, or the f*cking punk, decides physically to confront the person stalking him — then George Zimmerman can whip out the piece from the back of his pants and shoot the a**hole, or the f*cking punk, dead right there on the spot. This can happen tonight. That is now possible. Hunting licenses are now available and it’s open season on a**holes, f*cking punks, and kids who wear hoodies at night in neighborhoods where they do not belong, at least according to George Zimmerman, defender of law and order, crimebuster, and protector of the peace, because that is what American society has told George Zimmerman, and all the rest of us, is the just outcome of what happened on one dark and rainy night in February of 2012.

    The judgment, when it finally came, was a dull and predictable thing. Pictures of Trayvon Martin showing off on his Facebook page trumped pictures of him on the ground, blank-staring at the night sky, a hollow point through his chest, the way so many of us hoped they wouldn’t, but suspected they would. It was hard at that moment, when the jury gave George Zimmerman back his gun, to remember that this trial wasn’t supposed to happen at all. The Sanford P.D. was ready to hand Zimmerman back his gun with a fast shuffle until people got into the streets and suggested, loudly, that maybe the circumstances required another look. This is something that should be remembered now by all those sharp guys who talk about how the evidence cut both ways, and about how the prosecution overcharged the defendant, and about how well the defense mounted its case. There wasn’t supposed to be a trial at all. In theory, George Zimmerman could have been back, standing his post, watching for a**holes and f*cking punks, the very next night, according to the original assessment made by local law enforcement. Instead, people who filled George Zimmerman’s fevered definition of a**holes and f*cking punks roamed free, wearing their hoodies at will. The gated communities of Sanford have had to do without his watchful eye, and his ready aim, for longer than the Sanford police thought was suitable a year ago. I am glad the gated communities managed to survive the siege.

    Thought experiments are useless now. Of course, if the races of the two participants were reversed, Trayvon Martin already would have been doing time. Of course, black kids have to walk through a world in which how they’re dressed is evidence against them, and how they behave when profiled by sanctioned (and manifestly incompetent) quasi-vigilantes is different from how all the rest of us are entitled to behave. They are prima facie a**holes and f*cking punks. Of course, black kids can’t win fights without getting shot through the chest. They are supposed to act very politely, speak when spoken to and, maybe, just get off the sidewalk when they come in contact with people like George Zimmerman, who is out on that wall because we want him on that wall. We need him on that wall.

    And, of course, this was not about race because nothing is ever about race. The prosecutors even told us that it wasn’t about race. The defense won its case because this was not about race. The sharp guys and pundits will spend all weekend explaining how race was an element of the events that night, but that the case, ultimately, was not about race. And because this case was not about race, nothing out of our history counts, because our history, here in the land of the free, is not about race, either. Because our history is not about race, a few weeks ago, when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, what happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was not relevant. Because our history is not about race, last night, Emmett Till was not relevant, even though a few people inconveniently brought him up. But that was years ago, and the country has changed, and it is John Roberts’ Day Of Jubilee, and this trial was not about race because nothing is about race any more.

  17. Although I thought GZ was wrong…. Based upon what I read… A MS was the only charge hat was appropriate….. As I said early on… It was a case for the prosecutors to lose….

  18. Had the Sanford police entertained the idea that a crime may have happened instead of simply accepting Zimmerman’s story they may have found evidence that had disappeared by the time charges were laid 44 days later and maybe the trial may have had a different result.

  19. Isn’t the bigger issue here that most African-Americans and poor Defendants almost never receive a jury trial like Zimmerman received? Most poor Defendants are essentially threatened and coerced by prosecutors to accept a plea deal (even if the prosecutor is playing poker and bluffing). Most never receive a jury trial.

    It’s not that Zimmerman didn’t receive a fair trial and the jury ruled correctly, but most African-Americans and poor Defendants don’t receive the presumption of innocence where the burden of proof is on the “accuser” to prove guilt (not the accused).

    For example in the movie “American Violet” about an ACLU case, the police and prosecutors collude to game the system by threatening a single mother with several children with decades in prison. If she pleads “guilty” she is promised no jail time. This is the justice system most African-Americans and minorities experience – a very corrupt one!

  20. SlingT,
    “The best of us will remain here to point out to you the errors in your thinking.”
    —–
    And I’m not going anywhere either

  21. Robert Zimmerman Jr: ‘What Makes People Angry Enough To Attack The Way Trayvon Did?’

    How about…

    Someone follows you in the dark.
    On encounter, you ask them what is going on.
    They don’t give a response that is any way helpful.
    Their hand goes for their waistband. (This is what Zimmerman says he did and demonstrates in Walk-Through and interviews. His hand goes for his right hip when he talks of reaching for his phone. )

    So:
    HANNITY: Yes. You said he started from almost the beginning in that 911 call, you said he came towards you, and he seemed to reach for something in his waistband. Did you think that was a gun?
    ZIMMERMAN: I thought he was just trying to intimidate me.
    HANNITY: To make you think that there is a gun?
    ZIMMERMAN: A weapon.
    HANNITY: Of some kind?
    ZIMMERMAN: Possibly.

    Hmmmmm.
    Perhaps the threat of a gun from a stranger who had followed you in the dark might not be quite sufficient to make you angry enough to attack them, but…

    I put it to you that you would at the very least feel somewhat irritated.

  22. Dismissing a law blog over a high-profile case seems to suggest one wasn’t here for the “law” part to begin with.

    The verdict is what it could only be, given the evidence. And it stands as a blemish on the state of FL for allowing people such as George Zimmerman to walk around with concealed weapons. If I were a parent, Disney would be off the table forever.

    There will be more George Zimmermans and more Travon Martins.

  23. The state overreached in trying to get a murder conviction when IMO at the very most was a voluntary manslaughter incident. The whole episode was ridiculous to begin with to the handling by the local government thugs (aka cops), the media and so fourth.

    Whats funny is idiots to Sharpton, Jackson, Buchanan, Wooldridge and other liberal and conservative race obsessives want to make this a black vs white thing. When in fact Zimmerman is hispanic who aren’t really liked by the race-hustling Sharpton types nor the immigration racial nationalist Buchanan types.

  24. There are many here who constantly, and often legitimately, deride prosecutors for misconduct, including but not limited to, not divulging exculpatory evidence. Even though I worked for a prosecutor’s office, I have always worked to be objective. The record here shows that vis a vis prosecutors. I have been tough on rogue prosecutions and prosecutors. I have always made the point that the tone is set by the lead/chief prosecutor. That is no revelation. The tone in a corporation is set by the CEO. In a school, the principal sets the tone. On a ball team, the coach or manager. The office where I worked the chief was tough and demanding. She would fire a prosecutor for withholding exculpatory evidence. I’ve said this here previously. Mr. Turley has, as he always does, shown intellectual honesty, continually pointing out the unethical way this prosecutor handled exculpatory evidence, and the incredible indifference shown by the trial judge. However, what I’ve not seen are the myriad of commenters who, under virtually any other circumstances would be saying what Mr. Turley has said. An inconvenient truth.

  25. It’s not over by a long “shot” – excuse the pun. The State did not put up a good case as they over charged Zimmerman. Of course he was not guilty of the charges they put up to the all female jury. It’s clearly a civil rights case which the Feds can prosecute and will.

    And why allow a mostly white female jury? These are the same white women that prejudicially grasp their purses when black kids like Trayvon walk by them or get into an elevator with them with nothing more than a baseless fear of skin color and clothing choices. It was doomed to failure by Angela Corey. She is obviously an incompetent state attorney.

    It’s obvious that GZ was not out hunting black kids to shoot. It was intentional but it was obviously a case of racially inspired rage not self-defense. Being that GZ was a MMA student and Trayvon was just a slightly taller skinny child, a gun was not needed. Maybe Trayvon got off a sucker-punch but GZ’s MMA should have kicked in. Bouncing his head off the payment doesn’t sound right. Too bad a polygraph or VSA is inadmissible in Florida courts.

    Corey didn’t even bring in several eye-witnesses who claim they saw a SECOND man there (obviously Frank Taaffe). There where two woman standing in the dark with a flashlight who claim they saw something very different than what GZ is saying. However, SPD and Corey don’t like their testimony. Why??? One is not a citizen. Is that a problem?

    And all of the defense eye and ear witnesses… do they have a financial stake in this? What power does Judge Zimmerman have over them to lie the way they ALL did? The Judge was very powerful back in Virginia and has friends in low and high places. Come on who screams for help when they have a loaded gun??!! Puleezz…! Everyone in the RATL community KNEW he had a gun as he was fired from watch capt by the condo president weeks before the incident at a condo meeting due to that damned gun a federal agent buddy helped him purchase from a Muslim man in town.

    I guess it’s up to FBI’s SAIC Steven E. Ibison now. I hope he has enough evidence to move forward with the federal case against GZ. U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill; and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice – Civil Rights Division, Roy Austin, Jr. will have to take the ball from Corey and do a BETTER job of prosecuting a case.

    A child was killed by a private citizen (not a watch capt) who ILLEGALLY stop and detained the child simply walking home in the rain. If the child had been a 17 year old girl who was of his dad’s race/ethnicity he would not have done this. The issue is NOT that he was armed. It was why did he single out this child and illegally detain him then shoot him when he was fully capable of using his MMA skills against someone he outweighed and out-skilled?

    I posit that the gun was fired by someone else standing there with GZ and helped GZ tamper with evidence by doing self-inflicted head wounds. The whole incident started earlier when GZ claims he saw Trayvon looking in Frank Taaffe’s condo window. Do the math… it doesn’t add up!

  26. @Ross

    “American Violet” is not fiction, it is based on a real case from the town of Hearne. The woman involved took a great risk by refusing the proffered plea and going to trial where the African American presumption of guilt could could have resulted in a long sentence. She was very lucky she or her lawyer found evidence that the snitch involved was unreliable. Most Blacks or poor people who are merely factually innocent take a plea and do not risk the extreme sentences meted out to those who lose a ttrial.

  27. SlingTrebuchet sez, “There is nothing in the Constution that forbids people from being unbelievably stupid or reckless.”

    *************************************************

    Thank goodness! Every single one of us would be criminals if that were the law.

    Many end up dead or injured because of stupidity and/or recklessness. Despite our best efforts, most of us survive, through no fault of our own.

  28. Elaine, that is true. As you notice, I did not specify exactly who might end up dead or injured.

    I suspect every one of our readers could give many horrible examples of cases they know about, where the wrong person ended up dead or maimed.

  29. Re: Nick Spinelli

    You make some great points but you can also have good well-meaning people (cops, prosecutors, judges) working in a bad system that can produce genuinely evil results. Innocent people can be destroyed by this system.

    For example: education/training, budget pressures, political pressures, etc. where doing the right thing can end a career or doing the wrong thing can result in promotion. All officials are human with a family, mortgage, etc. to consider. The system seems totally dysfunctional for regular citizens.

    Not trying to demonize good people, but just trying to solve the problem using facts. Citizens harmed by this system have every right to criticize it.

  30. “Florida’s gun laws, for instance, makes cases like this one likely and even inevitable. Would Zimmerman have left his car and followed Martin without the comfort of the cold steel strapped to his body? It’s unlikely. But
    Florida’s laws are such that the kind of people who want to get out of their car and tail teenagers who scare them can carry guns when they do it, and Florida’s laws are such that if there’s then a confrontation and the gun goes off the person holding the gun is very likely to walk free. Ezra Klein

    If people want something positive to come out of this tragedy change the laws.

  31. This case is an example of what happens when the wrong people have hand guns in their possession. Even if Zimmerman’s claims are true, Is getting a broken nose or punched multiple times an excuse for shooting a gun at point blank range? No, a sane and reasonable person would have pulled the gun and told Martin to back off. He would not have then shot him. Zimmerman is a murderer and was lucky that there were no witnesses to his crime.

  32. Looking forward, hate crimes law will be the basis on the ongoing DOJ civil rights investigation.

    It took years to modify the old hate crimes law:

    Any hate crime — even just this one — would be too many. But in fact, a recent report by the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights found that a hate crime is committed somewhere in America nearly once an hour.

    This is a national disgrace. That’s why today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and I introduced the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, long championed by Senator Ted Kennedy, to tackle the scourge of hate crime in America. Our bipartisan legislation has been stalled in Congress for over a decade, but enough is enough: now is the time to finally expand federal enforcement against hate crimes.


    If passed, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act would strengthen anti-hate crime laws already on the books. Specifically, this long-overdue legislation will:

    * Allow federal authorities to more easily investigate and prosecute crimes motivated by race, color, or beliefs;

    * Update the law to include crimes motivated by disability status, gender, or sexual orientation; and

    * Strengthen federal support for state and local law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of hate-motivated violence.

    Over 300 law enforcement, civil rights, religious, and professional organizations from around the country have weighed in, urging the immediate passage of this measure, as have President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Our legislation also enjoys the bipartisan support of Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe, and others in Congress, but some will likely continue to obstruct its passage unless they hear from us.

    (Leahy Says “Stand Up To Hate Crime” – 3). The quotes are from an email that Senator Leahy sent in 2009.

    The bill passed the Congress and the President signed it (Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act).

  33. Richard Faust – I agree with a lot of your sentiment. However, in defense of Tracey Martin (Trayvon’s dad), how can you vilify him? Trayvon was having trouble in Miami due to being setup by some bad kids at school. Due to the short-sighted Zero Tolerance rules he got some “time off”. He wanted to stay with his dad. Why not? Dad was temporarily living with his fiancee at RATL. It appears that niether Tracey or his fiancee ever attended ANY of the condo meetings. If they did they would have known about Frank Taaffe and George Zimmerman’s cop-wannabe ways and patrolled the condo streets like Wyatt Earp!

    Little did they know the condo president fired GZ weeks before at last condo meeting. However, Frank was appointed watch capt NOT GZ! So what if you let your 17 year old pre-adult go a mile to 711 for snacks in the rain? The RATL condo neighborhood is not a bad one as GZ would have you believe. It’s very upscale. GZ and his sister live there. His sister lives on the very street he claims to the SPD police-officer dispatcher that he didn’t know where he was (huh)?

    GZ was not patrolling but was going to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon looking in Frank’s window (GZ claims) during Trayvon’s return to dad’s common-law home. He calls Frank on his cell phone (and/or FRS walkie-talkie) to inform him. Being the racist P.O.S. Frank is you know what his reaction was. How was Tracey supposed to know this was transpiring?

    I would think Trayvon did this MANY times before without incident. GZ never noticed him as 1) black kids are the so-called invisible people, 2) GZ was staying at home a lot due to his firing by condo prez, 3) GZ is not very good at watch capt and only sees what he wants to see (some reason he never sees the SPD responding to white boys committing burglaries at RATL) which I believe is HIGHER than black boys.

    And I wish people would stop calling GZ Hispanic. His had is Ashkenazim and his mom is a mixed Spaniard and Incan indian from Peru. Spaniard is NOT Hispanic as they are OFFICIALLY Caucasian. GZ is WHITE (Caucasian) by federal standards.

    And to hold Twana Brawley against Sharpton is absurd. He was setup by Twana. He had no intentions of committing a hoax. Twana did. She lied to him. His heart was in the right place. Like his heart is in the right place about Trayvon. I posit that this was a conspiracy by two white men to cover up GZ’s racially inspired rage. The DNA and powder residue evidence suggest that an unsub (unidentified subject) was there and handled and/or fired the gun. Of course GZ is psychologically predisposed to unethical behavior and violence (per his documented history). He is covering for the unsub by not fingering the unsub friend (i.e. Frank Taaffe IMHO).

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

    Factually FALSE. FOUR witnesses had gz on top, most of them identified the calling for help was by a child. Only John Good, the one whose testimony was slanted by his “rational thinking” put Trayvon on top and said it might have been gz calling for help b/c, according to his “rational thinking” he was the one on the bottom.
    ————————–
    “Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel. Jeantel was a disaster, admitting to lying previously under oath and giving conflicted testimony. She also stated that just as Zimmerman was accused of calling Martin a derogatory name, Martin called Zimmerman a ‘cracker.'”

    Misleading. Rachel lied about two things that had NOTHING to do with the case. Her testimony was consistent. I thought she did an outstanding job given that she was put through 7 hours of condescending, nasty cross examination. IF she was such a liar why did West throw down his pen in disgust and quit b/c he couldn’t shake her basic story that gz what the instigator? As she explained, “crazy ass cracker” is slang and denotes a pervert.

    JT’s characterization of Rachel suggests that he has trouble hearing her. Is it her gender? her race? her class? Especially when he seems to believe all of gz’s many, many lies that go to the heart of the matter.
    ————————–
    ” It also led to allegations of withholding key evidence from the defense to deny its use at trial”

    The defense made many allegations while trying the case in the media. The defense had evidence but didn’t want to admit it. O’Mara had a press conference every day of the trial. His office was feeding false or misleading information to Rene Stutzman of the Orlando Sentinal on a nearly daily basis.

    The termination letter to Kruidbos at http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2013/pdf/7/13/kruidbos.ltr.pdf may be enlightening.
    —————————
    “While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood. 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.”

    Anyone following me as gz followed Trayvon, would have me calling the cops. But then I’m an old white woman who usually sees the cops as friends, not a Black teen who probably sees his friends getting stopped by the cops for WWB.
    ———————————
    “A juror could not simply assume Zimmerman was the aggressor.”

    Well, I guess this is true if they dismiss the only testimony of the only witness as you have done.

    Why am I still here? I left my computer on with another thread open. Seems I have been deleted from the email list. Several new posts and no email. Guess I’m not supposed to be able to change my mind.

  35. Prof. Turley has goofed. Sling and bettykath have discovered the real reason that the prosecution lost. The defense had a very strong expert, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert, to help prove the defendant’s case. But, as Sling and bettykath have discovered through their own analysis based on own their own extensive forensic pathology and gunshot wound expertise, the injuries were caused by Zimmerman’s own gun recoiling, not from Martin’s blows. The prosecution was obviously too stupid to see this or they were too lazy to go out and shop around for an expert of their own.

    Here is the defendant’s expert:

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

    But who was the prosecution’s expert? They were just too dumb and lazy. So that, Prof. Turley was the fatal flaw in the prosecution’s case. Had they simply gone out and got an expert, the case would have been a slam-dunk for them.

  36. The problem, to me, seems ot be stand your ground. The jury has spoken (although have to see what comes of the hate crimes/civil rights violation prosecution if it goes forward.)
    I just keep reminding myself not guilty doesn’t mean innocent.

  37. @ Jonathan Turley
    “While many have criticized Zimmerman for following Martin, citizens are allowed to follow people in their neighborhood…

    2012 Florida Statutes / Title XLVI / CRIMES / Chapter 784 / 784.048 “Stalking”

    “stalking” Verb
    1. Pursue or approach stealthily: “a cat stalking a bird”.
    2. Harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention: “the fan stalked the actor”.

    In what world are “citizens” allowed to follow (aka stalk) people for questionable reasons? – Sheldon Cooper Big Bang Theory

  38. ” But the police were very honest. ”

    Give me a break.
    Raimondo, yes.

    Tim Smith’s testimony was not consistent with his report.

    Ayala’s testimony was not consistent with his report.

    Singleton suddenly appeared as a witness to Tracy Martin’s listening to the tape and close enough to hear him but wasn’t seen by either Tracy Martin or Serino.

    Serino tried to tell all but he wasn’t asked the right questions. Did he believe gz? Well, yes or he’s a “complete pathological liar”. A lot of questions were “at that time” which was early in the investigation. He wasn’t asked what he believed just before the case was taken from him. Fact is, Serino did 3 drafts for charges. The first two were for M2, the last for manslaughter. Also, what didn’t come out is that Serino, while interviewing witnesses, was telling them that it was gz doing all the yelling, not the child that they heard. The witnesses were able to sort this out in their FDLE interviews.

  39. Ralph – sweetie – relax.

    You might have missed the bit where I said that the recoil thing was not an article of faith.
    I merely noted that *the particular gun* (as opposed to guns that you might have fired) had a significant kick. This is very clearly demonstrated in the video that I linked.
    It struck me (no pun intended) that as Zimmemrman would have had to hold that gun one-handed right in front of his face in “the grip from Hell” then the whack on the nose might have been the gun whacking the back of his hand.

    Why did the prosecution not explore this?
    Well, it’s not actually a show-stopper item. Zimmerman had other injuries.
    Not that I am saying they made that judgement. I doubt if they made any intelligent judgements.

    A guy playing Falstaff in a badly-written Shakesperian drama doesn’t do intelligent judgements. He does shouting. He weeps. He bestrides the stage waving his arms. He’s AWESOME!!

  40. There’s plenty of evidence that Zimmerman lied. That’s evidence that he committed murder. He had no reason to lie, other than that he was trying to cover up the fact that he committed murder.

    There’s no evidence that Zimmerman was even close to being in danger of his life, no solid physical evidence, other than hired witness testimony and his own taped testimony. Root? That guy has an associates degree and isn’t an “expert” in anything. They got him to testi-lie about all sorts of things, including his unsupported claim that Zimmerman had no other choice.

    Judge Nelson also gave bad jury instructions. One very important point: she left out is the fact that according to Florida law if you are the initial aggressor, you DO have to retreat and you have to take all efforts to withdraw before using deadly force. This was not explained to the jury. Listen here: http://pd.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/wesun/2013/07/20130714_wesun_11.mp3?dl=1

    Zimmerman lied repeatedly. His story’s details fluctuated and escalated to make Trayvon seem like the typical “angry black male,” even inserting one “homie” from Trayvon in one retelling, even though Rachel Jeantell said Trayvon referred to Zimmerman as a ‘creepy ass cracka.’ It’s a stereotypical sounding usage of the term “homie” from Zimmerman, as if all black people walk around saying “homie.”

    Where’s the DNA on Trayvon? No blood from Zimmerman’s profusely bleeding nose? All washed away, yet Zimmerman’s blood stayed on? Where’s the DNA on the gun? Important: The gun was re-holstered and underneath Zimmerman’s jacket so it wasn’t magically washed clean by the light drizzly rain like Trayvon’s hands.

    Minimal injuries to Zimmerman after he had his head supposedly pounded onto concrete– making him feel like his “head was going to explode,” a phrase he made sure he repeated exactly verbatim in key places– a dozen times? (Funny that Zimmerman’s story kept changing but he always made sure to clearly mention that his head ‘felt like it was going to explode.’) If you pound someone’s head a dozen times on concrete with the force that Trayvon– that powerful, angry black male– was alleged to have had, you don’t think there would be greater injuries? No headaches? No dizziness? George just gets up and walks just fine? I know I would be having my head x-rayed the next day or even that night. Oh wait, George was within an inch of losing his life because his skull was being pounded on the concrete yet he never got x-rays? He wasn’t worried about internal bleeding? Nobody in his family demanded or insisted he go get them?

    There’s no evidence to backup Zimmerman’s claim that he feared for his life. Well, he might have imagined that he feared for his life, but there’s no evidence that a reasonable person would fear for their life in these circumstances.

    There are other things we can talk about that make this case easily a conviction.

    And yes, citizens are “allowed to follow people in their neighborhood.” But let’s be clear: George did not SIMPLY follow Trayvon. He followed him for what to Trayvon must have seemed like an eternity. Put yourself in Trayvon’s shoes. You just go to the store. On your way back, cutting through pathways that all the teenagers and neighborhood kids use, some guy starts following you in his vehicle, clearly watching you. He doesn;t introduce himself. He doesn’t say ‘hi.’ he’s glaring at you. Pulls into the clubhouse and parks. Then pulls out and follows you some more. Your friend on the phone suggests he’s a rapist– she doesn’t explicitly say ‘gay’ but maybe that’s the implication. A pedophile/rapist kidnapper. Those do actually exist in the real world. Men who prey on young boys. So Trayvon is freaking out. The incident ends with the guy parking his vehicle, getting out, and– by Rachel Jeantel’s version of events– it sounds like Zimmerman jumped on or somehow accosted Trayvon. What if Trayvon fought back? He was certainly also Standing His Ground. What if as Zimmerman got close to Trayvon, Trayvon struck a pre-emptive blow? Trayvon would have been defending himself against what he perceived to be as a threat– a man who outweighed him by 50 pounds has been following him in his vehicle and actually got out of his car to confront Trayvon. in those circumstances, Trayvon is clearly defending himself from a reasonably perceived threat.

    In most normal jurisdictions and neighborhoods and cities in America, under these circumstances, it would be the person doing the following who would be a suspect of potential criminal activity, following closely someone you don’t know. In my city, it would be Zimmerman who the cops would be called on to talk to. he would be the one doing the explaining.

    I could go through the long list of lies in Zimmerman’s interviews and versions of events.

    A good one is his claim in the Hannity interview that he had never heard of Stand Your Ground law. This was simply a flat-out lie. He took a community college course on the law in which they specifically discussed the Stand Your ground law. It wasn’t simply mentioned in passing either. It was covered in some depth and discussion. But even if you might say he simply forgot it, that is just not plausible: he was very interested in the law and legal matters. he was highly motivated to remember the material on a personal level. He even got an A in the course and the professor clearly remembered him. Just a flat-out lie that he had not even heard of SYG.

    I could go on. There are other lies, other details. We could also talk about how the 5 white women probably come from conservative families, given that this community is conservative and mostly white. Were they in fear of what might happen if they went back to their probably conservative lives? I’m sure the one minority on the jury was probably worried about little details like losing her job or being threatened by co-workers. We could talk about how in Florida , under Stand Your Ground cases, if the victim is black, the killer goes free 73% of the time, while if the victim is white it’s only 59%. That’s a huge statistical difference. Read more: http://t.co/1g6HTqINM8

    But for a law professor like Turley to be completely dismissive of the prosecutions case is ridiculous, and i don’t blame anyone for not wanting to come back to this blog.

  41. “Dismissing a law blog over a high-profile case seems to suggest one wasn’t here for the “law” part to begin with.”

    Lots of (false) assumptions in that statement.

  42. “black kids are the so-called invisible people” (sonofthunderboanerges)

    The “invisibility” factor. There are those who recognize it and those who don’t. I have found it to be the one true test of racial bias and closeted white privilege thinking and it runs rampant throughout this case … especially within the various analysis offered. The Feds will shine a light on it or they won’t depending on the level of skill the prosecutors bring to the table.

    Once Zimmerman is taken outside the parameters of that very bad Florida law in which he’s sheltered, this case becomes real.

    That’s why Zimmerman Sr. published his e-book and Zimmerman Jr. is race baiting. They have to get the white privilege ball rolling, keep the cloak of invisibility fastened over the body of Martin and maintain the status quo. Otherwise poor George could be facing a whole lot of brotherly love.

  43. Ralph Adamo – NOWHERE can I find where Sling and Betty Kath saying ANYTHING about Kel Tec PF9 recoil hitting GZ in the face. Where were you going with this? If anything it has a failure to eject problem not massive recoil. Also GZ probably self-inflicted his wounds or had a unsub do it. The prosecution said he didn’t have enough blood stains on his clothing (actually none) to support his claim of death-dealing blows to the concrete walkway. Here’s a video on the Kel Tec PF9 (GZ’s gun he is getting back soon – BTW!!!) – BTW Dr. Vincent DiMaio was proven wrong in the Robert Perry suicide case March 29, 2001. So he is either too ambiguous or wrong in the Trayvon Martin murder case.

  44. It’s amazing that people would accuse the Prof. of allowing his feelings about race to affect his view of the law; that people would accuse him of being racist is even more amazing. I can’t argue with the Prof. that based on the law as written, the charges as drawn, or the prosecutors case as argued, GZ should be found not guilty. (I’m also surprised nobody has suggested the prosecutors may have tanked the case by overcharging.) But I disagree with his earlier contention that criminal cases make poor vehicles for developing social policy. This case could have spoken loud and clearly about the responsibilities and obligations under conceal/carry.

    I suspect Zimmerman’s actions that night had less to do with race than with power and respect, and he probably focused on Martin because of his age as much as his race. GZ strikes me as a marginal individual with self-esteem issues who thought his gun would get him some special status – it certainly did. He pulled it as the ultimate power play and one thing led to another. Martin’s dead, GZ will be marked for life, probably with a target on his back, and he might be coming to a town near you some time in the near future.

    The lawyers here will argue the about the fine points of the law, from the particulars to the specifics of this case, and higher philosophical meanings in the law; that’s understandable – lawyers will talk about legal maneuvers and judicial interpretations the same way ball players will analyze pitchers and umpires. My interest is on what this case means for the general issue of guns. I see this case as the first couple of pages of a new chapter for the handgun in America.

    There is an arming of American society taking place, now that nearly every state has adapted some form of a conceal/carry law. With every new tragedy, gun buyers flock to buy guns. The Zimmerman case fits neatly with the NRA’s position that there aren’t enough guns in society and the jury’s verdict advances the cause for ordinary citizens carrying a gun. Flooding a country as sharply divided as the U.S. with guns, is a bad enough of an idea without taking testosterone, anger, and stupidity into consideration. As if we don’t already lead the rest of the world in gun deaths. Bar fights? They’ll be a thing of the past once everybody’s carrying – not. As a few posters have noted, there’s going to be more of these tragedies because of this verdict, as more vigilantes take to the streets with visions of Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” in their heads. The question in my mind, as GZ crawls back under his rock, is what can be done about restoring some sanity to the gun laws before we go from, “Have a nice day” to, “Make my day.”

  45. chill1184,

    You are wrong Hispanic is not a race. His roots are Peruvian which is Spanish which is white on his mother’s side and white on his father’s side. Guess what race that makes him?

  46. 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

  47. I always admired the way a good lawyer could divorce their emotions and external stimulus when evaluating a case. I think such dispassion build better law. But this is a case designed to inflame passions (in no small part because the deciding law itself is the child of passion not reason). I don’t like your opinion but it is probably the correct one.

    There is little doubt in my mind that the jury made the only decision they could if they followed the crappy little law of that crappy little state. The crappy little law would allow me to commit a violent crime and if confronted claim I was in fear for my life and kill the person who was trying to stop me. That was not the stated objective but it is the reality as enforced.

    While I have no proof I do not think this result was unintended. In a world of shoot first ask questions later your best option is to be armed & to shoot first. Had Martin carried a gun & killed Zimmerman he would have been protected by the same crappy little law. The NRA and their owners could not be happier as it should generate more gun sales in a market already over-saturated and with an ever dwindling number of customers. For years the number of gun sales have been up but the number of people buy has been down, There has to be a limit to the number even the most paranoid of owners can possibly own. The manufactures need to amp up the fear beyond 11 to 12 or 13 & cases like these are just the trick they need.

  48. blouise17

    Most people consider Hispanic separate from black and white. For years clowns like Sharpton and Jackson among others have screamed about the “plight” hispanics “suffer” from “white oppression”. Conversely plaeoconservative racial nationalists like Pat Buchanan, The Coalition of Conservative Citizens and Frosty Wooldridge among others dont see hispanics as white but apart of the “white genocide” ploy by liberal elites.

    Point is that people are turning this into a race issue which it’s not.

  49. What a lot of folks have missed and it seems fairly obvious….. This case was not about race…. Race had nothing todo with it….. It was the carrot…. If I take all of the facts into consideration…. It was a case about gun rights…. And the stand your ground laws….. I am not a proponent of stand your ground by any stretch of the imagination….. The castle doctrine works for me….. But to turn it into race…. Come on….. It’s a carrot….no one wins when you race bait…. People dig in their heels and say come on….

  50. How so betkath….. I’m interested to hear your take on that statement…. There are lots f fair weather folks around….. I hope you’re not one of them….

  51. RTC,

    It’s not ok to criticize blond blue eyed white adults for insulting a Black teen.

    It’s ok to dismiss the Black teen’s testimony when she lied about her age b/c she wanted media protection and why she didn’t go to the funeral out of respect for the victim’s mother, while at the same time not offering a word of criticism about the white killer’s multiple lies.

    It’s ok for the white killer to stalk the Black teen b/c it’s legal to follow you neighbors. Would JT make the same argument if it were his daughter in Trayvon’s place? Would she have the right to ask gz why he was following her? Would she have the right sucker punch him? (This does not suggest that I believe Trayvon did.) Would she have the right to pull a gun and shoot him? (Trayvon didn’t have a gun).

  52. sonofthunderboanerges wrote: “And I wish people would stop calling GZ Hispanic. His had is Ashkenazim and his mom is a mixed Spaniard and Incan indian from Peru. Spaniard is NOT Hispanic as they are OFFICIALLY Caucasian. GZ is WHITE (Caucasian) by federal standards.”

    You are mixing apples and oranges here. Hispanic is not based upon race but language. Hispanic means related to a Spanish speaking people or culture. Zimmerman primarily spoke Spanish in his home, except in the presence of his English speaking father. Therefore, he is Hispanic.

    From Oxford Dictionary:
    ▶ adjective of or relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, esp. those of Latin America.
    • of or relating to Spanish-speaking people or their culture, esp. in the US.

    ▶ noun a Spanish-speaking person living in the US, esp. one of Latin American descent.

  53. @Blouise – As you and I probably already know… the FBI SAIC (Ibison [Tampa Field Office]) has already taken GZ (and wife Shellie) into P.C. under the USMS WITSEC program (authorized by USAG Holder). Another abuse of tax-payer dollars as he is NOT actually a Federal witness but a potential federal defendant with international flight-risk. I’m sure their passports were lifted again. He’ll be allowed to keep the Kel Tec as his life isn’t worth a plumb nickel right now (See Malik Zulu Shabazz in the news – another GZ bounty in the works?).

    I’m sure they have him squirreled away in a safe house in West Bumf**ck USA. His new name is probably John Q. Public or something now. I hope he behaves himself unlike Sammy “The Bull” Gravano didn’t do under WITSEC – (LOL)

  54. chill1184,

    Your claim is based on a premise that was proven false in five short words: Hispanic is not a race.

  55. Rafflaw:

    “This case is an example of what happens when the wrong people have hand guns in their possession.”

    Could you explain who the right people might be? Or at least what the universe of wrong people would include?

  56. Legal rationality is as distinctive (when it is done critically and objectively) as a Medical diagnosis and prognosis…like it or not, here are the material facts: and what decisions can be made from them directly. This does not call for conjecture and speculative insinuation. Black individuals know all too well how courts can distort facts, but they also well know that the truth becomes very relative in regards to the most desirable outcome.

    It is unfortunate that some people can not tolerate objective concerns and continue to discuss or oppose them intelligently without attacking the person (ad hominum fallacy). The mass trend has been not only to personalize this socially with abject condemnations and broad sweeping allegations of race being the only single issue in this tragic event. From the start there was an outcome waiting for a trial, and as the trial ended it is clear that there is an appeal to higher justice that borders upon something far greater than this single event. The country is cooking under austerity and poverty, crime as well as extreme violence is epidemic as weapons marketing and illegal gun running have become domestic industries.

    It would be interesting to see an accounting of how many teens have been shot in the past year without provocation or unjustly. I am certain that the numbers would speak loudly as to how deeply this problem really has become. It is not just racially biased, it is demographically, economically and politically disconnected and distorted at its very base by crime and prejudice (of all kinds).

  57. sonofthunderboanerges,

    I loove it! The white privilege folk are popping out of the closet. They thought all those bad laws they put in place in 20 some odd states were going to help maintain the status quo keeping the invisible folk invisible.

  58. Remember the black woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun into the air to ward off her husband when she felt threatened:

    “The Florida criminal justice system has sent two clear messages today,” Brown said afterward. “One is that if women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves, the `Stand Your Ground Law’ will not apply to them. … The second message is that if you are black, the system will treat you differently.”

    (Huffington Post).

  59. RTC wrote: “The Zimmerman case fits neatly with the NRA’s position that there aren’t enough guns in society and the jury’s verdict advances the cause for ordinary citizens carrying a gun.”

    Perhaps we should consider advancing society toward open carry laws instead of the concealed carry laws like we presently have in Florida. If Zimmerman were openly carrying his weapon instead of having his weapon concealed as per Florida law, would Martin have started a fight with him (if that is what happened)? In the so-called Wild West days of the past, the murder rate was lower.

    Some have suggested that Zimmerman was emboldened by carrying his weapon. I disagree. I have a concealed weapons permit here in Florida, and if I carry my weapon, I am less emboldened because of the responsibility I have for carrying that firearm. Zimmerman apparently carries his weapon everywhere. I have a son-in-law who does that, especially to movie theaters. For myself, I am more reluctant to carry because if someone has a beef with me, I would be reluctant to use my weapon against him, and so all I would be doing is providing a weapon for my enemy to use against me. I would be more likely to carry is if I am in a situation with family members where I would be responsible for their protection. I do not trust police or sheriffs to be able to do that. They usually show up after the event. In Zimmerman’s case, I think he would feel a greater degree of responsibility by carrying, and if he only retrieved his weapon at the point when he believed he was about to be killed, as he claims, that illustrates responsible gun ownership.

  60. “Another abuse of tax-payer dollars as he is NOT actually a Federal witness but a potential federal defendant with international flight-risk.” (sonofthunderboanerges)

    Unless (she whispers), he’s giving somebody up.

  61. Richard Faust 1, July 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Shut up, Dredd! …
    ====================================
    If you say so there fiesty.

    “Some of my best friends are …”:

    Any hate crime — even just this one — would be too many. But in fact, a recent report by the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights found that a hate crime is committed somewhere in America nearly once an hour.

    This is a national disgrace.

    (Leahy Says “Stand Up To Hate Crime” – 3). What hate crimes Wally?

  62. Dredd quoted: “The Florida criminal justice system has sent two clear messages today,” Brown said afterward. “One is that if women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves, the `Stand Your Ground Law’ will not apply to them. … The second message is that if you are black, the system will treat you differently.”

    Which is a very bad analysis based upon bigotry against white leadership and an inappropriate appreciation for the Stand Your Ground law (which I support fully as a very good law for the average citizen). In the past, when someone attacked you, you had a good chance of going to jail just for defending yourself or someone else. The Stand Your Ground law allows justice to take place, as in this case with Zimmerman.

    In Marissa Alexander’s case, it is clear that the Stand Your Ground law works. She retreated only to return again with a weapon and use it against someone who was begging her to put down the weapon.

    I do not agree with the mandatory minimum sentencing for this or any other crimes. The whole purpose of having a Judge is because laws are not just when they are blindly applied to all circumstances. The minimum sentencing laws come about because people get tired of inadequate Judges who are too lenient with dangerous criminals, and when that criminal goes out and hurts or kills someone else, much of society gets upset about why that person was released in the first place. Minimum sentencing laws are IMO the legislature usurping the role of the Judicial branch of government.

  63. My mother, my mother-in-law, and myself were all born in the same hospital in San Juan, PR. I don’t not have a Spanish sir name, and people are often surprised that I have this background. My wife, after watching the testimony of Zimmerman’s mother and uncle quipped, ” Too bad for him he didn’t have his mother’s maiden name when all this started.” I think she’s more than a little right. I assume one of the civil suits that Zimmerman my pursue as a plaintiff, which his attorneys alluded to the other day, would be against the network that purposely edited an early phone call to make Zimmerman appear patently racist. There are much broader protections for the media in defamation suits but I can’t see any justification for the edit than to purposely and recklessly portray Zimmerman as a racist.

    Ever since the major networks merged their news and entertainment divisions their primary goal has been to sensationalize the news. This has been going on for 2 decades now and people seem to forget that the public is not viewed as a vessel to be enlightened but merely a demographic to be marketed to the media buyers at add agencies.

    Many outraged posters on this blog and elsewhere have speculated what would have happened if the race of Martin and Zimmerman were reversed. This is always presented as black and white. As of today I’ve read articles that reference Zimmerman as “:identifying himself” as Hispanic. They can’t get off the white vs. black narrative. The closest they will now come is describing him as “white Hispanic” (will they ever say Obama “identifies himself as African-American”?, or ridiculously call him white African-American?) La Raza has been (not curiously at all when you think about it) practically silent on the issue. Smart to sit this one out me thinks.

    What I think would be more interesting is not to switch the race of Zimmerman and Martin, but to simply ask what would happen if Martin was white. I can see some of the usual suspects coming forth at that point to say, hey Hispanics have a right to defend themselves. With his school history and apparent participation in a “fight club” the he’d be called Tyler Derden, and Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and crew would be pointing out that the gang problem is not just a black problem, because you see here’s a white thug who jumped a decent Hispanic man who was just trying to protect his neighborhood, and smashed that poor Hispanic man’s face in.

    I won’t say I “know” this would happen, or I’m “certain” this would happen. Too many people have made fools of themselves on this blog saying it’s absolutely certain that Martin couldn’t have been on Zimmerman, or it’s absolutely certain the recoil of the gun cause Zimmerman’s injuries, or it’s absolutely certain Zimmerman is a racist stalker etc etc etc.

    Today it comes out that the prosecutor in this case has fired the person who leaked to the defense that the State was knowingly withholding evidence. Great. The Supreme Court in the last year has made certain that prosecutors are virtually immune from any personal liability for this. This entire episode would have been less of a farce if a mob had just thrown Zimmerman into a volcano. Today while driving to court I had to hear from the professional martyr machine how this case illustrates the open season on young black men. I left the criminal court building in Chicago about an hour ago and I can tell you for “certain” that 99% of the men killing young black men are other young black men.

    But we are geniuses in this country at pointing out the demons in others while ignoring our own. A Jew? White? Hispanic? Is now the boogie man and newest poster child for violence against young black men. While politically correct it’s morally (and mathematically) ridiculous.

    At the time the president made his famous statement about Trayvon looked like his hypothetical son, I defended him to those who accused the president of race baiting. The problem was at the time the nation had been told by the media (who had been spoon fed there info by the Martin family’s attorney’s p.r. machine) that Zimmerman was never arrested and had no injuries. We now know he was in handcuffs within seconds of the police arriving and had injuries consistent with being beaten. I suspect the president might have stayed out of this one had he had better info.

  64. davidm2575 – I don’t disagree with you. Either I misstated my position or you misunderstood my posting. I’m actually criticizing uninformed people who call GZ Hispanic implying that he is not 99.9% Caucasian. I know what the Hispanic ethnonym means and how the feds interpret it too. They (and I) don’t say it’s related to race but Spaniard or Latin-American origins.

    GZ’s mom, Gladys Meza, was from Lima(?) Peru. Her ancestors are Spainard Conquistadors (whites) and the Andean-Incas (native American) who hid from them in Cuzco mountains in 15th or 16th century. GZ has never been to Peru. Judge Zimmerman is not a native speaker like his wife is. If GZ did speak Spanish he probably only spoke to his mom with what little he knew. He didn’t have much practice in the real world as GZ was known as a English speaker. I’m pretty sure he’s not fluent but can carry on a broken-Spanish conversation. In Florida the dialect is based on mainly Cuban and/or Carribean Spanish. Mexicans and Peruvians have trouble in understanding Spanish slang words developed on the US Eastern seaboard. For instance “cabron” has a totally different connotation to Mexicans and Peruvians. The word is the same but the “insult” is taken or not taken based on your location in USA.

    All I’m saying is that GZ is mainly Caucasian. Ashkenazim Jews are originally from that area of the world too… the Caucasus region of Russia, not Israel as some falsely think. Dad is 100% Ashkenazim. They are NOT middle-eastern by origin, as other Jewish ethnic groups are.

  65. I sympathize with folks who are considering abandoning this blog. As one commenter asserted, the “neo-confederates” have moved in.

    For me, it’s not the blog posts, which are overwhelmingly intelligent and articulate. It’s the readership.

    Reading the racial/ethnic/whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, fear and hatred expressed by a growing number of commenters is not conducive to mental health and well-being.

    I am filled with revulsion at the antebellum attitudes I see here. I’d rather not be so angry. Lashing out at stupidity and racism probably doesn’t help.

    The hideous situation in Florida is used as an excuse to express very thinly-veiled contempt upon the descendants of former slaves. No veil at all, in some cases.

    Justice Roberts, who wrote that the South has changed, should read the comments here. It’s not just the South, of course. The cancer has spread.

  66. Blouise 1, July 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    “Another abuse of tax-payer dollars as he is NOT actually a Federal witness but a potential federal defendant with international flight-risk.” (sonofthunderboanerges)

    Unless (she whispers), he’s giving somebody up.

    Dammit’ girl get off my frequency! (LMAO)

    I did not think of that! You are absolutely right. I don’t even follow my own unsub-analysis! That’s age-related I think. (LOL)

  67. Sono, you say “Ralph Adamo – NOWHERE can I find where Sling and Betty Kath saying ANYTHING about Kel Tec PF9 recoil hitting GZ in the face.”

    Sling and bettykath explored this theory on Prof. Turley’s Zimmerman article immediately preceding this one.

    I am now thoroughly convinced that they are correct and that Dr. Vincent DiMaio was wrong and that most of Zimmerman’s facial injuries were caused by the recoil when he fired his 19mm automatic and his own hand then struck his own nose. When Martin pounced on Zimmerman, Martin did not attempt to strike Zimmerman and simply remained on top of him, taking a much needed snooze after his late-night search for candy and ice tea.

    I am also now thoroughly convinced that the prosecution was not actually stupid or lazy in failing to get a qualified forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert of their own to refute Dr, DiMaio obvioulsy incorrect conclusions. They simply couldn’t find such an expert.

    These kinds of experts are very difficult to find. For example, long ago, when JFK was assasinated, the US Government was desperately searching for a forensic medical examiner so that an autopsy could be performed in one of the most important murder cases of all time. But they could find nobody qualified, and had to make do with Capt. James J. Humes, who had absolutely no experience whatsoever with gunshot wounds before, and the JFK assasination was his first. However, it was a great learning experience for him, and though he made a lot of mistakes, it didn’t really matter because, after all, everybody knew that Oswald must have done it because the US Government said so, and they would have no reason to lie.

    In any case, such experts as Dr. Dimaio are really hard to find, and I’m sure that the prosecution did all they could to try to find somebody to testify. They may have even tried to get in contact with Capt. James Humes himself for assistance, but, unfortunately, Capt. Humes died in 1999. Thus, the prosecution was hamstrung, and unable to even present Sling’s YouTube video shown above as compelling, cogent, and undeniable evidence supporting the prosecution because they couldn’t find anybody to authenticate it.

  68. sonofthunderboanerges,

    Yeah, well, I followed your unsub-analysis to a logical conclusion and don’t use the age thing on me … I’m 68!

    BTW … the term, mestizaje, might be helpful when trying to explain things to the white privileged mind set.

  69. Blouise 1, July 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    sonofthunderboanerges,

    I loove it! The white privilege folk are popping out of the closet. They thought all those bad laws they put in place in 20 some odd states were going to help maintain the status quo keeping the invisible folk invisible.

    What’s funny about the Florida SYG it was Gov Jeb Bush’s baby. Judging how racist he was with him and Katherine throwing black presidential votes in the trash for his brother Dubya’ you’d think he would be supporting GZ. He is not. He says GZ’s case fails to meet the criteria of Florida SYG.

    Black men are “invisible” when they are obeying the rules as the elite feel they don’t matter unless they are in the service of them (i.e. fast food, service industry, janitorial, bus drivers, etc.) They don’t see Dr. Huxtabal (Bill Cosby?) in Florida. But let them be in a gray hoodie on a dark rainy day at RATL! Bang bang bang – oh sorry there was only one round – my bad! NOT INVISIBLE enough I guess!

  70. Blouise 1, July 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    sonofthunderboanerges,

    Yeah, well, I followed your unsub-analysis to a logical conclusion and don’t use the age thing on me … I’m 68!

    BTW … the term, mestizaje, might be helpful when trying to explain things to the white privileged mind set.

    I was thinking mestizaje or mestigo but I didn’t want to have to explain it. I wasn’t too sure I understood it too well either. But we are of like minds.

    68! Wow you got me beat! (LOL) John O. Brennan (I’m sure you know who that is) and Bruce Wyllys are all the same age. And we were in NJ H.S.’s concurrently – no lie! Bruce and I were in the same county concurrently. John was further north thinking up ways to get Nikola Tesla’s “robot plane” idea off the ground literally (LOL) – i.e. General Atomics MQ-1?

  71. The MEDIA seems to be the big problem, they keep poking the hornets nest to make news for profit. Anyone that bothers to collect the facts will know the facts. How many incited to riot people are really interested in the case except to benefit themselves whether it be political, financial or anything else? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, our public officials and anyone else that is trying to incite a riot when their is no reason should be dealt with by the people. We need more people like Dr. Carson to lead us.

  72. sonofthunderboanerges,

    “Black men are “invisible” when they are obeying the rules as the elite feel they don’t matter unless they are in the service of them (i.e. fast food, service industry, janitorial, bus drivers, etc.)” … and women

    Hey man, walking the path of the white privileged always gets noticed and laws are written to justify removing one from that path … and those laws alway have good cover. That’s why the Florida’s self defense aspect of SYG only applied to Zimmerman … not Martin. Invisibility reaffirmed.

  73. Ralph Adamo – The sarcasm was not necessary. I already agree with you that Ms. Corey screwed up. Yes Dr. Henry Lee from CT would have wiped DiMaio out on the stand. “Sumtin’ es’ not right in Sanfold’ Froida’ ” – sorry for the Sino-pejorative-mocking, but honest to God, that’s how he talks! He is the quintessential Charlie Chan. Arguably the world’s best forensic scientist.

    DiMaio was at best ambiguous in this case. Couldn’t say which way Martin was leaning toward – backward or forward. I say he was on his knees execution style with NO ONE under him. As Whitey Bolger will tell you people like that ALWAYS beg for their lives like a child in that scenario!

    If I had that same multimedia software they used at the UN to convince us of Saddam Hussien’s WMD (i.e. Colon Powell?) I could really show you my unsub-analysis better. I wish I knew what that guy in court used for animation.

  74. davidm2575 1, July 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Dredd quoted: “The Florida criminal justice system has sent two clear messages today,” Brown said afterward. “One is that if women who are victims of domestic violence try to protect themselves, the `Stand Your Ground Law’ will not apply to them. … The second message is that if you are black, the system will treat you differently.”
    ==================================
    Yes, the quote was a quote of a congress woman who was there in the court room at sentencing.

    The Florida law should be named “Stand Your White Ground” in the eyes of a growing number of people.

  75. Bettykath,

    I believe JT’s analysis is an outcome of the evidence, as presented, as it collates with the law as it sits on the page, all personal feelings aside. Of course he’d place his personal feelings over legal reasoning if the victim was someone he knew well. He’d also strenuously argue for conviction, if that’s what he was charged to do as a lawyer. But he doesn’t know the victim and he’s not the prosecutor; he’s just doing his thing as a professor and telling you how he sees it.

    If you think his opinion is colored by race, then that says more about you than it does about him. The man’s a lawyers’ lawyer and he puts his personal feelings away before giving a legal opinion the way Mr. Rogers changed into a sweater at the start of his show.

    Personally, I think GZ should have been convicted of something; I think he’s liar and he was dong something wrong that night. I see now where he’s giving interviews claiming God had a plan for him. Well, I hope he’s able to clarify what that plan is real soon.

  76. The list is long and deep. In 2012 alone, police officers, security guards or vigilantes took the lives of 136 unarmed black men and women—at least twenty-five of whom were killed by vigilantes. In ten of the incidents, the killers were not charged with a crime, and most of those who were charged either escaped conviction or accepted reduced charges in exchange for a guilty plea. And I haven’t included the reign of terror that produced at least 5,000 legal lynchings in the United States, or the numerous assassinations—from political activists to four black girls attending Sunday school in Birmingham fifty years ago.

    The point is that justice was always going to elude Trayvon Martin, not because the system failed, but because it worked. Martin died and Zimmerman walked because our entire political and legal foundations were built on an ideology of settler colonialism—an ideology in which the protection of white property rights was always sacrosanct; predators and threats to those privileges were almost always black, brown, and red; and where the very purpose of police power was to discipline, monitor, and contain populations rendered a threat to white property and privilege. This has been the legal standard for African Americans and other racialized groups in the U.S. long before ALEC or the NRA came into being. We were rendered property in slavery, and a threat to property in freedom. And during the brief moment in the 1860s and ‘70s, when former slaves participated in democracy, held political offices, and insisted on the rights of citizenship, it was a well-armed (white) citizenry that overthrew democratically-elected governments in the South, assassinated black political leaders, stripped African-Americans of virtually all citizenship rights (the franchise, the right of habeas corpus, right of free speech and assembly, etc.), and turned an entire people into predators. (For evidence, read the crime pages of any urban newspaper during the early 20th century. Or just watch the hot new show, “Orange is the New Black.”) http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/15/the-us-v-trayvon-martin/#.UeQyKGhKguc.twitter

  77. LCinTexas – What’s wrong with “YOU PEOPLE” (yes pun intended)… Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are race-bating riot-inciters??? Are you related to David Duke or Gov. George Wallace? Exactly what do you ACTUALLY know about what they are REALLY doing today? Or are you depending on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh for your Fair and Balanced News Source?

  78. “The point is that justice was always going to elude Trayvon Martin, not because the system failed, but because it worked. ” (from SwM’s link)

    Bingo

  79. DavidM2575: The number of REPORTED homicides was lower back in them ol’ days.

    You may be a responsible gun owner, and that’s great. I’m also certain you wouldn’t drink and drive. But what about those knuckle heads out there who qualify for permits and licenses do something irresponsible, like drink and drive or get buzzed and fight over something stupid. What about careless shots, crossfire and innocent victims in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    Even the most responsible gun owner can make a mistake when handling a weapon. My cousin, a longtime Chicago firefighter was cleaning his handgun when it discharged. The bullet went through a wall in the living room. Fortunately, nobody was on the other side. Simple mistakes with guns can result in tragic, irreversible consequences. As it is, my cousin’s wife won’t let him patch the hole. She put a frame around it.

  80. Bob Kauten 1, July 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I sympathize with folks who are considering abandoning this blog. As one commenter asserted, the “neo-confederates” have moved in.

    For me, it’s not the blog posts, which are overwhelmingly intelligent and articulate. It’s the readership.

    Reading the racial/ethnic/whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, fear and hatred expressed by a growing number of commenters is not conducive to mental health and well-being.

    I am filled with revulsion at the antebellum attitudes I see here. I’d rather not be so angry. Lashing out at stupidity and racism probably doesn’t help.

    The hideous situation in Florida is used as an excuse to express very thinly-veiled contempt upon the descendants of former slaves. No veil at all, in some cases.

    Justice Roberts, who wrote that the South has changed, should read the comments here. It’s not just the South, of course. The cancer has spread.
    ====================================
    It is evangelism of The Bully Religion at work Bob.

  81. @ Jonathan Turley:
    http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~mckenzie/nickersonConfirmationBias.pdf

    Confirmation Bias, A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises.
    by
    Raymond S. Nickerson
    Review of General Psychology 1998, Vol. 2, No.2, 175 – 220

    (page 175 distinguishes legal discourse, debate and dialectics from generally unwitting selectivity in the acquisition and use of evidence to build a case to justify a conclusion all ready drawn). “Motivated Confirmation” is a subjective process of interpretation that lends itself to single minded perspectives that interpret and frame “evidence” in ways that favor an outcome. This is a more substantial category than a sampling bias, but ‘sampling bias’ can be demonstrated in the way people have pooled their data and selectively accepted the partials from witnesses (in this case) where no comprehensive single witness exists aside from the defendant.

    As a teaching Professor, i would think these may be of some interest.
    Regards: Bruce

  82. What You May Not Know About the Zimmerman Verdict: The Evolution of a Jury Instruction:

    Alafair Burke

    Novelist, Criminal Law Professor

    GET UPDATES FROM ALAFAIR BURKE

    What You May Not Know About the Zimmerman Verdict: The Evolution of a Jury Instruction

    Posted: 07/15/2013 11:19 am
    Read more

    George Zimmerman Jury, George Zimmerman Trayvon Martin, Stand Your Ground,Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, George Zimmerman Trial, George Zimmerman Verdict, Jury, Law, Self-Defense, Trial, Black Voices News
    More than 16 months after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, the images from the case are engrained. For some: a teenaged boy in a hoodie, carrying Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea, shot in the back by a wannabe cop who was armed with a gun and a prior history of violence. For others: a broken-nosed and bloodied neighborhood watchman trying to protect a community.

    The temptation to view Zimmerman’s acquittal through cultural and racial lenses is nearly irresistible. To critics, the verdict is yet another reminder that we undervalue black humanity and overvalue gun rights, at least when those guns are used by some members of society against certain others. For Zimmerman’s supporters, the verdict proves he is an innocent man who was charged only because of public pressure.

    But as I’ve tried to make sense of the verdict, I find myself focusing a little less on race and its complicated and enduring relationship with the criminal justice system and our attitudes about guns and self-defense, and a little more on something far less divisive: jury instructions.

    Why Jury Instructions Matter

    In our system, we leave questions of fact to a jury. But to render a verdict, a jury must know the law. For this, we rely upon jury instructions. Instructions are supposed to translate the law into lay terms that the jury can apply to the facts as they determine them.

    Most followers of the Zimmerman trial know that the jury was instructed about the definitions of both second-degree murder and the lesser-included offense of manslaughter. They also know that the jury was instructed about the definition of self-defense.

    The self-defense instruction tracked Florida’s broad right to self-defense, which favored Zimmerman in three important ways:

    1) A defendant 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.” This means that Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin did not actually have to be necessary; Zimmerman simply had to have a reasonable belief that it was necessary. (This is typical of self-defense in other states.)

    2) If Zimmerman “was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed [as above].” This is part of the “stand your ground” aspect of Florida law, which does not require a person to exercise reasonably safe retreat options.

    3) “If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.” In some states, defendants have to prove by some level of certainty that they acted in self-defense. In Florida, the state has the burden to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Notice how these three parts fit together to Zimmerman’s advantage. Following someone — even if because of the most horrific racial stereotypes, even while armed, even after apolice dispatcher warns one not to — is not unlawful. And if jurors had any reasonable doubt about whether Martin “attacked” Zimmerman — even if he did so out of fear of a strange older man who was following him for no legitimate reason — they were instructed to acquit.

    How Even Floridians Lose the Right to “Stand Your Ground”

    Does that mean that Florida law allows a person to trigger an altercation and then use deadly force when he gets a defensive response?

    No. Even Florida’s broad self-defense statutory scheme follows traditional self-defense limitations by prohibiting “initial aggressors” from using force provoked by their own conduct. A defendant in Florida cannot claim self-defense if he “initially provokes the use of force” against himself, unless he either withdraws from the conflict and conveys the withdrawal to the other party (the legal equivalent of “saying ‘uncle'”) or uses reasonable escape options to avoid death or great bodily harm (in other words, the initial aggressor has no right to stand his ground; he must retreat).

    Because jury deliberations are secret, and no jurors (as of this writing) have spoken publicly about deliberations, it is impossible to know the basis for the jury’s acquittal. But let me explain why the verdict might have boiled down to jury instructions.

    The state asked the court to instruct the jury not only about the justification of self-defense, which favored Zimmerman in the ways described above, but also about its initial aggressor limitation. (View the state’s argument here, beginning at 3:00.) According to the state, the jury might have concluded that Zimmerman provoked any physical response from Martin by following him. If a jury could reasonably find an instruction applicable, the instruction should be given.

    The defense objected to the initial aggressor instruction. (See the defense argument here.) As a factual matter, the defense argued that no evidence indicated that Zimmerman physically initiated the confrontation. As a legal matter, the defense relied on Gibbs v. State, a 2001 decision from the Fourth Division of the Florida Court of Appeals, which held that a defendant loses the right to self-defense as an initial aggressor only if he provokes the victim’s use of force through either force or “threat of force.”

    After Judge Nelson indicated that she understood the arguments on both sides, defense attorney Don West interjected, “Well, let me point out, as a matter of law, following someone on foot or by car is not against the law…. That cannot be considered provocation under the law… Force means physical force or the threat of physical force….” In conclusion, he emphasized, “It would be ERROR, and frankly, promoting miscarriage of justice, if the state were allowed to argue that to the jury.” (See 3:37 here.)

    The state attempted to rebut the defense’s argument by noting the defense’s request for a separate instruction regarding the legality of following a person. Judge Nelson responded, “We’re not there yet,” then quickly ruled without elaboration: “The defense does not want to give [the initial aggressor exception]; the state does. The court is not going to give it.”

    The court is not going to give it.

    That may have been the moment when Zimmerman got acquitted. The end result was that jurors were told only about the parts of Florida self-defense law that benefited the defendant, without knowing anything about the most relevant potential limitation.

    Why the Jury Didn’t Hear the Full Legal Story

    Why didn’t the jury hear the full story?

    Time. This was a trial whose fast pace triggered a complaint from defense counsel about their physical ability to continue. By the time Judge Nelson ruled on the initial aggressor instruction, the parties had squandered more than fifteen minutes arguing primarily about factual inferences that should have been for the jury to draw. The judge’s curtness indicates that she was ready to move on, even though the relevant legal issues had barely been touched.

    “Error.” Watch the video. Watch how West emphasizes the word “error.” Error is a word used to invoke fear in trial court judges that they will be reversed on appeal. Coupled with his previous phrase, “as a matter of law,” West was suggesting to the court that delivery of an aggressor exception would be the kind of decision that would lead to reversal on appeal if Zimmerman were convicted. No trial judge wants to be reversed, even in a case less controversial than this.

    Gibbs. With the clock ticking and a fear of reversal, the court struck the initial aggressor instruction, but it did so without noting the flaw in the defense’s reliance on Gibbs v. State.

    Interestingly, that case involved another racially charged conflict, but in the other direction (African-American defendant, white victim). The defendant, an African-American woman, said good morning to a white couple. When the couple didn’t acknowledge the greeting, the defendant asked why. The white woman responded, “Get away from here you dirty n_____, you don’t belong here.” The defendant responded with a “racial slur” and a “mooning gesture.” The two women ended up in an altercation. After the white woman subsequently died of heart failure, the defendant was charged with “culpable negligence with injury.” The trial court instructed the jury about the right to self-defense, including the initial aggressor limitation. The defendant was convicted, but her conviction was reversed on appeal because of an error in the delivery of the initial aggressor instruction.

    Using those important words “error” and “as a matter of law,” Zimmerman’s lawyers successfully focused on the fact that Gibbs’s conviction was reversed to persuade Judge Nelson to strike the instruction. But in Gibbs, the defendant’s conviction was reversed because the court failed to instruct the jury that the defendant’s “provocation” — as used in the initial aggressor limitation — had to be provocation through either “force” or “threat of force.” Acccordingly, the appellate court reasoned, the jury might have mistakenly believed that the defendant’s words or gestures were sufficient to make her an initial aggressor – “no matter how slight or subjective the provocation.” Importantly, the court in Gibbs did not indicate that the jury should have heard nothing about the initial aggressor exception. The only error was that the instruction was overly broad by failing to include the “force or threat of force” language.

    In Zimmerman’s trial, however, the defense used Gibbs to persuade the trial court to strike the initial aggressor instruction in its entirety. Faced with the argument, the prosecution failed to distinguish between an accurate instruction reflecting Florida law and giving no instruction at all.

    A properly instructed jury should have heard the complete law of self-defense in Florida, not just the portions that helped Zimmerman. Had the jury been instructed about the initial aggressor exception, it might have concluded that Zimmerman’s following of Martin, though itself not criminal, was reasonably apprehended by Martin as a “threat of force.” Put another way, the jury might have concluded that Martin was the one acting in self-defense during the physical confrontation that preceded the gunshot, making Zimmerman the aggressor.

    The tragic facts of this case should absolutely encourage us to talk about race, guns, and violence. But before we condemn the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman, we should remember that they were asked to do something extraordinary. They were asked to listen to the facts and apply the law to the best of their ability in a case the world was watching.

    And the only law they had came from those jury instructions. Losing the initial aggressor instruction may have been the moment the state lost its case.

  83. According to a June 2012 study by researchers at Texas A&M University, the rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 8 percent in states with Stand Your Ground laws. That’s an additional 600 homicides per year in the states that have enacted such laws.

    The study, which analyzed FBI crime data nationwide from 2000-2009, says it could mean either that more people are using lethal force in self-defense, or that situations are more likely to escalate to the use of violence in states with the laws. “Regardless, the study said, “the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide.”

    http://econweb.tamu.edu/mhoekstra/castle_doctrine.pdf

    ———————————————————————————————

    “Researchers also find striking racial disparities in how Stand Your Ground laws play out once a defendant claims self-defense. John Roman and Mitch Downey of the Urban Institute find that in states with Stand Your Ground laws, twice as many homicides are deemed justified as in non-Stand Your Ground states. In the Stand Your Ground states, when white shooters kill black victims, 34 percent of the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable, while only 3 percent of deaths are ruled justifiable when the shooter is black and the victim is white.”

    http://blog.metrotrends.org/2012/08/stand-ground-laws-worsen-racial-disparities/

  84. Davidm
    “In Zimmerman’s case, I think he would feel a greater degree of responsibility by carrying, and if he only retrieved his weapon at the point when he believed he was about to be killed, as he claims, that illustrates responsible gun ownership.”

    1) Your attitude to gun ownship/carring is your attitude.

    2) Zimmerman had absolutely no idea that he was carrying a gun.

    He didn’t remember it when he first saw Martin.
    He didn’t remember it when he noticed that Martin ( aka suspicious person who was on drugs or something ) was walking straight at him with “his hand in his waistband”
    He didn’t remember it when Martin apparently circled his truck (hand in waistband) and confrontational body language.
    He didn’t remember it when Martin apparently came at him saying “You got a problem Homie?”
    He didn’t remember it while on the ground an apparently getting a beating.
    It was only at the very end, when he was just about to lose conciousnes due to an exploding head that he felt Martin’s hand heading somewhere… and suddenly…..
    ZOMG!! ZOMFG!! I have a GUN!! Where the hell did that come from?

    That’s not “Responsible Gun Ownership”.

    That’s “Incredibly Forgetful Gun Ownership”.

  85. Frank, Thanks for providing that very reasoned and thought out analysis. I personally believe charging 2nd degree is what lost it. They weren’t even close to having that evidence.

  86. seamus says,.. “Ever since the major networks merged their news and entertainment divisions their primary goal has been to sensationalize the news. This has been going on for 2 decades now and people seem to forget that the public is not viewed as a vessel to be enlightened but merely a demographic to be marketed to the media buyers at add agencies.”

    Well said, and worth repeating. :o)

  87. Trayvon
    13 Jul

    “You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.

    In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.

    If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.

    Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies: Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible. I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.” David Simon

  88. Sling, I’m sure the prosecution looked into engaging Dr, Henry Lee, but there would have been a number of problems with using him. First Dr. Lee is not a medical doctor and his qualifications would have been called into question. Then, there’s the Phil Spector murder trial, where Superior Court Judge said that he had concluded Dr. Lee hid or accidentally destroyed a piece of evidence from the scene of actress Lana Clarkson’s shooting. And, lastly, Dr. Lee would have been associated with the OJ Simpson case, in which the jury acquited Simpson based, in part, on his testimony, and the prosecution in the Zimmerman case did not want to confuse the jury into similarly acquiting Zimmerman.

  89. SlingTrebuchet – Have you ever forgotten your cell phone was in your pocket instead of in your car or on your desk? If so, would that mean you would be an irresponsible cell phone owner? I don’t think so. I have a little pocket knife always on my keychain to open boxes or cut fruit or whatever. Unfortunately, there have been times I have forgotten about it when going through security into a restricted area that does not allow that item. Such does not mean that I am irresponsible with my carrying it. I often think to myself when walking to that area, “wait, I forgot about my knife, let me go leave it in the car.” Sometimes I forget until the security guard says, “what’s this? We don’t allow this.” One time I even got through airport security with it and did not remember until after I arrived at my destination. I mailed it back home so I would not lose it when trying to go through security on the way back.

    Sometimes I think you put too much emphasis on minor details. People who carry their gun all the time put their weapon on like they do their belt. It is there, but not thought about every minute of every day. So Zimmerman wasn’t thinking about his gun until he was faced with a life or death situation and started thinking about what course of action he had. I don’t have much of a problem with that. I really don’t relate to your sentiment about his statement.

  90. Good background on the jury instructions Frank.
    Blouise, very interesting statistics on the ALEC stand your ground law.
    Swarthmore,
    While I understand the gentleman’s anger in the piece you quoted, I cannot agree with his pick up a brick suggestion. These instances are just why having the entire population armed and dangerous is a recipe for disaster.

  91. Some folks think race was a factor. imposed by culture:

    I’m aware that the angle I’m approaching it from largely ignores the role each person’s race played in this particular series of unfortunate episodes. But, I’m not blind to it. Just as I’m not blind to the role race played in my simple question to a couple taking an evening stroll. It’s just that, believe it or not, I think there’s a larger dynamic on top of, and including, the unforgivable racial inequalities that still exist. This country is in a state of absolute frenzied insanity. Paranoia, beyond the level justified by any external threat. The greatest threat we face right now, by light years, is the threat of the damage we will do to ourselves, and to others, as a result of our own raging panic. Very much like the damage George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin. I do not know George Zimmerman as an individual (and I’m not eager to meet him). But, as a symptom, I know him well. He is the festering, infected boil on the skin of our nation. And we are riddled with them. Paranoid. Self-righteous. Deluded. Armed and dangerous. And determined not to be on the losing end of the duels the law encourages, if not demands.

    (The New American Way, by Evan Handler, emphasis added). A nation that has had from 27% to 80% of its presidents owning slaves (depending on the year), a hate crime about every hour, while incessantly chanting the mantra “it isn’t about race” is really out of touch with reality (a.k.a. suffering dementia).

  92. Swarthmore mom wrote: “one man only — had a firearm. … If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford.”

    Why not instead teach young black men values about the sanctity of life, about the rights or people and how physical violence crosses the line? Why not teach them in public schools about guns and teach gun safety and help them all earn the concealed weapons permit and teach them to carry their weapons at all times to protect themselves and those they love?

    The other option, which we pretty much do now, is we leave them ignorant about guns, so they learn through those who are part of the criminal element and acquire guns illegally and either don’t carry or carry illegally. Don’t you see how much better it would be to arm everyone and teach responsibility and proper human rights?

  93. rafflaw, I agree. Peaceful protests are the answer and I am glad that there weren’t the violent protests that the white supremacists that posted here last week seemed to be hoping for.

  94. David,
    Swarthmore Mom was quoting someone who made that statement. Also, if Trayvon Martin had been armed we might have two young men dead. How does that help? More guns in more hands does not prevent crime and does not prevent thugs who think they are cops from taking the law into their own hands.

  95. The George Zimmerman case came to “The View” in a memorable give-and-take Monday.

    Whoopi Goldberg wondered if Zimmerman didn’t first spot Trayvon Martin because was a young black man.

    “I think in part,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara said.

  96. David Simon made the statement. “David Simon (born 1960) is an American author, journalist, and a writer/producer of television series. He worked for the Baltimore Sun City Desk for twelve years (1982–95) and wrote Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991) and co-wrote The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997) with Ed Burns. The former book was the basis for the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–99), on which Simon served as a writer and producer. Simon adapted the latter book into the HBO mini-series The Corner (2000).

    He is the creator of the HBO television series The Wire (2002-2008), for which he served as executive producer, head writer, and show runner for all five seasons. He adapted the non-fiction book Generation Kill into an HBO mini-series and served as the show runner for the project. He was selected as one of the 2010 MacArthur Fellows[3] and named an Utne Reader visionary in 2011.[4] Simon also co-created the HBO series Treme with Eric Overmyer, which began its third season in 2012.”

  97. Dredd,

    I really don’t think race was a factor until the news media saw an opportunity to raise it…. I’m still of the opinion that this was more about stand your ground laws than race….. But then again…. I’ve been wrong before….

    David,

    You really believe what you wrote? I think you need more services than this blawg can offer…..

    Raff,

    I agree with you on both statements..

  98. Stand your ground, as opposed to back your a** out of there.

    I have found through experience that I am a follower of the “Back your a** out of there” theory of survival. I also have a tendency to note environment and circumstance that exists so that I do not unwittingly end up in dark dead end alleys. (euphemistically speaking).

    I suppose a John Wayne with a gun could use the reverse of this logic, and find themselves in dark dead end alleys, and be forced to go all John Wayne on someones A**.

    The stand your ground law with no obligation to retreat is insane.
    How about an obligation to avoid?
    Zimmerman had a chance to avoid AND he was encouraged to avoid, “We don’t need you to do that sir”
    Zimmerman had a chance to retreat. There are two minutes of foggy unexplained time, with Z out of his vehicle “following” (stalking? searching?)
    before any confrontation occurred. …
    No sir, Mr John Wayne Rambo had his gun to keep him safe,
    Mr JWR had his knowledge of SYG to back up any nasty possibilities of him using his gun.
    Mr JWR had the law on his side, he had his prey, he had all the cards.

    The cops were on the way, any reasonable person would have avoided and retreated. Mr. Z. Rambo Happenstance, rigged the deck dealt the cards and played the hand. Z was the instigator he IMO is guilty of manslaughter.

    The jury spoke, my 2 cents are on the table, a whole lot of pennies are on the table today. Thank you for the Turley Blog Professor.

  99. davidm2575 1, July 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Swarthmore mom wrote: “one man only — had a firearm. … If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford.”

    Why not instead teach young black men values about the sanctity of life, about the rights or people and how physical violence crosses the line? Why not teach them in public schools about guns and teach gun safety and help them all earn the concealed weapons permit and teach them to carry their weapons at all times to protect themselves and those they love?

    *****

    Why not institute AP courses on how to handle and use guns. Crikey! Yes, let’s have all our young people running around with guns and concealed weapons permits. Sure…that will solve all our problems.

    I have to wonder if Zimmerman would have been so bold as to follow Trayvon Martin had he not had a gun and feared the young man might have confronted him. I think Zimmerman’s gun gave him a feeling that he could handle that “young punk”…no matter what might have happened.

  100. frankmascagniiii wrote: “Had the jury been instructed about the initial aggressor exception, it might have concluded that Zimmerman’s following of Martin, though itself not criminal, was reasonably apprehended by Martin as a “threat of force.””

    A threat of force is criminal. It is called assault. If you do not view Zimmerman’s “threat of force” (surmised by his following Martin in a “creepy” way) as criminal, then you are not properly understanding the Stand Your Ground law and threat of force issue.

    See, the problem is that unless there is actual evidence of either the use of force (battery) or a credible threat of force (assault), then putting these instructions in when they do not really apply to the case at hand could lead to biasing the jury. I think the jury instructions were appropriate for this case after all the evidence was presented. Following is from the Jury Instructions concerning the self defense issue:

    “In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; 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 George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

    If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.

    However, if from the evidence you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.”

  101. The situation is a trigger of sorts, but what is said and what is left unsaid is virtual mass consciousness spewing out and venting a rage. Is it possible to call this justice in any real sense? The politics are staged and postured for affect, the media is playing to the crowd; consensus is driven and hidden all at once and the baseline concerns of a country under disequilibrium is coming apart at the false seams of racial, ethnic, economic, democratic divides that are otherwise nullified as apolitical and anti-social under a spectrum of confirmation biases http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~mckenzie/nickersonConfirmationBias.pdf

    The larger picture is a country that needs relief from hidden and deeply suppressed demons that are being exorcised and expressed through this appearance of an unacceptable and inexcusable tragic death…when the fact is that it is only the tip of the iceberg in this country and it is not along racial lines alone.
    It started as and has become a rallying point of dissent and disillusioned intolerance…but for reasons that are not altogether coherent. There is a certain cognitive dissonance going on throughout this case from the start. This is not truly about justice for one family and the grand community of a Nation in grief, this is about vengeance and revenge and guilty conformity and elective dissent against reactionary force by “reactionary” forces… all for relief. And it is all one grand distortion that has no true center. It is all one confirmation bias that seeks to coerce an irrational sense of Unity in a country that is systemically divided…and in denial. It is about a country that is heart broken and divided, but still longs for a unification and an authentic American Freedom that has been denied us all; and the Martin Family has the direct burden in real time while the rest of us are simply acting out.

  102. “Imagine the public outcry if the Department of Justice — Eric Holder’s Department of Justice no less — were to take legal action against George Zimmerman, notwithstanding his acquittal this past weekend.

    Zimmerman has perversely become a folk hero to some conservatives, many of whom also believe Holder wants to confiscate guns and is perhaps a Manchurian candidate operating DOJ on behalf of the New Black Panthers.

    A federal Zimmerman prosecution would thus fuse two fringe views into one giant conspiracy theory. And it could happen.

    “[W]e have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin,” said a DOJ spokesperson a day after the verdict in Florida was announced. “The Department of Justice’s Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.”http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/07/federal-zimmerman-prosecution-could-trigger-mother-of-all-conspiracy-theories.php?ref=fpa

  103. Bruce E. Woych 1, July 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Confirmation Bias, A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises.

    “Motivated Confirmation” is a subjective process of interpretation that lends itself to single minded perspectives that interpret and frame “evidence” in ways that favor an outcome. This is a more substantial category than a sampling bias, but ‘sampling bias’ can be demonstrated in the way people have pooled their data and selectively accepted the partials from witnesses (in this case) where no comprehensive single witness exists aside from the defendant.

    As a teaching Professor, i would think these may be of some interest.
    Regards: Bruce
    ==============================
    Thanks Bruce.

    You can be sure I will use it repeatedly.

    I noted this:

    If one were to attempt to identify a single problematic aspect of human reasoning that deserves attention above all others, the confirmation bias would have to be among the candidates for consideration.

    (page one). I am interested in this for two reasons: one is that human “knowledge” is basically “faith” for religionists, and “trust” for secularists (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

    That amounts to “who ya gonna call” –who do we trust enough to take their information into our minds and then consider it to be “our knowledge?”

    The “confirmation bias” is a related dynamic.

    As a general example, conservatives listen to certain folk while liberals listen to other folk.

    Thus, the exercise for resisting confirmation bias is to develop a sound and robust discipline of Epistemology –which will reward us with less bias.

    Our nation seems to have failed at that –but we don’t care (The Failure of Applied American Epistemology).

    Thus, as the work you cited indicates, we lazily rely on our biases rather than working hard to build a less deluded reality.

  104. rafflaw wrote: ” if Trayvon Martin had been armed we might have two young men dead. How does that help?”

    Not when you factor in that the law in Florida would require Trayvon Martin to take a course in gun safety before he is allowed to carry. Further factor in that a society which supports the rights of gun ownership also teaches responsibility; it teaches how violence and credible threats of violence cross the line into irresponsible and criminal behavior. We are losing young people like Trayvon Martin because we do not teach them values and because of the destruction of the family structure from a variety of sources. Trayvon Martin evidently thought violence was the solution to his problem of being bothered by somebody following him and watching him. Somehow he did not receive the message of how he should responsibly react in that situation. He reacted badly and so the situation turned out badly.

    You might consider that Martin initially probably thought Zimmerman was unarmed. If carrying a gun was easier and affordable to everyone, there would be a presumption that both people are armed. This would lead to less violence, not more, because the parties know how easily the fight could become deadly if both are armed at the time the fight commences. If Zimmerman were allowed to open carry, where his weapon was readily visible, this also might have been enough to prevent Martin from fighting him. Not too many 17 year olds are going to start a fight with a man openly carrying a gun on his hip.

  105. bettykath, you say: “Whoopi Goldberg wondered if Zimmerman didn’t first spot Trayvon Martin because was a young black man. “I think in part,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara said.”

    Did Whoppi also wonder if Martin would have pounced on top of Zimmerman and pummeled him if Zimmerman were a young black man?

  106. FORT WORTH — A security guard who authorities say was being assaulted shot and killed his attacker Sunday morning at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, police and officials said Sunday.

    The identity of the man had not been released.

    The guard, who works for Ruiz Protective Services, suffered multiple injuries and was taken to a local hospital. His condition was unavailable, but police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

    Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/07/14/5000461/fort-worth-guard-fatally-shoots.html#storylink=cpy

    Where’s the outrage here….

  107. Bruce E. Woych 1, July 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    It started as and has become a rallying point of dissent and disillusioned intolerance…but for reasons that are not altogether coherent. There is a certain cognitive dissonance going on throughout this case from the start. This is not truly about justice for one family and the grand community of a Nation in grief, this is about vengeance and revenge and guilty conformity and elective dissent against reactionary force by “reactionary” forces… all for relief. And it is all one grand distortion that has no true center. It is all one confirmation bias that seeks to coerce an irrational sense of Unity in a country that is systemically divided…and in denial. It is about a country that is heart broken and divided, but still longs for a unification and an authentic American Freedom that has been denied us all; and the Martin Family has the direct burden in real time while the rest of us are simply acting out.
    =======================
    Well said.

  108. davidm2575, you write clearly, logicially, and persuasively. However, that carries little weight around here. Political correctness is the paramount virtue on this blog, so you’ll have to feed raff some of that stuff. Otherwise, he’ll just zone you out.

  109. Ralph…..

    Now you’re funny…. If you think this site is all about politically correctness…. You’re funny….. Now, mostly respectful of others opinions….. Yes…. But you are funny……

  110. up-thread I said: “Florida has more active hate groups per capita than any other state in the U.S.eh?

    California has 82, Texas has 62, and Florida has 59.”
    ===================================
    Actually, FL is second, GA first:

    state – population / #hate groups = (pop. per hate group)

    GA – 9,919,945 / 53 = (187,169)
    FL – 19,317,568 / 59 = (327,416)
    TX – 26,059,203 / 62= (420,310)
    CA – 38,041,430 / 82 = (463,920)

  111. davidm2575 wrote:

    “Not when you factor in that the law in Florida would require Trayvon Martin to take a course in gun safety before he is allowed to carry. Further factor in that a society which supports the rights of gun ownership also teaches responsibility; it teaches how violence and credible threats of violence cross the line into irresponsible and criminal behavior. We are losing young people like Trayvon Martin because we do not teach them values and because of the destruction of the family structure from a variety of sources. Trayvon Martin evidently thought violence was the solution to his problem of being bothered by somebody following him and watching him. Somehow he did not receive the message of how he should responsibly react in that situation. He reacted badly and so the situation turned out badly.”

    *****

    I don’t understand that logic. Zimmerman must have had to take a course in gun safety then…right? Yet, Trayvon Martin is dead because he wasn’t taught values by his family?Martin thought violence was the solution to his problem? What was his problem? Some wannabe cop who was following him down a dark street because he presumed that he was up to no good. I’d say it was Zimmerman who should have had better sense than to follow/stalk the young man. Zimmerman most likely felt invincible because he was packing heat. Another example of “blame the victim.”

    BTW, I’d react badly if someone like Zimmerman was following me while I walked down a street.

  112. Elaine M.
    1, July 15, 2013 at 8:58 am
    ———————————

    yes.
    here in Florida there are scary black kids…and scary black grownups too. There are also some incredibly bright, engaging, loving black kids and families who have amazing potential for the communities that too often shut them out. A racist will see them all in the same way. Personally, I think if I were to let my inner scaredy pants get the best of me, the SCARIEST people of all are the Old White Guard….down here in the ‘sweet’ south it’s all about tatoos and scary looks in my books….biker gangs and Madras clubs (thought they resolved a long time ago)…..the big Golf gang is the scariest of all….with so many monnied connections they don’t really have to do much to get what they want never mind need….and they can be mean….they perceive they are on ‘top’ so all the world that strives to make it’s lot better is perceived as a threat….yup, they are the scariest. And I’ve had a few conversations with a number of people of all different colors, clubs and creeds and everybody is frightened…for themselves, for their kids….now I think this was a bit about race but a bit more about power, as in ‘the abuse of’. Abuse of power by so many in the societal chainmail, especially the legal quarter, that I fear for our Nation, we have already seen the backsiding and anti-progress party playing dirty. I don’t think it’s the browning of America that is the biggest ‘threat’. There are as many terrified and terrorized whites and women and young men who once did not see the world through glasses fogged with violence who now see that blind spot with glaring and undeniable frequency. Race is becoming a less clever subterfuge ….

  113. Davidm,

    I didn’t assert that Zimmerman represented irresponsible gun ownership. I aserted incredibly forgetful gun ownership.

    The reason I raised this was what I quoted at the beginning of my comment. This was ( and this time with emphasis of the key section):
    “In Zimmerman’s case, I think he would feel a greater degree of responsibility by carrying, and if he only retrieved his weapon at the point when he believed he was about to be killed, as he claims, that illustrates responsible gun ownership.”

    Your suggestion appeared to be that Zimmernam refrained from using the gun until the last moment and therefore exhibited responsible gun ownership – and of the highest standard.
    Unfortunately for this proposal, Zimmerman says that he was only reminded of the gun when he felt Martin going for it.
    This says absolutely nothing about responsible gun ownership.

    When I carry a cell phone, I generally do not think about it.
    I do think about it the instant the need to think about it arises. This process has never failed in my experience.
    You say that you have a little pocket knife always on your keychain to open boxes or cut fruit or whatever. Quite understandably, you forget it’s there.
    However, rather like me invariably remembering my cell phone the instant a need to use one arises, you very probably remember your little pocket knife if you need to “open boxes or cut fruit or whatever”.

    I think if you carried a gun, you would very probably remember that you were carrying it should a situation arise in which a gun might be needed.

    Suppose you were observing a suspicious person who might be up to no good and who might be on drugs or something. Supposing that this person began to walk right up at you with his hand in his waistband and something in his hand. Suppose that this person began to circle you.
    You are already having a phone conversation, so you would not have to remember that you have a phone. Indeed, you probably remembered that you had a phone the moment that you decided that you needed to make a phone call.
    You might perhaps remember that you had a little pocket knife which might possibly now serve a new purpose as a weapon.
    Alternatively, you might possibly remember that you were carrying a gun.

  114. Davidm,

    In deciding whether Trayvon Martin was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing Trayvon Martin need not have been actual; 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, Trayvon Martin must have actually believed that the danger was real.

    From Martin’s point of view:
    1) Some guy in a truck had stopped to eyeball him down at the NW corner of the community – where he had entered using the informal pedestrian route (that even Frank Taffe says is the route used by everyone)
    2) Same guy is waiting in his truck and is eyeballing him when he walks past the clubhouse
    3) Truck follows him into Twin Trees
    4) He gets of the street and onto the central footpath area where he feels he’s safe from guys in trucks
    5) He had been talking to a girl on the phone. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about trucks he can concentrate on the girl. He would rather not have this conversation at hime because little boy there has big ears.
    6) Guy appears on foot
    7) Martin freezes where he is
    8) Guy finds him
    9) Martin asks him why he is following him
    10) Guy doesn’t explain
    11) Guy’s hand goes for his waistband.

    HANNITY: Yes. You said he started from almost the beginning in that 911 call, you said he came towards you, and he seemed to reach for something in his waistband. Did you think that was a gun?
    ZIMMERMAN: I thought he was just trying to intimidate me.
    HANNITY: To make you think that there is a gun?
    ZIMMERMAN: A weapon.

    The danger facing Trayvon Martin need not have been actual; 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, Trayvon Martin must have actually believed that the danger was real.

  115. David really, equating did you forget you had your cell phone in your pocket with Oh I forgot I was carrying a deadly weapon but remembered just in time to kill someone is the height of ridiculousness.

  116. Op-Ed Columnist
    The Whole System Failed
    By CHARLES M. BLOW
    Published: July 15, 2013

    In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family.
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    This is not to dispute the jury’s finding — one can intellectually rationalize the decision — as much as it is to howl at the moon, to yearn for a brighter reality for the politics around dark bodies, to raise a voice and say, this case is a rallying call, not a death dirge.

    The system began to fail Martin long before that night.

    The system failed him when Florida’s self-defense laws were written, allowing an aggressor to claim self-defense in the middle of an altercation — and to use deadly force in that defense — with no culpability for his role in the events that led to that point.

    The system failed him because of the disproportionate force that he and the neighborhood watchman could legally bring to the altercation — Zimmerman could legally carry a concealed firearm, while Martin, who was only 17, could not.

    The system failed him when the neighborhood watchman grafted on stereotypes the moment he saw him, ascribing motive and behavior and intent and criminal history to a boy who was just walking home.

    The system failed him when the bullet ripped though his chest, and the man who shot him said he mounted him and stretched his arms out wide, preventing him from even clutching the spot that hurt.

    The system failed him in those moments just after he was shot when he was surely aware that he was about to die, but before life’s light fully passed from his body — and no one came to comfort him or try to save him.

    The system failed him when the slapdash Sanford police did a horrible job of collecting and preserving evidence.

    The system failed him when those officers apparently didn’t even value his dead body enough to adequately canvass the complex to make sure that no one was missing a teen.

    The system failed him when he was labeled a John Doe and his lifeless body spent the night alone and unclaimed.

    The system failed him when the man who the police found standing over the body of a dead teenager, a man who admitted to shooting him and still had the weapon, was taken in for questioning and then allowed to walk out of the precinct without an arrest or even a charge, to go home after taking a life and take to his bed.

    The system failed him when it took more than 40 days and an outpouring of national outrage to get an arrest.

    The system failed him when a strangely homogenous jury — who may well have been Zimmerman’s peers but were certainly not the peers of the teenager, who was in effect being tried in absentia — was seated.

    The system failed him when the prosecution put on a case for the Martin family that many court-watchers found wanting.

    The system failed him when the discussion about bias became so reductive as to be either-or rather than about situational fluidity and the possibility of varying responses to varying levels of perceived threat.

    The system failed him when everyone in the courtroom raised racial bias in roundabout ways, but almost never directly — for example, when the defense held up a picture of a shirtless Martin and told the jurors that this was the person Zimmerman encountered the night he shot him. But in fact it was not the way Zimmerman had seen Martin. Consciously or subconsciously, the defense played on an old racial trope: asking the all-female jury — mostly white — to fear the image of the glistening black buck, as Zimmerman had.

    This case is not about an extraordinary death of an extraordinary person. Unfortunately, in America, people are lost to gun violence every day. Many of them look like Martin and have parents who presumably grieve for them. This case is about extraordinary inequality in the presumption of innocence and the application of justice: why was Martin deemed suspicious and why was his killer allowed to go home?

    Sometimes people just need a focal point. Sometimes that focal point becomes a breaking point.

    The idea of universal suspicion without individual evidence is what Americans find abhorrent and what black men in America must constantly fight. It is pervasive in policing policies — like stop-and-frisk, and in this case neighborhood watch — regardless of the collateral damage done to the majority of innocents. It’s like burning down a house to rid it of mice.

    As a parent, particularly a parent of black teenage boys, I am left with the question, “Now, what do I tell my boys?”

    We used to say not to run in public because that might be seen as suspicious, like they’d stolen something. But according to Zimmerman, Martin drew his suspicion at least in part because he was walking too slowly.

    So what do I tell my boys now? At what precise pace should a black man walk to avoid suspicion?

    And can they ever stop walking away, or running away, and simply stand their ground? Can they become righteously indignant without being fatally wounded?

    Is there anyplace safe enough, or any cargo innocent enough, for a black man in this country? Martin was where he was supposed to be — in a gated community — carrying candy and a canned drink.

    The whole system failed Martin. What prevents it from failing my children, or yours?

    I feel that I must tell my boys that, but I can’t. It’s stuck in my throat. It’s an impossibly heartbreaking conversation to have. So, I sit and watch in silence, and occasionally mouth the word, “breathe,” because I keep forgetting to.

  117. SlingTrebuchet wrote: “I think if you carried a gun, you would very probably remember that you were carrying it should a situation arise in which a gun might be needed.”

    Excellent dialogue. I am following you precisely. Putting myself in that situation, I would not think about the gun until I felt my life was in danger. Remember that the gun is strictly for defense in a life threatening situation, not for offense. For example, if I regularly carried, I would not think about the gun when I was observing a suspicious person that I thought the police should check out. I would not even think about it when someone punched me. However, when I started thinking this guy is going to kill me, this is it, that is when I would start thinking about the gun the same way I would think about the pocket knife when I need to open a box.

    Let me be clear, though, about Zimmerman’s behavior. I do not condone the way he acted. I don’t like people calling the cops on someone who is just walking in the neighborhood. I would actually have to witness a crime being committed before I called police. I suspect, however, that the police may have instructed him as a community watch organizer to call in suspicious behavior. Having said that, I do not think there is anything wrong with Zimmerman approaching Martin and just standing around, making his presence known. Sometimes this is a way to stop crime, by just letting the criminals know you are there and watching them. It might be dangerous to do that, but it is a legal tactic that many people have used successfully to prevent crime.

  118. More from Florida. It gets hard not to assume racism after a wile:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/15/1223852/-Man-arrested-for-having-a-stroke-while-Black-left-to-die-on-jail-floor

    Man arrested for having a stroke while Black, left to die on jail floor.

    Just when I thought Florida could not possibly surprise me with anything as awful as the Trayvon Martin travesty of justice; I come across this story that left me speechless. This poor man appears to have been arrested for having a stroke while being Black. I would warn you not to watch the video if you are sensitive to triggers. More below the fold…
    .

    I also wonder at the title of the article. The use of the word “inmate” to try and minimize the awfulness of what really happened? He was a man having a stroke and he was arrested and left to die on the floor of a jail cell because the officers assumed he was just a trouble maker instead of someone having a medical emergency; Not a goddamned “inmate”. Why did the arresting officers not recognize obvious stroke symptoms? Why was he arrested instead of given medical care at the scene of the accident? And in Florida? Accidents caused by medical emergencies are not that uncommon down here with the millions of retirees driving around.

    Allen Daniel Hicks Sr., 51, was found stopped in his car on the side of Interstate 275 by a sheriff’s deputy and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper the morning of May 11, 2012. Passers-by had called 911 after they saw Hicks’ Chevy Cavalier swerving west into a guardrail, records of the incident show.
    Speaking incoherently and unable to move his left arm, Hicks was arrested on a charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer when he did not respond to commands to exit his car. Just after noon, he was booked into the Orient Road Jail.

    Hicks did not receive a medical screening, but was put in a cell where he lay facedown on the floor or tried to crawl using the one working side of his body. On the night of May 12, soaked in his own urine, his brain choked of blood, he was at last taken to Tampa General Hospital and diagnosed with an ischemic stroke. He slipped into a coma and died within three months.
    This is simply outrageous! There are two systems in this country and until such time as this is addressed we cannot move forward as a society. To continue to pretend that we are somehow a “post racial” society is non-productive and absurd. I’m sure there will be people right here on this site that will somehow try and excuse the behavior or pretend it would have happened had he been a White guy. The same people that just can’t understand why Black folks are bit angry at the treatment they receive in our “post racial” society.
    Lunsford noted that he “did not detect the odor of any alcoholic beverages” on Hicks and that he was “behaving in an erratic state … when asked for his driver’s license he picked up the lid to the center console and dropped it closed.” Hicks continued to claw at the console until Guzman reached inside it for him and retrieved his wallet.
    Lunsford and Guzman became worried when Hicks did not obey commands to show his hands and exit the car. Seeing that Hicks’ left hand was drooping into the side pocket of the driver’s door, the officers pulled their handguns.

    Hicks still acted befuddled, saying to Lunsford, “that’s a 9-millimeter semiautomatic gun that you have,” the report states. After ascertaining Hicks was unarmed, Lunsford and Guzman pulled him out of the car through the passenger door and handcuffed him.
    Florida is rapidly becoming a third world police state whose blood lust and fever for slave labor has made it dangerous to be poor or Black or female or anything other than old and White and male. I wish I had an answer but until such time as we start a conversation I don’t see one coming anytime soon. But yeah, just an “inmate” so nothing to see here, move along. Victimized first by law enforcement, medical staff and finally by the newspaper after death. What have we become? .
    Originally posted to Kristina40 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM PDT.

    Also republished by Police Accountability Group and RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

  119. Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    Frederick Douglass

  120. “And put your hand out to me
    Cause I’m the one who’s gonna make you burn
    I’m gonna take you down
    Down down down
    So don’t you fool around
    I’m gonna pull it pull it
    Pull the trigger
    Shoot to thrill play to kill”

  121. B.S. DavidM,
    No sober, responsible gun owner forgets that they’re carrying a gun, particularly police and military personnel, but since you assert that it happens all the time, you’re making the case for not allowing gun owners to carry them around.

  122. David Not sure why your comment isn’t here, but in my email but you wrote “I do not think there is anything wrong with Zimmerman approaching Martin and just standing around, making his presence known. Sometimes this is a way to stop crime, by just letting the criminals know you are there and watching them. It might be dangerous to do that, but it is a legal tactic that many people have used successfully to prevent crime.”
    Your presumption evidently is that Trayvon Martin was a criminal.
    No. He was not. In this country you have to act in a criminal way before being branded a criminal. Martin did nothing criminal to arouse suspicion other then being in what Zimmerman apparently felt was the wrong place and the wrong time.

  123. If you’re carrying a gun, you are constantly aware of it. It makes a bulge, and weighs quite a bit.
    No one who’s packing heat forgets about it, for an instant.
    Do not ask me how I know this.
    Ralph thinks I’ve never fired a gun, and I hate to shatter yet another of his illusions.

  124. Davidm,

    “For example, if I regularly carried, I would not think about the gun when I was observing a suspicious person that I thought the police should check out. I would not even think about it when someone punched ”

    What’s this “if” (you carried regularly) ?

    On Hannity: ZIMMERMAN: I carried it at all times except for when I went to work.

    He carried in a holster inside his waistband and behind his hip.
    It’s a small gun. 0.8″ thick and 5″ long overall. 18 ounces. It is said to be the smallest and lightest 9mm semi on the market. To an observer, it doesn’t make a significant bulge.
    This is why Martin could not have seen the gun there – even in daylight, and it was really, really dark.
    The small size and position behind the hip means that Martin could not have felt it.
    Short of Zimmerman actually drawing the gun or having it drawn to begin with, Martin can’t know about the gun.
    However….. I’ll spare you another repaste of Hannity and Zimmerman agreeing that hand going to waistband in such situations means a gun….. and then Zimmerman saying that after he put his hand to his waistband, then Martin punched him.
    .

    Every day, Zimmerman gets up dresses.
    He picks up the holstered gun and tucks it under his waistband.
    Any time he takes a dump, he had to remove the gun and put it somewhere. He then can drop his trousers.
    Having done what he has to to, he does up his trousers again. He picks up the gun from wherever and tucks in under his waistband.
    I do not have any information on the frequency of his bowel movements.

    Speaking of movements, that gun has to pressed firmly against his hip bone. Otherwise his trousers will be falling down. Stand, sit, bend, etc.

    When he goes to work, he remembers that he is carrying a gun and removes it.
    When he gets out of work, he remembers that he is not carrying a gun and replaces it.

    When he undresses for bed, he removes the gun and places it somewhere….. where next morning he will repeat this whole gun-conciousness thing.

    During his days, he may well hear about, read about or watch news reports on TV that mention shootings. He has an interst in law enforvement issues. He might occasionally think about guns.
    .

    “I would not even think about it when someone punched ”
    I am not asserting that you do not actually believe this.
    I accept your word that you have given the matter consideration and that you do believe this.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    O.H.S.W.E.E.T.H.O.L.Y.J.H.C.O.N.A.S.T.I.C.K !!!!

  125. No need to fix the legal system. It’s already fixed.

    When a “law” is written by politicians owned by corporate interests such as the NRA and ALEC, its consequences, such as this kabuki theater trial in Florida, are predictable. Add in a corporate-owned, unaccountable-above-the-law SCOTUS majority in Citizens United and its legalizing of voter suppression and you have more evidence of the fix being in place.

    The Zimmerman legal team knew it had an easy win in its pocket when it took over the defense. A six person all white, all female jury; an inept by design or default prosecution; a law requiring a jury charge filled with Animal Farm legalese which makes the murder victim carry the burden of proof.

    The rule of law is fine as long as you’re one of the ruling class. In today’s corrupt-at-all-levels political system, academic discussions and legal theory are merely games that reflect a decaying plutocracy.

  126. More Evidence That It Never Was About Race
    By Charles P. Pierce
    7/16/13
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/A_Juror_Speaks_Her_Mind

    I am taking heat in some quarters because of what people think was my less-than-nuanced view of the verdict handed down in the case of George Zimmerman, Crimebuster.

    (It should be noted that what I wrote was what the verdict had made possible, not what I thought was likely to happen, which was apparently too nuanced an un-nuanced view for some people to grasp. It also should be noted that one of the first things that actually happened was that the court gave back to Zimmerman the gun with which he’d shot Trayvon Martin for the crime of being in a neighborhood where, in the highly nuanced judgment of George Zimmerman, Crimebuster, Martin did not belong. I think we can all agree that Zimmerman at least needs further firearms training before we arm him again, no?)

    (As to your opening sentence, Mr. BooMan, please to be pissing off now. I wish I never had had to write a word about this case. I haven’t “enjoyed” a single moment of it. I wish George Zimmerman weren’t a trigger-happy yahoo. I wish this country weren’t insane about its firearms, and Florida not insane about arming every peckerwood wannabe in the state. I said from the start that nothing good would come of this case, and nothing has.)

    I am peculiarly accused of not understanding the full range of explanations as to how and why Trayvon Martin came to be dead, and how and why George Zimmerman, Crimebuster, came to make him that way. I am peculiarly accused of not understanding what the white people of Sanford think about the rash of burglaries in their town and how that made it inevitable that George Zimmerman, Crimebuster, was on the street that night, packing, looking for a f*cking punk to roust. I am peculiarly accused of being ignorant about black-on-black crime, and gun violence in our cities, as though that’s has anything to do with the events of February last. There was black-on-black crime in the 1950’s, when Emmett Till was murdered, and in the 1960’s, when Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney were killed. There was black-on-black crime throughout the early years of the century — We got some really good blues songs out of it, you may have noticed — when black men were hanged, mutilated, and burned for sport. More than a few of these racist atrocities occurred because of a general belief in society that black people were prone to violence, and, often, the proof that was cited was the black-on-black crime levels of the particular time in history. What exactly is the point here?

    OK, let’s consult the expert opinion of one local citizen down Sanford way, so that I may be enlightened about the feelings of The Other Side. Take it away, Juror No. B37.

    “I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong…”

    Such a shame when things go so terribly wrong that good-hearted people shoot down unarmed teenagers in the street. Whatever is the world coming to, anyway?

    When Cooper asked the juror if she would feel comfortable with Zimmerman being a neighborhood watch volunteer in her community, she said, “if he didn’t go too far.” She added, “I would feel comfortable having George (as a neighborhood watchman)…I think he’s learned a good lesson.”

    See, that’s why George Zimmerman made Trayvon Martin dead. He needed a “good lesson” in how to be a better Neighborhood Watchman and crimebuster. Trayvon Martin died as an object lesson because that is the proper function of a young black man in our society. And this, mind you, was a juror in the case of how Martin came to be dead. I understand this person very, very well, and I feel very comfortable in telling her to take her barely implicit racism and fk off.

  127. Juror No. B37, who insisted that race played no role whatsoever in the verdict. and the invisible Trayvon Martin who served a purpose in teaching poor George a lesson … chilling.

    I predict her book will be a best seller with the Stand Your White Ground crowd.

  128. You’re probably right Blouise…. Provided 1) they have lots of pictures for those that still can’t read…. 2) in comic book form… With the little ballon captions…. And 3) no more than 5 pages total…..

  129. AY,

    I could suggest she get Paula Deen to write a forward for the book but since there was no tap dancing … ;)

  130. Blouise,

    I shouldn’t probably say this but serious hunters have a strict code when shooting….. And probably wouldn’t taste good between Krispy Kreme’s…..

  131. Blouise,

    More from juror B37:

    Juror B37 says George Zimmerman feared for his life in his fatal encounter with Trayvon Martin
    Juror B37, one of the six jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she thinks Zimmerman meant well.
    By Stephen Rex Brown AND Daniel Beekman / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/george-zimmerman-called-overzealous-fbi-report-article-1.1399001

    Excerpt:
    But Juror B37 said in the CNN interview that she thinks Zimmerman would have “reacted the exact same way” had Trayvon been “Spanish, white, Asian.”

    But she made at least one statement on “Anderson Cooper 360” that could have been construed as racist.

    The host asked her about testimony that Trayvon used the phrase “creepy-ass cracker” to describe Zimmerman, 29, after the older man started to follow him.

    “I don’t think it’s really racial. I think it’s just the everyday life, the type of life that they live, and how they’re living, in the environment that they’re living in,” she told Cooper, using “they” to refer to black people, specifically Trayvon and a female friend of his who testified during the Zimmerman trial about being on the phone with him just before the fight.

  132. United States of Zimmerman

    By William Boardman,
    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/304-justice/18427-united-states-of-zimmerman

    16 July 13

    A jury verdict is not the same as moral judgment

    The most important thing about the Zimmerman verdict is that it’s a clear demonstration of how the American legal system is only about law. It is not about justice. It is not even about the consequences of killing another person.

    The verdict demonstrates that, despite the protestations of the law that it is about justice, that’s only a pretense to cover the reality: that when the law produces justice, it’s a fluke, an accident, a surprise. The law is only about the law.

    And it’s no wonder, when you stop to think about who makes laws and why. Justice is one of the last things on the legislative mind, if it ever gets there at all.

    And so the Zimmerman verdict can be seen as a metaphor for the American way of life and death these days, a psychic rorschach blot of our culture, a measure of the zeitgeist in the United States of Zimmerman, the US of Z.

    In the distorting mirror of the Zimmerman verdict we glimpse all too much of who we are today as a nation – not what each of us is, nor what all of us are, but an inescapable collage of how exceptional we are in so many ways of which we should be ashamed. Here’s a sampling of those reflections.

    A Rough Guide to Life in the United States of Zimmerman: the US of Z

    In the US of Z the law allows people to hunt each other.

    In the US of Z you can be a self-appointed volunteer vigilante, and you have permission to decide a person is up to no good based solely on the color of his skin, and maybe the time of day and your own bigotry.

    In the US of Z you may racial profile to your heart’s content and the judge won’t let it be used against you in court.

    In the US of Z, you don’t have to feel remorse if you kill someone, even if that person did nothing wrong, even if you went out of your way to get to kill him. You can just believe it was God’s plan.

    In the US of Z, there is confusion about whether Trayvon Martin is another Medgar Evers or Emmett Till. He might have grown up to be a Medgar Evers. He died an Emmett Till.

    In the US of Z, the acquittal of someone who stalked and killed a young black man comes as no surprise. But it’s still surprising that Zimmerman’s defense attorney asserted, in all apparent seriousness, that in the same circumstances, Zimmerman would not even have been charged if he was black.

    In the US of Z, it is no surprise for a black man to go uncharged when he does not survive his arrest. That’s not what the defense attorney meant, because in the US of Z, it’s the killer Zimmerman who is somehow the victim.

    In this US of Z, there are white people who believe that black people don’t care about dead black boys except when whites kill them.

    Is It Ever Fair to Arrest a Judge’s Son?

    In this US of Z, people still think it’s unfair that Zimmerman was even arrested 44 days after the killing. They don’t believe that George Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, a retired Virginia Supreme Court magistrate, reportedly talked the police out of arresting George the night he killed Trayvon.

    In the US of Z, the Zimmerman verdict no doubt gives some hope to Michael David Dunn, 45, a Florida white man who killed an unarmed black teenager in the back seat of a car for having the music too loud, shooting him at least eight times. Dunn has pleaded not guilty, saying he felt threatened and acted in self defense, and besides the law gives him the right to stand his ground.

    In the US of Z, having rap music too loud for the guy who drives up beside you in the parking lot is an even worse offense than walking home in the rain with Skittles and iced tea while black.

    In the US of Z, WWB – Walking While Black – is risky behavior that sensible people avoid. So is SITBSWB – Sitting in the Back Seat While Black.

    “Healing Dialogue” for the Zimmermans Starts with “Blacks Are Bad”

    In the US of Z, your older brother can go on TV (CNN) and trash talk your victim and pretend he’s starting a healing dialogue and the news people will just nod.

    In the US of Z your brother’s behavior doesn’t seem so odd because your father, the retired Virginia magistrate decided to publish an e-book right before your trial started, with the title: “Florida v. Zimmerman – Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of My Son George.”

    In the US of Z, Judge Zimmerman makes clear, among other things, that in his view the “True Racists” in the US of Z are all African-American. And the judge names names, including: the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the Black Chamber of Commerce, the United Negro College Fund, and Trayvon Martin’s undertaker.

    In the US of Z, someone puts up a “Kill Zimmerman” page on Facebook that gets more than 7,000 “likes” in just a few hours, gets reported by an unknown number of people, and doesn’t get taken down right away.

    In the US of Z, perhaps counterintuitively till you think about it, the Zimmerman verdict, like the O.J. verdict, went to the money side.

    In the US of Z there is little appreciation of the dark irony that the Zimmerman verdict was delivered in Seminole County.

  133. There has been much discussion regarding the stand-your-ground laws, but I have not found anything about laws dealing with following a person. Are there such laws – particularly in Florida?

  134. @Jon L – Didn’t look too hard dadja’?

    2012 Florida Statutes / Title XLVI / CRIMES / Chapter 784 / 784.048 “Stalking”

    “stalking” Verb
    1. Pursue or approach stealthily: “a cat stalking a bird”.
    2. Harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention: “the fan stalked the actor”.

    In what world are “citizens” allowed to follow (aka stalk) people for questionable reasons? – Sheldon Cooper Big Bang Theory

  135. KINESICS 101 (i.e. Body Language)
    @Blouise – Juror #B37 said all that while clutching her purse with a death-grip and crossing her legs because the sound man holding the boom mike over her head was a young African-American (aka Black) man. When he had to leave due to a emergency phone call (and replaced by a Caucasian – aka White – sound woman) she put her purse on the floor and uncrossed her legs and arms.

    I know I know! I’m F.O.S.! Mostly true but “what-if” huh?

  136. Elaine,

    Regarding her book deal … no surprise there. I suspect that like Zimmerman, she thought she was going to be a hero and then … wham … reality smacked her in the face.

  137. Blouise 1, July 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    sonofthunderboanerges,

    Me thinks she’s beating a hasty retreat into her little cocoon.

    I was shocked to hear that 3 jurors (out of 6) said they wanted to drop kick GZ into hell (i.e. jail)! 16 hours later they got beat down by the alpha-female. They cried a bit. Poured out some of a 40-oz on the floor to their homie Trayvon (gangsta’ style), then passed their fair & balanced verdict. (/sarcasm)

    What hits me even more (which is really revealing of something I suspected) Frank Taaffe KNEW about the 1st dissenting juror’s feeling before the rest of the world! Howz’ dat’?

    Then it hit me that GZ’s gun-teacher and best buddy works for DHS as an air federal marshal (Mark Osterman). That means that Mark and Frank must have drove down to Miami to pick up some really cool divorce-style gadgets that would make Q (Desmond Llywellyn) drool… (if he were alive that is – LOL)

    Probably an Argo AA79106 illuminating from the Lake Monroe marina (their boat). The courthouse is right next to the lake. Mark probably signed one out from DHS in Orlando and was illegally using it on the jurors and Angela Corey too. People need to know who they are dealing with in the Judge Zimmerman cabal.

    You can bet Judge Z is pulling MAJOR favors from his old buddies in DoJ trying to derail the federal case. Why is O’meara so confident that Ibison has nothing on his client for a year now? What’s his source? How does he know?

  138. On the bright side, in the Trayvonites the Democrats finally have some people to match the Birthers blow for blow in mindless blather and faulty legal analysis. It was getting pretty grim when conservatives were the only ones saddled with highly mutated nincompoops. Whew!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Repoter

  139. RTC wrote: “Seems like DavidM has made a fetish out of The Gun. He obviously has no faith in the police to preserve the peace.”

    The gun is not a fetish, but a tool for defending not only oneself, but one’s family. When I was single, I never owned a gun because I believe that I had the right to decide not to defend myself. My thinking was that I would rather be killed than kill someone else. Owning a gun would increase my chances of getting into a situation like George Zimmerman did. After I married and had children, I came to realize that I had a duty and obligation to defend my family from harm. I do not have any faith that the police will do it. In fact, I would say that anybody who trusts the police to keep them safe is a fool. Police almost always show up after the crime and harm has been done, to investigate and punish the ones who did it. Rarely do they ever prevent crime.

    I wish it would have been legal for Trayvon Martin to own and carry a gun. Unfortunately, our overly strict gun laws make that more difficult. In my parent’s generation, 12 year old boys carried their rifles to school for target practice during PE. Now we make schools defenseless gun free zones resulting in tragedies like the Newtown massacre. Hopefully we will wake up and get the balance right about guns.

  140. Owning a gun would increase my chances of getting into a situation like George Zimmerman did

    I think the major factor in Zimmerman getting into that situation was extreme stupidity.

  141. @davidm2575 – Newtown CT massacre was NOT a good example of the need to arm up school faculty. I guess you never drilled down into the details. Adam Lanza was armed to the teeth with semi and automatic weapons with plenty of mags. He broke into the school at a fully locked door. He started firing at targets of opportunity as his training from other people had taught him. When he shot the kids he always made sure to fire a second shot to the head.

    In your scenario this mostly female faculty would have to be highly trained to respond in-kind instantly, firing from cover, trying not to have any collateral damage to the kids from friendly-fire, AND try to hit Adam in the head as he was FULLY covered in Kevlar! Failing that Adam get’s really pissed-off and puts his AR-15 to full and sprays the ENTIRE school.

    Some of these disasters are not normal gun-play. No one can explain how his mother, who was a gun nut too, had access to so much fire power and equipment. And after he shot his mother in the face while she slept, everyone is scratching their collective heads and saying: “Where the f*** did he get this stuff from and why so much angst?” And the whole time he was reported as having a blank look on his face almost like the gun nut in Aurora Colorado cinema (i.e. found not-guilty) and other places in USA recently.

    Seriously, arming up schools is NOT the solution. Your idea is just another problem waiting to go wrong.

  142. Here’s most of a comment that I posted in another forum.
    It’s based on the Juror B37 interviews – showing that
    – Jurors wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something.
    – Even B37 knows what he did was reckless and wrong.
    – She’s sure his stories had “fabrications and enhancements” but that it went generally as he decribed.
    – She says nobody knows where either of them went. They just ended up where they did.

    ————————————————————————

    “In the George Zimmerman case, justice was done,”
    Not so – and demonstrably not so.
    If we are to believe what Juror B37 says in her interviews, justice was NOT done.

    That “Not Guilty” does not mean “Innocent” might be a pedantic point as a generality.
    In the Zimmerman case, B37 seems clear that the jury did not consider Zimmerman “Innocent”.
    At least 3 wanted to sanction him for his recklessness and stupidity that led to a death. They found that the particular subsets of law that they were expressly limited to considering prevented them from doing what they wanted to do – as they understood within the complex instructions they were given. Even B37 who was on “Not guilty” even before the jury began to discuss the case thinks Zimmerman was wrong to get out f the truck.
    Clearly, justice was not done in the case.
    Inadequate law was done.

    Quotes from the B37 interviews by Anderson Cooper:

    I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods, and wanting to catch these people so badly, that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.
    I think he’s guilty of not using good judgment. When he was in the car and he called 911, he shouldn’t have gotten out of that car.
    I think the roles changed. I think, I think George got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn’t have been there. But Trayvon decided that he wasn’t going to let him scare him and get the one- over, up on him, or something. And I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him.

    COOPER: Did you take an initial vote to see where everybody was?
    JUROR: We had three not guilties, one second degree murder and two manslaughters.
    COOPER: Can you say where — do you want to say where you were on that?
    JUROR: I was not guilty.

    JUROR: Through going through the law. And then we had sent a question to the judge, and it was not a question that they could answer yes or no. So they sent it back saying that if we could narrow it down to a question asking us if — what exactly — not what about the law and how to handle it, but if they could just have — I guess — I don’t know
    COOPER: You sent a question out to the judge about manslaughter?
    JUROR: Yes.
    COOPER: And about —
    JUROR: What could be applied to the manslaughter. We were looking at the self-defense. One of the girls said that — asked if you can put all the leading things into that one moment where he feels it’s a matter of life or death to shoot this boy, or if it was just at the heat of passion at that moment.
    COOPER: So that juror wanted to know whether the things that had brought George Zimmerman to that place, not just in the minute or two before the shot actually went off.
    JUROR: Exactly.
    JUROR: Determining the self-defense or not.

    COOPER: Did you feel like you understood the instructions from the judge? Because they were very complex. I mean, reading them, they were tough to follow.
    JUROR: Right. And that was our problem. I mean, it was just so confusing what — with what and what we could apply to what. Because I mean, there was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there’s just no way — other place to go.

    JUROR: It was just hard, thinking that somebody lost their life, and there’s nothing else that could be done about it. I mean, it’s what happened. It’s sad. It’s a tragedy this happened, but it happened. And I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think both of them could have walked away. It just didn’t happen.
    JUROR: I feel sorry for both of them.
    I feel sorry for Trayvon, in the situation he was in.
    And I feel sorry for George because of the situation he got himself in.
    .

    JUROR B37: I wanted to find him guilty of not using his senses
    JUROR B37: Exactly. He started the ball rolling. He could have avoided the whole situation by staying in the car, but he wanted to do good. I think he had good in his heart. He just went overboard.

    Despite being sympathetic to Zimmerman, she thinks that he lied in some of his story.

    I’m sure there were some fabrications, enhancements, but I think pretty much it happened the way George said it happened.

    She doesn’t specify.
    She hints at one area. She does not appear to take Zimmerman’s account of his movements in the pathway area as being necessarily truthful.

    JUROR B37: I think there were maybe some other issues and stuff leading between that, like what exactly — where George went exactly, and where Trayvon went exactly, because nobody knows where the two of them went to, but they both met in the back, and I think that’s where it started.

    She got that 2 minutes passed between the NEN ending and the Marin/Jeantel call dropping.
    She got that this clearly meant that Zimmerman was fabricating/enhancing when he claimed to be returning to his truck immediately.
    She didn’t get that this gap and the time of the Laeur 911 being detected (as opposed to being picked up by a dispatcher) meant that Jeantel would have heard the beginning of the struggle. Her attempt to explain why she thinks Jeantel could not have overheard would compete with anything that we heard out of Jeantel’s mouth.
    The prosecution fell down badly in not explaining matters to the jury – throughout.

    I would bet that the “other issues and stuff” included Zimmerman fabricating/enhancing a circling of the truck. Despite the dispatcher asking “Let me know if he does anything” right at the time he claims the circling happened, he does not mention it in the NEN. He omits the circling on Hannity, presumably because he realised that he had over-enhanced and therefore made his following/going-in-the-same-direction seem even more reckless.
    .

    What can we take away from the trial and the verdict?

    Jurors – even one very sympathetic to Zimmerman – think he was wrong in the lead up – that he should not have got out of the truck.
    Presumably any reasonable and prudent person would think the same, but this does not appear to be the case. I remember someone posting in another thread in this blog asserting that not alone would he do exactly as Zimmerman did, but that this would be what any red-blooded guy would do. I’ve seen many postings like that in various other blogs.
    .

    But let’s take a positive view. At least Zimmerman – whatever about anybody else – has learned not to be reckless and stupid, and so would be unlikely to something similar. Right?

    COOPER: Is George Zimmerman somebody you would like to have on a neighborhood watch in your community?
    JUROR: If he didn’t go too far. I mean, you can always go too far. He just didn’t stop at the limitations that he should have stopped at.
    COOPER: So is that a yes or — if he didn’t go too far. Is he somebody prone, you think, to going too far? Is he somebody you would feel comfortable –
    JUROR: I think he was frustrated. I think he was frustrated with the whole situation in the neighborhood, with the break-ins and the robberies. And they actually arrested somebody not that long ago. I — I mean, I would feel comfortable having George, but I think he’s learned a good lesson.
    COOPER: So you would feel comfortable having him now, because you think he’s learned a lesson from all of this?
    JUROR: Exactly. I think he just didn’t know when to stop. He was frustrated, and things just got out of hand.
    COOPER: People have now remarked subsequently that he gets his gun back. And there are some people that said that the idea that he gets — is — can have a gun, worries them. Does that worry you?
    JUROR: It doesn’t worry me. I think he would be more responsible than anybody else on this planet right now

    Cut to the Hannity Interview – 6 months after the events

    HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?
    ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
    HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?
    ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

    .
    Houston B37. We’ve had a problem!!
    .
    One of the best one-liners I’ve seen on the question was:

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

    .

    The problem for society is NOT the bearing of weapons by citizens.
    The problem is NOT CCW.
    The problem is in the concept of what “self defence” entails and how brain-dead laws describe it.
    I don’t think that anybody would assert that Zimmerman should be fearful of walking in the dark and should cower at home behind steel doors.
    Going into the dark on the heels of ‘a suspect’ that was well aware of your following and might even have threatened you should do away with any notion of self defence. That’s a job for uniformed cops, not for vigilantes who don’t even identify themselves when they have a chance to do so in safety.
    The problem for society is that an “innocent” Zimmerman would be seen as a licence for people as reckless and stupid he is to get themselves into situations and end up pulling their gun.
    .

    Zimmerman got “not guilty”, but the jury didn’t consider him “innocent”.
    The prosecution really messed up. The law messed up.
    A civil case should be taken – as a public service – in order to send out a clear message to stupid people.
    .

    Consider the logic behind the (broken in the case of Marissa Alexander) 10-20-Life law.
    Do something wrong. Suffer the consequences.
    Bring a gun to that wrong. Suffer more.

    What about someone who brings a gun to their own monumental f*ck-up and another person dies as a result?
    Try driving recklessly (although not strictly illegally) in a vehicle and end up killing someone..
    Manslaughter.

  143. @davidm2575 – If Trayvon had a legal gun too all I see, in hindsight, is a chaotic gunfight with both parties firing carelessly trying to not get hit seeking cover. Your idea involves SEVERAL body bags from collateral damage! Happens everyday in the urban streets of USA. Kids get hit a lot in places like Chicago, LA, Hartford, Syracuse, Miami, etc. Some of those guns where legal too – many were not though.

    It’s 9 minutes long. Go to time stamp 5:40 to see the gunfight…

    If you want to see the whole movie go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t-nWlQNefQ It’s 2 hours 14 minutes.

  144. I think the most frightening aspect of the Zimmerman/Trayvon case is the distortions by the media and the Americans willing to believe their lies. It is always tragic that a young man dies. But what is the truth here? The media claims Zimmerman was ‘stalking’ Trayvon. The truth is Zimmerman was on the phone with police and being asked to verify where Trayvon was..Z hd to maintain a visual on Trayvon to comply with the police’s questions. The truth is Trayvon was acting suspiciously and an unknown to the neighborhood which was having a rash of home robberies. The truth is Zimmerman was headed back to his truck to wait for police when Trayvon sought him out with one thing in mind..to ASSAULT HIM. It has now been confirmed Trayvon did reach his dad’s apartment..why didn’t he just go in rather than go looking for a fight?!!
    People forget Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman rangling him to the ground using mmr tactics. If Zimmerman was out to ‘murder’ a black kid he would not have waited until he sustained injuries. And what caused Trayvon to act so violently. We know his auptosy reports damage to his brain and liver indictating drug use..particularly a drug called robotripping..a concoction of cough medicine,candy and a pop. Trayvon was carrying 2 of those ingrediants.
    And by the way..police did find a burglary tool hidden in the bushes at the apartment complex. Could Trayvon indeed been casing the apartments.(He had been found to be carrying jewelry and a tool used for burglary at one time)

  145. Guest,

    If you took the time to check the basic facts for yourself rather than regurgitate stuff you heard somewhere, you might find that the “the most frightening aspect of the Zimmerman/Trayvon case is” how wrong you were.

    Just to take a few of your misunderstandings:

    “The truth is Zimmerman was on the phone with police and being asked to verify where Trayvon was..Z hd to maintain a visual on Trayvon to comply with the police’s questions.”

    Here’s a mind-blowing idea …. try listening to the recording of his NEN call.
    “Are youi following him?”
    “Yeah”
    “We don’t need you to do that”.
    He had already told the dispatcher that the person was headed for the back entrance. Job done – Thank you -The cops take over now. We don’t need you to follow.

    “The truth is Zimmerman was headed back to his truck to wait for police when..”

    Here’s another mind-blowing idea …. try paying attention to timestamps taken form NEN, 911 calls and the Martin/DeeDee call.
    Zimmerman had ended his call 3 minutes before the confrontation started.
    He says that he ended the while call standing on Retreat View Cirlce – where he had gone to get an address – an address that he never gave to the dispatcher. There is no evidence apart from his say-so that he actually went to RVC.
    It would have taken him 20 seconds to get from RVC to the T-junction. What was he doing for 3 minutes? That has never been explained.
    Near the end of the call, he agreed to meet the cops at the mailboxes – just beyond his truck. He then suddenly changed that. He asked that the cops phone him on arrival to find out where he is.

    So….
    He was not asked to maintain a visual. He was specifically told “We don’t need you to do that” (follow)
    By simple timing of his exit from his truck in the NEN, he was still in Twin Trees when he was told not to follow. He clearly kept movng after Martin despite that.

    He was still in the dark central path area 3 minutes after he ended the call.
    Going by what he said at the end of the call, he did not intend to return to his truck. Whatever plan he had suddenly come up with at the end of the call, he did not know where he was going to be when the cops arrived.
    It was dark. It was raining. He had reported”The suspect”

    “It has now been confirmed Trayvon did reach his dad’s..”

    No it has not. What is your basis for saying so?

    “police did find a burglary tool hidden in the bushes at the apartment complex”.

    No they did not. What is your basis for saying so?

    The rest of your comment is full of similar holes.

    How about the “circling of the truck”?
    Listen to the NEN. He describes Martine approaching the truck – which truck just happens to be parked on Martin’s natural route home from the 7/11.
    The dispatcher says “Let me know if he does anything”.
    Zimmerman describes nothing. Even without being asked to describe events, we would have expected to hear “HE’S CIRCLING MY FREAKING TRUCK!!!”.
    Zimmerman clearly invended teh circling after the event to make Martin appear more threatening.
    .
    .

    The truth is that Zimmerman is not a child/black-stalking homicidal maniac. He was and is just an officious and incompetent idiot with a very messed up head.
    In the words of one of the jurors “He didn’t know when to stop”. He screwed up big-time and somebody died because of that.
    The charge should have been manslaughter.

  146. @ guest your response was just regurgitated from Fox news and their ongoing self victimization ramblings about the media. Your facts are wrong get them straight and then try to make a worthwhile point.

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