Report: Zimmerman Passed Lie Detector Test After Martin Killing

A new report shows that the day after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman passed a police lie detector test. He registered truthful in stating that he was afraid for his life before shooting the teen. The report does not materially affect the trial since such tests are not admissible but may explain the the resistance of local officials to bring the case. It also further supports the view, again, that Angela Corey overcharged the case. She was no doubt aware of the test which, while not admissible as evidence because their reliability is questioned, can be considered by the prosecutors in determining the appropriate charge. UPDATE: A police report shows a critical view of Zimmerman’s account and says that he missed two opportunities to defuse the situation.

Zimmerman willingly submitted to a computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) “truth verification” on February 27 and the test “was classified as No Deception Indicated (NDI).” This included the question of “Did you confront the guy you shot?’ He answered, “No.” He was rated as telling the truth in both saying that he did not confront Martin and that he was in fear of his life.
Also released recently are further details from Zimmerman to the police. Zimmerman insisted that the teen knocked him down and began to pound his head in the sidewalk while telling him “You’re going to die.” Zimmerman claims Trayvon reached for the gun and that he grabbed it to protect himself.

Both the question of fear and the party responsible for the confrontation could be distorted by Zimmerman’s perspective and not accepted objectively by third parties. Of the two questions, however, the confrontation question is the most interesting. It is rare for targeted suspects to agree to lie detectors, though I have agreed to such tests in past cases.

Once again, this evidence does not rule out the basis for a criminal charge, but in my view strongly militates against a charge greater than manslaughter. In fairness to the local officials, the evidence also offers support for their view that no charge was appropriate. One can disagree with that conclusion, but they may have had solid reasons for opposing a charge. That does not excuse sloppy police work and there was still a basis to detain Zimmerman at the scene. However, the case has become more muddled with such new evidence. As a criminal defense attorney, I have always viewed this case as one with strong defense arguments for trial. While the odds always favor the prosecution, the factual record has a number of elements that could create reasonable doubt. Obviously, the trial itself can present facts in different light and the prosecution has yet to be fully heard in the case.

Source: NY Daily News

383 thoughts on “Report: Zimmerman Passed Lie Detector Test After Martin Killing”

  1. If self-defense could kick in to protect a person AT ANY STAGE of a confrontation regardless of the history of the two (or more) persons involved IN the confrontation, then here’s how it could work:

    You could take a gun out and sit on a park bench with your gun.
    A blind person could come along and you could say to the blind person: “I have a gun here and I’m going to shoot you.”

    The blind person could lash out with his white-tipped cane and smash you, scaring you, and you could shoot him. IF HE HAD ALREADY HIT YOU WITH THAT CANE, you might very well fear for your life. Those things are DANGEROUS!

    Cute, huh?

    But, more rational a consideration, an accused murderer does not get a special pre-trial hearing with the judge on the claim of self-defense; that is reserved for the special circumstances of a “stand your ground” hearing, specifically to PREVENT a person from having to go to trial on the matter if he succeeds in showing he was standing his ground.

    Regular self-defense is still regular self-defense, and it applies to those cases where a defendant shows A JURY or the TRIAL JUDGE (if he chooses trial without jury) that he was only defending himself when he killed someone. So really, the idea that O’Mara will convert a “SYG” hearing into a “regular self-defense hearing” is nonsense. If this judge allows it I will be very surprised.

  2. O’Mara:

    “The facts don’t seem to fit the stand your ground defense.”

    Previously, the Gov said this was not a SYG case (although obviously it was from Trayvon Martin’s point of view).

    Also, the legislator who presented and backed the SYG law in the Florida Legislature said this was not a SYG case.

    THe only reason people started fussing about this being a SYG case was that the buffoons/corrupt individuals who originally let George Zimmerman walk away from his crime used the “SYG” defense to show justification for what they had done — thereby throwing a red herring into the situation, upon which everybody was riding until yesterday. So let’s see, more than FIVE MONTHS of confusion and distraction about something that had nothing to do with the issue. Nobody was trying to make Zimmerman retreat, back off or run away when threatened. Somebody was trying to say that when he chased down and killed an unarmed innocent kid, he did BAD and WRONG.

    From the beginning, everyone (including me) who said this was not a SYG case (from Zimmerman’s side) was right.

    SYG (as an explanation, not as an exculpation) does, however, come into play to explain Trayvon Martin’s actions, if he took those actions, in bumping Georgie’s poor widdow nose and in scratching the back (if he did — there’s something very weird about those photographs, in that the trails of blood do not follow the same angle as they trickle down, in both photos) of George’s poor widdow head.

  3. Now O’Mara says he will have a simple “self-defense immunity hearing” rather than a “Stand Your Ground immunity hearing.”

    Problem is, though, that there’s no such thing. Self-defense is a defense you bring up at trial, for the jury. You don’t get an immunity hearing for self-defense, not even in Florida. It’s either a SYG hearing or go ahead and make your defense at time of trial before the jury.

    Interesting that there have been so many attempts to put out so much disinformation. Hmmm. Beginning to look like a habit.

    Notice, though: George is about to tell the court that he’s indigent so the state can pay for his defense. Either O’Mara’s getting cold feet or something else is happening in Paradise. And they may be running out of law professors to say Zimmerman is obviously innocent.

  4. Sling T, there’s something else I was thinking about with regard to this coming to trial to let people know what’s really going on in this country. There have been several relatively recent “AHA MOMENTS” when the people have had a chance to really “get” what’s going on. Let’s just say in the last 20 years, to be conservative.

    They pass; there is news; they get told and then recast in a different light and retold and they get told out of their ordinary natures and then they get distorted and retold in ways that are practically opposite of what they mean. And then they mean nothing.

    I am way too cynical, I know.

    Oh damn I am tired of being this way but it is valid, for me, I think.

  5. Sling, I understand what you said and I believe what you said. Unfortunately, however, there are enormous forces at work to prevent this case from coming to trial:

    1. Defense doesn’t want it to come to trial. (A jury does have a terrible risk of doing the wrong wrong wrong thing, but a jury does also have a terrible risk of doing the right right right thing, and everything in between. There cannot be an all-white jury for Zimmerman. He may get a hung jury a couple of times, but if you look at the odds, once all the physical evidence is presented, a good defense lawyer will want to avoid trial.)

    2. Prosecution doesn’t want it to come to trial. (Lots of the evidence was ordered revealed by Lester OVER THE OBJECTION OF BOTH THE PROSECUTION AND THE DEFENSE TOGETHER. Isn’t that weird as Hell? I think it is. The only explanation I can come up with is that the prosecution did not want the public to get ahold of ALL the evidence that would tend to show not only that George killed Trayvon deliberately and with depraved indifference toward Trayvon’s life, but worse, that he INTENDED to kill Trayvon Martin and not because he was being beaten up. If you listen to the sequence of scream/shot/silence alone, you realize that the idea that a man is screaming “help help” while being beaten AND having his mouth covered, and continues that scream WHILE reaching for his loaded gun out of his holster while underneath a violent assailant, AND manages to get off a shot and then instantaneously stops screaming Help Help, although he doesn’t yet know if his assailant is hit or not, you realize that George’s story is so physically improbable as to be .000001 percent away from being IMPOSSIBLE. The story simply did not include Trayvon attacking George and beating him up; the prosecution not only knows that but can prove it. But they don’t want to reveal all the information at a trial. WHY NOT? Because they have to protect Wolfinger, Lee, and three or four other officers, at the same time as they prosecute Zimmerman. It is pretty obvious. The feds are involved. The feds can make this go away without hurting any officials, but only if there is no massive dump of real, physical, unavoidable evidence that shows absolutely that the cops and Wolfinger deliberately covered up a murder on 2/26/2012. Corey has a hard job: she has to get George into jail while keeping Wolfinger, Lee and some others OUT of jail and still on payroll.

    3. The FEDS don’t want it to come to trial. I think they’re dragging their feet in the hopes that this will go away. They don’t want to make any findings and they don’t want to stir up more indignation on either side. They will be happy if all the corruption can continue without them being viewed as either weak for not dealing with corruption or weak for “doing Obama’s dirty work for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.”

    There you have my jaundiced view of what’s going on.


  6. “If that turns out to be the law, I’m getting paranoid, I’ll tell you that!”

    That’s why this case *has to* come to trial.
    No plea bargain.

    Even if that might mean Zimmerman walking free under what might turn out to prove to be a completely insane, card-carrying lunatic law – it is is important that everybody realises WTF the state of the nation is.

  7. Sling, it’s not ONLY that his fear (of imminent grave bodily injury or death) had to be reasonable, but that under the circumstances of his not being in his own house or his own car, that fear cannot be PRESUMED but must be proven. Fear of great injury or death is PRESUMED, under the SYG law, if the guy who uses the deadly force (George) was in his own home or in his own car and the other guy was coming INTO that home or car. If not, then there is no PRESUMPTION of that level of fear. So George will not just have to prove that his fear was present, but that it was also reasonable.

    Facts that tend to show that the fear was not present OR reasonable:

    1. George did not stay in his car; if he had any feeling that Trayvon could be dangerous, he would have stayed in his car, checked that the doors were locked, and probably driven AWAY from the spot where he saw Trayvon.

    2. George did not tell the dispatcher that he was afraid of Trayvon.

    3. George did not tell the two women who came out to see what had happened that “the suspect” might be armed and dangerous; yet he claimed that he did not know until maybe an hour after the event that Trayvon Martin was DEAD. His fear should not have decreased until he knew Trayvon Martin was dead, if he actually felt the fear.

    4. George claims all he did while being beaten was to “wriggle” and scream for help. This is not believable.

    5. George cannot explain his inability to defend himself physically for an extended period of time with a guy sitting on him, but does claim that he was able to both wriggle and, ultimately, reach for his gun. This is not believable.

    6. When asked by Serino how he explains the very SLIGHT injuries he sustained with the description of a life-threatening beat-down, he answers, “I don’t know.” That won’t fly.

    7. George’s alleged fear of great injury or death is just plain unbelievable in light of the fact that he was calm, cool, collected and pretty much unhurt within a half hour of the shooting. Although some witnesses claimed he was “pretty messed up” or had blood on him, none of that proves serious injury and he did not in fact have serious injury. Had he been seriously injured the police would have been REQUIRED to take him to the hospital E.R., whether he wanted it or not. He was in custody at the time.

    8. George’s story of being attacked by Trayvon is also not believable in light of the cell phone call from the girlfriend, the 911 calls from the neighbors, and the background of the situation.

    So the “reasonable fear” and the “self-defense” still come down to credibility. Since George’s stories (all four of them, at all four times when he told them) are all contradictory, ill matched to the physical evidence, and counter-intuitive, his chances at being exonerated at a SYG hearing are pretty low.

    Still you have a bunch of experts opining otherwise, as in:

    “The decision of the hearing centers around whether Zimmerman felt his life was in danger at the time of the shooting, Schwartzreich said. Although the defense lawyers did not specifically say so, Zimmerman is expected to testify because he’s the only survivor of the Feb. 26 encounter.

    “The danger doesn’t have to be real, or actual,” Schwartzreich said. “It’s what the defendant believed it to be — if he believed he was going to be killed.”

    That’s not true at all. The defendant has to prove he had a reasonable fear. Reasonable fear is based, in part, on whether a threat is “real, or actual.” Otherwise, paranoids could get away with killing anybody they feared. If that turns out to be the law, I’m getting paranoid, I’ll tell you that!

  8. For supporter’s of Zimmerman
    “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such [deadly] force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself”
    is a slam-dunk.
    For them, it trumps everything else completely.
    To any reasonable person, that is is insanity.

    One can say that the cops arrived immediately after the shot – that Zimmerman was up walking and talking – and didn’t need any medical attention other than a cleaning. He didn’t need stitching. He didn’t need bandaging.
    He felt so well that he refused to get even checked out in a hospital.

    Ah yes, but… heads can be very funny y’know. One more bang and who knows that he wasn’t going to end his life as a cabbage or die.

    How can someone “reasonably” believe imminent death or great bodily harm?
    If you looked like you were shaping up to hit me, I could be in actual fear of great bodily harm.
    Who is to say that my actual fear was unreasonable? I can think of people who have died or brain-injured by a simple fall. There is no straight-line graph that links duration of violence to level of closeness to death.

    Am I supposed to wait until I see stars or a bright light at the end of a dark sort of tunnel before my actual fear becomes reasonable?

    The huge flaw in (1) above is that it uses the word “reasonable”.
    The moment you bring reason into a situation, consideration of all the surrounding conditions should be inescapable.

    But then, Zimmerman’s ‘reasonable fear’ seems to be based on a fear that Martin was going for his gun – and had also added by way of conversation “You going to die tonight”.
    That sort of fear could be seen as more reasoned than “my head was being banged and see I have few puny superficial cuts to prove it”.

    His problem with that is that we only have his word for it.
    Given that he clearly can/will not remember the detail of most of that night – as evidenced by things like not matching his NEN call in significant ways, and not explaining a gap of over 2 minutes immediately before the fight started – how can his story of the final seconds, in which he logically would be at his most stressed, be believed?

  9. BettyKath, I think the disagreement you and I have with application of the SYG law derives from the fact that you are thinking Zimmerman’s conduct on 2/26/2012 fits into 776.12 — I think it does NOT, but can only be used by a tortured reading of the companion code section, 776.13. Thus:

    776.12 speaks of force EXCEPT FOR DEADLY FORCE, as follows:

    776.12: A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.


    However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony;



    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to 776.13;



    So, either George has to PROVE that he was in fear for his life when he shot Trayvon, or he has to PROVE that he was attacked while he was not engaged in any unlawful activity.

    He only has to prove one of these two things with a preponderance of the evidence. But now we come to the real crux of the matter.

    The prosecution has the following evidence:

    1. George told the dispatcher on his non-emergency call that he was following the “suspicious guy.”

    2. Trayvon was on the phone until the time of confrontation, and the time the call with the girlfriend ended is known.

    3. George told the dispatcher that “these a55holes always get away,” clearly indicating both animus and the intent to pursue.

    4. George has admitted exclaiming, “f*cking punks” on the recording with the dispatcher, indicating hostility toward Trayvon.

    5. The amount of time George claims to have been passively receiving a death-dealing beating is inconsistent with the “capillary type lacerations” on George’s head and NO X-RAY SHOWS A BROKEN NOSE and all George’s own doctor said was “possible” broken nose;

    6. The injuries are not only inconsistent with fear of imminent bodily injury or death, but the fear of imminent bodily injury or death is very hard to believe when you remember that George was armed with a loaded pistol; and

    7. George changed his story about the whole thing four times, and thus, his credibility — even aside from the PayPal bond money issue — is already damaged and his performance on cross-examination is going to stink to high heaven.

    So O’Mara’s got a very steep uphill battle for this hearing.

    Also, if you look at the witnesses who were previously (before it looked like there would be a real prosecution) willing to say things that supported George’s version of the story, you see that they were backing off significantly on the most important points. We no longer heard about MMA punches once the realities of prosecution set in; we only heard that there were two guys on the ground and it was dark. The pictures of George’s head injuries are problematic to the defense because — so far — there are three of them and they do not seem either totally consistent with each other or, taken together, at all consistent with a deadly beat-down that would make any person fearful of great injury or death. The BANDAIDS got put on THE NEXT DAY! HOW INCREDIBLY SILLY!

    Also, witnesses the police tried to ignore came in with a more credible story, in concert, than George tried to tell at any point in his four narratives. They said that “the one on top” was the one who got up and walked away, that George did NOT ask for medical attention when they asked if everyone was OK (he responded, “Just call the police”); and that — in the case of the witness who called in, according to Serino — George was “trying to restrain” Trayvon Martin before shooting him.

    Another big factor that will tend to show that it is a lie that Zimmerman was afraid for his life is that he has already said that Trayvon Martin first appeared, then disappeared, then “emerged from the darkness” and circled the car, then hid in the darkness again, and then, yet again, “emerged fromt he darkness” again to attack George.

    Since George is on video saying he had forgotten he was carrying his gun when he got out of the car, and only remembered it when he felt Trayvon Martin’s hand reaching down the side of his body toward the holster, why wasn’t he afraid already, once Trayvon had circled the car, if he was afraid at all? It doesn’t add up.

    George is in the car.
    Trayvon has his hand in his waistband.
    That’s where George keeps HIS GUN.
    George is still in the car.
    He doesn’t know “what’s up with him.”
    Trayvon goes into the darkness, then emerges from the darkness.
    Trayvon circles the car.

    Isn’t George scared?


    Then he’s not a scaredy-cat type, is he?

    But then, he gets out, gets attacked, and THEN degenerates into scaredy-cat? The guy in training to become a cop?

    When confronted and questioned, this non-scaredy-cat guy doesn’t say: “I’m with the Neighborhood Watch; what are you doing here?” but, “No, I don’t have a problem”? REALLY?

    George’s little one-act play “I was looking for a street sign or a number and I got attacked and my head nearly exploded and I remembered I had a gun and I shot him but wasn’t sure I shot him so I jumped on him and spread his hands apart because I was so hurt but I didn’t want to go to the hospital because it costs too much money” will not sell.

    Maybe he can get private backing for this little play, but Judge Lester won’t be buying any tickets. That’s my guess.

  10. ” NO, Zimmerman cannot follow Martin and terrorize him and then, in a confrontation, use “fear” to justify killing Martin. That’s NOT what the law says;”

    We might be disagreeing. Let’s see if we can be more specific on the agreement.

    I believe that 776.12 (1) is only section that applies. The others do not, mostly for the reasons you state. Also, some of them deal with buildings and vehicles which eliminate them.

    I believe what’s pertinent is “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such [deadly] force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself”

    This section stands alone. It doesn’t say anything about anyone but the person who uses deadly force, that is, if Zimmerman reasonably believes that he is in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm he can use deadly force.

    The qualifiers are “reasonably”, “imminent”, and “great bodily harm”. This is what Zimmerman has to show: that it was reasonable for him to believe that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

    There are no other qualifiers. I think the weakness is in his “reasonable belief”. And what a good cross-examination could do. Zimmerman got away with not answering tough questions from the detective. That wouldn’t work when he is on the stand under oath. Is there any way that O’mara can make the case without having Zimmerman testify?

    Now that I actually see the law, I understand the details of Zimmerman’s story. He knew all about SYG. Perhaps the prosecutor could have the prof from a class tell how that was part of the discussion.

    I do agree that O’Mara has nothing to lose by going for the SYG hearing and for the reasons you state.

  11. BettyKath, you’re onto it and you’re right. You got it. NO, Zimmerman cannot follow Martin and terrorize him and then, in a confrontation, use “fear” to justify killing Martin. That’s NOT what the law says; the pretty Law Professor from the Central Florida Law School was, in my not-so-humble opinion, just WRONG on that point. It would lead to wholesale premeditated murder and it would be pro-criminal in the extreme.

    IF GEORGE was NOT engaged in an unlawful act (such as attempted unlawful restraint, attempted assault and battery, terroristic threatening, etc. etc.) AND if Trayvon attacked him (which does not look likely from the physical evidence), THEN a fear cannot be PRESUMED but a reasonable fear can be PROVEN by a preponderance of the evidence IF the evidence is credible.

    So George doesn’t get to say “I was scared” and go free. That’s how he thought it would be.

    It’s that George has to show by a preponderance of the evidence (and his testimony does count as evidence but it must be subject to cross-examination which will make it look a bit less than credible) that Trayvon Martin attacked him, that his story of being beaten half to death is credible, and that he had REASONABLE FEAR of great bodily injury or death when he shot Martin.

    I don’t think he’s getting there. I think the SYG hearing is being done by the defense for two purposes: (a) theater; and (b) trying to make it look better for appeal.

    A third reason occurs to me: Maybe George is insistent upon the SYG hearing, imagining that he is still credible. Then O’Mara may be doing it because his client insists upon it. Who knows?

  12. Some literal interpretations of SYG do seem to make it very scary and insane.
    With just a little thought, such interpretations are a licence to kill.

    It seems hard to believe that the surrounding circumstances and the credibility of someone claiming SYG would not be considered.

    Speaking of credibility, I’ve been slowly updating my blog in the past week or so.

    Hot off the presses is something on Zimmerman’s gun and the moment of the shooting.

    And here’s the SYG 🙂

    The Call, The Walk, and Hannity are also refreshed.

  13. too many pronouns:

    So Zimmerman can follow Martin and create fear in Martin and then, when he and Martin come together in confrontation, regardless of who starts it, and Z gets a boo-boo, Z can kill M.

  14. Malisha,

    I think this is the part that is pertinent:

    776.12:….a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony;

    This doesn’t say anything about fear, but it does say belief. It doesn’t say anything about who is the aggressor. So Zimmerman can follow Martin and create fear in him and then, when he and Martin come together in confrontation, regardless of who starts it, and he gets a boo-boo, he can kill him. There seem to be no exceptions. Scary.

    776.13 is the reference if you go to the “or” and point 2. of 776.12.

    I’m not knowledgeable about how to read these laws, they’re all in that strange language, legalese, so maybe there other rules on how to read this.

    You’re much more familiar with this than I am. Am I wrong? Why/How?

  15. It is interesting how the “SYG Hearing” is being presented in the press. It’s being presented as if it is almost a shoe-in for George to get away without a trial. Nothing could be farther from the truth, although obviously they got some law professor to mis-state what the law actually says.

    “Elizabeth Megale, a Savannah Law School professor who has studied Florida’s stand-your-ground law, says it doesn’t matter whether Zimmerman was the aggressor or when his fear was triggered.

    “Most people don’t understand, she says, that the law is broadly written. Zimmerman’s broken nose and lacerations on his skull are evidence that he would have been in fear, she says.”


    First of all, who is Elizabeth Megale? She’s no Alan Dershowitz. She went to undergraduate school and law school at Mercer College. The law school there is named after Walter F. George, a senator who voted not just against civil rights, but even against the anti-lynching law!

    Megale claims two things that are peculiar, considering the caselaw coming from the SYG decisions AND the plain language of the law itself. She claims:

    1. It doesn’t matter who the aggressor was in the fight or “when his fear was triggered” and she claims

    2. Zimmerman’s broken nose and lacerations on his skull are evidence that he would have been in fear.”

    Um, no and no.

    First of all, think of how the law would work if you could kill and get away with it SO LONG AS YOU WERE REALLY SCARED regardless of WHEN in the encounter you got scared and regardless of WHO WAS THE AGGRESSOR when the fear was triggered.

    Think of that. I could get a gun, wait for an early riser to leave his house for his daily constitutional, run up to him, challenge him and tell him I’m intending to kill him, then when he uses a karate chop or a violent kick to try to disarm me, I can get scared and shoot him dead, and it was OK because I really was scared! Huh?

    OK, but to the clear language of the law:

    Here’s the SYG law:

    776.12: A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to 776.13;

    ————- so the word FEAR has not yet appeared ——–
    but 776.13 in turn says:

    (1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

    (a) The person against whom the defensive force was used [THAT WOULD BE TRAYVON MARTIN] was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and [NOT THE CASE]

    (b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred. [NOT THE CASE]

    (2) The presumption [OF REASONABLE FEAR] set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

    (a) The person against whom the defensive force is used [AGAIN, TRAYVON MARTIN] has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or [YES, TRAYVON MARTIN HAD A RIGHT TO BE WHERE HE WAS]

    (b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; [INAPPLICABLE] or

    (c) The person who uses defensive force [THAT WOULD BE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN] is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or

    (d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer. [INAPPLICABLE]

    (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. [AND THIS WOULD APPLY IF, AND ONLY IF, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN COULD PROVE HE WAS “ATTACKED”]

    (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. [INAPPLICABLE]

    (5) As used in this section, the term:

    (a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.

    (b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

    (c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

    So, taking out all the inapplicable language, and changing the “person who” to either George, or Trayvon, as the case may be, here’s what we have:

    776.12: GEORGE WAS justified in using force, except deadly force, against TRAYVON when and to the extent that GEORGE reasonably believed that such conduct was necessary to defend himself against TRAYVON’S imminent use of unlawful force. However, GEORGE WAS justified in the use of deadly force and DID not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) HE reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to 776.13;


    (1) GEORGE WAS presumed to have held a reasonable fear … when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

    (a) TRAYVON was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a house or vehicle;

    (b) GEORGE knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred;


    (a) TRAYVON had a right to be where he was; or

    (b) GEORGE was trying to REMOVE TRAYVON although TRAYVON had the right to be where he was; or

    (c) GEORGE was engaged in an unlawful activity or …

    (d) TRAYVON was a law enforcement officer (not) or

    (3) GEORGE, while not doing anything unlawful such as trying to restrain TRAYVON or remove TRAYVON or threatening TRAYVON with a gun or otherwise, WAS ATTACKED —


    So, to break it down further, George would have the protection of the SYG law if, and only if:

    * * *

    Either Trayvon had NO RIGHT TO BE WHERE HE WAS
    George was NOT engaged in any unlawful activity AND was ATTACKED.

    So it DOES matter who started the fight. Even if George started to get scared for his life during a struggle, IF HE STARTED THE FIGHT then he was engaged in an unlawful activity at the time that he began to be afraid. So the presumption of fear is OUT and all that is left is:

    George has to prove that it is likely that (a) he did not start any fight at all and (b) he did not threaten Trayvon Martin at all and (c) Trayvon Martin attacked him.

    So it is not true that fear alone would exonerate George, regardless of who was the aggressor. That’s a nonsensical reading of the law. I’ll check into the cases that have gone up on appeal in Florida and report back on the ways this works out.

    But I think the good Professor (who was a public defender and obviously has a defense-oriented position and who likely worked with the ex-public-defender whom O’Mara has brought on the case with him) Megale is wrong on this point that fear alone will get George off.

    Heavens above, if any of us can kill and walk when we’re scared, regardless of what we did to GET scared, god help us and our neighbors.

  16. YEP, George Zimmerman was frantic to bring in his “suspect” when he killed innocent Trayvon Marton on 2/26/2012. A mistaken evidence dump has revealed his academic records. In spite of the fact that Mark Osterman’s wife had officiated at a “graduation party” for George BEFORE HE ACTUALLY COMPLETED HIS SCHOOLING, he was on

    * * *

    HE WAS ON * * *

    Academic Probation!

    He would not have graduated and gotten hired by the cops. He needed to show them he could bring in a criminal, so he could become a cop. He went after Trayvon Martin that night to bring in his suspect and get to be a little hero.

    He chose a non-criminal, of course but hey, what the hell, it was dark…

  17. Shano, thanks for the link.

    O’Mara knows that this hearing will be a loser. He is doing what is called “setting the case up for appeal” by making the motion, having the judge deny it, and then after the whole thing is over in the trial court (where he cannot get rid of Judge Lester), he will say that BECAUSE Lester did not recuse and because Lester was prejudiced, George did not get due process and therefore, once all the state proceedings are done (and everyone in the press is on to new stuff), he will bring a federal habeas corpus action claiming that GZ was convicted in an unconstitutional proceeding, so he can get a “discharge” and be relieved of the whole thing in a federal court.

    At this point that would appear to be the best legal strategy.

    It will not be hard for the prosecutor to win the SYG hearing; I doubt much is needed considering the physical evidence that reveals that George’s three versions of the events that evening are not terribly credible and not even internally consistent. This might be a good practice run for O’Mara too, to see how badly George screws up his testimony, even if he gives it. I would expect to see some voice expert testify that George was in fact yelling “HELP” and some medical expert testify that George’s “capillary” scratches were “serious injuries” to borrow a phrase from Professor Turley.

    They might also go “broken nose” again, even though THEY chose not to get an x-ray when it was freshly allegedly broken. I think they believe “two cops saying ‘broken nose’ in a 24-hour period equals self-defense.”

    That is, Black kids aren’t allowed to punch you in the nose before you murder them. You know the rules of the road.

  18. I finally found some time to add a page on Zimmerman’s Hannity interview to my blog

    Some of the older pages are still in need of updating.
    My irritation at looking for time v. a tendency towards perfectionism leads me to blow off some steam with lines like:

    What did he do?
    He says that he reached for his phone. Just like Dirty Harry. “Go ahead punk. Make my call.”

  19. You know, reading the four explanations Zimmerman gave for what happened that night, two things occur to me:

    1. As he tells his story more, it gets bigger; and

    2. He doesn’t seem to try to account for absurdities. He just leaves them alone.


    * It is absurd to suggest that he got out of the car to look for a street sign;
    * It is absurd to suggest that the police wanted him to find an address;
    * It is absurd to suggest that a thug who wanted to kill him would first ask him an aggressive question;
    * It is absurd in the extreme to suggest that he lay there being beaten without using his hands until the idea “GUN” appeared in his mind;
    * It is absurd to suggest that he did not realize he had shot and wounded Trayvon Martin when he did;
    * It is absurd to suggest that he was still trying to restrain Martin AFTER shooting him.

    Any time anyone asked about these absurdities (Serino did), George contented himself with, “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall.”

    The two (“don’t recall” and “don’t know”) because what George was trying to remember was NOT what actually happened, but what he was supposed to say to back up the story he and/or Mark Osterman and/or Frank Taaffe constructed. Or maybe the collective I.Q.s of all three do not add up to enough to come up with a really non-absurd explanation for what happened that night to try to magically pull “self-defense” out of the physical evidence hat.

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