Zimmerman Moves To Introduce Pictures and Text Messages On Martin’s Character

trayon-martin-picture1tmgunhandsmWe have a new filing in the trial of George Zimmerman with his counsel demanding to use pictures and text messages from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. The question will become one of relevance as well as prejudice as Zimmerman’s legal team tries to show that Martin had a violent or criminal disposition.

Some of these pictures in my view can be kept out of the trial. However, the defense has a legitimate right to evidence showing a prior disposition — just as the prosecution has that right. What is striking is that the prosecution wants to introduce a host of pre-statements and actions to paint Zimmerman as a racist or violent individual. However, they oppose such evidence related to Martin. Zimmerman’s defense is that Martin attack him and he wants to show that Martin had problems before that night, including his mother demanding that he leave the house and live with his father.

tmfingerssmallImages like Martin flipping the bird at the camera strike me as prejudicial and best kept out of the trial.

Here is the standard:

90.403 Exclusion on grounds of prejudice or confusion.–Relevant evidence is inadmissible if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, misleading the jury, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence. This section shall not be construed to mean that evidence of the existence of available third-party benefits is inadmissible.

The images come from Martin’s Huawei phone including what may be a self-picture of Martin holding a Smith and Wesson handgun. However, while it appears taken by the person holding the cellphone, there is no proof it is Martin unless the defense has found contemporary witnesses. Other photos show the gun and potted marijuana plants. The defense also wants to introduce evidence that Martin was suspended for fighting from school. This includes texts from November 2011 in which he says that his mother has kicked him out of the house after “da police caught me outta skool.” His friend responds “So you just turning into a lil hoodlum.” Martin responds “Naw, I’m a gangsta.” In other messages, Martin discusses guns like one that asks “U wanna share a .380 w/ (blacked out).”

I do believe that Zimmerman is entitled to introduce prior conduct evidence as is the prosecution. It cannot be one sided. The question is where to draw the line in such pictures and text messages. I do not see how the gun picture can be admitted absent proof that it is Martin holding the gun. Clearly there is a strong argument that it is him since it is his cellphone, but that remains speculative. It does seem to me that the playing field has to be level on the prior conduct evidence. The prosecution can argue that it has a closer nexus to introduce prior conduct related to Zimmerman’s anti-crime views and activities. However, it will also be asking to introduce other evidence.

These are always tough calls for the courts. Clearly both of the characters of these individuals are on trial given the theories of the prosecution and the defense. Young boys often joke of guns and crime and such messages can be misleading. Yet, the defense is claiming that these statements match his conduct on that night. The court could allow the evidence on both sides in and allow opposing counsel to make these points. However, there remains the prejudicial impact on the jury. I would expect that this evidence would be highly influential on some members of the jury.

Where do you think the line should be drawn?


Source: CNN

77 thoughts on “Zimmerman Moves To Introduce Pictures and Text Messages On Martin’s Character”

  1. DavidM2575 admits, “Now obviously this is Zimmerman’s account, but I see no reason to doubt it. ”

    You’ve been given ample reason to doubt it. You simply choose not to. Instead, you keep justifying murder.

  2. @David2575: “… if Zimmerman’s account is true, it would not have happened if Martin had not attacked him. There is photographic evidence supporting Zimmerman’s claim of Martin bashing his head against the pavement.”

    How did Trayvon “attack” Zimmerman while Zimmerman was holding a gun?
    The “photographic evidence” does NOT support Trayvon bashing Zimmerman’s head against the pavement — it’s only Zimmerman’s unsubstantiated claim well after the killing as to how/who caused his “injury”.

    1. Why do you assume that Zimmerman would be holding his gun? That is inappropriate. I have a Florida concealed weapons permit just like Zimmerman does. To get the license, you must undergo an extensive background check and be fingerprinted, and you have to be certified from taking a weapons safety course. Part of that training is that you keep the firearm hidden from sight. If you brandish your weapon without any threat, that is against the law.

      Zimmerman was carrying the weapon concealed from sight. According to Zimmerman, while Martin was beating him up, he spotted the weapon in its holster and said something like, “You are going to die tonight MF.” This caused Zimmerman at this point to reach for his weapon and withdraw it, firing it into Martin’s chest. It was a shoot him or die situation.

      Now obviously this is Zimmerman’s account, but I see no reason to doubt it. The photographic and medical evidence all supports it. You say the photo of his head doesn’t support this account, but I disagree. When I look at that photo, I think what the heck happened to this guy? Somebody was either hitting him with a blunt instrument or pounding his head against the sidewalk. There had to have been at least 4 or 5 hits and probably more. Did you look at the photo yourself? Do you not see four or five reddish bruises and two lacerations?

      Certainly you might claim that Zimmerman did this to himself or had someone else do it to him to cover his tracks, but the most parsimonious explanation is that Zimmerman’s account is accurate.

      1. I have to laugh at this david account it is so fanciful. In my younger drinking and wilder days, I managed to get hit over the head a number of times and in all of them, I had to get stitches in the wounds to close them, AND I got BIG goose eggs too. I see nothing at all to indicate that Zimmerman had major trauma to his head. The injuries you cite are so slight that a band aid could take care of them. So from my personal hard earned experiences, I have to say that Zimmerman is a lying SOB in his account. He better hope in his trial he does not get a person who has personal experience in having fights. It will be hard for that juror to keep a straight face if Zimmerman testifies.

        Then to have him have Martin say AFTER seeing a gun, YOU are going to DIE is absurd. If I saw a KNIFE much less a gun, I got the hell OUT of there. This is so surreal that I hope you seriously do NOT believe this. The wounds Zimmerman got were a result of his falling on his back which caused the slight scrapes and Martin managed to get one hit on his face or nose. Big Deal. His face looks too good to have taken more than that. I seriously doubt Martin ever saw the gun until Zimmerman pulled it out and was the last thing he ever saw.

  3. “You sure do write a lot for somebody in so far over his head.>’

    Finally. Truth.

  4. david, “I looked at the crime scene photos, and it was right around the corner of the building. Ambush certainly is a possibility.”

    Perspective in photos can be misleading. Your “right around the corner” is actually 40′.

    In looking for the previous link I scanned some of the FDLE interview reports (discovery dump 2). One officer, seeing the defendant in the police car at the scene, noted that the defendant looked as if he had been punched in the nose. Another officer, seeing the defendant at SPD that same night, noted that the defendant’s nose did not look injured. This is consistent with the two photos, the one taken with a cell phone while defendant was in the back seat of the car with blood on his face and the one taken later at SPD where his nose looks normal. Can I explain it? No. But there is consistency with what the two officers observed and what the photos show. My personal theory is that his nose was hit by the recoil of the gun b/c he didn’t use shooting range technique.

  5. David,
    You have made it abundantly clear you don’t know squat about crime scene investigations other than the show business fiction you have learned from TV dramas. Some of us make our living with this kind of thing. Give it a rest. You are embarrassing yourself.

  6. Zimmerman is dirty and a murderer. I wouldn’t trust anything he proffers.

  7. BettyKath – the examiner says left fourth finger, but he drew it right on his top knuckle extending down the length of the finger for 1/4″. Even if the abrasion starts just below the knuckle by a fraction of an inch, it is exactly in the spot one might expect from hitting someone with a closed fist.

    Comparing the injuries on Zimmerman with the injuries on Martin, there is little doubt that Martin had the upper hand on Zimmerman until Zimmerman shot him. I don’t understand how you can possibly avoid this conclusion.

    Negative DNA evidence unfortunately proves nothing. How thorough were they in trying to collect DNA samples? Normal vitals after police arrive proves nothing either. It doesn’t take that long to calm down after an altercation. Considering his injuries, I would expect increased respiration during and within the first few minutes of the altercation.

  8. david, Actually, it says the left fourth finger, not knuckle. The sketch on page 7 looks to me like it’s between the knuckles and, if it were on the knuckle, I would expect the ME to be specific in saying so.

    The defendant claimed, repeatedly, that Martin had his hands over the defendant’s mouth and nose. Would you expect some of the defendant’s dna on Martin if he did beat on him? The dna report showed none of the defendant’s dna on Martin’s hands or on his sleeves or on his hoodie. There was one small drop of the defendant’s blood on the front of the inner shirt of Martin. The dna report is in one of the discovery dumps. There was also none of Martin’s dna on the defendant’s clothes. The defendant was allowed to wash up at the get-go in SPD.

    The tox report on Martin showed trace amounts of marijuana, not enough to suggest any recent activity. There was no tox report on the defendant b/c he did not get any medical treatment until the next day and SPD didn’t insist on it.

    One other point that is strange is that the defendant’s vital signs, as taken by the EMT’s at the scene, were all normal. How can someone kill anyone and not have elevated BP and respiration?

  9. A single scrape to the hand or forearm is commonly a defensive injury, such as one might get warding off a blow by a weapon.

  10. David,
    If you think the autopsy report shows Martin was beating up on Zimmerman, what that tells me you have not seen many dead bodies. When somebody has been in a fight, look for a bunch of skinned and bruised knuckles first. That can tell you who was on the offense. Always look for a pugilist’s fracture as soon as x-rays are available, although the absence of such fractures is not proof of who started it. It is proof that somebody got in a really good lick.

    One could posit there was no fight. If Zimmerman deliberately hit or scraped his head on something to break the skin, he would not be the first defendant to do so, and won’t be the last.

    You sure do write a lot for somebody in so far over his head.

  11. david, The Palm Beach newspaper report is based on leaked information that is not supported by the actual autopsy.

    The autopsy reports two injuries. The first is a complete description of the gunshot wound in his chest. The second “There is a 1/4″ x 1/8″ small abrasion on the left fourth finger.”

    You can read the autopsy here:

    You say you are drawing conclusions based on the evidence presented but it’s clear that your opinions are based on newspaper reports that are based mainly on very biased information. The prosecution is making information available through discovery as required by FL’s sunshine law.

    See the link I provided up thread for the actual recorded interviews and scanned reports and crime scene photos. You’ve obviously given this case some thought and I think you are capable of sorting through the actual discovery documents rather than relying on news reports, many of which are based on the defense bias.

    The prosecution isn’t allowed to talk about the evidence. It has again, for the 3rd time, requested a gag order to stop the misinformation from the defense attorney that, imo, is directed to the jury pool.

    I do hope that the defendant takes the stand. He violated the basic rule from defense attorneys – he talked. Many times, many versions. None of his stories are supported by the physical or forensic evidence.

    1. BettyKath – Thanks for the link to the actual autopsy report.

      You are correct that much of my information comes from second hand news reports and wikipedia, and much of that from many months ago. I appreciate the primary source material which is certainly more reliable than any news reports.

      The autopsy was interesting in that the only recent injury on Martin besides the gun wound to his chest was an abrasion on his left fourth knuckle. He showed no injury to his scalp or face. Doesn’t that indicate to you that Martin was beating up Zimmerman and not the other way around?

      1. I did not know it was lawful to stalk a person at night or to menace them. It was clearly what Zimmerman was doing as Martin found out when Zimmerman lost sight of him for a brief time. Zimmerman didn’t continue on his way to a door or dwelling, so Martin KNEW for a FACT Zimmerman was targeting HIM. We know that from the testimony of his girl friend who he was talking to at the time. Then we KNOW for a FACT Zimmerman was targeting Martin and he said he was out to stop him so he would not get away. THAT means he was willing and able and ARMED to stop Martin from getting away and that WAS his mindset. That this was unlawful is the FACT that Zimmerman had seen NO action on Martins part that even suggested he was a criminal other than being a young black male. THAT is called profiling by the way. For police it is ILLEGAL! I have to assume that it is unlawful for vigilantes too.

        As for the one injury on Martins finger, it is more than likely he hit it on Zs gun when he pulled it out. Then you have NOT told me or anybody else just how the hell a person the size and fighting ability of Zimmerman can be justified in using deadly force against an unarmed attacker. Then I have to ask,just how did Zimmerman get the free hand to grab his gun? If I were being hit repeatedly in the face, both my hands would be trying to sheild my face and fighting back. So it was not much of an attack that allowed Zimmerman a free hand to pull his gun. Also it looks like Martin did not get any really good shots on Zimmerman.

        So far I have seen NO explanation or justification for what Zimmerman did and you have not offered any. Unless you think that a young black male in early evening by himself is a legitimate target of suspicion and violence if they do not act deferential to their betters or vigilantes.

  12. Thanks for pointing out that this particular call was to the Sanford police department directly. I stand corrected on that.

    I still am not convinced that he loses his liberty to keep a line of sight on Martin just because a police agent says “we don’t need you to do that [follow him].” In a 2007 Castle Law case in Texas, Joe Horn was told repeatedly not to go outside, but he was still cleared of wrongdoing even when it is self evident that he was the sole aggressor against two people in the act of a crime.

    The picture of the back of Zimmerman’s head show obvious bruising spots as well as lacerations. We have to keep in mind that the back of the head does not have enough vascularity to always show trauma. I personally have been knocked out by someone hitting me with a baseball bat on the back of my head, and I had absolutely no lumps or bruising from it. Looking at the photo, it is very clear that he suffered blunt trauma multiple times, at least four or five times based upon bruises and cuts alone. Anybody who looks at these pictures of his face and back of his head and does not believe that a fight took place in which Zimmerman was being badly hurt is not being honest. Of course, we all would like to see photos of Martin’s face, head and hands, but that is not available to us. The only thing we know for sure is that they were in a vicious fight.

    BettyKath wrote: “There is no medical report for a broken nose. The pictures of him that night and the next day don’t show black eyes. There were 2 small lacerations that only required being cleaned up. No bruising was apparent.”

    The police report indicates an apparent broken nose, and the medical report says he had a closed fracture of the nose, two black eyes, lacerations to the back of the head, minor back injury, and bruising to upper lip and cheek. The photo of the face might not show black eyes right away. Although sometimes they develop within hours, it often takes a few days for black eyes to develop following a fight.

    The picture of the back of Zimmerman’s head show obvious bruising spots as well as lacerations. We have to keep in mind that the back of the head does not have enough vascularity to always show trauma. I personally have been knocked out by someone hitting me with a baseball bat on the back of my head, and I had absolutely no lumps or bruising from it. Looking at the photo, it is very clear that he suffered blunt trauma multiple times, at least four or five times based upon bruises and cuts alone. You don’t have to be a medical doctor to look at the picture yourself and see the reddish bruise marks under the skin. Anybody who looks at these pictures of his face and back of his head and does not believe that a fight took place in which Zimmerman was being badly hurt is not being honest. Of course, we all would like to see photos of Martin’s face, head and hands, but that is not available to us. The only thing we know for sure is that they were in a vicious fight.

    BettyKath wrote: “there was NO indication whatever that Martin had been involved in hitting someone.”

    Autopsy results show Trayvon Martin had injuries to his knuckles when he died.


    Randyjet, we don’t really know that Zimmerman was determined to stop him at all costs. My perspective is that he wanted to keep a line of sight on him so he could tell police where he was. He probably would have been happy if Martin had returned to where he was staying. Zimmerman would likely have just stayed there watching the door, and when the police arrived, pointed to the door and said, “he went in there.”

    It is purely speculation, but from my own experience in matters like this one, I suspect Martin was reluctant for Zimmerman to know where he was staying. I suspect he could have run with the purpose of circling back and sucker punching Zimmerman. I was sucker punched once this way, and I landed flat on my back. The guy who hit me from behind was immediately on top of me pounding away at my face with his fists before I knew what was going on. Again, this is purely speculation on my part, but so was the scenario you outlined. It may also be that Martin saw Zimmerman running behind him and just stopped, turned around, and confronted him face to face. It may be like you said, that Zimmerman grabbed his arms to try and keep him from getting away. It might be that Zimmerman was trying to make a citizen’s arrest. It might be that Martin walked right up and threw the first punch. We don’t know. The best we could do is interview Zimmerman to get answers to questions like these. This is what the trial is all about.

    OS – I don’t pretend to be certain about this. I am just drawing conclusions based upon evidence presented. I may very well be completely wrong. I do not pretend that my opinion and analysis makes the trial unnecessary. Thank you for your worthy contribution to the discussion.

  13. randyjet, it’s a good question but i don’t see it being asked until the defendant takes the stand and describes his terrible injuries. The prosecution has so much to present that impeaches just about anything the defendant asserts in his testimony.

    1. david you are wrong on most of what you posted. First off since I LIVE in Houton, I have followed the Horn case and actually READ the law. This case had NOTHING at all to do with either Castle doctrine, or stand your ground law. Horn could have simply taken his shotgun out and shot the two illegals as they exited the house without saying a word. Texas law allows any person to shoot burglars when there is little chance of recovery of the stolen property. They do not have to even give warning as Horn was decent enough to do. It was the crooks who when confronted with an armed man, decided to run rather than surrender as most honest law abiding folks are supposed to do when confronted by a robber. The illegals must have thought that they were in California where they are immune from being shot or stopped by citizens. Horn would have gone to prison in CA for simply pointing a gun at the crooks much less shooting them. The illegals had they been arrested, would have been sheltered from ICE under CA sanctuary policies for criminal aliens. So the illegals would have made a deal with the DA to testify against Horn, they would go free and Horn would be in prison. Wonder why CA has a problem and why I got the hell out of there?

      Next thing you get wrong is that Martin had committed NO CRIME! Was not even THINKING about a crime. The ONLY crook around was Zimmerman who is a crook who thinks he is the law. Just what would Zimmerman tell the cops if he had just stood outside the apartment? I saw this kid go into this house and he is BLACK! I am sure that is more than enough probable cause for you and the rest of the bigot brigade, but for those of us who rather like the rule of law, it is NOT. Then we know for a fact that Zimmerman WAS going to stop him at all costs with his remark that he did NOT want him to get away. Zimmerman’s actions give Martin grounds for self defense under the Stand your ground law since he was STALKING the kid.at NIGHT! Martin’s misfortune was that HE was not armed and could have shot Zimmerman with more justification than the other way around.

      As for not having a goose egg, I too have been hit in the back of the head with a pool cue and it did raise one. I used to go to the ice houses to drink and we often had a fight or two after drinking awhile. It was also NOT allowed to use a knife or gun if you were losing the fight. You simply took your lumps and healed the bumps and bruises. I know of no law which allows a person especially in a one on one fight to pull a gun if you are losing. In some of my fights there were more than one on me, and even then one could not use a weapon. So to think that in a fist fight, the losing person can kill their opponent is WAY out of bounds, even and especially in Texas. it is outrageous to say otherwise, especially given the lack of any major injury to Zimmerman.

      I saw the diagram of the sidewalk and condos and Martin could not have jumped out at Zimmerman without being easily seen. So ambush is out. So the FACT is that there was a confrontation face to face given how Zimmerman wound up on his back. My guess is that as Zimmerman fell, he was reaching for his gun or soon after he was on his back. I doubt he waited until he made a rational calculation that he was going to be severely injured or killed. As I said earlier, Zimmerman had to be off balance to get shoved onto his back and the only way for that to happen, is for Zimmerman to try and grab and pull Martin backwards.

      1. Arthur, my point about Joe Horn was that the dispatcher told him several times not to go outside after the criminals. Many said in that case that this would bury him in court, but it did not. You are correct that the guys there were clearly committing a crime and that is a very significant difference from this case if we assume as you do that Martin was attacked by Zimmerman. However, if Zimmerman was attacked by Martin, then Martin was also committing a crime. He was committing the crime of battery against Zimmerman.

        When Zimmerman said he didn’t want Martin to get away, he meant he did not want him to get away from the police. Three weeks before, he did the same thing with someone else. The guy got away. Later the police caught a thief and it was the same guy Zimmerman saw and had called them about, the guy who had got away. So who calls the police to report a suspicious character if they are planning on hurting that person?

        And you think Zimmerman wanted to hurt him because he was Black? Zimmerman has many black relatives and friends. His business partner was black. I read he did volunteer work tutoring black children for years. Zimmerman also is descended from black ancestors. When I first saw a photo of Zimmerman in his first court appearance, I thought he was black. His skin tone is similar to Eric Holder’s skin. He was standing right next to a bailiff who looks like a black man to me, and they looked like they could be brothers. See the pic in this link:


        I looked at the crime scene photos, and it was right around the corner of the building. Ambush certainly is a possibility. A sucker punch also can happen by a person coming up acting like they are going to be peaceful and just want to talk, and then wham, they hit you when you are looking away.

        How do you explain all the injuries on Zimmerman and none on Martin except for the gunshot womb to the chest and an abrasion or or near his left fourth knuckle?

        When you say Zimmerman is the only crook, exactly what law do you think he was violating?

        1. David said: ‘none on Martin except for the gunshot wound to the chest.’

          David, he’s dead. Martin is dead! Dead! What more proof do you need?

          I wish I could find that clip at the end of Will Smith’s movie ‘I Am Legend’, where Will Smith is raising his voice at the woman, saying the samething that I am trying to tell David….’Dead’ ‘Dead’.

  14. why do I see the lack of an important word only after posting?

    The ME is decider on this and there was NO indication whatever that Martin had been involved in hitting someone.

    1. I hope the prosecutors ask the most important question that demolishes Zimmermans lies. WHERE IS THE GOOSE EGG? If he was so brutally beaten, he should have one hell of a big one.

  15. David, You obviously haven’t looked at any of the discovery documents.

    “It is not backwards. Zimmerman was a resident there. Martin was not.”

    Martin was visiting but had been there before. Martin was much closer to where he was staying that Zimmerman was to his home.

    “I suppose Zimmerman today wishes he had just walked away, but hindsight is always 20/20.”

    Not so. Zimmerman, on Sean Hannity was asked what he would do differently if he had the chance and Zimmerman’s response was that he would do exactly the same as he did that night.

    “We have pictures of Zimmerman’s bloody broken nose, two black eyes, bloody lip, and lacerations and bruising on the back of his head.”

    There is no medical report for a broken nose. The pictures of him that night and the next day don’t show black eyes. There were 2 small lacerations that only required being cleaned up. No bruising was apparent.

    “Witnesses say that Martin’s knuckles were bruised and hurt, apparently from beating Zimmerman.”

    Total falsehood. There were no such reports. The ME is decider on this and there was indication whatever that Martin had been involved in hitting someone.

    “Several witnesses report seeing a black man in a hoodie on top of another man, using martial art style punching to beat him up.”

    Some witnesses say Martin was on top, others say the defendant was on top. Most likely all are correct and that the respective positions of Martin and the defendant changed. Actually there was only one witness, John, who described MMA and he retracted that statement the next day.

    “There is another piece of evidence that indicates the aggressive nature of Martin. Martin approached Zimmerman while he was in his vehicle on his phone with police in order to check him out. Martin circled the car and Zimmerman rolled up the window to avoid a confrontation. Martin started running, realizing perhaps that Zimmerman was talking to the police, and that is when Zimmerman got out of his car.”

    Aha, here’s the problem. You believe one of the defendant’s stories. Several people have compared the Non-emergency recording (it was not a 911 call) and the defendant’s walk-thru video and the layout of RTL and have shown that there is absolutely no way that things happened the way the defendant has said. In particular, there is no time for the car circling.

    “We don’t know who pushed who first, or who through [sic] the first punch, but there was definitely a physical altercation prior to the shooting”

    Finally, a true statement.

    To read the police reports, see various defendant and witness interviews, crime scene photos, etc. go to http://trayvon.axiomamnesia.com/

  16. I don’t think that the evidence that is being proferred will do much other than show Martin was a typical kid who in the old days would be called having a lot of spirit. It is not proof of criminality, nor do any of his actions show a hint of criminal activitiy on that night. Even assuming he was a crook and a real gangster, even THEY have the right to go to the store without being stopped and questioned by a vigilante. So this is simply irrelevant.

    My problem is that we know Martin knew he was being followed. We know that Zimmerman thought he was engaged in criminal activity and was determined to stop him at all costs. So we know too that they were at one point face to face. I wonder just how Zimmerman wound up on his back from that position if what he said is true that he did nothing at all to Martin. I find that to be physically impossible given the relative size of them. It is very hard to put somebody on their back from that position even with a punch that is unexpected unless there is something to trip up Zimmerman which there was nothing at all. Zimmerman HAD to be off balance for him to go down as he did. The only way I can see this fight going was that Martin told Zimmerman to mind his own damn busines and leave him alone. Z I think grabbed Martins arm as he tried to leave, and was pulling Martin back. Martin then whirled around and hit or pushed Zimmerman, thus putting him on his back.

    As for Martin hitting Zs head on the ground repeatedly, if that had happened to such a degree that it required deadly force, Zimmerman should have a BIG goose egg on the back of his head. I see no evidence of that. All I see is a slight cut from an abrasion that was caused when he hit his head in falling backwards. So from this material evidence, I have to conclude that Zimmerman was the aggressor and initiated the attack. It is consistent with the mindset of both antagonists and the physical evidence.

  17. David,

    Please read the following (from the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Trayvon_Martin)

    “”Stand your ground” laws

    Self-defense laws in the United States, particularly regarding justifiable homicide, vary by state. Florida law, as of 2005, includes a “stand your ground” provision, under which a person, who reasonably fears death or great bodily harm (the ordinary deadly self-defense requirement) is relieved of the common-law requirement that one first attempt to retreat, if one can safely do so, before using deadly force.[318][319] In almost all states, such laws exempt people in their own homes; Florida’s version extends the no-retreat doctrine to vehicles and public places. In at least 17 states, including Florida, there is no duty to retreat before using force.[320][321] After the shooting, media reports had indicated that Zimmerman would most likely use the “Stand Your Ground” provision in Florida’s self-defense law. According to Durell Peaden, one of the sponsors of the Florida law, the law does not say that a person has a right to confront another. “When [Zimmerman] said ‘I’m following him’, he lost his defense.” However, the same Mar 20, 2012, article goes on to state, “Peaden and Baxley said they didn’t know all the facts of the case, so their interpretations of what happened could change if new information arises during the investigation.”[322]

    According to David Kopel, if Martin first attacked Zimmerman, the claim of self-defense by Zimmerman would be valid under the usual self-defense laws that didn’t include the “Stand your ground” law. On the other hand, if Zimmerman stalked and attacked Martin, the “Stand your ground” law would not protect Zimmerman from prosecution. In either case, the Florida “Stand your ground” law would be irrelevant.[318][323]

    However, the “Stand Your Ground” law grants Zimmerman the right to a pretrial hearing where a judge could find Zimmerman immune from prosecution and dismiss the charges without going to trial.[324] The defense would need to show through a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. show with more than 50% certainty, that Zimmerman thought he would be killed or seriously injured.[325]

  18. David Said: “Another factor to consider here is that this was not a “police dispatcher” in the sense of a police officer, but rather it was a 911 operator”

    Please read the following:


    “Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin’s behavior as suspicious, stating “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about” and “looking at all the houses”.[6][7] According to a police report, “there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter”.[8][9][10] While still on the phone with the police dispatcher, Zimmerman left his vehicle. After the phone call concluded, there was a violent encounter between Martin and Zimmerman. The encounter ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin once in the chest at close range.”

    Also, “At approximately 7:09 PM,[Note 1] Zimmerman called the Sanford police non-emergency number to report what he considered a suspicious person in the Twin Lakes community.[93] Zimmerman stated, “We’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy.”[63] He described an unknown male “just walking around looking about” in the rain and said, “This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.”[94] Zimmerman reported that the person had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.[95] On the recording, Zimmerman is heard saying, “these assholes, they always get away.”[96][97]

    “About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said, “he’s running.”[98] The dispatcher asked, “He’s running? Which way is he running?”[99] The sound of a car door chime is heard, indicating Zimmerman opened his car door.[100] Zimmerman followed Martin, eventually losing sight of him.[98] The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following him. When Zimmerman answered, “yeah,” the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman responded, “Okay.”[101] Zimmerman asked that police call him upon their arrival so he could provide his location.[98] Zimmerman ended the call at 7:15 p.m.[98]”

    “After Zimmerman ended his call with police, a violent encounter took place between Martin and Zimmerman, which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin 70 yards (64 m) from the rear door of the townhouse where Martin was staying.”

  19. David sez: “…he committed no crime either in following Martin and shooting him dead in self defense.”
    Where did you get your law degree that enables you to make such sweeping pronouncements on guilt or innocence on the basis of…..what? That is one heck of a crystal ball you have there. I suppose the county can dispense with the expense of a trial, since you have now saved them the trouble.

    Often wrong, never uncertain.

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