Reasonable Doubt: Why Zimmerman Should Be Acquitted

zimmermantrayon-martin-picture1Since the first charging of the case involving George Zimmerman, I have respectfully disagreed with many friends (including on this blog) about the case which I believed was clearly over-charged as second degree murder.  The trial has only magnified those concerns and I believe that the jury will acquit Zimmerman and would be correct in doing so. The reason is simple: reasonable doubt.  Putting aside the understandable anger and the heavy overlay of social and racial issues in the case, an objective review in my opinion leaves reasonable doubt on every element of the charge, even the lesser charge of manslaughter which the court has allowed the jury to consider. First, let me begin by saying something that should not have to be said. I am not accepting Zimmerman’s account and I do not know what happened that night. I am not condoning Zimmerman’s actions. Rather, I am looking at the facts and I cannot see a single material fact on the elements that does not create a reasonable doubt as to what occurred. We 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. That is not unlawful. It was also lawful for Zimmerman to be armed. The question comes down to who started the fight and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

The facts on these questions are no more clear today than they were on that tragic night. Zimmerman’s account has been met by an alternative account from the prosecution. However, there is no objective basis to clearly reject one over the other. In other words, they remain in equipoise and that is not a sufficient basis for a conviction.

I was frankly astonished that the prosecution did not have any stronger evidence and, as I mentioned earlier, I believe that the court failed to address the withholding of evidence from the defense.

Many people were highly critical of the prosecution for putting on what seemed like a case for Zimmerman. The reason is that there was not a strong case for conviction on the basis that Zimmerman did not “reasonably believe” that the gunshot was “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to himself. Various witnesses said that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and said that they believed that he was the man calling for help. He had injuries. Not serious injuries but injuries to his head from the struggle. Does that mean that he was clearly the victim. No. It does create reasonable doubt on the question of the struggle.

There is also no evidence as to who threw the first punch or committed the first physical act in the struggle. I do not understand how, under the standard jury instruction, a juror could simply assume Zimmerman was the aggressor. Zimmerman was largely consistent in his accounts and his account was consistent with some witnesses. After 38 prosecution witnesses, there was nothing more than a call for the jury to assume the worst facts against Zimmerman without any objective piece of evidence. That is the opposite of the standard of a presumption of innocence in a criminal trial.

Rather than charge manslaughter, the prosecutors seemed to yield to the political pressure and charge second degree murder. Under that charge, they needed to show Zimmerman had the intent to kill and did so with “depraved mind, hatred, malice, evil intent or ill will.” They fell substantially below that mark. Witnesses said that both men used derogatory terms, including Martin’s reference to Zimmerman as a “cracker.” The first witness for the prosecution was in my view a disaster and admitted to previously lying under oath. The prosecution witnesses largely portrayed a consistent account from Zimmerman and even favorable views of him from some witnesses.

In the end, the only way I could see a conviction would be to discard the standard of a presumption of innocence and embrace the invitation of the prosecution to assume every fact against Zimmerman despite conflicting testimony from witnesses, including the prosecution’s own witnesses. Even for manslaughter, the jury had to find that George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin but was told that “a killing that is excusable or was committed by the use of justifiable deadly force is lawful.” The jury instruction on deadly force states in part:

A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

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.

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

The prosecution consistently overplayed its hand in a desperate attempt to overcome its own witnesses. For example, with an officer stating repeated that Martin’s Dad said no to the question of whether it was his son calling for help, the prosecution insisted that he was saying “no” as a type of denial of reality in hearing the tape. His dad said that he had to hear the tape about two dozen times to change his mind. Even after being criticized by many experts for overcharging the case, the prosecution proceeded to make a demand at the end of the trial that the jury be able to convict Zimmerman on a different crime: third degree murder based on child abuse. The judge wisely rejected that demand but allowed the jury to consider manslaughter as a lesser charge.

The instruction on reasonable doubt given to the jury is as follows:

George Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty. This means you must presume or believe George Zimmerman is innocent. The presumption stays with George Zimmerman as to each material allegation in the Information through each stage of the trial unless it has been overcome by the evidence to the exclusion of and beyond a reasonable doubt.
To overcome George Zimmerman’s presumption of innocence, the State has the burden of proving the crime with which George Zimmerman is charged was committed and George Zimmerman is the person who committed the crime.
George Zimmerman is not required to present evidence or prove anything.
Whenever the words “reasonable doubt” are used you must consider the following:
A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find George Zimmerman not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.
It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.
A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of George Zimmerman may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence, or the lack of evidence.
If you have a reasonable doubt, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty. If you have no reasonable doubt, you should find George Zimmerman guilty.

Here are all of the jury instructions.

There is, in my view, no objective basis for an abiding conviction of guilt on either second degree murder or manslaughter. The prosecution’s case remains more visceral than legal in effectively asking for a presumption of guilt. Zimmerman should be acquitted on that basis.

290 thoughts on “Reasonable Doubt: Why Zimmerman Should Be Acquitted”

  1. “What is fascinating to me, as I follow this debate, is that some of the commentators make the point that we don’t know what ultimately took place between Trayvon and Zimmer, but are willing to give the killer the benefit of the doubt over the murdered.” , PO

    What’s fascinating to me is that many people who choose a legal blog to participate on don’t realize that this “benefit” is the foundation of the American criminal justice system.

    1. Obviously Seamus, that quote was part of a larger point, not the whole point. Better and more patient reading, and also more thorough comprehension would have revealed that I did not question that “benefit” of the american criminal justice system, nor did I question the latter. What I questioned, is the insensitivity, the inhumanity of those on this blog, and the larger world, who, faced with the fact that one person profiled, followed, confronted then murdered another person, would rather assume some unverifiable fault on the part of the murdered, than to assume fault on the part of the killer.

      1. PO wrote: “What I questioned, is the insensitivity, the inhumanity of those on this blog, and the larger world, who, faced with the fact that one person profiled, followed, confronted then murdered another person, would rather assume some unverifiable fault on the part of the murdered, than to assume fault on the part of the killer.”

        I don’t know if you have me in mind or not with this comment, but I want to make my perspective clear about the following aspect. My perspective is that both people, Zimmerman and Martin, caused this situation to escalate to deadly consequences. They both bear some moral responsibility in regards to this. If Zimmerman had left the area, Martin would still be alive. If Martin had left and gone back to his father’s girlfriend’s home, he would be alive. Nevertheless, in regards to the law, neither men were wrong to do what they did in regards to following or face to face confrontation. What was wrong was the physical altercation. Once that started, a line had been crossed. Who started the fight is important, because once started, the other man has a right to defend himself. The fight escalating into one where Zimmerman believed he was going to die that night if he didn’t shoot led to the tragic consequence of Martin getting fatally shot.

        I would hope that Zimmerman has some introspection about his fault in this matter, about how he might have acted differently to prevent this event from happening. If Martin were alive, I would feel the same way toward him. The primary fault, however, lies with the person who threw the first punch. Throwing a punch crosses the line between moral and immoral. If a death threat was made as Zimmerman says, that also crosses the line of morality in this case.

        1. david2 Who started the fight is not that important for a couple of reasons. It is a point which is basically impossible to know given the results, and even if Martin were alive it would be still be impossible since both would say the other started it. In fact, if Zimmerman had started it, he would have an incentive to kill Martin, so that works against Zimmerman if only because he was the only one who had the ability to kill with any certainty.. Then we have the fact that up to the point of the physical fight, Zimmerman was the aggressor. While it is entirely possible that at some point he stopped and did not cross the line, his prior actions and arrest record show that is unlikely. Then to ask that the state disprove beyond a reasonable doubt Zimmerman’s account is an impossible burden so that any person of about the same size in a fist fight can use deadly force in any fight. That is why the law has the reasonable fear provision in it. From this verdict, it is clear that the law needs to be changed to be more specific in using deadly force. If we can do it for sex crimes, I think we need to and can do this for the use of deadly force.

          Dealing with the specifics, I just heard one of the jurors say that she thought is was Zimmerman’s cries on the 911 tape. That makes no sense at all since it is nonsense for Zimmerman to cry out TWICE as he gets his gun, gets the deciding force, and kills Martin. Then one has to wonder how he could cry out while his mouth and nose were being muffled by Martin as one of Zs accounts has it. Now if the shot had happened a minute or two after the cries, I could and would believe Zimmerman, but the shot happened immediately after the last cry. That fact is far more consisent with Martin seeing the gun, and screaming in horror, as he realizes he is about to die. That makes far more sense, In fact, it shows that Zimmerman had the time to force Martin off of him using the threat of the gun if Martin were not already getting up. Also the fight had gone onto the grass so even granting Zimmerman the fact that Martin was still on top hitting him, his head was NOT hitting concrete but turf. I doubt that most people would consider that a deadly situation. The law should not consider it a deadly situation where you have unarmed fights between two persons of approximate size and ability.

  2. What is fascinating to me, as I follow this debate, is that some of the commentators make the point that we don’t know what ultimately took place between Trayvon and Zimmer, but are willing to give the killer the benefit of the doubt over the murdered. “Maybe Trayvon did this to him, maybe that…, maybe Zim had no choice etc etc…”.

    Beyond the legal aspect of the case, and here one understands that it was for the prosecution to lose or win it, what is disturbing to me is the human aspect of it, or the inhumanity of those who attempt to justify a murder on the actions of the murdered, when they themselves acknowledge not knowing what those actions were.

    What is this in people’s being,and considering the salient points of the case, that would make one rationalize the fact that one person took it upon himself to confront another, without cause, against the advice of authority (911) and kill that person in a case of his word against mine?

    Please indulge this exercise: Let’s take race out of the picture, let’s take black, white, Oj Simpson, AL Sharpton and every other charged personality out of it. Let’s make both Trayvon and Zimmer white and your neighbors. Let’s start this again.

    John, your teenage neighbor, is walking back from the store with his hoodie on, Sam, your adult neighbor, suspicious of him, follows then confronts him, against the advice of authority (911). Whatever ensues is unclear but the fact that Sam shoots John dead, claiming self-defense. Try again.

    1. po wrote: ” Let’s make both Trayvon and Zimmer white and your neighbors.”

      For the record, my judgment is basically the same whether they are both white or both black. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is whether we believe it is possible that Zimmerman was the underdog in a fight where he believed he was going to die if he did not get with it and pull his gun and use it. I think that is a very valid possibility based upon the evidence that exists and my knowledge of human behavior. The acceptance of this as a possibility is reasonable doubt concerning the prosecution’s claims.

  3. Zimmerman’s father is a retired judge. Evidently he can do whatever he wants and get away with it. This won’t be the last we hear of him.

    1. halvie54 – I question whether Zimmerman’s father being a judge had anything to do with it because he was a judge in another state. I don’t think he had any ties with the law enforcement community in Sanford. If he did, I would agree it is relevant, but being a judge in another state really makes that issue irrelevant. Is there any evidence that anybody in Sanford law enforcement knew about his father being a judge when the incident happened? Even after it became known, the State still prosecuted him and gave Zimmerman a fair trial where a jury, not a judge, decided the case, so how can you still harp on this fact about his father? It has no significance at this point.

  4. From Holder:

    The Justice Department says it is looking into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.

    The department opened an investigation into Martin’s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.

    In a statement Sunday, the Justice Department said the criminal section of the civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida are continuing to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal probe, in addition to the evidence and testimony from the state trial.

    The statement said that, in the government’s words, “experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation.”


  5. abomb, You’re advocating vigilante justice. GZ assumed that Trayvon was the guy who lived in the neighborhood who had entered a home. He had been arrested and then released, the a$$hole who always got away. That assumption, and that he had a right to kill him, is why Trayvon is dead.

    Two of the cops changed their testimony, Timothy Smith and Doris Singleton. So did John “MMA pound and ground”.

    I agree with Gene. It was the prosecution’s case to lose and they did. First big mistake was presenting all of GZ’s statements What they needed was the forensics, GZ on the scene with the killing weapon, a description/demonstration of the holes in the shirts and how they line up with the bullet hole only when the shirt is pulled down, Rachel Jeanell’s testimony, the NEN call and a crime scene analyst showing the debris running from south to north. I don’t know what they could have done with the ME who didn’t have a clue on how to testify and who changed his opinion on the way to court. They could also have objected when the defense presented what-ifs that were outside the witness’s expertise, e.g. the PA and the retired cop expert at the end.

    Since the defense couldn’t enter all of his interviews and stories, GZ would have had to take the stand and then all those interviews and stories could have been used to ask him which story.

    And why was the bloody nose photo not introduced by the cop who took the picture? Did they even consider that it was photoshopped? (Compare the width of the bridge of the nose with the photo taken at SPD.)

    This is pretty much what I expected to see (except the last paragraph, they weren’t going to throw SPD under the bus however much they deserved it) before the trial and posted elsewhere.

  6. Malisha,
    It was an unfortunate ending to a very sad case. Don’t let this decision deter you from speaking your mind on this blog. Your opinion is respected and welcomed.

  7. Seen it many times before and will see it many times again until the law is changed.

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

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

  8. The Rev. Al Sharpton brought up what Elaine commented on tonight. Should one chalk up these events and decisions because it’s Florida or can this be the case anywhere in America?

  9. Is this an example of equal justice in the Sunshine State?

    Marissa Alexander Gets 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot

    TAMPA, Fla. — Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but this month a northeast Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison.

    Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of a toddler and 11-year-old twins, knew it was coming. She had claimed self-defense, tried to invoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law and rejected plea deals that could have gotten her a much shorter sentence. A jury found her guilty as charged: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because she fired a gun while committing a felony, Florida’s mandatory-minimum gun law dictated the 20-year sentence.

    Her case in Jacksonville has drawn a fresh round of criticism aimed at mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. The local NAACP chapter and the district’s African-American congresswoman say blacks more often are incarcerated for long periods because of overzealous prosecutors and judges bound by the wrong-headed statute. Alexander is black.

    It also has added fuel to the controversy over Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which the judge would not allow Alexander to invoke. State Attorney Angela Corey, who also is overseeing the prosecution of shooter George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, stands by the handling of Alexander’s case. Corey says she believes Alexander aimed the gun at the man and his two sons, and the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them.

  10. What nick said. The professor nailed it, and many of us with opinions were either wrong or only partly right. I thought it would be a hung jury. Agree or disagree with the verdict, juries have an amazing ability to cut to the chase most of the time. As I reported here several days ago, I have not been following the trial on TV, so was getting reports late. However a forensic psychologist friend who often assists attorneys with trial strategy called me. He was following the case closely. He said the prosecution just handed the case to the defense. They called the Worst. Witness. Ever.

    His prediction was the case had gone straight into the toilet with a truly bad prosecution witness. I am now glad I did not make a bet on him being wrong.

    1. I would like to thank the many who gave good legal opinoins since I learned quite a bit here. While I disagree with the verdict, a strict reading of the FL law on self defense would give this result. So I was not too surprised, and I think that FL law on the use of deadly force against an unarmed person needs to be changed. The law as it is written puts an impossible burden on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did NOT fear for his life. That is simply an impossible standard. unless we can read minds.

      So I can see why the jurors ruled as they did. I would have hoped for a more common sense approach. This is similar to the law on marriage in OR when Portland was issuing marriage licenses because the state law passed in 1906 or so made NO mention of man or woman, just persons. So a strict reading of the letter of the law would indicate that same sex marriage was legal under the letter of that law. The OR Supreme Court which I agreed with, ruled on the common sense of what the law was and the intent of the legislature at the time, and ruled against same sex marriage. I supported the Supreme Court decision in that case, and so I also disagree with the strict reading of the law in this case.

      This finding will have very bad results since a loser in any fist fight now has carte blanche to shoot and kill the guy winning. There is NO possible way for the state to prove that the shooter did not fear for their life.

      1. randyjet wrote: “The law as it is written puts an impossible burden on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did NOT fear for his life. That is simply an impossible standard. unless we can read minds.”

        It is not an impossible burden, and certainly not an impossible standard that requires mindreading.

        Marissa Alexander mentioned previously is a clear case of someone in Florida who tried unsuccessfully to use self defense and stand your ground to justify firing a deadly weapon at someone. She was even offered a plea deal, but she chose to go to trial. The facts and evidence presented indicated that after an argument with her husband over text messages found on her phone, she went to her car and retrieved her gun, then went back in the house and fired the gun in the direction of her husband and children. A reasonable person cannot conclude that she believed deadly force was necessary to save her own life.

        In Zimmerman’s case, I think it was very fortunate that Zimmerman was carrying a weapon. If he had not been, it probably would have just been a case about a man found beaten to death with few clues about who did it.

        As for your comment about this decision leading to more deaths on Fri and Sat nights, still not true because Florida law does not allow citizens to carry weapons into bars or restaurants serving alcohol.

        1. davidm2575 Have YOU ever been in any fight as an adult? Have you ever had things smashed against your head requiring many stitches? Have you ever wrestled in high school in PE class? I have and to say that Zimmerman had a reasonable fear for his life is absurd when he had less injuries than I have sustained at home doing things about the house! Now if Zimmerman had his nose ripped apart, eyes blackened or other indication that he was helpless on the ground, THEN I would agree wtih you. The FACT is that the supposed injury to his head was life threatening is absurd on its face since I saw NO GOOSE EGG. Show me the egg, and you MIGHT have a point. Hell I have gotten worse head injuries at home and at work.

          Then we have the BIG problem that Zimmerman was a trained martial arts guy who was almost FIFTY POUNDS BIGGER than Martin. Think that a 12 yrs old kid getting on top of Zimmerman would be grounds for shooting the kid? In NO way can you say that Zimmerman had any reasonable fear for his life.

          We all know that there will be NO guns in bars now don’t we! HELL, everybody KNOWS you cannot take guns onto aircraft, and yet there are many of them being found. So when one is used in a bar fight and the guy is on the ground, then will you say it is a good thing and justifiable that the gun was there since it saved that guys life? let’s get REAL! My problem is that people are NOT using common sense.

          1. randyjet – Head injuries do not always leave marks. The real damage is internal.

            Consider the referee a few months back who was killed from a single punch to the face by a 17 year old. A few years ago, a tourist in Las Vegas was killed by one punch.

            Nevertheless, in Zimmerman’s case, we have several contusions and lacerations on the back of his head. Did you look at the photos? I’ve had my head slammed into concrete and it never left a mark. I’ve been hit by a baseball bat on the back of the head and knocked out, again, with no marks left, no blood, no goose egg. If somebody started slamming your head against concrete pavement right after they broke your nose with a punch, it wouldn’t take too long for you to be disoriented and think you were about to die. Many people who have been attacked in this way by robbers have testified to the experience as thinking their life was over. Sometimes court cases have been prosecuted on the basis that the concrete pavement was a deadly weapon. If Martin added a threat that he was going to kill Zimmerman that night, as Zimmerman says he did, take all that together and it creates enough reasonable doubt that most objective reasonable people would consider it a possibility that Zimmerman did think he was going to die if he did not take action.

            You exaggerate the weight difference between them which makes your analysis unreliable without researching everything you claim. Martin’s autopsy weighed him at 158 lbs and Zimmerman weighed 185 lbs on his inmate booking information, which is a difference of 27 lbs. A taller, leaner, and younger Martin would be expected to have a fighting advantage in this situation.

            You can spin the information anyway you like, but knowledgeable people will not be compelled to believe you.

            1. I fell in the street, hit my head against the asphalt and immediately had blood all over me from a bloody nose and 2 very big black eyes. I looked so bad that when I asked a nurse in the ER for a mirror she refused, telling me “you don’t want to see how you look.” So you getting your head slammed against concrete and hit with a baseball bat and no mark was left is your singular experience. You cannot then take your anecdote and assume that it is then true for all head injuries, and since Zimmerman did have proof of some injury that means he was really, really slammed, and repeatedly.
              To use your own words David, you can spin the information anyway you like, but knowledgeable people will not be compelled to believe you.

              1. leejcaroll wrote: “You cannot then take your anecdote and assume that it is then true for all head injuries,…”

                True principle, but that is not what I did. I took the time to link to two other people who were killed from head injury without a mark on them (Ricardo Portillo and Benjamin Hawkins). There are many other cases. The nose is prone to bleed, so you should not confuse your anecdotal experience as representative of all either. Zimmerman had injuries which were consistent with his account and creates reasonable doubt concerning the conclusion that there is no way he could have feared for his life.

                1. David you have been so assured of your take on what happened that I was surprised by your usage if the words “I surmise.”
                  I was talking about how I looked altogether, so black and blue that the nurse didn’t want me to see (and that was within 20 minutes of the fall.)
                  You tale anecdotes and then seem to want to apply them to all so you can say that you are right.

            2. david you forget the FACT that Zimmerman was a trained martial arts guy. Why do you leave that FACT out? A friend of mine was into wrestling and was state champ and we had an unofficial match, but I was 6’5″ and about 160#, Steve was about 5′ 4″ and maybe 130#. I thought he would win, but he could not pin me and I almost got him. I was not even on any team since I was not very good. So the weight DOES MATTER A LOT.

              Then we have the problem of all the different stories ZImmerman told. First it was he jumped him from the bushes, then he admitted that they came face to face. I wll take Zs last version as being closer to the truth that they were face to face. Using my experience in wrestling and fighting, it is damn near impossible to get a bigger guy down on the ground from that position. The ONLY thing that makes sense is that Zimmerman tried to grab Martin as he turned away, and Martin instead of pulling away, he came at Zimmerman with a shove or a punch. NOW THAT makes sense.

              I had to laugh at Zimmerman’s saying Martin had his hands over his mouth and nose, thus trying to justify deadly force. Just where were Zs hands when Martin was doing that? Doing such a thing is a GOOD WAY to lose a finger or two in a fight! I had to laugh at that one and still do. It was according to Z the most talkative fight I have ever heard. Hell, I have never even heard a cry for help, much less a speech or a full sentence. INCREDIBLE!

              I have to thank you for destroying your own case. So according to your scenario, since it is possible to be killed by simply being pushed to the ground and hitting ones head, then it is reasonable belief to pull a gun and kill the person who pushed you down because you have a fear for your life. That is absurd to most folks. This verdict shows why the law has to be made more specific when dealing with unarmed fights.

          2. randyjet – you also spoke of a 12 year old being on top. I hope you know that Martin was 17 years old, not 12. He also was taller than Zimmerman. Apparently he was a better fighter too.

            1. david2575, I do not think Martin was a better fighter since he did not have the training ZImmerman had. I DO think Zimmerman was over confident and was not prepared for Martin to come around on him when he tried to grab or stop him from leaving. Over confidence is a very bad thing in fights and other endeavors and can result in unexpected outcomes as Zimmerman found out. I find it funny that Zimmerman did not simply turn over and get up. Martin could not have stopped him at all. I have been sucker punched by a guy my size with full force and I did not go down or fall. I was just knocked back on my feet. So the stories Zimmerman told were so inconsisent in important facts that it is indiciative of lying in a major way.

              1. randyjet wrote: “I have been sucker punched by a guy my size with full force and I did not go down or fall.”

                And one time I was sucker punched by a guy much smaller than me and immediately went to the ground with him on top of me doing the classic ground and pound. Other times I have been sucker punched and did not fall down. All it takes is one time for someone to catch you off guard.

                From the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, as bad a witness as she was, I surmise that Martin was upset with Zimmerman staking him out, confronted him about it with “what’s your problem… get off, get off” as he got in his face and punched him to the ground. Martin was ready to fight; Zimmerman was not. That’s how I see it, but nobody was there so we don’t really know. We are both speculating based upon the evidence and our knowledge of human behavior and our own personal experiences.

  11. Folks:

    The verdict of this trial is a verdict concerning just one man, George Zimmerman. It is not a verdict of society in general. As such any frustrations some of you might have to advocate any form of violence or damage to others is misplaced and must be avoided. The acquittal does not make any other person or group of people subject to sanctions or attacks on their persons. We need to be civil here. It is the form of justice we have in our country, that if the state does not prove guilt then that is a matter for the courts, not the mob.

    It is what it is, advocate changes to the law if you wish, that is your right. But don’t take a situation that started because of one man doing “stupid stuff” by getting into somthing minor and it mushrooming into a tradgedy by yourselves repeating the same blunder and causing a situation for yourself that could be equally as bad. Just walk away from it if you have to, for your own good and someone else’s.

  12. I hope Malisha’s “Good-Bye” was more of a “see you” later than a “farewell”. I enjoy her contributions here.

  13. Let’s give our host a pat on the back. He nailed it in this post. So many legal pundits talk out of their asses. Our host did not, and does not. That’s why I came here a year or so ago. And, I am sure why just about everyone else did also.

  14. There’s nothing wrong with the Stand Your Ground laws. I don’t think Zimmerman could legitimately hide behind them, given the events of the evening, but the Not Guilty verdict is just. A disgraceful trial with a disgraceful judge, but the attempted lynching of the “white hispanic” failed.

    Get used to it. We’re going to stand our ground if attacked, and if lethal force is necessary, so be it. Zimmerman, however, was not out on a stroll. Not guilty he may be, but following someone is not standing your ground.

    If you want to get angry over “state-sanctioned murder” ask Barack Obama for a list of goat herders who have been blown to bits in drone attacks by president “kill ’em all let God sort ’em out.”

    Now I have to get back to a twitter feed where some angry teens are threatening to commit suicide in response to the verdict. Personally, I think it’s just a tease.

    1. Better yet this verdict will result in more dead rednecks on Sat, and Fri nights. The loser now gets to pull his gun and claim fear for his life and it is up to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did NOT have that fear. That is simply impossible to prove, and thus the killer gets to walk. Thus those who get into fights in FL had better be packing and draw theirs before the other guy does. So it is open season on good fist fighers now.

  15. Well, I wanted a fair trial and from what I can see, he got one. Poorly prosecuted, sure. But fair.

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