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#1 Jun 28 2013 at 4:25 PM Rating: Decent
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Well, since no one else has created a thread about this, I figured I would.

What do folks think of the trial? I think the prosecution is doing the best they can, but have a nearly impossible case to prove. They basically have to prove both that Zimmerman started the fight and that immediately prior to shooting Martin, he had the ability to retreat from that fight but chose instead to shoot and kill Martin. I honestly don't think the prosecution can prove either of these, let alone both.

At the risk of repeating assertions I made a year ago, this is a case that should never have come to trial, and would never have if not for massive public outcry resulting from what I can only describe as a campaign of wishful thinking based misinformation from the Martin family and their lawyer. As we're learning in the trial, the actual facts of the case bear little resemblance to the public claims that were made initially. Of course, you never know what will happen in a trial, but at this point I think the odds of a guilty verdict against Zimmerman is really close to zero. Assuming that ends out being the case, do we learn from this somehow? Perhaps be more skeptical of one side of a story and wait for more facts before getting the torches and pitchforks? Or do we just continue muddling along making mistakes as we humans historically tend to do?


Do people disagree? Think he'll be proven guilty? Maybe think even if he's innocent, the whole process was worth doing anyway in the name of ensuring justice? ****, anyone got any nutty conspiracy theories they want to throw out there?
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#2 Jun 28 2013 at 4:33 PM Rating: Decent
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#3 Jun 28 2013 at 4:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well once they play the first call telling him not to follow that will seal the deal as him being the aggressor. Sorry he had every chance not to be put in the position of having to defend him self, he went after martin out of his free will leaving the place of safety to follow on foot. If the dispatcher had said to follow, it would be different.
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#4 Jun 28 2013 at 4:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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I haven't followed the case at all aside from the initial stories way back when.
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#5 Jun 28 2013 at 5:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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What do folks think of the trial? I think the prosecution is doing the best they can, but have a nearly impossible case to prove. They basically have to prove both that Zimmerman started the fight and that immediately prior to shooting Martin, he had the ability to retreat from that fight but chose instead to shoot and kill Martin.

No, they don't. They have to prove he shot and killed him with intent, which isn't really in dispute (well the intent part is). The burden of an affirmative defense isn't on the prosecution to disprove.
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#6 Jun 28 2013 at 6:41 PM Rating: Decent
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Smasharoo wrote:
What do folks think of the trial? I think the prosecution is doing the best they can, but have a nearly impossible case to prove. They basically have to prove both that Zimmerman started the fight and that immediately prior to shooting Martin, he had the ability to retreat from that fight but chose instead to shoot and kill Martin.

No, they don't. They have to prove he shot and killed him with intent, which isn't really in dispute (well the intent part is).


Er. As you say. No one's disputing that Zimmerman intended to shoot Martin. The question is whether the shooting meets the standard for self defense, as claimed by Zimmerman. That standard, under Florida law requires only that Zimmerman believe he was in immediate risk of major bodily harm or death. Since his injuries (which no one has disputed resulted from the altercation with Martin) support a reasonable person believing that, the claim of self defense can only be discounted if Zimmerman both started the fight and immediately prior to shooting Martin had the ability to retreat but chose to shoot Martin instead.

Under Florida state law, if he did not start the fight he *always* has the right to use lethal force in self defense if he believes he's in risk of major bodily harm or death. Period. Thus, if the prosecution can't convince the jury that he started the fight, they lose the case.

Under Florida state law, even if he started the fight, he can regain the right to use lethal force in self defense if he meets one of the following conditions:

1. He makes a clear effort to retreat, and the other person pursues him (with the aforementioned threat of risk of major bodily harm or death)

or

2. He is unable to escape the conflict and is now subject to risk of major bodily harm or death.


Because of those two conditions, even if the prosecution manages to convince the jury that Zimmerman did start the fight (and that's a huge if at this point), they also have to convince the jury that Zimmerman was able to retreat (Fails test 2), but chose not to (Fails test 1), and chose instead to stay engaged in the fight and to shoot Martin. If Zimmerman could not escape (say cause Martin knocked him on his back, straddled him, and beat him in the face the whole time), then who started the fight is completely irrelevant.

Hence, why I say that they have to prove (convince the jury really) that he both started the fight *and* had the opportunity to end/escape it, but chose not to. Because those are the conditions required for this to be manslaughter and not legitimate self defense.

Quote:
The burden of an affirmative defense isn't on the prosecution to disprove.


Except they have to convince all 12 jurists that Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. That requires that they convince those same jurists that Zimmerman's claim of self defense is not true. We can play semantics with where the burden is, but given that the claim of Zimmerman's attorney's isn't that their client didn't shoot Martin at all, but that he did so in self defense, the jury is going to have the same Florida law I just talked about explained to them, so that they can make a determination as to whether the shooting meets the legal requirements for self defense. For the prosecution to win, they have to show that the shooting doesn't meet those requirements.

I don't think they can get remotely close to doing that. What they're doing instead is hoping they can make their Martin out to be sympathetic and Zimmerman to be a racist profiling madman with a gun, and hope the jury's emotions overrule the facts of the case. It's more or less their only shot, since the evidence in the case is that this was as close to a text book example of legitimate use of a firearm for self defense as you can get. I mean, if you can't use your gun in self defense when you are on your back with an assailant straddling you, pinning you to the ground, and beating you in the face, when can you?
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#7 Jun 28 2013 at 7:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well, if nothing else maybe it'll inspire a review of laws so lax as to allow a person to commit murder and walk away scot-free.

Juries are unpredictable. I'd be more interested in the jury selection than anything said during the trial.
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#8 Jun 28 2013 at 7:27 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Except they have to convince all 12 jurists that Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter.


I think this case is only 6 jurors.
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#9 Jun 28 2013 at 7:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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do we learn from this somehow? ?
1. Be white.
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#10 Jun 28 2013 at 7:37 PM Rating: Good
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#11 Jun 28 2013 at 7:42 PM Rating: Good
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I wonder how it would be viewed if instead of Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin with a gun, he beat him to death with his fists, a bat, or steel pipe? Is it that much more acceptable to kill someone just because it's so quick and easy to kill someone with the squeeze of a trigger?
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#12 Jun 28 2013 at 7:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Samira wrote:
Well, if nothing else maybe it'll inspire a review of laws so lax as to allow a person to commit murder and walk away scot-free.


Unless you're chucking out the entire concept of self defense, I'm not sure whether the laws are really "lax". They determine whether the person fired in self defense. If he did, he's not guilty of murder/manslaughter/whatever. Do you think that Florida's self defense laws are particularly unreasonable? Remember that we're not even talking about the more controversial "stand your ground" component. This is just pretty standard self defense law.
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#13 Jun 28 2013 at 7:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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Nothing makes me angrier about spending three years studying law than hearing you talk about it.
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#14 Jun 28 2013 at 7:59 PM Rating: Decent
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TirithRR wrote:
I wonder how it would be viewed if instead of Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin with a gun, he beat him to death with his fists, a bat, or steel pipe? Is it that much more acceptable to kill someone just because it's so quick and easy to kill someone with the squeeze of a trigger?


That's kinda part of the self defense laws themselves. In order to beat someone to death with your fists (or bat/pipe/whatever) there's generally a point well before the other person dies in which you are no longer in danger yourself and must stop. This is relevant to the case at hand because no matter how threatened Martin may have felt by Zimmerman's presence, the point at which he's got Zimmerman pinned to the ground and continues beating him, he's himself lost any right to self defense.

You only get to act in self defense when you're defending yourself. Once you are in control of the situation, you have to stop attacking the other guy. The assumption behind the use of a firearm in self defense is that you *don't* have control of the situation and cannot prevent yourself from being seriously harmed or killed without shooting the other person.

Given the injuries Zimmerman suffered, and the eyewitness reports of the positioning of the two men just before the shot was fired, Martin clearly was the aggressor at that point in the fight, and Zimmerman has an incredibly strong case to claim self defense. As I asked before: If you're not allowed to use a firearm when you're on your back, pinned to the ground, unable to escape, with an assailant on top of you beating your face in, then when are you? I can't think of a more clear cut circumstance in which use of a firearm in self defense could be more justified. This isn't even a "guy broke into my house and I was in fear of my life" kind of situation. This is a "I'm in the process of being beaten into unconsciousness" situation.

Edited, Jun 28th 2013 7:01pm by gbaji
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#15 Jun 28 2013 at 7:59 PM Rating: Default
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Kavekk wrote:
Nothing makes me angrier about spending three years studying law than hearing you talk about it.


It's cause you know I'm right, isn't it? Smiley: tongue
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#16 Jun 28 2013 at 8:02 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Given the injuries Zimmerman suffered, and the eyewitness reports of the positioning of the two men just before the shot was fired, Martin clearly was the aggressor at that point in the first, and Zimmerman has an incredibly strong case to claim self defense. As I asked before: If you're not allowed to use a firearm when you're on your back, pinned to the ground, unable to escape, with an assailant on top of your beating your face in, then when are you? I can't think of a more clear cut circumstance in which use of a firearm in self defense could be more justified. This isn't even a "guy broke into my house and I was in fear of my life" kind of situation. This is a "I'm in the process of being beaten into unconsciousness" situation.


Given the witness testimony I've heard about the trial from the radio, it's not nearly as one sided as you are making it out to be...

Edited, Jun 28th 2013 10:03pm by TirithRR
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#17 Jun 28 2013 at 8:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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I wasn't really talking about this case in particular, as I've forgotten the details of what I read about it last year, much of which was speculative anyway, and I have not been following the progress of the trial. In general, I think it does bring up some points about "stand your ground" defenses that bear a closer examination.

Whatever happened during the confrontation itself, Mr. Zimmerman had many opportunities to avoid engaging in ANY confrontation. He was told not to pursue and confront by the 911 operator, that help was on the way - actual law enforcement type help. He chose to pursue. He chose to escalate. He did not, could not, have seen Mr. Martin committing any crime; yet he pushed the situation into confrontation. Allegedly.

Whether he got his *** kicked or not, I believe he bears some responsibility for his actions. Whether that rises to manslaughter, I have no idea. I suspect it does not; but again, I haven't been paying attention.


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#18 Jun 28 2013 at 9:43 PM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
He was told he didn't need to pursue and confront by the police dispatcher, that help was on the way - actual law enforcement type help.

Fixed for accuracy.
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#19 Jun 28 2013 at 10:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
You only get to act in self defense when you're defending yourself. Once you are in control of the situation, you have to stop attacking the other guy.
Defining "in control" is what, I suppose, makes for so much disparity state to state vis-a-vis self defence.

In my state if I am attacked I am allowed to do whatever it takes to defend myself and restrain that person for the police to come get. If that means smashing his teeth in or breaking his legs to convince him to stay put, so be it.

Just so we are clear; when Zimmerman exited his car with a gun to chase down Trayvon he became the aggressor. What happened after that, no matter what, is all on him because....wait for it...he was the aggressor.
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#20 Jun 28 2013 at 10:45 PM Rating: Good
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Based on very superficial knowledge of the case, I feel like he should be guilty of manslaughter of some degree, as well as some level of assault. (Remember, assault doesn't require actual physical contact, just a threatening act). There's a big range of punishment for both manslaughter and assault, depending on the circumstances, so I'm not narrowing it down too much. I guess I'd want to see him in jail for between 5 and 20 years. Also, there are mitigating circumstances regarding my opinion: I'm pretty drunk right now.

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#21 Jun 29 2013 at 3:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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I hope that Zimmerman's defense cannot get the police dispatch call edited or excluded. That call makes it entirely clear that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor in the confrontation between him and Martin.
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#22 Jun 29 2013 at 6:54 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kastigir wrote:
Samira wrote:
He was told he didn't need to pursue and confront by the police dispatcher, that help was on the way - actual law enforcement type help.

Fixed for accuracy.



Thank you. As I said, I'm a little fuzzy on the details.
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#23 Jun 29 2013 at 7:37 AM Rating: Decent
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Except they have to convince all 12 jurists that Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. That requires that they convince those same jurists that Zimmerman's claim of self defense is not true. We can play semantics

I'm not sure you know what "semantics" means. Actually, I'm certain you don't. Anyway, it's not a minor distinction. Admitting material guilt and claiming an affirmative defense shifts the burden of proof from one party to the other. The vast majority of acquittals come from raising doubt about the circumstances, it's fairly unusual for a trial to end with an acquittal due to an affirmative defense, primarily because cases with a legitimate one are easy to determine in advance and they rarely make it to trial. Procedurally it's not that dissimilar from "Not guilty by reason of insanity" or the equivalent pleas.
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#24 Jun 29 2013 at 9:46 AM Rating: Good
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Based on the testimony of Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, it's clear that Trayvon thought that Zimmerman was following him with the intent to attack/mug/something him and was trying to get away from him. Apparently, the Sandusky case was all over the news at the time so she joked that maybe Zimmernman was a rapist. Trayvon told her to not even joke about that... but when Zimmerman continued to follow him and then approached him, it's entirely possible that Trayvon freaked out and attacked first because he thought this dude was seriously about to rape him.

Instead, he shot him. Smiley: frown
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#25 Jul 01 2013 at 7:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Doesn't really matter, because whichever way it goes there's going to be a large group of people saying it's the wrong call.
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#26 Jul 01 2013 at 9:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Spoonless wrote:
gbaji wrote:
do we learn from this somehow? ?
1. Be white.
2. Don't be black.

He's "hispanic." Don't be racist bro.

I'm kinda half following the mostly out of curiosity about how it turns out in the end. I can't say I really know any more about what happened than I did a couple of months ago, other than one of the lawyers started the trial off with a bad joke. I'll be sitting with popcorn once they announce a verdict though. There's bound to be lots of drama on one side or the other.

Smiley: popcorn
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