idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
The problem with your argument is the same now as it was back when this happened: you don't get to create the situation in which you might have to defend yourself and then got off clean. It's a manslaughter charge.
And the problem on your side is also the same. What constitutes "creating a situation in which you might have to defend yourself"? Following someone in your own housing complex? I'm sorry but the assumption most reasonable people have when considering whether to walk up to someone and ask them if they live in the complex they're in isn't that this will automatically result in a life or death physical confrontation. Your argument only works if the likely result of Zimmerman's actions was such a serious physical fight and there's no reason at all to make that assumption.
What the jury needs twofold. One, should Zimmerman be held liable for creating the circumstance, by following Martin, that ultimately led to Martin's death.
Wrong. That's what the audience at home cares about, largely because it's far more dramatic than the actual instructions the jury will be given about the legal claims being made by the prosecution and defense, and what relevant legal conditions need to be met in order to satisfy those claims. Zimmerman following Martin is utterly irrelevant to the charges being considered against him. Following someone doesn't equate to assault. Period.
Two, was Zimmerman's use of lethal force justifiable specifically with regards to a murder charge.
Correct. And the law I linked to and the two portions I quoted from it are the means by which the jury will make that determination. They will look at the law which actually tells us when use of lethal force in self defense is justified and then they'll look at the version of events they believe happened based on the testimony and evidence in the trial, and they'll make a determination.
At the risk of repeating myself, no where in that law does it say that if you follow someone and that person attacks you that you may not use lethal force in self defense. Following isn't mentioned anywhere. The closest you can get is the part about "Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself", but no jury in the world is going to interpret merely following someone as equivalent of provoking the use of force against himself. Attacking someone meets that criteria. Threatening someone meets that criteria. Merely walking into proximity of another person does *not* meet that criteria.
These are two separate charges. Zimmerman can be guilty one one, both, or neither.
Huh? He's being charged with manslaughter. It's possible for the jury to decide he's not guilty of manslaughter but is guilty of negligent homicide (or whatever the specific charge is in Florida). He can't be guilty of both.
It may very well be that the jury agrees that, once in the situation, Zimmerman's use of force was acceptable. They may also agree that his part in creating the situation was inexcusable.
Which is where the potential for negligent homicide comes in. Again though, the criteria for that is taking an action which a reasonable person should know would result in risk of loss of life to someone else. I don't think any reasonable person thinks that following someone to talk to them meets that criteria. Unless, of course, they can convince the jury that Zimmerman followed Martin with the specific intent of assaulting him or otherwise forcing a physical confrontation, knowing that he was armed and that if Martin fought back sufficiently, he could kill him with his weapon.
But that's a huge stretch, and I don't think the prosecution has come remotely close to proving that.
It's also fully possible that they could rule that following Martin was acceptable, but using lethal force was not (possible clearing him of the manslaughter charge, but not the second degree murder charge).
Er? I think you're confusing the charges. He's not up for premeditated murder. He's up for 2nd degree murder (also known as manslaughter). That's the intentional killing of someone else without prior intent. So you run into someone, get into a fight with that person, and then kill that person. That's manslaughter. That's the specific charge to which self defense applies.
The lesser charge would be something like negligent homicide, which is knowingly taking an action which you should know would put another persons life at risk. So building a concealed pit trap in your yard would result in negligent homicide. Leaving your infant child in your car on a hot day is negligent homicide. It's a stretch, but you could argue that if Zimmerman knew Martin would react a specific way if he followed him, and knew that this would result in a confrontation which could result in Zimmerman shooting Martin in self defense it could be considered negligent homicide to follow him. But that's a bizarre argument because it would require prior knowledge of Martin and would at that point possibly border into the premeditated homicide category, not the much lesser negligent homicide. I'll again assert that most reasonable people don't assume that following someone will inevitably lead to a physical confrontation with a risk of great bodily harm or loss of life. And anything more direct would fall into the manslaughter area.
And then of course, they could rule him guilty on both counts, or innocent on both counts.
Um... No. They can't. They can rule him innocent, but he can't be guilty of two different degrees of homicide for the same death. It's either one degree or it's not any. It can't be two different degrees at the same time.