Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman, Martin, SYG and Florida

What are your thoughts on this topic?  I am all commented out from my comments at MPP.  (see links)  So here are questions for thought:
  • Was the jury racially biased or did they call it fairly?
  • Did the prosecution screw up by going for murder instead of man slaughter?
  • Did they go for murder because of the political pressure?
  • Do you think Zimmerman had intent to kill Martin?
  • Could Martin have done something different to de-escalate the situation, or is the escalation and disaster all on Zimmerman?
  • Will anything change due to this disaster?
  • Are the Zimmerman and Alexander the same or different? How?
  • Other?
Rat's comments says it all for me... "I really can’t comment on the particulars of the other case. I’ve barely followed the one we’re talking about. I wasn’t on the scene or in the courtroom to see all the evidence and hear all the arguments. It seemed to me, the jury had several ways to convict Zimmerman and they couldn’t, in good conscience, do it. It was a sad case, and I’m sure a difficult decision for them. But I respect it."

MPP: SYG - White Hunting Privilege
MPP: Zimmerman Verdict Tragedy
MPP: Most FL Thieves are White
Daily KOS: 3 Facts should have Convicted
CNN: Fast Facts
Newsday: Disagree with Jury - Study the Facts
MI Radio: Stand Your Ground
USA: Stand Your Ground
NPR Stand Your Ground

FoxNews: Marissa Alexander
Huff Post: Marissa Alexander


Laurie said...

I think if people are going to carry around guns we need better laws concerning their use.

Let's imagine Zimmerman profiled Martin as a likely criminal and followed him. He then got out of his car and confronted Martin about what was he doing in the neighborhood, maybe grabbing him by the shoulder. Maybe Martin pushed back and a struggle ensued. At some point Zimmerman felt it was necessary to defend himself using his gun, even though Martin was unarmed. Martin was shot and killed.

It seems under Florida law Zimmerman is not guilty of murder or manslaughter as the jury believes the shooting was justified as self defense. It seems to me there should be a law finding him guilty of something, though as I am not a lawyer I don't know exactly what that law should be.

I think in many/most instances someone who shoots and kills another person claiming self defense should stand trail to see if the shooting was justified, were there other alternatives, did they provoke a confrontation etc.

In the Zimmerman case maybe he will be found guilty of wrongful death in a civil trial and the Martin's family will be awarded damages, though once again as I am not a lawyer I know nothing about how that works.

jerrye92002 said...

a. I disagree with "confronted." But if it was as you say, though I consider it unlikely, Zimmerman would not have been so badly injured. He would have had his gun at the ready and fired at the first swing. It was Martin who had the obligation to run away under the law, not to attack Zimmerman. It might have been a mistake on Martin's part, but it was still fatal, and should have been.

b. Anybody that shoots another in self defense DOES stand trial, or at least has an investigation to establish whether there is grounds for prosecution. In this case there were NOT grounds for prosecution, but the uproar around the case resulted in a prosecution (more like persecution) anyway. The police chief, remember, was fired for saying there was no case.

c. The Martins can file a civil case if they want, but they would have to disprove the claim of self defense and there is nothing that supports that side of the story. The "three reasons" link is about as close as one can get and it is almost laughably silly. Similarly, the US Justice Department may pursue a civil rights charge, but there is absolutely nothing to support that, either.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman is pursuing lawsuits against NBC and the prosecutor, claiming defamation or wrongful prosecution, respectively. I hope he wins big and can buy some protection from the countless truly crazed racists out there.

jerrye92002 said...

To quote many, "Nobody really knows what happened in that alley." I tried to conjure up a scenario that would make Zimmerman guilty, and here's what I got:

Suppose Zimmerman pulled his weapon and chased Martin down in the alley. Martin, seeing the gun, would have feared for his life and been justified in attacking Zimmerman and could have killed him, claiming self-defense for himself. The problem is that Zimmerman, seeing what he assumed was a criminal much larger than himself charging him, would have fired long before getting countless bruises and other injuries, NOT at point-blank range as the forensic evidence proves. That's all I got.

John said...

Oh I believe Zimmerman is guilty of the stupidity that contributed 80% to the disaster occurring. However I think Martin owns the other 20%.

I would think Zimmerman should have been guilty of man slaughter, but for some reason the DA went for murder...

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, it was a very weak case and the verdict was a no brainer. We shouldn't make guns available to idiots, however. Trayvon Martin would be alive today had Zimmerman not been allowed to have a gun.


Laurie said...

It seems that Zimmerman was acquitted on a manslaughter charge as well.

I hope Martin's family does pursue a civil case against Zimmerman, where he will have a greater burden of proof that he acted in self defense.

'Stand Your Ground' Laws Under Scrutiny Post-Zimmerman Verdict

I am glad MN does not have a "stand your ground law" and would lobby against it if one is proposed.

Here is another interesting case about a man claiming self defense for the shooting death of two teenagers.

Little Falls man indicted on first-degree murder in teens' deaths

John said...

NY Times Z/M Details

Star Tribune LF Man Indicted

Laurie said...

seems like all the magazines and blogs have something to say about the Zimmerman verdict. This one goes into some detail that makes sense to me about Why It Was Too Easy for George Zimmerman to Get Off for Self-Defense

from the essay:

"Requiring prosecutors to disprove self-defense is also a particularly bad idea in states that allow people to carry guns in public places.......All of this shows why the burden of proof for self-defense should shift. If you are the first person to draw a gun in a fight in a public place, you should at least have to prove that you did not start the fight, and perhaps you should also have to prove that your fear of deadly force was reasonable. Would the verdict have been different if Zimmerman had this burden? Maybe not. But it would have meant that Zimmerman would have had to tell his story before the jury. Shoot first, and you should have to answer questions later."

John said...

Now take a minute and compare it to the Marissa links. She made a bad choice and then got caught up in felony minimum sentencing. Bummer.

The biggest difference is that she confronted, left to get the gun, came back and fired... (but did not hit anyone) No self defense argument available and apparently stand your ground did not apply either... Double bummer

Anonymous said...

The problem with a civil case against Zimmermen is that he has no money. Lawyers don't like to sue for free.


Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, I don't think the technicalities of the law have much impact on the outcome of these kind of cases. We just didn't have the facts to support them.

We have to understand that dead children are part of the price we have chosen to pays so that idiots and psychopaths are free to have guns.


jerrye92002 said...

Wait a minute... At last count we have over 20,000 "gun laws" on the books, yet people still get shot every day. Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country and the highest rate of gun violence. Washington, D.C. used to have that distinction, but after the Supreme Court struck down those laws, violent crime dropped precipitously! The problem isn't that "idiots and psychopaths are free to have guns" but that you cannot STOP idiots and psychopaths from getting guns by passing a law, when they are intent on breaking all the laws already on the books. The Connecticut school shooter, for example, broke SIX existing gun laws before he even got to the school, then violated the laws against murder and mayhem many times over.

And none of this applies to the Zimmerman case. He was in lawful possession of a gun and used it in a lawful manner. The only question not completely answered was whether he contributed to the confrontation, and his injuries convince me that he did not. It was Martin who had the obligation, under the law, to walk away. Obviously he didn't.

Anonymous said...

At last count we have over 20,000 "gun laws" on the books, yet people still get shot every day

We do. Could their be too many? But hey, this isn't my battle. That the killing of our children is a price we have decided to pay for the easy availability of guns is a decision we have made, and I for one have moved on.


John said...

Of course he contributed to the confrontation... He followed the boy after the dispatcher told him not to. No follow... No confrontation...

Kind of like in a horror movie when the near naked woman tells the man she thinks they should go home... And the macho stupid man says "Oh let's just take a look around this creepy deserted haunted house on halloween night..." Then the body parts start getting hacked off...


Laurie said...

it seems under our laws it might be legally wise to shoot to kill, as then there may be no witness to contradict a claim of self defense.

In both cases it seems the juries may have reached an appropriate verdict according to the law but to me it seems neither received real justice.

Zimmerman deserved some jail time and the woman who shot the gun deserved a lot less prison time.

jerrye92002 said...

Odd, but the only people who heard all the evidence concluded that Zimmerman did NOT deserve any jail time. I find it incredible that anyone could say otherwise, just based on what little we know of the case.

As for "contributing to the confrontation," there is nothing Zimmerman could have done to provoke the beating he received, and nothing he could have done to end it except what he did. Yes, he should not have followed Martin into the alley; that was not wise. Not stupid, either, and he WAS smart enough to have a gun with him to defend himself in case he was attacked. And that is exactly the word I would use to describe the "confrontation."

Laurie said...

I would have found Zimmerman not guilty as well, according to the law. However, it does seem that several jurors agree with me.

According to one juror:

Several jurors thought Zimmerman was morally culpable. “There was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something,” the juror said. “I wanted to find him guilty of not using his senses.” He “went overboard” and “got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn't have been there.” She concluded: “He's guilty of not using good judgment. When he was in the car and he called 911, he shouldn't have gotten out of that car.”

Did racism skew the Zimmerman verdict?

Just to be clear I don't think racism was a significant factor in this verdict.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, would you believe I agree with you? I don't think that a 911 operator's instruction carries much weight, though, because I assume they are always going to come down on the side of caution. Zimmerman thought he was tracking a serious burglary suspect, and his "judgment" was that he had a civic duty to follow this suspect until police arrived. I am convinced he did not seek a confrontation nor expect one, thus the injuries. All that said, he is still morally culpable just as you say. Too bad we have so many crazed racist loonies out there willing to kill a man for a moral mistake.