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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:34 PM

This is why we must prevail in the Zimmerman SYG argument.

If this becomes a precedent setting case, we must prevail. Zimmerman's side is going to push the point that he isn't racist and that he had a right to defend himself. That he was a racist or not shouldn't be allowed to be a factor in the decision, because in the end, what people will remember is that he became the aggressor, chased down Trayvon Martin and was still allowed to get away with killing him based on SYG.

So this is what I've been thinking all morning: Let's say Zimmerman wasn't a racist. What do you think the real racists are going to do based on the decision if they know they can chase down black kids and killed them knowing they won't even have to be held accountable for manslaughter?

It's a slippery slope that shouldn't be allowed on the books.

51 replies, 4019 views

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Arrow 51 replies Author Time Post
Reply This is why we must prevail in the Zimmerman SYG argument. (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 OP
monmouth Apr 2012 #1
Evasporque Apr 2012 #2
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 #5
csziggy Apr 2012 #6
Kaleva Apr 2012 #8
Spazito Apr 2012 #10
Kaleva Apr 2012 #14
bongbong Apr 2012 #3
Junkdrawer Apr 2012 #4
bongbong Apr 2012 #12
csziggy Apr 2012 #7
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #18
bongbong Apr 2012 #26
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #29
bongbong Apr 2012 #34
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #38
dkf Apr 2012 #35
Spazito Apr 2012 #9
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #11
bongbong Apr 2012 #13
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #16
bongbong Apr 2012 #27
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #30
bongbong Apr 2012 #33
bongbong Apr 2012 #49
Kaleva Apr 2012 #19
bongbong Apr 2012 #32
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #21
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 #22
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #28
bongbong Apr 2012 #31
Baitball Blogger Apr 2012 #43
dkf Apr 2012 #36
Spazito Apr 2012 #15
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #17
Kaleva Apr 2012 #20
BiggJawn Apr 2012 #24
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #25
dkf Apr 2012 #37
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #39
dkf Apr 2012 #40
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #48
Yo_Mama Apr 2012 #50
dkf Apr 2012 #51
Zax2me Apr 2012 #23
Dilldoe Apr 2012 #41
Lizzie Poppet Apr 2012 #46
slackmaster Apr 2012 #42
morningfog Apr 2012 #44
slackmaster Apr 2012 #45
morningfog Apr 2012 #47

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:02 PM

1. I also find it despicable that tv stations are giving Z's lawyers, and father a platform to

spew their defense of this murderer. Disgusting..

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Response to monmouth (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:25 PM

2. when defense lawyers KNOW they have no defense...

they go to the media....if it was locked...they would say nothing to taint the defense.

The stratgey is to throw FUD to the wind.

ONce the autopsy results are revealed in a trial....and show he was backshot...

game over man.

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Response to Evasporque (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:07 PM

5. Why is it taking so long?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:14 PM

6. The autopsy is sealed until charges are brought and discovery begins

As soon as discovery begins, according to Florida Sunshine laws what is shared with the defense will be publicly available. That is, if charges are brought and if the whole thing is sealed until evidence is introduced in court.

The special prosecutor sealed the autopsy until at least the investigation is complete, which she said should be next week.

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Response to Evasporque (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:18 PM

8. The funeral director who prepared Trayvon's body said he was shot in the chest.

There was no other wound on him other then the chest wound.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:25 PM

10. He also stated that due to the autopsy, he was unable to determine whether...

what he saw was an entrance wound or an exit wound. Key question still unanswered.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:49 PM

14. You are correct.

I read some other articles that confirm what you just said. The funeral director said there was a gunshot wound to the chest but could not say if it was an entry or exit wound and because of autopsy, it was difficult to tell if he had other injuries.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:19 PM

3. 3 sides

 

The resolution of this case will be interesting.

On one side you have the shooter, who will probably try to use SYG as justification for his actions.
On another side you have the cops, who have ONLY SYG to fall back upon as justification for their actions.
Finally, you have the NRA and their minions, who are pushing as heavily as possible the meme that it's a racially-motivated attack & SYG had nothing to do with it.

This triple-dilemma, all among conservative groups, is probably one of the reasons this is taking so long to get anywhere. That, and the fact that all the parties who messed up have to get all their (fictional) stories figured out & synchronized.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:35 PM

4. The NRA will be pushing a split message....

To the non-gunners, yeah, it's: SYG had nothing to do with it.

To the gunners, it's: See, if you buy the gun, you'll be able to use it without all that messy arrest/court/lawyer stuff.

It's SOP for the NRA

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Response to Junkdrawer (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:41 PM

12. Good point

 

You make a good point.

Another thing struck me: the drawn-out nature of the case can be seen as part #5,663 of the Divide And Conquer strategy that the 1% is using to get every penny extracted from America while the 99% is kept distracted & fighting among themselves

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Response to bongbong (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:18 PM

7. Zimmerman's first lawyer said it was not a SYG case

But that was before the gun lobby and ALEC buddies started dumping money into a defense fund for Zimmerman. And I bet that is why Zimmerman now has a new lawyer - the first one had no murder level experience and was pretty obviously in over his head. Now ALEC and the gun guys will be directing Zimmerman's defense, the better to protect their idiotic law.

I hope Zimmerman gets screwed by those guys - they won't care what happens to him so long as they can keep that law in effect.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:01 PM

18. You are making assumptions without facts

Zimmerman may use a justifiable homicide defense. SYG is not relevant to that.

The cops working the investigation wanted to charge Zimmerman, the State Attorney said no. Not clear why the Sanford PD said what he said, since it was not his call to make.

Personally I agree with the working cops...arrest him that night for manslaughter.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #18)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:21 AM

26. asdf

 

> You are making assumptions without facts

Glad I'm not the judge on the case then, isn't it?

> Zimmerman may use a justifiable homicide defense. SYG is not relevant to that.

Nothing to add.


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Response to bongbong (Reply #26)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:33 PM

29. You are ignoring the key issue, whether or not it was justifiable homicide

SYG is window dressing.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #29)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:49 PM

34. Wow!

 

You must not be reading the same Florida SYG law that I've read.

SYG turns 1st or 2nd degree murder into "justifiable" homicide. Just a few lies is all it takes.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #34)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 02:15 PM

38. It still has to meet the reasonable man standard

And a few lies can not get around that. Its why in the end, Zimmerman will be in jail.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #18)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:54 PM

35. What if it did turn out to be a hate crime. Would they have been stuck with manslaughter?

 

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:23 PM

9. I agree...

It is no coincidence, imo, that northern neo-nazis are congregating in Florida because of this case. If SYG stands as a defense for the Zimmerman killing of Trayvon Martin, it will be seen as open season on any "suspicious" people.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:33 PM

11. It's not based on SYG

It really isn't. That law simply removes the legal requirement to retreat.

According to Zimmerman's STATEMENT, SYG is no factor in the case at all, because he says he never had the chance to retreat.

So if he were to be acquitted on that basis, SYG would have no bearing on it.

It has always been the law that you may defend yourself if under attack. You only have a duty to retreat if you can AVOID a confrontation. The SYG law says that say if a gunman comes in the front door of a building and starts shooting or threatens with a gun, you can't be tried on the basis that you could have made it out the back door and escaped the threat without shooting the guy.

Of course, most people seem to have strong doubts about Zimmerman's account, but what he says happened is that the guy approached him, punched him, got him down, and he pulled the gun and shot because he had to defend himself.

Now maybe at the eventual trial something else will come out - right now we don't know that much about the evidence. Maybe eventually SYG will become a factor. But right now, it does not seem to be.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:44 PM

13. Really?

 

> he SYG law says that say if a gunman comes in the front door of a building

No. The SYG law says you don't have to be in a building or anywhere for that matter. You just have to feel threatened - and then you can blaze away.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 09:55 PM

16. Your interpretation is flawed

SYG is about duty to retreat. The Florida laws WRT to the use of deadly force in self defense is based on reasonable fear of GBI or death, like the rest of the states.


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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:22 AM

27. asdf

 

> SYG is about duty to retreat. The Florida laws WRT to the use of deadly force in self defense is based on reasonable fear of GBI or death, like the rest of the states.

I actually read the Florida statute, and you're just wrong. No other way to put it. Sorry.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #27)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:34 PM

30. I suggest you read all of them

and follow how it has been used.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #30)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:46 PM

33. I did

 

And it's pretty clear to me that SYG is just a Get Out Of Jail Free card for murderers.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #30)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:02 PM

49. I did

 

Yep, did that too. You're still wrong.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:04 PM

19. I beg to differ

The way I interpret it is that SYG does not require one to retreat (if that's possible) and one is allowed to counter force with force; including using deadly force. Force has to be used against you before one can use deadly force in response. Feeling threatened isn't good enough.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #19)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:42 PM

32. Dead men tell no tales

 

And that's why SYG will always be a "get out of jail free" card for murderers. (unless there is video or something else to prove the shooter lied in his excuse why he felt in great bodily harm)

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Response to bongbong (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:37 PM

21. You've got it quite wrong

First of all, "feeling" threatened is never an excuse for violence under the law. You have to "reasonably" fear a threat. The question of whether or not your perception of a threat was reasonable is one of the legal questions that is handled by the judicial system, unless the threat was quite obvious.

SYG really is a very limited legal change which removes the duty to retreat under certain circumstances only. Try the code:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/Chapter776
776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

...
776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
(5) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.


Note the characteristics:
The force should be defensive (to repel or prevent force being used upon the defender), the person using the defensive force must not be in the process of an illegal act or in a place the person legally cannot be, the force should "necessary", the belief has to be "reasonable" ( the legal definition of which runs pretty much along the lines of "would the average person have that belief under those circumstances"), and the force used must be to defend against attack or serious crime (forcible).

The Stand Your Ground part comes in to the definition of "necessary". Dating back to English common law, the theory was that if you could avoid the situation by retreating, the force wasn't "necessary". Removing the "duty to retreat" presumption doesn't mean that using force is always "necessary" by any means.

According to Zimmerman's story, which obviously the police question to some extent, the SYG provisions are not relevant, because what we've heard in the news is that he says he was down on the ground being beaten up at the time he shot Martin. Thus he did not have the opportunity to retreat, thus the "stand your ground" provision is not legally relevant.

As to the reason we have all this investigation before Zimmerman is arrested, it is due to Florida law:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/776.032
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).


Because at least one eyewitness reports that the two were fighting on the ground before the shot was fired (according to what we hear in the news, which may not be accurate), under Florida law they probably have to take this to a grand jury before arresting him. Under Florida law, they need probable cause, and Zimmerman could sue their asses off and win if they don't clearly establish it and they arrest him. If a grand jury indicts him, they'll be free to arrest him. But they need to assemble their best case before going to a grand jury, because if they took it to a grand jury and the jury wouldn't indict, they'd be in a pretty bad spot for further criminal proceedings, and they'd be prejudicing a civil action the family might bring against Zimmerman.

Listen, if you make wild claims you need to be able to support them, and your claim is completely unsupportable under the Florida statutes.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:48 PM

22. The way I'm reading these statutes, Trayvon Martin had a right to defend himself.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #22)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:45 AM

28. Yes, he absolutely did if Zimmerman attacked him.

All laws cut both ways.

Both of these guys had the right to be where they were, and the question of who can be charged with what really comes down to two questions:
1) Who physically attacked who - who escalated?
2) Was the force used reasonably?

Since Martin is dead Zimmerman can tell his story without contradiction from Martin, but I have to think there is a lot of physical evidence in this case, and there are at least some partial eyewitnesses. Then there has to be an autopsy report, and I assume forensics done on clothing, etc.

I mean, if it comes back that the weapon was fired three feet away, Zimmerman's toast, isn't he? If the shot was fired close up, then there will also be some physical evidence on Zimmerman's clothing, surely, like at least some blood?

Legally, if there is any indication that Zimmerman attacked Martin, then there is no justifiable use of violence - I don't get to punch you, shoot you when you fight back and then claim I shot you in self-defense. I committed assault when I attacked you - you were defending yourself.

And if Zimmerman wasn't in imminent danger, then use of deadly force could not be justified. Martin didn't have a gun.

So Zimmerman's story had to include all those elements it did, which he probably knew about from his studies, and my guess is that if he is lying they will come up with physical evidence to charge him with murder or manslaughter. All of his story has to hold for him to escape prosecution, and if they can rebut any of it with evidence then his entire story will not hold much weight before a jury.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #21)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 01:41 PM

31. You can post all the cut-n-paste you want

 

But Dead Men tell no tales, and the shooter will always invoke "He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony" as a reason.

Maybe you think the people who shoot other people are honest and law-abiding and will give themselves up for long jail sentences or execution. If so, you should try the Real World for once.

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Response to bongbong (Reply #31)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 08:55 AM

43. The dead man dialed 911

Has anyone heard the tape of Trayvon's call?

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #21)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 02:08 PM

36. Now this is the kind of information we need more of vs the crap the media feeds us.

 

People are so quick to judge when really they need to get informed so they can properly assess what is going on and what is motivating what action or lack thereof.

It seems to me that the people of Florida need to realize the implications of their law. But that is their business I suppose.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 08:51 PM

15. The Police Chief who, with the SA at the time, cited SYG as the reason...

Zimmerman was not arrested:

"Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who has temporarily stepped down pending the investigation into the shooting, had said there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, citing the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law."

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/06/11056075-trayvon-martin-shooting-website-to-raise-funds-for-george-zimmerman-defense

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Response to Spazito (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 09:57 PM

17. Even though his lead investigator wanted to arrest Zimmerman

The working cops appear to have come to a different conclusion than the State Attorney present at that time.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 10:06 PM

20. There often is conflict between the police and a PA's office in these matters.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:04 AM

24. Convenient Out for the Chief.

Like he was going to say "Well, shit, weren't nuttin' but a cullid kid anyway, why arrest him?"

No, wrongfully claim "SYG" even though Zimmerman PURSUED Martin.

The Chief is an ass. Probably the local Grand Kleagle or whatever them dumbfucks in the white hoods call their local leaders.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 12:09 AM

25. Code section 776.032

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/776.032
I just posted it. That does not really bring in the "stand your ground" provisions, which are narrow. But the police chief is correct - they have to establish probable cause under Florida law before arresting him.

Zimmerman's story falls under one limited provision of 776.013:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/776.013
3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


The SYG thing (no duty to retreat) is not relevant, because according to Zimmerman's story he could not retreat, and in fact if he could have retreated than he could hardly argue that he had a reasonable belief that he had to use deadly force. His defense is entirely predicated on the statement that Martin had him down and was whaling away at him.

Under Florida law, before he can be arrested they need to establish probable cause:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/776.032
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).


That's what the Chief is referring to and he is entirely correct. They can investigate all they want - they can't just arrest the guy. It is not the police but the prosecuting authority that will make the decision as to when the "probable cause" test is met.

The significance of the DOJ investigation is that if, under Florida state law, they never manage to prosecute Zimmerman but the Feds believe they can make a case in court, the Feds are not governed by that law and Zimmerman can be arrested and tried under federal law. Nor will doing so prejudice the Martin family's ability to lay civil charges against Zimmerman.

However it is pretty much SOP to let the state actions roll out first, because it is almost impossible to arrest someone on a federal civil rights violation before the applicable state legal proceedings have reached their end - after all, how do you argue that the victim's civil rights were not protected under state law before the decision as to whether to prosecute or not under state law has even been made?

It's absolutely remarkable how poor the reporting on this case has been. Would it kill a journalist to call up a lawyer and ask what is going on?

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #25)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 02:15 PM

37. What would be needed for the Feds to charge him?

 

Which of the rumors we have heard could possibly kick things in that direction?

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Response to dkf (Reply #37)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 05:41 PM

39. I think it will be grounded in the evidence

The thing that struck me, aside from the general sorrow of the case, was that the story Zimmerman told was just about the only one under the circumstances that could clear him. It could be true.

It doesn't seem that likely, and since he has been reported to have been studying to be a law enforcement officer, isn't it very possible that he constructed the story to clear himself? They only have to find a hole in one piece of it to cast severe doubt upon the rest.

To have probable cause to arrest or charge you have to have FACTS that would cause a reasonable, knowledgeable and intelligent person to believe that a crime has occurred. So the investigations will be aimed at the facts. They have a bunch of at least partial witnesses to interview, and all the physical evidence to analyze. The police did get Zimmerman to talk to them without a lawyer in some detail that night, and so they have his account and there are teams of investigators that can call upon really authoritative forensic examiners to go through it all with a fine-tooth comb.,

The angle of the gunshot? The evidence on both of their clothes? The distance of the gunshot? The timing - they can surely pinpoint that given all the 911 calls. At a minimum, the police will have forced him to go over what happened in some detail, so if the timing doesn't hold up that will be a way to dispute his account.

But what's really going to make or break the case against Zimmerman is going to be whether the actual physical evidence is consistent with his account.

What struck me about this is that if you really wanted to cover Zimmerman, you'd take the case to the grand jury too soon, which would allow a lawyer to attack on probable cause and get it thrown out, which under Florida law would prevent even a civil suit from being filed unless probable cause could be reestablished. That would be difficult. But once they compile evidence showing that Zimmerman's account is untrue, they've surely got probable cause. They've got a body. They've got proof (in Zimmerman's own voice) that he initiated contact.

I suppose it is possible that Zimmerman was telling the truth, but if he wasn't, surely they are going to find physical evidence that contradicts his account.

It really does look like they couldn't establish probable cause that night, due to witness accounts that a physical fight did happen, so of course they could not arrest him. But the police were apparently highly suspicious, and they are usually right. I think the investigators will develop the evidence and present it to the grand jury soon.

Each person deserves due process, even if that person has committed a crime. It does not offend me that this process is taking so long - I think it is proof that they are really working on it.

I don't think the Feds would charge him until after the state process is completed. If you ever take the case to court and screw it up, then Zimmerman walks and he can't be criminally charged again. If Zimmerman is indicted for whatever and acquitted for whatever in a state court, then the feds could try him separately for violating Martin's civil rights. They'd still need supporting evidence to do so.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #39)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:50 AM

40. What kinds of things would have violated Martin's civil rights?

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #40)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 12:14 PM

48. Being shot for no reason n/t

Alternatively you can accept Zimmerman's story, but since it is somewhat improbable in the first place, unless the evidence substantiates his story, he's going to be charged and tried.

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Response to dkf (Reply #40)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 10:51 PM

50. More detailed info

Title 42, Chapter 21, subchapters 1 & 9:
http://143.231.180.80/browse/title42/chapter21

Sec 2000 h-4 of subchapter 9 explains why generally you have to let the state laws run.

Subchapter 1 pretty much covers the types and circumstances of possible actions, but right now everything is very speculative.

If what so many are alleging to be true is true (that the police tried to cover Zimmerman, or that somehow the prosecutors are just refusing to proceed), then there are obvious federal grounds of action, specifically under 1985 and 1986:
http://143.231.180.80/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-title42-section1985&num=0
http://143.231.180.80/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-title42-section1986&num=0

1983 provides a possible grounds for the Martin family to sue:
http://143.231.180.80/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-title42-section1983&num=0

But no one really knows. Under the laws of the state of Florida it is far too soon to allege those things. If all the evidence comes back to be consistent with Zimmerman's story, then there may not ever be a federal cause of action. You can't just randomly arrest people in any state because the public wants those people arrested - that in and of itself is a denial of civil rights.

Then there are the general provisions in 1988:
http://143.231.180.80/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-title42-section1988&num=0

It is probably the feeling of the average DU'r that the SYG and probable cause provisions of the state of Florida are covered by 1988, but that is historically incredible; all one has to do is think about the history of unequal protection under state laws to realize that the probable cause provisions are the best protection possible for those most likely to be subjected to prejudiced prosecutions for self-defense claims - minorities who killed a majority in self-defense. E.G. Clarence Darrow's eventually successful defense in the Sweets trials.
http://darrow.law.umn.edu/trialpdfs/SWEET_TRIALS.pdf

When Clarence Darrow told those juries that were the races of the mob and the accused reversed, no charges would have been brought, he was telling the truth.



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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #50)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 11:24 PM

51. Great stuff. Thanks...I really appreciate the education.

 

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 11:58 PM

23. I don't think his motives were racist driven at all.

 

Even when I first heard the doctored audio from NBC.
He's a classic case of hero wannabe, cop wannabe, with an itchy, quick, trigger finger.
Sooner or later he was going to murder someone.
Just because it wasn't race driven doesn't make it any less a murder.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:56 AM

41. I have mixed feelings on SYG laws

 

I am 100% for it if it is on YOUR Property off your propery is where it becomes a problem IMHO.

Stalking and tracking a person off your property is nothing but murder IMHO and should be treated as such.

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Response to Dilldoe (Reply #41)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 10:21 AM

46. You hit on why I don't think SYG applies to Zimmerman's actions.

If you do in fact stalk someone and initiate the face-to-face confrontation (and don't have specific authority to do so, as an officer of the law would), then I think you are in violation of the spirit of the law. Perhaps the letter of SYG laws should be made very specific about not applying to such situations (in places where these laws are not already that carefully written).

I strongly support the idea of explicitly enshrining one's right to self defense in law (and, obviously, thus oppose "duty to retreat" statutes). BUt as this horrific incident shows, any such law needs to be very carefully constructed so as to avoid having them constitute a "hunting license" for sociopaths and idiots looking to start a fight.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 08:12 AM

42. I doubt that SYG is going to have anything to do with the outcome of the case one way or another

 

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #42)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 09:03 AM

44. Except that it already has. It was the reason given for no arrest.

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Response to morningfog (Reply #44)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 10:10 AM

45. That may not matter in the long run

 

Either Zimmerman will be charged with a crime, or he won't.

If he is, and is convicted, SYG will not have protected him. SYG might come into play if Zimmerman is charged and acquitted, which I consider to be very unlikely.

If he is not charged, I don't believe it will be because of SYG. I could be wrong, but we'll see.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #45)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 11:05 AM

47. Not being arrested initially could affect the entire case.

It has changed the investigation and evidence, not to mention the public reaction.

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