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Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:05 PM

Here's how you prove a negative

Remember when the prosecution had witnesses testify to the absence of Z's blood or DNA on TM's hands? That is positive negative proof.

But what did the defense do? They claimed that it could have washed off, that the evidence wasn't properly handled, etc. That this lack of evidence wasn't really lack of evidence.

So why did the defense get to object to negative proof, but yet the burden of proof of the prosecution depended on proving the absence of something, that is that it wasn't self defense?

Fucking backasswards, that's what it is.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Original post)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:14 PM

1. The burden is ALWAYS greater on the prosecution.

Innocent until proven guilty. That's the way it is supposed to work.

I hope I don't ever have to live in a country where a defendant has to prove innocence.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:19 PM

2. Like the op says

The absence of DNA is proof beyond any doubt. How can it just disappear?

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Response to rainy (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:29 PM

3. I'm not a scientist; I have no idea.

Is DNA evidence infallible? Is it always present in a crime?

The defense claimed that any DNA was washed away in the rain? That doesn't sound right to me, but I would think it would certainly make the evidence harder to find. Crimes labs have not always proved to be reliable.

From what I recall, there wasn't much dispute that Martin was on top of Zimmerman at one point during their struggle, at least according to witnesses. That might have factored in the jury members' decision even if they questioned why no DNA was found.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:34 PM

5. In a self defense case, describe how "innocence" is determined?

Because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Z killed Martin. So he's not innocent in that regard.

I want to know what a successful prosecution would have looked like in this case. Please enlighten me if you know, because I'm at a total loss.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:41 PM

6. First, the defendant is not required to prove that he is innocent...

only that there is a reasonable doubt that he is not guilty.

Second, IMO, there was almost no way the prosecution could have gotten a conviction in this case because the evidence didn't support guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No matter what argument or logic was used, the jury was always going to look at those pictures of Zimmerman with blood on his face, listen to witnesses saying that Martin was on top of him at some point and have some doubt that Zimmerman was not acting in self defense.

Again, they might have had some doubt that Zimmerman was acting in self defense, but they apparently also had some doubt that he was not acting in self defense. At least that's my take on the verdict.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:44 PM

7. OK then: what evidence would have to exist in order to get a conviction

go ahead and make shit up, because I still can't understand even in the hypothetical how this would work.

What "evidence" would "prove" that someone WAS NOT in fear for their life? How do you prove that? What would it look like? Please?

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:50 PM

8. In this case where the defendant had visible injuries...

most likely inflicted by the person whom he killed in a fatal encounter, it simply didn't exist.

With the injuries and witnesses saying that Martin was on top of Zimmerman in the fight, there was no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. That's why I think the jury made the only decision they could have, particularly after the judge's instructions on what they could and could not consider.

I know that's not the opinion that you want, but it's the best I have. Not trying to be snarky about it; I just think that by the law as explained in the judge's instructions, the jury had to acquit.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:52 PM

9. I'm asking you now to use your imagination a bit

Tell me what evidence would need to be presented to have gained a conviction in a case like this, but one with actual evidence that is good enough to convict.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 10:57 PM

10. Use my imagination?

I really have no idea. If there were no injuries to Zimmerman, the case gets a lot stronger. Could the prosecution get the pictures of Zimmerman that were not taken until the next day excluded? Doubtful, and it would be unethical. There would still be the pictures of his bloody face taken at the scene.

If anything about Zimmerman's past had been allowed, it might have been a different ball game too.

That's all I got.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #10)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:01 PM

11. I'm not picking on you

I'm really sincerely trying to see where it all went so wrong.

If we can't even *imagine* what a successful prosecution looks like, perhaps it was an impossible task?

They made it extremely clear that absence of injuries would have been completely immaterial in this case.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #11)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:04 PM

12. I understand.

In my opinion, a successful prosecution was impossible in this case.

One question, though: why do you think that They made it extremely clear that absence of injuries would have been completely immaterial in this case?

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:14 PM

13. The defense brought up many times that the extent of his injuries was actually immaterial

That even if he had NO injuries, he could have just as likely been in fear for his life. They stated that multiple times and had witnesses say that also.

So, based on that.

I'm trying to distill away all extraneous stuff and figure out if there was any way at all they could have won this case. Seems to me it was a fool's errand. And such cases should never ever go to trial again, because it's a waste of time and money. Isn't that the logical conclusion?

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #13)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:27 PM

14. I have to disagree with you on at least part of your conclusion.

I saw on MSNBC tonight where a doctor said that Zimmerman had a "displaced fracture" of the nose. In other words, a broken nose. That's not an insignificant injury. If you've ever had a broken nose, I think you will agree.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #14)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:34 PM

16. But they said that even if he had NO injuries, the case would have been the same

That he would still have been able to shoot to kill based solely on his perceived fear for his own life. No actual injuries had to be sustained. They made that very clear.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:38 PM

17. If I had been on the jury...

I would have been thinking about the broken nose, no matter what either set of attorneys said.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #13)

Sun Jul 14, 2013, 11:34 PM

15. Cases that the DA thinks can't be won shouldn't go to trial

My hunch is that this was the case, but a trial was demanded. Again, perhaps they lost because they couldn't win, perhaps because they didn't try. I couldn't tell the difference.

But you wanted made up evidence. Sure. I'll give it a go.

You the prosecutor need to show not that Z was not in fear for his life, that's not what you're after. You need to show that a reasonable person would not be in fear for his life and therefore would be reasonable in the use of deadly force. You also have to show that Z either had no opportunity to retreat or, if given the opportunity failed to use it.

If Z were on top and forensics said that M had an impact to the skull that would have produced unconsciousness. (1) Z would have opportunity to escape and (2) no reasonable person would be in fear for his life from an unconscious M.

If Good had testified that he had seen clearly that the guy in the darker sweatshirt was on the bottom and he had heard him say, "Mister, I give up, stop hitting me." No reasonable fear.

If it could be shown that M suffered from a cardiac ailment that rendered him weak and unable to run. Or had been suffering from an attack of asthma. Again, no reasonable person would be in fear.

If the ballistics said that the bullet had gone in level and from a distance of 10 feet. No unarmed kid is going to be a threat at a danger of 10 feet--that's not reasonable. Moreover, Z would have more than ample opportunity to retreat.

See. Not hard. Making up evidence is easy, and in a lot of cases the self defense claim isn't used because it's a waste of everybody's time. This was a crappy case. the witnesses were crappy. The evidence was crappy. The defendent was crappy.

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