George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty

A jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty of the second-degree murder and manslaughter 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The result is not surprising. The state had little evidence to support a manslaughter conviction and nothing to support a second-degree murder conviction. The only direct evidence the jury had to go on was Zimmerman’s, and while it is self-serving, the state could not come up with anything to specifically contradict it beyond a reasonable doubt.

I would love to blame this all on racism, but I think the problem lies with the prosecutors. They simply did not put on a strong case. They failed to address several problems with Zimmerman’s story, from the placement of the gun on Zimmerman’s hip to Zimmerman putting his gun away despite claiming he did not know whether Martin was shot, let alone alive or dead. Some points they addressed in their closing, yet quite often they allowed those points to hang in the air, perhaps hoping the jury would connect the dots for them.

The prosecutors failed to use Zimmerman’s own statements against him. For example, Zimmerman claimed that Martin approached him and asked, “What’s your problem?” Zimmerman claims he said, “I don’t have a problem.” After that, he claims that he reached into his right pocket to get his cell phone, which is incidentally on the same side that he keeps his gun, and at that point Martin said, “You’ve got a problem now” and punched him.

Why did the prosecutors not argue that Zimmerman’s gesture was threatening and therefore Martin had a legal right to punch Zimmerman in the face? It was dark. Martin had no idea what Zimmerman was reaching for. Zimmerman also admitted that he never stated who he was or gave his name.

They failed to bring up Zimmerman’s past behavior. Zimmerman has a history of violent behavior, including against an officer and his ex-fiance. How did that not get in? More curiously, the prosecutors fought to get Zimmerman’s prior 911 calls in. In all those calls, Zimmerman only reported young black men as suspects. Yet the state made no mentio of race in their case in chief, and denied that the case was about race in their closing.

Their failure to address that extended to cross-examination. When the defense put on a white woman whose home was burglarized by several young black men, the state never asked her if Martin was the one who broke into her home. They left untouched the implication that it was completely reasonable for Zimmerman to suspect Martin because he was black like those criminals.

But most importantly, they failed to present their version of what happened. That, more than anything, astounded me. How could the state, the people with the burden of proof, fail to state what they think happened? Even in their closing arguments, the state made no effort to weave a narrative. They asked questions, offered no answers, left it to the jury, and they got the verdict they deserved. They did not prove their case. I do not know if that was because they did not have evidence to support their version of the story or if they honestly believed that they could just say, “There was a 17-year-old kid minding his own business who was killed by a wanna-be cop.”

That said, I do not doubt that the prosecutors who handled the case believe that Zimmerman killed Martin out of hatred and malice. The passion they showed in court is hard to fake. I simply do not understand why they did not channel that passion into a clearer argument.

While this may be it for Zimmerman criminally, it is not over for him. He can be and has been sued for the unlawful death of Trayvon Martin. The burden of proof in civil court is just a preponderance of the evidence, and unlike in a criminal court, Zimmerman must take the stand. He also faces potential federal violation of civil rights charges, and again, the burden of proof is simply a preponderance of the evidence. There is more than enough evidence to support those suits, and I think Zimmerman will end up literally paying for killing Trayvon Martin.

As for how people move past this, I think this case unfortunately speaks volumes about we as a country think about young black men’s lives. Had the roles been reversed, even with the weak presentation, I think the state would have won. Again, while I think the bulk of the problem lies with the state’s case, I have no doubt race played a role in this decision.

As a country, we need can do better than this. That is not to say that Zimmerman ought to have been found guilty just because of the race issue. However, it does mean that we need to rethink the way we think about self-defense, gun laws, and how we treat young black men.

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56 thoughts on “George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty

  1. Reaching for your pocket is threatening? He approached him and then punched him? I’d say Zimmerman at that point was in self-defense. Following him was a bad idea but it sounds like Trayvon took threatening action in retaliation?

  2. @Archy

    Remember, they are in the states. So think about it, a young black man being followed at night by a strange Hispanic man(who by the way weighed 100lbs lighter)…………….reaching for his pocket which had his? And of course like most rational people do when you get punched in the face, you shoot them. The culture is fucked, plain and simple.

  3. Archy, if someone followed you on a rainy night in a car, then got out of the car and continued to follow you, and when you confronted them and asked them why they were following you they reached into their pocket, what would you think they were doing? Would you honestly think that person, having followed you for several minutes, was just reaching for a phone?

    Titfortat, Zimmerman outweighed Martin by almost 50 lbs, not 100 lbs, not that it makes much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

  4. I was reading somewhere that he was on the phone to the police, he got out of the car n started walking towards him, police said don’t follow, he turned around to go back to his car and then Martin confronted him. He reached for his phone or something, Martin then proceeded to hit him for 40 seconds until finally Zimmerman pulled the gun n shot? Continually hitting is not self-defense afaik, it’s a dumb situation all around though. Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed, and Martin should have stopped after the first punch if anything. But as I wasn’t there I can only go by what the news says, I just hope the lawyers, etc were all honest and this was tried correctly?

  5. I was reading somewhere that he was on the phone to the police, he got out of the car n started walking towards him, police said don’t follow, he turned around to go back to his car and then Martin confronted him.

    That is Zimmerman’s version of the events. According to Rachel Jeantel, the girl Martin was talking to on the phone at the time this all happened, she told Martin to run after he mentioned a “creepy ass cracker” following him. He did and told Jeantel he could not see the man anymore. A little later, he said he saw the man again and confronted him.

    Likewise, on the non-emergency 911 call Zimmerman made, he can be heard running after Martin after he says that Martin began to run away. Also, the incident took place a big distance away from Zimmerman’s car. So it is clear that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after being told it was not necessary for him to do that.

    He reached for his phone or something, Martin then proceeded to hit him for 40 seconds until finally Zimmerman pulled the gun n shot?

    Again, that is Zimmerman’s version of the events. But even if we take it as true, look at the scenario he paints: he follows a boy in a car. The boy turns, makes eye contact, and then runs away. Zimmerman gets out of his car and runs after the boy. At some point, the two meet and the boy confronts Zimmerman about following him. Zimmerman never gives his name or says he is part of neighborhood watch. Instead, he denies there is an issue and immediately reaches into his pocket. I ask you again, if someone called you on a dark rainy night and when you confronted them about it they reached into their pocket, what would you think they were doing?

    Continually hitting is not self-defense afaik, it’s a dumb situation all around though.

    Actually, in Florida it is. In Florida, you can meet non-lethal force with lethal force as long as you reasonably believe you are in danger of great bodily harm or death. This is why Zimmerman could claim self-defense even though his injuries were trivial. All that matters is what the person thinks will happen and whether that thought is reasonable. So if Martin thought that Zimmerman meant to hurt or kill him, Martin could have bashed Zimmerman’s head into jelly and been well within the law to do so.

    The problem the state has is that the law is written to force the state to prove the person did not act in self-defense. In other words, the state must prove a negative. Worse, because the defendant is claiming self-defense, they cannot force him to take the stand. How do you disprove what someone felt if you cannot question them about it? That is partly why the state lost.

    Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed, and Martin should have stopped after the first punch if anything.

    I think it likely would have stopped after that had Zimmerman not had a gun. There is no physical way for Zimmerman to have pulled his gun at the time he claims he did. The gun was tucked into his pants on the back of his right hip. Zimmerman was lying back-down on the ground, so not only could Martin not see the gun, Zimmerman’s weight would have been on the gun and he would have to sit up, practically straight up, to even pull it out. I suspect that he already had the gun out, perhaps when Martin confronted him or after Martin punched him, and that is what led to the pair being on the ground. Zimmerman’s wounds are consistent with someone trying to pin him down as Zimmerman resists, and that may have been why he pulled the trigger.

    But as I wasn’t there I can only go by what the news says, I just hope the lawyers, etc were all honest and this was tried correctly?

    It was overcharged. While I believe did set out with malice against Martin because the boy was black, the state had little evidence to prove that charge. They had plenty for manslaughter, but they failed to present their case in the best manner, so they lost. Technically, the case was tried correctly in court, but the law makes it virtually impossible to prove the defendant was not acting in self-defense. There is also a trend for white people who claim to kill black people in self-defense walking in most of those cases.

  6. So the prosecution fucked up and tried to go for the higher charge? I’m from Australia and hear very little of this, in fact most of what I heard about it was from the GMP. Sounds to me like an absolutely shit situation to try in the courtroom. The police would do good to advise people not to go after suspicious people, but to call them and let them handle it. I sure as hell won’t confront someone skulking around.

  7. Why do you think they went full tard?

    They have never had a real trial with evidence and everything before. It is so very confusing.

  8. Er…T.S:
    Since this has been pegged as a malicious and unethical prosecution by several lawyers both left and right that I trust – Jeralyn Merrit at Talk Left, Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection, Alan Dershowitz just to name a few- I’ve been following it closely for over a year just as I did the Duke Lacrosse scandal.

    So let me correct a few of your points.
    A. Zimmerman was at the most (assuming the sound was from running and not wind noise as the defense said the wind was up at that time)running for about 20 seconds after he got out of his truck. It’s all in the call transcript which you can find here:

    https://www.txantimedia.com/?p=1042

    And not only had I heard the call probably 2 dozen times before the trial I heard it several times (when I bothered paying attention when they were playing it which they did over and over) during the trial.

    Need I point out that he says “ok” after told we don’t need you to do that, and he NEVER SOUNDS LIKE HE IS GASPING OR OUT OF BREATH.
    That’s important. Of course it’s unlikely he would have caught Martin in the first place. Martin was taller and 50 pounds lighter and almost 11 years younger.

    B. Your claim it is ‘impossible’ for him to have grabbed his gun is dubious at best. Rolling around on grass/concrete in the dark for nearly a minute I have no doubt both his and Martin’s hips moved at least a few inches. It’s pretty much established Martin was never on the ground because while the grass was wet only Zimmerman had grass stains on the back of his clothes consistent with his back being in the grass and bumps on his head consistent with being pounded into concrete.

    C. No one knows if Zimmerman continued to follow Martin. Considering it was near pitch black in those conditions and the only street light was on the sidewalk horizontal across the “T” and that Zimmerman had only a small ‘keychain’ flashlight, I doubt he strayed far from the only light -which , incidentally, would have made him an easy target for someone watching in the darkness.

    D. We could just as easily ask why Martin never made it less than a hundred yards to his home where he had 4 complete minutes to do so. RJ claimed he was near there; if you take THAT literally then he must have doubled back. Or he could have simply hidden in the darkness. RJ also never claimed TM claimed he was scared; he never called 911 (despite 4 minutes from the time that Zimmerman got out of his truck to the time the fight started) and ‘keeping silent’ out of fear can’t be the reason for that – he was on the phone nearly the whole time.

    My personal opinion?
    Zimmerman never chased Martin. He saw he was running into a dark area and thought NEN dispatch wanted him to give them a direction. So he gets out of his truck and walks toward the T intersection. Now if he had just peeked in, I would defend his decision making all day. But he apparently figured (at the minimum) it was safe to walk toward the middle of the “T” where the light was. Fair enough. But when he got THERE (around the time ‘we don’t need you to do that’) he then decided that rather than go back to his truck he’d go straight across and get that address, and maybe see if the ‘suspect’ was running out the footpath in that area. I believe he turned around and was going back to his truck rather than pursuing Martin down the ‘dogpath’ that intersects the top of the ‘T’ because the evidence and bodies and witness accounts all were over on Zimmerman’s side of the ‘T’ in the direction of his truck and instead of being southeast near Martin’s dads girlfriends house, the body was found northwest, very close to the intersection. This does support Zimmerman’s story that he was heading back to his truck when the encounter occurred.

    Maybe I might believe Zimmerman started it if Martin had anything other than a single bullet-hole in him and if it wasn’t for those social media references that Martin left behind dealing with drugs, guns, and fighting. In one case he even complains that a kid he BEAT in a fight “didn’t breed enough” (Crips shorthand for ‘bleed’) and that he isn’t ‘through with him yet’. If you read the medical report Martin had the liver of a man nearly twice his age. He was apparently sometimes doing MJ (THC was found in his blood and no one can prove whether it was from use that day or a few days prior) and a street concoction called ‘lean’. Zimmerman said he looked like he was on drugs – well, I can easily believe that.

  9. I should correct myself to say Martin was ‘never on the ground on his back’, because both his body and Zimmermans testimony support him falling off Zimmerman after the shot and onto his stomach.

    It’s a small thing but I don’t think we should be innaccurate. Heck, I’m still pissed that many news sources ARE STILL claiming Zimmerman ‘disobeyed’ an ‘order’ from dispatch when it’s quite obvious he gets out of his truck about 15 seconds before the dispatch tells him we ‘don’t need you to do that’.

    And people wonder why there might be riots…

  10. I’d also address your obvious lack of familiarity with Zimmerman’s calls to 911 and non emergency – there were over 40 of them, but apparently you brought the prosecutions cherry picking hook, line, and sinker- but why bother?

  11. Right! Sorry, to say, but you are critically wrong on pretty much… everything. I mean, not as wrong as people who never cared about the crime and just said “OMG RACISM”, but still very very wrong. So I’m gonna drop some mad knowledge on you!

    Firstly, since it’s the most convincing one: no, the prosecution couldn’t say Martin was acting in self-defence. Self-defence is not as simple as “Killing is legal if the opponent has a gun”. The person MUST take the least harmful reasonable action to saving themselves. In this case, even if Martin had seen the gun, by focusing on bashing Zimmerman’s head in instead of taking the gun (according to testimony and indicated by evidence), he would still have been unjustified and committed attempted murder.

    Zimmerman’s past history is irrelevant. Completely. Even if they could prove Zim was a racist or violent, it wouldn’t change a thing. And they weren’t allowed to use his past history of violence anyway, after arguing so strongly against the defence using Martin’s (which was much, much worse).

    The prosecution didn’t state what they thought happened, because they didn’t have anything that wouldn’t have been struck down instantly. They couldn’t claim self-defence from the gun as I explained earlier, Martin had no bruises so they couldn’t say he got in a proper fight and couldn’t reach for the gun, the gunshot was proof Martin was on top of him so that rules out a lot more, the only thing they could even remotely use as a story was that Martin never really hurt him and that the lacerations on the back of his head were there before, but they had absolutely no reason to believe that. Basically, any tale they would’ve given would’ve self-destructed their own case.

    It’s very unlikely he’ll be sued. Judges really, really don’t like the same case going on in two different court, and they have the power to stop it instantly. And “civil cases have less of a burden of proof” is only true in the general sense – they still use “beyond a reasonable doubt” for serious cases, like murder. Unless you think he’ll be charged with a lesser crime, like… racism, or something? But profiling (if he even did that, I never heard about his past calls before) or following isn’t a crime, so that really won’t go anywhere.

    Oh, and Titfortat, Zimmerman had significant (but not life-threatening) injuries on the back of his head. That’s not just “hitting”. If Martin caused those, intentionally, that makes him an attempted murderer.

    So no. The prosecution did not “screw up”, it was just an outright unwinnable case that would’ve been dropped the instant the autopsy and ballistics reports came out There’s nothing wrong with Florida’s self-defence laws (except for stand-your-ground which wasn’t used here), it’s exactly the same as everywhere else and it’s what every lawmaker considers fair. It should start a discussion on gun laws – if guns can be used for non-definite self-defence, is that a good thing or a bad thing – but it probably won’t because people don’t like that kind of debate. And the most pressing matter on ‘how we think about black people’ is how we let Martin get so messed up to begin with (which… some people are actually debating, which I wasn’t expecting and is really goddam needed).

  12. As usual, you are most insightful TS. I haven’t tried to understand all the details because I don’t really trust what I read enough. We’re only hearing Zimmerman’s side for example. The whole event is unacceptable in my view. This cannot be tolerated. The justice system showed itself to be the most guilty in the total lack of justice or help dealing with this.

    Actually, in Florida it is. In Florida, you can meet non-lethal force with lethal force as long as you reasonably believe you are in danger of great bodily harm or death.

    That removes a lot of my confusion. My thinking was Zimmerman should never have fired a gun even if being beaten. You take the beating because it doesn’t justify killing. And indeed, he only had some wounds which didn’t require a hospital stay to recover from.

    A real problem is the ease at which we inaccurately have thoughts of hostile intentions in others. Which is a form of hostility in us. Few want to really look at that.

    In all states, private citizens have the right to use lethal force in their homes in self-defense. SYG laws extend that right to public places, such as the Sanford streets. And, these laws transfer the fact finding about whether the homicide was justifiable from a jury to law enforcement. That is, in most states without these laws, a jury must determine that the homicide was a justifiable use of lethal force in self-defense. In SYG states—including Florida—the shooter cannot be arrested unless law enforcement finds probable cause the shooting was unlawful.

    So, what is supposed to happen to determine if there is “finds probable cause the shooting was unlawful.” ?

    it seems clear that SYG laws reduce the chance for justice by moving the burden of proof from the shooter to law enforcement.

    I guess my take is that Zimmerman consciously or unconsciously (was just lucky) knew the system enough to know if he killed and had some wounds on him, he could get away with just saying he feared for his life and defended himself. And of course, there is no other side of the story to deal with.

    It seems the police kill a lot of people (and it almost always is men) under those circumstances too. Even when “ I thought he was reaching for a gun” when it turns out to be a cell phone.

  13. @Plasma

    As someone who has had his head split open with a beer mug I can tell you that Zimmerman way overreacted to his miniscule injuries(head injuries do bleed alot). The reason he may have felt threatened is because he pulled a gun on a teenager and probably worried that it might get used against himself. Zimmerman should have been charged with manslaugter as I dont believe he intended killing Martin. But let me tell you, Zimmerman is one stupid lucky fucker for not getting killed and then getting off. This is just another tragic case of people who should not own a gun and the obvious racial tensions that are a daily event in the good ole US of A.

  14. @Allan:
    “I haven’t tried to understand all the details because I don’t really trust what I read enough.
    [...]
    I guess my take is that-”

    Don’t guess. When you say you don’t know enough about what happened, you should never follow it up with an opinion of what you think might have happened. It’s a horrible practice.

    Besides, the part about that he couldn’t retreat (the difference between SYG and standard self-defence) was proven with hard evidence. The gunshot was only possible if Martin was on top of him.

  15. Worth reading: http://www.reddit.com/r/Conservative/comments/1idm1y/til_george_zimmerman_was_a_democrat_voted_for/cb3nna5
    That comment on that thread articulates most of what I’ve already told everyone about the Zimmerman trial. It’s also worth noting that there were a string of robberies in Zimmerman’s neighborhood over the previous 8-9 months…all of which were committed by, you guessed it, young black males.
    Great video presentation on the subject by Stefan Molyneux: http://youtu.be/bF-Ax5E8EJc

  16. “The person MUST take the least harmful reasonable action to saving themselves. In this case, even if Martin had seen the gun, by focusing on bashing Zimmerman’s head in instead of taking the gun (according to testimony and indicated by evidence), he would still have been unjustified and committed attempted murder.”

    This doesn’t follow. It is logical to punch someone if they have been stalking you in a car, followed you when you started to run, and caught up to you on foot, and then start to pull something out of their pocket. The idea had he could have just disarmed him is laughable, like something out of a Jason Statham movie. It’s very hard to run from a weapon that fires bullets that run faster than you, too. Anyone can tell you that.

    I know to be wary of assumptions, but your spelling of “self-defence” says to me that you probably aren’t immersed in gun culture. I am. I live in Texas. Martin was also immersed in a gun culture, in Florida. In a confrontation in a gun culture that looks like it going to escalate into violence, when the unknown party is reaching into his pocket, it is reasonable to believe that that party is pulling a gun. It was reasonable for Martin to immediately respond with force, as a threat to his life was HEAVILY implied by Zimmerman reaching into his pocket. If you haven’t lived in gun culture, you really can’t understand it. And guess what? Zimmerman might not have been reaching for his gun, but he WAS armed. Obviously. And the idea that Martin’s blows to Zimmerman, blows that were reasonable given Martin’s beliefs about what Zimmerman was going to do to him, were “attempted murder” is laughable.

    And finally – be consistent with your standards. You say that Martin had the obligation to take the least harmful reasonable action to save himself. Do you think that Zimmerman met that standard by shooting Martin?

  17. Uh, people. The most dangerous and serious head injuries do not have to have VISIBLE WOUNDS. The act of smashing your head against a pavement can cause concusion, brain damage, internal bleeding. There have been cases in Australia of someone hitting someone with a SINGLE PUNCH, they fall back on their head and died. It doesn’t have to spew out oodles of blood, you may only find a slight cut and bump yet inside the damage is severe. Trayvon’s actions can EASILY lead to death, the brain is very fragile!

  18. Clarence, let me respond to your points:

    A. Zimmerman had worked out for at least a year, and it possible that he was not sprinting, so he would not have necessarily sounded out of breath.

    B. If we assume Zimmerman and Martin were rolling around, then that means Zimmerman either lied about or misrepresented what occurred the moment before he shot Martin. If he only has grass stains on his back, that would imply that he was lying on his back throughout the fight. So again, it would be impossible for him to pull a gun is lying on. Do not take my word for it. Put something in back of your pants on your hip and lie down on the floor. Without leaning forward or rolling to the side, which Zimmerman never says he did, take the object out. For a bonus, ask someone to stand over you and see if they can see the object before you draw it.

    C. Actually, we do have evidence supporting that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin. We have Rachel Jeantel’s testimony to that, and Zimmerman slipping during an interview and saying he approached Martin.

    D. That assumes that Zimmerman’s account is accurate. It is also possible that Martin hid from Zimmerman, not wanting the man to know where he lived, and Zimmerman walked past him and then Martin confronted him. Jeantel stated that Martin called Zimmerman a “creepy ass cracker.” I think that indicates fear. I also think that as a young black boy, Martin may not have thought calling the police would do him any good.

    As for the lack of multiple shots, I would note that the shot was to Martin’s heart.

    As for Martin’s social media posts, if you consider that, should you not also consider Zimmerman’s past, particularly prior complaints about his treatment of black residents? Or that Zimmerman was on drugs as well?

    Regarding the multiple 911 calls, Zimmerman only reported young black males in 2012 as suspicious. Prior to that, he reported one white male, and two Hispanic males and a white male. The other suspicious calls did not specify the person’s race. Even in 2011, Zimmerman reported mostly black males. So there is no question that there was racial profiling at play.

    Martin should not have to be a perfect victim in order for his life to matter. I do not doubt that Martin confronted Zimmerman and fought him. I think he did it out of fear, and I think his fear was justified.

  19. Plasma:

    Firstly, since it’s the most convincing one: no, the prosecution couldn’t say Martin was acting in self-defence. Self-defence is not as simple as “Killing is legal if the opponent has a gun”. The person MUST take the least harmful reasonable action to saving themselves. In this case, even if Martin had seen the gun, by focusing on bashing Zimmerman’s head in instead of taking the gun (according to testimony and indicated by evidence), he would still have been unjustified and committed attempted murder.

    That is untrue. The person simply has to try to get away, and can legally only meet force with equal force. This is why the state tried to prove Zimmerman’s injuries were not life-threatening. If his fear was unreasonable, he cannot claim self-defense. In Martin’s case, he ran away. I doubt the state would agree with Zimmerman’s account that Martin camped out to attack him, and since there is no evidence supporting that while there is evidence (Jeantel’s statements) that Zimmerman continued to follow and possibly grabbed Martin, the state could technically argue that Martin punched Zimmerman in self-defense.

    Zimmerman’s past history is irrelevant. Completely. Even if they could prove Zim was a racist or violent, it wouldn’t change a thing.

    It would be in this situation if the argument is that Zimmerman profile Martin as a criminal because he was black. If the state could prove that Zimmerman is racist, that would certainly play into whether he was acting in self-defense or malice. As for evidence coming in, if the judge found it more prejudicial than probative, it would not come in. I think that was the judge’s decision in this case.

    The prosecution didn’t state what they thought happened, because they didn’t have anything that wouldn’t have been struck down instantly.

    The court cannot necessarily block the state’s case like that. The defense wanted that in this case, and it did not work. The reason is because if it is a matter of finding the facts, that issue is for the jury to decide, not the court. If the state has no evidence at all to support their argument, then the charge they want might be struck. However, they may be able to toss it in during their closing arguments.

    They couldn’t claim self-defence from the gun as I explained earlier, Martin had no bruises so they couldn’t say he got in a proper fight and couldn’t reach for the gun

    Under Florida law, one does not require injuries to claim self-defense. It comes down to a person’s state of mind. For instance, if you lived in Florida and heard someone coming through one of your windows, you can act in self-defense and shoot and kill that person even if they have not even gotten through the window yet.

    the gunshot was proof Martin was on top of him so that rules out a lot more

    Not really. Have you watched MMA matches before? Is it not true that sometimes a person who is losing a fight tries to get on top the other fighter to gain control and stop the person from hitting them? The same could apply with Martin, particularly if one argued that Zimmerman already had the gun out. In that sense, Martin would be defending himself by trying to keep Zimmerman pinned down.

    the only thing they could even remotely use as a story was that Martin never really hurt him and that the lacerations on the back of his head were there before, but they had absolutely no reason to believe that.

    Actually, they do. Zimmerman refused to go to the hospital, and when he went to his primary care provider, he never asked for x-rays or any other care. That would imply that Zimmerman did not feel that hurt. Likewise, he gave an interview immediately following the fight, and had no problem recalling details.

    Basically, any tale they would’ve given would’ve self-destructed their own case.

    Again, not really. It would depend on what evidence they used and how they presented it. Zimmerman’s story sounds like absolute BS, but it was well presented, and therefore convincing to some people. (Honestly, does it at all sound probable that you would follow someone in your car and then on foot, and they would run away from you and wait for four minutes without knowing where you would go or what you would do to just jump out of a bush and punch you in the face for absolutely no reason?)

    It’s very unlikely he’ll be sued. Judges really, really don’t like the same case going on in two different court, and they have the power to stop it instantly./blockquote>

    Again, not really. A judge cannot just toss out a case without reviewing the complaint. That would result in a complaint against the judge. Likewise, there are scores of cases in which a person was not convicted in a criminal but later successfully sued.

    And “civil cases have less of a burden of proof” is only true in the general sense – they still use “beyond a reasonable doubt” for serious cases, like murder.

    No, civil cases are based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is lesser than beyond a reasonable doubt. It is essentially “more likely than not,” which is much easier to prove.

    Unless you think he’ll be charged with a lesser crime, like… racism, or something?

    Zimmerman cannot be charged again criminally for this case because of double jeopardy. He would admit that he killed Martin because he was black, and there is nothing the state can do.

    Oh, and Titfortat, Zimmerman had significant (but not life-threatening) injuries on the back of his head. That’s not just “hitting”. If Martin caused those, intentionally, that makes him an attempted murderer.

    The wounds to Zimmerman’s head were so small that they were already healing when he went to see his primary care provider. His nose may have been broken, but since he never got x-rays, we do not know. Either way, his injuries were not significant. Painful, but hardly a big deal. Martin could not be charged with attempted murder unless you can show he acted with the intent to kill or malice. Given that we do not know how the fight began, we cannot determine that.

    This case was winnable, although it would have been an ugly win. The state simply did not have enough evidence to prove their case and presented what they had in a confusing manner. I do not think Martin was messed up. How many white kids fantasize about the mafia, adopt their lingo, and dress like them? How many white kids smoke weed and use slang? If we keep having a separate standard for black people than we have for everyone else, we will continue to have situations where someone thinks a young black boy wearing a hoodie and minding his own business is “up to no good.”

  20. Allan:

    My thinking was Zimmerman should never have fired a gun even if being beaten. You take the beating because it doesn’t justify killing. And indeed, he only had some wounds which didn’t require a hospital stay to recover from.

    Legally speaking, he can meet any level of force against him with deadly force. Self-defense laws are tricky. If you and I get into an argument, you cannot punch me if I insult you. But if I threaten to hurt you, you can as long as you tried to get away from the situation first. If you could not, you could pull out a gun and shoot me dead even if I never touched you. It has to be very specific, although the law can be applied in the broadest way possible.

    So, what is supposed to happen to determine if there is “finds probable cause the shooting was unlawful.” ?

    The person can then be charged with a crime.

    I guess my take is that Zimmerman consciously or unconsciously (was just lucky) knew the system enough to know if he killed and had some wounds on him, he could get away with just saying he feared for his life and defended himself. And of course, there is no other side of the story to deal with.

    I doubt he thought it out that much. Think about how quickly a child who did something wrong can concoct a lie. They do not have to think it out. They can lie on the spot. Zimmerman knew it was wrong to shoot someone and could think, “Just say it was self-defense” as an easy way out. He would not even need to lie. He could just omit all his actions, and have a plausible self-defense story.

    It seems the police kill a lot of people (and it almost always is men) under those circumstances too. Even when “ I thought he was reaching for a gun” when it turns out to be a cell phone.

    Yes, I think Zimmerman’s story sounds very much like police officers’ self-defense claims.

  21. TS:
    “A. Zimmerman had worked out for at least a year, and it possible that he was not sprinting, so he would not have necessarily sounded out of breath. ”
    Yes, and according to his trainer on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the Ultimate Warrior and 1 being the wimpiest sand-nerd with no physique, Zimmerman started at at a .5 and had worked himself up to a ‘1’ in part because his schedule was 3 days a week , two hours each workout and he only attended sporadically. He was learning boxing (he had only progressed to shadow boxing and hitting the heavy bag with simple jabs, he didn’t even rate a sparring partner) and grappling in order to lose weight. He wasn’t learning MMA and the guy that trained him said it would probably have been a few years before he would have put him in the ring in terms of boxing.
    He lost about 60 pounds due to dedication when he was there, but he still had a BMI of 32 which is in the mildly obese range.
    Zimmerman’s phone call lasted for a slight bit over 4 minutes, the fight or ambush ( I tend to think more likely ambush by Martin) occurred roughly 2 minutes later. Is it your contention that Zimmerman was running or even jogging for about 2 of those minutes after he gets out of his car?
    If so , I find this totally unbelievable because not only does the ‘wind noise’ that people think indicates running cease soon after he says ‘ok’ but I find it impossible to believe he could come any where close to catching Martin and talk so casually on his phone with no obvious strain in his voice or shortness of breath and with little or no additional ‘wind noise’.

    B. I didn’t correct you as to the location of his holster (in fact it was the RIGHT FRONT HIP under his jacket and he was not lying on it during most of the fight) because I felt you would see it was obvious that he was struggling to get up and/or away from the concrete and hence his hips and probably Martin’s position on top of him would move. Move at the minimum a few inches. They were not stuck in one place, witnesses HEARD a ‘moving’ fight at least at first. It was described by the defense that he was trying a form of ‘shrimping’ to try and wiggle away or at least move his head from the concrete. Only if you assume
    1. That Martin was on top of Zimmerman and neither of them moved even the slightest in terms of their hips, that Martin never shifted his position at all, that Zimmerman couldn’t partly push him off
    OR
    2. That Zimmerman’s gun was strapped behind him (incorrect) or was under him the entire time
    or both
    does your argument disprove anything.
    C. Did you even listen to Rachael Jantel’s testimony?
    She also says that Martin refused to run when she told him to and her description of the conversation that started the confrontation has Martin speaking first.
    That’s not counting the fact that she lied under oath twice and was an earwitness on a phone who didn’t even show up to take evidence until her arm was twisted and it was nearly a month later. She wasn’t properly deposed by anyone from law enforcement until if I recall correctly July or August when Crump and BDLR did it. You might want to do some research into how/when she was first interviewed by Crump in March of 2012, I assure you that you will be discomfited by what you find. I hardly take her testimony as gospel but even if you do, you quickly find that she doesn’t really disprove anything Zimmerman says and sometimes seems to hurt Martin’s case as to being this innocent Skittles buying kid walking home.
    D. Well, we can agree he might have been scared. Scared of Zimmerman, but because of their relative sizes more likely scared that if a dime is dropped on him and he was doing blunts that day that the cops would do him no good, true.And the Creepy Ass Cracker slur could just as easily be turned into homophobia or even hatred/prejudice against white people as Zimmerman’s mildly uttered and exasperated “fucking punks” and “those assholes, they always get away” remarks were turned into evidence of a depraved mind.
    You note Martin was shot in the heart. So? It was a close shot within six inches to the center mass. It’s probably going to hit the heart or lungs and considering they were that close, it was dark, they were struggling, I doubt Zimmerman really had to AIM to do Martin much harm. Point is, if he was Charles Zimmerman Bronson…well, he had 7 more shots in that gun that he could have emptied into Martin, while saying or shouting “Make my day!”.

    E. Racial profiling does not equal proof of racial prejudice and in this present case you can’t even prove Zimmerman was racially profiling. After all, he didn’t bring up race until he was asked about it and he wasn’t sure at first.
    And I’m sorry that Hispanics and whites weren’t robbing and home-invading at equal rates to the residents of the nearby mostly black areas. They probably didn’t live close enough. Perhaps the whites and Hispanics could get some section 8 housing vouchers so they could move nearby the Retreat at Twin Lakes and burglarize it equally too. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but you rather deserve it.

  22. TS:
    Martin also did ‘lean’. If you don’t know what that is or the potential symptoms you might want to look it up. I might note that since it is known he was doing MJ as well, the question of how those drugs interacted in his blood stream is a good one, esp. as a full toxicology screen was never done. The Martins never mentioned his drug habits to the police. Normally , I’d think they didn’t know about them but it is true that quite a bit of attempted scrubbing of Martin’s Facebook and other social media was done by either the family or the family lawyers. Alas, the internet is forever.

    Now this is the last time I’m going to bring up Martins character but since some idiots are comparing Martin to freaking Emmit Till:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/26/v-print/2714778/thousands-expected-at-trayvon.html

    Now, do I believe a kid from a broken family (who was separated from his step mom of 13 years and had been kicked out by his bio mom recently) who apparently liked to do multiple drugs and had interest in fighting MIGHT…just MIGHT have responded with violence to someone who he thought dissed him or maybe even who looked weak?

    Yes.
    If concrete wasn’t involved, no I don’t think Zimmerman would have had any reason to fear for his life or health, and there would be no legitimate reason to respond with deadly force. However if his parents had been MORE involved I don’t think Martin would have encountered Zimmerman or been pounding anyones head into concrete in the first place.

  23. TS: Yes, I think Zimmerman’s story sounds very much like police officers’ self-defense claims.

    And what I’ve read makes it seem like the LEOs treated him like one of their own.

    TS:But if I threaten to hurt you, you can as long as you tried to get away from the situation first. If you could not, you could pull out a gun and shoot me dead even if I never touched you. It has to be very specific, although the law can be applied in the broadest way possible.

    Perhaps by law we all need to carry sound recorders until they can be universally implanted. Like a cockpit voice recorder and black box that’s always there. I have one actually that would do this pretty conveniently. Because reconstructing intentions, what was said and what it means is where we get into all kinds of trouble.

    …we will continue to have situations where someone thinks a young black boy wearing a hoodie and minding his own business is “up to no good.”

    This being an example of one kind of trouble.

    Another being the comment in Stefan Molyneux’s video about how the intense focus on various “isms” i.e. racism keeps social groups divided against each other rather than recognizing the power structures that create larger conditions of inequality that breed violence in those social groups.

  24. However if his parents had been MORE involved I don’t think Martin would have encountered Zimmerman or been pounding anyones head into concrete in the first place.(Clarence)

    Im not sure how many fights you have had in your lifetime and Im not sure how many people you know who have had fights in their lifetimes, but let me tell you. I have had plenty myself and know plenty of people who have also. Many of them had very active parents in their lives and some didn’t. The variables that cause people to fight are so great it is impossible to think that just having involved parents is going to make a difference for everyone. Considering it was Zimmerman who brought the gun along maybe you should be questioning the parenting skills of his parents.

  25. Another thing, who should we be holding to a higher standard of conduct, a 17yr old teenager or a 28yr man? I think Alice Cooper said it best with these lyrics.

    I got a
    Baby´s brain and an old man´s heart
    Took eighteen years to get this far
    Don´t always know what I´m talkin´ about
    Feels like I´m livin´ in the middle of doubt
    Cause I´m eighteen
    I get confused every day
    Eighteen
    I just don´t know what to say
    Eighteen
    I gotta get away.

    Zimmerman doesn’t have that excuse, the man should have known better. He may not be guilty of murder but there is no freaking way you can convince me that he is not guilty of manslaughter. Zimmerman was fortunate to get away with killing someone, unfortunately Martin wasn’t so lucky with punching someone.

  26. TitforTat:
    I’ve been randomly punched by singular members of groups of teens twice in the past 15 years. One was hispanic in a largely black gang(they all ran away immediately after), and one time a group of 3 black kids passed me and one hit me in the side of the face sending me to my knees. Both incidents might have been ‘gang initiation’ rites, possibly the second one was purely racial who the freak knows?
    What I DO know is that I’m glad none of my attackers kept up the attack esp as the second one where I went to my knees stunned me. I’m also glad their buddies didn’t join in. I’m glad no concrete was involved. If it was and I had a gun you’d probably be whining that some white guy shot a black or hispanic teen just out having a little fun.

    I don’t know how much you can hate a teen to think he or she shouldn’t be socialized well enough not to attack someone randomly esp to the extent that they fear for their lives, but so long as enablers like you exist in the world I’m going to continue to support concealed carry and to look twice at groups of teenagers whatever their race.
    In this case Zimmerman might have been stupid in walking across that “T” but from the moment that Martin was on top of him (at least 40 seconds and possibly over a minute) as far as I’m concerned he did nothing wrong. If his gun had already been out or he was bloodthirsty I’m sure he would have shot much sooner or much more or both.

    This case is an example of negligent parenting and the effects of drugs and broken homes and little else except what known race baiters have made of it.

    Do I feel Martin DESERVED to die? NO! I don’t even think he was trying to kill Zimmerman (though that might have shifted if during the struggle he saw/felt the gun at Zimmerman’s hip and panicked himself) but Zimmerman had no way of knowing that.

    You want to know what sealed Martins fate in my mind? When John Good came out, tried to break it up and told them he was going to call 911 Martin(who John identified as being on top via his dark hoodie) never stopped and he never said anything along the lines of ‘help me, he’s got a gun’.

  27. “In Martin’s case, he ran away.”
    The gunshot was conclusive evidence that Martin had Zimmerman pinned down. They had hard proof that he didn’t run away.

    “Jeantel’s statements-”
    -are not evidence. Even the prosecutors admitted she was an unreliable witness.

    “If the state could prove that Zimmerman is racist, that would certainly play into whether he was acting in self-defense or malice.”
    No, it’d only help determine if he had a motive or not, which is mostly unneeeded. Self-defense doesn’t stop being self-defense if one person hates the other.

    “The court cannot necessarily block the state’s case like that.”
    I meant by the defense, not the court. The defense would challenge any story with a “And how do you know that happened?”. Again, keep in mind that their star witness got busted for lying.

    “Under Florida law, one does not require injuries to claim self-defense.”
    As it is everywhere (you don’t have to wait for the person to punch you to punch back), but it still requires a reasonable fear. When you’re on top of someone and clearly in control of the situation, and the other person isn’t fighting back to any significant degree, you can’t say you’re fearing for your life.

    “Not really. Have you watched MMA matches before? Is it not true that sometimes a person who is losing a fight tries to get on top the other fighter to gain control and stop the person from hitting them? The same could apply with Martin, particularly if one argued that Zimmerman already had the gun out. In that sense, Martin would be defending himself by trying to keep Zimmerman pinned down. ”
    Absolutely. Which is completely justified. But once you have your aggressor pinned down, anything afterwards wasn’t.

    “Zimmerman refused to go to the hospital, and when he went to his primary care provider, he never asked for x-rays or any other care. That would imply that Zimmerman did not feel that hurt.”
    I don’t think I have to point out the problem with “They didn’t seek help, so it probably wasn’t that bad”.

    “No, civil cases [wikipedia link] are based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is lesser than beyond a reasonable doubt. It is essentially “more likely than not,” which is much easier to prove.”
    I can’t find anything in that link saying civil cases are always based on that standard. Aaanyway, I know here that not all civil cases do. I don’t know if it’s the same in Florida, but I imagine it is.

    “Either way, his injuries were not significant.”
    Intentional blunt damage to the back of someone’s head is ALWAYS significant in terms of a person’s mens rea, regardless of whether it actually does permanent damage.

    Also:

    “Legally speaking, he can meet any level of force against him with deadly force. ”
    That’s exactly the opposite of what you said the post before. Which is that you can’t meet force with any more deadly force.

  28. Clarence,

    A. I recall Zimmerman’s trainer’s testimony, and while I think he may have been telling the truth about Zimmerman’s fighting styles, I find it highly improbable that Zimmerman’s physical strength was such that after training for a year he would be incapable of say lifting up a person fifty pounds lighter than him.

    As for the two-minute gap, I doubt that Zimmerman ran the whole time. I do think, however, that he continued to search for Martin after the boy ran away. We also do not know how fast Martin ran away or where he went for those two minutes. He could have been hiding or could have been wandering around trying to see if Zimmerman was still following him.

    B. I am going by what Zimmerman indicated in the re-enactment, not what his attorney claimed in court. Likewise, Zimmerman stated that he was “shrimping,” an act that does not require one to get off the ground. So again, I see no way for Martin to even know Zimmerman had a gun from that position.

    But let us assume it was on Zimmerman’s right hip. He used a concealed holster that fits inside the pants. The holster and the gun are black. It was at night, raining, and the pair were in a poorly lit area. According to Zimmerman, Martin was on top of him. He told his so-called best friend that Martin had his knees in Zimmerman’s armpits. In both instances, Martin’s body would completely block him from seeing the gun. Even if it did not, Martin would have to be looking at Zimmerman’s torso, which would make it somewhat difficult to pummel the man in the face, smother him, and bash his head into the concrete at the same time.

    Also, according to Zimmerman, he was trying to move back into the grass, meaning that he was pushing himself further under Martin’s body. Again, Martin’s body would block any visual of the weapon. Zimmerman never stated that Martin moved around, so if we add that in, we must also consider the possibility that Zimmerman sat, grabbed Martin’s hoodie, pulled the gun, and deliberately aimed for the boy’s heart. You cannot select with possibilities you want. You must consider all of them.

    C. I did listen to Jeantel’s testimony. She stated that Martin did eventually run, but Zimmerman caught up to him. I also listened to the non-emergency 911 call in which Zimmerman states that Martin ran away. So we know that he ran.

    Lying about her age and name to avoid media attention is less an issue for me than lying about the events. I agree that no one bothered to depose her properly (apparently Don West was such a jerk about it that this is why the two had such a contentious problem with each other at trial). However, that lies with law enforcement, not her. You cannot expect her to know their procedures or know whether they even need her testimony. As she stated at trial, she assumed that if they needed anything from her they would call her. She based this on the TV show The First 48.

    D. There is no evidence Martin was smoking weed that day. The report shows that he had trace amounts of THC in his system, which have been there for months or resulted from him being around someone who smoked weed recently. You are also assuming that he knew Zimmerman called the police. In other words, you are assuming Martin indeed up to no good despite there being zero evidence supporting that assumption.

    As for the “creepy ass cracker” comment, I am not bothered by that for the simple fact that following someone in a rainy night is creepy. The comment, while including a term many consider racial, is specifically describing an act the man was doing. Or are you arguing that a stranger following a child at night is not creepy?

    In contrast, Zimmerman’s “fucking punks” and “those assholes” comments were in specific reference to the young black males who burglarized the neighborhood. He projected his frustration at those young black males onto Martin because Martin was also a young black male. To assume that someone you do not know is a punk and an asshole based solely on their race is prejudiced. And we can demonstrate that race was Zimmerman’s primary consideration because when he “apologized” to Martin’s family at his initial hearing, Zimmerman stated that he assumed Martin was just a few years younger than him. So his focus was not on age, but race.

    Regarding the gun shot, Zimmerman said in one interview that he was not even sure he shot Martin. In another, he said he was not sure if the boy was alive or dead. Here is my problem, if Martin were actually trying to get the gun, how is it that Zimmerman got off a perfect kill shot? If Zimmerman did not really have to aim, would that not imply that Martin’s arms were nowhere near Zimmerman’s body at the time of the shot? After all, Martin is supposedly leaning over Zimmerman, smothering him, punching him, and bashing his head into the concrete. How does one get the gun up to the boy’s chest during such a furious attack?

    I suspect that Zimmerman knew full well he had shot and killed Martin. That would explain why he put the gun away after he shot Martin, and why he told his neighbor to call his wife, not call the police or an ambulance. It would also explain his lack of concern.

    E. I disagree. I think racial profiling does equal racial prejudice. You are judging an individual by the actions of other individuals who happen to look like them, regardless of the current individual’s actions. That is prejudice. As for Zimmerman not bringing up race until he was asked about it, I would again note that virtually of his 911 calls reporting suspucious behavior involved young black males. While it is possible that only young black males commit crimes in that neighborhood, it is also possible and probable that Zimmerman specifically focused on that group. He would not have to explicitly state “this black kid did something” to be prejudiced anymore than a feminist would have to explicitly state “this man did something” to be sexist.

    I am a big boy, so I can handle sarcasm. Are you saying then that Zimmerman would have followed, shot, and killed a white boy if young white males had been burglarizing the neighborhood?

  29. Now, do I believe a kid from a broken family (who was separated from his step mom of 13 years and had been kicked out by his bio mom recently) who apparently liked to do multiple drugs and had interest in fighting MIGHT…just MIGHT have responded with violence to someone who he thought dissed him or maybe even who looked weak?

    Yes.

    Finally, an actual, plausible argument. However, let me correct your mistakes: Now, do I believe a kid from a broken family [...] who apparently liked to do [marijuana] and had interest in fighting MIGHT…just MIGHT have responded with violence to someone who [followed him in a car and on foot]?

    Yes.

    I think that is what likely happened. Zimmerman picked the wrong person to follow. This person was initially scared of him, and when Zimmerman continued to pursue, this person confronted him. I have no doubt that both of them exchanged hostile words, and I do not doubt that Zimmerman either tried to physically keep Martin at the scene until the police arrived, threatened him, or did something Martin took as threatening, and Martin, as a friend of mine would put, “committed to whooping his ass.” I think is essentially what happened. Zimmerman played cop, picked a fight, lost, and shot Martin in panic, not fear.

    As for Martin taking ‘lean’, he would have to do a lot of it for it to really be a problem.

  30. Allan:

    And what I’ve read makes it seem like the LEOs treated him like one of their own.

    To a degree, I think so. I think they simply gave him the benefit of doubt from the start. What bothers me more is their piss-poor handling of the evidence. Even my 13-year-old godson knows not to bag wet clothes in plastic.

    Perhaps by law we all need to carry sound recorders until they can be universally implanted. Like a cockpit voice recorder and black box that’s always there. I have one actually that would do this pretty conveniently. Because reconstructing intentions, what was said and what it means is where we get into all kinds of trouble.

    Ironically, there were actually cameras in that part of the community, but they were turned off.

    Another being the comment in Stefan Molyneux’s video about how the intense focus on various “isms” i.e. racism keeps social groups divided against each other rather than recognizing the power structures that create larger conditions of inequality that breed violence in those social groups.

    I would agree with the right in this regard: there was a quickness to politicize the issue as racist. I supported the idea that Zimmerman should have been arrested until the police had enough evidence to either charge or release him. However, some the ways this case has been spun are over the top, and risk alienating people rather than having a proper discussion.

  31. Plasma:

    The gunshot was conclusive evidence that Martin had Zimmerman pinned down. They had hard proof that he didn’t run away.

    No, it is not. It only shows that the two encountered each other. It is possible that Zimmerman sought Martin out and Martin simply verbally confronted him.

    “Jeantel’s statements-”
    -are not evidence. Even the prosecutors admitted she was an unreliable witness.

    Once her statements are heard by the jury, they are officially evidence. The prosecutors, to my knowledge, did not state that she was an unreliable witness, just unwilling.

    No, it’d only help determine if he had a motive or not, which is mostly unneeded. Self-defense doesn’t stop being self-defense if one person hates the other.

    It does if one can prove that the act in question was done out of malice. In other words, if Zimmerman specifically followed Martin out of racial malice, engaged him in such malice, and shot him in such malice, there is no self-defense. The problem the state had is that they could not prove Zimmerman’s state of mind at the time of the shooting, so they could not prove malice at that moment.

    I meant by the defense, not the court. The defense would challenge any story with a “And how do you know that happened?”. Again, keep in mind that their star witness got busted for lying.

    The defense cannot do that either. They would have to first show that Zimmerman was not responsible for Martin’s death, that Zimmerman’s actions were unavoidable and justified, and that the lawsuit is malicious. The latter they might be able to argue prior to the trial, but the other two are element of facts, which means it is up for a jury to decide.

    As it is everywhere (you don’t have to wait for the person to punch you to punch back), but it still requires a reasonable fear.

    That is not entirely true. As I noted, you are allowed to use lethal force against non-lethal force as long as your fear is reasonable. However, the argument you are making could easily apply to Martin. If he feared what Zimmerman would do to him, Martin could physically defend himself and claim self-defense. However, one would need to prove that Zimmerman physically threatened Martin in some way or did something Martin found threatening, or Martin’s actions would not be justified.

    Absolutely. Which is completely justified. But once you have your aggressor pinned down, anything afterwards wasn’t.

    No, under Florida law, it is still fine. There is nothing in the law that states that you have to stop at a certain point. You could can use whatever force you deem necessary as long as your fear is justified.

    I don’t think I have to point out the problem with “They didn’t seek help, so it probably wasn’t that bad”.

    Zimmerman is the one arguing that he feared for his life as a result of his injuries. Yes, it is possible that he could have gotten it wrong by refusing help, however, it turns out no one who actually treated him considered his injuries that bad either.

    I can’t find anything in that link saying civil cases are always based on that standard. Aaanyway, I know here that not all civil cases do. I don’t know if it’s the same in Florida, but I imagine it is.

    No offense, but it is not that hard to find proof that civil cases in the US only use the preponderance of the evidence as the standard. What civil case in the US do you know of that used a higher standard?

    Intentional blunt damage to the back of someone’s head is ALWAYS significant in terms of a person’s mens rea, regardless of whether it actually does permanent damage.

    It would depend on the reason for it. If Martin were trying to pin Zimmerman down to keep the man from shooting him and as a result of Zimmerman struggling to be able to attack Martin his head hit the concrete, one cannot claim Martin intended to hurt Zimmmerman. The contention is that you have to show Martin wanted to hurt Zimmerman, not just that Zimmerman was hurt.

    “Legally speaking, he can meet any level of force against him with deadly force. ”
    That’s exactly the opposite of what you said the post before. Which is that you can’t meet force with any more deadly force.

    I apologize for that. However, the law is tricky in this regard. Technically speaking, you can only meet force with equal force. So if you and I get into an argument, you cannot pull out a gun and shoot me. However, if I threaten you, that escalates the force, and you can then legally shoot me in self-defense if you have a reasonable fear that my threat is genuine and serious. Even if I do not threaten you, if my actions are such that a reasonable person would be fearful, you may be able to claim self-defense. The only trick to it is that you must exhaust all other options first, namely fleeing. Stand your ground eliminates that.

    In terms of Martin’s actions, the state could have argued that Martin did try to flee, but Zimmerman pursued him, therein taking away his option to leave. Likewise, this is why Zimmerman probably stated that he tried to go back to his car before Martin punched him. If it did not look like he tried to avoid the confrontation, that could be used against him.

  32. It’s nice, TS. that you have a plausible theory.
    However, since Zimmerman had never confronted, put his hands on, or tried to effect a citizens arrest at any time during those previous calls, to say this would be out of character for him would not be understating it.

    Once again, I full on reject any argument that relies on him ‘catching’ Martin. Not only do I regard it as physically very improbable but RJ’s calls do not mention a ‘continuous’ chase of any type. Indeed, we know that Zimmerman “lost” Martin by his own live account to the NEN dispatch dude, Sean.

    No, either Martin doubled back or he was hiding somewhere. Those are the only real possibilities if you accept both RJ’s testimony, the location of the actual body and items of evidence and the distances/times involved.

    You can’t ‘profile’ someone if you don’t know who they are. Darkness cuts both ways here. I see you assume Martin couldn’t have been doing anything wrong, but in fact NO ONE INVESTIGATED that and we have the fact he couldn’t walk .8 of a mile in 40 some minutes nor cover a distance of about 300 feet in 4 minutes when he was supposedly so scared for his life because someone in a truck noticed him.

    Also why was this kid on the phone nearly the whole time those 4 minutes if he was so scared that he had to run? Why did RJ think the fight was ‘no big deal’ such that she didn’t even worry about it at the time?

    I don’t think Zimmerman ‘continued to follow’ because it is impossible to ‘follow’ someone when lose them. I think he went across the T to get that address and maybe ‘cheat’ a bit to see if maybe Martin ran out that way. I then think he was coming back across the T when Martin confronted him. Body, evidence: northwest near T in direction of Zimmerman’s truck. Brandy Green’s house: southeast and well down, almost totally opposite from T.

    And panic, not fear? The prosecution and defense as well as the witnesses would disagree with you. They all said that whoever was screaming sounded like they were in fear of their life. The prosecution and defense merely disagreed upon who was screaming.

    Now for some of your other arguments:
    1. I do not regard a 17 year old adolescent who is taller and faster than me a ‘child’. Indeed, I could get married to said ‘child’.
    2.”In contrast, Zimmerman’s “fucking punks” and “those assholes” comments were in specific reference to the young black males who burglarized the neighborhood. He projected his frustration at those young black males onto Martin because Martin was also a young black male. To assume that someone you do not know is a punk and an asshole based solely on their race is prejudiced.”
    Weak argument. You don’t know what Martin was doing to look suspicious. I’ll wager that looking into houses and waving your hands around (hands free headset remember?) in the rain might look a little suspicious. Also not being on the sidewalk but on wet grass instead.
    I don’t think race played a part here at all esp since Zimmerman didn’t know what race he was when he first saw him.

    And it’s only by your magical ability to read minds that you can determine whether Zimmerman meant criminals in general or black males in particular. Considering this is the guy who got on the cops case about Sherman Ware, mentored black youth, survived an FBI probe into racism last year, and also had many black witnesses willing to testify for him, I think your imputation of any racial motive speaks more to your desire to protect young males (particularly black ones) from the consequences of poor parenting than your ability to prove your case.

    3. For your comment D, I specifically said the truth: no one can know whether he got THC in his blood that day or some days prior, and had the defense testified to his drug habits rather than ‘taking the high road’ they had an expert witness to so testify.

    4. Zimmerman’s buddy was recounting things he had heard MONTHS prior and thus he likely got some things wrong. He didn’t take notes that night. Once again, I doubt Martin was ‘in one place’ setting on top straddling Zimmerman and so long as he’s not in one place there are literally thousands of ways and angles and times that gun could have been drawn.
    Such arguments are really a wash.
    It should be noted that Martin didn’t have to SEE a gun or holster to FEEL it with his legs.
    It should also be noted that at really close ranges such as that there is no reason to think anyone much has to aim. As for Zimmerman saying he wasn’t sure he hit Martin at first: well, he wasn’t splashed with blood and darkness goes both ways. Indeed as the person underneath he would have had even LESS light to see by.
    5. As for C: Yes, we know Martin ran. We also know he stopped running. We don’t even know that Zimmerman ran at all, but if he did so it was only for about 20 seconds. We know Martin had the younger, lighter body and longer legs and a head start.
    6. As for your A: Well, we know that RJ said he had reached his fathers house at some point. Of course she was only an ear witness (and one who probably didn’t remember very much about a call she didn’t seem to think was important at the time) and not an eyewitness so he could have been anywhere, but if you take RJ’s word then he must have doubled back. There was a comment by Brandy Green (Martin’s fathers girlfriend) that she KNEW that Trayvon had been back there, but no one ever followed up on it or asked how she knew. Some evil people on the internet speculate he might have dropped something off.

    Here’s a question for you to ponder: If you note that at the 711 Martin puts his goods in a 711 bag. You can see that on the video. Yet the can was found in the hoodie and the skittles in a pocket. He clearly took them out of the bag…why? Perhaps because he needed his hands free? Or he needed that bag for something else?

    By the way:
    Have you followed the news about the shenanigans of the prosecution?
    Currently O’Mara has filed complaints about 5 or 6 Brady law violations where he had only filed ONE before in all his years of practice. Then there’s the whistleblower about the phone that Corey recently fired who is know suing her and getting press. Last you might want to wonder just why the FDLE kept that phone for so long and why there aren’t any ‘ping’ logs for it. Considering we know stuff involving guns and drugs was erased from the phone, I wonder what the ‘ping’ logs would have revealed?

    I don’t think Martin was an innocent kid at all. I don’t think he was a murderer but a petty thief with family problems and a drug habit, tending towards violence? Yep. He needed help, he never got it. That’s the true tragedy here besides his death and the justice system being bent all out of shape to try to get an ‘honorary hispanic cracker’ in some way, shape, or form.

  33. Clarence, that Zimmerman did not attempt to do anything to the people he previously reported does not mean he did not attempt to do anything to Martin.

    I do not think there has to be a continuous, always-in-line-of-sight chase to conclude that Zimmerman followed Martin. He could have walked around trying to find Martin. Likewise, Martin could have run away and walked around to see if Zimmerman was still following him. Coincidentally, Martin was well within his rights to double-back, sit and wait, or wander around until he found Zimmerman and confront him.

    I also do not think we have to completely dismiss what Zimmerman says. I think his version of what happened simply omits any bad behavior on his part.

    As for profiling someone you do not know, of course you can do that. For example, judging by your icon, you are a white man. Judging by your comments, you are conservative or libertarian. I can therefore conclude that you are one of those Southern right-leaning, Tea Party nut jobs who would tie a black man to the back of a truck and drag him until his body rips apart. There. I just profiled you without knowing you.

    There is no evidence that Martin did anything wrong. We do not know why it took him so long to get back home, and to immediately assume that Martin was doing something wrong because he did not go home fast enough for some people is a ridiculous idea. He did not have to go home immediately. He had every right to be where he was.

    Martin may have felt better with Jeantel on the phone rather than hanging up. Likewise, the idea that fight was no big deal is hardly unusual. I think most people understand that sometimes fights happen, and it is possible that where the pair were from it was not atypical for someone to get into a fight.

    As for it being impossible to follow someone you lost, that is absurd. If you turn a corner, is it impossible for someone who lost sight of you when you did that to walk up to the corner and look around? Is it impossible for them to guess which direction you took?

    The idea that Zimmerman “cheated” is exactly my point. The man was probably still looking for Martin, and two may have simply stumbled onto each other.

    The notion that Zimmerman panicked makes sense if one assumes Martin did the screaming.

    Regarding your other responses:

    1. Anyone under 18 is legally a minor, and a person’s height and speed has no bearing on their physical or mental maturity.

    2. We actually do know what Martin was doing at the time Zimmerman made the comments because he was on the phone. Nothing that he described was a crime. Even his description about “looking into windows” is vague to tell us anything. Did Martin simply glance at a window or put his face against the glass?

    Logic may seem like magic to those unfamiliar with it. All I did was take Zimmerman’s past actions and given concerns and ask what they had in common with Martin. The only thing Martin had in common with those who burglarized the neighborhood was his race and age, and since Zimmerman had not reported any other young people in months, I can conclude his primary cause for grouping Martin in with the “fucking punks” and “assholes” was his race. Even Zimmerman’s lawyer conceded that in his closing argument.

    3. Martin had trace amounts of THC in his system. That would not happen had he smoked weed that day. Likewise, the amounts were so small that it is unlikely that it affect his behavior. If it did, THC typically acts as a depressant, mellowing people out. In other words, if Martin were high on weed, he would likely be less violent and reactive, not more.

    4. Zimmerman’s friend went on to write a book about the account and presented that as the truth. If the stories do not match, the friend cannot claim he got every single mismatched element wrong or else it starts to look like he is lying.

    Regarding how Zimmerman pulled the gun, we must look at what Zimmerman claims he did. If he says it happened a particular way and that way is impossible, then that means at best his recollection of the events are flawed and at worst he is lying. We cannot offer possibilities that contradict the statements he gave.

    If Zimmerman did not know whether he shot Martin, why would he then approach the boy, get on his back, and move the boy’s hands? Indeed, if he were so afraid for his life, why would he do that? He could not know what Martin would do, and remember that Zimmerman by this point had put away his gun.

    5. That is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman followed Martin.

    6. Are you talking about this comment? If so, that really does not help Zimmerman because Green says that Martin was sitting on the porch when he was shot, and I am pretty sure Zimmerman’s car was not near that home.

    Let me answer your question like this: yesterday I went to CVS and bought a Mounds bar and a bottle of water. I threw away the receipt and the bag when I left the store. Does that make me suspucious?

    Here’s a question for you to ponder: If you note that at the 711 Martin puts his goods in a 711 bag. You can see that on the video. Yet the can was found in the hoodie and the skittles in a pocket. He clearly took them out of the bag…why? Perhaps because he needed his hands free? Or he needed that bag for something else?

    As for the defense’s complaints about discovery, I will wait and see what comes of that. That information probably would not have come in anyway because it is more prejudicial than probative, and completely unrelated to the case. If the state did play games, a lot of people will lose their jobs as I believe most of those in power were elected.

    I do not see any evidence that Martin was a thief, and I hardly see his weed smoking habit as indicative of violent tendencies. The notion that Martin must be a perfect victim is again ridiculous. Zimmerman knew nothing about Martin’s past, so that argument is moot.

  34. TS:
    I could go into book length refuting your arguments.
    I don’t really want to do that, so I’ll stick to a few that aren’t merely rehashes of before.
    But before I type another post or another word , I’ll simply say HERE is where you go wrong:

    You simply assume that Martin:
    A. Was doing nothing wrong, had no ill-intent.
    In fact we don’t know that. No one has ever explained why Martin took 40 plus minutes to get to where he was from that 711 and RJ doesn’t seem to remember 90 plus percent of her phone call that would have covered that.
    B. And more egregiously that he could not have even been behaving erratically or acting in some manner (an innocent series of events that Zimmerman might have seen would be waving his hands about, walking slowly, and seemingly talking to himself because of his hands free phone set which Zimmerman definitely wouldn’t see in the dark; a not so innocent series of events would be walking slowly around houses some of which had previously been burglarized and looking into their windows) so as to ‘look suspicious’.) that might draw a reasonable person’s suspicion.
    Nope, you basically seem to think absent any evidence whatsoever (and seemingly contradicted by the initial description of Martin given by Zimmerman) that Martin was simply ‘walking while black’ and thus this proves Zimmerman was prejudiced against him.

    I don’t buy that.

  35. Just a few:
    “6. Are you talking about this comment? If so, that really does not help Zimmerman because Green says that Martin was sitting on the porch when he was shot, and I am pretty sure Zimmerman’s car was not near that home. ”

    Well, you should be asking yourself why someone is lying then, because as you know Zimmerman had a possibly fractured nose, multiple lumps on his head, a few lacerations and grass stains on the back of his clothing (unlike Martin who had none). Somehow he was on his back. Thus, I think we can pretty much put this idea to rest – Martin sitting on his back porch when he was shot would have to contradict multiple witnesses that place him in a different location near the “T”, the screams, the location of his body over 200 feet away, etc.
    It’s possible that Martin went back to the house to drop something off (that would incriminate him or to brag to Green’s son how he was gonna kick some crackas ass) but that he was sitting on the back porch when he was shot is quite literally insane and impossible.

    Thanks for locating that. I remember watching it over a year ago and I remember reading about it at a few places but I was fully ready to go and get that clip or find the article where it was mentioned.
    “4. Zimmerman’s friend went on to write a book about the account and presented that as the truth. If the stories do not match, the friend cannot claim he got every single mismatched element wrong or else it starts to look like he is lying.”

    You can’t take what a witness says months later about events as the gospel truth. He might have misremembered, he might be lying, regardless this has nothing to do with what Zimmerman told the cops. Whom, it must be noted he repeatedly contacted and cooperated with absent a lawyer for nearly a month and over multiple interviews.
    Criminal Mastermind he was not.
    “3. Martin had trace amounts of THC in his system. That would not happen had he smoked weed that day. Likewise, the amounts were so small that it is unlikely that it affect his behavior…”

    The defense had an expert that would have disputed that conclusion. Since I’m no expert, I’ll just say that TS on THC levels is the same as defense expert and call it a wash. Martin also liked “lean” as he mentions trying to get ingredients for it on his social media as well as sometimes talking about how much he liked it. We don’t have a full toxicology report on this kid and we don’t know how these drugs would have interacted.

    As for 1: point is, Martin was physically capable of hurting Zimmerman.
    As for 2: You don’t have to see a crime in progress to be suspicious of someone.

    Now as for following.
    Generally in this case people assume:
    A. As some congresswoman did: Zimmerman literally chased Martin down. Perhaps he was hunting him like a dog.
    B. Martin was attempting to actively get away and Zimmerman just kept doggedly following him.

    If Zimmerman walked in the direction Martin was running in order to see in which direction he fled (in order to give to the police) then one could say he was ‘following’ but not ‘pursuing’ (pursuit involving the intent to catch). However at one point he definitely lost Martin. The ‘following’ ended then. Now you can say maybe it picked up again later, but I doubt that. As you know it was Martin who had the ability to avoid the confrontation: if he ran home, stay home, if he hid, stay hid. Nothing in the physical evidence is inconsistent with Zimmerman moving across the T to the east and then back to the west again. However there is little to no evidence that, before the fight, he went any significant distance (or any at all, really) to the SOUTH or southeast where Martin was. He only had a wimpy little keychain flashlight (regular one didn’t work) and the only street light in the whole area was at the T, pretty much every area south of the T was near pitch dark as the officers at the scene and the photographs seem to attest.

    It’s a very reasonable hypothesis that Martin wasn’t looking to avoid a confrontation at all. You can say that was his right, yes it was. However that didn’t give him the right to assault Zimmerman at all, let alone bash or punch his head into concrete. Martin’s social media speaks to him feeling that someone he beat in a fight ‘didn’t bleed enough’ and so he was still after him. Meanwhile Zimmerman lack of fights for years and years(remember the interaction with the cop was a single shove of a plainclothes officer) as well as the history of his previous interactions on such calls speaks against him being a hothead.

    But I’m sure you beg to differ.

  36. A lot of theories going around. In regards to Zimmerman lifting a lighter kid, it depends how he was on the ground. There are certain position for your arms where your superior strength is useless, such as arms behind back. Being in a fight also is much different to training, adrenaline kicks in and he may have acted purely in instinct, instinct in this case was to get the gun and may have had 1 hand free which wasn’t able to lift Martin off. Depends also on the level of injury to his head at the time, was he dazed? Was his vision cloudy? Was he so scared that he wasn’t acting right?

    There is a lot of armchair expertise going on here but at the end of the day the jury decided, they had the evidence, if justice wasn’t served then I hope it’s retried or whatever. None of us were there, there could have been many elements we didn’t see or hear about. One example I can give is I have been hit by people half my size, I am 6’6 and 300lbs+ but I froze up even though I could have easily sent those people to hospital or the morgue but my mind was heavily afraid of doing anything because I fear going to jail. I was so afraid of getting in trouble for fighting back that I just took the hits until that person left, I also was in fear for my safety which made it hard to think. Size doesn’t always help, it’s like having a big Mack truck with hundreds of HP and no driver to direct it.

  37. Clarence, I need a reason to believe Martin had ill intent. The only reason I can come up with is that he did not like Zimmerman following him, which I find reasonable. Anything other than that is just pulling straws.

    I think it is possible that Zimmerman could have taken Martin’s actions as suspicious, however, that would be Zimmerman’s interpretation of Martin’s actions, not necessarily what Martin was actually doing. That then requires us to ask why Zimmerman found the behaviors suspicious, and it would appear based on Zimmerman’s prior calls to 911 that it had something to do with Martin’s race.

    Regarding Green’s statement, I think her statement shows the problems with this case. The investigation was so poor that there is no way to be sure what happened. I do hope you realize the irony of your statement that Green’s comments implicate Martin. Martin had a legal right to go home and come back out. He had a legal right to follow Zimmerman and confront him. There was nothing illegal about those actions just as there was nothing illegal about Zimmerman following a 17-year-old boy in his car and then on foot for several minutes, nor was there anything illegal about Zimmerman wandering around until he spotted Martin again.

    As for Zimmerman’s friend, again, if the friend presented what Zimmerman told him as the truth, there is problem if that account varies from what Zimmerman told other people. This is not a matter of one version being more “right” than another, only that Zimmerman appears to have told variants of the same story, changing facts in ways that appear to make the confrontation more violent than he initially stated. Zimmerman does not need to be a criminal mastermind to lie. All he needs to do is tell a believable story, and he can do that by simply omitting anything he may have done to initiate the fight.

    The defense’s expert could not dispute the conclusion. The amount of THC in Martin’s body was what it was. All the expert could do was argue that it would still have effected Martin, however, the expert would need proof to support that, and to my knowledge, there is nothing supporting the notion that Martin would still be observably high with such a low THC count. Likewise, marijuana mellows most people out rather than makes them aggressive, and the defense would then have to argue against that. Worse, doing this would have opened the door for the state to bring up Zimmerman’s use of Temazepam, also known as Restoril, at the time he killed Martin. The drug’s side effects include insomnia, anxiety, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.

    I agree that Martin was capable of hurting Zimmerman. Zimmerman was also capable of hurting Martin. That proves nothing. Likewise, while one can suspect of someone for any reason, not all suspicions are justified.

    Here is the problem with your questions about what Martin did: we do not know exactly what he did. Zimmerman has a logical reason to lie about what occurred, so it is illogical to simply take his word as gospel. It is possible that Martin did hide and stay hid Zimmerman stumbled on him. It is also possible that Martin walked around in hopes of losing Zimmerman and they happened upon each other. It is also possible that Martin went home and went back outside to make sure Zimmerman did not follow him home.

    I am not saying that it is not possible that Martin sought a confrontation, only that it is implausible given the circumstances. For example, according to the 911 call, Martin ran then Zimmerman got out of his car. Martin would not have seen him do this, so why would he hide for four minutes? Would that not imply that he knew or suspected that Zimmerman followed? And he that is true, how would Martin know where to hide when he had no idea where Zimmerman was?

    Assuming Martin confronted Zimmerman, what evidence is there that Martin struck Zimmerman first? We know there was a fight that Zimmerman clearly lost, but does not mean he did not start it. Is it not possible that Zimmerman tried to physically keep Martin at that spot until the police arrived? Is it not possible that Zimmerman, acting on previously expressed desires to stop criminals, that he pulled his gun or threatened Martin is some way? Zimmerman also has a history of violence and aggression. Is it not possible that Martin’s reaction may have set Zimmerman off?

    These are the things we must consider if we want to reach the truth. I would argue that Martin was not likely to back down from a fight, and I also think that Zimmerman instigated a fight by either threatening Martin or pulling his gun.

  38. Archy, once someone is acquitted, they cannot be retried for the same crime. That would be double jeopardy. What could happen is that if Zimmerman makes statements that indicate another crime, say pulling his gun out before Martin struck him, he can be charged with the unlawful use of a gun or something similar. But he can never again be charged with killing Martin.

  39. Toysoldier:

    Versus a Baker acted kid who was suspended 3 times in barely a year and was found with stolen jewelry (and yes, I can link you to police documents that say that jewelry turned out to be stolen) who had a drug issue and issued tons of texts about violence some of which can be proven to have occurred, some of which can’t (the possible attack on a bus-driver, some of the fights) and many of which are within weeks of the incident in question you give me stories, some of which are from 7 or 8 years prior, 2 incidents of which involve alleged shoves(the plainclothes cop incident and the mutual restraining order) and one from an anonymous coworker.

    Excuse me, but I don’t consider someone who might be involved in shoving incidents every five years or so to be ‘violent’ in the same way as someone who bragged about violence, has friends weren’t surprised by violence, and was engaged in an act of violence that involved concrete at the time of his death. Heck , did you see RJ’s recent interview where she said she was sure Trayvon punched first? Of course she has Zimmerman attempting to detain him in this scenario, but whatever.

    Anyway, I don’t think Zimmerman started it.
    I could be wrong, but even then as for John Goods testimony despite Zimmerman yelling for help Martin wasn’t letting up. Since Martin never asked him for help or mentioned a gun despite him being in the presence of both of them, I’m going to assume that gun wasn’t already drawn when the fight began.

  40. Clarence, according to media reports, none of the jewelry could be tied to any burglaries. Martin’s suspensions resulted from his tardiness and absences, and his suspension at the time of his death resulted from an empty bag containing traces of marijuana. The texts and reports of fights are all out of context, so we have no idea whether they were serious or in jest. We would need to speak with those involved to find out. That said, they are irrelevant to the case unless you can show that a) Martin was high at the time of the incident, b) instigated the fight between he and Zimmerman, and c) was so fascinated by Zimmerman’s gun that he tried to take it.

    Conversely, Zimmerman’s interests in law enforcement played a direct role in his decision to create a neighborhood watch group in his community. His documented prior behavior shows a tendency to overreact in certain situations. The incident with the officer is particularly notable because Zimmerman’s response when finding out he had shoved a cop was that he would never have done that if he knew it was a cop, but apparently would have done it otherwise.

    I do not think Good could have seen a black gun in near darkness, and he admitted that he did not watch the altercation long. So it is possible the gun was drawn and he simply did not see.

  41. TS:

    http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2013/05/01/m-dspd-cover-up-the-curious-case-of-trayvon-martins-backpack-with-stolen-jewelry-and-burglary-tool/

    You might want to look at the police internal investigation detailed in that including the documents and letters. Yes, Trayvon Martin was in possession of stolen property. Whether he stole it himself, was fencing it or merely holding it for someone, no-one knows.

    Like I said, no one in the ‘mainstream’ press has followed up on Trayvon Martin’s school records since early last year. But this information is public – it’s only laziness, corruption, or dedication to ideology that hasn’t given it wider publicity. But then again, remember you can still find articles all over the place repeating various falsehoods that were disproven during the trial or last year in some cases, so really that shouldn’t be a surprise.

    By the way, I’ve gotten most of my information on this case from 4 sites of varying ideologies, 3 of which are run by lawyers: Talkleft, The Conservative Treehouse (who’ve done ‘scoops’ that have sometimes been picked up by the regular press), Legal Insurrection, and Diwataman. When I wanted the ‘other side’ of the story besides pretty much the entire mainstream blog/legacy press I could go to The Grio or Frederick Leatherman law blog.

    I just love how Zimmerman’s cursory involvement with the ‘wrong side’ of law enforcement (mutual restraining orders! Shoving an undercover cop!) from half a decade or more ago are taken as some sort of barometer of his character while Martin is played up as either an angelic lad surely headed to college or, at worst, a ‘normal’ teen boy. A teeny little ‘experimentation’ with drugs dontcha know? Meanwhile RJ is talking about how he did pot at least twice a week. What happens to regular potheads when they have withdrawal symptoms, hmm?

    Nah. Martin was, by all accounts a good kid up until his dad decided to ditch his stepmom, and he was sent to his bio mom, Sybrina. She kicked him out eventually b/c she couldn’t handle him and the last few months of his life he seemed to be bouncing from place to place. Soon after dad ditched Alicia came the drugs, and not just MJ. His behavior, school attendance and all that went rapidly downhill after that as well he seemed to acquire a much more aggressive and bloodthirsty persona. Probably because of the effects of the drugs and the lack of stability and discipline in his life.

    You may not like that, but Zimmerman didn’t interact with the 15 year old Trayvon Martin. He ran into the 17 year old.

    Anyway, I might make one more post but then I’m going to bow out of this conversation. I like and respect you TS. I agree that Martin wasn’t unsalvagable. I think Zimmerman was stupid to have went any farther into the dogpath area then maybe the middle of the T where the light was. Maybe he could have let the cop determine an address. I think there was a bit of tragedy in this.
    But I just can’t get over how a guy who identifies as hispanic, looks like he is a ‘wetback’ (to use a racist term, point is, he does not pass as white at any close range) wouldn’t be welcome in the KKK or your local citizens council, has so many black friends and has done so much more than the typical ponficating black or white pundit for minorities and young people suddenly becomes the symbol of White Privilege and the The New Jim Crow. The canonization of Martin sickens me because the people doing so have never done the slightest looking into the actual case or the actual character of one of the two people involved in this event and in some cases they really don’t care. They need a new civil rights symbol, they will manufacture one even if it comes at the cost of Zimmerman’s life and/or reputation.

  42. “Archy, once someone is acquitted, they cannot be retried for the same crime. That would be double jeopardy. What could happen is that if Zimmerman makes statements that indicate another crime, say pulling his gun out before Martin struck him, he can be charged with the unlawful use of a gun or something similar. But he can never again be charged with killing Martin.”

    Really? I thought they could have the aquittal overturned? Oh well, I learned something new today :S

  43. Archy:
    I don’t know where you live, but I will speak about the US.
    The prohibition against “double jeopardy” is enshrined in our Constitution.
    Now sometimes one can get around that. For instance suppose a murder took place where there was dual state/federal sovereignty. If the defendant was acquitted at the state trial a federal charge of murder could be brought against him and he could again be tried for basically the same crime in Federal court.
    However, such cases are very rare, except in drug cases and other ‘interstate’ crimes. Usually a crime takes place on Federal property or State property, not both and there is no ‘locus’ for the Feds to get involved.
    Another separation is that certain types of crimes are ONLY tried by the Federal government as these crimes (immigration related for instance) are considered outside of a State’s duties.
    In this case George Zimmerman could not be tried by the Feds for murder. The only thing they might be able to do to him (and they’d need evidence they currently don’t possess) is charge him with violating Martin’s civil rights – basically saying he killed Martin because he was a racist or that he racially profiled Martin and this led directly to Martin’s death.
    Most lawyers think either would be a stretch.

  44. Really? I thought they could have the aquittal overturned?

    You cannot overturn an acquittal in the US. However, other countries, Italy for example, do allow for that. In the States, once you are acquitted, that is it. Civil charges, as Clarence noted, may be brought, as well as other charges related to the crime. As I mentioned before, if Zimmerman were to admit to striking Martin or pulling his gun before Martin did anything, he could be charged with those crimes.

    This is one of the reasons why prosecutors sometimes drop charges against people. If they lose on a particular charge, they still have the option of charging the person with another crime.

  45. Clarence, if we do not know whether Martin stole the items or was simply holding them, this proves completely useless. Let us assume, however, Martin did steal the jewelry. What evidence is there that he attempted to break into any homes in Sanford?

    The attempt to make Martin out into a thug is understandable. It is much easier to justify killing an unarmed boy if he is “bad” and “deserved” it than it is to admit that the reason people support Zimmerman is because they devalue Martin’s life because of his race. Martin could be the worst person in the world, but if he was doing nothing wrong at the moment the incident began, none of that matters. That is not just how the law works, it is also how basic morality works.

    The reason why Zimmerman’s past matters is because shot and killed someone. If he has a history of violence and overreaction, that is important. If he has a vigilante complex, that is important. If he sees himself as a cop, that is important. Martin’s background does not matter at all because the is solely whether Zimmerman’s actions were justified.

    I doubt that Martin was a perfect child, however, I also doubt that he was the thug people have made him out to be. There is simply no evidence of it. Even the jewelry evidence proves useless because no one can actually link him to stealing anything. I also doubt that Zimmerman is a racist. I do think he, like many people, devalues young black males, perhaps as a result of his life experiences with them or the burglaries in the neighborhood. I also think that he wants to be a cop so bad that it has gone to his head, leading to this tragedy.

    I agree that people have exploited this boy’s death for their own agendas. Yet I also understand what motivates that. Zimmerman shot a black child and walked away from the crime scene without any even questioning his story. There is unfortunately a history of disregarding the lives of young black males in this country, and this certainly looks like an example of it. Case in point, one of the jurors did an interview with Anderson Cooper, and it would appear she completely lacked the ability to identify with Martin on any level. She had no problem seeing things from Zimmerman’s perspective, but never once considered whatit would be like to be Martin and followed by a stranger at night.

    That is the disconnect driving this discussion. One group of people seems completely unwilling to see how Martin could at all be justified in just walking home, let alone confronting Zimmerman. Ask yourself honestly: do you have the right to walk home at whatever pace you choose regardless of the weather conditions? If someone followed you and you did not know who they were, do you have the right to confront them? If you felt threatened by them, do you have the right to act on that? Again, that is what drives those discussions.

  46. “Clarence, if we do not know whether Martin stole the items or was simply holding them, this proves completely useless. Let us assume, however, Martin did steal the jewelry. What evidence is there that he attempted to break into any homes in Sanford?”

    Jacob:
    Of course there is none. But there is none that he did not. As I said, NO investigation has ever been undertaken into Martin’s activities in Sanford that night other than from the time he encountered Zimmerman approximately 40 something minutes after he left the 711. We know he was on the phone much of that time and mostly to RJ, but then he was also on the phone with RJ during the 4 minutes leading up to the confrontation when it is assumed a ‘scared’ Trayvon would have either hid quietly, called 911 or ran and stayed at Brandy Green’s house.
    “The attempt to make Martin out into a thug is understandable. It is much easier to justify killing an unarmed boy if he is “bad” and “deserved” it than it is to admit that the reason people support Zimmerman is because they devalue Martin’s life because of his race. Martin could be the worst person in the world, but if he was doing nothing wrong at the moment the incident began, none of that matters. That is not just how the law works, it is also how basic morality works. “

    Duh. But what is silly is you continually assume and/or assert he was doing nothing wrong. If you’d open your mind to the possibility that he was doing something wrong, or that he wasn’t but started to do something wrong from the moment he assaulted Zimmerman things might make a bit more sense to you. But one doesn’t have to be doing wrong, to look suspicious. I guess (taking out the possibility that his hands free headset was what made him look strange or crazy and merely going by Zimmerman’s description on the call) that walking around slowly in the rain and looking in houses (I’m totally ignoring any later elaborations by Zimmerman) is just what black people do and I won’t consider that like, suspicious behavior or nothing because otherwise I’d be oppressing someone for ‘walking blackly’ or some such. I mean, I could bring up the ‘burglar tool’ that Detective Serino said was found at almost the precise location of the altercation a few days later, but I wouldn’t want to be unfair to a dead black 17 year old when I could just assert ‘racial profiling’ and scream at a living hispanic.

    “The reason why Zimmerman’s past matters is because shot and killed someone. If he has a history of violence and overreaction, that is important. If he has a vigilante complex, that is important. If he sees himself as a cop, that is important. Martin’s background does not matter at all because the is solely whether Zimmerman’s actions were justified. “

    That’s ridiculous. Martin’s background and propensity for violence, theft(and even if he didn’t steal it HOLDING stolen property is a crime, as is fencing it), and drug usage matters every bit as much as Zimerman’s minor altercations from 5 plus years before and possibly more because we are trying to determine things such as who was likely to have started the altercation and how reasonable Zimmerman’s fear of Martin was. I say it was plenty reasonable as this kid was out of control, probably due to untreated drug issues and anger at his family situation. It also doesn’t help that he was young, and being young inclined to being stupid, and probably wanted to impress RJ so she’d tell her friends how tough he was or some such.

    “I doubt that Martin was a perfect child, however, I also doubt that he was the thug people have made him out to be. There is simply no evidence of it. Even the jewelry evidence proves useless because no one can actually link him to stealing anything. I also doubt that Zimmerman is a racist. I do think he, like many people, devalues young black males, perhaps as a result of his life experiences with them or the burglaries in the neighborhood. I also think that he wants to be a cop so bad that it has gone to his head, leading to this tragedy. “

    LOL. I was almost going to agree with you then I remembered that to you apparently in order to ‘value young black males’ you must never be suspicious of any behavior they exhibit – certainly you must never ‘drop a dime’ on them- and when they are applying a beatdown, even if one’s head is being attacked via fist and concrete one must not defend oneself, esp not with a firearm. Plus you have absolutely no evidence that Zimmerman devalued ‘young black males’ whatsoever. Perhaps he devalued young VIOLENT black males? Well, so do I. Clearly this kid wasn’t a full fledged thug, but he wasn’t the freaking Fresh Prince of Bel Air either.

    “I agree that people have exploited this boy’s death for their own agendas. Yet I also understand what motivates that. Zimmerman shot a black child and walked away from the crime scene without any even questioning his story. There is unfortunately a history of disregarding the lives of young black males in this country, and this certainly looks like an example of it. Case in point, one of the jurors did an interview with Anderson Cooper, and it would appear she completely lacked the ability to identify with Martin on any level. She had no problem seeing things from Zimmerman’s perspective, but never once considered whatit would be like to be Martin and followed by a stranger at night. “

    He ‘walked away’? More like he HUNG AROUND and was voluntarily taken by the cops and not released until later that night after two initial interviews. He also met with the cops the very next day for the ‘walkthrough’. Then he continued to fully cooperate with the police without a lawyer up for multiple interviews until the time the political system interfered with the justice system and he was arrested for the Sins of White Men Past. Please, this kind of argumentation seems quite a bit dishonest and I’ve never known you to employ dishonest argumentation, Jacob.

    “That is the disconnect driving this discussion. One group of people seems completely unwilling to see how Martin could at all be justified in just walking home, let alone confronting Zimmerman. Ask yourself honestly: do you have the right to walk home at whatever pace you choose regardless of the weather conditions? If someone followed you and you did not know who they were, do you have the right to confront them? If you felt threatened by them, do you have the right to act on that? Again, that is what drives those discussions.”

    Once again, Martin was not JUST walking home. A straight walk home would have got him there before Zimmerman ever saw him, more to the point, the place he was seen was not on a straight line to the 711 in any case.

    Martin chose to confront. We know that by not only RJ’s testimony, but by the distances and times of the phone calls as well as where his body was found. There’s nothing wrong with that per-se, but you are not allowed to initiate violence simply because someone was following you. To this day I’d still love to know why Martin never yelled about the gun, never responded to Good’s presence, and kept attacking Zimmerman. But we’ll never know now.

    What this case does illustrate however are a few points:
    A. The problem of broken families. Not just a ‘black’ issue anymore but certainly not an issue the black community has eome anywhere close to solving.
    B. Kids need more services esp drug treatment and violence interventions. Teens need carrots and sticks in their lives and tend to go bad when one or both are missing.
    C. Some blacks will claim racial profiling or downright racism no matter whether the evidence supports it in a given case or not.
    D. I might put in a pithy thought about how “SYG” laws need to be reformed if they had anything to do with this whatsoever. However, since Zimmerman was apparently the one on the ground until the shot was fired, this turned out to be a traditional self defense case because retreat was never an option.
    E. Personally, I dare say that making any steps to amoleriate or solve the issues in “A” and “B” above would do more to make the lives of young men (esp young black men) and women better than all the attempted shaming of profiling and protests about gun laws put together.

  47. By the way, Jacob:
    I’m now going to bow out of this conversation as I said I would do above.
    I suppose we will have to agree to disagree as to what evidence is important in this case among a few other things.
    I will reiterate that I don’t think either of these people wanted to KILL someone that night, at least not when the altercation began and after that I think there might have been some fear on both sides, even though I think it quite obvious Martin was by far getting the ‘best’ of Zimmerman. I could see Martin about to end the beating when he feels the holster with his leg or hip or sees it finally when Zim’s jacket rises up and he might go ohhhh sh** to himself…
    I will also say that I’m not a fan of Zero Tolerance and I don’t even mind ‘diversion’ programs, provided they are real PROGRAMS (with HELP for those diverted) and not merely as apparently the case in Martin’s life a way to push stats down.
    Lastly, I don’t feel it was racial profiling and not just because Zimmerman didn’t apparently know Martin’s race at first, but also because the call wasn’t something like “There’s this black guy in my neighborhood…why’s he in my neighborhood”? Or “There’s a guy with ‘urban’ clothes on, and I feel threatened”. I dare say that had Martin been walking straight down the sidewalk I don’t think Zimmerman would have noted him at all.

  48. Clarence, what Martin may have done while in Sanford is irrelevant because all that matters is what Zimmerman knew at the time he found Martin suspicious. If we have no evidence he Martin did anything wrong, it is illogical to assume that he did or intended to. Even if we did assume Martin was up to no good, how would Zimmerman know this? We have the man’s words, and nothing he describes on the call actually sounds all that suspicious, unless we assume there is something odd about walking slow, walking in the rain, or looking into windows.

    As for the tool the detectives found, to my knowledge it was never linked to Martin, and we have no idea when it was put there or by whom.

    In terms of the law, the victims’ actions are irrelevant. Martin could have felt justified in attacking Zimmerman out of fear, yet the way Florida law is worded allows for the an aggressor to claim self-defense if things do not turn out their way. All that matters is the state of mind of the person claiming self-defense. Martin’s past would matter if he randomly attacked Zimmerman. However, even if Martin had a propensity for violence, he would not have approached the man had Zimmerman not followed him.

    I do not think that people cannot ever find black males suspicious. I do think, however, that it is wrong to find them suspicious because they are black males. That is what Zimmerman did, and it is wrong. He had no reason to suspect this typical person of being a criminal, and the failure of Zimmerman’s supporters to acknowledge that is baffling. They try to find something in Martin’s past to justify Zimmerman profiling him instead of admitting that the man got it wrong.

    It does not appear the police actually disbelieved Zimmerman’s story. At trial, the detective stated that he asked questions in order to see if Zimmerman was lying, not necessarily that he believed the man was lying. That is problematic because the officer’s job is to investigate the crime, not take sides.

    That Zimmerman voluntarily gave statements proves nothing. He clearly thinks he did nothing wrong, so why would he lawyer up? If he is lying, what better way to prove he is telling the “truth” than by freely and frequently talking to the police without an attorney? Either way, his cooperation is self-serving.

    Clarence, it does not matter if Martin walked straight home or wandered around. That is the point people keep missing. He did not have to go home immediately. He had every right to walk slowly while talking on the phone like millions of other Americans do every day. He also had every right to confront Zimmerman about following him. As for initiating violence against someone following you, technically you can if you have a reasonable fear this person about to harm you. According to Zimmerman’s account, Martin struck him after Zimmerman stuck his hand into his pocket to get his cell phone. I think any reasonable person would take that as a threatening gesture.

    The leaps in logic one must go through to make Zimmerman’s actions justified demonstrate how irrational they are.

    This is not an issue of broken families, drug abuse, or crying racism where there is none. It is an issue whether this man’s actions were justified by anything Martin actually did, not by what Zimmerman assumed he would do. It is about a culture that treats a particular group of people as inherently suspect and then attacks them when they complain. We cannot have an actual, productive discussion if we keep dodging the things that lead to this tragedy. This all could have been avoided in the man with the gun had not gotten out of his car.

  49. People bend over backwards to say this isn’t about race. One thing to note though, I havnt heard one person of color(in the media) defend Zimmerman’s actions and blame Martin. Im sure there is one or two, but. As far as who blames Martin and defends Zimmerman they all look pretty bright white to me. For all who end up on that side of the equation, I ask you, if the colors of the individuals were reversed who would be the thug and who would be the victim?

  50. Titfortat:
    The answer to your question is quite simple.
    If the positions were reversed in terms of race or in terms of the people involved the person who was on top continually assaulting the one who was screaming would still be the aggressor.

    The moral calculus never changes due to skin color.

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/07/radical-gun-control-zombies-exploit-grieving-black-community/

    Here’s an interesting read as well all the way from the 1920’s:

    http://www.detroit1701.org/SweetHome.htm

  51. Titfortat, Larry Elder blamed Martin for his own death on Piers Morgan’s show. I do not follow conservative media enough to know of any other examples, but I would suspect there are more.

    Regarding your question, I think the unfortunate truth is that if the roles were reversed no one would call Zimmerman a thug and few would consider Martin some community protector.

  52. I am white and think both were acting like thugs. Zimmerman was stalking trying to play policeman, and Martins actions of continual assault on the ground (from what I understand) are thugish too. Self-defense doesn’t mean 40seconds of beating someone on the ground n what not. But alas I’ve only heard other peoples accounts of the story. I’m not looking at colour although I do realize it can play a role via racial profiling, but I am mostly looking at their actions alone. If the situations were reversed I would think the same thing, one is a stalkerwannabecop and the other seems to have crossed the line with the head assault. I’ve seen plenty of white people commit crime, the person that hit me at a club was a british fuckwit, the person that stole my mums purse was white, the person that hit my mums car drunk driving was white, the people I feared the most at school were white, ALL of the assaults I’ve had were from white people. Most criminals in our local paper are white.

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