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Defense attorney Mark O'Mara makes a point in his closing arguments at the George Zimmerman trial.
The lead defense attorney in the George Zimmerman murder trial may have said "reasonable doubt" 200 or so times in his closing statement Friday morning. In summing up nearly three hours before the jury, Mark O'Mara reiterated it one more time, "If you have a reasonable doubt as to whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, he's not guilty." Although Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death in February 2012, O'Mara said it was not he who attacked Trayvon Martin, but the other way around. Zimmerman responded by defending himself, O'Mara said. And he noted that, even though he was not required to do so, he would prove the "absolute innocence" of his client.

"Common sense" was the phrase prosecutor John Guy repeated in his hour rebuttal. "This isn't a complicated case, it's a common sense case," he said. "It's not a case about self-defense, it's a case about self-denial." And his own discussion of "reasonable doubt" included "common sense" too: "Reasonable doubt must be two things, it needs to be reasonable, common sense reasonable, and it needs to go to an element of the crime." In his closing arguments, O'Mara had noted that "common sense will work against my client."

After a lunch break, Judge Debra Nelson read the instructions to the jurors and, at 2:30 PM ET, they were sent to decide Zimmerman's fate. The instructions included the legal boundaries and definitions affecting the jurors' considerations, including those relating to justifiable homicide as well as the meaning of "reasonable doubt," not doubts that are speculative, or imaginary or forced. If the jury convicts the 29-year-old Zimmerman of second-degree murder, he would spend at least 25 years in prison without chance of parole and could get a life sentence. If convicted of manslaughter, he could be locked up for as long as 30 years.

Highlights from O'Mara for the defense:

• "Do not give anybody the benefit of any doubt except George Zimmerman." With a printed visual aid, O'Mara explained to the jurors that only one circumstance would allow them to return with a guilty verdict, that being if the prosecution proved to a certainty that Zimmerman had not legimately engaged in self-defense. Even if they think it was "less than likely" that he did so or "highly unlikely" that he did, it would still mean they had a reasonable doubt, so the law requires they acquit him, O'Mara said.

• "How many 'could have beens' have you heard from the state in the case?" O'Mara asked. The prosecution is supposed to use words like "definite," "beyond question," "no other explanation," not "maybe," "what if" or "you figure it out."

• The jury should not, O'Mara said, "connect the dots" or "extrapolate" anything that the prosecution itself did not put into evidence. There was no evidence presented, he said, that Zimmerman ran after Trayvon. "Don't let the state make you make assumptions."

• O'Mara played the computer-animated re-inactment Judge Benson would not allow into evidence during the trial but it was shown for "demonstrative purposes." It depicts Trayvon throwing the first punch at Zimmerman. "The animation, of course, is just that, it's somewhat made up," O'Mara said. "But it does give an idea, a perspective, that at least is consistent with the evidence presented in the case."

More highlights from the defense's closing statement and prosecution's rebuttal can be found beneath the fold:

• Zimmerman's desire to be a cop, O'Mara said, is something the prosecution made a big deal out of, something bad, that had spurred him to act inappropriately. But O'Mara said Zimmerman had been on his way to Target when he saw Trayvon behaving suspiciously, in his view. Given that there had been a rash of break-ins and thefts in the neighborhood involving young black men, O'Mara said, the suspicion was not unreasonable. And Zimmerman's actions based on those suspicions were not improper, he added. Zimmerman called police, stayed on the line with them, urged the sending of an officer to meet him, O'Mara said, and it does not make sense that he told the cops to come if he had decided "I'm gonna go track him down and shoot him." When the dispatcher had said "We don't need you to do that" after Zimmerman had said he was following Trayvon, he stopped following, according to O'Mara.

• The prosecution's argument that Zimmerman was "seething with anger" and that he used profanity in describing Trayvon is not borne out by his actions, according to O'Mara. His saying "fucking punks" and "assholes" were reasonable in light of the crimes in the neighborhood, the prosecutor said, and showed no ill will or hatred. "[Trayvon] did match the description [of previous burglars], unfortunately." The fact that Zimmerman said the profanities on a call to law enforcement that he knew would be recorded is "evidence of non-guilt," O'Mara said.

• Trayvon ran away. But the distance from where he started running and his home is less than a football field, O'Mara said. And the timeline shows four minutes elapse between his starting to run and the altercation with Zimmerman. What was Trayvon doing during those four minutes? Planning, O'Mara said. "We know that when he had the opportunity to go home he did not." And: "Somebody did decide that it wasn't over with the running. [...] It had only just begun." Trayvon was the the "guy who decided to lie in wait" and then attack Zimmerman, O'Mara said. The prosecution, he told jurors, wants them to "ignore" those four minutes of planning. "Do you have a doubt as to what happened and what Trayvon Martin was doing, what he must have been thinking" in those four minutes?

• Zimmerman is only guilty of defending himself, O'Mara said. It was he, not Trayvon, who was the victim of ill will, spite and hate that night, the prosecutor argued. If Trayvon had been shot through the hip and survived, he asked jurors, what did they think he would have been charged with: aggravated battery? O'Mara showed the jury two life-size cardboard cut-outs showing that relative heights of the taller Trayvon and Zimmerman.

• O'Mara displayed a photo taken of Zimmerman the night of the shooting showing his bleeding, banged-up nose and the scratches on the back of his head. "This is undeniable. This is significant injury," and the prosecution's attempt to make light these injuries is "disgusting," O'Mara said. But he added that the legal significance of those injuries is zero since the law does not require that there be injuries to justify the use of deadly force. The statute is clear, he said, that all that is necessary is a reasonable fear of bodily harm. "You must judge him by the circumstances he was surrounded by when the force was used," O"Mara said, noting that danger "does not have to be actual." A knife could be rubber but deadly force justified because it was perceived to be steel.

• O'Mara told jurors they could make deliberations simple as soon as they reached the jury room: "Do you have a reasonable doubt that my client might have acted in self-defense? [...] If you reach that conclusion, then you get to stop."

Highlights from John Guy in the prosecution's rebuttal:

• Guy began with a metaphorical take. "The human heart … moves us, motivates us," he said. "Should we not look into the heart of the grown man and the heart of that child? What will that tell us about what really happened out there?" What was in the defendant's heart when he approached Trayvon and said "fucking punks" and "assholes," Guy asked. And: What was that defendant really feeling just moments before he pulled the trigger? "What was in Trayvon Martin's heart. Wasn't it fear?" Isn't being followed by a stranger every child's fear? Guy asked.

• Guy said, "There's an old saying, but it's a great one: 'As a man speaks, so is he.' [...] If ever there was a window into a man's soul, it was the words in that man's mouth on the phone call." Any doubt about what was in Zimmerman's heart that night was "completely removed by what he said afterwards, all the lies he told." Zimmerman, Guy said, didn't lie about little things but about "things that really, truly mattered." And repeatedly. "Why did he have to lie if he had done nothing wrong?"

• "Four minutes was not the amount of time Trayvon Martin had to run home, Guy said. "Four minutes was the time he had to live." And: "Trayvon Martin may not have had the blood of George Zimmerman on his hands. But George Zimmerman will forever have Trayvon Martin's blood on his hands. Forever."

• The Sanford Police Department has a manual for Neighorhood Watch volunteers, Guy said. And the rules are "see and call." Not follow, pursue and apprehend. But that was "not who [Zimmerman] was. not where he was in his heart that night." That, Guy said, is why he got out of his car. If he had wanted the police to come, he said, Zimmerman would have driven to the back gate and waited because that is where he had previously said thieves and those casing houses for burglaries always left the gated community in the past.

• Common sense that tells you that it's the person talking like the defendant who had hate in his heart, not the boy walking home talking on the phone, Guy said. "What is it when a grown man, frustrated, angry and with hatred in his heart, gets out of his car and follows a child and shoots him through the heart? What is that? Is that nothing?" And: "Did he have to shoot Trayvon Martin? No he did not."

• Guy challenged the idea that Zimmerman could have unholstered his gun from inside the waistband at the hip of his pants while Trayvon was straddling him because his waist was covered by the teenager's legs. The defense, he said, had argued that Zimmerman could have gotten the pistol out "somehow." Guy suggested the jurors climb atop each other: "You won't get the gun." He also said that Travyon couldn't have seen the gun, meaning that Zimmerman's claim that he had reached for it or grabbed it is false.

• The prosecutor reminded the jurors that Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon was at one point squeezing his nose, but there was no blood under Trayvon's fingernails when the medical examiner checked him out, meaning that Zimmerman was lying about it. Guy asked why Zimmerman had claimed to have spread Trayvon's arms out looking for a weapon. That, he argued, was because such a statement would increase support for the idea that Trayvon had been threatening, beating him. But his arms and hands were not spread out when the police arrived, Guy said, they were beneath him clutching his chest wound.

• Guy challenged Zimmerman's claims that Trayvon had slammed his head on the concrete repeatedly. If that were true he "wouldn't look like this." And: Was he injured? Yes. Was he injured seriously? Not even close."

• Doing the racial reversal that those who have followed the case from the beginning have also done, Guy asked how different things would be if Zimmerman had been in a hoodie that drizzly night, walking through the community, and Trayvon had followed and shot him. The prosecutor added: "This case isn't about race. It's about right or wrong."

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Trial Watch and Daily Kos.

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  •  Tip Jar (212+ / 0-)
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    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:29:14 PM PDT

  •  Please add "hung jury" to your Poll. (13+ / 0-)

    Could be a do-over.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:35:45 PM PDT

  •  SFPD is on "hats and bats" call tonight (9+ / 0-)

    in the event of the jury's decision.

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -- Dr. Seuss

    by Fe Bongolan on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:36:06 PM PDT

  •  I had thought the evidence was very compelling. (42+ / 0-)

    I think the state did a pretty lousy job. It never created a cohesive compelling narrative for the jurors. That evidence needed to be sewn together with a strong thread. But I never sensed any threads tying everything together. The jurors may be expert tailors, but that's not a burden you want to place in them.

    I'm not nearly as optimistic that justice will be done as I was when this trial began.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Trayvon's family and friends, that peace and healing will begin, regardless of the veredict.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:38:55 PM PDT

  •  I take it the jury is off the weekend and back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Knucklehead

    for deliberations on Monday morning?

  •  FYI court back in session right now (13+ / 0-)

    for jury question regarding an evidence list.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:41:59 PM PDT

    •  Under FL self defense law he's not guilty. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Knucklehead, johnny wurster

      Of course juries rarely actually care what the law says.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:51:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Well he does get the presumption of innocence.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, patbahn

          The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

          by Common Cents on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:01:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  Irrelevant. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, Pi Li, auapplemac

              The entire burden is on the state to prove their case. Zimmerman doesn't have to offer any evidence.

              The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

              by Common Cents on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:20:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But he did offer evidence, (20+ / 0-)

                lots of it, through his legal team. If you think it's irrelevant to the outcome whether the jury found that evidence believable, I don't agree.

                •  Absolutely. He claimed his head was repeatedly (7+ / 0-)

                  pounded into the concrete, but he had only two TINY cuts, one about an inch long and one about 1/5 of an inch long, no stitches or dressing needed. Come on! I tripped over a cat in our bathroom, busted open my head on the tile floor, sustained a cut about an inch and a half long, and needed 17 stitches. It bled profusely, as head wounds do, and the bruising drained into my eye socket producing an amazing "black eye" by the next day. There was  no "repeated pounding" involved.

                  I do NOT believe his story for one second.

                  •  GZ also had several (uncut) lumps ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    auapplemac

                    on the back of his head, and abrasions on the side of his head.

                    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                    by Neuroptimalian on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:40:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Who testified to that? I must have missed it. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JerryNA, PorridgeGun

                      Also, I didn't see it on the photos.

                      If someone's head is repeatedly "pounded into the concrete," traumatic brain injury is a very likely possibility. Why wasn't there an MRI at the emergency room?

                      •  It was speculation by his lawyer and (4+ / 0-)

                        the paid consultant they hired

                        So there's no evidence outside of expert speculation

                        One of the issues here, as you can see, is that when in doubt, they take the position most favorable to Zimmerman's statements

                      •  It was speculation by his lawyer and (0+ / 0-)

                        the paid consultant they hired

                        So there's no evidence outside of expert speculation

                        One of the issues here, as you can see, is that when in doubt, they take the position most favorable to Zimmerman's statements

                      •  Dr. DiMaio testified about his head injuries (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        davidinmaine

                        for the defense.  Dr. DiMaio and John Good were the defense's two most important witnesses, I think, and if Zimmerman is found not guilty, I think they will be a large part of the reason why.  

                      •  Coffee Talk is wrong about what Good stated (4+ / 0-)

                        He stated he saw a fight for all of (at max when pushed by the defense) 10 seconds, and clearly stated he did not see the defendant's head being smashed against concrete. He described the situation as an MMA style fight. So, that's not evidence of the defendant's specific claims. The only witness to testify that the injuries were a reason to believe fear of life was the paid consultant, and that consultant also testified in the Phil Specter case that the victim committed suicide (he claimed the evidence was consisted with suicide rather than Specter having murdered the victim) and he did the same with other cases. Some of his testimony in Zimmerman's case was proven problematic in its assumptions by the cross by the prosecution. THe only evidence of zimmerman's actual claims is zimmerman's statements and the hired consultant.

                        •  And the small cuts on GZ head? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RJDixon74135, Tonedevil

                          Most mothers with active boys have seen such cuts , they are far from life threatening

                          And anyone who has dealt with teenagers in a coaching or physical activity event , knows that an adult with a gun could control a situation by just communicating with the kid  

                          The interaction between TM and GZ failed , that is on the adult with the gun , not the kid with a sack of candy in his hand

                          Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                          by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:00:34 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  There's a nurse on the jury so that should (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tonedevil

                            hopefully help them cut threw the smoke screen of the defendant's injuries.

                            its pretty clear if you read what the defense wants- its a double standard

                            We are supposed to believe minor wounds were a sign of fear for life by filling in blanks using a witness who didn't see the defendant's head hitting concrete and only saw a fight that lasted less than 10 seconds based on speculationa bo ut what might have happened versus what can be shown through logical inference about his fear for his life.

                            Meanwhile, we aren't supposed to make any other logical inference to fill in the gaps if it advantages the prosecution

                            Its a kind of legal gamesmanship, and I hope the jury sees through it.

                            You will note that Coffee Talk doesn't deny the expert was someone who is know for testifying in cases like this. His pedigree isn't the point. Whether he's believable as a paid gun is. And more importantly, at the end of the day, his statements are based on the defendant's statements of what happned rather than all the other evidence in the case about the defendant's veracity.

                            Ultimately that's the common sense part: Do you believe the defendant's statements of what happened despite the multiple lies and is the doubt reasonable versus expecting all doubts to be eliminated.

                            When it advatnages the defense, Coffee etc will argue you should speculate to allow reasonable doubt, and when it doesn't they say you aren't allow to speculate

                            One can't have it bothw ays

                            There's little to no evidence beyond the defendant's claims that his head was bashed 25-30 times

                            The best they could do was push the idea that a seriies of improbable attacks occured, that left improbable injuries and improbable evidence on the victim (eg he netiehr had physical injuries to his hand indcating he attacked as th defendant described nor had any blood evidence to prove that he did, o dna evidence). we  are only left with the defendant's statements and his paid consultant. Good didn't see what they claimed,  and it can't be used as a basis to claim it happened if he didn't see it

                            under these circumstances, where i M asked to trust the statements of the defendant and he's repeatedly lied I am not compelled to do so. I hope the jury sees that. Here's another tidbit. the location of the victims body also does not corraborate the defendant's claim

                            It wasn't near the concrete at all. So unless someone moved the body (which didn't happen) the victim's body  also proof that the claims about the concrete a t the time of shooting were false.

                            As others have said, one need not even go to the other elements of what may have happened that night other than the veracity of the defendant and the improbability of what he claims happened that caused him to fear for his life.

                          •  Another thing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tonedevil

                            that will be hard to dismiss ? GZ refused to go to the emergency room... His own reactions do not do not support his own claims very well

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 11:08:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  True (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tonedevil

                            neither he nor the emergency worker that night thought his injuries significant  that night

                          •  in other words, with all this evidence of (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Patango, Tonedevil

                            what was the state of the injuries, etc, if we take the defense at their word, we should not speculate about what the defendant or victim might have done next becaUse tehat's filling in the gaps, and therefore, the defense should fail

                            Since I doubt that's what they mean, I am going to assume they really want a double standard where no one is supposed to look at the evidence with an even hand towards the arguments of both sides

                            the burden on the prosecution doesn't mean we are invited to ignore the evidence in favor of speculation from the defense that they can't prove beyond saying "well he must have felt it"

                            This is the trick that coffee and others are playing here

                            It only works if the jury doesn't think it though

                            We shall see if they do

                          •  bruh 1 (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bruh1
                            the burden on the prosecution doesn't mean we are invited to ignore the evidence in favor of speculation from the defense that they can't prove beyond saying "well he must have felt it"

                            This is the trick that coffee and others are playing here

                            I remember a few years back a lady got charged with murder for killing her husband who had beaten her for years

                            When I here this cherry picked part of the self defense law  , it makes me think of this , there are times when it is justifiable to shoot someone because you have a justifiable fear , but you have to prove that in court if you murder someone

                            To try and apply it to GZ is just over reach IMO , because it does not apply to every case

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 11:36:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, you have to understand (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Patango

                            that reasonable doubt is meant to be vague because the idea is to allow the jury to decide

                            While its true that its the prosecution's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant didn't act in self defense, the question that people need to ask themselves is what does this mean?

                            the trick the defense is playing is claiming it means "beyond a shadow of a doubt" but under such a standard almost no cases involving circumstantial evidence in florida, as I have said would result in a conviction

                            This is why I think a smart jury will look at what the the defendant has actually said to see if the evidence proves it

                            While the burden remains on the prosecution from a practical stand point of looking at the evidence (rather than the abtract legal arguments which have no meaning unless they are applied practically in the real world) that doesn't means to me, if I understand the prosecution's position, that one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt what was actually assert, not the defense's speculation at trial. The later is beyond a shadow of  a doubt. the former is beyond a reasonable doubt. I think the prosecution has that here. The defendant is a liar. The wounds were superficial. We are left merely with statement of what may have happened.

                            They only need to proof that the defendant wasn't in reasonable fear for his lie when you look at what actually happened to the defendant, especially in a situation that the defendant caused.  

                            When look at this case, it represents a problem with Florida law. I believe whatever the legislature was trying to do they cdreated a confused mess.

                            For example, one parts say engaged in an unlaw act, and as I pointed out to Adam B, if the defendant is  believed to have touched the victim first, how is that not an unlawful act that's a part of the same transaction

                            He agreed it may not l ogical sense but seemed to say that'swhat the rule says, which I question because if it was there is no way to eveer prove self defense under these circumstances even when you can have video showing the defendant attacking someone first and thus engaged in an illegal act

                            You have to place these rules I believe into practical thinking processes of a jury. Not legalistic constructs of what one can argue the language means.

                          •  Was the lady... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...convicted?

                            If so, was she in immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm at the time she killed her husband? If she wasn't, it wouldn't be classical self-defense.

                            Cases such as the lady who killed her husband are, of course, open to jury nullification. This doesn't bother me one bit. A jury should NEVER convict an innocent person for ANY reason; however if they acquit a technically legally guilty person for good moral reasons that include that the law should not have applied to the instant case, I'm content as long as the person isn't likely to be menace to society in the future.

                          •  by the way, during the acquittal hearing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tonedevil

                            the defense admitted that the defendant may have exaggerated his injuries. they were admitting there that the defendant's credibility matters to whether we believe he was in reasonable fear for his life. Theyw ere saying even if they can't show he was injured or there was no injured that doesn't mean that he wasn't in reasonable fear. that may or may not be true from a legal stand point, but if I am the jury- I am going to expect some real proof that someone was really in reasonable fear fro their life before I am going to comoletely let them off the hook for simply sayign they were. The thing about reasonable doubt is that it doesn'tw ork quite the way its being describe here. Its merely a question of in looking at the evidence does the jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the injuries would not have caused one to fear for one's life. If they don't believe he was, he's cooked as far as his self defense. That's why the defense changed the argument to "even if there was no injuries' the whole expert testuimony by them is too speculative given what the defendant actually said happened.

                        •  Good testified that he saw (0+ / 0-)

                          Martin on top of Zimmerman "MMA style" in what looked like a "ground and pound."  He clearly did not see whether they were still in that position at the time the shot was fired.  However, his testimony supports the defense's contention by providing evidence that, shortly before the shot was fired, that is the position they were in.  The jury can decide whether that tends to support the contention that they were still in that position several seconds later when he went in to call 911 and the shot was fired.  

                          As for Dr. DiMaio, his credentials as an expert are not disputed.  The prosecution did not dispute his credentials when he was qualified as an expert.  His testimony did support the defense theory -- his discussion of Martin's hands and bruising, his discussion of Zimmerman's injuries, and (most importantly for the defense, I think) his discussion of the position of Martin when the shot was fired.

                          The testimony of those two witnesses supported the defense theory. The jury can choose to give them whatever weight they see fit, or even choose to disbelieve them entirely.  

                  •  And yet (0+ / 0-)

                    I had my head smashed into a wall by another person, and I didn't get a scratch.

              •  not really true (18+ / 0-)

                he admits to shooting Martin, if he provides no reason for shooting him (self-defense) then he's guilty of at least manslaughter.

              •  That's a really Orwellian concept of justice n/t (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tommy Aces, Tonedevil
          •  There's no presumption that he's telling truth (43+ / 0-)

            Presumption is that state has to prove all elements of crime beyond reasonable doubt.  The presumption is not that jury must give credence to defendant's version of events.

            Had Zimmerman stayed in his car as instructed by police dispatcher, nobody would've ever heard of him or Martin.  IMHO, an adult who was totally safe in his own vehicle and who was armed has an extremely weak self-defense claim to justify his shooting an unarmed teen.  He sure as hell isn't entitled to any presumptions of credibility.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:23:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He doesn't have to have credibility. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              phenry, Catesby, auapplemac

              As you said the State has all the burden to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt.

              The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

              by Common Cents on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:28:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, there sort of is, in a way. (7+ / 0-)

              He has presented a "prima facie" case of self-defense - the claim that Martin was on top of  him, beating on him, when he fired the gun, and that this situation meant that, at the moment he fired the gun, he had a reasonable belief that he had to shoot in order to prevent imminent death or great bodily injury.  

              At trial, it was up to the prosecution to prove that this did NOT happen, and to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.

              That's not exactly the same thing as saying there's a "presumption he's telling the truth."  But it does mean that, if the prosecution does not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that his scenario did not happen, the jury should find him not guilty.  

              •  If he stayed in his F'ing car, no CONCEIVABLE (29+ / 0-)

                way Martin was a threat to him.  What happened when the 2 of them were on the ground and who screamed for help is of secondary importance at best.  What is of primary importance is that a self-styled vigilante violated the instructions police dispatcher gave him, violated Neighborhood Watch manual, and violated basic norms of common sense by pursuing an unarmed teen who was no threat to ANYONE.

                Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                by RFK Lives on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:43:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not relevant, under the law. (12+ / 0-)

                  From the jury instructions:  

                   

                  JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE
                  An issue in this case is whether George Zimmerman acted in self-defense. It is adefense to the crime of Second Degree Murder, and the lesser included offense of Manslaughter, if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force.

                  “Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

                    A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was  used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

                  If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

                  If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.

                  As long as what Zimmerman did was not "unlawful," it does not matter, legally, whether he should have stayed in his car or not.  That, alone, does not deprive him of the ability to claim self-defense if at the time the deadly force was used, he reasonably believed it was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.
                •  FYI (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  I've made a habit of closing unread any comment by the person you've replied to after disagreeing how & what s/he found important to discuss about this previously. Judging from your reaction, I think I made the right decision for me.

                  This whole thing has made me sick, I've avoided almost all video reporting, and have been depending on summaries. So I'm taking this opportunity to thank everyone who has been helpful.

                  My usual routine about this trial has been to start reading/skimming and when I get a condescending TLDR from someone arguing minor bits and not that Trayvon didn't deserve to be killed, I just close the comment, then search the name an close all other comments by that name because I just can't stand it.

                  So I've been lurking and not reccing but I appreciate people who can bear it and actually write in a caring and helpful way.

                  Giving birth (giving life) should be a gift not an obligation or women and poor people are 2nd class by definition

                  by julifolo on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:19:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  That is where is falls apart for me. (15+ / 0-)

                  Isn't Trayvon under threat of great bodily harm when an armed man approached him, after following him?  So, if Trayvon had got the gun and killed Zimmerman wouldn't that be self defense?

                  Can the exact same facts, but with only a change to which one ends up dead both claim self defense?  Or, would both be guilty of murder?

                  Another way to look at it... Two people (A & B) get in a fist fight, it goes back and forth until A gets the upper hand over B.  Then, B kills A with the gun he was carrying.  Is that self defense or murder?  Does it depend on who initiated the encounter? Threw the first punch?  Which one could have most easily avoided the situation in the first place?  

                  •  This is the exact problem. (13+ / 0-)

                    It creates the kind of "dilemma" that is only a dilemma in the fevered brains of lawyers and legalists. Once Zimmerman creates enough of a threat that it provokes a defensive response from Trayvon, it's open season on Trayvon, even if it's open season on Zimmerman too -- the difference being one of agency. Zimmerman maliciously created a life-or-death situation, and then exploited it to kill his victim.

                    None of the miscellaneous tortured legal defenses presented here on behalf on Zimmerman depend in any way on what his purpose was. coffeetalk presents the jury's instructions, above, as if they actually make any sense at all -- as if they weren't so epistemologically broken that they might as well have been last thursday's shopping list.

                    the whole bad scene makes me want to barf.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:33:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you're right (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JerryNA

                    If Trayvon had gotten the gun and shot Zimmerman, he could have claimed self-defense.

                    I don't think there's anything really paradoxical about this. It's what you get when you allow people to walk around with guns.

                    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                    by denise b on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:10:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  If an armed man approaches him (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tonedevil, DSPS owl

                    and if Trayvon knows he's armed, and if the man approaching is acting in a threatening manner.

                    If GZ pulls the gun when he gets out of the truck, TM can claim self defense.

                    If GZ keeps the gun concealed and says "excuse me, sir, you dropped your wallet!", not a self defense case.

                    In between, a black youth with any experience or education is probably going to feel threatened by a "creepy-ass cracker" in circumstances where the law won't back him up.

                    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                    by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:45:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  GZ wasn't "on duty" for watch that night, ... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib, Catesby

                  he was simply leaving to go to Target for grocery shopping, thus the Neighborhood Watch rules are irrelevant.  And there is NO law that says that a citizen must remain in their vehicle at any time, regardless of whether or not an unknown black person is acting strangely nearby in the driver's opinion.  That seems to be the new rule being insisted upon by many, though.

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:44:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And then one could also argue (0+ / 0-)

                  if Martin had gone straight home, none of this would have happened either.

                  If Zimmerman's mother never had sex with his father, none of this would have happened either.

                  Fact remains until the first hand was laid on another, nothing illegal had occurred from either party.

              •  I'll bite (31+ / 0-)

                This is how I would approach it if I were a juror:

                The jury instructions read that to be found guilty, the prosecution has to prove

                a. trayvon martin is dead (yes)

                b. George Zimmerman killed him (yes by his own admission, as presented second hand via witness testimony)

                c. Zimm acted with the intent to kill at the time of the shooting (evidence of this is in a. the distance from which the shot was fired, b. his reaction and demeanor after the shooting, c. the emergency call in which he admits to following Martin and complains about 'fucking punks,'  direct contradiction of his testimony (out of court) as to how the incident happened and what his mindset was (shows intent to deceive on the key questions. Why deceive for no reason)

                On the balance, I say yes

                Once we're there, it comes down to 2nd degree or manslaughter. For 2nd degree he must show evil intent or dangerous disregard for life

                Evidence of the above

                1. The emergency call in which he admits to following Martin

                2. The testimony of Rachele Jeantel that Trayvon was frightened of Zimmerman and ran from him only to, according to her, later be confronted and accosted by him

                3. The testimony of Zimmerman's criminal justice professor and the ride along cops, the questioning at the police department in which Zimm uses police terminology to describe his actions and tries to place himself on equal footing with the officers (establishes wanna-be cop mindset).

                4. The testimony of neighbors and introduction of records showing how many times he'd called the emergency line to report black males (establishes paranoia)

                5. The tape introduced into evidence where Zimm says Martin was 'skipping away from him' and that it was all 'god's will' (shows lack of understanding as to weight of human life)

                6. Testimony of neighbors who saw Zimm on top and thought they heard a young person crying for help.

                7. The cries for help on the 911 tape and testimony from Trayvon's mother that the voice is their son (establishes that murder was committed in cold blood )

                At this point, if no defense is presented which contradicts the evidence, the case has, for me, been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

                Contradiction of murder 2 evidence (without getting into self defense yet)

                1. Testimony of the emergency call operator that he did not feel at the time that Zimm was acting in an unreasonable manner

                2. Testimony of neighbors as to crime in the area and introduction of statistics (establishes justification for his fear of young black men)

                3. Testimony from neighbors that Zimm was helpful as watch captain and other episodes (establishes good character)

                4. Testimony of family that it was Zimmerman's voice screaming for help on the 911 calls (contradicts point 6 above and also contradicts evidence about his mindset at the time)

                5. Evidence of inconsistencies in the testimony of Rachel Jeantel (potentially moots #2 above)

                6. Testimony of John Goode that Trayvon was on top of Zimm and that Zimm was crying for help

                At this point, there is a reasonable doubt in my mind as to Murder 2 but on the question of did Zimmerman shoot Martin, the answer is still yes. Did he shoot with intent to kill at the time of the shooting? (still yes).

                So I'm still at guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the manslaughter charge.

                The only thing left that acquit him of that is justifiable homicide.

                Since he has presented a case for justifiable homicide, by reason of self defense, we must presume that his case is correct. The prosecution must then prove that it was not justifiable homicide

                Evidence that it was not justifiable homicide

                1. Testimony of EMT's that injuries were minor
                2. Testimony of Zimm's doctor that nose not broken, no concussion, etc.
                3. Testimony of neighbors who saw Zimm on top
                4. Zimm's taped testimony, introduced as evidence, which contains several obvious falsehoods and contradictions (shows intent to deceive).
                5. Rachel Jeantel's testimony that she was on the phone with Martin and the phone records backing this up (contradicts defense claims that Trayvon waited to ambush Zimm, again showing intent to deceive on Zimm's part)
                6. Lack of trayvon's dna on Zimm's gun
                7. Relative lack of abrasions on trayvon's fist or zimm's blood on trayvon
                8. Lack of blood at the scene
                9. 911 call in which cries for help are heard right up until the sound of the shot (damages likelihood of self defense, why would Zimm fire and scream for help at same time?)
                10. Lack of possession or attempted use of deadly weapons by Trayvon Martin
                11. Body position of the corpse (hands underneath his chest)
                12. angle of the bullet wound (at 90 degrees, required sufficient separation of Zimm and Trayvon at time of shooting, unless trayvon was directly on top of zimm at 90 degree angle. However, state contends this is implausible because Zimm would not have been able to draw gun in that position)
                13. Difference in age between the Trayvon and Zimm
                14. Fear that Trayvon had of Zimm as established by emergency call tape which establishes that he fled and Rachel Jeantel's testimony (goes against the idea that Trayvon would have confronted Zimm with the intent to kill).
                15. Testimony of self defense coach that Zimm took classes (establishes that Zimm should have been able to defend himself)

                Again, if there's no defense put forth that contradicts the above, I would find him guilty at this point of manslaughter.

                Evidence that contradicts the above and bolsters justifiable homicide defense

                1. John Goode's testimony of Trayvon being on top 'reigning blows'
                2. Zimm's own (out of court) testimony as to the events leading up to the confrontation and shooting  (in my mind, everything here has already been proven false with the exception of the part about head being banged against concrete. which cannot be disproved by challenging his testimony alone. However, the relative lack of injuries speak against it)
                3. Zimm's conspicuous injuries which establish that a struggle took place.
                4. Testimony by several neighbors of sounds of struggle
                5. Testimony of pathologist that Trayvon was on top
                6. Testimony of pathologist that Zimm's story could potentially be true if bleeding occurred internally (this is to be weighed against the evidence established that outward injuries were not serious
                7. Testimony of self defense coach that Zimm was out of shape and would have lost fight (bolsters claim that Zimm would have felt in fear of serious bodily harm once engaged. However, this must be weighed against the evidence that he was taking classes in the first place, so is moot. He should have been able to defend himself.)

                So - with all of this, to have a reasonable doubt, I have to believe that a. a struggle took place in which Zimmerman was being inflicted bodily harm by Trayvon Martin
                That point is established, imo. HOWEVER, in order for me to believe that Zimm was actually in fear of serious bodily harm, I must accept that a. the injuries he'd already sustained were serious enough to lead him to believe that he could not defend himself and would continue to sustain injury that would grow progressively  severe or b. that Trayvon Martin was of such inherent physical superiority to George Zimmerman that the mere act of being in an altercation with him carried the threat of serious bodily harm.

                Looking at the injuries, on question, I say no. If there was internal bleeding of the kind hypothesized, I believe we would have seen evidence of it in CT scans, etc. On the outward injuries alone, as well, I say no. Doubt here is not reasonable enough.

                On b, we have John Goode's testimony but that word choice he used 'reign of blows' takes me back to high school and I can't help but conjure memories of how teenagers fight. They don't go at it like boxers, they jump on top of eachother and flail their arms like monkeys and in the end, neither kid ends up seriously hurt.

                That's what John Goode's testimony evokes for me. The image of a panicked kid flailing about like an octopus.

                I then come back to the age difference and the fact that Trayvon Martin was not carrying a weapon.

                Observing that, it is established beyond a reasonable doubt, in my mind, that Zimm was not in reasonable fear of bodily harm.

                He is therefore guilty of manslaughter.

                The end. Blah.

              •  This "prima facie" thingy (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, doroma, etherealfire

                Is not something I've seen explained to the jurors (or even by any of the talking heads on TV). If it is true that the prosecution only needs to prove that GZ's claimed scenario did not happen, and the jury knows that, then I think there's a good chance for conviction.

                •  The judge makes the decision (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pi Li, Neuroptimalian, VClib

                  on whether the defense has made a prima facie case. In some trials, it's not made until the end of evidence, when they are doing the charge conference to discuss jury charges.  At that time, if the judge doesn't think there's a prima facie case for self-defense, she won't give any instructions on self-defense.  

                  Here, the prosecution expressly admitted even at the close of the prosecution's case, before the defense case started (at the argument on the JOA) that there was a prima facie case -- i.e., enough to get the jury instructions on self-defense.  That's because the prosecution put in all the Zimmerman statements as evidence.  That alone was enough to make the prima facie case (i.e., enough to make it a legitimate issue at trial).  

              •  The extremely limited injuries he sustained... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chitown Kev, etherealfire

                already prove that he had no justifiable reason to feel in danger of his life.  The mere fact you get involved in a fist fight doesn't immediately justify you whipping out a gun and blowing the other guy away.  Just being in a fight is not enough to warrant lethal force.  

                And that's basically what Zimmerman is claiming.  That he and Martin fought, so he felt in danger of his life.  Yet, he had negligible injuries.  Why was he so afraid?  It's bullshit.  

                •  That depends on which expert the jury (0+ / 0-)

                  believes.  The prosecution expert testified the injuries were insignificant.  The defense expert testified that if blows to the head are cumulative, and if they had not stopped, there could have been death or great bodily injury.

                  That is one of the many facts in this case that were disputed at the trial, so it depends on whether the jury accepts the prosecution's version of the facts beyond a reasonable doubt.  

          •  but if the jury believes he lied (21+ / 0-)

            about one thing material to the case,  why he was walking around  (depraved heart of 2nd degree murder),  that the fight didn't occur where or how (no grab for gun, no repeated blows)  he said it did based on the body being in the wrong place based on his story, etc. they can discount other parts of his story as lies.  

            The standard jury instruction on reasonable doubt leaves it the juror's conviction based on evidence of guilt.   If they believe that the state showed that Zimmerman pursued, wasn't reasonably afraid of bodily harm or death justifying the use of deadly force, that he told such a contradictory story to the physical evidence, the extent of his injury, the lack of blood or dna on Martin's hands or body, lack of DNA on the gun,  believe Zimmerman coudln't have pulled gun out from under himself, all those contradictions in Zimmerman's story, they don't have to believe in Zimmerman's belief he was in grave danger justifying the use of deadly force.

            The instruction doesn't tell the jury how to weigh the guilt, the chart from the defense attorney isn't like the charge it isn't about words like likely or unlikely or slightest.   If the juror hears the evidence, weighs it, and has an unwavering conviction of guilt, then its beyond a reasonable doubt.  Its is not math, measuring or a bright line test.

            In many ways it's all about gut not brain.

            A portion of the standard charge on reasonable doubt from the Florida Supreme Court Website,  the judge doesn't have to give the standard charge, but they usually stick pretty close on the basic issues to avoid error;

            A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand, if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if, having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.
          •  My wife was on a drunk driving jury (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, Tonedevil

            What tipped them to conviction was watching the defendant lie. They were presuming him innocent until they decided there was no way to reasonably believe an innocent person would be that dishonest.

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:27:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's exactly this case (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              etherealfire, Tonedevil

              All the defendant's witnesses at base depend on believing the statements of the defendant

              Even his expert testimony witnesse depends on believing the defendant's accdount. If you dont  believe his account, then their testimoy isn't very helpful

        •  And, therein lies the rub !! "Which" story. n/t (14+ / 0-)

          "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

          by rubyr on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:01:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  he couldn't even convince Hannity! That interview (11+ / 0-)

          made Hannity look good.

        •  So, following FL law... (10+ / 0-)

          ... any black man that sees Zimmerman walking in the neighborhood at night could shoot Zimmerman on sight per Stand Your Ground:

          - It's reasonable to expect that Zimmerman is armed.
          - Zimmerman is known to fear black men.
          - Zimmerman is known to shoot to kill based on his fear.

          Any rational black man would of course fire first, out of fear for his own life.

          Have they really though it through?

          •  You can't shoot someone that's following you. (5+ / 0-)

            Sorry, but that's the law and will continue to be the law.

            •  not according to what people are saying here (5+ / 0-)

              They are saying that you don't need to prove a thing.   They are saying the prosecution must prove that you didn't fear for great bodily harm or death.    They say you don't have to even give an argument.

              Of course no one should believe it for a minute.

              •  You can't just SAY it ... (0+ / 0-)

                and expect to get away with it, there must be evidence that tends to support what you say too.  In GZ's case, it was (partly) his obvious injuries.

                "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                by Neuroptimalian on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:53:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  His superficial injuries? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  That is not any sort of proof that his life was in danger.  He had no reasonable justification for believing that it was based on the limited amount of damage he took.  

                  •  Not according to Dr. DiMaio, on the other hand.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Neuroptimalian

                    The prosecution's expert testified as you say.  On the other hand, the defense expert, Dr. DiMaio, testified to the extent of his injuries and -- more importantly -- whether continued blows to the head could have caused death or great bodily injury are facts that were disputed at the trial, with evidence on both sides.  

                    It depends on whether the jury accepts the prosecution's version beyond a reasonable doubt.  

          •  The Janitor - just make sure there are no (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Patate, Pi Li

            witnesses because Zimmerman would need to initiate a hostile, physical act where the "black man" had fear of at least great bodily harm, if not death, before the "black man" could shoot in self defense.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:49:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Following the instructions to the jury... (10+ / 0-)
              The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify  the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably  cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the  danger could be avoided only through the use of that force
              I'd say just seeing Zimmerman walking at night in the neighborhood would easily pass the threshold of "appearance of danger", depending on one's skin color.

              I can understand Castle Doctrine laws.  If you're invading someone's house, they should be able to defend themselves.  The trespasser instigated the conflict through their invasion.

              I'm completely baffled by Stand Your Ground laws.  If all it takes is fear to justify the use of deadly force, well, that's one quick way to reduce overpopulation in a hurry.

              I understand that, per the law, Zimmerman may go free. But I hope that the jury does a bit of jury nullification.

              •  Would ANYONE who has fear qualify as a shooter? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, Naniboujou

                What about someone diagnosed with paranoia? Can anyone who suffers from paranoia go to a gun show, buy a gun, and kill anyone whom s/he believes might cause him/her great bodily harm?

                The "stand your ground law" is stupid law, as many laws are. It calls to mind the law Rick Scott rushed through recently which bans anyone in Florida from connecting to the Internet.

                In fact, I believe that, in some part, the stand-your-ground law itself is on trial here.

                •  It has to be a "reasonable" fear of (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian, VClib

                  death or great bodily harm.  The law specifically says "reasonable belief" that you need to act to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

                  What are talking about is a subjective belief -- what that person actually believes, whether it is reasonable or not.  When the law uses "reasonable," it means an objective standard, or what a "reasonable person" would believe under the same circumstances.

                  So the answer to this

                  What about someone diagnosed with paranoia? Can anyone who suffers from paranoia go to a gun show, buy a gun, and kill anyone whom s/he believes might cause him/her great bodily harm?
                  is no, if the paranoid person is not in a situation where a reasonable person would believe he has to use deadly force to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, then that's not self-defense under the law, even if the paranoid person, in his own mind, does believe it.  
          •  Exactly!!! (9+ / 0-)

            I don't get why people are buying the defense bullshit that they don't have to prove a thing in this case.

            Of course they do since this is a self-defense case.   Zimmerman already admitted to shooting to death an unarmed teen.   It is up to him to show that he feared severe bodily harm or death.   If he doesn't, he's guilty of manslaughter since he admits he shot Martin to death.

            •  Legally wrong, as the judge explained to the (5+ / 0-)

              jury this afternoon.

              you said this:

              It is up to him to show that he feared severe bodily harm or death.   If he doesn't, he's guilty of manslaughter since he admits he shot Martin to death.
              That's a statement that if Zimmerman does not prove self-defense (i.e., if the jury has doubts that it was self-defense) he should be found guilty.  However, the judge told the jury the law is this:
              If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.
              •  Oh come on now (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                doroma, Tommy Aces, etherealfire

                This is word-smithing at its worst.

                Are you trying to tell us that if Zimmerman had provided no details at all about the shooting that he'd get off because the prosecution had not proved anything?

                All the prosecution has to say in this case is that we've got an armed adult who admits to pursuing and shooting an unarmed teen who he outweighs by 50 pounds.

                How can a jury have reasonable doubt in that case except if Zimmerman provides some details about why he felt he was justified to shoot Martin?

                •  in any state that doesn't (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                  have a broad stand your ground law like florida's you'd be right. But as the law is written you're wrong.

                  47 is the new 51!

                  by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:21:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I was pretty sure that the (3+ / 0-)

                    defense in this case did not use the stand your ground defense but rather it was a pure self defense argument.

                    •  in florida (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Neuroptimalian

                      there is no difference. See the code: (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

                      47 is the new 51!

                      by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:15:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Once again, this isn't SYG (4+ / 0-)

                    Its a traditional self defense case.

                    So applying SYG is inaccurate.

                    •  stand your ground (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      denise b, Neuroptimalian

                      defines what florida's self defense law is. You can't talk about one without the other. This is florida's self defense statute: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/... . The part of that statute that's commonly called the 'stand your ground' section is:

                      (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
                      Stand your ground is fundamental to florida's self defense law.

                      47 is the new 51!

                      by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:12:27 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  this once again isn't a SYG case (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tommy Aces

                        I am not going to go back and forth with you. Look at the section you cited outside of the section you bold.

                        •  I have. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Tonedevil

                          But tell me: isn't self defense in most states an affirmative plea, one the defense must prove? Why else, but this odious 'stand your ground law' (and I'm using that term for the entire law, like most do since that phrase permeates the entire code) that forces the prosecution to prove otherwise?

                          47 is the new 51!

                          by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:48:51 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Burden of proof is a very important point. (7+ / 0-)

                  It is NOT just "word-smithing."  Ask any defense lawyer.  Much of MOM's closing -- as with most defense lawyers -- was explaining to the jury (as the judge did in the jury instructions) that if they have any doubt as to whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, they must acquit.  

                  Many defendants  have been acquitted when the jury thinks that they may well be guilty, but the jury has "reasonable doubt."  It's a very important, and long-standing principle, and lawyers and judges go to great lengths to make sure that the jury understands it.  

                  •  Did you notice possible mistrial issue... (5+ / 0-)

                    ...with the defence in their closing.

                    O'Mara had a Powerpoint slide with Sernio's statements....and the last bullet point was "Serino believed Martin was telling the truth". When I saw it, I was shocked there wasn't an objection from the state. O'Mara, I think, noticed it after a few seconds, because he stumbled, and said something like, "There's a problem with this slide" and scrolled up so the jury couldn't see the last bullet point. And obviously he didn't mention it. But it was there for maybe 60 seconds, and the jury saw it.

                    And I'm fairly certain the judge had instructed the jury during the trial, based on a state objection, to disregard that part of Serino's testimony. I'm frankly surprised there hasn't been any talk or reporting on this.

                    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                    by Pi Li on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:53:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I saw that. I suspect, however, (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pi Li, denise b, Neuroptimalian, VClib

                      that it's not enough for a mistrial, since he didn't read that bullet point and did that scrolling.  But somebody clearly messed up on that powerpoint slide.

                      I am REALLY surprised that the defense didn't notice it and object.  Maybe they were thinking strategically.  At best, they would have gotten a reminder from the judge that Serino said that but she struck it (after the jury heard him say it).  That would have just highlighted it, and highlighted the fact that the prosecution's witness said he believed Zimmerman (proper or not.)  

                    •  Did the slide say Martin or Zimmerman? If (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      edg

                      it really said Martin, maybe that's why the State didn't object although sadly we all know Martin couldn't say anything.

                      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

                      by CaliSista on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:08:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I've served on many juries (9+ / 0-)

                    and have been involved in all types of decisions - acquittals, guilty and hung.

                    I understand reasonable doubt.

                    What I am saying is word-smithing is the implications that Zimmerman has to provide no story or reason for the shooting.   While in legal theory this may be true, in practice the jury is going to find guilt if the defendant provides no reason or explanation for the shooting.   Do you expect the jury to assume that the defendant feared great bodily harm or death?

                    My point is, in these type of self-defense cases, it really is up to the defense to provide a rationale for the shooting.   At that point, it is up to the prosecution to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant's story is not true.

                    •  and if the jury understands that'st he trick (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil

                      being played by the defense here

                      That they aren't obligated to acquit if the story of the defense is found to be untrue beyond a reasonable doubt, then they convicted

                      There's always the question of do they understand that to be the standard

                      As you can see from here, there's quite a few people who seem to think the standard is this impssoble burden

                      if it were, there would be no convictions in the state of florida

              •  Made to prove a negative beyond reasonable doubt (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA, rantsposition

                In practical terms, that's in general quite difficult to do.

                Do you find it good public policy to have a law that makes it so difficult to prosecute homicides?

                Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:57:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  No ... (7+ / 0-)

              ... read the jury instructions:

              In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you  must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was  used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify  the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably  cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the  danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George  Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

              If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any  place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent  the commission of a forcible felony.

              In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical  abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

              If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the  question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should  find George Zimmerman not guilty.

              However, if from the evidence you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that  George Zimmerman was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all  the elements of the charge have been proved.

              •  I've seen this (5+ / 0-)

                I feel that I'm a reasonably intelligent person and my interpretation of this is that George Zimmerman better be able to convince me that he was in fear of great bodily harm or death otherwise he's guilty.

                •  you're putting it backwards (4+ / 0-)

                  the state had to prove that he was not justified. Zimmerman's statement, by florida state law, is to be taken at face value.

                  47 is the new 51!

                  by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:22:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Zimmerman's statement" (5+ / 0-)

                    People are claiming that Zimmerman doesn't even to make a statement about the shooting.

                    They are saying the shooter doesn't need to say a thing that it is all up to the prosecution to prove that the shooter wasn't in fear of great bodily harm or death.

                    Of course, if Zimmerman does give a statement it doesn't mean you have to believe it if the statement contains inconsistencies or falsehoods.   You can believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was not justified if you think the shooter's story is a lie.

                    •  he did give a statement to police (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Neuroptimalian

                      he didn't testify in court. Two separate things. His statements to the police were played back in court and were part of the evidence.

                      47 is the new 51!

                      by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:16:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  also, thinking the story is a lie (0+ / 0-)

                      must have some evidence behind it. That's the question: has the jury seen evidence that it believes, beyond a reasonable doubt, that makes GZ a liar?

                      It pains me, but I haven't. He said that Trayvon swung first. I've seen nothing that contradicts it. It doesn't matter that GZ initiated the confrontation by following Trayvon. Florida law sucks, basically.

                      47 is the new 51!

                      by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:21:20 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The plea of "not guilty" is where the assumption (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stellaluna

                        of innocence comes in. If the defendant so pleads, then the state has the burden of proof that he is guilty. (I'm not arguing, by the way, so please don't think I'm disagreeing with you...:)

                      •  The evidence and statements (5+ / 0-)

                        speak for themselves and inconsistencies and things that don't make sense and indicate lying are most certainly part of the interpretation of the evidence by the jury.

                        The prosecution presented all of Zimmerman's testimony with the inconsistencies an lies in them.   They are part of the evidence that the jury is evaluating.

                        You don't need to have any other evidence.

                        •  but what evidence has been offered? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          davidinmaine

                          We all here know that eyewitness testimony is unreliable at best and changes over time. A participant's memory need be no more reliable or constant.

                          Inconsistencies in statements, not one of which contradicts external evidence isn't sufficient to overcome reasonable doubt, to me.

                          47 is the new 51!

                          by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:46:04 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Don't get me wrong (0+ / 0-)

                          There's no doubt the GZ is not telling everything but without evidence of what that untold stuff is, what verdict can come back?

                          47 is the new 51!

                          by nickrud on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:50:35 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Really what everything in this case comes down (0+ / 0-)

                            to is the evidence about what was happening at the time of the shooting.   The rest of the evidence is just context and helpful for understanding the state of mind.

                            Some of the biggest inconsistencies in Zimmerman's statements are about what happened at the time of the shooting:
                            1. Martin was smothering his mouth and nose so he couldn't breath.
                            2. Martin was straddling him with his knees up under his shoulders.
                            3. Martin saw, reached and grabbed his gun.
                            4. Zimmerman arm locked Martin's arm that was grabbing for his gun.
                            5. Zimmerman pulled his weapon and shot Martin in a perfect 90 degree angle right at the heart.

                          •  I completely agree with this (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib
                            Really what everything in this case comes down
                            to is the evidence about what was happening at the time of the shooting.   The rest of the evidence is just context and helpful for understanding the state of mind.
                            In fact, that is exactly what the jury instructions say:
                            In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.
                            That is why, as I said in another comment, I found it unsatisfactory that the prosecution did not offer the jury the prosecution's scenario of exactly what the circumstances were at the time the shot was fired.  The attempted to cast doubt on the defense's scenario, but did not offer an alternative scenario.  When the prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the circumstances at the time of the shooting did not support self-defense, that may be problematic.  
                          •  Please link (0+ / 0-)

                            the JURY INSTRUCTIONS you are quoting from , thanx

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:38:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've done it a bunch, but (0+ / 0-)

                            here they are.

                          •  thanx (0+ / 0-)

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:50:47 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  coffeetalk (0+ / 0-)
                            That is why, as I said in another comment, I found it unsatisfactory that the prosecution did not offer the jury the prosecution's scenario of exactly what the circumstances were at the time the shot was fired.
                            But you are completely dismissing what lead up to the confrontation , GZ created the whole situation in the 1st place , the jury is not just deciding from the limited micro moment and perspective you just presented  

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:49:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Read the jury instructions. (0+ / 0-)
                            In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used.
                            The events leading up to those "circumstances" are relevant as to the state of mind of Zimmerman, and are relevant as circumstantial evidence of what was happening at the time of the shot.

                            But the jury has been instructed that they "must" judge Zimmerman by the circumstances surrounding him at the time of the shot, and they have taken a copy of those instructions with them into the jury room.  

                          •  coffeetalk (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tonedevil
                            The(y) attempted to cast doubt on the defense's scenario, but did not offer an alternative scenario.
                            There was too many inconsistencies in what GZ claimed happened , that point was made by the prosecution , no one else really knows the details , so the details are futile , GZ shot TM , period  

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 11:00:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Here's where we disagree (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib, WillR
                            the details are futile.
                            The law makes the details -- the "circumstances surrounding him" at the time of the shooting the most important thing.  

                            I agree that it appears that, by not providing its own version of the "circumstances surrounding him" at the time of the shooting,  the prosecution may be conceding that it does not know what those were.  If that is what they are doing, that is problematic, because they have the burden of proving that the "circumstances surrounding him" at the time of the shooting did NOT justify self-defense.  

                            Remember, this case is not really about whether Zimmerman actually acted in self-defense.  It is (like every case) about what the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is why, when the prosecution does not meet that burden, jury finds "not guilty," rather than "innocent."  A "not guilty" verdict does not mean the defendant is innocent.  It simply means the prosecution has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.  

                          •  The jury (0+ / 0-)

                            will not be focusing on just those details

                            This case is not about GZ ACCIDENTALLY shooting TM

                            GZ ran down a teen then shot and killed him , it is a pretty big step to claim GZ had no retreat after he ran him down  , these details also matter when the jury is deciding the case

                            I can see your point there tho coffeetalk , from a defense perspective any way

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 11:51:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's actually from a prosecution perspective as (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            well.  The prosecutors are well aware, in every criminal case, that they have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  Stating that is simply stating the law.  

                          •  Your claim (0+ / 0-)
                            I agree that it appears that, by not providing its own version of the "circumstances surrounding him" at the time of the shooting,  the prosecution may be conceding that it does not know what those were.  If that is what they are doing, that is problematic,
                            That is a stance in favor of the defense , no matter how many times you parse it , you are sighting prosecution failures all over the place

                            And you are not STATING LAW when you make a common sense statement about  burden of proof  ,you are just making a comment about an over all fact , this is where you get quirky in here

                            Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                            by Patango on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 12:06:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That part is opinion, I agree. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            I'm a lawyer, and I've tried a lot of cases.  That's not "from a defense perspective," it's simply an observation about a problem, as I perceive it, from the prosecution case.

                            I think the biggest problem for the defense is the concern that emotionally, the jury will want to find someone responsible for Martin's death.   That seemed to be much of the focus of Guy's rebuttal.

                          •  Here I think is where we disagree (0+ / 0-)

                            I think that if the jury believes beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman's statements about the shooting are false then I don't think they'll require that the prosecution provide the exact scenario.

                            If the shooter is lying about how the fatal shot was fired then I think it is common sense that the shooter did not shoot in fear of his life or great bodily harm or else why would he lie?

                            In my opinion, if the jury doesn't believe Zimmerman's statements about the shot then he'll get convicted.

                          •  That's clearly the approach the prosecution (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            is taking -- if you conclude Zimmerman was lying, you should convict, essentially.  

                            That's not necessarily consistent with the jury instructions putting the burden of proof on the prosecution, but that doesn't mean the jury will, or will not, think that way.  

                          •  We keep talking around this same issue (0+ / 0-)

                            The way you are describing the way the law is written there is no way any prosecution could ever convict anyone who claimed self defense because it essentially relies on getting inside the shooter's head and proving the exact thoughts that he/she was having at the time the shot was made.

                            Of course, this obviously is not what is intended by the law regardless of how you might like to interpret it.

                            I'll keep contending that in practical legal matters when you admit to shooting someone else and claim self defense, regardless of what defense lawyers say, the roles switch and the burden goes onto the shooter to explain why they felt justified in shooting someone.   If the jury doesn't believe them, the prosecution really doesn't have to have an alternate theory.

                            I know this is not the technical way the law is written but it is certainly the way that it is applied.

                            Ask Scott Peterson about juries throwing the book at defendants who lie to them.   He's on death row basically because he had an extra-marital affair.

                          •  No. As the jury instructions show, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            there needs to be "reasonable" fear -- that's an objective standard, not "what's inside his head."  

                            And that is to be determined based on the circumstances he found himself in at the time he used deadly force, not on reading his mind.  

                            The burden is on the prosecution to prove the "circumstances he found himself in" beyond a reasonable doubt, NOT to prove what he was, or was not, thinking.  

                          •  Ha Ha Ha (0+ / 0-)

                            That is DEFINITELY NOT an objective standard - not even close.

                            The only way to know if the shooter had reasonable fear is to be inside their head and understand their thoughts at the time of the shooting.   Anything else is just speculation.

                      •  It doesn't matter if Martin struck first though... (0+ / 0-)

                        Because Martin wasn't going to kill Zimmerman.  In the fight he barely managed to do any damage to him.  Therefore the use of deadly force in response wasn't justified.  Everything can happen as Zimmerman says, down to Martin attacking him, and he's still guilty of manslaughter because his life clearly wasn't in danger.  

                        He was so uninjured that even the belief that his life was in danger is unreasonable.  It's clear he made almost no effort to resolve the situation in a non-lethal manner before just grabbing his gun and shooting.  Had he done so, either he or Martin would have had much more significant injuries.  

                    •  The "reasonable" part I believe will hang him. (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JerryNA, CaliSista, amsterdam, Tonedevil

                      He said his head was being smashed into the concrete over and over, and he figured he needed to do something before he passed out. How many problems are there with that statement? Let me count the ways:

                      1. Anyone who knows the head bleeds profusely will know the amount of blood on his head is negligible. There is a nurse on the jury. And BTW, she's the one who was wiping tears during the State's close.

                      2. Trayvon's body was found a good distance from the concrete.

                      3. If Trayvon was on top, Z couldn't get to his gun.

                      4. Z said he was being smothered---at the same time his head was being smashed?

                      So, which would cause a "reasonable" person to use deadly force? Would it be head smashing or smothering, or both at the same time?

                      The State encouraged the jurors to consider the whole incident; not just the seconds before the trigger was pulled.

                      •  You forgot to mention the non stop screaming (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        HappyinNM, amsterdam, Tonedevil

                        during the head banging and smothering.

                        "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

                        by CaliSista on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:12:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  "Smashing" someone's head... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        CaliSista, Tonedevil

                        is also a very ineffective form of attack.  If someone just grabs your head and pulls and pushes it into the ground it is going to do a lot less damage than if they were just punching you in the face.  It's simply not possible to generate that much force by doing that.  

                        If that is actually what happened it pretty much shows that Martin wasn't effectively hurting him.  

                •  They are the standard instructionsq (4+ / 0-)

                  and in fact doesn' say what Adam or others are saying

                  They taking silences as affirmation of their arguments

                  For example "if Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful act"

                  That's not saying what they are saying here.

                  If the jury believes that in fact Zimmerman was engaged in an unlawful act, that's it.

                  See what the prosecution argued. See what the defense said about how we aren't supposed to "fill in the blanks"

                  By the way, most of these instructions are left necessarily broad and vague

                •  Reading comprehension? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian, Pi Li
                  If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.
                  This clearly states that the defendant gets the benefit of any reasonable doubt. How can this be interpreted otherwise?

                  We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

                  by denise b on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:40:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  These words here from those instruction (8+ / 0-)
                The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify  the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the  danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. </>
                And that might be the part of the instruction the jurors may find issue with in determining Z's guilt.

                Because the rest of the evidence IMO shows that Zimmerman didn't act reasonably cautious or prudent  as most reasonably cautious prudent people would (but especially a neighborhood watch person)  when Zimmerman got out of his car and followed him as he stated and which was against a dispatchers instructions. Zimmerman proved right then and there, he is neither reasonably cautious or prudent.
                 But further, there were others around and Zimmerman new that cops were coming. He knew that...help was on the way...yet he acted irresponsibly.

                Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

                by emal on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:08:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  GZ likely assumed the police were coming, ... (0+ / 0-)

                  but he had no way of knowing how long it might take.  When last he spoke to 911, TM had run away and disappeared, so any since of urgency had dissipated.  What actually happened was that the first police car on the scene had actually gone to the wrong location; it took him precious time to backtrack and actually find GZ or else the whole tragedy might have been averted.  (Yet there are those who fault GZ for foolishly trying to identify and give an exact address to 911.  (sigh))

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:06:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Nail on head Janitor! n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tommy Aces
          •  Zimmerman is known to shoot to kill based on his f (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Last Years Man, hester, mkor7

            Now you're zeroing in on my big problem with this case. This defense, which also segues  into SYG and 2d amendment zeal, is nothing more than a hunting license for humans. Where race factors in, is that Zimmerman WAS NEVER CHARGED!! Because of the perception of black youths and blacks in general, he was allowed to go home and have a sandwich and a glass of milk, after shooting a human being thru the heart. As un note worthy as a fart after a berritto. This defense is outrageous in it's legality, absurd in our society, and as frighting a scenario as I can remember.  A racist might rightfully say that this is a great law for killing coloreds, knowing full well that if the tables were reversed, no black man would ever get that benefit of the doubt with this same evidence. There should be massive national protests over the SYG law by ALL Americans. Zimmerman will walk and become a wealthy celebrity for this murder, and that's the most disgusting part of all.

          •  You'd have to sell people (0+ / 0-)

            on the fear being reasonable.

            We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

            by denise b on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:13:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think danger has to be immediate (0+ / 0-)

            n/t

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:54:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  every story has hair, Every case has problems (0+ / 0-)

          If you look at Vince Foster, Ken Starr wasted
          4 years and 30 million writing up the story of
          a blowjob when he started with some minor
          report errors from the site of the foster body.

          OJ Simpson, his case had hair on it, there were
          little details that were iffy, and picky but the
          primary case was sound.  Jury didn't see it that way.

          Mumia Abu Jamal, his case has hair on it, but the
          jury saw enough to convict.

          The kennedy assassination. It has hair on it, but,
          History convicted oswald.

          Zimmermans story has hair on it, but it's consistent for
          the defense.

          it sounds like OMara pushed the key element, that of
          the timeline.  

          that 4 minute gap, is just a truckload of reasonable doubt.

          •  the kid could have been scared and being still in (7+ / 0-)

            shadows to see if his future killer was going to go away.

            Zimm's reckless and dangerous bad judgement took an innocent person's life. People have a right to be made safe form this gun toting moron. Hopefully the jury will protect the community form this murderous clown.

            •  could, might, possibly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bamadad

              all that is reasonable doubt.

              most of the evidence against Z is he's stupid
              and narrowminded. He doesn't like punks and assholes.
              He uses army creole and he gets out of his car.

              however, what he has on his side is none of his conduct
              is illegal.

              1) It's not illegal for Z to follow TM.

              2) it's not illegal for Z to be carrying a gun.

              3) it's not illegal for Z to want to know who TM is and what he's doing.

              4) It's not illegal to call 911 on people you find suspicious.

              5) it's not illegal to find people suspicious.

              what the state needs to prove is that

              Either

              A) Z assaulted TM starting a fight and escalating to gunfire.

              or

              B) Z unreasonably used deadly force lacking reasonable fear of harm.

              see that's the issue....

              •  Fine. That doesn't make ZimHole any less dangerous (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tommy Aces, doroma

                to other people. I hope the jury decides the story(s) z told are just not credible and they won't believe he feared for his life, but is lying. I hope they decide his reckless actions got Trayvon Martin killed. Because zim's actions did kill Martin.

                 

              •  And B is pretty clear... (0+ / 0-)

                Based on ZImmerman not having anything but superficial injuries.  The fight could not have been that serious for him to have such limited injuries.  Thus his choice to use deadly force was utterly unreasonable.  

          •  If we were on a jury together, it would be hung (5+ / 0-)

            in my mind, the 4 minute gap possibly establishes doubt but not enough to shake the conviction of guilt. All the other evidence presented far, far outweighs whatever doubt is generated by the question of why didn't trayvon make it home within the allotted time.

            See the definition of reasonable doubt provided up thread.

            •  the 4 minute gap (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CaliSista, rantsposition

              The 4 min gap is bullshit. The kid was VISITING his dad from Tampa, where he lived. He maybe didn't know where the hell he was when he was scared and being stalked by an intimidating looking stranger. Lastly, there are a ton of black people who can't fight worth a shit, he could have been one of them. The idea that ALL black people KNOW how to fight is just F**n ridiculous, that again, is a stereotypical misconception, placed on black people by fearful whites. It is non sense, and a big part of this disgusting case. Pardon the explicative 's. This case is America at it's worst. I'm with you on this

              •  lets check the record (0+ / 0-)
                On the day Martin was fatally shot, he and his father were visiting his father's fiancée and her son at her townhome in The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, a multi-ethnic gated community, where the shooting occurred.[41][42] Martin had visited his father's fiancée at Twin Lakes several times.[10][43]
                TM did appear to at least know the basic area having been there before.

                as for fighting

                http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...

                In one of the text conversations, sent 12 days before his death, Martin tells a friend he has been suspended from school for fighting.
                "Why you not in school?" a text he receives asks.

                "Suspended."
                "I thought you was going out with ur friend," the reply says.
                "Naw my ol g say she dont want me home caus she think ima get in mo trouble," he texts back.

                I think this guy knew his way around a fight.

                even if he didn't know squat about fighting, he had 4 minutes to try and disengage from what was going to become a situation.

                if you think someone is going to cause you trouble, you can either get closer to them or you get further away.

                GZ had a choice, TM had a choice.

                Both made bad choices with life altering consequences.

                •  Being in fights doesn't mean shit... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  A "fight" at high school is where two kids walk up to one another and flail around for a few seconds before it is broken up.  How long has it been since you were in school?  These "fights" are a fucking joke.  Having been in "fights" doesn't mean he is at all an effective fighter.  

                  What's more even if both Zimmerman and Martin both made mistakes, Zimmerman is the one who killed Martin.  Zimmerman resorted to using deadly force, and all the evidence suggests it was not justified.  

                •  he had 4 minutes to try (0+ / 0-)

                  So, let me get this straight. Because he's been to a housing complex 2x before, where every unit looks identical, it's at night, it's raining,and is frightened and fleeing( he's being stalked by an unidentified adult,  who, BTW has lived in the same units for 4 years, patrols these same 3 streets on a regular basis,  and according to court records, WAS LOOKING FOR A STREET ADDRESS to identify his own where abouts) you mean to suggest that TM has clear and distinct knowledge of his dad's unit????? I'd like to see you do that under the same conditions. You give Zimmerman WAY to little credit for being clever, and psychotic

                  •  did i say 2 times? (0+ / 0-)
                    Because he's been to a housing complex 2x before,
                    i quoted from wikipedia and they used several.
                    If you care to research the issue and get back to me
                    but i don't think you can say 2 times, without some data.

                    thank you.

                    •  If you care to research the issue (0+ / 0-)

                      Fair enough, 3 x's  now explain away Zimmermans not knowing where he is ,in a 3 street complex where he lives and patrols for 4 years? That eliminates your theory of TV knowing his exact wheabouts, does it not? Comparatively speaking, thank you as well

                      •  Did i say 3 times. (0+ / 0-)

                        Being snarky may play well at the bar, but,
                        the matter is best researched.

                        Wikipedia says several times.  If you care to follow
                        things up, you are welcome to, but, if you are too lazy
                        to, or too invested in your theory, well, what can I say.

                        •  Being snarky (0+ / 0-)

                          You are a very good dodge ball player! Another reasonable doubt  theory. TV lived in this unit for 4 years and also patrolled it regularly looking for suspicious white people. He got out of his vehicle and pursued Zimmerman but got confused as to where he was in the 3 street complex due to rain, darkness, and excitement, Zimmerman  jumped him, as white people always do, (before they get away),  T M then drew his weapon and fired once into his own chest to confuse Zimmerman for 4 minutes, killing himself instantly. it's just a theory, but i stand by it, in defense of G Zimmerman!

                           If G Zimmerman did not know where he was in his own 3 street complex that he patrolled regularly, isn't it possible that T M got confused as well?  That's all I asked? You dodged. How come? That's not snarky, what i wrote above this, now, that's snarky!

                          The 4 minute gap is nonsense if you believe Zimmermans story of getting lost as well. That's my point, making the number of times ( a few) T M was at his dad's insignificant.

                          •  if they both got confused (0+ / 0-)

                            then it was a terrible set of stupidity leading to death.

                            If TM was lost, a block from his refuge, it's a pity
                            he didn't call the police.

                            if TM was lost a block from his point of refuge, it's a pity
                            he didn't knock on anyone's door and ask them to call the police.

                            Somehow he went from running with a spatial lead to
                            close contact fight.

                            and if you have to suppose he was lost, then you have reasonable doubt.

                            Essentially here's your theory.

                            "TM sees GZ, reads, fear, hate, rage, anger in his face and takes off running, he is so scared and terrified, he runs around lost for 4 minutes until he runs back into his pursuer
                            and GZ then throws a blow at TM, causing TM to strike back, they wrestle and GZ gets on top of him, shoots him
                            and fabricates a story".

                            Anyone of those elements falls apart and you have reasonable doubt.

                          •  then it was a terrible set of stupidity (0+ / 0-)

                            not quit my scenario, but i get your focus. What if G Zimmerman never pursues? Both individuals were lost at home, so to speak, one who lives there and one who visits. one is armed and dangerous and the other is talking on the phone up to his moment of death. One never announces he is neighborhood watch, the other is confronted and grabbed, pushes back and is shot cleanly in the heart. I think that they will render a verdict of manslaughter when asked to believe GZ story with no physical evidence other than a scrape on the head and a scratched nose. If they question why there is no DNA on martin and his hands are clean. ( They are, I saw the photo of the body at the scene He is unmarked by any blood of any kind. It's a very clear and very sad, my friend.) after administering a beating consisting of 20-25 head bashes, strangulation, suffocation, and nose pinching, then it's going to be muder 2, because there is no evidence that that occurred. if they disregard all evidence, and say , well, It could of happened kinda sorta the way G Z says, (even thought there is nothing to support that explanation) then he walks. I don't believe he'll walk

                          •  pushes back and is shot cleanly (0+ / 0-)

                            evidence doesn't show that.

                            the evidence shows the pistol was in contact with TMs clothing and a few inches from his chest.

                            if GZ managed a shot through the heart while being pushed,
                            then he's either the worlds best snapshooter or that is the most random of shots.  to be able to hit a center of mass target while getting shoved,  is most unlikely.

                            you shove someone who is drawing a gun, the bullet is as likely to hit the sky, or a house, as anything else.

                            you also left out something.

                            GZ had injuries to his head, how did he get them?  Did he
                            shoot TM, flip his body over,  and then have presence of mind to whack himself on the sidewalk all while people are switching on porchlights, coming out with flashlights,
                            and phones?

                          •  evidence doesn't show that. (0+ / 0-)

                            My scenario is this, GZ approaches TM, and confronts.TM why are you following me. No answer. No Identifying who he is.
                            GZ grabs TV and scuffle ensues. consistent with bump in phone conversation. Nose gets cut and head gets scratched.  no proof of head hitting concrete. GZ the heavier man with fight training mounts TM. Consistent with female eye witness
                            TM starts screaming Consistent with phone records
                            GZ grabs TM hoodie by collar towards him pulling up while firing point blank into chest Consistent to forensics
                            screams stop after shot consistent with evidence
                            GZ holsters weapon and rolls body over
                            GZ is interrogated and COMPLETELY CALM. Consistent with video
                            GZ is a pathological liar. Consistent with ALL known testimony
                            GZ kills first n****r absolute fact.
                            This scenario is what is being deliberated upon as we speculate the outcome. If there was no case he would have already been acquitted within an hour.
                            The debate is between M2 or MS
                            Zimmerman will not walk
                            My guess is MS

                          •  the longer the jury is out, (0+ / 0-)

                            the better it runs for the defendant.

                          •  he better it runs for the defendant. (0+ / 0-)

                            You were right, Ya know, Micheal Vick served more time for killing a dog than this POS will for stalking and killing an unarmed black boy. Now that is true justice!!!  But is it ? Been good chatting with you..........Again, you were right about the verdict.  However, i fear greatly now for my family, as they're not the right color in this country. You might not understand how that feels.

                          •  i'm sorry you feel this way (0+ / 0-)

                            everyone has a right to walk the streets un-accosted
                            but you also need to use a little street smarts.

                            if GZ were a robber, would you tell TM to confront him?

                            if GZ were a serial killer, would you tell TM to confront him?

                            if you could have told TM one piece of advice, what would it be?

                            If your kids run into someone following them, are you going to tell them to go home, or go to a place of refuge, or
                            are you going to tell them to go towards the unknown?

                            what's the advice you would give your kids?

                          •  what's the advice you would give your kids? (0+ / 0-)

                            Shoot first, ask questions later. Aim for his heart, and don't miss. Then, tell police he attacked you., of course?  I said I'm worried, not stupid. How's them street smarts, Skippy?

                            time to mow the lawn, nice Chit chat!

                          •  so when are you buying your kids guns? (0+ / 0-)

                            if you mean this, then, when will you buy them
                            guns and will you get them shoulder holsters
                            or will you advise them to tuck it into the waistband

                          •  i don't doubt GZ exagerrated the fight (0+ / 0-)

                            it's very easy when you get one in the windpipe to think it was ten.

                            it's also easy if someone is on your chest to think they are
                            choking you.

                            put aside the testimony of the GF,  Put aside GZs testimony,
                            Put aside the race of the two individuals.

                            you have a timeline, you have someone who has 4 minutes
                            to go 5-600 feet (My estimate based upon standard townhouses).  

                            now,

                               either a doughboy spent 4 minutes chasing TM silently
                            around the subdivision, right around and back close to the last point of view,  

                            or

                            TM gets lost and runs right back into the arms of his killer
                            who manages to get the jump on him overpower him, force him to the ground and shoot him

                            or

                            TM looks back realizes he's being followed by a chuckleheaded clown, fat, stupid, out of shape decides to
                            loop around a couple of houses and come up from behind him
                            hits him, drops him, and starts whacking on him. GZ then shoots from close contact.

                            Now look scenario 1 is ridiculous.  GZ never chased much faster then a 7-11 burrito.

                            Scenario 2 also seems unlikely.  Even if TM is lost, whats, the chance he runs right back to GZ and loses a fight?  TM was young, strong, healthy.  GZ was fat and doughy.  

                            I could see some argument for TM getting lost, but, still,
                            if you are lost, why didn't he call for help? Call his father, call his GF, call 911?  If he was lost, why didn't he ask for help. Ring doorbells, knock on doors.  set off car alarms?
                            If he was lost, why didn't he go to ground?  Lots of cars in parking spots, hide between them.

                            So what does that leave?

                            Scenario 3.

                            To make scenario 2 work, you need a smaller fatter, weaker person to overpower and be winning the fight.  

                            Take a look at the witness testimony.  One of the prosection witnesses saw TM on top of GZ, one of the others saw GZ on top.  

                            Average them you have two guys rolling around. Who is likely to prevail in that.  

                            Take the first witness, you have TM prevailing in a fight.
                            Take the second witness, you have GZ prevailing in a fight.

                            Do you really believe GZ would win in a fist fight with TM?

                            Scenario 3 is consistent with the timelines, the relative strengths of the people and the witness testimony.

        •  Assuming the story he told (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rantsposition

          is not false beyond a reasonable doubt. Again though, which story?

      •  Judge-jury agreement varies with the strength (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brooklyn137, Vita Brevis

        of evidence, among other things, but is reliably over 70%. So, unless judges don't care what the law is either, that's a bit of an overstatement, I think.

        When there's disagreement, it runs to judges being more likely to have convicted where the jury acquitted. Leaving aside (unrealistically) all the extraneous factors like publicity and outside pressures, if the prevailing view is that Judge Nelson would acquit if there were no jury here, that suggests the likelihood of a jury acquittal is even higher.

      •  I wish we could try Florida as an accomplice. n/t (7+ / 0-)
      •  Under Florida law, any killer would be not guilty (8+ / 0-)

        Two people go into a room, one shoots the other and comes back out. He says it was self defense. Under Florida law, it would be impossible to prove it's not self defense. Thus it appears that any unobserved murder would be impossible to prosecute. There is something wrong with this picture.

      •  If you believe z he's not guilty. The jury has (7+ / 0-)

        heard and watched z lie. Any reasonable person would have doubt about his veracity.

  •  Despite the prosecution claim that "common... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Knucklehead, johnny wurster, retLT

    sense" cancels reasonable doubt, it may do just the opposite.

    The faster this case fades from memory, the better.

    Sadly, it will be replaced by the next sensational matter that occupies the airwaves for ratings, to the exclusion of all other news of greater significance.

    •  Maybe. But maybe like Emmet Till, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sukeyna, scamperdo, Tonedevil, Tommy Aces

      Trayvon Martin's name will be long remembered no matter the verdict.  

      "Anyone who thinks Obama is like Nixon is a moron. More than that, a F###ING moron". Kos, 5-24-13

      by Lying eyes on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:24:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doubt it and hope not. (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever the outcome here, that would do a disservice to Till and trivialize his death in my view.

        This episode has become a made for media event driven by the quest for ratings.

        •  I'll have to respectfully disagree - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amsterdam

          This "episode" is about the murder of a black teenager without cause.  I don't think it's  a disservice to Till, in fact I think this case is a 21st century Till and, should z walk, would just prove we have taken only baby steps over 50 years between the two cases.

          "Anyone who thinks Obama is like Nixon is a moron. More than that, a F###ING moron". Kos, 5-24-13

          by Lying eyes on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:40:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But you were not there... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neuroptimalian

            so how can you be so sure?

            Till was lynched for whistling in public. His killers were acquitted in 67 minutes and later confessed.

            American Experience did a documentary about it. Do you think that will occur here?

            Do you really believe it is as cut and dried?

            If you are really interested in the state of where we are headed, read O'Mara's interview on the injection of race, or take in mind that a recent Rassmussen poll found that blacks consider themselves more racist than they find whites. It does not speak well to the way we address race in our society, and it's not all a factor of white privilege. When one starts with that perspective, I get the sense they have been reading too many books.

            Back in the day of Till, the Northern liberals loved to blame the South, even as segregation and poverty festered, and still does, much of it in places controlled by the liberals politically. It does not make this liberal proud.

            In other words, I think this case will not benefit, but hurt race relations because, like so many other things, it is not seen as a problem, but a political tool.

            •  Pray tell the names of those (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA

              places in the South controlled by liberals.  I have lived in Memphis (aka capitol of Miss.) Arkansas, Louisiana, North Florida (aka south Ga.) Virginia and North Carolina and have yet to be in a place with liberals in charge.

              As for being there, no, I wasn't there.  I was just across the riv er at a college in another state.  I was close. My knowledge doesn't come from books or watching a documentary. (although I've been exposed to both )  I understand the south of those days because I lived them and I understand today because I still live in them.

              I didn't say this case would "benefit" and I agree it could hurt race relations IF Zimmerman is acquitted.

              p.s.  if memory serves the 13 year old Till was not killed for whistling in public, he was killed because he allegedly whistled at a white woman in a country store and in those days that was enough to get you killed.    

              "Anyone who thinks Obama is like Nixon is a moron. More than that, a F###ING moron". Kos, 5-24-13

              by Lying eyes on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:21:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You miss the whole point... (0+ / 0-)

                1. I was speaking about Northern cities. And do you know that I have not also lived in the South?

                2. The documentary is testament that historians see this as something to disseminate. I do not believe this will have a lasting historical significance.

                3. Race relations have been hindered no matter the outcome.

                Lastly, saying Till whistled was the ostensible reason given to justify his lynching.

  •  ...watched most of the trial yesterday... (24+ / 0-)

    ...and today. Second degree murder would be my verdict if I were on the jury...

    Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

    by paradise50 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:44:35 PM PDT

  •  No matter what the verdict... (17+ / 0-)

    Let's remember justice is about the process, not the outcome.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:45:07 PM PDT

    •  indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Knucklehead, mikidee

      as a friend of mine wrote today
      http://jurydemocracy.wordpress.com/...

      As with the recent string of Supreme Court verdicts, the aim is for the institution to render reasoned and persuasive judgments that can sustain its legitimacy while seeing that justice is done. In the case of the jury, it has fared well, at least by the public’s estimation. Thus, cases like the Zimmerman trial don’t so much put the jury on trial and they let the jury do its work.

      Global warming & smoking cigarettes = Nothing to worry about? Those who deny climate science are ignorant, evil or worse. Google Fred Singer.

      by LaughingPlanet on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:51:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In the idealistic lawyer view of justice, yes... (28+ / 0-)

      But that's not the world we live in.  The outcome of this trial is absolutely crucial.  An acquittal is an open invitation for more wanna-be loser cops to go around with their gun, following and killing "suspicious looking people" and then claiming self-defense when they DARED to take exception to being following and profiled.

      •  an acquittal could also be an invitation to repeal (5+ / 0-)

        Stand Your Ground laws.  These laws should be repealed in the light of this case either way.

        The NRA would love for all of us to carry guns and go around standing our ground.  It would be great for business!

      •  No. (19+ / 0-)

        An acquittal, if that is what happens, is a statement by the jury that this prosecution, in this case, did not meet its burden of proving guilty (including disproving self-defense) beyond a reasonable doubt.  It may be that such a failure of proof means that a guilty person goes free.  But that's the price we have always paid for our system of justice, which despite its flaws is the best system of justice ever devised.  If, in this case, the failure of proof means that a person who you believe is guilty goes free, it certainly won't be the first time, and it certainly won't be the last.  

        An acquittal is an open invitation for more wanna-be loser cops to go around with their gun, following and killing "suspicious looking people" and then claiming self-defense when they DARED to take exception to being following and profiled.
        An acquittal is no more an "open invitation" for this than the  O.J. Simpson verdict was an "open invitation" for angry ex-husbands to slice up their ex-wives and anyone visiting those ex-wives,or than the  Casey Anthony verdict was an "open invitation" for women who didn't want the burden of a child to murder their children and then try to put the blame on their fathers.  

        An acquittal -- IF that is what happens -- is a statement that the prosecution, in this case, could not meet its burden of proof.  Nothing more, nothing less.

        •  No. Most jurisdictions do not recognize imperfect (9+ / 0-)

          self-defense.

          The theory underlying the doctrine is that when a defendant uses deadly force with an honest but unreasonable belief that it is necessary to defend himself, the element of malice, necessary for a murder conviction, is lacking.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Plus Zimmerman lied and showed malice.

          An acquittal would be an outrage.

        •  well said (0+ / 0-)

          thank you.

          •  Please define (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doroma, Tonedevil
            that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

            See that right there is a problem.....I know vets Personally who have not been diagnosed with anything YET and some who have can be startled and for that instance they fear they are facing imminent death or great bodily harm...And it does not just apply to veterans...it applies to anyone who has displayed startle reaction...It is what their mind is perceiving or triggering them to believe.

            You can't define it because what I may see as imminent danger another would not.   That whole thing of self defense needs to be actual threat of bodily harm.  What if someone had an unreasonable fear of something or someone which seems to be somewhat of the case in this matter IMO.

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:47:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It needs to be reasonable. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Pi Li, patbahn, Neuroptimalian

              Which means that the jury needs to ask, would a reasonable person in that situation, at that moment, think they need to use deadly force to prevent someone else from inflicting death or great bodily injury on them.  

              Typically, that means that there's some objective indication that the other person is about to inflict death or great bodily harm.  For example, the other person might be pointing a gun at you, or be coming at you violently, with arms raised about to swing at you, yelling that he is going to beat you senseless.  

              In this case, the defense claims two things, as I understand it:  (1) Martin was on top of Zimmerman, beating his head on concrete, while Zimmerman yelled help and no one came, which -- according to the defense -- would lead a "reasonable person" to belief that Martin was going to keep beating on his head unless he did something to stop it; and (2) the defense claims that Martin saw Zimmerman's gun and reached for it.  The defense also claims that Martin also said something to the effect of "you're gonna die."  

              IF -- the big IF -- Zimmerman's story were true about what was happening at the moment he decided to use deadly force, I think it would probably qualify as meeting the "reasonable belief" standard.  That is why the burden is on the defense to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this is NOT the situation Zimmerman was in when he shot Martin.  

              •  But the problem with that is a reasonable person (7+ / 0-)

                who was fearing for his life and if I were a juror would consider this.....If I was that fearful regarding my head and injury sustained or not...visible or not like blood pressure.. I would go to the doctor to make sure I was OK.
                I would consider that a reasonable person who feared for their life would feel the need for some sort of counseling even if they were given a  clean OK from the hospital.  After all I had just been threatned with bodily harm enough to kill a person but not scared enough to be traumatized?   I would consider that ...especially having said what he said on Sean Hannity.

                We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                by Vetwife on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:27:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's an argument that Martin was not (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pi Li, Neuroptimalian, VClib

                  beating on Zimmerman's head with any real force.

                  If that were happening, the Zimmerman would probably have been justified in using force, but not deadly force.

                  I would consider that a reasonable person who feared for their life
                  Keep in mind, it's death OR great bodily harm.  You don't have to reasonably believe that someone is going to kill you if you don't stop him.  You just have to reasonably believe that someone is going to really hurt you badly if you do not stop him.  And neither requires any actual injury at all -- only a reasonable belief that the other person is going to cause you great bodily harm.
                  •  The jury has to believe Zimmerman (7+ / 0-)

                    That requires that the jury believes each facet of Zimmerman's statements, even the ones that contradict each other. The only witness, alive, is Zimmerman as to whether or not he was struck, pounded, threatened and finally pushed to the point of using deadly force because Trayvon was going to shoot him.

                    The only person's word you can take is GZ's and if he lies to you once, or twice or three times, which time should you believe him and not the evidence as presented?

                    •  This is just not correct. (6+ / 0-)

                      The jury does not have to believe Zimmerman.  

                      If the jury thinks that it is possible that he made up the whole thing about Martin being on top of him and beating on him when the shot was fired, but they are not completely sure, they are supposed to find Zimmerman not guilty.  The prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman was NOT acting in self-defense.  

                      The judge told the jury that in the jury instructions this afternoon:

                      If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty
                      •  Very disingenous (10+ / 0-)

                        If the jury believes Zimmerman is lying about what happened leading up to the shooting then of course they will believe beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not acting in self defense.

                      •  I don't see how what I said is wrong (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bluezen, amsterdam, emal, etherealfire

                        I think that you can only look at things as a lawyer while most people look at things logically. As the judge instructed for a 2nd degree murder charge there are three points 1 Trayvon Martin is dead 2 George Zimmerman killed him and 3 It was an act  by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.

                        The first two are facts the last is what the jury has to decide.


                         An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is
                        an act or series of acts that:1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do
                        serious bodily injury to another, and 2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent, and 3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.
                        In that 'series of acts' the jury must use 'ordinary judgment' to believe Zimmerman as to why he was out of his car, if Martin attacked him, how much he was hurt, why he thought Martin was a 'suspect', how he got the gun out, whether he was in fear for his life etc. If he lies about one thing, you can use your 'ordinary judgment' to make a determination as to guilt.
                      •  This makes no sense (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        emal, DSPS owl, vernonbc, etherealfire

                        "If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty"

                        I keep seeing this quote from the judge posted, but it makes absolutely no sense.
                        If I have no doubt at all that he was justified in using self defense, then I find him not guilty by reason of self defense.  Right?  So why would I also find him not guilty if I had reasonable doubt that he was justified?

                        •  O'Mara spent a lot o time on this in closing (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pi Li, Neuroptimalian, VClib

                          (as all defense lawyers do, by the way).  

                          What it means is that, in order to convict, the jury has to be convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that, at the time Zimmerman shot Martin  (the jury instructions refer to 'the circumstances by which [Zimmerman] was surrounded at the time the force was used"), Zimmerman was not in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm from Martin.  As a practical matter, in this case, the jury has to believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Martin was not on top of Zimmerman beating his head when Zimmerman shot Martin, or that if he was, it would not have put a reasonable person in fear of death or great bodily harm.  

                          If the jury says, "I kind of think that Martin probably wasn't on top of Zimmerman beating his head when Zimmerman shot him, but I'm not really sure," that means not guilty.  

                          •  I do not believe that juries,,any juries can (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JerryNA, etherealfire

                            push away all emotions.   I just don't .   It is like saying stop breathing or you must not have a single emotion during this trial.   The defense also said put away common sense ...I don't sit on juries because I do have emotions and I do think my emotions could enter into that logistic of rule of law and by the way I think people who do sit on juries who CAN push away all sympathy are not telling the truth or just beyond human.  That is like saying..do not consider what you just heard in coming to your conclusion.
                            It's out there.. the jury heard...how does one unhear and not be affected?   Nice thought but not reality.

                            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                            by Vetwife on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:07:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Is there a case for self-defense without Z's word? (0+ / 0-)

                        Is the word of someone with a motive for and a record of perjury sufficient to create a reasonable doubt?

                        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                        by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:18:15 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There is other evidence that tends to (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Pi Li, Dogs are fuzzy, VClib

                          support self-defense, specifically Good's testimony (he saw Martin on top, "MMA style," doing "ground and pound," and the defense's expert Dr. DiMaio, who testified as to several ways that the forensics were consistent with the self-defense claim.  

                          Whether that's convincing or not is up to the jury, of course.  But even if Zimmerman's statements had not been introduced, I suspect that the testimony of these two might have been enough to get self-defense instructions.  

                    •  Mylies - the jury doesn't need to believe anything (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pi Li

                      that Zimmerman said to find him not guilty. They only have to believe two things, the witness who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman and that while on top of Zimmerman Martin was hitting him with enough force to make Zimmerman believe he was in danger of great bodily harm. Neither of those elements have anything to do with what Zimmerman said.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:26:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  What is this shit? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Patango, MsPlasmodesmata, Tonedevil

                    Zimmerman had hardly any injuries at all afterwards.  It's obvious Martin wasn't beating on his head with any real force.  

                    For fuck's sake, Martin was hitting him so hard that his nose wasn't broken and he had only a few minor cuts and swelling.  

                    You are giving way too much credence to Zimmerman's story when the lack of any significant injuries on him already disproves that he was in danger of great bodily injury.  

                    I don't think your interpretation of the law/circumstances is correct.  If it was, that would mean if someone throws a punch at you, you could just pull out a gun and kill them.  I think that is just utterly ridiculous.  

                    There has to be some tangible evidence that you're in danger of great bodily injury, not just "oh, I got in a little scuffle, and I was scared."  

                    •  You are ignoring the fact that there was evidence (0+ / 0-)

                      to support the defense's story on Zimmerman's injuries from Dr. DiMaio. The jury may choose not to believe that evidence, or it may raise a reasonable doubt.  

                      But it is misleading to imply that the defense's story on the injuries depends entirely on Zimmerman.  The defense called Dr. DiMaio, who -- literally -- wrote the book in the area, and he supported the defense theory.  

                      So, each side had their experts.  It depends on whether the jury believes the prosecution's version beyond a reasonable doubt.  

                      •  considering... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil

                        Considering that Mr. Zimmerman seemed calm, in good physical condition, moments after the fight and said he needed no medical attention and considering that he was walking around without a headache and ready to go to work the next morning, it seems that the "superficial injuries" estimation is more reliable than the defense professional's claim.  

                        •  That is the kind of thing that the jury may (0+ / 0-)

                          consider deciding how much weight to give to the evidence. Dr. DiMaio's credentials were not questioned, but that does not mean that they jury must believe, or disbelieve, what he said on the stand.

                          Your comment does not mean that there is no evidence.  It simply means that the jury may choose whether they believe the evidence.  

                          The comment I responded to was wrong to suggest that the story of self-defense depends entirely on the word of Zimmerman.  There IS other evidence to support that theory.  The question is how much weight to give that evidence.  

                •  you have good medical benefits. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dogs are fuzzy

                  for someone working a crappy job without bennies?

                  they need to be very careful going to the ER.

                  that's 2 grand if you don't have coverage.

            •  it's the reasonable person test. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neuroptimalian

              it's not what's reasonable to you, that's subjective,
              it's what an Objective person who represents the community would do.

              A car backfires and a PTSD Vet pulls his gun and shoots the person behind him.  That's subjectively reasonable, but objectively unreasonable.

              A teenager on a dark street walking towards a man,
              fires a starter pistol. the man reacts by drawing a gun
              and killing the teen.

              There it's subjectively reasonable and objectively reasonable.

              now place an ordinary person from the community into these situations.

              there you go.

      •  what you call daring to take exception (0+ / 0-)

        zimmerman is called aggravated assault.

        the jury is going to have to sort that out.

      •  That's a pretty substantial burden... (10+ / 0-)

        ...to put on six jurors.

        The outcome of this trial is absolutely crucial.  An acquittal is an open invitation for more wanna-be loser cops to go around with their gun, following and killing "suspicious looking people" and then claiming self-defense when they DARED to take exception to being following and profiled.
        I believe that Zimmerman is a murderer, and I believe that he should be found guilty of manslaughter at the very least.

        However, by suggesting that if the jurors are not convinced by the prosecution's argument and find him not guilty of second-degree murder, they are issuing an "open invitation" for more killings, is to put far too much weight and responsibility on them.

        Their job—their only job—is to decide this case, based solely on the strength of the arguments put forth by the prosecution and the defense.

        If a juror is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder but votes to convict him anyway due to their view of the societal repercussions of a not-guilty verdict, it will not have been a just decision, even if it is the outcome we want to see.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:36:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Raffy - Trayvon's parents don't agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:54:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds Like A Platitude To Me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hester, milton333

      I'd like to believe in that definition of justice.....but I just can't.

      For example, I'd hardly call what happened in the OJ Simpson case "justice"....even though the process played out as it should have.

      Justice needs BOTH the process AND an outcome that gives the people their "just" desserts...neither alone will suffice.

      •  Completely disagree. (6+ / 0-)
        Justice needs BOTH the process AND an outcome that gives the people their "just" desserts...neither alone will suffice.
        Our system of justice does not guarantee that someone gets their "just desserts."  Justice, in our system, is about the process -- a guarantee that any time the state charges someone with a crime, the state must prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and that anyone accused of a crime is guaranteed due process -- safeguards to assure that his rights are not precipitously taken away simply because someone has decided, BEFORE the process takes place, what his "just desserts" are.  

        Our justice system IS the process.  The "just desserts" are what the process determines.  It is not a perfect system, but it is by far the best system that we imperfect humans have developed. The best we can do to assure justice is to assure that the process is handled in accordance with our Constitution and laws.  If so, the outcome of that process is justice -- whether we individually agree with it or not.

        In simple terms, if you were accused of a crime, you would not want the state to take an opinion poll of the public to determine whether you are guilty or not.  You would want to be assured of your due process, and your right to have the outcome of the accusations against you decided under that process.  

        George Zimmerman, regardless of what anyone thinks of him personally, is entitled to the same thing.  

        •  Just deserts (0+ / 0-)

          Just sayin'

        •  "Justice, in our system, is about the process" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patango

          Yes....and note you needed the qualifier "in our system" to modify the word justice.   The original post - to which I responded - was broader. It claimed to define justice itself.

          Let's remember justice is about the process, not the outcome.
          That statement is flatly false.   Justice is necessarily about both. Just as the "right" outcome is unjust if reached by random chance, opinion poll  or any other flawed process, so is the "wrong" outcome unjust even if reached by a perfectly fair process.  

          (And by "right"/"wrong" here I'm referring to what corresponds to what actually happened - whether that is knowable or not.)

          •  How do "we" determine if the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, denise b, Neuroptimalian

            outcome is just????

            That's the point.  We don't take a poll, after a verdict, and say, "how many think he was guilty?" and see if that comports with the verdict.  

            The method we use to determine if the outcome is just is to determine whether the process is just.  If the process comported with our constitution and laws, we, as a collective society, have no other way to determine if the outcome is just.  We have to accept that a just process is a just outcome.  

            We cannot have our process subject to some kind of public opinion poll on whether the jury reached the correct verdict in order to determine if the outcome was "justice."  

            •  We Don't! (4+ / 0-)

              We all have our opinions, but one can't "know" if an outcome is "just" without knowing what really happened.  That's part of the whole fucking point - no process alone can guarantee justice!  The verdict must match what happened in reality to be actual, meaningful justice.  

              We cannot have our process subject to some kind of public opinion poll on whether the jury reached the correct verdict in order to determine if the outcome was "justice."

              Of for fucks sake....we are not talking about trivial fucking opinion polls! We are talking about the meaning of the word justice!.  A verdict can be unjust in reality even if everyone thinks it was just. And vice-versa.  You are claiming that it is justice to convict the innocent and justice  to absolve the guilty....just so long as a fair process is used in each case.  

              That definition robs the concept of justice of damn near all of its ethical value.

              I'll bow out on that note because frankly I don't think there's an honest exchange going on here...

              •  One More Point And I'll Shut Up (4+ / 0-)

                Even if justice could be about process - it would not be our process.  Our process, at its very best is designed to not get at the truth maximally.   Maximal truth would involve getting close enough to have errors distributed fairly evenly on both sides of "correct".  

                Our system is intentionally designed to err on the side of letting guilty people go to minimize convicting innocent people.  You and I can both think that's a good thing (I do and I presume you do)....but is IS an intentional bias built into the system that necessarily and intentionally increases the quantity of error in our verdicts.  Thus decreasing for all meaningful discussion the quantity of actual justice.

                Defining justice solely in terms of process is a bad idea for several reasons....but this is perhaps the biggest.  It puts enough distance between justice and truth to actually damn the very thing you are most trying to defend - the process built on presumption of innocence.

                Ok, I'll shut up now.   Probably not the best place for an argument of abstract definitions, anyway.   Sometimes meaningless platitudes just set me off....  :)

              •  chaboard says (0+ / 0-)

                " I don't think there's an honest exchange going on here "

                You nailed it there  

                Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                by Patango on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:34:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  So you agree with the argument that proof of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tommy Aces

              innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt (such as DNA evidence which was not available at the original trial) is not and should not be enough to get someone released or even stop their execution because the trial process at the time was comported with our constitution and laws at the time?

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:52:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Scottsboro 9 (0+ / 0-)

              Sworn jury, public trial, professional defense in the second trial, and I truly hope you agree that the outcome was unjust.

              Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

              by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:24:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's because it is one n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tommy Aces
    •  says who? Maybe to you lawyers justice is (6+ / 0-)

      about process and not outcome, but to us plebeians (aka jurors) it is about both. Justice is not served if a skilled lawyer gets a guilty murderer off nor if an incompetent one sends an innocent man to jail.

      If George Zimmerman walks then justice will not have been served.

      "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

      by hester on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:36:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In other words... (9+ / 0-)
        If George Zimmerman walks then justice will not have been served.
        ...if the jury agrees with you, justice has been served. If they don't, and it hasn't. I see.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:52:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, how have Zimmerman's lawyers proven self (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tommy Aces

          defense? I am still confused. I admit I have not been following the play by play, but the bullet points of the past few days have been helpful in seeing strategy from each side. To me "Justice" is not going to be served either way, no matter how you slice it this family will still not have their son and that is the real shame.

          "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

          by Patate on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:17:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Patate - Zimmerman's counsel doesn't have to prove (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Patate, Pi Li, Neuroptimalian

            self defense. Under Florida's criminal statutes the prosecution has to prove it wasn't self defense.

            There is no doubt this was all a tragedy, particularly for the Martin family.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:39:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks. What type of proof do they need for that? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ltsply2, Tommy Aces, white blitz

              Need expert testimony or point out discrepancies in Zimmerman's statements to the cops. If the forensic is compromised, his statements are just as important aren't they?

              "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

              by Patate on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:48:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This (8+ / 0-)

                I get the argument that the prosecution needs to prove it wasn't self defense beyond a reasonable doubt, but I don't understand how it is possible to do that (beyond what they have done here).

                If I go down to Florida and pick some random kid at night with no one around, walk up to him and start beating on him, maybe take a blow from him, then shoot him, and tell everyone that it is self defense, how could it POSSIBLY be proven that I am lying.

                It seems to me that if you believe this interpretation of the law, then it is IMPOSSIBLE to ever convict someone of murder (or manslaugther, etc) in these situations unless they voluntarily confess.

                Take it easy, but take it.

                by ltsply2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:43:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is going to be terrible no matter what. (0+ / 0-)

                  Distressing and disturbing. Thanks.

                  "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

                  by Patate on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:39:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  ltsply2 - it's actually the law in Florida (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Neuroptimalian, Pi Li

                  but it's much more complex than the hypothetical you outlined. However, I have run out of steam explaining the intricacies of Florida criminal law.  I am just glad the courtroom part of the trial is over, and it's with the jury.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:50:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Two points. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib, Neuroptimalian, Pi Li

                  First, it's not your subjective belief about being in danger of death or great bodily harm.  It's a "reasonable" belief.  That's an objective standard -- what a reasonable person in that situation would believe.

                  Second, people who claim self-defense in situations where they killed and nobody else was around get convicted all the time.  Jodi Arias is a recent and pretty famous example -- she killed that guy in his home, with no one else there, and claimed self-defense.  She was convicted nonetheless.  The prosecution in those kinds of cases typically relies on forensic evidence (angles of bullets, type and number of wounds, etc.) and the condition of the surrounding evidence (was there other evidence of a fight?)  That's the kind of things they'd have to rely on in your hypothetical, along with maybe evidence of your hitting on him, whether you had a motive, stuff like that.  

                  •  Right but (0+ / 0-)

                    In this case we have the angle of the wound being suggestive and the "surrounding evidence" and yet in this case there is not enough "proof" that it isn't self-defense.

                    Take it easy, but take it.

                    by ltsply2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:05:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  coffeetalk says (0+ / 0-)
                    First, it's not your subjective belief about being in danger of death or great bodily harm.  It's a "reasonable" belief.
                    Correct , Trayvon had a "reasonable" belief that when GZ pulled the gun on him , he was fighting for his life , and he turned out to be right

                    And these parsing of words mean little to a working class juror , they were swayed one way or another by what was presented the last few weeks , and George is reasonably guilty of murdering Trayvon

                    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                    by Patango on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:33:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  VClib says (0+ / 0-)
              " Zimmerman's counsel doesn't have to prove self defense under Florida's criminal statutes the prosecution has to prove it wasn't self defense."
              GZ shot and killed an unarmed kid , so it wasn't self defense , I'd say the prosecution proved that , along with the facts

              Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

              by Patango on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:24:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  There's guilty and then there's guilty (10+ / 0-)

        We bias the system in favor of acquittal to cabin the power of the state, and because the consequences of conviction are so severe.  

      •  hester - justice has been served (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, coffeetalk, Neuroptimalian, Patango

        The person who killed Trayvon Martin was brought to trial. The state put on a good case, given the evidence and witnesses they had to work with. Zimmerman had a robust defense team. That's how we define justice in the US court system, not based on outcomes

        It's now up to the jury, but any verdict they bring does not diminish the fact that justice has been served.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:21:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe according to the law. Maybe. Or according (2+ / 0-)

          to how it's defined here in the US. The larger truth is that if Zimmerman is guilty and is acquitted, then justice in a more than legal sense, (which is how must of us plebs see it) will not have been served.

          YOu can hit me over the head with the legal issues all day, but there are larger truths which even the law cannot address.

          We can agree to differ on this. I am talking about something other than pure law. I am talking about what is right.

          "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

          by hester on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:28:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I used to agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, amsterdam

          A while back, there was a case before the SC, don't remember which one to cite, but basically a person had been convicted of murder and at some point after the conviction, what seemed pretty clear and convincing evidence emerged that the person was innocent, but was denied a new trial because of "process" (can't remember specifics, but they aren't important regarding my point).

          I can't even remember if Scalia was in the majority or minority, but he felt the necessity to write his own opinion to show the extremity of his views.

          He essentially said that once a person receives a trial that was fair at the time it took place, the state met it's burdens and the plaintiff had no cause to bring suit in the first place.  He was taking the "just process is justice" argument to an extreme, but he actually said, in effect, as long as your trial was "just" at the time it took place, it is "just" forevermore and that the state had no burden no matter what new evidence may come to light.

          I wish I could remember the specific case so I could show you his actual words.  It was a shocking revelation to me, and I have refused to give Scalia any credit as a jurist since.  If he has been "right" about anything since, it is purely a case of an extremely demented blind squirrel finding the occasional nut.

          Government can't restrict free speech, but corporations can? WTF

          by kyoders on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:39:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Scalia on Troy Davis (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, CaliSista

            "[t]his court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent."

            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:34:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  More than one case found that innocence inadequate (0+ / 0-)

            Scalia wrote dissent in the case "In re Troy Anthony Davis", 2009.  See http://www.supremecourt.gov/...

            Unfortunately, this is not the only case where the Supreme Court has allowed a known innocent person to die on procedural grounds.  There is also Herrera vs. Collins in 1993.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            I personally find this disgusting, and believe that provable innocence should over-rule technical process, convenience of the government, and in most cases, most reasonable expense (e.g. DNA testing).

        •  Oops (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hester, JerryNA, amsterdam

          Boy was I off.  The case was an appeal for a new trial by Troy Davis.  Here's Scalia's opinion: WARNING: rancid excretions of a sick and twisted mind.

          But I think I was right in that he has taken the "a just process is justice" to an extreme.  He very clearly states that even if a person can convince a court that he "actually innocent", it would be just if that person were ultimately executed anyway, so long as the initial conviction was at a trial that was "just" at the time it took place.  Obviously, Davis' lawyers weren't able to convince any court that he was innocent, but even if he had, Scalia thinks it's just fine to execute him anyway.

          I also find it rather twisted that the evaluation of whether new evidence justifies a new trial completely discounts the notion of presumed innocence.  The judges are substituting their opinion of what a jury might or might not have found instead of allowing a jury to actually decide the issue.  If the defendant should be considered innocent absent the prosecution proving otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt, it seems the only way to find out is to let a jury hear the testimony, or lack of it.  If the prosecution's case was strong enough without the recanted testimony to convict, then so be it.  But absent a new trial, I don't see how you can view the original conviction as "just".

          This seems an extension of this whole idea that the process is what's important, outcome be damned.

          Government can't restrict free speech, but corporations can? WTF

          by kyoders on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:42:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  kyoders - I am familiar with the Davis case (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, kyoders, JerryNA

            and it's much more complicated than your comment can capture. However, I understand your point.

            As it relates to the Zimmerman trial all that Trayvon's parents asked for was for Zimmerman to be arrested and a trial. They said they would live with the verdict, regardless of the outcome. Here is one of the news stories on that point.

            http://www.cnn.com/...

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:03:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JerryNA, VClib

              I am not a lawyer, but I did read the opinion.  I realize the opinion is about more than just what I referenced above.  But he did literally write that it was not unconstitutional to execute EVEN IF the plaintiff could convince the lower court of "actual innocence".

              Apparently the lower court, after reviewing the evidence, decided it wasn't enough to warrant a new trial, so his hypothetical would not apply to the outcome of that particular case.  But that does not in any way excuse Scalia's statement.  He claims that even if that lower court found that the evidence was credible enough to warrant a new trial, it would be fine if no new trial resulted and it would be fine to go ahead with the execution.  I don't think too many people would agree that allowing a demonstrably innocent person (his hypothetical) to be executed is just.

              I actually intended this as a reply to Pi Li's assertion that the outcome is irrelevant to whether justice is served.  Scalia's opinion is founded on that idea, or at least the part I referenced is.  Treating that principle as absolute could, if Scalia's opinion held sway, make it perfectly ok to convict innocent people if a process could be constructed that allows that to happen without in some way violating some other principle enshrined in law or court precedent.  I would like to think that can't be done, but I know better.

              Government can't restrict free speech, but corporations can? WTF

              by kyoders on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:54:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              And just to be clear, I think Zimmerman is receiving due process.  I think the prosecution had a tough case with little physical evidence to go on.  I also think Zimmerman probably did commit at least manslaughter, if not murder 2.  But if the jury isn't convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, I think he should be acquitted.  I'd like to think I would do the same if I were on the jury and wasn't convinced to the legal standard.

              Government can't restrict free speech, but corporations can? WTF

              by kyoders on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:02:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I dispute this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, Pi Li, Villanova Rhodes

        Our whole criminal justice system is based on the presumption of innocence. We all know that even guilty people have to be acquitted if the case against them has not been proven. We all know that people get away with crimes every day because the evidence to convict them isn't there. There is nothing unusual about this - it happens every day of the week. We accept it because it's better than the alternative. The guilty are not always punished, but it's the closest thing to justice that we can come up with.

        And, I might add, it's more often the conservatives than the liberals who are bent out of shape by guilty people getting off. We are usually the ones behind giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused. Except, apparently, when we aren't.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:24:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  An incompetent lawyer is a process failure (0+ / 0-)

        Verdicts can be and are overturned when lawyers screw up so badly that judges have to notice.

        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

        by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:25:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Process. Our system. Let's also remember that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, JerryNA, Dogs are fuzzy, CaliSista

      under our system of justice, the privacy rights of millions of Americans are determined in a closed proceeding that produces sealed orders and, for all we know, unfettered access to all of our communications. That is, for now, the process that is due.

      But outcomes matter. And sometimes, the drip, drip, drip of outcomes perceived to be illegitimate can lead to a change in what process is due, the rules of procedure, etc. See, e.g., Batson. This case, like any other case, is (potentially) one data point, one drop in that drip, drip, drip.

      More often than not, I'm one of those who would post such an "in our system" platitude. I probably have, although I don't recall doing so about this case. I respect the system and think it has served us better than the alternatives, but I don't worship it. If it is not producing just outcomes, or if its errors are systematically disadvantaging (to put it mildly) discrete groups in our society, just throwing up our hands -- or worse, smugly celebrating -- and saying "well, it's our system, the very bestest system in all the world" is perverse.

      Yeah, it's our system. And a lot of our friends, fellow kossacks, and neighbors think it's -- at least for them -- a pretty crappy one. So when the cameras pack up, what are we going to do about it? Because I'm pretty sure they're not going to suddenly find it sunshine and roses no matter what the outcome of this process turns out to be.

      (I could've picked a whole lot of comments to attach this to, Pi Li, since the point's been asserted many times. Not personal to you. I think you've been accurate, helpful, and resolutely good natured in the threads I've read.)  

      •  I agree, it's a platitude (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stellaluna, Villanova Rhodes, VClib

        But it's one that in general I believe in, and think there's a lot of truth to.

        I also agree it's not perfect..far from it. But as someone who's pretty familiar with the legal systems in other Western countries, I still think the US system one of the best in the world, considering the constraints of the constitution and American system of government.  As you mentioned, I agree that people from discrete groups, particularly those without wealth and people of colour, might not feel that way, and I agree with that assessment. Wealth, in particular, often dictates the type of justice people get.

        Yes, outcomes matter. And guilty people go free and innocent people go to jail. This will happen in any system, and the more repressive, the more the latter will happen. The more free, the more likely the former will happen. But in the context of a jury trial, I believe justice is defined by the justice system working (flawed as it is), and not any individual outcome we may not agree with.

        (I could've picked a whole lot of comments to attach this to, Pi Li, since the point's been asserted many times. Not personal to you. I think you've been accurate, helpful, and resolutely good natured in the threads I've read.)  
        And no worries, I didn't take anything you said personally. We don't have to agree to keep it civil. :)

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:00:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We agree, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li

          I've made all those arguments myself. What's on my mind is probably best characterized as Daily Kos meta, and as such I think I'll leave it unsaid here, except to note that our shared view that "how we define justice in an individual case is a just process" is not the lens through which many others view the system, and that their lenses -- often wider than our own -- are also valid.

          Another time. Cheers.

          •  VR - interestingly it's the lens of TM's parents (0+ / 0-)

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:52:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's also Al Sharpton's, and there are (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Pi Li, amsterdam

              understandable reasons each party would express it at this moment whether it is true or false. It is also my own view when I'm talking about a particular case. But let's take the obvious: suppose you deliver what we would all agree is a fair trial each and every time, but the only people you put on trial are African American men?

              A single case is not the system, and to not get that the people getting angrier and angrier and angrier here aren't reacting that way because they just aren't smart enough to understand your brilliance, to think that surely all will be fine if you just lawyersplain it to them one more -- or 85 more -- times is ... well, I don't even have a word I want to type here. ("You" is not directed to you personally, mostly. I didn't think you were a lawyer, but so many people have referred to you as such that I must have gotten that wrong.)

              Mind you, I'm a natural member of that camp. But the level of social cluelessness -- a level not often witnessed in lawyers outside of IP -- or perhaps disregard for the sensibilities of others -- witnessed in lawyers of all specialties -- is mindblowing to me. I think most people have done well at ignoring both sneakily racist comments and spurious accusations of racism, but at this point, otherwise sensible people are forming up circles around perceived combatants and saying "let's you and him/her fight."

              People have a right to make sure no comment goes unanswered, no misstatement uncorrected, no insult unavenged. It's well within the rules, but these choices are not without consequences for the community. I hope it's worth it.

              And that's my meta. Or part of it. Small part, actually. :)

              •  VR - thank you for a very thoughtful reply (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Villanova Rhodes, Pi Li

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:37:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  VClib pointed out what Trayvon's parents said... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                ...about respecting the process, and accepting the verdict, whatever it is.

                And I agree with that. We should accept the decision of the jury, no matter what it is. Indeed, we must accept it, even if we disagree with it.

                I can't say with any certainty if Zimmerman is guilty or not, I wasn't there that night. He's certainly not "innocent", as I believe he has at least some moral responsibility for what he did. Whether he has legal responsibility again is a decision the jury must make. And I certainly can't predict what that verdict will be, as I said before that's a fool's game. Anyone who thinks they know what the jury will do, or puts a % on this verdict or that is just guessing. All I can do is evaluate the legal aspects of this case, and make my own judgement on whether or not the state has met its burden.

                What I can say, again, is that the defence's biggest worry, by far, is a manslaughter conviction, and I'd imagine if Zimmerman is found guilty, it will be of manslaughter. But as for what they will actually do? Who knows. I've tried many cases where, what the lawyers thing is important the jury doesn't even notice...and the things they think are important are things we didn't even think about.

                But again, whatever the conviction, that's how our system works, imperfect as it is, and as Trayvon's parents so eloquently said, we should accept it.

                Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                by Pi Li on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:59:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Pi Li - Trayvon's parents agree with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Pi Li

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 06:53:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess everyone has a different level of pain, (15+ / 0-)

    but I've bonked my head on the bottom of my desk on more than one occasion and damn near knocked myself out... dizzy, stars, the whole works.  I don't think I'd be able to grab my c*ck let alone my Glock if I'd had my noggin bounced off a sidewalk a few times as the prosecution indicates happened.

    Again, that's just me - but for some reason that part of the evening's events really doesn't jive with my experience.

    "We don't analyze the behavioural traits of people who carry weapons. We're looking for terrorists," -- TSA spokesman.

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:48:24 PM PDT

    •  I think you mean as the "defense" (9+ / 0-)

      indicates happened.

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:03:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i've knocked myself out (0+ / 0-)

      i've also been in a fight.

      They are fast chaotic, and things happen.

    •  here4tehbeer's comment 1st time I have smiled (8+ / 0-)

      at anything about this case.

      Down here a lot of people have a little more positive thoughts about which way the jury will go. I still have a lot of hope for a Manslaughter conviction but hope for Murder 2.

      From the start this case has flooded the local media and the whole trial was broadcast live on just about every local channel. gavel to gavel and then for the experts comments. Even the local cable channel that everyone tunes to for local Florida weather when storms hit is the zippy trial.

      When the negative comments first started with only ganstas wear hoodies, people only only had to be reminded what day it was and what was happening in central Florida that day to remember there were photos in the media of tens of thousands of everyday people wearing a hoodie all that day and that night. If I remember correctly a certain high level politician even commented on the style of clothing worn that day just a few miles from the scene of the shooting. So most people stopped listening to the attempted smear of Treavon's reputation before it really got started.

      It seems only the people who are obviously high on Foxigen or ones who are very strong 2nd amendment proponents think Zippy was actually protecting himself.

      As a retired LEO I have seen several of these Walter Mitty types with guns. They have applied to to become a Cop but was found wanting even by the low standards of even small town law enforcement. I have had conversations with Security Guards, Bouncers, Crime Watch members, even some rookie cops who have dreamed and planned out the how and what of all the scenarios where they come out the hero.

      This is how Zimmerman had his story down pat because in his twisted mind Treavon Martin was the "Suspect", the bad guy and lil George was the Hee Row. Zimmerman had played this out several times in his mind where the punk ass criminal had the gall to attack him, and being the cool-minded hero was able to overcome overwhelming force and keep his shit together and save the day, the neighborhood and his family from a terrible criminal punk that chose the wrong badass to screw with.

      Most of the people I have talked to down here bring up the fact that one was a child and one was a adult armed with a gun and we teach our children to run from the boogieman, the molester and all other bad men. And for some reason the vast majority of these same people are very conservative in their politics, but do think Zimmerman went way past the line and deserves some punishment. Like I said before there are a few who think otherwise but almost everyone of those had made some other statement that tells they have not considered anything other than Zimmerman had the absolute right to carry a gun and chase down anyone who was not white carried a sign stating they were not a criminal thug punk. Very few have stated the actual facts of the case "as reported" and then say Zimmerman is not guilty.

      So I hope and pray justice is carried out by the Jury and I know juries can go either way and it might not make sense to us not on the jury but I am hoping and still thinking there will be a conviction.

      Sorry for the rambling comment I have been interrupted several times by calls and hope the comment makes as much sense as it did in my mind when I started.

      •  I paid attention to the Rodney King trial, and I (0+ / 0-)

        paid attention to the DC Sniper trial.  I really didn't give a whit about OJ, and didn't know who or what Jodi Arias (sp?) was until I finally felt compelled to look it up (after which point I really didn't care).

        I can't really say I've been following the Zimmerman trial, although it's been hard to avoid the last few days.

        Not following it doesn't mean I don't care about it, but I only have so much brain time and with the ongoing GOP assault on this country I have to ration.

        I don't know that there will ever be "justice" for Trayvon... at least not in a tangible sense.  I'm not seeing any laws changing to address Cowboy Carry or Shoot First, and as long as there are people with Zimmerman's mentality and the hardware to back it up, these things are going to keep happening.

        Or maybe those changes will come after the verdict. I don't really know.

        "We don't analyze the behavioural traits of people who carry weapons. We're looking for terrorists," -- TSA spokesman.

        by here4tehbeer on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 06:25:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well I had a 10 pound son on my bed at home with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milton333

      a midwife and not so much as an aspirin, and some women can't make it past admitting before they want to be knocked out. I wasn't scared and could handle the pain, some can't.  Doesn't mean that either circumstance or the woman's reaction to that pain and fear is the correct one to have nor that one is real and one is fake.  

       It's all how your own fear and pain threshold is wired.  If Z was a really a big wuss, and it looks like that might be the case...then first pound of the head on a cement slab and he might have seen Jesus in his mind.  

  •  "hey black guys rob houses all the time, amirite?" (38+ / 0-)
    Given that there had been a rash of break-ins and thefts in the neighborhood involving young black men, O'Mara said, the suspicion was not unreasonable.
    (spits)

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:48:59 PM PDT

  •  That's a pretty clever graph... (8+ / 0-)

    ...if you want to distract from the fact that none of the supposed "doubts" are in any way reasonable.

  •  0% chance of 2nd degree conviction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, patbahn, milton333

    About: 25% chance of manslaughter conviction, 50% hung jury, 25% not guilty.
    Those are my probability estimates.

  •  Juries are weird (11+ / 0-)

    They make decisions for odd reasons - the people all see it differently, which I guess is the point but it doesn't help toward consensus.  
    Was on a murder trial that ended up hung because of two folks - and their reasons were 1) things never brought into evidence 2) fears of retaliation from a "gang" which was also never indicated. It was ridiculous and no clear help given on what to do when jurors are not complying with the instructions. I feel I should have been more forceful in informing the court that this was going on during deliberations - the rest of us had no idea what to do and the foreman was part of the problem.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:58:46 PM PDT

  •  MB--all of your synopses have been (16+ / 0-)

    excellent but this one is so, in the extreme. Amazing. Thank you so much.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:59:47 PM PDT

  •  I thought Guy had a better delivery than (6+ / 0-)

    BDLR, but the issues I had with BDLR's closing were not about delivery, they were about substance.  Asking the jury questions about what might have happened, or what could have happened, is typically what the defense does in trying to raise a reasonable doubt.  I don't think BDLR every gave the jury a scenario:  Here's what happened.  And here's the evidence that proves that scenario beyond a reasonable doubt.  Instead, his argument was, essentially, (1) Zimmerman had hatred and ill will for Martin based on the words in the phone call, and his "wannabe cop" attitude; (2) we don't know exactly what happened after Zimmerman hung up the phone with the dispatcher, but we can speculate as to a number of ways the interaction between the two might have happened, and we can point to reasons why Zimmerman's version doesn't make sense; (3) since we've caught Zimmerman in lies in his different versions of the facts, you should assume that he was, at the time he gave those statements, consciously hiding the fact that he was guilty of a crime, and you should that as the basis to find him guilty.  I wasn't sure that got BDLR to the point of disproving self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Guy's delivery was better, and his emotional tug was better, but he did not "connect the dots" or "fill in the blanks" about what happened.  He did not even pretend to state what happened beyond a reasonable doubt.  He again provided the jury with assumptions and possibilities about what could have happened, just as BDLR, only he did it in a much more polished presentation.

    The one thing that I think was awkward about Guy's presentation was continually calling Martin a "child." (I wonder if he wrote his rebuttal before the judge turned down the request to give the child abuse instruction?)  Shortly after MOM used the life-sized figures to demonstrate the relative sizes of Zimmerman and Martin on that night, and after seeing how the Martin figure appeared to tower over the Zimmerman figure, it was a little jarring to hear Martin continually referred to as a "child" as if he were 10 years old and four feet tall.