Trayvon Martin, the criminalblackmale

Avatar

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

483 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    The reasoning is that the defense’s case rests on the notion that at the time Zimmerman shot Martin, the latter had the former in a position where he could not escape. Further, Zimmerman’s narration of events is that he was on his way back to the truck when Martin inexplicably jumped him.

    This becomes harder to believe if Martin the guy that he was presented as being when this made national news. This becomes easier to believe if Martin is the aggressive individual that Zimmerman’s team is claiming he was.

    Jeralyn Merritt presents a critical case of the prosecution here, where she explores Zimmerman’s story and what Zimmerman has to prove (or should have to prove) to get an acquittal. (Worth noting that Merritt is a defense attorney, so not necessarily an unbiased observer. But it might give you an idea of why they want Martin to come across as unsympathetic.)Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, pretty much. Zimmerman’s story is that he was attacked. Ergo, he’s going to want to paint Martin in the stereotype of the angry black thug.

      You only need one person on the jury to accept that for an acquittal, and playing to stereotypes subtly (“He used drugs, he liked rap” — don’t say he was angry and black and violent, just talk about rap and his drug habit and let people fill in the blanks) works far better than more overt racism.

      All he needs is reasonable doubt. In one person’s mind. Even if he’s absolutely innocent and had an air-tight case, I suspect his attorney would have been looking for someone for the jury pool who could be nudged into that conclusion. (I’m assuming his attorney is competent).Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Morat20
        Ignored
        says:

        There was a recent revelation that Z’s attorney had been saying there were videos on M’s phone that show him fighting. It turned out M had videos of other people fighting of which there are about umpty gazzilion on the web. The attorney was less than completely honest about the videos but that is water under the bridge in terms of public understanding of the case.Report

      • Avatar Cletus in reply to Morat20
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s so easy to put the victim on trial when they’re already in a coffin six feet under ground.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      I imagine a lot of the case will hinge on Zimmerman’s credibility. For me, if you’re defense kind of relies on ‘I’m a big racist’, you lose a lot credibility in my eyes.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        That seems right to me. Tod (right below here) mentions that sympathy for a defendant becomes easier if the victim is successfully portrayed as a monster. Of course, if the victim is a monster, then the victim isn’t really a victim, now is he? Given the apparent facts of the case, that argument seems like a hard one to make. And as you pointed out, merely attempting to portray Martin as a monster requires presenting as fact a picture of him based on very questionable – monstrous, even! – presuppositions about black kids. Which strikes me (IANAL!) as a risky strategy at best.Report

        • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          “Which strikes me (IANAL!) as a risky strategy at best.”

          Unfortunately, I think you’re more wrong than right. Appeals to racist imagery can be pretty effective, depending on who’s on the jury. (And I haven’t followed the case to have an idea of who the jurors are.)Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Pierre Corneille
            Ignored
            says:

            Just to recall here that Tracy Martin retained an ambulence chaser named Benjamin Crump to represent him in a civil suit against the neighborhood association. Crump has a flack on retainer named Ryan Julison who put this five year old photo of the protoadolescent Martin in circulation:

            Link

            A more recent photo of Trayvon Martin can be seen here:

            LinkReport

            • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              What’s your point? That only one of these photos should be used?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                Ditto. I also don’t know what the point is. One photo is of a young kid. The other is of an older kid.

                Personally speaking here, I don’t mind admitting that I need some instruction re: the message I’m supposed to take away from that.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah….who are we kidding? We know what the point is.

                The smiling “protoadolescent” photo humanizes Martin. It reminds you that he has a mother who will never again see that smile. (And really….people are shocked that a grieving family would prefer this image? How dare they….)

                The Facebook selfie, on the other hand, is SCARY. Did you see those muscles??? Definitely not made more impressive by the angle of the shot or the five minutes of flexing he did before he clicked the shutter….oh no. That’s the picture of a kid who can kill with his bare hands.

                If you got a fight with him, wouldn’t you kill him too?

                I’m being more facetious than necessary, but it’s quite obvious that this complaint (wrong photo!) is merely about prejudicing the case in a more Zimmerman-friendly direction.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re not being facetious, you’re being foolish.

                There is one odd lacuna in the sequence of events in this case, but there is nothing available to fill the time (which does not stop people from filling it with the issue of your imagination). What you do know, fairly securely is as follows:

                1. The local neighborhood watch captain had a four minute conversation with a police dispatcher about an odd character he saw moving about the neighborhood. Part of the conversation took place while he was sitting in his truck and part while he was jogging and then walking on a sidewalk connecting two streets.

                2. Two-and-a-half minutes after the call concludes, a whole mess of call to emergency services (911) arrive reporting a loud fight between two males in an alleyway running between (and facing the back entrances of) two sets of townhouses. This fight occurred near the intersection of said alleyway and the walkway the neighborhood watch captain was traversing a few minutes earlier.

                3. The fight ends with a gunshot.

                4. The autopsy reports on the dead youth show the following injuries: a gunshot wound and a cut on his knuckle. Photographs on the scene and medical reports compiled subsequently show the other fellow had a broken nose and lacerations to the back of the head.

                5. There were two eyewitnesses, one of whom gave a coherent account. This particular witness is the owner of the townhouse outside of which the fight occurred. He was quite certain that the dead youth was straddled on top of the other fellow either punching him or smothering him.

                You want to make an argument that, under Florida law, shooting a stranger who is smacking your head into the concrete for no known reason does not constitute a justifiable homicide or an act of manslaughter, you go ahead. West, Michie, and the other law publishers have handy annotated editions which lead you to case reporters with the relevant decisions. Just keep in mind that disinterested folk who specialize in criminal law (e.g. Jeralyn Merritt and Alan Dershowitz) are going to tell you you are wrong.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You mean, the Alan Dershowitz who said “Look, Trayvon Martin was a victim who shouldn’t have died and in my view there’s a lot of moral responsibility on the shoulders of Zimmerman. The question is, is it a criminal responsibility? And if it is a criminal responsibility, of what degree?”

                Yup, he doesn’t see anything here but a thug who got what he deserved.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “You want to make an argument that….”

                Ha. Me? Don’t have to, bud. George Zimmerman’s already been charged with murder, will soon be on trial, and –no matter what– I won’t be on the prosecuting team.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                smacking your head into the concrete for no known reason

                Art, this is incoherent. The entirety of your comment is a long explanation of why why Martin acted as he did.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, this is incoherent. The entirety of your comment is a long explanation of why why Martin acted as he did.

                I have done nothing of the sort. Put the bong down and re read my remarks.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, you’ve gone a bit too far. Now I feel obliged to rebuke you. When you make remarks about someone “putting down the bong” you have lost the fucking argument.

                Back away from the computer. Right now. Go find something productive to do. Take a walk or something.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, I don’t know what bongs have to do with it. {{{Deep inhale… cough}}} You can’t seriously be arguing Martin had “no known reason” to confront Zimmerman. I mean, that’s just incoherent. Christ, he called his girlfriend to tell her he was being followed.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater, no one has to date divined any evidence which gives anyone an understanding of Trayvon Martin’s purposes. Supposedly he was on the phone with a friend. There is an audiofile of an interview conducted by the prosecutor with that person, but it is completely unilluminating.

                Again, if you examine the map of the complex, Trayvon Martin could have loped right past George Zimmerman’s truck and walked home before Zimmerman ever got off the phone. The distance was about 110 yards, give or take. Again, the call was recorded and timestamped and what Martin did do was reported to the dispatcher in real time. Why Trayvon Martin resurfaces five minutes later and begins beating Zimmerman remains an unanswered question.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                BlaisP,

                He has a reading comprehension issue, because I have not lost the argument.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Listen close, Art. I’ve been out here since before there was an Internet. There’s only one rule. You can make an argument, you can attack someone’s bias, or his lack of factual support for his conclusions. But when you go after him, directly, you’ve automatically lost the argument. Those are the rules. They’re also the rules of this place.

                You want to win an argument out here? It’s just like effing sumo. You drop him or you push the other guy out of the ring. You drop him with facts. You just disqualified yourself by stepping outside the ring of civility. Now just you stop stinking up this happy little corner of the Intertubes. I enjoy my fights out here too much to tolerate your irritating inability to stand up and disagree with these people, none of whom are idiots and not all of whom are my friends.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Why Trayvon Martin resurfaces five minutes later and begins beating Zimmerman remains an unanswered question.

                Well, you already answered that question. The whole case is about whether “obnoxious adolescents have a franchise to deliver beat-downs to random individuals who irritate them.”

                That’s your argument, no?Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “Why Trayvon Martin resurfaces five minutes later and begins beating Zimmerman remains an unanswered question.”

                It’s kind of like those unanswered questions you see on that “Ancient Aliens” show. It’s made more mysterious by trying to squeeze it into an implausible, and frankly unbelievable, premise.

                I have no idea why Martin –supposedly stoned out of his gourd and the only gangster thug in the world who operates alone– would ambush George Zimmerman.

                If I had to guess, I’d say maybe he considered Zimmerman a threat. Or maybe….like the Peruvian stargate or the Bermuda triangle…it’s a bunch of bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s your argument, no?

                No, it is not. You need to re-read.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Listen close, Art.

                No.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You need to re-read.

                I think you need to explain it better. Without begging any questions this time.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah….who are we kidding?

                Actually, I wasn’t kidding. It just looks like a picture of a kid to me.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                (Me too. It looks like something my 17 year old nephew would post to his Facebook page.)Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Ditto. I also don’t know what the point is. One photo is of a young kid. The other is of an older kid.

                The main salient point, it seems to me, is that the older photo shows a child who appears to be physically incapable of seriously injuring a 28-year-old man without the use of a weapon. The newer photo shows a young man who does appear to be physically capable of such.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The autopsy report shows that Trayvon was 5-11 and about 160 pounds. I was about the same size when I was his age. I certainly wasn’t a “kid”, but I also wasn’t much of a threat to a fully grown man. The second picture is distorted because of the angle at which it was taken and the conflation of leanness with musculature.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                You raised the issue of ‘portrayals’, not me. The proceedings to date are the result of a propaganda campaign by a sleazy attorney looking for a pay day. One of his tools was false portrayals. The fellow George Zimmerman went face to face with was not an amiable elementary school student. He was the fellow depicted in the latter photo. That also worked to poison the jury pool.

                In ordinary circumstances, this matter would have been ruled a justifiable homicide or a modest punishment would have been negotiated through a plea bargain, and that is as it should have been. This whole ugly circus starts with Benjamin Crump and Ryan Julison.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “The fellow George Zimmerman went face to face with was not an amiable elementary school student. He was the fellow depicted in the latter photo.”

                No, they are photos of the same person. You just prefer one depiction over the other, because as you just admitted, you’re in the bag for Zimmerman.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                The first depiction was part of an agitprop campaign. The second is the person who assaulted George Zimmerman. It does not matter who I am in the for or not. Zimmerman was beaten and Martin was not.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Nope, Martin was killed.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Zimmerman was on his back being punched and getting his head smacked into the concrete. There is no question of fact, Herb. The autopsy report, the medical reports, the photographs at the scene, the eyewitness right there concur. If you wish to make an argument based on law – that you cannot use deadly force against someone smacking your head into the concrete – you can attempt that. One maneuver that is illegitimate is to conjure some ‘provocation’ by Zimmerman out of your imagination. There is simply no evidence of any injury done to Martin other than a gunshot wound, nor of any sort of transaction between the two of them which would grant Martin a dispensation for a common assault on Zimmerman.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                What about the second picture demonstrates that Martin wasn’t amiable?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                An adolescent male going shirtless in Florida? Dude, that’s just not normal! Only stone cold killahs do that; All the other kids are dressed in Brooks Brothers. Besides, when he takes his shirt off you can see he’s not just tanned, he’s black!Report

            • Avatar Mumbles in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Two points.

              First, it’s up to you to show that the first photo is actually five years old. I see no reason to believe you on this point. The family has claimed that the photo was taken a few months before he was killed, as I recall.

              Second, assuming that Martin was frightening to simply look at…um, why did Zimmerman decide to get out of his car and chase after him? After all, his actions are on trial, not Martin’s face and build. And I certainly wouldn’t disrupt my shopping trip, get out of my car, and run after some person on foot, simply because I didn’t like their face. That would be stupid.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mumbles
                Ignored
                says:

                The audiofile is here

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9A-gp8mrdw

                He got out of his truck in an attempt to keep Martin in eyeshot. Again, this was not an emergency call, although it is labeled as such here. He was talking to the non-emergency dispatcher and arranging for a visit from the local police (who did in fact arrive shortly consequent to this call).Report

              • Avatar Mumbles in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                This answers neither of my questions adequately. You offer no reason to think that the photo you linked to was five years old, or that it was the only photo released by Martin’s family. And your explanation that Zimmerman was running around trying to keep Martin in eyeshot makes Zimmerman sound like a creep, and conflicts with his own story about how he was looking for an address.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mumbles
                Ignored
                says:

                You want to know why he got out of his truck and where he went, it is so explained in the audiofile. There is a handy map as a visual aid here:

                http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-backReport

              • Avatar Mumbles in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Now, think about this…if Martin were at point B on your map, why would this be “real suspicious”? Do you think it normal to stop what you’re doing in order to glare at someone who is simply taking shelter from the rain? And of course, if Martin wasn’t at point B on your map…then your entire argument falls apart.

                And this still does not answer the question of why Zimmerman decided that it would be a good idea to run after the huge, terrifying Martin.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “He was talking to the non-emergency dispatcher and arranging for a visit from the local police ”

                Not in dispute. What’s in dispute is the idea that between the call and the shooting, that Martin –who is not only young and dumb, but also high and most certainly incapable of a Batman-style ambush from the shadows – attacked Zimmerman unprompted and for no clear reason.

                Not considered is the possibility that Zimmerman is lying. That between the call and the shooting, Zimmerman went after Martin in an attempt to detain him for the eventual police arrival, a physical confrontation occurred, and Zimmerman shot Martin –not as some kind of unavoidable last resort — but as a quick and easy way to extricate himself from a dangerous situation he himself initiated.

                Have you even considered this possibility, Art? Or are you so certain that Zimmerman is telling the truth that you can’t? I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Cui bono?”

                It would be wise to ask that question here.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Have you even considered this possibility, Art? Or are you so certain that Zimmerman is telling the truth that you can’t? I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Cui bono?”

                Herb, here is your good evidence:

                1. Autopsy report
                2. Medical report
                3. Photos taken at the scene
                4. Phone call to police dispatcher
                5. Witness 6.

                The following is not evidence:

                1. Herb’s speculations
                2. Angela Corey’s speculations
                3. BlaiseP’s speculations

                etc.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And this still does not answer the question of why Zimmerman decided that it would be a good idea to run after the huge, terrifying Martin.

                It would help clarify your thinking if you would recite what happened in fairly dry terms, without editorial commentary.

                Zimmerman got out of his truck and traipsed along a walkway connecting two streets. Why he did so is made plain during his conversation with the dispatcher. Listen to the audiofile. At no time during that part of the conversation was Martin to be seen, nor did Zimmerman (during the conversation) turn down the alleyway perpendicular to the walkway on which he was traveling.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Why he did so is made plain during his conversation with the dispatcher

                Funny how Zimmerman’s claims are treated as facts not in dispute. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t actually work that way in a court of law.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Funny how Zimmerman’s claims are treated as facts not in dispute. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t actually work that way in a court of law.

                The call is recorded and is fairly unremarkable in its content. It was a four minute call which occurred prior to the fight between Martin and Zimmerman. It is pretty much a description of Martin’s movements and some concluding conversation arranging for the visit of a patrol car to the area. Not sure what is supposed to be so incredible about it, or so damning.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                One very interesting thing about that the recording is the words “We don’t need you to do that.” And yet what was one of the first things Zimmerman told police on the scene? That the dispatcher asked him to follow Martin.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mumbles
                Ignored
                says:

                You will note, at the close of the call, that Martin is nowhere to be seen.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                So there is a time gap between the end of the 9/11 call and the altercation. And yet you somehow “know” what happened to spark that altercation? All while you criticize others for speculating? Pot, meet kettle.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to J@m3z Aitch
                Ignored
                says:

                1. He called a non-emergency dispatcher, not 911. Had he called 911, the dispatcher would have asked if he was seeking police, fire, or ambulance. That can be heard on the actual 911 calls the neighbors made.

                2. I have referred repeatedly to the autopsy report and the medical reports and one eyewitness statement. There is not much reliable testimony about what was going on in between. There are Zimmerman’ own accounts of that two minutes (he is an interested witness), there are one or two neighbors who were earwitnesses to this and that, but these lack the necessary detail. There is someone who was on the phone with TM during that time, but there is missing data and she also says nothing which aids in filling in the timeline; she just says TM was anxious about a stranger.

                3. BlaiseP, Cletus, &c. have filled in that time with the work of their imagination: “pursuing”, “stalking”, “SYG claim”, &c. Not valid.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                There is not much reliable testimony about what was going on in between

                Exactly. So you have no more basis for your claims of Z’s innocence than those you’re criticizing have for a a claim of his guilt. Yet you keep accusing them of “filling that time with the work of their imagination,” without recognizing that you are doing the same.

                We. Don’t. Know. And that includes you.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I have imagined nothing and filled the time with nothing. We know where the fight started and ended, where TM was last seen before he ran out of sight, and the path Zimmerman walked while completing the call to the police dispatcher. It stands to reason they were somewhere around these loci during the intervening minutes. However, their exact path is not known. Verbal exchanges they had are not known. What is known is that one was beaten, and that the autopsy report on the other shows no indication that the other one was beaten.

                Keep in mind that what he is charged with is a 1st degree felony under Florida law. If convicted, he can be sentenced to a prison term with a 40 year maximum or maximum of life. Pretty draconian given you all have no evidence he physically attacked TM, verbally baited TM, flipped him the bird, &c.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Pretty draconian given you all have no evidence he physically attacked TM, verbally baited TM, flipped him the bird, &c.

                You left out the “shot and killed” part, but I hear ya.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                There is plenty of reliable testimony, the problem for AD is that he has to ignore the testimony in order to twist and fit his tortured version of events into something as close to the factual record as a Salvador Dali painting is to reality.

                Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
                Judge: Why?
                Fletcher: Because it’s devastating to my case!
                Judge: Overruled.
                Fletcher: Good call!
                Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I have imagined nothing and filled the time with nothing.

                You have claimed Martin assaulted Zimmerman. That is imagining something, since you don’t know who initiated the altercation.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                While we’re at it, for all we know, George Zimmerman got his injuries from slamming his face into a stop sign. I mean, what evidence is there that they are from Martin other than Zimmerman’s interested statement?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You left out the “shot and killed” part, but I hear ya.

                You left out the part about Zimmerman being on his back being beaten when he shot and killed Martin. I hear that.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You have claimed Martin assaulted Zimmerman. That is imagining something, since you don’t know who initiated the altercation.

                1. There is no question Martin assaulted Zimmerman. All of the objective evidence indicates he did, as well as the best eyewitness.

                2. The autopsy report has nothing in it to indicate that Zimmerman assaulted Martin other than the concluding gun shot wound.

                What is the thesis that these two data points support? That Martin assaulted Zimmerman. Any other hypothesis requires you rely on your imagination or on unreliable testimony from one neighbor.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                You’re still willing to make certain assumptions. Is there direct evidence that Zim’s injuries are from Martin’s fists and not, say, tripping and falling into a wall?

                And does the autopsy report take into account the delayed onset of soft tissue injuries?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You left out the part about Zimmerman being on his back being beaten when he shot and killed Martin. I hear that.

                Argh.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You do realize that you acknowledge that no one saw the start of the altercation, and that it is indisputable that Martin Assaulted Zimmerman, and that these are incompatible beliefs, right?

                To spell this out. If Zimmerman assaulted Martin, which is consistent with available evidence, then Martin is defending himself. And since no one saw the beginning of the altercation this is a plausible theory of how the fight started (as well as being the reason that Zimmerman will likely walk).Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You left out the part about Zimmerman being on his back being beaten when he shot and killed Martin. I hear that.

                That’s not an established fact.

                1. There is no question Martin assaulted Zimmerman. All of the objective evidence indicates he did, as well as the best eyewitness.

                No, that’s not true. If–emphasis on if–Martin was responding to a physical action by Zimmerman then he was nt assaulting him. If you grab me, you have assaulted me, and when I respond by swinging at you, I am defending myself, not assaulting you.

                Since no witness saw how the fight started, we don’t know who assaulted whom. In fact as a matter of law assault doesn’t even require physical contact, but just creating a fear of imminent harm.

                So in contrast to your claims, you are in fact making things up. You are making up, without actual evidence, that it was Martin who assaulted Zimmerman, rather than the other way around. We just don’t know, AD, we just don’t know. And if you say you do know, you are making things up.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re still willing to make certain assumptions. Is there direct evidence that Zim’s injuries are from Martin’s fists and not, say, tripping and falling into a wall?

                The owner of the townhouse was right there watching.

                And does the autopsy report take into account the delayed onset of soft tissue injuries?

                It is a dry and descriptive report. Interpretations not offered, as far as I can discern. Link at the end.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You do realize that you acknowledge that no one saw the start of the altercation, and that it is indisputable that Martin Assaulted Zimmerman, and that these are incompatible beliefs, right?

                They are not incompatible. Zimmerman had demonstrable injuries. What is uncertain is what happened antecedent to his receiving them. We do not know. The autopsy report supports the thesis that he did not assault Martin, but it is conceivable that he lunged at him or whatever and that left no mark. The trouble with proceeding with that thesis is that it is imaginative. There is no reliable evidence that he actually did.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s not an established fact.

                As far as anything can be established in this case, it is.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “The owner of the townhouse was right there watching. ”

                And admits he saw neither the start of the fight, nor the gunshot. That tells us something. It tells us that his testimony is worthless as to determining who started the fight, whereas the report of the person listening to the confrontation over the phone indicates Martin said “get off, get off” which is something you would say to someone trying to grab your arm or jacket, not something you would say to someone taking no hostile motion.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Just as there is no reliable evidence that Martin made the first move. Why do you keep focusing on the lack of evidence for Zimmerman instigating it, but ignore the same lack of evidence for Martin instigating it? (Remember, the resultant wounds onky tell us about the outcome, the do not indicate instigation.)Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                your claims are that “There is no question Martin assaulted Zimmerman,” AND we don’t know how the fight started.

                Those are incompatible. That you don’t see this says something (not positive) about your argument.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Galen,

                Contra what you and I both argue, he seems to see a punch as necessarily assault, even if it is self-defense. That’s the only way he avoids contradiction. But to do so he has to admit Martin may have acted in self-defense, which is devestating to his insistence that Martin is in the wrong and Zimmerman’s shot justified.

                He’s really trapped himself, particularly with hs insistence that we can’t defend Martin because we don’t know what happened while he defends Zimmerman despite the same “we don’t knw what happened” problem. My real curiosity now is whether he is smart enough and honest enough to recognize and admit this bind.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not holding my breath.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s really trapped himself, particularly with hs insistence that we can’t defend Martin because we don’t know what happened while he defends Zimmerman despite the same “we don’t knw what happened” problem. My real curiosity now is whether he is smart enough and honest enough to recognize and admit this bind.

                I am not in any kind of bind. The legal system is assessing Zimmerman’s guilt. Martin needs no ‘defending’. Martin’s known acts affect Zimmerman’s culpability. This is established:

                1. Martin assaulted Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s injuries are blatant.

                2. Zimmerman was on his back being pummeled at the time he shot Martin. The proximate eyewitness confirms that Martin was on top during the fight.

                3. There is no indication of any injury to Martin other than a gunshot wound. Ergo, no reliable evidence that Zimmerman assaulted Martin antecedantly.


                Here are some questions:

                1. Could Zimmerman legitimately use lethal force in the circumstances he was in? [conceivably]

                2. What happened at the genesis of the fight which might vitiate any claims Zimmerman has to a defense of justification? [nothing that has been established; no real witnesses to that]

                3. What happened at the genesis of the fight which might enhance any claims Zimmerman has to a defense of justification? [nothing established]

                The burden of proof for an affirmative defense in New York is on the defendant. Things may be different in Florida. Point 3 might complicate Zimmerman’s task of establishing proofs to the extent the burden is on the defense. Not my trade. Per Jeralyn Merritt, a self-defense claim is eminently reasonable.

                Whatever the court can and cannot consider, we are all just sitting here assessing bits and pieces of things and which conclusions are more plausible than others. That Martin did not simply go home renders Zimmerman’s accounts more credible.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                1. Martin assaulted Zimmerman.

                This is reminds me of a (poorly written) Monty Python skit.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                How do you define “assault”?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I ask because the evidence of Martin harming Zimmerman’s person (broken nose, bloodied face and head) seems equal to the evidence of Zimmerman harming Martin’s person (gunshot wound); both have physical wounds seemingly caused by the other. Well, actually, we’re 100% certain that Martin’s were caused by Zimmerman while only reasonably certain that Zimmerman’s were caused by Martin. Yet you call one of these harms “assault” and the other… well… something else. So clearly you think that what Martin presumably did to Zimmerman qualifies as assault but what Zimmerman did to Martin does not, all without any real evidence as to the sequence of events within their altercation. Well, except for the fact that Zimmerman ended them by shooting Martin in the chest.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                This is the legal definition in the Penal Law of New York:

                § 120.00 Assault in the third degree.
                A person is guilty of assault in the third degree when:
                1. With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes
                such injury to such person or to a third person; or
                2. He recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or
                3. With criminal negligence, he causes physical injury to another
                person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
                Assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

                I would guess this is passable for common-and-garden discussion.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                All three assume knowledge of intent, state of mind, or both.

                We know none of that for Martin.

                Because he’s dead.

                At the hands of a man whose actions you have yet to describe as assault.

                Cool.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, actually, we’re 100% certain that Martin’s were caused by Zimmerman while only reasonably certain that Zimmerman’s were caused by Martin.

                Your scenario is that Zimmerman fell off a wall somewhere forwards and backwards and then slipped underneath Martin who was seen straddling him and either punching or smothering him by the mistaken witness standing right there. I have it on BlaiseP’s authority that it is totally illegitimate at this point to tell you to put the bong down because if I do your argument is demonstrated.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                All three assume knowledge of intent, state of mind, or both.

                We know none of that for Martin.

                Because he’s dead.

                At the hands of a man whose actions you have yet to describe as assault.

                Cool.

                You know Kazzy, when you punch someone in the face and break their nose, most people generally assume that you intended to injure them. Ditto when you straddle them and bash their head into the ground.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You’ve made clear we can make no speculation. I haven’t seen hard evidence that Martin caused Zimmerman’s injuries. I’m willing to concede that Martin did cause them as not only plausible, but probable.

                Trouble is, you seem unwilling to consider anything but your preconceived conclusion as plausible.

                Do you consider it possible that Zimmerman was the aggressor?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And when you shoot someone dead, we usually assume you meant to hurt them, if not kill them.

                See… that works both ways.

                You want to play by one set of rules while applying a different set to others. You’re in La-La-Land. I place I have no interest in going.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “This is reminds me of a (poorly written) Monty Python skit.”

                Beautiful bird, the norwegian blue.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And when you shoot someone dead, we usually assume you meant to hurt them, if not kill them.

                Maybe he was just trying to shoot out Martin’s tires.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Zim just wanted the Skittles he paid Martin to go get for him. Martin thought he just wanted company while someone enjoyed the Skittles.Report

              • Avatar Johanna in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Once again, Art, if Trayvon Martin was defending himself against an assault, then he did not commit assault, even if he injured Zimmerman.

                For you to say there’s no doubt Martin assaulted Zimmerman, you must assume there’s no doubt that Martin was instigating the physical altercation; that there’s no doubt that he was not reacting to anything Zimmerman did.

                What is your evidence that demonstrates Martin was not acting in self-defense? Where is your evidence that demonstrates Martin instigated the physical altercation instead of Zimmerman? How do you know?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, that was me, not Johanna.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “2. What happened at the genesis of the fight which might vitiate any claims Zimmerman has to a defense of justification? [nothing that has been established; no real witnesses to that]”

                One very good witness to that, whose account of the confrontation dialogue matches one of Zimmerman’s own accounts, heard the words “get off, get off” from MARTIN.

                Zimmerman did something enough to elicit that response from Martin. Such a response doesn’t come from someone who is launching a sucker punch, or who has their opponent on the ground straddled. It comes from someone whose clothing, arm, or other part of their person has been grabbed or attempted to be grabbed by an assailant.

                You’re dancing and dodging and trying to claim there’s no good witness, but there’s a witness whose account agrees with one of Zimmerman’s accounts who heard the altercation. That’s a hell of a good witness, which you keep trying to ignore because it’s devastating to your “team.”Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, just for you Art Deco, Stillwater has quoted the relevant sections of FLORIDA law and legal precedents here. I have also quoted the relevant sections of law at least twice in this discussion.

                So why the flipping blue blazes are you trying to paste in New York law when it’s Florida law that applies? Other than to prove that you are completely clueless that is?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jonathan McLeod
        Ignored
        says:

        Zimmerman’s story is that he was jumped. I think it’s hard to make that case if you cede the good character of the guy you say jumped you. For good or for ill, for better or worse, they’re stuck with that story. They need the present the victim as someone who plays the part (they’d need to do the same if Martin were white*).

        * – Of course, he might not be there if Martin were white, but the strategy of it would remain the same if he were where he is.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          Angry black thug is an easier story to tell to the likely demographic makeup of a Florida jury, but drugged out teen (white version) probably wouldn’t be too much harder, as long as you could get the write story going.

          I admit, I’m still at a loss on one point — under the whole Stand your Ground thing, is that not a defense available to unarmed people?

          If Martin had lived, even if he had thrown the first punch, could he have not stated he attacked because he was in fear of his life, having been followed by a stranger in a truck? A stranger he suspected to be armed? You know, Standing His Ground.

          Which still puts me wondering — if neither side had a duty to retreat, what’s that put the law? It seems…not circular, but at an impasse. I guess whomever lives gets to claim self-defense against the other.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            If Martin had lived, even if he had thrown the first punch, could he have not stated he attacked because he was in fear of his life, having been followed by a stranger in a truck? A stranger he suspected to be armed? You know, Standing His Ground.

            This is the reason that stand your ground laws _cannot_ make sense.

            There is no possible resolution for _two_ people both in fear of their life. Neither of them have to retreat, and both of them can shoot each other, apparently. (This is why self-defense laws are fairly clear about the whole ‘who started it’ issue.)

            We literally have a situation under the law where two people can legally shoot each other. I don’t mean one of them can lie, I mean the law literally says that they can shoot each other. That is not ‘law’, that is frickin Thunderdome.

            Of course, ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are _actually_ intended for whites to use against minorities, not the other way around.

            I guess whomever lives gets to claim self-defense against the other.

            I believe the specific rule is that whoever is white gets to claim self-defense. I’m not sure of the exact law, but that’s what it appears to be for me.

            What was that other case in Florida about the same time? An abusive husband with a restraining order against him broke into a black woman’s house, threatened her, and she shot him. (Didn’t even kill him). These facts were not in dispute.

            _She_ was arrested.(1)

            Zimmerman, least we forget, _wasn’t_ arrested at first, because the idiotic Stand Your Ground laws don’t even let you _hassle_ people who shoot other people by arresting them, which is the most insane law I’ve ever heard of.

            1) Frankly, if you shoot someone under _any_ circumstances, you probably should end up under arrest, even if you don’t end up being charged. The problem wasn’t that she was, the problem was Zimmerman wasn’t.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Was that the case where the fact that she first fired a warning shot was used as evidence against her? That she obviously wasn’t in fear for her life, because she tried to warn him first?Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              There is no possible resolution for _two_ people both in fear of their life.

              And if one of them has a gun, they’re both legitimately in fear for their lives. There’s no way around that. If you’re carrying a deadly weapon around, all confrontations are life-and-death as soon as one person trys to lay a hand on the other.

              This law sounds like a great excuse to start a fight and then shoot the person if you start to lose.Report

            • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              I believe the specific rule is that whoever is white gets to claim self-defense. I’m not sure of the exact law, but that’s what it appears to be for me.

              I don’t necessarily disagree, and I think that in practice, this is how it often works out.

              However, you’re opening the door for the one exception, where a minority might defend himself against a white perpetrator and not be arrested, and the apologists for stand-your-ground would trot out this exception in defense of the policy.Report

          • Avatar Matty in reply to Morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            That is not ‘law’, that is frickin Thunderdome.

            Rupert Murdoch is bidding for TV rights as we speak.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    Will is right (above), but I would add that it’s easier to get a jury to sympathize with a defendant if the victim is seen as a monster, regardless of whether or not they think that person did it.

    Historically, lots of juries have excused crimes based on their dislike of the victim, or at least of what that victim represented to the jury. I’m actually writing about one in Texas I read about while at Leaguefest.Report

  3. Avatar Herb
    Ignored
    says:

    Last I heard, the judge already ruled that the school suspension, the marijuana, and the fights on his phone were not admissible. This stuff is purely for all the Hannity show viewers who sent money to the Zimmermans’ hidden account. The jury, once they’re sequestered, will never see any of this “evidence.”

    That said, I don’t think the defense team is going “scary black man” route because they’re racists or because George Zimmerman is racist. I think they’re going down that route because they have a weak case, half of which they will not even be able to present.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    Here is Merritt explaining why the prosecution needed to line up the negative evidence against Martin’s character.

    It also points out that that even though the evidence is not presently admissible, it becomes so if the prosecutors try to portray Martin as a good kid.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not an attorney, and I don’t even play one on TV, but I’m assuming that the best strategy for the prosecution is to stick to the facts of the situation, and the best strategy for the defense is to do their best to get the prosecution to feel like it has to say something about Martin’s character. I don’t know how that works out (see the first four words of this comment), but I think that’s how I would play it if I were on either side.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        The prosecution needs to convince the jury that it was Martin screaming on the tape, and that when he shot Martin, Zimmerman was not trapped. The defense needs to make it sound like that was not the case. Which means they more-or-less have to go after Martin.

        Legally speaking, if Merritt is to be believed, the entire case hinges on whether, at the precise time of the shooting, Zimmerman could have run. (In other words, it’s not enough to say that Z could have avoided this situation to begin with, or that Z threw the first punch, even.)Report

        • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          “the entire case hinges on whether, at the precise time of the shooting, Zimmerman could have run”

          That seals it then. You shouldn’t consult Merritt on this one anymore.Report

          • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Herb
            Ignored
            says:

            Actually, that was poor memory on my part. It’s been a while since I read it, and I should have read it again before citing it. The inability to extricate himself is a key part of it, but not sufficient in itself. The key part is this:

            Why Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the non-emergency number is a red herring. It doesn’t matter if he profiled him or unfairly suspected him of criminal activity. It doesn’t matter that he was a crime warrior. He didn’t break the law. His neighborhood watch program, set up with the assistance of the police, instructed residents to report suspicious activity. That’s what he did. He wasn’t on watch that night, he had a concealed weapons permit, and it wasn’t a crime to get out of his car to see where Trayvon had run off to, so he could tell the police when they got there.

            All that matters legally is whether Trayvon Martin’s physical attack on him caused him to reasonably believe he was in danger of serious bodily injury or death. Zimmerman’s testimony, which is supported by proof of his injuries and witnesses observing the struggle, is that Martin broke his nose and banged his head against cement. He tried to get up and couldn’t. Using an objective standard, a reasonable person in that situation would fear imminent serious bodily injury if he didn’t react with force.

            The state is unlikely to prevail in arguing Zimmerman was the aggressor because to be the aggressor, Zimmerman had to contemporaneously provoke the force Martin used against him. Zimmerman’s profiling of Martin and call to the non-emergency number were not contemporaneous with Martin’s attack. Even if the state could convince a judge or jury that Zimmerman was following Martin, rather than walking back to his car, rendering his pursuit a contemporaneous act, it is not an act that provokes Martin’s use of force against him. Demanding someone account for their presence does not provoke the use of force. Even if it could be construed to be provocation for using force, all it means is Zimmerman had to attempt reasonable means to extricate himself before using deadly force in response. W-6’s steadfast insistence that Zimmerman was struggling to get up and out from under Trayvon, right before the shot went off, fulfills that requirement. Zimmerman will say the same. And no witnesses saw anything different.

            Report

            • Avatar Herb in reply to Trumwill
              Ignored
              says:

              “All that matters legally is whether Trayvon Martin’s physical attack on him caused him to reasonably believe he was in danger of serious bodily injury or death”

              Merritt again? I do not think this is accurate. The relevant text of the law:

              “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.”

              Zimmerman may have reasonably believed himself to be in danger of death or “great bodily harm” but was killing Martin “necessary” to prevent it? That seems like a significant hurdle to clear, and definitely NOT an optional one if this is going to be his defense.

              Also, “great bodily harm” is somewhat different than “serious bodily injury.” Zimmerman’s injuries are not really consistent with either description. If we were talking about a car crash, would a broken nose, two black eyes, and a cut to the back of the head be considered “serious bodily injury” much less “great bodily harm?”Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that once Zimmerman was on the ground, Martin over him, and he was in the process of being beaten up, there is a very strong case to be made that he believed his life was in danger. That he hadn’t suffered great harm up to that point is secondary to the fact that he feared it was coming. If he couldn’t get up, couldn’t leave, then I am not sure what he would have done differently.

                Everything that I would have done differently from Zimmerman, and where I believe Zimmerman’s moral culpability lies, happened well before that point. And apparently doesn’t really factor in, from a legal standpoint.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                “there is a very strong case to be made that he believed his life was in danger.”

                No doubt. George Zimmerman believed all kinds of things that night. He believed Martin was “up to no good.” That he was “on drugs or something.” He also believed his life was in danger when he –a gun in his pocket and knowing the police were on the way– got into a fistfight with a 17 year old kid.

                But are these beliefs reasonable?

                (I also do not think it’s wise to accept Zimmerman’s account as fact, when it’s really only testimony. )Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s uncontroverted testimony, because the only other witness is dead.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                While this is true, it’s not a situation uncommon in murder cases. Travis Alexander, for example, was not able to testify that no, he was not really choking Jodi Arias when she slit his throat and shot him in the head.

                The testimony of the accused should be heard. But in context of all the other evidence.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to MikeSchilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe they should charge Zimmerman with witness tampering.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s up to the prosecution to demonstrate that Zimmerman’s account is not true. It’s up to the prosecution to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman did not reasonably believe his life to be in danger.

                That’s a tough threshold to meet.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, I guess this comes down to whether Zimmerman’s belief was “reasonable.” I think that word has actual meaning and is not just thrown on there to make the phrase sound more legal. How does an armed man, with police on the way, “reasonably” think his life is in danger based on a fist fight? Zimmerman had every advantage in that situation. He may have believed he didn’t, but that doesn’t make that belief “reasonable.”Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                If there wad a guy on top of you, and beating you up, even if you hadn’t yet suffered injuries that constituted grave bodily harm, you would not thing that such was imminent? I probably would. So if I accept Zimmerman’s account (and, again, it’s up to the prosecution to prove otherwise), I would accept his belief as reasonable.

                The issue here to me is the standard of evidence, which appears tilted in Z’s favor.

                (I am unconvinced that his initial suspicions of M were reasonable, but his defense doesn’t need me to be so convinced.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether or not Zmmerman’s beliefs struck him as reasonable isn’t really that relevant, especially since his caused the escalation to the point where Martin was inflicting harm on him. Unless Zimmerman wants to go down the “black thug” road.

                I mean,once things turned violent he was of course legitimately, justifiably fearful for his well-bing. The bigger question, it seems to me, is whether his actions leading up to the escalation of violence were reasonable. And maybe even more importantly, whether Martin’s response to those actions was unreasonable.

                It’s very difficult to paint Zimmerman as a victim here, that his actions in shooting martin were an example of a person engaging in a paradigmatic or widely agreed upon form of self-defense. Unless the defense wants to go down the “black thug” road, of course.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater,

                Legally, it doesn’t seem to matter how they got there unless it can be demonstrated that Zimmerman acted illegally along the way. If he threw the first punch and assaulted Martin, that might matter (BB has said otherwise, though). If he was brandishing his firearm in such a way that constituted an illegal threat, that might matter. But he was, by his own story, acting in a manner – while problematic – that was consistent with the law.

                Morally, I don’t consider him a victim. I think this whole thing is at least primarily his fault. Of course, I am assuming facts not in evidence.

                * – Which could be a lie, but it’s up to the state to demonstrate that it is.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Legally, it doesn’t seem to matter

                So, it’s already settled? Why the hell is Florida wasting tax dollars trying to convict an innocent man? It’s a travesty!Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the prosecution is going to try to demonstrate Z’s narrative as being false and is basing the prosecution on those grounds. I think that’s going to be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, though, which is why I am more skeptical of a conviction.

                Maybe Merritt is entirely wrong, and I am being led astray, but she convinced me and I haven’t found aanyone with equivalent qualifications who has unconvinced me.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                For the record, to the extent that I think an acquittal is warranted (and I should add that I may not think that anymore by trial’s end), I believe that has more to do with deficiency of Florida law than anything else.

                Not oft-cited SYG, but rather the evidenciary threshold. That to convict, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t self-defense. Putting such a burden to prove a negative is very, very problematic. I might agree with it in a Castle Doctrine case, but I have a really hard time with it for an incident that occurred on public (thus neutral) grounds.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                “If there wad a guy on top of you, and beating you up, even if you hadn’t yet suffered injuries that constituted grave bodily harm, you would not thing that such was imminent?”

                Not if I had just called the police and were assured they were on the way. Not only that, but once I was face to face with a 17 year old kid, I would know that my fears of imminent death or bodily harm would be vastly overblown.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Will, here’s a long quotation from my earlier link:

                The Court of Appeal found that victim’s testimony was sufficient to invoke Section 776.041 and instruct the jury that the defendant may not claim self-defense if he “initially provoked” the attack. The court was careful to state that the acts constituting “initial provocation” must be “contemporaneous” with the actions of the victim.

                snippy

                The West Key Digest system brings up a number of older Florida cases involving the rule that a “wrongdoer” may not claim self-defense. In several of these cases the courts stated that the defendant must be “free from fault” in order to claim self-defense. The quoted language in each case is from the key digest headnote, not the case itself:

                Matthews v. State (1937) (“In murder prosecution, defendant could not invoke defense that deceased was armed with a pistol and that defendant shot him in self-defense, where evidence showed that defendant was aggressor in bringing on difficulty and was not free from fault.”)

                Bowman v. State (1934) (“Killing is not justifiable or excusable if necessitated by accused’s acting wrongfully or without being reasonably free from fault in provoking difficulty.”)

                Gaff v. State (1931) (“Accused, to successfully excuse homicide on ground of self-defense, must have been free from fault, or receded after having been aggressor.”)

                Scholl v. State (1927) (“One interposing self-defense in prosecution for homicide must not have wrongfully occasioned necessity of killing.”)

                Landrum v. State (Fla. 1920) (“On a trial for murder, it is proper to charge that one cannot acquit himself of liability for the consequences of a personal difficulty on the ground of self-defense, unless he is reasonably free from fault in entering thereupon.”)

                Stinson v. State (1918) (“Defendant cannot avail himself of defense of self-defense when he himself brought on the situation under the compulsion of which he strikes the blow or fires the shot which he claims was justified.”)

                Barton v. State (1916) (“If one wrongfully occasions necessity for self-defense, though he may have reasonable ground to apprehend a felony, or serious personal injury, and there is imminent danger thereof, he cannot justify a killing on the ground of self-defense.”)

                Barnhill v. State (1908) (“One who seeks and brings on an affray cannot plead self-defense.”)

                Kennard v. State (1900) (“The aggressor in a difficulty, one not reasonably free from fault, cannot justify homicide committed in such difficulty on the ground of self-defense.”)

                Lovett v. State (1892) (“On a trial for murder, it is proper to charge that one cannot acquit himself of liability for the consequences of a personal difficulty on the ground of self-defense, unless he is reasonably free from fault in entering thereupon.”)

                In the Zimmerman case the prosecution will make the following argument. Based upon his own statements to the police dispatcher Zimmerman profiled Martin and followed him in his car, and then exited his car and followed him armed with a gun. Zimmerman suspected Martin of committing a crime and was intent that Martin should not get away. Martin was completely innocent of any crime; he was simply walking home from a trip to the store. Zimmerman was unjustified in pursuing Martin and under the circumstances his conduct was threatening. This, the prosecution will argue, was sufficient to “initially provoke” the ensuing struggle, no matter who struck the first blow. There is no credible evidence that Zimmerman either tried to escape from Martin or that he withdrew and clearly indicated his intent to withdraw from the altercation. Accordingly, under 776.014, Zimmerman may not claim that he acted in self-defense.

                Here’s the text of section 776.014:

                776.041?Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
                (1)?Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
                (2)?Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
                (a)?Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
                (b)?In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

                From my pov, this case doesn’t seem like a slam dunk for the defense.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                The defense’s case is incredibly weak.

                For the prosecution’s case there is a dead minor, shot through the chest. There is a witness who heard the exchange of dialogue over the phone along with corroborating timestamps of calls through the cell phone company proving she was on the line at that time and corroborating 911 calls on which the gunshot can be heard, also timestamped.

                For the defense’s case, they have Zimmerman’s word and only his word that Trayvon “jumped” him, directly contradicted by the other witness testimony. Impeaching Zimmerman’s testimony is his changing story over six different police interviews, any one of which can be brought up to show contradictions in his story if the defense is so stupid as to put Zimmerman on the stand, and all of which can be brought up if he does not to show that the defense’s asserted timetable and description of events is a well-crafted lie instead of an accurate accounting of the events. The absolute worst thing the defense could possibly do at this point is put their star and only witness on the stand, but his refusal to testify will also harm their case because he has already given multiple, contradictory depositions to the police.

                The prosecution’s barrier to proving that Zimmerman’s account is untrue is negligible because Zimmerman couldn’t keep his own story straight. If anything this proves the basic truism any defense attorney ought to know, never under any circumstances allow your client to do anything other than assert his 5th amendment right to silence.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I should have added that it seems to me (NAL!) that section 776.014 are an attempt to clarify the meaning of “free from fault.” (Could be wrong about that.)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater, thanks a lot for the rundown (your link didn’t work). I’ll ponder it over. That would seem to re-enter “What constitutes provocation?” My figuring was that it required an illegal act. Maybe not. Or maybe they’ll be able to demonstrate one.

                Cletus, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Pointing out story inconsistencies would be a part of trying to establish BaRD. I don’t think the inconsistencies rise to that level, though obviously that would be a determination for the jury to make.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Seems that according to 776.014, it becomes important for the prosecution to make the case that Zimmerman was not walking to his truck (to leave) when he was attacked. If he was, then (b) is applicable. Whether (a) is applicable depends on the parameter of the timefrime in which Z had to believe that he was in imminent danger. I think the claim was there at the time the shot was fired, though if it includes when he was following M, then maybe not.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                @Cletus – the problem is that the prosecution witness that is the source for most of those points is going to have serious credibility issues that are going to make her somewhat easy for the defense to attempt to impeach. See here for details: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2013/3/6/5418/05480/crimenews/George-Zimmerman-3-5-Hearing-Witness-8-Lied-Immunity-Hearing-Details

                Honestly, the defense here has a stronger case than in most prosecutions. At minimum, they’ve got a decent argument for reasonable doubt, even if they’d be in trouble under a preponderance of the evidence standard. Whether it’s enough to entitle them to an acquittal, I don’t know, and won’t start to make up my own mind until the trial. But the defense’s case is far from weak.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Number of defense witnesses who say Martin “jumped” Zimmerman: 1/6. As in 0.167.

                Number of defense witnesses who say Martin and Zimmerman had a conversation first: 5/6.

                Number of prosecution witnesses who say Martin and Zimmerman had a conversation first: 1.

                Number of defense witnesses who say that the police asked Zimmerman to follow Martin: 0.5

                Number of police audiotapes that agree with this statement: 0.

                Tell me how Zimmerman is remotely credible, please?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, a lot hinges on how people interpret the language “exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger” and some other terms and phrases.

                Also, I made a mistake up there. 776.014 is SYG; 776.041 establishes the limits of justifiable force by the aggressor.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Also….curious to find out where you got this idea:

                “It’s up to the prosecution to demonstrate that Zimmerman’s account is not true.”

                I’ve heard this before, but I’m not sure how accurate it is. The prosecution has to disprove Zimmerman’s testimony? How’s that supposed to work?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Herb, they have to prove that it wasn’t self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt (google Florida self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt). In order to do that, they have to discredit his story. Or demonstrate that his story, even if accurate, constitutes not-self-defense.

                Stillwater makes the case that the latter may be sufficient. I’m not convinced, but it’s possible.

                If they can’t discredit his story, it seems to me that a lot is going to ride on the jury instructions on what constitutes an attempt to evade.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I shouldn’t answer for Will, but I believe he’s getting at the fact that in Florida – unlike most jurisdictions – self-defense is not something on which a defendant holds a significant burden. It’s not viewed as a traditional affirmative defense, but instead is something that is deemed an outright immunity from prosecution. In effect, once a defendant has introduced any evidence whatsoever on the issue, the prosecution needs to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, I’m curious as to where you get that information. From my understanding the “Stand Your Ground” clause is an immunity to prosecution, which is why Zimmerman wasn’t originally arrested. Since he does not intend to claim SYG protection, the self-defense claim follows as a normal affirmative defense that he has to convince a jury of in court.

                SYG would give him the protection you claim through a SYG hearing in front of the judge, but once the case is in front of the jury that protection is void.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Look at the link I posted above again. It cites a fair amount of case law that indicates it can be raised at any time; all that has been waived is a right to a pretrial hearing on the issue. On the motion to dismiss, he’d have to meet the burden on a preponderance of the evidence standard, which is tougher for him, but once it goes to the jury the burden is on the prosecution to disprove the defense.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, I’m curious about the same thing Cletus is. When you say Florida is a state where self defense is functionally sufficient to grant prosecutorial immunity, are you referring to SYG legislation, or provisions that existed prior to SYG laws taking effect?

                Also, the laws regarding the limits of what constitutes self-defense by the aggressor seems to open the whole thing up again. It seems to me the case will turn on whether Zimmerman was the aggressor, and whether he took every available measure to avoid having to use deadly force.Report

              • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I imagine that regardless of the wording of the law, juries might think “well, the prosecution didn’t disprove his theory, so Ima gonna acquit.”Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus, IANAL, but I believe Mark is correct w/r/t Florida law. As you say, SYG is basically set aside at this point, but the traditional self-defense defense at trial still works the way Mark outlines it in FL; there’s no question of who shot Martin, but Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense; unless the prosecution can prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t self-defense, Zimmerman may be acquitted.

                IOW, Florida already had a pretty robust “self-defense” regime prior to SYG being enacted.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                “Where the defendant in a Florida criminal case presents any evidence of self-defense, the State must overcome the claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. “[1] (Any evidence includes testimony)

                “The judge would rule on both motions. If denied, the defense would present its case to the jury. It would argue self-defense. The burden of disproving self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecution.” [2]

                “All he has to do is to create a “reasonable doubt” as to whether he acted in self-defense. A proposed amendment to the Florida Jury Instructions makes that perfectly clear.” [3]

                “Once the defendant makes a prema facie showing of self-defense, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act in self-defense. The burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, including the burden of proving that the defendant did not act in self-defense, never shifts from the State to the defendant.” [4]Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater – as I understand, those provisions existed prior to SYG, though I could be wrong about that. I know I’ve written about this before in comments, but can’t find them right now.

                In terms of the rest, while I agree with you, the issue seems to be that the burden of proving/disproving the relevant facts lies almost entirely on the prosecution.

                Again, I could be misremembering here a bit, though the Jeralyn Merritt post above would be consistent with what I’m saying.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, the issue seems to be that the burden of proving/disproving the relevant facts lies almost entirely on the prosecution.

                As it always does (or should). If we’re talking about facts here, then the defendant’s testimony doesn’t establish any unless those claims are independently corroborated. So unless Florida law equates the mere claim of having acted in self-defense with establishing factual evidence that that’s the case, I don’t see how the distinction is at all relevant.

                That’s not to say it isn’t. Just that I’m confused enough to not see how it is.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater – in a lot of jurisdictions, IIRC, a defendant actually bears the burden of proving, by a preponderance of evidence, the facts necessary to establish an affirmative defense; the rationale is that the affirmative defense is an excuse for the crime.

                Here’s one recent case that reaffirmed that pretty much any evidence whatsoever in support of a self-defense theory requires that a judge give a jury instruction on self-defense.

                http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2013/052713/5D12-796.op.pdf

                (Via: http://www.talkleft.com/story/2013/6/4/155250/1316/crimenews/Appeals-Court-Reverses-Zimmerman-Judge-Crump-to-Be-Deposed)

                Here is the pertinent text of the jury instruction Florida requires on self-defense:

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

                However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find [him] [her] guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.”

                Available here: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/jury_instructions/instructions.shtml#Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                “Legally, it doesn’t seem to matter how they got there unless it can be demonstrated that Zimmerman acted illegally along the way.”

                I would argue that this cannot be true and the jury won’t go for it.

                If I goad you into a fight by insulting your mom while following you arround town all day while carrying a concealed gun, and the moment you go to punch me, I shoot you dead, I cannot claim self-defense. However, it would be true that I did nothing illegal along the way (or you can’t prove it anyway because you can’t prove that I entered the confrontation with you with the intent of violence) because calling your mom names isn’t illegal, and once you punched me, I felt an imminent threat of death.

                Actually, the Zimmerman case is worse than that. It is analogous to me carrying a concealed weapon, picking a fist fight in a bar (because Martin was attacked by Zimmerman’s chase) and then killing my opponent with my gun when he started to win.

                The law can’t be a pact to create injustice. So when the written law is vague, as SYG is in this case,, you have to apply it in ways that fit with our conceptual understanding of what the written law should embody.

                So just as the person who picked the bar fight and escalated would be guilty, so too is Zimmerman.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                The absolute worst thing the defense could possibly do at this point is put their star and only witness on the stand, but his refusal to testify will also harm their case because he has already given multiple, contradictory depositions to the police.

                http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/6/22/143156/459/crimenews/Zimmerman-Tapes-Variations-Versus-DifferencesReport

              • Avatar Fnord in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that once Zimmerman was on the ground, Martin over him, and he was in the process of being beaten up, there is a very strong case to be made that he believed his life was in danger.

                I find myself very skeptical of this claim.

                If the implication is that it had moved from a fight to a beating, I don’t think that merely being on the ground, on the bottom of a grapple, establishes that (it signals that you’re losing the fight, usually, but not that you’ve lost it).

                Now, there is other evidence to consider. But going just on the fact that Z was on the ground with M on top, and that Z was unable to dislodge M? All that signals to me is that they were fighting and Z was losing. Is there a reasonable fear of death in every fistfight?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Fnord
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know if Zimmerman is still claiming this, but in early reports IIRC he claimed the back of his skull was being struck repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk. Striking someone’s skull against concrete (if true) certainly carries the risk of grave injury or even death. Kids have been screwing around in locker rooms and hit their heads on the floor and died.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                “I don’t know if Zimmerman is still claiming this”

                I think this is the entire problem with the defense’s case. On no less than 7 occasions has Zimmerman given statements to the police. On no less than 7 occasions, his story has changed significantly in one respect or another. Being proven that much of a liar will not sit well with a jury whose only proof that it was self-defense will be Zimmerman’s word.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Trumwill
              Ignored
              says:

              IIRC, this is pretty much what I was saying way back in the original thread we had here. There’s room to doubt Zimmerman’s account of the events, but the absurd arguments people were making for his guilt just drove me up the wall. Following someone is not a crime*. Reporting suspicious activity to the police is not a crime, even if you were wrong to be suspicious. “Confronting” someone is not a crime, unless it rises to the level of assault. And none of these actions cause you to forfeit your right to self-defense.

              Yet people kept insisting that they did.

              *Stalking is, and I saw people throwing that word around, but nothing Zimmerman is alleged to have done constitutes stalking.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                BB,

                I think what really bothered a lot of people was the presumption that those non-illegal actions were motivated at least in part by racism and that the cumulative effect of his non-illegal racism was Martin’s death. That outraged people, who grabbed at straws for a way to punish a man who’s actions might have been deplorable but seemed not to be illegal.Report

              • Avatar Herb in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                I know how you feel. It drives me up a wall whenever someone takes it as a given that Zimmerman is “not guilty by reason of self defense.”Report

              • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Herb
                Ignored
                says:

                Just to be clear, Herb, I’m not taking it as a given that he’s not guilty. Morally or legally. I just see don’t see the prosecution’s as having a tough case to make, within the parameters of Florida law.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                You are extremely wrong.

                Threatening someone with a firearm is a felony crime. George Zimmerman was committing threat of assault, threatening a teenager armed only with skittles and tea with a loaded firearm. He was in the process of committing at minimum the 3rd degree felony of aggravated assault AKA assault with a deadly weapon and by statute 776.013 cannot claim self defense.

                Florida law says so. The claim of self defense falls to logic.

                784.011 (1)?An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
                (2)?Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

                784.021 (1)?An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
                (a)?With a deadly weapon without intent to kill;

                (2)?Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

                776.013: (2)?The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:…(c)?The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I wrote this up above but I think it bears repeating. Many people are arguing that George Zimmerman can claim self defense. I do not believe this is rational because it falls as a faulty understanding of Florida law.

                Florida law defines assault as a credible threat of harm combined with ability to follow through on the threat. It defines an aggravated assault as an assault plus one factor: the addition of a deadly weapon. An aggravated assault is a 3rd degree felony.

                Florida law also provides in 776.013(2)(3) that a person who is in the process of committing unlawful activity cannot claim self-defense. Certainly committing the 3rd degree felony of aggravated assault falls into the category of unlawful activity.

                George Zimmerman was committing threat of assault, threatening a teenager armed only with skittles and tea with a loaded firearm. He was in the process of committing at minimum the 3rd degree felony of aggravated assault AKA assault with a deadly weapon and by statute 776.013 cannot claim self defense.

                Florida law says so. The claim of self defense falls to logic.

                784.011 (1)?An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
                (2)?Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

                784.021 (1)?An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
                (a)?With a deadly weapon without intent to kill;

                (2)?Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

                776.013: (2)?The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:…(c)?The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                This was intended to be a response at the bottom of the page.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                It hasn’t been proven that he was committing that felony when he shot the gun. Following somebody with a gun is not the legal equivalent of threatening somebody with a gun and it hasn’t been proven that Z was doing anything more than following him when the altercation began.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re saying Zimmerman had every right to follow someone, gun drawn, in the shadows of night and fail to identify himself to the person he was stalking?Report

              • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I think Zimmerman has the right to follow somebody. I don’t think having a gun makes that following a felony. I don’t think that having a gun “drawn” (did he? Does the state have proof that he had the gun out prior to the altercation?) constitutes an felonious threat.

                Z having his gun out and aimed at M might be a different story. Is the state making this claim? Do they have anything to back it up?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I do not believe that possession of a firearm (in his pocket or holster, for all we know) makes it a felony for Z to ask M what he’s doing there. Bear minimum, it would need to be demonstrated that he is brandishing his firearm at the time.

                Is the prosecution even arguing this?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I think Zimmerman has the right to follow somebody.

                Zimmerman and Martin both have a right to be in the same public places, the same private places that are open to the public, etc etc, so Zimmerman has a right to follow the same path (so to speak) as Martin (assuming neither broke any laws along their respective paths). So in that sense of the word “follow” I completely agree.

                I disagree, tho, that Zimmerman has a right to engage in threatening behavior. And it seems pretty clear to me that Martin viewed Zimmerman’s actions as threatening. If so, then Trayvon had a right to engage Zimmerman for the purpose of defending himself from imminent bodily injury, a perception that was provoked by Zimmerman. And personally speaking here, I think that’s the only way to square SYG with existing Florida law. (And common sense.)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I think “threatening behavior” is very hard to define here. As it stands, I don’t think what can be proven here qualifies as criminally threatening here, and I don’t see criminally threatening behavior here as having been proved.

                (I do agree with some that Martin himself would have a colorable defense claim here, if Zimmerman were dead and Martin were on trial.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, my point is that SYG can’t be (coherently) used as a defense for Zimmerman’s actions unless the provocation question is already settled.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                And also: if the provocation question is settled in Zimmerman’s favor, then SYG still doesn’t apply since his actions are justified purely in terms of self-defense.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater, if you haven’t read the Merritt piece I linked to up top, I recommend it. It very much changed my perspective on the case (as has reading Merritt since). She argues that SYG isn’t actually necessary here and that he has a straight-up self-defense claim.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Trumwill
                Ignored
                says:

                I haven’t, but if she’s arguing that SYG doesn’t apply to Zimmerman in this case, then I agree with her!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Brandon, you wrote “…the absurd arguments people were making for his guilt …”.

                Personally, I don’t think those arguments were absurd, nor were they grasping at straw. But rather than repeat my reasons for that conclusion (since I was one of the people making an argument that Stand Your Ground won’t help Zimmerman (since it seemed to me that it didn’t apply)) here’s an actual Lawyer (and constitutional law Prof!) making a more nuanced argument along the same lines.

                In yesterday’s post I discussed the effect of Section 776.041 of Florida law which codifies the common law rule that to claim self-defense a criminal defendant must not have been the aggressor. Under this statute George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence is likely to turn on whether the jury finds that he “initially provoked” the incident in which he shot Trayvon Martin to death. If he did provoke the attack and did not subsequently try to escape or withdraw from the confrontation, the “Stand Your Ground” law does not apply and Zimmerman will not be permitted to claim that he acted in self-defense.

                It seems to me that the argument turns on how we define “provoked” in this context. I come down on the side that it was Zimmerman and we apparently disagree about that. But my point here isn’t to argue for my conclusion as much as to say that it’s not a ridiculous conclusion to hold.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m curious: What if the prosecution were to flat out claim Martin was defending himself from Zimmerman?

                Martin — how old was he again? Was he of legal age? — followed by a strange adult, and then confronted. An armed adult.

                Could he not have thrown that punch in self-defense? Under Florida law, did Martin have a duty to retreat? Or could he have confronted this dangerous, unarmed man showing a strange and terrifying interest in him? (Unwisely, perhaps).

                What if he noticed the guy was carrying while he was being confronted? Wouldn’t that put Martin in reasonable fear of his life?

                The focus is on Zimmerman’s case for self-defense, because he’s still alive to make it — but each and every argument put forth seems to apply equally to Martin, even if Martin started the physical altercation. Especially so, perhaps.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                but the absurd arguments people were making for his guilt just drove me up the wall.

                For specifics, see Cletus’s comments in this thread. He’s just making stuff up left and right, regarding both the law and the facts of the case.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Because quoting sections of law verbatim is “making stuff up left and right.” I think we’re done here.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I apologize. To be honest, I kind of rolled my eyes at your comments because of the conclusions you made, and mistakenly attributed them to a misunderstanding of the law. Other than eliding one of the criteria (intent to commit a felony) that qualifies an assault for classification as aggravated assault, and your bizarre assertion that Martin must not have been dangerous because he was “armed only with skittles and tea,” as if no one had ever been killed by an unarmed assailant, your characterization of the law is correct.

                On rereading your comments, I see that your conclusions make more sense if Zimmerman was threatening Martin with a gun. The problem is that there’s no evidence that this happened. You link to the testimony by “Dee Dee,” but she didn’t say anything about a gun. When you assume facts not in evidence, it all goes downhill from there.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Please see my comments here.

                The gun is immaterial to the discussion at the point where the altercation starts; what matters is that Zimmerman started the altercation. This can be proven in 3 ways.

                1. Zimmerman approached Martin, despite the police saying they did not need Zimmerman to do so.

                2. Zimmerman directly confronted Martin. In most witness accounts including the majority of Zimmerman’s it is agreed that Zimmerman approached Martin and demanded verbally to know what he was doing. In one of Zimmerman’s accounts, he claims that instead he was “jumped” by Martin, evidence that Zimmerman’s making up his accounts as he goes along and cannot be trusted on this point.

                3. A witness on the phone with Martin at the time distinctly heard Martin say “get off, get off” to Zimmerman. This is an indication that some further form of altercation was taking place, initiated by Zimmerman as why would Martin say “get off” if he were attacking?

                Again, the gun is a complete nonfactor in the determination of whether Zimmerman started the fight. It is ONLY an aggravating factor raising simple assault to aggravated assault and eventually, when used by Zimmerman, to murder.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus, TM would not under most circumstances be dispensed from legal penalties due for assaulting someone, just because someone asked what he was doing there.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                AD, please stop being deliberately obtuse.

                The record shows that Martin did not “jump” Zimmerman. He was challenged and Zimmerman did something enough to make him shout “get off, get off” after already engaging in threatening behavior.

                Martin defending himself from an assailant who grabbed him after stalking him in truck and on foot, who was not identified as police or even neighborhood watch would absolutely have been self-defense.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                just because someone asked what he was doing there.

                OPRE!Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus,

                The reliable “record” consists of the medical reports, autopsy report, and proximate witness. These provide support for one thesis: that Martin attacked Zimmerman. Any other scenario requires speculation: that Martin had injuries the coroner did not detect, or that Zimmerman chased down Martin, or that Zimmerman said something to Martin which would grant to Martin a dispensation under the law. No one has adduced evidence which indicates that. Sorry, I do not think you will find a single jurisdiction where just asking Martin what he was doing dispenses Martin from the full force of the legal proscription on common assault.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The “proximate witness” you refer to, admits to not seeing the start of the fight.

                The witness who actually heard the exchange through the phone says Martin’s last words were “Get off, get off.” That does not square with your notion that Zimmerman was jumped.

                The medical and autopsy reports show that a fight occurred, but “who was winning the fight” and “who started the fight” are entirely different things, especially when the murderer is counting on his fallback handgun to even the score.

                Zimmerman confronted Martin by his own accounts after tailing Martin, an act suitable to scare. Zimmerman, again, did something to Martin enough to cause Martin to utter the words “get off, get off.”

                No corroboration can be made of Zimmerman’s claims that Martin swore, that Martin said “you gonna die tonight”, that Martin “jumped” him. Nothing, also, corroborates the one of Zimmerman’s 7 disparate accounts in which he claims that Martin tried to take the gun away from him (which would indicate that the gun was already out and being used to threaten Martin).

                Zimmerman’s own accounts indict him.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The autopsy report is indicative, not probative, about how the fight started. Witness 6 has been quite clear that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating or smothering Zimmerman. That is the significance of his testimony.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          “(In other words, it’s not enough to say that Z could have avoided this situation to begin with, or that Z threw the first punch, even.)”

          Perhaps not for the top count. But if he threw the first punch, isn’t he guilty of assault/battery, endangering the welfare of a child, etc?Report

          • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            See the above retraction. But yes, if Z threw the first punch, then there would definitely be a case for a lesser crime.Report

          • Avatar Fnord in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            I believe that are few ways, possibly including Z being the initial aggressor, where it becomes manslaughter under the “imperfect self-defense” doctrine.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Fnord
              Ignored
              says:

              Under Florida law, you can use deadly force in self-defense even if you started the fight, provided that you have a reasonable belief that your life is in danger despite having made an effort to end and escape from the fight. I’m too lazy to dig up the cite right now, but it’s in the same section of the state code as the Stand Your Ground provisions.

              I’m guessing that the logic here is that you don’t have to let someone stab you to death just because you started a fistfight with him.

              I also believe that this provision predated Stand Your Ground, though it’s been a while and I may be misremembering that.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The logic doesn’t hold up. You don’t get to follow someone with a gun, threaten them with a gun, and then claim you shot them in self defense in the ensuing altercation when the only thing the other guy is armed with is a bag of skittles.

                That’s not self-defense, it’s cold blooded murder.

                (2)?The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:… (c)?The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or… (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.

                Zimmerman can neither claim self-defense for starting an altercation with a weapon since he is at that point knowingly committing a gun crime, nor can he claim self-defense for attempting false arrest.Report

              • Avatar Fnord in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s the wrong part of the statute; it relates to the situations where a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury may be presumed, and which doesn’t apply to this case anyway.Report

              • Avatar Fnord in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                But there is a different part of the statute that forbids an aggressor who committed a forcible felony, including aggravated assault, from claiming self-defense. So you’re apparently correct that if Z threatened M with the gun, that invalidates the self-defense claim.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Fnord
                Ignored
                says:

                Fnord, I’m beginning to think that Florida law is incoherent on this point. It seems to me that from a common-sense pov, Zimmerman was the aggressor. It also seems to me that from a legal pov he’s the aggressor. The incoherence arises from statutory language providing that the defendant can claim self-defense (under the stand your ground provision? fully generally?) only if they’ve “exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger”.

                What constitutes every reasonable means to escape such danger? Like Jaybird has said, if your head is being slammed onto a curb, then you don’t have any means to escape such danger since the danger is no longer imminent, it’s occurring. On another reading of the statute, it seems entirely within Zimmerman’s control to exercise the available means to escape danger. He could have, for example, not confronted Martin, opting to let the cops do their job. There are many options – means – that were available to him if you move upstream from the final confrontation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, not “only if” in that first paragraph. Just a straight up “if.”Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Whether he is legally the aggressor depends on how aggressor is defined. It’s not clear whether following someone and asking them questions qualifies, even if armed. If brandishing his weapon and/or making violent threats, then you have a clear case of illegal threat. There are a few variables at play.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We’ve gone round this already. I think following someone constitutes provocation. We apparently disagree.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Surely following someone and telling the, to stop and answer your questions is aggressive and threatening, especially to a young black guy in a neighborhood at night.

                IIRC, to be threatening, an action has to be seen as constituting a real danger by a reasonable person and the person so threatened. It is very clear that Trayvon did feel threatened and so the only question is whether it was reasonable for him to do so.

                Here is the evidence on whether it was reasonable for Trayvon to feel threatened:

                1. There is a history of black people being killed in hate crimes when they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
                2. Trayvon is a black person
                3. A man approached Trayvon and asked him to stop and Trayvon did not want to and tried (for an indeterminate amount of time) just to get away.
                4. The man approaching Trayvon did not identify as a police officer but wanted to know what Trayvon was doing.
                5. People get mugged all the time by aggressive men asking them to hold up and answer some questions while chasing them.

                I am a reasonable robot. If I was Martin, I would assume that I was about to be either mugged or beaten for being in the wrong place. I would immediately sense danger and go fight or flight. If I threw a punch it would clearly be justifiable self-defense.

                Granted, we do not know the details of how angry and aggressive Zimmerman was when he approached Trayvon. But it is highly likely that Martin was acting in self-defense and then was killed by Zimmerman who knowingly put Martin in that situation while carrying a deadly weapon, against the explcit orders of the police.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The question, of course, isn’t what I think, or what you think, but what established law is (if this has happened before) or what the jury and/or judges think. It is, at the least, an open question. (Setting aside the retreat question itself).Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Shaz, on one level I agree. I would, in M’s shoes, feel threatened (probably). That doesn’t mean it legally constitutes a threat, however, or makes Z the aggressor, legally speaking.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The question is what a reasonable person would think.

                Wasn’t it reasonable for Trayvon to feel threatened by Zimmerman’s “chase”? (I put “chase” in quotation marks just to highlight the fact that you can use whatever word you want for it.)

                Never mind the fact that he did end up getting killed as proof that he was right to feel threatened.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought that was the general legal standard. X is a threat if Y feels threatened by it and a reasonable person would feel threatened by it too.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Not to attack you will, but I am weirded out by abbreviating the dead kid’s name to an initial. (The accused too.)

                Maybe I shouldn’t be, but it feels disrespectful to the dead.

                Sorry to sound weird about that.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it depends on the context. The brightest dividing line in identifying the aggressor is who committed the first illegal act. That’s what Merritt is saying (or seems to be) and I find it convincing. Still presents an opposing idea, which may be right. I am not sure any of us (including Florida law) know. Right now I think Merritt is more likely to be right but I am still mulling it over.

                M may have been legally able to sock Z, and Z in turn to kill M. In which case, there is no clear aggressor. Absurd as that may sound. In this case, though, pressure is on the prosecution to clearly identify Z as the aggressor, I think.Report

              • Avatar trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                If it makes you feel any better, I started off abbreviating Zimmerman first, then along the way later did the same with Martin. I am typing a lot of this from my phone where abbreviating is easier than spelling out.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Will,

                I think we agree (though I am no expert) that the letter of the law gives no clear answer as to whether a self-defense claim is justified in this case.

                So the jury must decide on the moral concept of self-defense that such laws are meant to codify. The basic idea of the concept of self-defense is that if you feel threatened and your feeling is reasonable (what a reasonable person would feel), then you can act viokently in self-defense. So far, Martin is exonerated, because his act of punching was reasonable given the circumstances. Moreover, the concept of self-defense clearly implies that you cannot claim self-defense against X, if you are the one who started the conflict with X. After all, we call it “defense” for a reason. You cannot go on offense and then later claim that you were just defending yourself when you had to use more violent force than you initially suspected.

                (If Trayvon Martin was acting in self-defense, then Zimmerman was on offense.)

                The situation might be different if Martin had been violated by Zimmerman and then hours later went to attack him.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                You cannot go on offense and then later claim that you were just defending yourself when you had to use more violent force than you initially suspected.

                But I think it’s entirely possible that everybody is escalating “on defense.”

                Take this hypothetical: In San Antonio, Texas, a big man is walking down the street at three in the morning and notices that somebody stole his smartphone. He looks ahead and notices that I am fiddling with a smartphone that, at 3 in the morning, looks like his.

                He chases me. I see a huge man running after me, and I pull out my gun and shoot him. He, in turn, shoots me.

                I am not sure that legally, either party can easily be tagged as an aggressor. He was going after me to defend his property (his going after me, rather than shooting me on the spot, is apparently restraint under the Texas legal code). I shot him out of defense for myself. He shot me out of defense for himself.

                This hypo isn’t the equivalent of the Zimmerman/Martin affair for a couple of reasons. I mention it to demonstrate that there can be a case where everybody is escalating on the defensive. It’s entirely possible that everybody in the Zimmerman/Martin incident was legally doing the same.

                Now, I think that Zimmerman is morally culpable for the events that transpired. Primarily, if not entirely. I don’t know, however, that this translates into legal culpability. He had a right to follow Martin and ask him questions. Martin may have had the right to assault him (I’d be disinclined to convict, unless it could be demonstrated that Zimmerman was, indeed, walking back to his truck to leave when Martin socked him). Zimmerman, unable to escape at that point, may have had the right to shoot Martin.

                Or maybe not. Either way, with the current evidence as I understand it, I am inclined towards saying that though Zimmerman is morally culpable, he was not legally the aggressor. A lot of that would depend on jury instructions, though. I’ll be following the trial. It’s possible that something in there will change my mind.

                But I’m not married to the notion that Zimmerman should be acquitted, or that he will be. Truth be told, I will accept a verdict either way unless something goes seriously awry in the trial. I speak up not because I have much sympathy for Zimmerman whether he is convicted or not, but because it seems to me that a lot of people are setting themselves up to accept only one verdict when the other verdict is very possible, and maybe legally correct.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Shaz, Still, thanks for the engagement. I will think about all you said. I am going to need to check out of this conversation, though. So, cheers!Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                @Shazbot: one thing that is important to keep in mind, though I’m not sure how it will impact this case in the long run, is that where there is ambiguity in the law, the principle that is supposed to be applied in a criminal case is called the rule of lenity, which would ordinarily hold that any ambiguity is to be interpreted in the defendant’s favor.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Will, Don’t go!

                I feel a bad about my earlier comment. It wasn’t meant to be dismissive, tho I can see how it might be read that way. I lack the skills to appropriately explain myself in real time. I’ll try to do better now.

                It seems to me that the “free from fault” standard is still in effect in Florida jurisprudence, and that the provisions in 776.041 are an attempt to carve out exemptions from it. That is, an aggressor who invokes the self-defense claim is required to have done everything and anything which could be reasonably expected of them prior to the use of lethal violence for the principle “free from fault” as it applies to the SYG law to be over-ridden.

                That may be moot at this point, since you think Zimmerman is going to go straight up self-defense. Unfortunately for me, I guess, and maybe Zimmerman, I don’t see how arguing for self-defense without SYG helps him at all without the corresponding provisions which justify the use of force by an aggressor under the SYG provisions as well as his actions in advance of the use of force. Recall that Zimmerman’s actions prior to the conflict fail to satisfy the conditions specified by section 2 (I think!) of 776.014. That is, the actions taken against Martin prior to engagement weren’t justified by SYG law or any other law, so far as I know. That they aren’t prohibited by law seems to beg the question to me, since the “free-from-fault” principle already establishes that the burden is on the aggressor.

                So, it’s all well and good to claim that statutory provisions don’t establish a legitimate grounds for prosecution, but that claim needs to be demonstrated. I mean, claiming that government doesn’t have a case in these types of situations is how defense attorney’s butter their bread. Those arguments, however, need to be made and evaluated and judged by a jury as well as you and me.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Still, there’s no reason to feel bad. I meant it when I said thanks. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Just so happens I gotta start doing some stuff that is inconducive to repeatedly hitting “Refresh” on my RSS reader.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I am a reasonable robot. If I was Martin, I would assume that I was about to be either mugged or beaten for being in the wrong place. I would immediately sense danger and go fight or flight. If I threw a punch it would clearly be justifiable self-defense.

                This is not relevant to the question of whether Zimmerman is guilty of a crime. If Zimmerman was 1) not doing anything illegal, and 2) being attacked by Martin in a manner that could cause him reasonable fear for his safety, then he had the right to use deadly force in self-defense.

                This doesn’t mean that Martin deserved to die. It doesn’t mean that the outcome isn’t tragic. It doesn’t even mean that Martin was doing anything wrong. It just means that no crime has been committed.

                (If Trayvon Martin was acting in self-defense, then Zimmerman was on offense.)

                This isn’t true, other than in a tautological sense. If “acting in self-defense” implies actually being in danger, then sure, Martin acting in self-defense implies Zimmerman being on the offensive. But if “acting in self-defense” implies only a sincere belief that he was in danger, then it’s possible for Martin to have been acting in self-defense without Zimmerman being on the offensive.

                Never mind the fact that he did end up getting killed as proof that he was right to feel threatened.

                This isn’t true in any sense. There’s no evidence that Zimmerman would have harmed Martin if he hadn’t been attacked—that he had just asked a police officer to come meet him argues strongly against that. It may arguably have been reasonable for Martin to fear Zimmerman, but that doesn’t mean that he was correct to do so. That is, if Martin was motivated by fear, his fear was a self-fulfilling prophecy, not an accurate gauge of the threat Zimmerman actually posed to him.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                A map of the complex is here:

                http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-back

                Again, the call to the police dispatcher lasted four minutes. If Trayvon Martin was spooked by George Zimmerman sitting in his truck talking on his cell phone, he had ample opportunity to return to Brandi Green’s townhouse ‘ere Zimmerman ever got off the phone – at an ordinary walking pace, at a brisk walking pace, at a run, and via any one of three different sidewalks. At the least, he had one or more occult objects (or responded to anxiety in ways that would be odd to an ordinary person).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                You realize the double-standard you created there, no? We must conclude that Martin responded in an “odd” way to anxiety because he didn’t retreat home. Yet, we must not conclude the same about Zim, who when faced with similar anxiety, pursued a person he believed to be dangerous.

                Were Zim’s actions “occult”?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no double-standard. If you begin with the assumption that Trayvon Martin’s object was to do an errand – walk to the convenience store and make some banal purchases – the fact that he does not return home is curious in and of itself. If in pondering that one adds a speculation that he was intimidated by George Zimmerman’s presence, it is more curious still.

                George Zimmerman’s objects are elucidated in the call to the police dispatcher. There is no fantastic mystery there. Listen to the audiofile. There is nothing out of the ordinary about George Zimmerman making this phone call – he is the neighborhood watch captain. One might note also that Trayvon Martin abruptly runs away during the course of the call. At the time he does so, he is around 30 yards away from Zimmerman, who is sitting in his truck talking on the phone.

                I am not quite sure how you come to the conclusion that Zimmerman ‘perceives as dangerous’ Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman quite clearly states at the beginning of the call the motor of his concern – local burglaries – not local assaults. He describes Martin as ‘suspicious’, not ‘menacing’. In addition, to describe Zimmerman as ‘pursuing’ Martin is tendentious. He never catches sight of him again during the course of the call. Again, the reconstructions published here:

                http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-back

                would indicate he traveled to the next street over during the course of the conversation, whilst Martin had ducked down the alley, which is to say he was walking in a direction perpendicular to Martin’s last observed path.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                ” walk to the convenience store and make some banal purchases – the fact that he does not return home is curious in and of itself.”

                Apparently you were never a teenager.

                Walking around the neighborhood with skittles and ice tea was what I did all day and night.

                Thankfully, I wasn’t racially profiled and chased for blocks by a guy with a gun, who I had to fight to get away, who then shot and killed me, or someone like Art would say that I attacked the guy who chased me.

                Art, if it were your kid would you assume he fought in self-defense or that he was the aggressor? Be honest. If it was a kid you knew, a 3rd cousin or something. Would you assume that he would seek a violent confrontation after being chased (while getting some candy after smoking a joint) for any reason but self-defense?

                You really need to wonder if your interpretation of events is tinged by subconscious racial biases. I’m not saying they are, but you need to think about it.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I am suggesting that Zimmerman’s menacing chase was a crime (though not the sort that would usually be prosecuted for lack of evidence) and undermines his self-defense claim.

                Here’s an analogy. My plan is to walk up and start throwing a punch at you but stop before I hit you. I am scaring you in a threatening way. (I’d argue this is much less of a threat than what Martin faced, being chased at night while black in a white neighborhood.) This fake punch is not the sort of threat that would normally be prosecuted, but it is illegal and threatening.

                Certainly if my fake punch scares you and you then throw a punch back in self-defense, and I then pull out a gun and shoot you, I cannot -absolutely cannot- reasonably claim self-defense. I started the fight with illegal and threatening actions and you were just defending yourself, whereupon I escalated and you got killed.

                Wouldn’t you think the person who did that to your or your family member was guilty of intentionally killing you, not in self-defense? Be honest.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                Ask 100 teenagers how typical Martin’s actions were.
                Ask 100 twenty-somethings how typical Zimmerman’s were.

                I bet far more of the former find Martin to be acting typically than the latter would find Zimmerman’s.

                Now, 100 twenty-somethings might find Martin’s actions atypical. Which is why Zimmerman, untrained as he was, should have left confrontation to trained professionals, who were likely better suited to determine the appropriateness of Martin’s actions. The woman who helped train Zimmerman made clear that his goal was to be eyes and ears and to call from a safe and secure location. When he violated his training, he ceased to be a neighborhood watch coordinator (he was never a “captain”).Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “If you begin with the assumption that Trayvon Martin’s object was to do an errand – walk to the convenience store and make some banal purchases – the fact that he does not return home is curious in and of itself. ”

                Because a teenager has NEVER gone to the store on a cellphone call with his girlfriend, and chosen to make the walk as long as possible to talk with the girlfriend without parents in the room.

                No, that could never happen. It has to be that Trayvon Martin, armed with a bottle of tea and a bag of skittles, was planning to “practice his MMA moves” and beat someone up as the racists suggest.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Apparently you were never a teenager.

                Walking around the neighborhood with skittles and ice tea was what I did all day and night.

                Thankfully, I wasn’t racially profiled and chased for blocks by a guy with a gun, who I had to fight to get away, who then shot and killed me, or someone like Art would say that I attacked the guy who chased me.

                Art, if it were your kid would you assume he fought in self-defense or that he was the aggressor? Be honest. If it was a kid you knew, a 3rd cousin or something. Would you assume that he would seek a violent confrontation after being chased (while getting some candy after smoking a joint) for any reason but self-defense?

                You really need to wonder if your interpretation of events is tinged by subconscious racial biases. I’m not saying they are, but you need to think about it.

                1. Again, people keep telling me he was menaced by George Zimmerman, or chased by George Zimmerman, or pursued by George Zimmerman, or stalked by George Zimmerman. Seems to me that if he found Zimmerman such a threat, he might just have gone home. The opportunity was there.

                2. There is no indication that Zimmerman ‘chased’ Martin, much less ‘for blocks’, or that Martin was ever aware that Zimmerman had a pistol in his pants until just before Zimmerman shot him.

                3. The 3d cousin I know best is a schoolteacher in Genesee County, N.Y. I do not think he ever beat up the neighborhood watch captain back in the day. I was lunching with his grandfather weekly at the time and nothing was ever said about any legal trouble.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I am suggesting that Zimmerman’s menacing chase was a crime (though not the sort that would usually be prosecuted for lack of evidence) and undermines his self-defense claim.

                A ‘menacing chase’ does not exist outside of your imagination. That aside, Martin ran out of sight when Zimmerman was sitting in his truck yakking on his cell phone.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Art,

                Simple yes/no question:

                Is it possible that Martin was confused about where “home” was, given that he did not live in the area, it was dark and rainy, the houses all looked very similar, and possibly feared he was being followed and/or was at risk? Is that possible?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Seems to me that if he found Zimmerman such a threat, he might just have gone home. The opportunity was there.

                Zimmerman could have gone home as well, yes? They both had an equal right to be in the places they in fact were. Zimmerman thought Martin had committed a crime. Martin thought Zimmerman was following him despite his having done which would warrant being followed by “some random guy.” Zimmerman was wrong, of course. But Martin was right.

                Your whole argument hinges on whether Zimmerman had a right to follow Martin to the degree that Martin was fearing for his safety. That’s where the discussion gets interesting, it seems to me. You disagree, apparently because you have compelling evidence that Martin was some sort of thug who was just agitating to administer a beatdown to a random guy.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Art Deco,

                I keep hearing you claim Zimmerman was a “Neighborhood Watch Captain.” Actually he was the “coordinator”, self-appointed, of a neighborhood watch whose total registered membership reads as follows.

                1. George Zimmerman.
                2. Nobody Else.

                That changes the picture somewhat, doesn’t it?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Holy cow.

                I know a lot of tough kids. Some of them ex gang bangers. In that situation, they would be scared too. Someone following you late at night. You’re the wrong race in the wrong place. Even if you have committed a crime and gotten in a few fights, that would scare the crap out of you. You wouldn’t get all tough and want to fight because you’ve been slighted.

                Art and George are opperating under the assumption that a.) Martin was some kind of gang banger criminal type on the basis of almost no evidence and his skin color and b.) A gang-banger criminal type (armed only with skittles) teen would be angry at being offended by someone persuing him, not just as frightened as the rest of us would be.

                Both a. and b. would only be accepted by a racist, IMO. Sorry guys, but that’s how it is.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                That changes the picture somewhat, doesn’t it?

                No it does not. He is listed as the contact person in the newsletter of the homeowners’ association. I am not sure how many people volunteered with him or if they wore those reflective vests the chaps in my old neighborhood favored. What of it?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Fnord
                Ignored
                says:

                Ask 100 teenagers how typical Martin’s actions were.
                Ask 100 twenty-somethings how typical Zimmerman’s were.

                1. Martin walks by Zimmerman’s truck and stares at it. (This I get).

                2. Martin ambles up a walkway, then abruptly runs out of sight.

                3. Martin does not return home, even though he is < 90 yards from Brandi Green's back door.

                Sorry, I do not think adolescents are going to figure this one out any better than anyone else.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                See my other comment where I note that Martin was in an unfamiliar area, in the dark and rain, in a neighborhood where all the houses looked the same. He might not have known where “home” was.

                Let me ask: What is your experience with adolescents? I don’t work with them directly, but see them everyday at my school. Several times a day they make me go, “Huh? Oh yea… teenagers.”Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                See my other comment where I note that Martin was in an unfamiliar area, in the dark and rain, in a neighborhood where all the houses looked the same. He might not have known where “home” was.

                He managed to get from the convenience store back to the complex. IIRC, the nearly useless interview with “DeeDee” does include an account of his location which has him near Brandi Green’s back stoop at one point, FWIW. In any case, it’s not that difficult, if that’s the only task you have. Here is the map:

                http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-backReport

              • Avatar DRS in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do you keep going on about Martin not running home? The home where only his kid brother is present? So that this guy who’s bugging him will then know where he lives?

                Seriously, what a dumb point to keep making. Trayvon did exactly what I would have done – and have done in the past – as a woman with some guy following me. The LAST thing you do it reveal where you live.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Silly, DRS. Art applies the logic he’d apply in the situation and assume everyone else, be they black or white, male or female, young or old, ought to do the same. Anything else is “occult”.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Why do you keep going on about Martin not running home? The home where only his kid brother is present? So that this guy who’s bugging him will then know where he lives?

                I dunno, DRS. Maybe because that’s the natural terminus of a trip to the convenience store?

                He has an older brother, not a younger brother, and said older brother lives in Miami, not Pinellas County. “Chad” is Brandi Green’s son. No relation.

                Again, Zimmerman the insurance underwriter is sitting in his truck talking on his cell phone. That would be this guy here:

                https://www.google.com/search?q=george+zimmerman+images&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=mSG-UdnEAtOj4APTm4HYDg&sqi=2&ved=0CC0QsAQ&biw=1292&bih=679#facrc=_&imgrc=zo2mrJBvCCzxYM%3A%3BXvMZcSVLy_CoOM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fa.abcnews.com%252Fimages%252FUS%252Fht_george_zimmerman_ll_120518_wg.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fabcnews.go.com%252FUS%252Fgeorge-zimmerman-ordered-back-jail%252Fstory%253Fid%253D16481046%3B640%3B360Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art Deco,

                Will anything change your mind? DRS, a highly intelligent individual, just gave you good reason why home would NOT be a natural terminus for someone. And you reject it. Dismiss it, out of hand. You’re not hear to discuss; you’re hear to preach.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                ““Chad” is Brandi Green’s son. No relation.”

                And of course that means that Trayvon Martin has absolutely no reason not to bring a racist stalker armed with a gun down on the daughter of his father’s fiancee, who is no (blood) relation and therefore TM couldn’t give a shit about…

                Or maybe family isn’t just blood, and leading a violent stalker intent on murder to your home where there is a vulnerable kid isn’t the brightest or most logical idea in the world.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Will anything change your mind?

                Show me the following:

                1. Pieces of Florida case law which state that an individual under assault and on his back on the sidewalk is – given stipulated circumstances – not justified in the use of deadly force and is, in fact, so unjustified as to be guilty of murder with a depraved indifference to human life. (That’s the charge he is facing, chaps.)

                2. Forensic evidence or evidence derived from reliable and disinterested witnesses that demonstrates that Zimmerman did something during the two minutes in question which renders him culpable. Here you have a questions of fact and questions of law.

                With regard to point 2, the salient evidence was released 13 months ago, and it just is not there. You all are banking on inverted jury nullification (and, jeez, you may just get it).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                You’re moving the goalposts. Your position seems predicated on Martin’s behavior being suspicious. But you’ve offered no “disinterested” evidence of such, outside your own subjective evaluation.

                I’m not arguing that Zimmerman is legally guilty; the situation is far too complicated for me to draw that conclusion. What I am arguing is that the steadfastness with which you are presenting your arguments, based on a very narrow interpretation of a small subset of the evidence, demonstrates a previously arrived at conclusion in search of facts. When presented with counters to that, such as DRS offering an explanation for Martin’s behavior that is quite reasonable, you simply dismiss it because it doesn’t comport with your perspective.

                That is the definition of bias. Yet you present yourself as anything but.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re moving the goalposts. Your position seems predicated on Martin’s behavior being suspicious. But you’ve offered no “disinterested” evidence of such, outside your own subjective evaluation.

                I moved no goal posts. The autopsy report supports the thesis that Martin attacked Zimmerman, not the other way around. Zimmerman’s injuries support that thesis. Witness 6 statements support that thesis. Any other thesis requires an imaginative reconstruction. If Martin attacked Zimmerman, under what circumstances is Zimmerman culpable for the use of deadly force? Show me the case law. Tell me why Jeralyn Merritt is wrong.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Fnord
                Ignored
                says:

                Because a teenager has NEVER gone to the store on a cellphone call with his girlfriend, and chosen to make the walk as long as possible to talk with the girlfriend without parents in the room.

                She was not his girlfriend, as admitted to Bernardo de la Rionda in an interview conducted on 2 April 2012. The recording can be found online. (The ‘girlfriend’ business was a fiction propagated by Benjamin Crump. She had known TM for over a decade).

                Tracy Martin and Brandi Green were out for the evening.

                Presumably, Brandi Green’s townhouse has more than one room in it were he embarrassed by her son Chad hearing so and so much of his half of the hours and hours he spent talking to this girl.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                He didn’t do things the way you would have done them, so therefore his actions aren’t justifiable.

                Fuck that. I’ve been stopped by the cops more than once for walking around late at night. I don’t particularly mind them asking what I’m doing (although I’m lucky to be white), but the idea that a trip to the convenience store has to end up back home ASAP, that it’s wrong to walk in the rain, that a teenager has to talk to a girl on the phone from inside the house instead of while on a walk…all that is ridiculous. You’re just making it up as you go along, applying whatever spin supports what you’ve already concluded is the truth.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve been stopped by the cops more than once for walking around late at night.

                Sure. But have you ever been stopped by a neighborhood watch captain? That’s a whole different dynamic, bro. None of the authority, none of the accountability, and even more protections for the use of force. Apparently.

                Beware the NWC.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Remind me and the Mrs. never to go walking in the rain in the neighborhood Art Deco lives in. He’ll shoot us dead for doing something he thinks we shouldn’t be doing.

                Nevermind the fact that I enjoy a good summer rain and think my wife is extremely smoking hot in a wet t-shirt, bra or no bra.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Stillwater,

                In the case I give more detail about, the cop was in plain clothes in his own pickup, no evidence he was a cop. The fishing idiot, after following me slowly, pulled into the exact middle of a dark parking lot and called me over, still without identifying himself. So, yeah I was freaked out, wondering WTF this stranger was doing.

                And I was white.

                And it was a small Indiana farm town.

                I’m pretty sure Trayvon Martin had even more cause to skedaddle than I did.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Remind me and the Mrs. never to go walking in the rain in the neighborhood Art Deco lives in. He’ll shoot us dead for doing something he thinks we shouldn’t be doing.

                I have for 18 years lived in neighborhoods where I did not have much use for a pistol. ‘Ere that, I lived in places which did not allow concealed carry for ordinary citizens, even though Domino’s did not deliver in my neighborhood.

                Rest assured, if I am on my back and you and your wife are practicing your MMA moves on me, I will likely shoot you if I have a pistol at hand.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                He didn’t do things the way you would have done them, so therefore his actions aren’t justifiable.

                Whether they are ‘justifiable’ or not, people are contending that he was minding his own business doing an errand or that he was intimidated by Zimmerman’s very presence. That he did not simply return home is inconsistent with those contentions.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Fnord
                Ignored
                says:

                Did Martin fight with the neighborhood watch captain too? You’d think that would have gotten more press.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m guessing that the logic here is that you don’t have to let someone stab you to death just because you started a fistfight with him.

                Sure, but what if you’re the person who brought the weapon to the fight? Isn’t starting a fight while armed with a deadly weapon pretty much guaranteeing that both parties are fighting for their lives? It seems to me that once you create that particular situation, “self defense” is pretty weak tea.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t write the law, and I don’t fully understand what the intent was, or how it’s applied in practice. But that’s what it is, and that’s my best guess. I’d also guess that in practice there’s a lot of discretion regarding how it’s applied.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                “I didn’t write the law, and I don’t fully understand what the intent was, or how it’s applied in practice.”

                This much you have made incredibly clear, especially when you went so far as to accuse others who quoted the relevant sections of law to you of making things up.

                Remind me not to waste my time dignifying your comments with a response in the future. I don’t feel I deserved your rudeness or your accusations and I’m not going to expose myself to it again.Report

              • Avatar Fnord in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                It appears that yes, even the aggressor can use deadly force provided, as you say, that no other option was available (in contrast to the general case, there is a duty to retreat in that case) to avoid death or great bodily harm. So no imperfect self-defense doctrine (At least not this version) in Florida law, apparently. Which means that the assorted critics may be wrong to focus on Stand Your Ground per se, but may have a reasonable claim that Florida self-defense law in general is problematic.

                This doesn’t apply, however, if Z committed a “forcible felony” as the aggressor, which would include aggravated assault.

                And, of course, there’s the fact that M didn’t have and wasn’t using a knife in this case, which goes to the “death or great bodily harm” issue.Report

    • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
      Ignored
      says:

      Hmm…sounds like Merritt’s reaching. Example from the link:

      “The information about his marijuana use is relevant……(because Zimmerman) told the dispatcher Martin was acting weirdly, like he was high on drugs.”

      Only Zimmerman had no real reason to suspect that Martin’s “weird” behavior (whatever it was) could be attributed to “drugs” much less that the drug was specifically marijuana. Could he smell it? Could he tell that Martin’s eyes were dilated from yards away in the dark?

      If anything, it was a lucky guess, not as Merritt describes as “valid reasons for reporting Martin as a suspicious person.”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Herb
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t find it as that much of a stretch. If Zimmerman thought he was acting strangely, like maybe someone on drugs, and it turns out that Martin was on drugs, then that would (it would seem to me) increase the likelihood that Zimmerman was indeed seeing suspicious behavior rather than targeting him solely because he was black.

        Note: I think race had a whole lot to do with it. But whether Martin was acting suspiciously or not, and whether he might have been taking drugs consistent with suspicious behavior, strikes me as not-irrelevant. Which isn’t to say that the judge was wrong to exclude it. However, if the prosecution tries to argue that Z targeted M on account of his race, I’m not sure other reasons that Martin might have been targeted shouldn’t be admissable. I’d have to know caselaw and history and maybe be a lawyer or something.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          But there is a whole string of events that need to line up…

          Tray was on drugs.
          Tray was on drugs that would change his behavior.
          Tray was on drugs that would change his behavior in a suspicious way.
          Tray was acting in said suspicious way.
          Zim was qualified to identify such behaviors.

          Learning that Tray was high that night wouldn’t make me particularly likely to believe Zim… at least not moreso than previously. Blind squirrels and nuts and what not. If he were to describe specific behaviors, connected them with a specific cause, and the facts bore that observation out, I think you’d have a there there. But simply saying “…like he’s on drugs”… well, you could say that about damn near anyone and be right a good percentage of the time.Report

        • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          “If Zimmerman thought he was acting strangely, like maybe someone on drugs, and it turns out that Martin was on drugs, then that would (it would seem to me) increase the likelihood that Zimmerman was indeed seeing suspicious behavior”

          Perhaps. But the drug we’re talking about here is marijuana. There are signs that one is intoxicated with THC, but they are subtle and cannot be observed at a distance…in the dark.Report

          • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Herb
            Ignored
            says:

            The fact that it’s marijuana leads me to put less stock in it than I otherwise would.Report

            • Avatar DRS in reply to Trumwill
              Ignored
              says:

              Have you ever watched someone talk on cell phone while walking along the street? They look weird, they slow down when they get to an intense point in the conversation, their facial reflections can look quite silly and they often hold their upper bodies very tense as they concentrate or try to hear over outdoor sounds. To a Zimmerman already predisposed to find anything Trayvon did suspicious, it probably did look weird.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    It strikes me that this tragedy that unfolded between the two of them probably says more about gender than race.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      Race plays a part, in both how Trayvon and George acted. If you read TNC, you get an understanding of living in a world where violence erupts around you, where sometimes, you have to defend yourself. And you always expect stop and frisk. That was Trayvon’s world, because of race.

      George has machismo; and it seems latino in tone, but with a waspy beat.

      And yes, I agree, their actions were about gender; something that CK talked about the other day; how do young men define themselves culturally when the traditional roles of provide and protect ain’t happenin?

      Race became a problem because of how law enforcement acted, or failed to act, and now, in it’s a part of George’s defense; possibly a part of he prosecution.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      I think this is undoubtedly true, though it’s important to remember that race and gender are pretty heavily intertwined, throughout the history of racism against black people.

      Also, whatever the role of gender, race is going to play a significantly larger role in people’s perception of the outcome of the case.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        Chris and zic: Yes! How does the larger society permit men of color to achieve a sort of dignity, or not permit them more accurately? I think both young men are examples of the narrow options in that regard.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Rufus F.
          Ignored
          says:

          Out of curiosity, what exactly do you mean by “dignity?” I see people speaking of giving someone dignity, or allowing him to have it, or taking it away. None of these are really consistent with my understanding of the word, which is that it describes the way a person acts, not the way others treat him.Report

          • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            ???

            That is weird Brandon.

            One use of the word “dignity” is to describe a certain feeling of self-worth or desert, and a sense that your life has the same importance and inherent value as the lives of others.

            Even if X has the cure for cancer and I am a shoe salesman, dignity is the feeling that my life has the same inherent value and importance as X’s.

            There may be utilitarian reasons for killing me instead of X, but that means something else matters more than my dignity. It doesn’t mean I have dignity. There may be ways in which X is better than me for his actions, but my life still has the same inherent value as his.

            Indeed, one problem with utilitarianism is that it has no place for the dignity of individuals.

            You can deny that all or most people should feel dignity, but I am shocked that you don’t know that it sometimes refers to a feeling of inherent worth.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            Brandon- I’ve been up late all week because the final draft of my dissertation is due on Wed to be turned into a pdf. So, to be honest, I think the word ‘dignity’ wasn’t what I was looking for. ‘Roles’ would be better. What sort of roles are available to young men and esteemed in the eyes of the culture? That was the sort of question I was asking. I think race plays a part in it, too, but honestly, I live in a white, working class town where I could (and have) seen altercations like this play out with fairly tragic results.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      This is an interesting point.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, this is a very interesting point.

      When I realized that the law could well be phrased in such a way that two people could stand their ground against the other, I became much less a fan of it.Report

      • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        How does threatening a kid armed only with iced tea and skittles allow Zimmerman to stand his ground?

        784.011 (1)?An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
        (2)?Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

        784.021 (1)?An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
        (a)?With a deadly weapon without intent to kill;

        (2)?Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

        776.013: (2)?The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:…(c)?The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cletus
          Ignored
          says:

          I think it’s the whole “pounding Z’s head into the pavement” part of the story that turns this into Z being able to stand his ground.

          “Fists”, from what I understand, can be considered threatening if one happens to be in the middle of being hit by them. Legally, I mean.Report

          • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            776.013: (2)?The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:…(c)?The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity.

            “Z” was engaged in unlawful activity. That there was an altercation does not alter this fact.Report

            • Avatar Cletus in reply to Cletus
              Ignored
              says:

              I will clarify.

              George Zimmerman was engaged in a crime. A 3rd degree felony, assault with a deadly weapon.

              If he were robbing a convenience store, he could not shoot the storekeeper for attacking him with knife, baseball bat, or fists and claim self-defense, not even if the storekeeper managed to knock him over and “pound Z’s head into the ground.” He is in the middle of a felony. His only legal choices are to flee or surrender.

              The two situations are legally indistinguishable. George Zimmerman, in the commission of 3rd degree felony assault with a deadly weapon, shot his victim and increased his already preexisting crime from 3rd degree felony assault to felony murder.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                So we’ve established that if someone is engaging in a crime, you can engage in violence against them?

                Well, look’s like Z’s argument has mostly been accepted by the defense. Now we just have to get a few more yards.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, we have established that if you are engaging in a crime you lose the right to claim self-defense against your victim. “Z” was clearly engaging in a crime. And why do you continue to refer to him as “Z” instead of by name?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                So if Martin *WAS* in the process of committing a crime, he wouldn’t be able to claim self-defense against Z?

                And why do you continue to refer to him as “Z” instead of by name?

                Because “Zimmerman” is, like, a million letters.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What crime would an unarmed teen carrying iced tea and skittles possibly be committing?

                Oh, right. Being black in a white neighborhood.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Was the iced tea larger than 16 ounces?Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Carrying iced tea?

                Intent to eat rainbow colored candy?

                Failing to stay in the properly segregated Jim Crow areas?

                I want to know. What crime are you insinuating here?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus, you misunderstand. I am of the opinion that the SYG law, if it applied to anybody, applied to Martin. If anybody had the right to stand his ground, it’s be the guy who was doing nothing but walking home after visiting a 7-11.

                That said, a fistfight changes the dynamic somewhat to the point where I can see the prosecution not being able to overcome the presumption of innocence when it comes to claims of self-defense on Z’s part (the picture of Z where he’s got a bloodied face, for example, is more helpful for the defense than for the prosecution).

                (One question I have is “how far away was Martin from the gun when Z fired?” If the answer is “sixish inches” then that seems to fit the narrative of “shot while being beaten” which, let me restate, will change things in the eyes of the jury. If the answer is “sixish feet”, then there are an *ENTIRELY* different group of circumstances in which Trayvon was shot and it seems to me that those circumstances will make it a lot easier for the jury to find for the prosecution.)Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Was the iced tea larger than 16 ounces?

                OK, that was pretty great.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So let me get this straight, Jaybird. I want to make sure I understand your claim.

                At time period A1, Martin is being pursued by Zimmerman. Zimmerman does not identify himself, chases Martin in a threatening manner, demands to know what Martin is doing, and does something that causes Martin to shout “Get off, Get off” loudly enough to be heard over the phone call with his girlfriend. At time period A1, Martin is justified to Stand His Ground against Zimmerman but Zimmerman has absolutely no right to draw and fire a weapon at Martin.

                At time period A2, some indeterminate point in the scuffle, fortunes change. Zimmerman, clearly the aggressor armed with a deadly weapon aka a handgun, finds himself on the ground with Martin on top of him still punching. Despite having provoked Martin’s clearly justified Stand Your Ground response, Zimmerman is according to the Jaybird Principle suddenly endowed with a brand new right, the right to exercise “self defense” by shooting Martin, a right that did not exist at time point A1.

                I can’t accept that this is valid either from a logical standpoint, from the standpoint of the legal resources Stillwater has provided, or from the text of Florida law I have provided to you. A fistfight does not change the dynamic, in the eyes of the law Zimmerman is the aggressor and initial provocateur of the fight, the one who triggered Martin’s right to exercise SYG. The fact that Zimmerman is now on the losing end of a fight he provoked does not and can not mean he has suddenly gained a right to escalate his intended assault to the level of murder that he did not possess at point A1.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Despite having provoked Martin’s clearly justified Stand Your Ground response, Zimmerman is according to the Jaybird Principle suddenly endowed with a brand new right, the right to exercise “self defense” by shooting Martin, a right that did not exist at time point A1.”

                Yep.

                Next question?

                It’s right there in Florida law, in fact. If you have a reasonable belief that you are in danger of losing your life or suffering severe injury, and you have a reasonable believe that there is no way to escape the situation, then you’re justified in using deadly force to defend yourself. Even if you started the fight.

                “That’s crazy!” Really? Because there’s lots of ways to start a fight. Being a black teenager in the wrong neighborhood after dark, for example, can start a fight. If Martin had killed Zimmerman, would you really be saying that the whole thing was Martin’s fault for sneaking around at night and refusing to identify himself when challenged?

                There is *not* a duty to allow yourself to be killed.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jim Heffman, how do you reconcile your position with the statutes above, which say that self-defense cannot be an affirmative defense if you were engaged in unlawful conduct including the unlawful conduct of assault?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus, you understand, now, why I am not crazy about the law.

                It does seem to me that Martin was well within his rights to Stand His Ground against Zimmerman, given what we know. However: it also seems to me that if Zimmerman was not, in fact, “brandishing” his gun and was not, in fact, “threatening” Martin with a gun, that there is a point at which Martin fighting Zimmerman turns this from a Stand Your Ground situation into a somewhat different Self-Defense situation.

                The question is whether Martin pinning Zimmerman down on the ground and beating Zimmerman with his fists qualifies as a situation where Zimmerman could have reasonably been afraid for his life.

                Now if your argument is that “NO THERE IS NO REASON FOR ZIMMERMAN TO HAVE BEEN AFRAID FOR HIS LIFE!” then, hey, awesome.

                I suspect that there is someone on the jury who might conclude that Zimmerman’s fear was, all things considered, reasonable.

                Is it a slam-dunk for the defense? No, I don’t think so… but neither do I think that it’s a slam-dunk for the prosecution. Given the whole “presumption of innocence” standard, I think that it’s quite possible that Zimmerman be found innocent.

                Then we can have the civil trial arguments. I rather suspect that Zimmerman will be eaten alive at the civil trial.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Pynchon’s Fifth Rule for Paranoids:

                Paranoids are not paranoids because they’re paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.

                That’s where we stand with Zimmerman. Nobody put Zimmerman in that situation but himself.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Nobody put Zimmerman in that situation but himself.

                By shlepping around his own neighborhood.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh. Within arm’s reach of Trayvon Martin. An exceedingly stupid move for anyone armed with a pistol. Zimmerman thought he was Billy Bad Ass, him and his popgun. It’s a miracle Mr. Zimmerman is alive to tell his story — in many different versions.

                Mr. Zimmerman is an idiot and a busybody and I hope he eats off a plastic tray for the next several years in the custody of the County of Seminole.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh. Within arm’s reach of Trayvon Martin. An exceedingly stupid move for anyone armed with a pistol. Zimmerman thought he was Billy Bad Ass, him and his popgun. It’s a miracle Mr. Zimmerman is alive to tell his story — in many different versions.
                Mr. Zimmerman is an idiot and a busybody and I hope he eats off a plastic tray for the next several years in the custody of the County of Seminole.

                BlaiseP, this is not that difficult.

                1. Listen to the audiofile on the WAGIST site. It was recorded between 6.5 minutes and 2.5 minutes before the fight in question. It is an unremarkable report to the non-emergency police dispatcher of the sort you might expect the neighborhood watch captain to make. What he saw, why it interested him, and where he was headed when got out of his truck to look around. Keep in mind that Zimmerman’s movements from here to there might not have been any different if he were just visiting someone on the opposite block.

                2. You might also pay attention to his description of Martin’s movements and compare them to the map on WAGIST. It’s interesting.

                3. Your best evidence is that which is not subject to the vagaries of memory, and that is the autopsy report, the medical reports, and the photographs taken at the scene and several sets of recordings. One of these men was beaten, and one was not.

                4. The eyewitness account of the 3d party standing right there jives with your best evidence.

                5. Sorry you are suffering from arbitrary hostility to someone who is a stranger to you, but its a fairly asinine reason to throw someone in prison for a decade or two.

                6. One thing incorporated into the complaints about Zimmerman (including yours) is the assumption that obnoxious adolescents have a franchise to deliver beat-downs to random individuals who irritate them. One thing the trial will help clarify is the degree to which, in the case law of the State of Florida, this is actually true.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                One thing the trial will help clarify is the degree to which, in the case law of the State of Florida, this is actually true.

                Is that how this thing gets spun? That Zimmerman was just a “random guy” who Martin decided to randomly give a beat down to?

                That’s a peculiar definition of “random”, don’t you think?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it is not. Trayvon Martin did not know George Zimmerman from a cord of wood. The two had never had any business with each other. Martin had only been there for ten days. The best evidence of George Zimmerman’s activities are his phone call to the non-emergency police dispatcher. He was the neighborhood watch captain, walking around the neighborhood. That is what neighborhood watch captains do. Come to think of it, so do people who own dogs, people who jog, and people who smoke pipes. All of them should be able to go about their business without getting their noses broken by petty hoodlums practicing MMA moves.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                ” that there is a point at which Martin fighting Zimmerman turns this from a Stand Your Ground situation into a somewhat different Self-Defense situation.”

                Jaybird, this is where your argument is not matching up with reality. Even absent a gun Zimmerman had committed enough offense to trigger Martin’s SYG rights by your own logic. Zimmerman clearly had presented enough of a threat of violence through word and action to Martin that a SYG self-defense claim was Martin’s to make.

                Whether or not Zimmerman has a gun, knife, pointed stick, or any other weapon at this point is immaterial. It is Zimmerman who is the aggressor, Zimmerman who has followed an individual in a stalker-esque and threatening enough manner to cause Martin to call his girlfriend and tell her he is being followed, and Zimmerman who does something enough to make Martin say the words “Get off” to him not once but twice.

                There is no room for doubt on the point that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation. The presence of the gun is not a deciding factor for the fact that Zimmerman had committed enough of the definition of criminal assault to trigger Martin’s SYG rights, it is only an aggravating factor that increases the offense from simple assault to aggravated assault and when Zimmerman chooses to fire, aggravates the situation to murder.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Even absent a gun Zimmerman had committed enough offense to trigger Martin’s SYG rights by your own logic. ”

                Could you post your real name and address? I want to make sure that I never walk near you or say “hello” to you, since you think that’s justification for you to smash my head into the curb until I can’t get up anymore.

                It’s actually really funny that the *anti*-gun people are in the position of arguing that provocateurs should have no expectation of personal safety. Which is the argument that *pro*-gun people have been using all along.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So we’ve established that if someone is engaging in a crime, you can engage in violence against them?

                Uhm. What Cletus was establishing was that according to Florida law, if you’re engaging in a crime and you shoot someone who was defending themselves or their property, the shooter can’t claim self-defense as a defense.

                What Stand Your Ground codifies (or tries to) is that lethal force is justified if a person believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or bodily harm.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I should add: What Stand Your Ground codifies (or tries to) is that lethal force is justified if a person believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or bodily harm, full stop.

                In isolation, that provision could justify Zimmerman’s use of force against Martin, but it’s inconsistent with other Florida laws – namely, the one’s Cletus has linked to elsewhere on this thread, and the one I linked to in an earlier comment.

                The two laws are consistent only if we determined what constitutes “threatening behavior”, or “provocation”, or etc. Eg: if there were a Florida law which defined “provocation” clearly and unambiguously, then it would be an easy matter to determine if Zimmerman’s actions were provocative (or not), in which case Martin’s actions would clearly fall under standard self-defense, and the SYG defense wouldn’t apply.

                I think that’s the central issue here. But …. not a lawyer.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah. When I realized that the law could well be phrased in such a way that two people could stand their ground against the other, I became much less a fan of it.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                It wasn’t a “chase”, as at no point was Martin trying to run or hide.

                He actually did run and hide. It’s on the recording of Zimmerman’s call to the non-emergency dispatcher. He was not chased. Zimmerman was still in the truck when he did this.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Because it’s impossible to chase/follow someone in a truck?

                And doesn’t this undercut your claim from above that Zimmerman was just some random guy who Martin attacked–ie. he was a guy that Martin felt the need to run away from.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Because it’s impossible to chase/follow someone in a truck?
                And doesn’t this undercut your claim from above that Zimmerman was just some random guy who Martin attacked–ie. he was a guy that Martin felt the need to run away from.

                There was no chase. Listen to the audiofile.

                Martin’s objects are occult. Also, I doubt you could find a jurisdiction where the standard was that his idiosyncratic reactions to things would provide a dispensation for his conduct or convey culpability to Martin. You could try, I suppose.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                correction: “convey culpability to Zimmerman”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                I’m willing to consider your version of events as a plausible scenario.

                Are you willing to consider any alternative version events as plausible?Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I did listen to the audio file. The dispatcher asked if Z was following Martin, he said yeah. My comment was intended to convey that after reporting Martin Zimmerman followed him, both in the car and on foot, so he wouldn’t get away. And that the reason Martin ran was because he realized he was being followed by Zimmerman.

                On your second point. It is part of Zimmerman’s testimony that Martin realized he was being watched, and went and checked him out. If being followed by a creepy dude in a truck isn’t a reason to run I don’t know what is.

                I also want to second Kazzy’s point.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not seeing where you’ve shown that he committed an assault prior to the start of any fight. Witness 8’s testimony doesn’t really indicate who through the first punch, and also does not appear to suggest that Zimmerman was brandishing the firearm prior to the fight.

                To my knowledge, the prosecution’s theory is also not that there was a predicate assault with a deadly weapon.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Assault is confirmed merely by the threat of violence and causing someone else to fear for their life. The specific phrase is “threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another” and is clear here.

                784.011 (1)?An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
                (2)?Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                You haven’t established that Zimmerman intentionally threatened violence, though. That he committed an that “created a well-founded fear . . . that such violence is imminent” is pretty clear; what is not clear is that he intentionally and unlawfully threatened such violence. Again, to my knowledge, this isn’t even a theory the prosecution is pursuing.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I would believe that someone is going to harm me if they confronted me on the street, asking me questions about what I was doing there as I was trying to walk away from the person. (Unless they identified as a police officer.)

                And Zimmerman admits that he believed Martin was committing a crime and that he followed him looking to confront him.

                Your 17 year old daughter is walking along. A man follows her for a distance. She continues to walk away. He tells her to stop and doesn’t identify as police. She walks away faster and he pursues.

                Is she being threatened? Is her persuer commiting a crime of threatening her?

                Yes, IMO. And the longer the chase, the more it is a threat.

                If so, does it matter than Martin was not female and not your daughter? No, IMO. A reasonable person can and will feel threatened, even if they have the ability to fight, And even if you think it does matter that Martin is male, it also matters that he is black. It is reasonable for him to believe that a man chasing him, asking him “what are you doing” is reasonably likely to beat or harm him.

                The one thing that is not disputed here is that Martin was chased for enough time for the chase to be a threat to a reasonable person, especially a black person who would be aware that he is reasonablylikely to be the target of racially-motivated violence, which was in fact what was happening.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “I would believe that someone is going to harm me if they confronted me on the street, asking me questions about what I was doing there as I was trying to walk away from the person.”

                Unfortunately for your passion, “making someone feel scared” is not necessarily a felony. I’m pretty sure that you make women scared every day, entirely unconsciously. You look at them a little too long or a little too pointedly (although that was just how your head was turned at the time). You walk a little too close for a little too long (because you and she were going the same way.) You follow them up the stairs with your head right at the height of their butt (although you were thinking about lunch the whole time and didn’t even know she existed).

                As has been pointed out at length, what Zimmerman did prior to the fight was not a crime. And, y’know, “duty to retreat” takes many forms. Maybe sometimes “duty to retreat” means identifying yourself instead of running away.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Shazbot- correct, but that doesn’t really get at whether Zimmerman had the requisite specific intent to threaten bodily harm that would constitute assault.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I think he knew the behavior would cause fear and did intentionally.

                The bar for proving intention can’t be set that high or it would never be met in any case. “No your honor, I intended to point a gun at him and ask what he was doing, but I didn’t intend to cause him fear.”

                If the action X would reasonably cause fear and a cognitively competent agent should know it would cause fear, then X is an intentional threat even if X was actively thinking about causing fear, right?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Except there is no evidence that Zimmerman ever threatened Martin with a pistol.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                The chase was the threat, Art.

                You are being purposefully obtuse and intentionally missing my point.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                It wasn’t a “chase”, as at no point was Martin trying to run or hide. Zimmerman was trying to keep an eye on him, and by Martin’s girlfriend’s account, once Martin realized someone had been watching him, he went ballistic with a teen-age threat display over the perceived slight. In certain inner city neighborhoods even maintaining eye contact with a gang banger was justification for a brutal beating. That doesn’t mean looking was really a “threat”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                George,

                Below you referred to “teenagers” and “rap music”, now you are referring to “inner city” and “gangbanger”.

                Just say what you want: young black boys are either violent criminals now or violent criminals to be.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                once Martin realized someone had been watching him, he went ballistic with a teen-age threat display over the perceived slight.

                You’re just hypothesizing, right? Filling in important motives and whatnot? OK, good.

                In certain inner city neighborhoods even maintaining eye contact with a gang banger was justification for a brutal beating.

                Hmmm. You’d think a well trained neighborhood watcher would know these kind of important details, and would exhibit caution when looking directly in a gang-bangers eye. He might have even let the cops deal with such a potentially explosive situation.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                The chase was the threat, Art. You are being purposefully obtuse and intentionally missing my point.

                What chase. Listen to the audiofile.

                1. Martin runs out of sight. (Down the alleyway, it seems).

                2. Zimmerman gets out of his truck and jogs along a pathway for a period of less than ten seconds.

                3. Zimmerman slows down to a walking pace and ambles over to the next street. He never catches sight of Martin again during the course of the call.

                This is a ‘chase’? Keep in mind, Martin ran before Zimmerman got out of his truck (the closing of the truck door can be heard), was immediately out of sight, and could have been at Brandi Green’s back door in less than 20 seconds.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, I think the “deliberately obtuse” charge applies even to your own reconstruction of events. Did Martin have a right to confront Zimmerman given the fact that he knew Zimmerman was following him? It seems to me that Martin may have been worried that some random guy was going to administer a beatdown on him. So he confronted the guy. As you like to say, no one knows really knows what happened. That Martin didn’t go to his girlfriend’s house constitutes evidence that Martin was the instigator to the exact same degree that Martin’s continued pursuit is evidence of instigation.

                The only difference is in the stories is that both sides of the argument agree that Zimmerman was actually following martin and that he called his girlfriend expressing concern about that fact.

                So it seems to me that the preponderance of evidence goes against your theory, even tho the jury and the law may side with your view that Zimmerman will be acquitted.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmmm. You’d think a well trained neighborhood watcher would know these kind of important details, and would exhibit caution when looking directly in a gang-bangers eye. He might have even let the cops deal with such a potentially explosive situation.

                He was on the phone with the police dispatcher at the time, and arranged for a patrol car to pay a visit. Again, during the concluding minutes of the four minute call, TM was nowhere to be seen.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                And yet!, he didn’t wait for the cops to arrive.

                You know, Zimmerman “might just have gone home. The opportunity was there.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                For those following at home, the quoted comment was made by Art about Martin and can be found here:

                https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2013/06/trayvon-martin-the-criminalblackmale/#comment-554859Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Did Martin have a right to confront Zimmerman given the fact that he knew Zimmerman was following him? It seems to me that Martin may have been worried that some random guy was going to administer a beatdown on him. So he confronted the guy. As you like to say, no one knows really knows what happened.

                Again, it is established that Martin beat up Zimmerman. No antecedent which would give Martin a franchise to do that (and enhance whatever culpability attaches to Zimmerman) has been established. I doubt you will get from here to there, either. The salient evidence has been public for 13 months.

                That Martin didn’t go to his girlfriend’s house constitutes evidence that Martin was the instigator to the exact same degree that Martin’s continued pursuit is evidence of instigation.

                What girlfriend? Brandi Green was Tracy Martin’s paramour (and now soon-to-be babymama).

                Again, that Trayvon Martin did not simply return home is inconsistent with two theses:

                1. That he was just out for an errand and minding his own business; and

                2. That his immediate object began and ended with getting away from the menacing Zimmerman.

                The only difference is in the stories is that both sides of the argument agree that Zimmerman was actually following martin and that he called his girlfriend expressing concern about that fact.

                1. He’d been on the phone with ‘DeeDee’, who is just someone in his circle of friends, not his girlfriend, on and off for hours.

                2. The most plausible reconstruction from comparing the phone conversation with the police dispatcher to maps of the complex is that TM shot down the alleyway. GZ proceeded to the next street over, perpendicular to TM’s path. There are other interpretations, of course. Please note, TM ran while GZ was still in his truck. The closing of the truck door can be heard on the recording.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks for the talk Art. I Don’t know what to say at this point. You’re a smart guy, no doubt. But you’re also a smart guy who lacks any doubt. I find that interesting, but not worth pursuing.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “a teen-age threat display over the perceived slight.”

                Uh huh. Racism.

                After being followed long enough, nervousness and fear would kick in, and I too would get frightened enough to turn and fight in self-defense. it is a reasonable response given the situation, which is why the dispatcher told Zimmerman not to chase, and why police identify themselves before approaching or chasing you.

                The fact that you think teenage inner city youths behave differently than you or I when walking alone at night suggests that you see them as subject to a different set of motivations than we humans. You even used the word “threat display” which is a word often used to describe animals and apes.

                Go away.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “Uh huh. Racism.”

                Heh. Now we see how it works. “Do you believe that capital crimes require conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, that you can’t use past behavior as justification for violent assault, and that accused criminals should be considered innocent until proven guilty?” “FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING RACIST.”Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                And yet!, he didn’t wait for the cops to arrive.

                Did he have a choice? Again, Stillwater, one of these chaps was beat up and one was not. Occam’s razor, and all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                He absolutely had a choice: stay in the damn car.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Did he have a choice?

                I really can’t believe you’re saying this, Art. Of course he had a choice. He could have reported the suspicious activity to the cops and pulled back. Gone home, as you like to say. He could have exited the area he thought Martin was in and let the cops do their job.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                No, I’m saying that because you are positing motives that aren’t self-defense based motives in Martin that you wouldn’t posit in a white kid from a nice neighborhood is racism.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                But you’re also a smart guy who lacks any doubt.

                Any doubt about what?Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I have my doubts as to Art Deco’s intelligence level. He sounds more like the sort of person who gets information from precisely one source, the right wing infobubble, and is repeating and twisting at ad nauseum trying desperately not to admit that other people have valid points or that his own chosen “facts” do not match the record.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, thanks for that! You can exhibit some doubt.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus, I would recommend against the assumption that Art is not a smart guy. Same with George. These guys strike me – FWIW! – as really fucking smart. But alsotoo, dismissing their arguments because you don’t think they’re smart isn’t really advancing the debate at all, is it?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                He absolutely had a choice: stay in the damn car.

                Kazzy, listen to the audiofile. He gets out of the car for the specific purpose of attempting to keep Martin in eyeshot. There is nothing provocative about that. In any case, he never sees TM again in the course of the conversation. He arranges for a police patrol to visit.

                Just to correct a bit of misinformation that has been floating about:

                1. He was speaking to a civilian dispatcher, not a cop.
                2. He was never instructed to do anything or refrain from doing anything.
                3. While he was jogging toward the intersection of two sidewalks, he was told by the police dispatcher that “we don’t need you to do that”, to which he replied “OK”.

                The implications of your remark, Kazzy, is that he is culpable for walking around his own neighborhood, or culpable for asking TM a question, and that therefore TM was justified in bashing his head. Do you really want to go there?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                The implications of your remark, Kazzy, is that he is culpable for walking around his own neighborhood, or culpable for asking TM a question, and that therefore TM was justified in bashing his head.

                This is exactly where our problems become epistemological, don’t you think Art?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                I have my doubts as to Art Deco’s intelligence level.

                Thanks, Cletus.

                Uh, BlaiseP, this is your cue to chime in and tell me what a lout/tool I am.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                AD,

                There you go again with your double-standard.

                TM seemed to have an affirmative duty to not do anything that drew GZ’s suspicion. But GZ had no duty’s whatsoever.

                TM was out for a walk. That’s all. And now he’s dead. And you want to put that on him because of a series of motions put into effect by the actions of GZ. Who you claim had no responsibility and no agency.

                You’re wrong, dude. Wrong. Just stop.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                TM seemed to have an affirmative duty to not do anything that drew GZ’s suspicion. But GZ had no duty’s whatsoever.

                Um, no. I am pointing out that TM’s behavior makes little sense if you begin with the assumption that he had simple, ordinary, and transparent objects. He does have a duty not to beat up the neighborhood watch captain. So far, no one has provided an explanation of why he would be justified in doing that other than:

                1. Concocting a fictional sequence of events which has Zimmerman chasing him up and down the alleyway; or

                2. Advancing a normative argument that Zimmerman is culpable for contingencies of contingencies by getting out of his truck; or

                3. Implying the psychology of the adolescent male lays burdens on Zimmerman and dispensations on Martin.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “I am pointing out that TM’s behavior makes little sense if you begin with the assumption that he had simple, ordinary, and transparent objects. ”

                But you haven’t justified this line of argument with anything other than what you consider to be simple, ordinary, or transparent. Please make that argument.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                He does have a duty not to beat up the neighborhood watch captain.

                Surely you mean a duty to not beat up anyone in the absence of provocation, right? What special privileges (conferring obligations!) result from the status of “neighborhood watch captain”? Are there any?

                You certainly haven’t made that case.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Please note, TM ran while GZ was still in his truck.

                Hell, yeah! Have you ever had someone following you in a car at night? I have, and it’s scary as shit. You don’t know what the fuck the guy is up to. It happened to me in my own hometown, a little burg of about 1300 people. The guy came out of his house and got into his truck while I was walking by and gave me a good hard look–fair enough, since it was about 2 a.m. Then a couple blocks later he was following me, real slow. My fight or flight response was jacked on high.

                If this hasn’t happened to you, then you just don’t fucking know. But Martin’s flight response makes perfect sense to me. It’s not even remotely suspicious.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Hell, yeah! Have you ever had someone following you in a car at night?

                Martin walked up behind Zimmerman’s truck, ambled by him making note of the truck (Zimmerman so notes in the recording), and then ambled about 30 yards ahead. Then he ran.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, you gotta give it a rest. Either the Martin’s behavior is entirely consistent with Hanley’s argument, or you’re implying Martin was baiting Zimmerman into leaving his truck so he could administer a “beatdown to a random guy”. But if he was casing Zimmerman’s truck, then Z wasn’t a “random guy.”

                Alsotoo, there’s no reason to think that Martin was baiting Z to do anything. There’s no reason to think Martin was doing anything in particular given that we can’t ask him cuz he’s dead and all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Where did Zim say that Tray “made note” of his truck? Direct quote, please; no access to audio.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, you gotta give it a rest. Either the Martin’s behavior is entirely consistent with Hanley’s argument, or you’re implying Martin was baiting Zimmerman into leaving his truck so he could administer a “beatdown to a random guy”. But if he was casing Zimmerman’s truck, then Z wasn’t a “random guy.”

                Alsotoo, there’s no reason to think that Martin was baiting Z to do anything. There’s no reason to think Martin was doing anything in particular given that we can’t ask him cuz he’s dead and all.

                What a rest?

                No, Stillwater. Martin delivered a beat down to a man he had never met before, for whatever reasons he had to do that. There is no question he did that and no good evidence that he was provoked (unless you consider Zimmerman walking around the neighborhood and asking questions intolerable).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                Martin delivered a beat down to a man he had never met before, for whatever reasons he had to do that. There is no question he did that and no good evidence that he was provoked

                You’re a good defense attorney but a lousy prosecutor.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                This whole sub-thread demonstrates why Zimmerman will walk on the criminal charge. It involves speculation into the “well he did *this* so that means he was doing *that*” “no it doesn’t!” “how do you know?” “well I *THINK* so” and so on. Which is about as good a definition of reasonable doubt as I can imagine.

                As with the Texas Hooker Issue, the problem is prosecutorial overreach. If they’d charged Zimmerman with manslaughter the case would have been over yesterday.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                If they’d charged Zimmerman with manslaughter the case would have been over yesterday.

                You will have to talk to his lawyer on that subject. I would tend to think it would have depended on the plea deal. Supposedly, the local prosecutor was intending to declare it a justifiable homicide. One conceivable problem with a plea deal is that one of the three judges who have presided over the case had it in for him and was bounced off the case by the court of appeals and a second has been repeatedly slapped down by that court of appeals for her unfavorable rulings.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Mark Thompson
                Ignored
                says:

                “One conceivable problem with a plea deal is that one of the three judges who have presided over the case had it in for him”

                What you mean to say is that the first judge in the case recused because she felt she had a conflict of interest.

                What you mean also to say is that the second judge in the case found out that Zimmerman and his wife were hiding funds, lying on their documentation in order to reduce the bond value, and also had a second copy of his passport hidden away which he had failed to surrender. And that the judge in question wasn’t having that level of perjury and attempts to pervert the system because it demonstrated that Zimmerman was intending to bail-jump, and said so much in open court.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I really can’t believe you’re saying this, Art. Of course he had a choice. He could have reported the suspicious activity to the cops and pulled back. Gone home, as you like to say. He could have exited the area he thought Martin was in and let the cops do their job.

                He is supposed to meet the police patrol somewhere. He specifically did not offer his home address for reasons that are elucidated in the call.

                You have stolen a base. He does not, at the time he concludes the call, know where Martin is, much less have a handle on what Martin was going to do next. Please recall the reason for the call stated at the outset – local burglaries, not local assaults.

                And, again, you suffer from the same assumption as Kazzy and Cletus. He’s out there loitering, pacing around, and breathing in and out while he waits for the cops. Gotta bash his head into the sidewalk. I am sure that makes sense to someone.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Sit your ass in the car and wait for them. How hard is that? If he does that, Trayvon Martin is alive today. Whether or not he intended for Trayvon to die (I don’t think for a moment he intended or wanted that), he took needless action that resulted in his death. Let’s not pretend otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                He is supposed to meet the police patrol somewhere.

                But he has no authority under which he’s obligated to meet the police patrol. He’s a f**king neighborhood watch enforcer, not a badge-wearing officer of the law.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s out there, following someone, left the truck, giving chase even when the cops said they didn’t need him to do that.

                He approaches Trayvon, doesn’t identify himself as neighborhood, but demands to know what Trayvon is doing and does something to cause Trayvon to exclaim “Get off, get off.” Whether that is grabbing a shoulder, grabbing the back of the hoodie, or something else is unknown.

                20 yard penalty, offside, for your team. Zimmerman clearly thought he was going to be heroically holding the suspect on the ground for the cops to take away, thus “solving” a nonexistent threat to the neighborhood that was all in his head. I guess with a hole shot in an unarmed teenager, the plague of illegal skittles and iced tea that threatened the community is finally over.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Personally, I don’t think this case shows that since Zimmerman’s actions failed to satisfy some of the basic conditions under which the law applies. I’d like to link to the thread where we talked about the actual text of the Florida Stand Your Ground law and how Z’s actions didn’t satisfy them, but I can’t seem to find it.Report

  6. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    Why does this seem like so many rape trails I’ve read about, where the victim of the crime is drawn over the coals for what she wore, what she drank, where she was?

    Martin’s the one who’s dead here. He didn’t have a gun. He got shot by a gun.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      zic, the analogy maybe isn’t perfect, but you’re right, there are a lot of common threads.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      You mean like Zimmerman is being drawn over the coals because he was askin’ for it, actin’ the way he did, you can’t expect him to try and claim this whole thing wasn’t his fault, if he didn’t want trouble he shouldn’ta gone lookin’ for it, he wanted a fight and he got one, and so on.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        No, Jim. That is not what I mean.

        But glad to see you know how to play the game. It’s a good measure of a man.Report

      • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        Actually, he’s being raked over the coals because he shot and killed an unarmed kid.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to MikeSchilling
          Ignored
          says:

          Again, just to point out that he was on his back being beaten at the time he shot Martin. This is not a supposition. All of the objective evidence confirms this. The autopsy report is also consistent with the thesis that he never punched Martin. Martin had a cut on one of his knuckles, and, of course, a gunshot wound. That was it.Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Art Deco
            Ignored
            says:

            One cut on his hands was it? No bruises or abrasions? Odd, if he was beating the crap out of someone.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling
              Ignored
              says:

              I thought the same thing, but if Zimmerman is telling the truth about his skull being bashed repeatedly onto the sidewalk, that could imply gripping with the fists, rather than striking blows with them. If you grab someone from above & bash their head against the ground, your hands might not suffer much injury.

              Given the little I know about Florida criminal court self-defense parameters, I would not in the least be surprised to see Zimmerman acquitted, and that has nothing to do with SYG at this point. As I understand it (IANAL) all that will be needed for an acquittal on the basis of self-defense will be for one juror to accept the possibility that at the instant Zimmerman pulled the trigger, he reasonably felt his life was in jeopardy.

              Right or wrong, almost everything else that occurred that night, leading up to that instant, will be nearly meaningless from the perspective of deciding this question, unless the prosecution can somehow convince the jury of a stalking/premeditation-type scenario. I think that is very unlikely.

              There just doesn’t appear to be enough evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s self-defense claim under FL law. None of this necessarily means Zimmerman was morally in the clear, and as Jaybird notes he’ll probably be taken to the cleaners in the inevitable civil trial. But I just don’t see a criminal conviction as likely.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                “but if Zimmerman is telling the truth about his skull being bashed repeatedly onto the sidewalk, that could imply gripping with the fists, rather than striking blows with them.”

                Except that such a claim is 100% diametrically opposed to Zimmerman’s other testimony, which claimed that Martin was repeatedly punching him and that punching was what resulted in Zimmerman’s “broken nose.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know that it’s *DIAMETRICALLY* opposed. It’s not like the circumstances of “bashing the back of someone’s head into the pavement” are that terribly different from “sitting on their torso and punching them in the face in such a way that would result in a broken nose”.

                They both involve manipulating the opponent’s head. It’s not like Zimmerman is arguing that we’re going back and forth between bashing his head into the pavement and an anklelock.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no question that Zimmerman was on his back being assaulted. Photos taken at the scene, medical reports, and the statements of the witness standing on his back porch right there confirm this.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                It would seem to me that Martin had the same right to self defense from what appeared to be someone following him for unknown reasons, under the SYG laws. And without a gun to defend himself, his hands were all he had. Unless he was supposed to throw skittles at his assailant.

                If this is so, both men were entitled to escalate this encounter to the point of death, and there are no rules.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                zic, you have the following data points:

                1. The autopsy report on Martin, which shows no injury to Martin other than a gunshot wound – i.e. no indication that Zimmerman ever hit Martin.

                2. Medical reports on Zimmerman, the proximate eyewitness account, and photographs taken on the scene which show that Martin broke Zimmerman’s nose, bashed his head on the concrete, and was straddled atop Zimmerman at the time Zimmerman shot him.

                3. A recorded phone call to a police dispatcher which incorporates an account of Martin’s movements and Zimmerman’s movements over a period of four minutes. Again, there is no confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman during this call.

                4. Time stamps on emergency calls to the police by neighbors during the fight. These indicate that the fight started less than 2.5 minutes after Zimmerman got off the phone with the police dispatcher. Please note, Zimmerman during that call arranged for a visit from patrol cars. He was waiting for, and expecting, the police.

                What you do not have is an account from a disinterested witness or from forensic evidence indicating what went on during those two minutes are so. It has not stopped people from filling it in with their imagination, but you cannot properly send people to prison based on your talent for short fiction. Angela Corey’s bill of particulars is hopelessly vague about how this altercation started. It is so because she does not know. The local police have admitted under oath that they had nada which would contradict Zimmerman’s account of how the fight started. There is simply no evidence that Zimmerman threatened Martin much less did anything that Martin would have to defend himself against.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art Deco, all SYG requires is that Martin feared for his life.

                He’s dead. All we have for insight to this is what he told his girlfriend on the phone.

                But what sickens me here is your slut shaming. Martin is not in trail.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, zic, there is no evidence that Zimmerman ever threatened Martin. A ‘stand your ground’ claim would have to be established in a hearing dedicated to the purpose under the rules of procedure prevailing in Florida, with whatever burden of proof which might apply. Not sure what sort of raw material he could bring to bear in that sort of hypothetical, most particularly if he had no injuries inflicted by Zimmerman. In any case, the point is moot.

                Listen to the audiofile of the interview Bernardo de la Rionda had with the Martin’s friend (who was, not, pace Ben Crump, his girlfriend or a minor or absent from his wake due to a hospital stay). It is unilluminating and slapdash. She does not know anything of interest.

                But what sickens me here is your slut shaming. Martin is not in trail.

                You can be as sickened as you want to be. That Martin beat up Zimmerman for no known cause is a plain and well attested set of facts that has an impact on Zimmerman’s assessed culpability. Get over it.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                That Martin beat up Zimmerman for no known cause is a plain and well attested set of facts that has an impact on Zimmerman’s assessed culpability. Get over it.

                No known cause?

                The idiot, self-appointed security enforcer was fucking following the kid in his truck after the cops had told him to stop.

                Sickening. Absolutely sickening.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                The idiot, self-appointed security enforcer was fucking following the kid in his truck after the cops had told him to stop.

                Again, listen to the audiofile.

                1. Zimmerman left his truck.

                2. Zimmerman jogs along a walkway.

                3. The civilian police dispatcher asks if he is following him.

                4. The civilian police dispatcher says “we don’t need you to do that”.

                5. Zimmerman replies “OK” and resumes a walking pace.

                6. Zimmerman proceeds to the next street over.

                I do not know why you and BlaiseP have such hostility to neighborhood watch volunteers. The local cops had perfectly cordial relations with them in the last neighborhood I lived in which had such a patrol (run by a local real-estate broker, not an insurance underwriter). Maybe you ought to see somebody about this free-floating animosity.

                It might come as a surprise to you, but you actually do not need the permission of random municipal employees to take a walk in your own neighborhood. I do not imagine the police dispatcher would disagree (or did, during the course of the call).Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                You might also re-examine your assumption here:

                That Trayvon Martin had a franchise to beat up someone who irritated him. That Zimmerman is knocking about on Retreat View Circle or sidewalks connecting to it would not ordinarily be considered “fightin’ words”.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “That Trayvon Martin had a franchise to beat up someone who irritated him.”

                That Trayvon Martin absolutely had SYG authorization to engage in self-defense against someone who stalked him in a truck, stalked him further by foot, did not call out to identify himself, did not identify clearly as a member of neighborhood watch, and who either grabbed or approached to within grabbing distance of Martin, causing Martin to exclaim “Get off, Get off“.

                Art Deco, honest question. Do you get your information from anywhere other than talk radio and fox news?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                1. Zimmerman left his truck.
                2. Zimmerman jogs along a walkway.
                3. The civilian police dispatcher asks if he is following him.
                4. The civilian police dispatcher says “we don’t need you to do that”.
                5. Zimmerman replies “OK” and resumes a walking pace.
                6. Zimmerman proceeds to the next street over.

                And so how do you know what happened after that? Your persistent assumption about what happened next, while you are criticizing others for speculating, suggests you are not exactly an objective observer whose arguments are deserving of anyone’s confidence.

                It might come as a surprise to you, but you actually do not need the permission of random municipal employees to take a walk in your own neighborhood.

                And this may come as some surprise to you, but you don’t need the neighborhood watch captain’s permission, either.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus,

                You have a period of time two minutes in duration. What happened during that two minute period of time? Who said what to whom and who slugged who?

                The short answer is, that there is no disinterested party that can attest to much. What we do have is medical reports, and crime scene photographs, and eyewitness testimony which demonstrate that George Zimmerman was assaulted by Trayvon Martin. These are derived from the period immediately after this two minute gap. If you wish to advance a thesis that George Zimmerman attacked Trayvon Martin and got the thrashing he deserved, you have an impediment: the autopsy report shows no injury to Trayvon Martin other than a cut on one knuckle and the gunshot wound which terminated the fight. No dislodged teeth, no lacerations, no bruises, no split lip, no abrasions, nada.

                Again, it is exceedingly doubtful that Florida law would allow Trayvon Martin a dispensation for any random anxiety which passed into his head about the man walking from Twin Trees Lane to Retreat View Circle and loitering around at points in between, but the point is moot. A dispensation under a stand your ground claim would have to be established in a dedicated hearing with the rules of procedure and burdens of proof that Florida law requires. It certainly is not obvious from the information made public. You have to fill in that two minutes, and fill it in with content which demonstrates that a reasonable person would have found Zimmerman a threat, but you do not have any better idea what was going on than Angela Corey does.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Art Deco,

                Your star witness has given 7 differing accounts on 7 differing occasions. In most of them, he admits to directly confronting Martin. He insists that Martin swears at him in one account, in others he insists that Martin “jumped” him, and he can’t keep his story straight for 5 minutes.

                Meanwhile we have other witnesses. Witness #2 describes a “fistfight”.

                The witness you seem to think is Jesus Himself come back to give the Good News to the Fox & Friends audience that George Zimmerman Heroically Shot A Black Thug admits he didn’t see either the start or the end of the fight.

                Your entire claims rest on the lack of a “disinterested party” but that is not the evidentiary standard in a court of law. So-called “interested” and disinterested parties alike are valid witnesses in a court of law.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Cletus,

                If you reviewed my comments, you will note I have made no references to George Zimmerman’s post hoc statements to police.

                Jeralyn Merritt’s remarks on assessing variations in witness statements are here:

                http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/6/22/143156/459/crimenews/Zimmerman-Tapes-Variations-Versus-DifferencesReport

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                You might also re-examine your assumption here:

                That Trayvon Martin had a franchise to beat up someone who irritated him.

                You seem to be assuming that Martin just attacked a guy out of nowhere for no reason. This seems like really weird behavior for somebody who doesn’t have a history of that kind of behavior and wasn’t high on, say, PCP. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that. Things that I have seen in my very limited real-world experence with violence:

                1) People getting into shouting arguments, starting to shove each other, and one person throwing a punch that leads to a real fight.
                2) An authoritarian asshole telling somebody “how it is” and then grabbing that person’s clothes when they disrespect his authority by walking away from his righteous lecture, leading to a real fight.

                Both of those seem a lot more likely than the, “normally sane person goes crazy and tries to beat a guy to death for no reason” explanation that’s being offered here. Given the evidence and people involved, I lean toward (2) being the most likely, but not likely enough to convict a man of murder.

                That Martin was clearly winning the fight when Zimmerman had to punch out and shoot him doesn’t tell us anything about how it started.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                But attacking Zimmerman would fit in perfectly with the way high-school kids who are into rap culture would act, where any perceived slight or intruding into their personal space must be met with a spontaneous, violent beat down. Martin’s Facebook persona would largely back up that assessment. His girlfriend’s first accounts of their phone conversation would likewise incline accounts in that direction.

                The simplest way to get at the truth is to just listen to the NSA’s record of that final phone call.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                George,

                I listened to a ton of rap in high school. Never got into a fight. Try again.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                The simplest way to get at the truth is to just listen to the NSA’s record of that final phone call.

                Hah! Well done George.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “would fit in perfectly with the way high-school kids who are into rap culture would act, where any perceived slight or intruding into their personal space must be met with a spontaneous, violent beat down.”

                “High-school kids who are into rap” = the blahs

                Not like a white kid who is into country music would respond to being chased by fighting back., unless he was into that blah music. That is totally against the ethos of country music. Or heavy metal. Or punk. Or rock.

                Not like a hero in the movies would try to defend himself by fighting back. Unless it was one of those blah movies.

                Jeebus George.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You seem to be assuming that Martin just attacked a guy out of nowhere for no reason.

                I am assuming nothing, Troublesome Frog. I am pointing out what is in front of you. Trayvon Martin did a series of things that do not make a whole lot of sense (walking in the rain, taking his time getting back from the convenience store, running away apropos of ??, not returning home). There is not much that explains in any satisfying way why he did what he did at any given point. What is well established is that he beat up Zimmerman.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And people are repeatedly pointing out to you that that stuff is plenty normal for teenagers. Everything you’ve just described Martin doing are things I did not only in my teenage years, but on into my early 20’s.

                You want to paint Martin as irrational, but all you are doing is showing how out-of-touch you are and unwilling to consider an experience outside your own.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                *(&^(*&Yp987345. I am swearing at you.

                I *(*&&^*% do those things all the time. I walk in the rain. I meander. I take my time. I look at stuff. Particularly when I’m in a new place. Nothing there is illegal. Nothing needs justification. Nothing. Not one fucking thing.

                Is there some reason such behavior is acceptable for a 50-something white woman like me but not acceptable for a teen-something black man like Martin? And if you fucking think there’s a difference, it’s fucking racist. Fucking got that?Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I am assuming nothing, Troublesome Frog.

                So what’s your theory. You seem to think it’s important that Martin was walking in the rain. How does it factor in? What does it mean? How did he end up attacking Zimmerman? I’m trying to come up with something that hangs together in a rasonable way and fits what we know about both of these guys, but I’m not seeing it.

                I don’t think that there’s enough here to convict Zimmerman, but I seriously doubt that what happened is much like any version of his story.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And people are repeatedly pointing out to you that that stuff is plenty normal for teenagers. Everything you’ve just described Martin doing are things I did not only in my teenage years, but on into my early 20?s.

                You beat up the neighborhood watch captain?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                “…walking in the rain, taking his time getting back from the convenience store, running away apropos of ??, not returning home…”

                I was referring to that description. Please follow at least what you say, if not what others are saying.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                So what’s your theory

                I don’t think that there’s enough here to convict Zimmerman, but I seriously doubt that what happened is much like any version of his story.

                Again, the good evidence is the autopsy report, the medical reports, the photos of the scene, the call to the police dispatcher, and Witness 6. There is a gap of two minutes you have to fill. You can look at his statements, plot out distances, &c.

                I have no theory. TM had a cut on his knuckle, of the sort you might get punching someone. Other than that, there were no injuries bar a gunshot wound. GZ’s injuries are well attested and the proximate eyewitness has him straddled by TM. Our single best guess is that one of them attacked the other, and that the attacker was Trayvon Martin. What his motives were, I cannot say. I can point out that he did a number of things that are not readily explicable. (The only explanation I get from Kazzy, et al is that adolescents are like that. Social statistics establish that they are the least risk averse segment of the population and the most crime prone as well, FWIW).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Please, AD. You clearly have a theory. You are twisting any data you can find to fit it and ignoring the rest, including ample people attempting to explain to you the behavior patterns of teenagers. You’ve got an agenda, dude.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                ” Our single best guess is that one of them attacked the other, and that the attacker was Trayvon Martin. ”

                But Trayvon Martin was heard by a witness telling Zimmerman to “Get off, get off.”

                Our single best guess is that Zimmerman, after stalking Martin in a threatening manner, after failing to identify himself as a so-called “neighborhood watch” volunteer, approached Martin and attempted to lay hands on him, initiating a fight, and then pulled a gun when he began to lose that fight.

                Murder.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                the good evidence is the autopsy report,

                No, not even close. How the altercation concluded, which is what the autopsy report shows, says nothing about how it began. Two fights I was in in high school are good examples: in one I was shoved hard from behind down a short flight if steps, recovered my balance, turned and blacked the a- hole’s eye, ending the fight. From his physical injury and my lack if, you might conclude I started it. The other was much the opposite–I responded to offensive words by throwing a punch and got my ass kicked, so that I looked like a simple victim, despite initiating the physical altercation.

                So please stop with the silly claim that the autopsy report can tell us who did what, when. Even CSI doesn’t get that ridiculous.

                the medical reports, the photos of the scene,

                More post-hoc stuff that doesn’t inform us about who did what when.

                the call to the police dispatcher,

                Z’s call? Before the physical altercation? How can that tell us anything about the physical altercation itself?

                and Witness 6

                Really? How does that witness rise to the top as providing the best evidence? A skeptic might suspect that it has something to do with confirmation bias.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                How the altercation concluded, which is what the autopsy report shows, says nothing about how it began.

                What it says is indicative, not probative, and that is this: that Zimmerman did not hit Martin, at least not in any way that left a mark. That is your best evidence of how this altercation started.

                More post-hoc stuff that doesn’t inform us about who did what when.

                Oh yes it does. It informs us that Martin beat Zimmerman. It just does not establish a precise sequence of events.

                Z’s call? Before the physical altercation? How can that tell us anything about the physical altercation itself?

                The call to the police dispatcher discredits a series of factual contentions and normative arguments about Zimmerman’s actions. It sets the scene and gives a prologue. Listen to it.

                Really? How does that witness rise to the top as providing the best evidence? A skeptic might suspect that it has something to do with confirmation bias.

                The fight occurred outside his door. He was the most proximate witness. He was an eyewitness as well as an earwitness.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                What it says is indicative, not probative, and that is this: that Zimmerman did not hit Martin, at least not in any way that left a mark. That is your best evidence of how this altercation started.

                I don’t think you know much about fights. You don’t have to leave a mark to start a fight. I described that above, and you just ignored it. You take a swing at someone and miss, or grab them, they’re likely to respond by trying to seriously hurt you. That’s why you should never start a fight unless you’re serious about hurting the other guy first. Keep in mind that, having been followed, Martin’s adrenaline was almost certainly pumping strongly–tha’s not idle speculation, but experience–so that any physical contact by Zimmerman was likely to stimulate a strong reaction.

                So the idea that the marks on Zimmerman and paucity of marks on Martin demonstrate that Martin started the fight? That’s utter nonsense. It tells us nothing about who started the fight, only who was getting the better of it.

                As I said, I blacked the guy’s eye and had not a mark on me, but he shoved me hard on the stairs from behind, with no warning and no verbal lead up (just an adolescent guy trying to be tough by picking on a smaller kid) . By your account, the evidence shows that I started the fight. Except I didn’t, so your account is not very reliable.

                Remeber what Darwin said, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” Had you more certin knowledge you would have less need of such unshakeable confidence.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                The fight occurred outside his door. He was the most proximate witness. He was an eyewitness as well as an earwitness.

                So your argument is that a witness who admittedly did not see how the fight is good evidence about how the fight started?

                Is that really the line you want to take?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Aitch, what part of “indicative not probative” don’t you understand?

                You do not have better or more reliable information than what is in the autopsy report. One man is injured, the other not, and the proximate witness has one straddled atop the other. You can spin out any number of scenarios, but your default ought to be what the most reliable evidence says.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art,

                You’re missing my point, that evidence is nit indicative of how he fight started. You can say so until you are blue in the face, but you’re just dead wrong. It indicates only how the fight was going for the respective parties, not how it started. To claim otherwise is to claim that the person who starts the fight will always, or nearly always, inflict actual damage. That isn’t so. So, no, not indicative. Sorry, but you’re talking nonsense. Apparently, to your credit, you don’t have much experience with fighting.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re missing my point, that evidence is nit indicative of how he fight started. You can say so until you are blue in the face, but you’re just dead wrong. It indicates only how the fight was going for the respective parties, not how it started. To claim otherwise is to claim that the person who starts the fight will always, or nearly always, inflict actual damage. That isn’t so. So, no, not indicative. Sorry, but you’re talking nonsense. Apparently, to your credit, you don’t have much experience with fighting.

                Nope, I am not missing your point. Your point is that it could have happened some other way. My point is that you rank order the possibilities. That Martin slugged Zimmerman is the only possibility that is not wholly speculative.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Art, I am not rank ordering the possibilities. I am saying we don’t know what happened.

                Let’s try to sort this out. Do you think a punch necessarily equals assault, or can a punch be self-defense that is not classified as assault?Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art, punching someone does not equal assault. The only evidence that Zimmerman’s injuries are probative of is that he was losing a fight (and less flippantly, that he had a reasonable fear). To know whether Martin assaulted Zimmerman we have to know how the fight started (of course, now that Martin is dead, the only evidence we have is Z’s testimony).Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                wrong place, should be aboveReport

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “It would seem to me that Martin had the same right to self defense”

                And the same duty to retreat once his life was no longer in danger.

                Meaning that when the person threatning you is down on the ground and you’ve got your knees on his arms? You stop punching. He’s not a threat anymore.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jim Heffman
                Ignored
                says:

                And when you put a gun to someone, you give them an opportunity to shit their pants and run, no?Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Jim Heffman
                Ignored
                says:

                If Martin had knees on his arms, how did Zimmerman manage to draw the gun?

                Either he had it out beforehand, OR Martin backed off as you claim he should have and Zimmerman took that opportunity to commit murder.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                Details….Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                Both Jim Heffman and Art Deco are studiously avoiding the point, too. I suspect it’s because acknowledgement puts their specious arguments in an untenable position.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m glad you agree with me that Martin put Zimmerman in a completely defenseless state and continued to assault him afterwards. It makes it a lot easier for me to show that Zimmerman was justified in believing that there was an imminent threat to life and limb.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Cletus
                Ignored
                says:

                Jim Heffman, nobody agreed with you.

                Nobody.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jim Heffman
                Ignored
                says:

                And the same duty to retreat once his life was no longer in danger.

                But that’s exactly the problem with SYG; there is, once you’ve decided your life is at risk, no duty to retreat; you are, at that point, authorized to use lethal force.

                So what you’re creating here is a double standard — Martin had a duty to stand down, because his ‘force’ was fists, but Zimmerman had no such duty.

                Obviously, somewhere in this fray, Zimmerman drew his gun and fired it at enough distance that it didn’t leave powder burns on Martin; so the fists were no longer on his body; there was some space.

                Your ‘duty to stand down’ logic simply fails to work here.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “there is, once you’ve decided your life is at risk, no duty to retreat”

                Which is why, as Jaybird and any number of others have pointed out, “Stand Your Ground” could have been used by both parties in this case. Even if Martin had killed Zimmerman, or if *neither* had been killed.

                “what you’re creating here is a double standard ”

                No, what I’m *creating* is equal treatment before the law. If it was wrong for Zimmerman to shoot Martin, then why would it have been all right for Martin to beat Zimmerman to death?

                “Obviously, somewhere in this fray, Zimmerman drew his gun and fired it at enough distance that it didn’t leave powder burns on Martin”

                It’s funny how people sieze on the pieces of evidence that support their point and ignore the ones that don’t.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “It’s funny how people sieze on the pieces of evidence that support their point and ignore the ones that don’t.”

                And funnier still that those the say this always seem to be part of that same subset of people.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m really struggling with your response, Jim. As was pointed out above, it’s pretty difficult to pull your gun if someone’s on top of you. And if the reports of no powder residue on Martin are correct, then it’s doubtful the shooting happened in such close proximity anyway. So another story that’s consistent with the known evidence is that Martin responded physically to some action by Zimmerman, and after knocking Zimmerman down and hitting him, did back off, at which point Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired. In which case Zimmerman would not be justified by the claim that his life was in danger.

                Now obviously I don’t know that’s the case, and I am not in any way arguing that it is the case. But I am arguing that it fits the few known facts better than the story that Zimmerman pulled his gun and shot while Martin was on top of him. So I’m really struggling with this certainty you and Art Deco have about what went down, because we admittedly don’t have ll the relevant facts, and your story is not the most plausible, parsimonious, story in light if the few facts we have.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Zimmerman drew his gun and fired it at enough distance that it didn’t leave powder burns on Martin;

                Again, the autopsy report said, ‘intermediate range’. The definition is as follows:

                Intermediate Range Definition: Hot powder grains accompany bullet to wound site & are driven into skin, leaving small red marks on skin – stippling/tattooing

                http://www.flashcardmachine.com/exam318.html

                Please note Trayvon Martin was clothed as well.Report

              • Avatar Cletus in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                What I find humorous is how Jim Heffman and Art Deco’s line of thinking requires them to ignore one critical piece of evidence in order to claim we “know nothing” about a particular timeframe when in fact we know quite a bit, it’s just that what we know is devastating to their case.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                So I’m really struggling with this certainty you and Art Deco have about what went down, because we admittedly don’t have ll the relevant facts, and your story is not the most plausible, parsimonious, story in light if the few facts we have.

                It is certain that Martin assaulted Zimmerman, for reasons that have been stated repeatedly in this discussion. What is not certain is whether or not this assault was in response to something done by Zimmerman that would be salient as far as the law is concerned. That you do not know. The absence of injury to Martin (bar a gunshot wound) is suggestive.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                It is certain that Martin assaulted Zimmerman, for reasons that have been stated repeatedly in this discussion. What is not certain is whether or not this assault was in response to something done by Zimmerman that would be salient as far as the law is concerned

                Actually, you’re wrong as a simple matter of law. If Martin was acting in self defense then he did not assault Zimmerman, just as Zimmerman,if he was acting in self-defense did not murder Martin. For you to have it your way on the assault issue means that we can just as rightly say “It is certain that Zimmerman murdered Martin…What is not certain is whether or not this murder was in response to something done by Martin that would be salient as far as the law is concerned.”

                Assault is a crime, as murder is a crime. If killing someone in self-defense is not murder, in the same way punching someone in self-defense is not assault.

                So whenever you say it is certain Martin committed assault you are saying it is certain Martin committed a crime. But that he committed a crime, rather than acting in self-defense, is not at all certain.

                And that error is a big reason you’re getting all this flack.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re getting confused between ‘assult’ as a common term describing an action and ‘assault’ as a legal term of art.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Art,

                See, I’d say the same thing. I think a better term for you to use would be ‘fight.’ There is no real dispute that Martin and Zimmerman got into a fight, but assault is a term of art.

                For example. A guy took a swing at me outside a bar. I ducked to tackle him and he connected with the back of my head. He started both the verbal and physical altercation. I have never described my actions as assaulting him. I have always talked about the incident as either a fight or as self defense, and I don’t feel that assault is a term, understood in either its colloquial or legal sense, that describes my actions.

                So, again, your argument is not that it is likely or probable that Martin assaulted Zimmerman (a much more defensible claim), but that this assault is undisputed and beyond doubt. Given the lack of information surrounding the start of the altercation, can you really not imagine any other possibilities?Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “It is certain that Zimmerman murdered Martin…”

                It is certain that Zimmerman shot Martin. Whether he murdered Martin is what this court case is all about.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Art,

                If I’m confused, it’s because you’re using the term confusingly. Even in casual, non-legal use, a reactive hit is not generally considered assault, as Gaelen says. Nobody ever says, “Joe punched Bob, and Bob assaulted him back.”

                So ehen you say Martin”assaulted” Zimmerman, to anyone who’s thinking in legal terms, and to anyone who’s thinking of the normal non-legal usage–which is to say, just about everyone–it sounds like you’re saying Martin instigated physical contact, not Zimmerman.

                So let’s try to clarify, because maybe we can cut through the source of confusion. Are you saying 1) Martin, not Zimmerman, instigated physical contact, or are you just saying that 2) at some point Martin made physical contact, but with no specification of whether he did so before or after Zimmerman did?Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Jim,

                Please re-read what I wrote. My argument is in no way in disagreement with your response. It is the correctness of your comment that shines light on the problematic nature of the “it is certain Martin assaulted Zimmerman” claim.Report

  7. Avatar The Sanity Inspector
    Ignored
    says:

    If the encounter had ended with an opposite outcome, two other things would also have been different. 1) Trayvon would have been immediately jailed, that very night, and 2) this would be a three day story in the Orlando Sentinel.Report

  8. Avatar Peter
    Ignored
    says:

    I so wish this trial weren’t happening. All we’ll be hearing about is the Blogosphere’s Quasi-Homoerotic Black Male Physical Superior Fetish. Ugh.Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco
    Ignored
    says:

    Just to recall, Trayvon Martin’s autopsy report was released a year ago.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fi2.cdn.turner.com%2Fcnn%2F2012%2Fimages%2F05%2F17%2Ftrayvon.martin.autopsy.pdf&ei=NMe8UeGgI8jK0AGiyoDgCw&usg=AFQjCNEOnxeJDFCqQbDT3l2iaz70w9HQDw&sig2=spGBNLsyOHUuljab27fc4w&bvm=bv.47883778,d.dmQ

    His injuries include a gunshot wound and a cut on one of his knuckles. There is no indication from this report that George Zimmerman did him any injury prior to shooting him.

    Here:

    http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/evidence-that-trayvon-martin-doubled-back

    is a convenient map of the housing tract as well as an audio file of George Zimmerman’s call to the non-emergency operator. A few salient points emerge:

    1. At an ordinary loping pace, Trayvon Martin could have returned to the townhouse where he was a guest ‘ere George Zimmerman got off the phone. (At a running pace, it would have taken him under 20 seconds, and he does inexplicably begin running during the course of the call).

    2. George Zimmerman got out of his truck and headed along the sidewalk in order to keep Martin in eyeshot, a task at which he failed. (Martin had either reached home or ducked out of sight). As he concludes the call, he has no clue where Martin might be. (The fight begins about two minutes after the call concludes).

    A precis of the results of the medical examination of George Zimmerman are here:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-medical-report-sheds-light-injuries-trayvon/story?id=16353532#.UbzH25yyHKC

    He had a broken nose.

    And photos taken at the scene are here:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/4f915bb76bb3f7ab59000054/george-zimmerman-bloody-head.png&imgrefurl=http://www.businessinsider.com/graphic-image-picture-of-george-zimmermans-head-three-minutes-after-he-shot-trayvon-martin-2012-4&h=354&w=513&sz=227&tbnid=B2BHeuNrV1P1IM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=132&zoom=1&usg=__awQv3Xw

    Photos taken at the scene also reveal where George Zimmerman dropped his key chain (near the intersection of two sidewalks ~ 20 feet from where the fight concluded). The fight occurred right outside the back door of “Witness 6”. “Witness 6” cannot recall whether the assailant was on top of the other party punching him repeatedly or merely on top of him and holding his hands over the other party’s mouth. He is, however, quite certain that the assailant was Martin and the other party was Zimmerman.

    The question at hand for the honest judge delivering honest instructions to an honest jury is whether one manifests a ‘depraved mind’ (which is what a 2d degree murder charge in Florida requires) when one shoots someone who is on top of you punching you and bashing your head into the concrete, most particularly when the someone is a perfect stranger to whom you have done no discernable injury.Report

  10. Avatar fuster
    Ignored
    says:

    after an extraordinary amount of public portrayals of Martin having little to do with reality including pictures of the kid widely circulated that depicting him a fresh-faced child just entering his teens,
    and, of course,” You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”.
    the defense has strong reason to claim martin to have been quite different.

    It matters little that doing so does nothing to make Zimmerman more sympathetic to anyone.

    The first step is to destroy the notion that Zimmerman attacked and killed Bambi.Report

  11. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a story like this where only the accused really knows exactly what happened, and yet has people lining up on both sides arguing so passionately and with such certainty over excruciatingly tiny details that they don’t really have any way of knowing are true.

    It’s kind of numbingly fascinating.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      No tiny details, Tod, gross details. Autopsy report, medical reports, photos at the scene, recording of the call to the police dispatcher, Witness 6. There are missing pieces to the puzzle. The thing is, Angela Corey is proposing to toss someone in prison for a decade or two or three based on a purely imaginative reconstruction of those missing pieces. Shouldn’t happen.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Art Deco
        Ignored
        says:

        Says the guy who talks about Zimmerman waiting patiently and being attacked without provocation.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Tod Kelly
          Ignored
          says:

          Reading comprehension, Tod.

          Just to re-iterate. The lacuna here is a 2.5 minute lapse of time between when GZ gets off the phone and when the emergency calls from the neighbors start pouring in. We do not know the precise sequence of events during those 2.5 minutes. Neither do the police and neither does the prosecutor. What is established is

          1. The fight began near the intersection between the alleyway and the walkway connecting the two streets (Twin Trees and Retreat View). GZs keys dropped there.

          2. The fight concluded not far away behind the house of Witness 6.

          3. Zimmerman was beaten; there is no indication that Martin was beaten.

          The pathway traversed by neither of the principals in the two intervening minutes has been established.

          Why Martin did what he did remains an unanswered question. There is no doubt he did it.Report