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MAY 18, 2012 5:34AM

Why It’s Looking Not Looking Good For George Zimmerman

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(Revised)

Despite the suggestive media spin to the contrary I think it’s looking worse for George Zimmerman.

What does the newly released evidence suggest? First of all, if the defense even tries to toss-over the yellow journalists’ character evidence as to the days-old residue of THC in Mr. Martin’s body they risk some pretty serious blowback from the jury. Twelve reasonable people will probably not like such cheap insults to their intelligence. However, the presence of drugs flowing through the veins of the gun-wielding Zimmerman is a very different matter.

But to me, on these facts, it is still a no-brainer. Arguably Travon did exactly what I’d hope any sensible 17 year old would do in the circumstances as we know them so far. A skinny black kid walking down the street minding his own business, not loafing, perfect legal right to be where he was, and walking purposefully from one place to another: Store to home.

Put yourself in his shoes. It’s night. You know this neighborhood. You have friends who live here. Your own family live near here. Since it is ‘gated’ you presume it to be safe. A sense of safety may well be why you are even here. You know (presume, hope!) others are watching out. You are no stranger to this place. Safety may be why you take this route.

You are clearly engaged on no imminent act of forceful criminality. Remember! Stop and think before you swallow media spin. This law is clear and it does not allow any trumped-up self-serving excuse of subjective suspicion to suffice as an excuse to kill another person who is doing no harm.

So you are coming from the store and, suddenly, a burly Latino in a truck pulls over and gets out and comes towards you. Shit! First thing I’d hope any street-wise kid would do is put his hand in his pocket or waste-band to give his aggressor the impression he might be able to defend himself. If the kid is really smart enough to think he might reach for his cell phone to make a record.

Wasn’t his girl friend’s father’s house just yards away? Was he running from Zimmerman to seek sanctuary? One thing we do know is that he was trying to stay the hell away from George Zimmerman.

In any event Zimmerman kept on coming. The next smart thing Trayvon did was turn and walk away! Wise choice I’d say. Get the hell away from this guy! But Zimmerman still kept on coming. When he finally overtook Trayon it appears it happened exactly as I suspected. (‘What do you want? You got a problem? Get away from me. Don’t bother me. Go away! Leave me the fuck alone! I am minding my own business! I am not bothering you so don’t bother me fucker! Back off! Go away! You are not a cop. I don’t know who the fuck you are.)

What the evidence suggests is that, arguably, Trayvon had no choice but to stand his ground against an advancing aggressor and fight for his life where he reasonably believed Zimmerman posed a serious threat of great bodily harm. Who appears to have been engaged in an imminent act of forceful violence? George Zimmerman. Indeed, he did kill Trayvon Martin. And we now see chilling evidence of how desperately Trayvon fought for his life.

What? You are going to now prosecute Trayvon Martin posthumously for asserting his right to equal protection of ths same law? Really? Well now, that’s a cynical manipulation of the law if I ever saw one. Sorry, but I don not think that argument can withstand to much scrutiny. It is not that easy to pull the wool over the eyes of twelve reasonable people.

OBVIOUSLY any reasonable kid like Trayvon would reasonably fear great bodily harm or death. Wouldn’t you if a (according to this police report) a 5' 8" 185 pound latino pulled his truck over on a dark rainy night and jumped out and came towards you while he’s on a cell phone?! Wouldn’t you reasonably fear great bodily harm if you walked away and he kept coming at you? Come on. This is easy. Be reasonable.

This evidence strongly suggests, as I have argued here and here and here that Trayvon Martin and only Trayvon Martin had the legal right to stand his ground and meet force with force in the reasonable belief that Zimmerman posed a serious threat of great bodily harm. After all, again, who was, who proved to be more capable of deadly force and was ready to use it!?


It appears that Trayvon Martin fought desperately to take down his aggressor and once he had him down (if that’s what happened) he fought make sure Zimmerman could not get the fuck back up! Wouldn’t you? Frankly he seems to have behaved exactly the way I’d hope any sensible kid would behave in such circumstances. Avoid confrontation. Don’t go looking for trouble. WALK AWAY if it comes after you! But if an aggressor overtakes you then stand your ground and turn and fight for your life! And if you can get him down then you better make sure you keep him down and incapacitate him so he can’t get up. Stand your ground!

Imagine if an aggressor came after you as you are walking down the street minding your own business and he still kept coming after you when you walked away and you finally had to turn and fight back. If your aggressor (a mugger or basher for all you know) then pulled out a gun and shot you almost point-blank in the chest can he really claim he was only defending himself? Hell no he can’t! Not when you are the one standing your ground against an obviously dangerous aggressor. Isn’t Zimmerman’s defense just as disingenuous as a rapist who blames his victim for tempting him?

Understand this law. Respect it. Demand it’s enforcement in letter and spirit: as it is written and for the purpose the legislature enacted it: so Trayvon Martin can Stand his ground against arguably illegal aggressors like George Zimmerman and use any force necessary to bring him down and keep him down. Again, this is Trayvon’s law not George Zimmerman’s.

Do not trash this law. Understand what this law says and why it was enacted. It was wisely enacted so people like Trayvon Martin, who reasonably feared great bodily harm or as here, death in fact!, would have the legal right to stand their ground and take down an aggressor by any means necessary. Wouldn’t you want that right? At least on the facts as we know them so far this seems a no-brainer. This law is Trayvon Martin’s law. It was enacted for people like him to stand their ground.

Criminal defendants almost never take the witness stand. But here I think Zimmerman may have to because, no matter how strongly the judge instructs and admonishes the jury, this is all about Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. Despite admonishments from the bench any juror might rightly think: ‘Look me square in the eye and tell me exactly what you claim happened. I want it eyeball to eyeball and from your own lips.’

So far I have seen no facts to even suggest George Zimmerman was standing his ground as this law describes it. It appears he was not a threatened victim but the aggressor. The law was not enacted to protect an aggressor. Indeed, all the facts I have seen so far suggest that only Trayvon Martin was standing his ground. Jurors are not fools. They want to see evidence. They will have questions for Zimmerman and if he does not explain himself I doubt they will have any reasonable doubts as to his guilt. They are not just going to take his word for it. We shall see about all that.

Intent to kill? Come on. When you pull a gun and shoot a kid in the chest you intend to kill him. We are all deemed to intend the probable and foreseeable consequences of our acts. E.g., You can’t drive 80 mph in a school zone and claim you did not intend to kill the child you hit. The law will not accept such disingenuous defenses.

During this trial we are going to hear, and hear, and hear, and hear that desperate screeching voice crying out for help. Someone was clearly, desperately, fighting for their life. Unless Zimmerman’s voice is that of 17 year old child all this evidence so far suggests it is not looking good for George Zimmerman.

The facts tell a story. And remember we still do not have all the facts. Each side will use the facts to tell their own version of the story. The jurors must examine the credibility and relevance of each of the facts of which they are the final arbiters of fact. They then must apply those facts to the law to reach a verdict. All must agree. No reasonable doubts. The burden is justly enormous.

On the facts I have seen thus far the prosecution has a rather strong case-in-chief showing that:

(1) The moment George Zimmerman (packing a semi-automatic weapon) left his truck and took after Trayvon Martin, who no one can yet reasonably believe was forcefully breaking any law, Zimmerman forfeited this statutory defense according to its own plain language. And,

(2) It was Trayvon Martin, and only Trayvon Martin, who had every legal right to stand his ground and bring down an aggressor by any means necessary.

It appears Trayvon Martin was murdered in the act of exercising the very legal right George Zimmerman seeks to strip him of and then falsely claim for himself. Zimmerman has stripped the young Mr. Martin of his life and I seriously doubt twelve reasonable people will now strip him of the law and his best legal defense against Zimmerman. Again, Zimmerman’s sword is Trayvon Martin’s shield. The question is wether twelve reasonable people will agree.

Francois Arouet

Copyright © 2012

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Plausible presentation of the incident Francois. I'll be curious to see if that's how it's portrayed in the court.
Can't see any other way to view the incident.
The THC says it all. People who are smoking pot are not running around attacking people for no reason. Big burly gun-toting vigilantes are more likely to start something.
While your post is your own opinion, George Z's height and weight are given at 67-69 inches and 170 pounds. He doesn't look 'burly' but in photos a bit pudgy. Make your points without trying to win by insinuation.
You're 100% right to turn the Stand-Ground idea on its head.

r.
The problem is that we don't know what exactly happened between when Zimmerman foolishly left his car and when Trayvon was shot. You are making assumptions as to both of their actions. I'm on the fence on this particular case. I don't know enough to determine if Zimmerman was justified. I do know, regardless, that both made wrong choices, and the result was tragic.
The problem is that we don't know what exactly happened between when Zimmerman foolishly left his car and when Trayvon was shot. You are making assumptions as to both of their actions. I'm on the fence on this particular case. I don't know enough to determine if Zimmerman was justified. I do know, regardless, that both made wrong choices, and the result was tragic.
I am convinced justice will prevail when Zimmerman is tried, convicted and sentenced for his malice.
And Abrawang: Btw, read my other posts on this issue, as well as my follow up comments (the links are provided above). I assure you, this IS the analysis you will see presented at trial. One of the Martin family legal team has already sent me a personal email to tell me she agrees with my analysis in these regards and that I can quote her on that. Go sleuth it out. Nothing has changed in my analysis since then and the newly released evidence only bolsters my past arguments.

Zimmerman is still legally presumed innocent and there are many facts we do not have and remains entitled to that presumption in court and for now. We are still all entitled to vet the facts and apply them to the law as far as we know either. As you can see from some comments prejudice and bigotry (not to mention ignorance) get in the way of the objective process. This is why such matters are tried in a court of law and not a court of public opinion. The jurors will examine mountains of evidence it will never present to us partly because certain critical facts might refute the subtle ‘opinion' journalists mask under the rubric of objectivity. The rooster crowed. The sun came up. Ergo the crow of the roster caused the sun to rise. This paraded ‘objective' argument suffers the classic logical fallacy of Post hoc ergo propter hoc. If the fact that the sun rises in any event is not reported to you I can get you to buy my opinion as a purely objective report. My ‘objective’ ‘opinion’ purportedly never enters into it. Withholding determinative facts is a trick.

If the media fails to temper the fact of Martin fighting for his life with an understanding of the law at issue they trick you into believing that the best evidence vindicating Trayvon is actually the best proof of Zimmerman's defense. I've stated Janet Malcolm's famous thesis in this regard before and will not bother to again. Caveat emptor.

As I have said before, my main purpose in these posts is a teaching opportunity: To get people to not swallow the spin the media feeds them (much of the media have already presented these new facts as bolstering Zimmerman's defense - see comment above) but to read the actual law (it's simple enough) and apply it to the credible or admitted facts. To deliver the tools to think for one's self. Judging by much of the bigoted troll shit I've had to delete in theses posts education on Internet blogs is often a fool's errand. Oh well.
Please READ the banner. If you admit what you have to offer probably won't help please dump the irrelevant comments someplace else & go look for a Life.
I may be mistaken, but from everything I have read the common areas (outside property lines) of gated communities aren't considered private private property. Even if the entire plot of land is owned in common by all the residents, they are regarded as Privately Owned Public Open Space (in California) or Privately Owned Public Space (in New York). I don't know what there are called in Florida. Zuccotti Park is a POPS. In both New York and San Francisco, the city authorities often require that developers provide POPOS or POPS that are freely accessible to the public as a condition of major developments. See http://rebargroup.org/commonspace/
Thanks Doc for distinctions I was not aware of or forgot. As a professional and an activist I presume you know what you are talking and and what you say makes perfect sense.

Such places usually have a placard saying "Private property public access or right of way granted ..." Something like that. It's sort of a public easement for all the sound public policy reasons you stated; but that may not be the same with a private, non-commercial, strictly residential development.

But that all is probably academic because no side claims TM did not have a prefect right to be where he was. If he has no business being there he can arguably be asked to leave BY a proper person WITH actual authority. ZM had NO authority do other than WATCH. He was not even paid uniformed security (he reportedly lost even that kind of job elsewhere because he was regarded as too aggressive. E.g. that employer recognized him as serious liability risk). That will all come out.

For all we know this route may be one commonly traveled by shoppers from neighboring communities. If so then that can be a pedestrian easement by default with no right to complain if there is a pattern and practice. Estoppel.

But I presume it's a non issue. These are all very fine lawyers who know their stuff and have many, many, law clerks doing research on Property Law. I presume they have considered all that or one would have raised the issue by now.

Most of these communities are worried about drive-thought gang bangers or groups of kids and not singular kids coming from the candy store. There is absolutely nothing objectively 'suspect' about that - unless one is a paranoid racist bigot; but that's hardly a defense. The standard is not subjective suspicion ... the defense will probably have to show SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE FACTS that would make and REASONABLY PRUDENT PERSON believe that MZ FIRST perceived (that's BEFORE he followed him) TM as engaged in 'immanent illegal force'. Claiming MZ presented 'immanent illegal force' after he stood his own ground is risible. Never insult the intelligence of 12 reasonable people. They will laugh that kind of defense out of court and take umbrage it was even presented in bad faith.
What kind of person shoots a young unarmed man walking home from a store just because the young man doesn't look like he belongs in the neighborhood...and puts up a fight when being pursued and harassed?

I hope they make an example out of this wack job. He belongs behind bars!
perdidochas: It does not matter much what we don’t know happened after what we do know happened. This is so because what we do know happened may well be the determinative factor that renders all defenses irrelevant after that fact. It is no ‘assumption’ that Zimmerman left his truck and went after Martin who was committing no crime. Those facts are not refuted but are admitted. The instant Zimmerman did that he forfeited this defense under this statute. That is not a matter of my opinion but fact with legal consequence under the plain language of this law as former Gov Bush pointed out. Go read this law. I have provided the link often enough.

Kate: The facts are distinguishable. In the case you refer to it only took the jury 12 minutes to reach a verdict. It too was a no-brainer and (thanks!) for exactly the reasons I argue here. It is totally consistent with my arguments. She was not in any danger. She escaped and ran to the garage, intending to drive away. But she forgot her keys and so picked up her gun and went back into the house and killed him. He did not go after her like Zimmerman did to Trayvon. One fact like that can shift an outcome.
That is not standing your ground. That is exactly what Zimmerman did. Trayvon backed away and Zimmerman still went after him.

Traveler: You too get that facts wrong but the law does not give a hoot if Zimmerman was a 100 dwarf. He had No legal right to get out of his truck and confront martin. Indeed, he had a legal duty to leave martin alone. He had no legal right to follow Martin. Arguably, where these circumstances indicate Martin was committing no crime, just calling the calling the police on the kid was illegal harassment violating his right to be left alone.

But just jumping out of his truck, that one fact alone was, arguably, the first fact stripping zimmerman of this defense. Then, still going after trayvon when he backed way, is, under the express language of this statue, a legal presumption of ‘imminent’, ‘forceful’, ‘illegal’, conduct on the part of zimmerman that gave trayvon the presumed legal right to kill Zimmerman if necessary to prevent his own bodily harm. Don’t argue with me but go read and argue with the law.

Belinda: Thanks, I agree, but ‘malice’, fortunately, is not an element the prosecution must prove in this case since it is not alleging Murder One.
Not to worry. I'll allow the Court's prosecution of Zimmerman to matter more than some oneline community filled with people seeking villification of someone who is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. My opinion still stands, however, that Zimmerman will be found guilty of a crime; his malice is what made him get out of his car and intentionally kill someone who was innocently passing through a neighborhood filled with arrogant vigilantes packing heat.
Doc Stuart: Here is a bit more evidence printed in the Washintgon Post that confirms both our points. Click on the superb rendering of this "Gated Community" and you will see instantly. The only "gate" is an auto entry for the reasons I noted above. But note, it charts Trayon's direct course from the store to his father's house.  He entered via a "shortcut" of which we can see two in this rendewring. Neither are gated. These are 'public pedestrain easements' and you can see a number of them in this rendering. We will surely hear more about all this but these are not even gated - for all the reasons you pointed out. Thay are most likely commonly used by the public who live nearby --again for the reasons yoiu suggested since surrouinding businesses would object to  pedestrian impediments.   This is more evidence  TM was not a trespasser (but that, of course, would still be no justifiacation that gets GZ off  the hook) but merely a pedestrian taking a shortcut via a public easement and having a perfect right to be left alone -- any for any obnoxious troll with a pea-shooter barin who claims to not comprenehd that axikom and too lazy to self-educate further discussion would be useless.    It also seems clear from the phone records  that the skinny 17 year old was scared shitless by the guy in the truck who jumped out and came after him. That fear was exactly why he called his girl friend who told him to RUN to his father's house. Clearly Trayvon feared (and had reason to fear) great bodily harm or death. Only when GZ caught up with him did Trayvon STAND HIS GROUND to meet force with force.  Each day it just looks worse for GZ.      
Certainly it doesn't help him that several witnesses have changed their story to make it harder for him to creep out from under the second degree charge. But they still have to prove that he acted "with a depraved mind without regard for human life," a pretty high bar. I think the prosecutor will end up asking the judge to include lesser charges before it's all over, as a matter of fact, I think everyone in the case already expects that. The media fury is so great it's easy to forget that the case is pretty much set. I don't see him serving 25 years for this (second degree without penalty added), but he'll probably be in jail for 10 years or more. Of course, I'd like to see him get 25. People are going to be disappointed, though, with all this buildup, when he doesn't get the max.

Rated.
shaygill: Deleted too. A troll by a new phoney name is still the same unmistakable troll. This no doubt deservedly unemployed and unemployable troll and Internet derelict represents the most nasty problem that infests Open Salon. The sole existence is such sociopaths is dedicated to the sheer demented joy of harassing others. Too repulsed by the stench of their own excrement and unable to live with it themselves they just dump it anyplace an impotent putz can find a free sick thrill. The fact that some people so desperately, hopelessly, and deservedly alone, even have the time for such demented activities should leave us all praying they are conjuring their demented chores from behind the locked doors of an institution. The best we might hope for is exile to a ramshackle trailer in a desolate New Mexico desert a long way from civilized society.

Many of us have all experienced the deeply disturbed personalities who, when everyone else in their life has blown them off and locked them out, just go get multiple shell email addresses to create new Open Salon identities so they can at least have someone to talk to and agree with. I have even seen one of these pathetic trolls create an Open Salon identity so as to create an interview with himself. Think of the raving and unemployable derelicts who wander the streets talking to themselves. Just give them a computer, a few shell email addresses, several Open Salon accounts, plus mental disability welfare payments, and they are in bliss. That and a bottle of poison to suck on is all the happiness they can hope for.

Open salon has, for a long time, suffered from phoney shell alter-ego accounts like shaygill who register at OS with another email address created simply to post lunatic comments he knows will be deleted along with the dozens of other lumps of troll shit he has deposited here. But the stench of some trolls is unmistakable, it’s clear who this troll from hell is and no phoney shadow account can hide the stench of this seriously disturbed no-life, low-life, know-nothing phoney expert-on-nothing pundit-on-everything.

While delusions of grandiosity might make them feel good the Open Salon staff really should create a device that allows serious writers to block such sick trolls and multi-personality psychos.

This is how the privilege and gracious gift of Salon.com’s free open forum is abused and tainted by wacko nut-jobs and sociopaths. There is way to rid this space of the infestation of nut-jobs and charlatans. I will implore Salon.com to eliminate Open Salon as a free forum and require all users to pay a small monthly fee via Pay Pal. There might be a few wackos with more than one bank account but I doubt it.
BOKO: What inconsistent pleading. First, do enlighten us all. What “facts” do you have that make you "think everyone in the case already expects" the prosecution will opt for a lesser charge? Who of everyone in this case do you know and how do you know what they think?

I am not sure the court will allow amendment of the complaint to manslaughter and I presume the prosecution deliberately chose not include the charge and thereby foreclose the jury from a sympathetic verdict. But please tell us how you know what "everyone in the case already expects." I ask this, especially in light of the fact that (as I have repeatedly mentioned) one of the Martin family attorney's has already agreed with my analysis in writing in private emial with permission to quote her. All that has been stated in my posts on this subject.

Second. if "the media fury is so great it's easy to forget that the case is pretty much set" (a) why on earth would "everyone in the case already expect" the prosecution will opt for a lesser charge and (b) why did such ‘media fury' not set the cases of O.J. and Casey Anthony and so many other cases in which the media fury did not taint the judgment of the jurors? Jurors are not the malleable fools many presume them to be and they see far more credible evidence than the medi crams down our throats.

It is common for witnesses to mis-remember and change their testimony and the law libraries are chock full of studies showing how even eye-witness testimony is unreliable. But that is where forensic evidence resolves reasonable doubt.

Third: Jury instructions will tell the jury waht the law means by "a depraved mind without regard for human life". But (1) the very fact of the other Florida case (discussed here) in which a battered housewife was convicted of murder while asserting this same defense, as well as (2) the fact that score of people are convicted of murder in Florida every year certainly refute your claim that it’s “a pretty high bar.”

Finally I too doubt maximum penalty will be imposed on a guilty verdict but that will not be a denial of justice. Whether or not Zimmerman is found to have wrongfully taken another life I think his life is essentially over from here on.
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