Did Trayvon Martin have the right to stand his own ground?

It’s tough to crack someone in the face real good and run away while you’re on your back being assaulted.

Seems to me that if you go out armed and follow someone, despite being told not to do so, there has to be a presumption that you are looking for, or at least expecting confrontation.

That has to mean you are knowingly putting yourself into a completely avoidable situation and thus you are deliberately putting yourself in a position where you might have to defend yourself. Sort of circular argument I guess, but Zimmerman must bear some responsibility for an incident he played a major part in initiating.

You do realize that this is Martin attacking Zimmerman - thus under the law that was cited above, he cannot claim self-defense since he was not “attacked”.

We can be pretty sure that asking someone questions is not what the law means by “attacked”.

No. He was advised by the 911 not to follow him. He was not “told not to do so”. And there is nothing illegal about getting out of your car and following someone. Whoever started the fight, started the fight. It doesn’t matter if GZ was following TM or not.

Is there any legal support for that claim?

why do you believe the law is unclear on what an attack is?

I would imagine you are more aware than most of the reports about the police despatcher.

Why don’t you tell us instead of imagining that we know.

Yes. The police dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that,” referring to Zimmerman’s following Martin.

I’m asking you what the legal significance of that piece of information is.

Why? Zimmerman didn’t have to prove that, he just had to claim it.

Trivially simple. Martin is dead. Therefore, there definitely existed grave bodily harm. And if a thing is true, it is reasonable to believe it. Therefore, we can say with 100% confidence that it would have been reasonable for Martin to have been in fear of grave bodily harm.

Well, I should say the part of the law that I read is unclear, as I wouldn’t know if it’s defined somewhere else perfectly clearly.

But the section DHMO quoted in post #17 doesn’t require an ‘attack’ at all, unlike the previously quoted section, therefore it doesn’t even seem to be all that relevant - Martin didn’t necessarily need to be attacked, he just had to reasonably believe there was going to be an imminent use of unlawful force by Zimmerman.

This does seem to lead to a situation where both sides can reasonably believe the other is about to harm them, therefore both sides are defending themselves. That seems to be an inevitable conclusion of the fact that sometimes, he who strikes first instantly wins - to deny the defender the right to make a pre-emptive strike when it seems reasonable to do so would be to require them to potentially be dead before they can legally defend themselves.

Well, no. Zimmerman is going to have to prove it.

No. I have bolded the sentence that is in error.

If I step outside on a sunny day and announce I am in fear of being struck by lightning, that fear is unreasonable.

Nonetheless, it is a possible event. it’s true that one can be struck by lightning on a sunny day. But it’s still unreasonable to fear it.

I am split between wondering if that technique has ever worked for you and wondering if maybe you really believed what you wrote.

In either case, the reasonableness of one’s fear is not judged, legally, by a retrospective analysis of whether the feared event happened.

Yes, that’s true. Under this law, with no duty to retreat on either side, the potential exists for encounters in which each participant reasonably believes he is in danger and acts legally in self-defense.

But that doesn’t mean that the concept of attack is itself ill-defined.

He will at trial.

We’re in alternate reality where he didn’t die. Did you read the OP?

Can someone help answer a procedural question?

Is the question of whether or not Martin was under attack a question of law or fact?

Similarly, is the question of whether Martin would have believed himself subject to grave bodily harm one of law or fact?

It seem that many people here are answering as if it is a question of fact–that if they were on the jury and presented with hypothetical additional evidence, they would find in a particular way.

But do these questions make it to the jury?

To help answer the question, assume a couple points of hypothetical evidence.

During the course of the argument, Zimmerman waved his arms and Martin saw that he had a gun on his person. Zimmerman never brandished it or referred to it. If this was a question for the jury–and I was on that jury–I would say that a reasonable person would not have inferred he was under threat of grave injury. Further, Martin would not be able to avail himself of any defence that relied on him being under attack.

On the other hand:

If during the course of the argument, Zimmerman intentionally opened his jacket to reveal that he was carrying (remember, this is just a hypothetical), but made no other movements or gestures towards it–yet the rest of the heated confrontation continued, then as a juror, if given the question, I would say that this mere display of the weapon *and nothing more, even if Zimmerman honestly thought doing so was a purely defensive gesture, *raises to the level of an attack. It follows that I’d consider Martin in reasonable fear of grave bodily harm. That is, if someone is in an confrontation the moment a deadly weapon enters the picture, regardless of the wielder’s intent, I would find it reasonable to believe that the wielder will eventually use it.
IF the question makes it to me. Does it? Or is this a question for the judge/appellate court?

Oh, let me recognize that other people on the same jury may reasonably disagree.

Edited: Post fell outside the parameters of my own OP

Assuming Zimmerman had been “patrolling” the neighborhood for some time in his capacity as a…um…law enforcement volunteer, it’s certainly plausible that this was not the first time that Martin had been followed or confronted by Zimmerman. In fact, it seems likely to me that the two had crossed paths before.

If that’s the case, then would it be relevant to the OP’s question? In other words, if Martin perceived Zimmerman as a serial harasser or stalker, would he have an easier time proving that he reasonably believed Z presented an imminent threat (assuming he were still alive)?

For clarification I am not positing an alternate reality. Part of what I would like to get to the bottom of is whether the prosecution could legally rebut GZ claim of SYG by presenting evidence that Martin was legally standing his own ground.

“SYOG” can’t apply in the case of Trayvon Martin. Martin was being followed, he was not being physically threatened. Trayvon was the one who turned and confronted Zimmerman. If you’re being followed at night what would you do? Turn and confront the unknown person or take the shortest route to your destination? Travon turning to confront Zimmerman suggests a bit of a “bad ass” attitude that resulted in getting himself killed.

Mixed. That is, what the two actors did, specifically, is a question of fact. Whether that constitutes attack is a question of both fact and law. There is a minimum necessary before a reasonable jury can find attack.

Same answer.