How is the double jeopardy "loophole" beneficial or acceptable?

You’re not getting it. Laying civil claims against someone is not a “doubling” of a criminal charge. They are two completely separate processes. They just happen to be handled by the same court system.

In a criminal prosecution, the state is charging you with violating the law, and must prove, X, Y, and Z elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil claim, a private party is claiming that you caused harm and that there should be redress. The standard and claims are different than for a criminal case.

In the case of O.J. Simpson, for example, the criminal jury found him not guilty of murdering Nicole Brown. But the jury did not rule that Simpson didn’t kill Brown. It only found that the prosecution had not proved the elements of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

In civil court, Brown’s parents claimed that Simpson had harmed them by wrongfully killing Nicole Brown. In that proceeding it was found that there was sufficient proof to establish that claim.

In a criminal case, the government is charging you with offenses against the state and has several different ways of punishing you if the case is proven.

In a criminal case, a private party is claiming that you harmed him or her, and if that case is proven, then can get a judgment against you to make up for the harm you did.

A simple way to remember the difference between civil and criminal actions is that in a criminal cases the injured party is the sovereign (be it the State, the Crown whatever). By your act and or omission you have acted against the sovereign’s attempts to maintain peace, law and order in the realm.

In a civil action, the injured party is a private party and the state is not directly involved.

Your opinion is not based on an analysis of whether Zimmerman’s actions violated Florida law. You and John Oliver are simply starting with the proposition that this feels wrong to you, concluding it must also have been illegal, and that a judge and jury that don’t agree have done something wrong.

I don’t suppose you can identify what crime this would have been if the same acts happened in California, just for fun?

You are simply a parroting a facile analysis you heard somewhere, and did no research of your own about the so-called warning shot, did you? You credulously accepted the claim that it was only a warning shot.


On the 911 tape, we hear Rico Gray saying, “I’m outa here,” and Marissa Alexander replying, “I’ve got something for you,” followed by a shot.

That is certainly evidence that allows the fact-finder to conclude she wasn’t under attack.

She said the shot was a warning shot, fired “Into the air.” But the bullet hole was in the wall at about the height of Gray’s head. The shell casing was on the kitchen floor and the bullet hole was in the kitchen wall while the bullet itself was lodged in the next room’s ceiling.

There’s no question that Gray was an abusive asshole who had hurt Alexander on other occasions. But the law (again, the law, that pesky irritant to having the freedom to simply decide every case based on whatever criteria strike you as useful that day) says that she must feel in IMMINENT danger of death or serious bodily injury. The 911 tape and the testimony of Gray, and both of Gray sons, directly contradicts her – all say, and the physical evidence supports, the idea that she fired at a retreating Gray.

Can you explain the specific evidence from that case that causes you to see it differently?

Or maybe you don’t need evidence. Maybe John Oliver told you what to say, and that’s all you need?

The people upset about the verdict don’t need a lawyer’s opinion. That Zimmerman wasn’t found guilty is evidence enough.

Personally, I blame NBC at least in part for their heavily-edited recording that fraudulently made Zimmerman out to be a racist. After that the whole thing turned into “Evil wannabe white cop stalked and murdered an innocent, oppressed black child because he hates all black people!” in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

I agree. NBC created the narrative, and once people invested in it, learning that NBC deceptively edited the recording doesn’t undo do the investment. They reported “coons” instead of “punks” and made it appear that Ziimerman said of Martin, “…he looks up to no good, he looks black.”

And they never apologized to Zimmerman.

There is also the additional protection of, statute of limitations.

“Why is jaywalking illegal?”

“Well, when Zimmerman jaywalked it was blah de blah blah…”

I personally dislike the idea that if someone doesn’t get satisfaction in criminal court FOR CRIMINAL actions, that they can then sue in civil court for the same damn thing.

I understand that they’re two separate courts, but what bothers me is that it’s a perversion(IMO) of the civil court system. The idea of the civil court system isn’t to allow an alternative avenue of justice for plaintiffs who didn’t get their way in criminal court, but rather to settle disputes between parties on things like contracts, property damage, etc…

Even the wrongful death statutes are more than likely intended to apply to industrial accidents and negligence, not criminal actions.

So you honestly believe that if someone kills someone you love through direct action (other than negligence or accidents or whatever), you shouldn’t be entitled to monetary compensation? If I gunned down your child or your husband or wife or mother, you and your surviving family don’t deserve a penny from me?

Or are you arguing that monetary compensation should be tied up with criminal guilt, with a very, very high standard of guilt, that is subject to the whim of whether a DA even decides to charge someone, and depends on the prosecuting attorney putting up a good fight?

What if you have a viable cause of action, but the prosecutors in criminal court sucked? Ae you supposed to just abandon your legitimate interest because the prosecutors failed to do their job?

How about the differing burdens of proof? When I sue someone for causing a wrongful death, I can collect if I can show by preponderance of the evidence that they are liable. But the prosecutors in criminal court are required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. What if the available proof is not enough to overcome “beyond a reasonable doubt” but sufficient to win with “preponderance of the evidence?” Why should I lose my opportunity to be recompensed for a wrongful death that affected my family under those circumstances?

Not to mention that criminal penalties are not designed to compensate private parties for their losses.

Bricker already pointed out the actual facts of the that case, which are conveniently left out of the much of the coverage because it spoils the narrative of unequal application of the law (compare this article to this one, which includes the 911 call).

But, just to address the sentence: 20 years was the minimum Alexander could have received, under Florida’s strict gun-crime laws. It was not a draconian sentence by a hanging judge, it was the minimum.

Killing someone isn’t illegal in itself.

The main point is that generally dual trials cover two different crimes being committed by one person at the same time. If dual trials were prohibited then it would be impossible to prosecute the person for both crimes, which would lead to the bizarre situation where committing one crime would give you immunity on another crime.

Let’s say there’s a law in New York against murder and a federal law against hijacking a public transit vehicle. Some guy hijacks a train and kills somebody during the hijacking. A New York court will try that person for murder but a federal court will try him for hijacking - because they’re two separate and distinct crimes even though they occurred during a single incident. Somebody can commit a murder without a hijacking or a hijacking without a murder. So the guy might be acquitted at one trial and still found guilty at the other. And it makes no sense to say the guy shouldn’t go on trial for hijacking because he was already tried for murder or vice versa.

Walking across the street isn’t illegal in and of itself either. What’s your point?

But jaywalking is. So you seem to grasp my point just fine. No one is saying “Well, when Zimmerman murdered Martin it was…” and explaining it away, they are saying that he didn’t murder Martin (or that it can’t be proven), he killed him. They aren’t the same thing.

My point is that we don’t need to turn every thread into a Zimmerman thread.

Agreed, but the ones that have “Zimmerman” in the title or were obviously inspired by his case to the point that he’s named in the first reply aren’t being turned into Zimmerman threads, they are Zimmerman threads from the jump.

Even so, you could reasonably talk about double jeopardy in the Zimmerman case without talking about whether he was REALLY guilty or how NBC biased the story against. I think there are one or two threads where that might better go.

This is true. Maybe OPs for threads that touch upon issues from his case need a No Zimmerman! disclaimer. It does seem to have taken over the board a bit, just like guns did after Newtown.