The pitting of people who mistakenly conflate justice with legality (Martin/Zimmerman related)

Well yes, but obviously Chronos has no interest in looking at the situation logically. It’s pure emotion, and demonstration of his faux moral superiority.

Yes, they are. But for the judge to give the initial aggressor instruction, there has to be some evidence in front of the jury that, if believed, would prove that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor.

This does not mean supposition, or “it might have happened this way.” What evidence was before the jury that would have let them cast Zimmerman as a physical aggressor?

What it seems to boil down to is this: it is indeed possible that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and was looking for an excuse to shoot a black kid because Zimmerman was such a hater of black people. Oh, he also was never in fear for his life and just, as the idiot prosecutor stated, shot Trayvon because he wanted to, not because he had to. That theory is possible. But there are two problems with. Not only is there zero evidence that argues for it, there is plenty of evidence arguing against it.

On second thought, maybe this Zimmerman character is craftier than he appears. Maybe he allowed Trayvon to break his nose, mount him, an bang his head against the concrete just so he would be able to shoot a black kid and get away with it. And maybe he planned this for years, and that black girlfriend he took to the prom, the black kids he tutored in his home and that black guy who was beat my the cops that he stood up for were all part of the plan he put in motion a decade ago. Yes, crafty indeed.

On a more serious note, watching some of the liberals on TV argue that Zimmerman is a murdering racist stalking a child and that Trayvon did nothing wrong (one guy said, “Maybe Zimmermen fell and broke his nose”! :rolleyes:) makes me cringe. I’m embarrassed for the people just throwing away any credibility they might have. Yeesh.

I would be interested to know the opinion of the folks who are all up in arms about this trial regarding the OJ verdict. He was acquitted despite, literally, buckets of evidence that he did it, yet I don’t recall lots of moral outrage or candlelight vigils over that one. Quite the opposite.

Wonder why there’s such a disconnect here… hmmm, what could it be…

The jury instructions did actually contain this piece, though:

If the jury actually believed Zimmerman was engaged in an unlawful activity, then they could have believed his self defense claim and rejected it.

But as Bricker has mentioned, the Florida self defense laws have this to say about initial aggressors using lethal force:

So basically in Florida, just because you start a fight does not mean if you lose, the other party gets to beat you (or try to) beat you to death leaving you with no legal means of ending the assault.

In most States if someone starts a fight with me and I beat them to death I’m going to be in serious trouble, there should be some protection for people who lose fights–even ones they start. Now, I would disagree a bit with Florida law. If someone starts a fight, loses, and can demonstrate the winner was putting him in danger of grievous bodily harm or death I’d say he should be able to stop that overdone assault. However, if he kills in stopping that assault, I’d say he should be able to use his self defense claim as a “mitigation” and reduce the charge to something like negligent homicide (which in states with said statute it typically is punished much more leniently than manslaughter.) But that’s neither here nor there.

But it’s worth noting the prosecution never provided a single bit of physical or witness evidence that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation.

I’ve said it in several threads now, but there was also no evidence Zimmerman was in any fear of Martin when he stepped out of his vehicle. Even in a duty to flee state you do not have a duty to flee when you perceive no danger (and it would be a ridiculous concept if you had a duty to flee before you had any way of knowing you were in imminent danger in the first place.)

What evidence are you talking about that proved MZ initiated the fight? To be clear, a verbal exchange, even a taunt is not “a fight”.

I support the Zimmerman verdict but I’ll point out that one of the prosecution witnesses, an investigator on the case, perjured himself in his testimony in the OJ trial. An investigator on the case willing to lie on the stand would scare me as a juror, and make me be leery of believing even parts of the physical evidence. That is why even the hint that you have a corrupt police investigator on the case has to throw the entire case into serious doubt, because such a man could fabricate evidence or do any number of things that calls into doubt the entirety of the prosecution’s case.

I think it’s also good to bring up another famous case that I think is being terribly misrepresented by this one. The Emmett Till case several things happened:

  1. Two witnesses to the crime were put in jail by a county sheriff to prevent the prosecution from becoming aware of them and to prevent their testimony.

  2. Despite the two missing witnesses, there was a good eye witness to the fact the white men had taken Till and had him.

  3. The defendants admitted to kidnapping Till, but said they let him go and then some totally different person (a black man) murdered him. This admission alone is insane and would probably make the jury vote for guilt in most cases with an unbiased jury.

  4. The jury has said years later they believed the defendants were guilty. However, the only possible punishments in Mississippi for murder were life in prison without the possibility of parole, or execution. The jury did not believe that was an appropriate punishment in the case of a white man killing a black.

So there’s really no denying whatsoever that the jury in the Till case was basically driven to its result entirely by racism. That the government itself interfered in the prosecution to undermine the prosecution because of racism. That even despite all that there was strong evidence of guilt and no compelling claims of reasonable doubt (one claim was that the body was that of a white person, which was ridiculous and no one could seriously believe it seeing photos of the body.)

That’s so different from the Zimmerman case as to be ridiculous. The prosecutor in the Zimmerman case was vigorously dedicated to convicting Zimmerman (compared to the prosecutors in the Till case, who did make a good faith attempt at conviction but even conceded in open court it was wrong for Till to whistle at a white woman.) There is no evidence the police interfered with the prosecution, in fact one of the investigators wanted to charge Zimmerman the first night. There was also basically little to no evidence supporting the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman while there was substantial eye witness testimony and even a partial admission of guilt in the Till case. (Despite admitting to the kidnapping, Till’s murderers were never even charged with that crime.)

It’s a great disservice to Emmett Till to compare his case to Zimmerman’s. Zimmerman was acquitted because there was no evidence to support his conviction. Emmett Till’s murderers were acquitted solely because of racism.

That’s rather beside the point. From the OP:

My point was just that their actions before the shooting are relevant to determine who was the “initial aggressor” according to the stand-your-ground law.

The evidence is that a non-black gun-nut shot and killed an unarmed black person who looks sweet and innocent, or at least he did a few years ago. Therefore the gun-nut must be a murderer. Since it’s impossible to deny that the sweet innocent black kid beat up the gun-nut, the non-black gun-nut must have deserved the beating and must have done something to provoke it. Therefore the gun-nut must have initiated the fight.

I agree, but if the prosecution has no evidence whatsoever about what happened prior to the confrontation or who started the confrontation then the jury really shouldn’t consider it one way or another. It has to presume Zimmerman is innocent, not presume he started the confrontation unless he proves otherwise.

The point would have been relevant if the prosecution had some evidence of which party started the confrontation, but it did not–making it an irrelevance. There’s a reason it wasn’t in the jury instructions and it isn’t because of “bad Florida is bad”, but because it was never something the prosecution seriously demonstrated so the judge had no basis to include that in the jury instructions.

Is “initial aggressor” defined anywhere? Is it whoever threw the first punch, or is Zimmerman the initial aggressor just for following Martin?

And if following Martin is establishes Zimmerman as the aggressor, then I don’t believe he exhausted “every reasonable means to escape” between that moment and the shooting.

Yes, but then we reach the underlying problem: there was no solid evidence about their actions before the fight that would permit the jury to find that he was the initial aggressor.

And can we also pit people who think if you agree with the jury’s decision you must be a GZ fan? Because that’s just not fucking true.

And it’s worth mentioning that when race is involved, the rule of law mostly acts against racial/ethnic minorities.

Quite a few of us were alive when it would have been legal for both Martin and Zimmerman to have been excluded from the gated community altogether. Ill-conceived and -constructed laws have never been “justice.”

What moment would you consider to be the start of the confrontation? I did not follow what facts were presented during the trial, but I heard plenty about Zimmerman parking his truck, calling the police, and choosing to follow Martin. Does that not count as evidence prior to the confrontation, or of who started it?

Do you believe it should be the law that you can be convicted when the prosecution can produce no evidence or witness testimony proving the elements of the crime?

The prosecution can’t even proven Zimmerman followed Martin immediately prior to the conflict. Only that he had followed him for a bit on foot before losing sight of him. Should that be enough evidence to convict someone of murder or manslaughter?

The moment battery was committed by one person upon another. If prior to that, either party provoked the battery, that can be relevant legally. I’ve seen a lot of case law cited over the months of this case, and a lot of statutes. I feel reasonably informed, probably in the top 10 percentile of informed lay people on self defense laws because of this case.

I know of no situation in which following someone in a non-threatening manner (and the prosecution would have to prove threatening manner, which it could not in this case) is a crime, or would constitute assault or menacing or anything like that. Using the evidence that Martin found Zimmerman “creepy” as evidence that Zimmerman was committing a crime is about the same logic that Zimmerman used when he found it suspicious that Martin was walking slowly in the grass behind the townhouses instead of on the street.

I don’t think you could make an argument even in Canada or the UK, that it was illegal for Zimmerman to get out of his car to see what Martin was doing, or even to follow his path briefly. That’s not starting a confrontation.

If you go to duty to flee jurisdictions, I also do not believe “duty to flee” attaches before perceived danger. If I see (hypothetical) my neighbor’s ex-husband whom I know she has a restraining order against hanging around her porch and I call the police, but continue about my business and am later attacked I would argue that just because I saw that guy and called police that would not be a time when “duty to flee” attaches. I had no reason to fear him personally, I just wanted police aware he was there. I was taken by surprise when he attacked out of nowhere, and had to use self defense.

Really? I can walk into a biker bar, yell stupid stuff at the patrons, and when they come at me, and I start to fear for my life, mow them all down?

When it comes to high profile court cases some people always look at it from an emotional context. For some a particular case resonates emotionally. Those of us that have dealt with many tragic cases can look at individual cases that don’t effect us dispassionately. Others can’t. From the beginning I saw huge problems with the case. The outcome did not surprise me at all.

For another example, take the Casey Anthony case. The day after the verdict I was eating lunch with a bunch of detectives. Not one was surprised by the verdict. We all knew that the case was a stretch. Charging murder when you can’t even prove the cause of death? They went with what they had and lost. But many could not understand and were outraged.

Our system is purposely set up so that it is much more likely for the guilty to go free than an innoocent person goes to jail. It is by no means perfect. But feel free to come up with something better.

Most are all for their own Constitutional protections. But they are willing to throw it out when its someone else and they are emotionally invested in their punishment. Somebody must pay! Its easy to feel but its a bad concept to base a legal system on.