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Conceal Carry, the 2nd Amendment, & Vigilantism (Page 6)
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OAW  (op)
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Mar 27, 2012, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Devil's advocate: What if that man had an illegal gun and was planning to use it on me for whatever reason. Am I to die because the law prohibits me from defending myself? There are millions of illegal guns in Baltimore alone.

I actually was transporting a gun (locked in my trunk, unloaded) at the time. The thought didn't even cross my mind to go for it.
Fair point. To be totally honest I'm conflicted about it. On the one hand I think people should have the right to defend themselves no matter where they are. But on the other hand I realize that having access to firearms in an metro area can lead to tragic escalations of disagreements that might not otherwise go there. My present thinking is that a good compromise is to allow a person to keep a weapon in their home and in their car ... but not on their person in public. Naturally no approach would be perfect.

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Mar 27, 2012, 06:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Doesn't the Stand Your Ground law apply to Martin as well? Hence, the question is whether the onus is on Martin or Zimmerman to prove that either one of them was attacked. Wouldn't Martin enjoy the Stand Your Ground privilege as well?

It could but that is not the issue with prosecution in this instance.
The onus to prove anything is on the state. The Stand Your Ground law provides for a sort of immunity from being charged with a crime associated with the shooting unless there is an absence of evidence that Zimmerman did not have an expectation or cause to believe he was in imminent danger. This is different and more explicit than just feeling threatened.
The trauma he suffered accompanied with the apparent evidence at the scene in conjunction with the eye witness statement is sufficient for the police to believe he did have that expectation.

Which brings me back to what I said from the start that there was just not enough evidence to bring the guy to trial for killing Martin based on what we know up to this point in lieu of what Florida law allows for. You aren't going to over turn his claim of self defense without more concrete evidence of what happened at the point of the physical altercation.

The girlfriend's phone conversation only provides for a timeline since her belief that Martin was "pushed" can't be substantiated by any irrefutable facts.
The other witness who claims to have heard whimpering from Martin is even less credible since she already stated she did not hear the prior verbal argument nor saw what transpired. Without knowing either party beforehand she has no way of confirming who the sound emanated from. If Chocolate Rain and Louie Anderson were outside your house crying I am sure your assumption about which voice belonged to whom would be wrong.
The most credible 3rd party account comes from the guy who said he saw Martin standing over Zimmerman pummeling him as Zimmerman cried for help.

Unless the state can prove Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and actively instigated the violence (and not the contact) Florida law should allow him to avoid prosecution. It may be a bad law in the eyes of many but it is still the law.
That is going to be hard for the prosecution to prove. There's a good primer on the initial agressor here: PrawfsBlawg: Trayvon Martin and the Initial Aggressor Issue

What I have a problem with is the Federal intervention in this case under the guise of Hate Crime statutes. Someone asked if the races had been reversed with all other things being equal if we'd find ourselves here. Probably not. However if all other things were equal and Zimmerman remained himself but Martin was Asian, Latino, or MIddle Eastern I equally believe there would have been no sensationalization of this by the media and in turn the Feds would have stayed out of the case altogether. Hate Crime laws are about as unquestionable a use of selective prosecution as one can get. They are a tool of politics not law which should remain impartial and unbiased to factors like race.
This is what they are ultimately going to get Zimmerman with IMHIO and that makes it prosecution driven by professional race baiters like Jackson and not the merits of the case.
( Last edited by Captain Obvious; Mar 27, 2012 at 06:24 PM. )

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Mar 27, 2012, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by k2director View Post
I love Stand Your Ground laws, and I don't think you guys understand them very well. Or you're so far off the deep end of liberal wackoism that you do understand the laws, and that's why you dislike them.

I like the laws because they protect the concept of self-defense, which the most fundamental human right.

Stand Your Ground laws have been passed as a counterweight to the liberal wacko impulse to reserve the use of force for the state and government, taking it out of the hands of individuals who find themselves threatened.

In a liberal wacko state like California, I can be waiting in line at a grocery store, and be told by a bully to give him my place in line. If I refuse and the bully picks up a heavy metal bar to hit me over the head, California wants me to flee the bully rather than standing my ground and risk killing the guy who's about to kill me. That actually sounds fair and reasonable to a lot of California jack-offs and liberal law-makers.
Let me guess. If the bully wants to rape you with the metal bar, you would just let him because you are just clueless about self-defense.


Do you even live in Los Angeles as you claim? So how many times has your life been threaten?

Do you even know anything about self-defense laws in California?

You think self-defense is illegal in CA? I'm not sure who's the wacko here. Seems you just like to make up BS. Your whole argument is based on making up BS and nonsense.

You aren't proving any points. You are just showing me your ignorance.

California Self-Defense Laws

According to California law, you act in lawful self-defense if you:
1. reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of being killed, seriously injured, or unlawfully touched,
2. believe that immediate force is necessary to prevent that danger, and
3. use no more force than necessary to defend against that danger.
( Last edited by hyteckit; Mar 27, 2012 at 06:19 PM. )
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Mar 27, 2012, 06:22 PM
 
The problem here is the police and how they interpreted the law. The biggest failure I see in all this is they didn't arrest, investigate and let a court decide if acted with in the law or not. Instead the cops decided this. That is the fundamental failure currently.

As for WHO should have access to guns and more important a license to carry concealed that is a entirely different ball game. Personally I think we (Canada) has it right when it comes to how licenses are issued out to people. The other parts of our laws related to what guns are legal and what is not and where you can use some kind of guns are retarded. But the process of getting licensed is good.

If there was any decent gun laws on licenses in the US this man probably wouldn't have had a legally owned gun. He might have had a illegal gun anyways but that could have changed how the law was applied to him.
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Mar 27, 2012, 06:55 PM
 
I think it's insane Zimmerman hasn't been charged with murder.

To me, the keyword in stand your ground is 'your'. Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground- he was menacingly following someone on their ground- ground which he had no business being on- with a gun, and then killing the person he should never have been near in the first place.

In my book, there would have to be a 'follow someone even after you've been told not to by police, invade THEIR ground, and then kill them' law in order to cover that bullshit.

Florida is one ****ed up state. I find it impossible how anyone could defend Zimmerman's actions. I've never felt it was a viable defense for morons who put themselves into harm's way in obvious and stupid ways, initiate whatever attack happens to themselves because of it, to then whine "Self defense!" after shooting it out in a fight they started. Total bullshit.
     
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Mar 27, 2012, 07:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
In my book, there would have to be a 'follow someone even after you've been told not to by police, invade THEIR ground, and then kill them' law in order to cover that bullshit.
While I agree with your point, and I agree that the 911 transcript is a key piece of evidence indicating Zim's state of mind, I object to the repeated references to him "disobeying" the 911 operator. The operator didn't tell him not to follow, merely that they didn't need him to follow, and even if it had been an explicit directive to stay back, I don't believe the 911 operators are police, so citizens are under no obligation to obey their commands. What it does show is the intent to detain and/or fight Tray, but that is only because of what Zim said (unprovoked), not because of anything the operator said. IMO.
     
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Mar 27, 2012, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
My gut reaction is that zimmerman's actions were colored by racism ....
Now personally I'm not prepared to go there based upon what we've seen so far. There is some controversy as to whether or not Mr. Zimmerman muttered "f*cking coons" on the 911 tapes. Various news outlets have had their audio engineers enhance that part of the tape and some people swear that's what he said ... whereas others think he muttered "f*cking goons". On the raw audio of the 911 tape I personally couldn't tell what he said which is why the OP said "f*cking [unintelligible]". And it honestly didn't even occur to me that it might be "coon" because ... hell does anybody even say that anymore? It just seems like such an anachronistic term when "n*gger" is timeless in that regard. Then again, does anybody say "goon" instead of "thug" or "punk"? In any event, I'm not up on the epithets of choice in Central Florida ... so as it stands now I won't say that Mr. Zimmerman's actions were racially motivated ... or at least not consciously so. As in, I can't point to enough evidence to conclude that he was on some type of "harass a random black guy" type of mission. Now having said that, I do think it's reasonable to conclude that race may have been a factor in this incident. And that's a distinction that some may not be able to (or choose not to) appreciate ... yet it exists nevertheless. Mr. Zimmerman immediately viewed this kid as being "suspicious". Not because he was engaged in any illegal activity. Not because he was peering into the windows of homes or cars. Simply because he was walking in the rain. So is this a case of Walking While Black (WWB) which triggered some sort of unconscious bias in Mr. Zimmerman when it came to his perception of "suspiciousness"? Especially in a society that routinely associates black males with criminality ... fairly or not? Well I submit that it's not an unreasonable theory to ponder. And this is why. First of all it's ludicrous to think this was about how the kid was dressed. Hoodies are a UBIQUITOUS fashion item among young people these days. Suburban white kids rock more hoodies than black kids in the inner city could ever even contemplate. (Just like they listen to more "gangsta rap" and do more drugs ... media portrayals notwithstanding. But I digress.) So seeing a teen in a hoodie could not have possibly looked out of place to Mr. Zimmerman. Ok ... so as I said earlier, maybe it was a matter of the kid being "young" or "unfamiliar"? But when you contemplate that possibility and compare it to Mr. Zimmerman's own words on the 911 call ... you don't hear him say anything even remotely reminiscent of such concerns. Nothing about "these young punks" ... nor anything about "I don't recognize this guy ... he's not from around here." Zip. Nothing. Nada! Instead, Mr. Zimmerman said that "something is up with this guy" and "he looks like he might be on drugs or something" ... even though he had no way of knowing that from his vantage point. We also know from 911 records that Mr. Zimmerman had a particular focus on black males in his calls to report "suspicious activity". Even though the neighborhood was a markedly ethnically diverse area .... with lots of turnover due to the housing crisis ... it would appear that only black males aroused Mr. Zimmerman's suspicions and prompted him to call 911.

So again, it certainly isn't unreasonable to think that Mr. Zimmerman was acting on some deep-seeded biases with regard to race even if the vociferous protests from his family and friends that he is not "racist" is actually true.

Study after study has shown that the darker one's skin the more likely one is to be perceived as "suspicious" or "threatening" or "menacing" ... regardless of the ethnicity of the person doing the observation! It's a phenomenon that has been so culturally ingrained in our society over the course of centuries that it is far from inconceivable to think that it played some role in this situation.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
... but the police' actions were probably just sloppiness/laziness (incompetence). The shooter was the one who called them, I think that goes a long way in their expectations.
As for whether the Sanford PD's were the result of sheer incompetence or a callous disregard for the life of a young black male? Who's to say? Perhaps it's a bit of both because the two certainly aren't mutually exclusive. We do know this however. There apparently is a long-running history of tension between the Sanford PD and the local black community going back decades. There is also a general perception among many African-Americans that police departments very often don't investigate and DA's don't prosecute the killers of blacks as vigorously as the killers of whites ... regardless of the ethnicity of the killer. While there is historical evidence to suggest that there is some validity to that perception given the racial disparities in death penalty statistics, missing persons media coverage, etc. There is also the possibility that African-Americans are suffering from some sort of "mass hallucination" in this regard. Or perhaps it's more probable that the truth is somewhere in between. Regardless of the motivations behind it, I think it's safe to say that this situation is a particularly egregious example of bad behavior on the part of the police that has struck a nerve with people across the demographical spectrum. As the 75% of Americans who think Mr. Zimmerman should face charges would seem to indicate.

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Mar 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM. )
     
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Mar 27, 2012, 07:47 PM
 
@Captain Obvious
Thanks for the explanation.
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
The onus to prove anything is on the state. The Stand Your Ground law provides for a sort of immunity from being charged with a crime associated with the shooting unless there is an absence of evidence that Zimmerman did not have an expectation or cause to believe he was in imminent danger.
That explanation of the legal circumstances makes sense.
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
This is different and more explicit than just feeling threatened.
The trauma he suffered accompanied with the apparent evidence at the scene in conjunction with the eye witness statement is sufficient for the police to believe he did have that expectation.
But the presence of trauma, for instance, does not tell who instigated the altercation, so it's equivocal evidence, isn't it?

Two more questions:
(1) Would it be possible to charge Zimmerman with something like involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide, or does the Stand Your Ground law prevent Zimmerman from being charged with any crime here?
(2) What's your opinion on the law? Unless I missed an earlier post of yours (which could very well be), you have only explained how to interpret current law.
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Mar 27, 2012, 07:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
We do know this however. There apparently is a long-running history of tension between the Sanford PD and the local black community going back decades. There is also a general perception among many African-Americans that police departments very often don't investigate and DA's don't prosecute the killers of blacks as vigorously as the killers of whites ... regardless of the ethnicity of the killer.
I think the question you have to ask is... of all the people who were the ones who called the police in the first place, how many were themselves investigated after killing blacks vs non-blacks. I think in general you will find the police to be less suspicious of the person who called them, regardless of race or racism. And until you control for that factor, the rest is meaningless.
     
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Mar 27, 2012, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Now personally I'm not prepared to go there based upon what we've seen so far. There is some controversy as to whether or not Mr. Zimmerman muttered "f*cking coons" on the 911 tapes. Various news outlets have had their audio engineers enhance that part of the tape and some people swear that's what he said ... whereas others think he muttered "f*cking goons". On the raw audio of the 911 tape I personally couldn't tell what he said which is why the OP said "f*cking [unintelligible]". And it honestly didn't even occur to me that it might be "coon" because ... hell does anybody even say that anymore? It just seems like such an anachronistic term when "n*gger" is timeless in that regard. Then again, does anybody say "goon" instead of "thug" or "punk"?
OAW
When I first heard the audio, I thought he said 'f*cking coons'. But honestly, it could've been 'f*cking goons'.

I'll give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt because he doesn't have a history be being a racist and how likely is someone in his late 20's using the word 'coon'. More likely, it's 'goons'.

I don't believe Zimmerman is a racist, but I do believe there was racial profiling and a racial component.
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Mar 27, 2012, 10:38 PM
 
The plot thickens ....

Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge - Yahoo! News

It would appear that the lead investigator didn't buy Mr. Zimmerman's story.

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Mar 27, 2012, 10:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
While I agree with your point, and I agree that the 911 transcript is a key piece of evidence indicating Zim's state of mind, I object to the repeated references to him "disobeying" the 911 operator. The operator didn't tell him not to follow, merely that they didn't need him to follow, and even if it had been an explicit directive to stay back, I don't believe the 911 operators are police, so citizens are under no obligation to obey their commands. What it does show is the intent to detain and/or fight Tray, but that is only because of what Zim said (unprovoked), not because of anything the operator said. IMO.
You're probably right- I'd guess what a 911 operator suggests you do isn't legally the same as 'the police' giving you a direct order. Still, one calls 911 for the purpose of bringing cops to a scene- the very reason you call is that it's something ordinary citizens aren't supposed to be handling themselves, or else it's a false call.

Anyway, for me, this is the very least of it- whatever the 911 operator said or didn't say to Zimmerman. To my way of thinking (and I can only hope a sane legal system's view as well) he clearly instigated whatever happened. Therefore he shouldn't get to fall back on self defense or 'stand your ground' since he was the agressor. I'm fully in favor of self defense and 'stand your ground' laws in legitimate cases, but this sure as hell wasn't one of them. It's like his supporters can't fathom that of course Zimmerman is going to twist his role into one where he didn't do anything wrong, and of course (like every criminal in history) is going to say he's justified in what he did. It's not like a dead guy can testify otherwise.

Therefore, his word means exactly dick. Meanwhile the facts -all that should be considered, including every aspect of the 911 call- look pretty ugly for him.
     
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Mar 27, 2012, 11:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But the presence of trauma, for instance, does not tell who instigated the altercation, so it's equivocal evidence, isn't it?

Two more questions:
(1) Would it be possible to charge Zimmerman with something like involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide, or does the Stand Your Ground law prevent Zimmerman from being charged with any crime here?
(2) What's your opinion on the law? Unless I missed an earlier post of yours (which could very well be), you have only explained how to interpret current law.
It wasn't just the injuries alone. It was the combination of things that supported Zimmerman's version of the self defense claim. It met the standard to release him since no credible evidence proving the contrary was found.

Yes, there's still time to charge him with any of those things but the fact a month has gone by means that the state’s attorney hasn't found sufficient evidence to reverse the decision. Which in light of all the pressure that they've been getting means that its probably not there.
That's why the grand jury was convened in my opinion. They can hand down all sorts of indictments against Zimmerman because the criteria they have to meet is lower. If those counts get thrown out in court because of lack of evidence the prosecution can claim they tried and deflect the blame for failure.

What I or any one else thinks about the law is irrelevant. It is the reality of the situation that surrounds this case.

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Mar 27, 2012, 11:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
The plot thickens ....

Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge - Yahoo! News

It would appear that the lead investigator didn't buy Mr. Zimmerman's story.


And why didn't he get his way? Because the people in the SAO with the experience, education and tasked with actually trying the case in court told him that there was not enough evidence to prove it.

Oh if only someone pointed that out in this discussion pages ago.....

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Mar 28, 2012, 12:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post


And why didn't he get his way? Because the people in the SAO with the experience, education and tasked with actually trying the case in court told him that there was not enough evidence to prove it.

Oh if only someone pointed that out in this discussion pages ago.....
Well that would be part and parcel of the issue I initially raised. Because of these "Stand Your Ground" laws ... Mr. Zimmerman doesn't have to demonstrate that he was in fact in danger and had a legitimate right of self defense. The prosecution has to demonstrate that he didn't. Hence the UTTER STUPIDITY of such legislation. :hmm;

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Mar 28, 2012, 12:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Well that would be part and parcel of the issue I initially raised. Because of these "Stand Your Ground" laws ... Mr. Zimmerman doesn't have to demonstrate that he was in fact in danger and had a legitimate right of self defense. The prosecution has to demonstrate that he didn't. Hence the UTTER STUPIDITY of such legislation. :hmm;

OAW

I've been trying to decide what I'd do in his situation. I think I'd turn myself in. Life would be too guilt ridden for me to want to live even if I was able to weasel out of a jail sentence due to this silly legislation. Not to mention all of the people that want to kick his ass.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 12:26 AM
 
To correct a number of ridiculous lies in this thread, here's the police report:
- Cops approached Zimmerman with guns drawn
- Zimmerman was handcuffed and detained
- Zimmerman was taken to the police station and questioned there
- Zimmerman requested medical attention for his injuries
- The police held onto Zimmerman's gun as evidence
- The police chose not to make it an arrest after conferring with attorneys far more familiar with the law than they are
- Martin is 6' 160 (BMI=22), not 6'3" 150 (BMI=18)

Originally Posted by OAW View Post
The plot thickens ....

Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge - Yahoo! News

It would appear that the lead investigator didn't buy Mr. Zimmerman's story.
But all thread I've been reading about how incompetent the cops are from the Martin supporters!
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 12:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- Martin is 6' 160 (BMI=22), not 6'3" 150 (BMI=18)
I'm pretty sure that's just an estimate.

And George Zimmerman's weight is unknown. Talk about police sloppiness.

From the police report:

Offenses:

Negligent Homicide
Manslaughter
Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act

Statute: 782.11

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/782.11
( Last edited by hyteckit; Mar 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM. )
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Mar 28, 2012, 03:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge - Yahoo! News

It would appear that the lead investigator didn't buy Mr. Zimmerman's story.
Or this is another attempt by the police department to deflect blame.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 03:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
The hell does this have to do with being right or left wing? Seriously I'd like you to answer that.
It has nothing to do with leftwing or rightwing. But for some reason, some conservative websites have been telling very insidious lies, and I pointed that out.

We all have biases. Being liberal, I tend to react to perceived police abuses with considerable alarm. But I know very well that the police might be right about Zimmerman, but they thus far haven't convinced me that they are right, and I am made more concerned by the media games being played by the police. I simply want the full story told.

Conservatives tend to spring to the defence of the police. I accept that. Cops have a hard job. What makes me upset is when some conservatives start spreading lies to defend the cops. I gave three examples that phenomenon.

Speaking of crazy conservatives....

Originally Posted by k2director View Post
This case is reminding me more and more of the case of the Duke Lacross players....ie, the Left and the "always-the-victim" black community howl in outrage over "racism", and are ready to string up the "perpetrator(s)" at a moments' notice.

But then, little by little, more details emerge that dilute the purity of their narrative. In the Duke case, it turned out that the black supposed "victim" was actually a lying slut whore criminal (one who went on after the Duke case to be arrested multiple times for child abuse, attempted murder, arson, identity theft, and finally, is in jail for stabbing her boyfriend to death with a knife). And the sanctimonious District Attorney who tried to lynch the white Lacross players (namely withholding evidence that exonerated them) got disbarred.

Will Trayvon's case unravel like the Duke case? Maybe or maybe not, but I have many reasons to doubt whatever a politically-correct press and Al Sharpton's black community are trying to feed me.

For instance, we're learning that other people whose paths crossed with Trayvon suspected him of criminal activity (jewelry theft, drug possession and use, etc). That leads me to believe that Trayvon may have given Zimmerman a reason to suspect the same thing. And if somebody sees a suspicious person in their neighborhood, it's entirely reasonable to take a closer look.

We're also learning that at 17 years old and 6"3 with gangster-inspired gold teeth, Trayvon didn't look anything like those angelic photos of a 12 and 14 year old that the media keeps posting. When the media keeps publishing those photos, they give the impression that Zimmerman fought and shot a smiling 14 year old innocently eating his Skiddles. In reality, the guy Zimmerman saw probably would have given a lot of reasonable people pause.

What else might we learn going forward? We'll see.

But I know this: ***this case comes down to whether Trayvon or Zimmerman initiated the violence.*** Zimmerman can't be faulted simply because he left his car to follow Trayvon. Zimmerman is a free man in a free society, and if he wants to take a closer look at a suspicious individual in his neighborhood, that's his right.

It comes down to who initiated the physical altercation. If Zimmerman physically tried to stop Trayvon, laying his hands on his person, or repeatedly blocking his path, and a fight ensued, then I would say Zimmerman bears responsibility because he initiated the violence.

BUT....if Trayvon initiated an aggressive attack (as Zimmerman says), then Zimmerman has every right to defend himself with his gun. If somebody 6 inches bigger than you attacks you, knocks you down, and begins pounding your head into the ground, then you've got every right to pull the trigger.


Also, please spare me the outrage over the police department leaking inconvenient truths about the so-called "victim". Maybe it's mildly improper, but in the court of public opinion, the media and the federal government is portraying the police department's investigation as the work of racist criminals, and making the public aware of some details that don't fit the story they're constantly being fed is a way to defend themselves.

Besides, if our useless, sh*t-for-brains, affirmative-action-abomination, imbecile-of-a-President can use the power of his office to influence this case in the public eye ("if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon"), then I give the police department a little slack.
Ok grandpa, in your brief moment of lucidity, you made a good point (bolded) that everyone here agrees with and has mentioned several times anyway.

But please, when your senility causes you to wander away from your chair, please don't rip off your diaper and shit everywhere. The rest of us now have to wade thought that and we don't like it.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 06:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
What I or any one else thinks about the law is irrelevant. It is the reality of the situation that surrounds this case.
Perhaps it's not relevant to the Zimmerman case if there is ever going to be one, but it's very relevant to the political discussion surrounding the law. Not wanting to discuss it is a cop out IMHO. Are you for or against it? Do you see flaws in it, and if so where do you think are they?
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Mar 28, 2012, 07:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Perhaps it's not relevant to the Zimmerman case if there is ever going to be one, but it's very relevant to the political discussion surrounding the law. Not wanting to discuss it is a cop out IMHO. Are you for or against it? Do you see flaws in it, and if so where do you think are they?
I'm not sure you can do a whole lot to it. The basic concept (you shouldn't be forced to prove you couldn't retreat if you were in fear for your life and used deadly force) seems sound to me.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 07:35 AM
 
The thing is, this is a law designed to stop prosecution, so that's what it's going to do.

What ratio of eliminated false prosecutions to "Zimmerman incidents" is acceptable?
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 07:40 AM
 
There is a large difference between a law that says "you are not required to retreat from your home" and ominously following a youth in your vehicle, then getting out and at least verbally confronting said youth. It is a valid to see that as an assault committed on the youth. The point of "stand your ground" is for the victim of an assault not to need to retreat, not the perpetrator.

No state's "stand your ground" statute protects a person from prosecution if that person was responsible for starting the conflict in the first place, whether reports of Zimmerman actually being attacked by Martin after Zimmerman followed him in his vehicle, got out and confronted him are true or not. If you start in motion a chain of events that leads to violence, you are the aggressor and you are not protected by such statutes.

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Mar 28, 2012, 07:42 AM
 
Were you addressing my comments, or was that a general post?
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 07:50 AM
 
Sort of both. The "evolving" nature of the story seems to be going back and forth between "completely innocent teen" to "people saw a young black man beating someone who looked like Zimmerman." And the basis of the reason (as given by Florida authorities) that Zimmerman hasn't been arrested is that he was "standing his ground." I thought it prudent to point out that following someone in a car sort of eliminates that point. Whatever else happened, Zimmerman actively menaced Martin by following him in his car, AND Zimmerman did not follow 911 dispatcher instructions to back off, making him the aggressor in the confrontation.

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Mar 28, 2012, 08:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Sort of both. The "evolving" nature of the story seems to be going back and forth between "completely innocent teen" to "people saw a young black man beating someone who looked like Zimmerman." And the basis of the reason (as given by Florida authorities) that Zimmerman hasn't been arrested is that he was "standing his ground." I thought it prudent to point out that following someone in a car sort of eliminates that point. Whatever else happened, Zimmerman actively menaced Martin by following him in his car, AND Zimmerman did not follow 911 dispatcher instructions to back off, making him the aggressor in the confrontation.
First off, I'd like to repeat that the police dispatcher's directive has absolutely no more legal standing in that context than if I told you not to do something in that context. IOW, zero.

As to the meat of your argument, like I said way back on the first page, there aren't any witnesses to the actual incident. A defense attorney who couldn't get Zimmerman off here should be disbarred. It's a gimme. What actually happened is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant.

Edit: I'll put this another way. In Florida, murdering someone when there are no witnesses is effectively legal. It doesn't matter if it was racially motivated or not. If there's an actual issue to be pulled out from under all the grandstanding, that's what it should be.
( Last edited by subego; Mar 28, 2012 at 08:10 AM. )
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 08:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm not sure you can do a whole lot to it. The basic concept (you shouldn't be forced to prove you couldn't retreat if you were in fear for your life and used deadly force) seems sound to me.
But was that really a problem before? Was there a large number of people who had been prosecuted, because they fought back? It seems to me that it's a law that solves a problem which doesn't exist, but has a ton of unintended consequences. Removing proportionality from the equation, for instance, is very disconcerting to me.

Implicitly, the »fear for you life« argument is always used, but even if we assume Martin initiated the physical confrontation after being stalked, Zimmerman used a disproportionate amount of force. If he hadn't drawn his gun, he would have had a bloody nose, Martin would probably also have some minor injuries from the fight and they'd both go their separate way. Zimmerman's life was never in danger.

Just the mere presence of this law suggests to (untrained) people they can use lethal force and get away with it. Like shooting a mugger in the back.
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
There is a large difference between a law that says "you are not required to retreat from your home" and ominously following a youth in your vehicle, then getting out and at least verbally confronting said youth. It is a valid to see that as an assault committed on the youth. The point of "stand your ground" is for the victim of an assault not to need to retreat, not the perpetrator.
Bingo, this is exactly where I was going to in my second-to-last post.
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Mar 28, 2012, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm not sure this is the best moment to choose. From a legal standpoint, the instructions of the police dispatcher in this context were more like "suggestions".
He didn't argue their suggestion, but agreed. IMO, this seems to suggest that he acknowledged their request to not pursue, but pursued anyway. This speaks directly to the law others are trying to demonize here. An altercation occurred that appeared to have put Zimmerman in some danger, but Zimmerman sought the altercation not because he stood his ground, but covered a great deal of it in pursuit. i.e. To nitpick a sec; he wasn't standing his ground, he was essentially increasing it then reacted when someone challenged his increased ground.
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Mar 28, 2012, 08:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But was that really a problem before? Was there a large number of people who had been prosecuted, because they fought back? It seems to me that it's a law that solves a problem which doesn't exist, but has a ton of unintended consequences.
Honestly, I have no idea, and you are of couse correct about the unintended consequences.

That being said, laws do usually come into being as reaction rather than action.

When it comes to prosecutors, my actual opinion will get me warnings, so I'll leave it at the system doesn't reward prosecutors who are just, it rewards the prosecutors who win. They need to be fenced off the same way you fence off an animal at the zoo.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 08:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
He didn't argue their suggestion, but agreed. IMO, this seems to suggest that he acknowledged their request to not pursue, but pursued anyway. This speaks directly to the law others are trying to demonize here. An altercation occurred that appeared to have put Zimmerman in some danger, but Zimmerman sought the altercation not because he stood his ground, but covered a great deal of it in pursuit. i.e. To nitpick a sec; he wasn't standing his ground, he was essentially increasing it then reacted when someone challenged his increased ground.
In terms of what actually happened, sure, that's pretty likely.

In terms of what would/will go down in court, it's going to be placed after that, since the defense can make up whatever it wants because there are no witnesses.

I'm not trying to demonize the law here, but I think this case shows the obvious flaw in the law as it stands. It's supposed to be used the way you describe, meaning it doesn't apply to this case. What's happening is it is getting applied in this case, and successfully I might add, because there are no witnesses to dispute what happened in the final moments.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 09:52 AM
 
For the life of me I don't understand why Zimmerman is deemed the victim in this situation. He was so obviously the aggressor. It's like Bizzaro World.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 10:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
First off, I'd like to repeat that the police dispatcher's directive has absolutely no more legal standing in that context than if I told you not to do something in that context. IOW, zero.
It does matter. He actively pursued, and killed, someone who was no immediate threat to him, and for that he should be prosecuted. This nonsense about Stand Your Ground doesn't apply here, despite all the blathering about it here, and other places.

Edit: I'll put this another way. In Florida, murdering someone when there are no witnesses is effectively legal. It doesn't matter if it was racially motivated or not. If there's an actual issue to be pulled out from under all the grandstanding, that's what it should be.
I'm not so sure that it's legal to kill someone if there are no witnesses. Talk about grandstanding.
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Mar 28, 2012, 10:38 AM
 
Effectively legal ≠ legal.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 11:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
It does matter. He actively pursued, and killed, someone who was no immediate threat to him, and for that he should be prosecuted. This nonsense about Stand Your Ground doesn't apply here, despite all the blathering about it here, and other places.
Just because that's what you want the law to be, doesn't mean that's what the law is. To me it seems that Zimmerman can successfully invoke Stand Your Ground here as a defense (I'm not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt), but that neither means that Zimmerman getting away with killing someone is just (in the moral sense) nor that we (= MacNN, the authorities, etc.) are misinterpreting the law. If Stand Your Ground raises the bar for a conviction so high that it cannot be met here with the evidence at hand, than that's what it is.
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
I'm not so sure that it's legal to kill someone if there are no witnesses. Talk about grandstanding.
I think subego's point is if there are no witnesses and only circumstantial or equivocal evidence that you initiated the conflict, Stand Your Ground can be used to evade (murder) charges. In fact, it seems to have been used as a defense in gang shootings, for instance. That's hardly what supporters of Stand Your Ground laws have in mind.
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Mar 28, 2012, 11:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
This speaks directly to the law others are trying to demonize here. An altercation occurred that appeared to have put Zimmerman in some danger, but Zimmerman sought the altercation not because he stood his ground, but covered a great deal of it in pursuit.
(Emphasis mine.)
How so? If a law has such broad unintended consequences, it's clearly a law with a congenital defect. To me, it seems more like a law written by non-experts to solve a problem that didn't exist.

If the instructions by a 911 dispatcher are legally non-binding, because they are equivalent in the legal sense to, say, a bystander telling Zimmerman to back down, then your argument collapses in on itself. Again, I'm not disagreeing with what is and isn't just: Zimmerman is to blame for the death of a 17-year old kid. And a bad law is to blame for Zimmerman probably not being convicted of a crime.
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Mar 28, 2012, 12:08 PM
 
Has MSNBC put Sharpton on leave. Can he "cover" the story while being part of it?
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Mar 28, 2012, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Has MSNBC put Sharpton on leave. Can he "cover" the story while being part of it?
Surely you realize that Al Sharpton is not a "reporter"? On MSNBC he is a political talk show host ... and his show in no way pretends to be a "news broadcast" that is devoid of a particular point of view. So when he "covers" a story he is not subject to any ethical obligation to be neutral nor to refrain from injecting himself into the story itself.

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Mar 28, 2012, 01:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
(Emphasis mine.)
How so? If a law has such broad unintended consequences, it's clearly a law with a congenital defect.
My opinion is that this is why our government was designed with courts to interpret the laws. This isn't unintended consequences, it's just poor implementation. This is where the courts are supposed to rule that "stand your ground" doesn't mean you can chase someone down and shoot them in the street (as anyone who speaks English should know already).

Consider this: what if Zim had never called 911, and what if Tray hadn't been on his phone at the time. There would still be no witnesses, but there would also be nothing to make us suspect that Zim had ever stalked Tray in the first place. He could claim classical self-defense, that he was pinned down with no ability to retreat, and we would have no indication that it was a total fabrication. That doesn't mean that the traditional concept of self defense is a law with a "congenital defect."
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 01:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
To correct a number of ridiculous lies in this thread, here's the police report:
- Cops approached Zimmerman with guns drawn
- Zimmerman was handcuffed and detained
No one ever said he wasn't.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- Zimmerman was taken to the police station and questioned there
Fair point. And in fairness it has been widely reported otherwise.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- Zimmerman requested medical attention for his injuries
The initial police report you linked to simply doesn't say that. It said he was looked over by paramedics on the scene.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- The police held onto Zimmerman's gun as evidence
Again a fair point. This too was also widely reported otherwise.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- The police chose not to make it an arrest after conferring with attorneys far more familiar with the law than they are
Well that was never in dispute. The entire controversy is over the fact that Mr. Zimmerman has not been arrested.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
- Martin is 6' 160 (BMI=22), not 6'3" 150 (BMI=18)
Surely you realize the kid wasn't measured and weighed on the scene? This was an approximation by an officer on the scene looking at a dead body slumped on the ground.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
But all thread I've been reading about how incompetent the cops are from the Martin supporters!
But what this initial report doesn't refute is the following:
Originally Posted by OAW
- Complete failure to collect Zimmerman's clothing and store it as evidence (gun powder residue, blood, DNA).
- Complete failure to even ask Zimmerman what happened AT THE SCENED after he told them he shot the kid.
- Allegedly ignored some witnesses while failing to follow up with others. One officer is said to have "corrected" a witness who said that it was the kid crying for help and not Zimmerman.
- Complete failure to follow-up with the kid's girlfriend who was on the cell phone with him despite having cell phone logs showing this to be the case.
- Complete failure to ask anyone in the neighborhood if they recognized the kid. His body is alleged to have been in the morgue for several days and was only identified after his father reported him missing.
- Complete failure to call any of the numbers stored on the kid's phone to see if anyone knew who he was.
- Complete failure to perform a toxicology test on Zimmerman to see if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol ... as is standard procedure ... but naturally they did on the kid who turned out to be clean.
- Complete failure to check Zimmerman's vehicle and/or impound it.
So I think it's fair to say that the while the Sanford PD did in fact confiscate Mr. Zimmerman's weapon and take him in for questioning ... the remainder of these items still suggest a staggering level of incompetence.

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Mar 28, 2012, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
My opinion is that this is why our government was designed with courts to interpret the laws. This isn't unintended consequences, it's just poor implementation.
The issue does not concern the separation of government into different independent branches. The courts and police are bound by laws and legal precedents. Stand Your Ground reverses the burden of proof: the state has to prove Stand Your Ground does not apply rather than with regular self-defense arguments where proportionality between action and reaction is paramount. And since the reversal of burden of proof is at the core of Stand Your Ground, it's a congenital flaw rather than a problem of implementation. Now if criminals are involved in a shooting and the state cannot conclusively prove who shot first, cases can be and have been dismissed based on a Stand Your Ground defense.
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
This is where the courts are supposed to rule that "stand your ground" doesn't mean you can chase someone down and shoot them in the street (as anyone who speaks English should know already).
The discussion does not center around what is and isn't Stand Your Ground, it focusses on that the burden of proof lies on the state that Stand Your Ground does not apply to Zimmerman.
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Consider this: what if Zim had never called 911, and what if Tray hadn't been on his phone at the time. There would still be no witnesses, but there would also be nothing to make us suspect that Zim had ever stalked Tray in the first place. He could claim classical self-defense, that he was pinned down with no ability to retreat, and we would have no indication that it was a total fabrication.
Well, without Stand Your Ground, Zimmerman's rear-end would still find its way into a courtroom for manslaughter, unless he can show that his level of violence was proportionate. The fact that Zimmerman had a gun while Martin was unarmed suffices and no phone record is necessary. (Of course, I am assuming all facts are equal. There is no question that Zimmerman shot Martin, for instance.)
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
That doesn't mean that the traditional concept of self defense is a law with a "congenital defect."
Stand Your Ground is not the traditional concept of self-defense, that's the whole point.
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
My opinion is that this is why our government was designed with courts to interpret the laws.
Unless you think Zimmerman walking is the correct decision, this is a bad example.

As I said upthread, any defense attorney who can't win this case should be disbarred. There are no witnesses, the defense can just make shit up.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The issue does not concern the separation of government into different independent branches. The courts and police are bound by laws and legal precedents. Stand Your Ground reverses the burden of proof: the state has to prove Stand Your Ground does not apply rather than with regular self-defense arguments where proportionality between action and reaction is paramount. And since the reversal of burden of proof is at the core of Stand Your Ground, it's a congenital flaw rather than a problem of implementation. Now if criminals are involved in a shooting and the state cannot conclusively prove who shot first, cases can be and have been dismissed based on a Stand Your Ground defense.

The discussion does not center around what is and isn't Stand Your Ground, it focusses on that the burden of proof lies on the state that Stand Your Ground does not apply to Zimmerman.

Well, without Stand Your Ground, Zimmerman's rear-end would still find its way into a courtroom for manslaughter, unless he can show that his level of violence was proportionate. The fact that Zimmerman had a gun while Martin was unarmed suffices and no phone record is necessary. (Of course, I am assuming all facts are equal. There is no question that Zimmerman shot Martin, for instance.)

Stand Your Ground is not the traditional concept of self-defense, that's the whole point.
^^^^^^^

While I can understand the desire to eliminate the traditional "duty to retreat" aspect of self-defense legislation when outside of your home (to bring it more in line with the "castle doctrine" when inside the home) ... the reversal of the burden of proof aspect of these "Stand Your Ground" laws goes well above and beyond that. And that is the fundamental problem with these types of laws that has led to situation at hand where Mr. Zimmerman is not under arrest even though the vast majority of people think that he should be facing manslaughter charges at a minimum.

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Mar 28, 2012, 02:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The issue does not concern the separation of government into different independent branches. The courts and police are bound by laws and legal precedents. Stand Your Ground reverses the burden of proof: the state has to prove Stand Your Ground does not apply rather than with regular self-defense arguments where proportionality between action and reaction is paramount.
Where does the law say this? If you're referring to precedent, then it's exactly as I just said: the law is not the problem, the interpretation is.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Unless you think Zimmerman walking is the correct decision, this is a bad example.

As I said upthread, any defense attorney who can't win this case should be disbarred. There are no witnesses, the defense can just make shit up.
No, it's a perfect example. There are cases of plain jane self defense in which "any defense attorney who can't win them should be disbarred" too. When there are no witnesses, the defense can just make shit up. Are you saying there has never been a situation where self-defense was claimed and there were no witnesses?
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
While I can understand the desire to eliminate the traditional "duty to retreat" aspect of self-defense legislation when outside of your home (to bring it more in line with the "castle doctrine" when inside the home) ... the reversal of the burden of proof aspect of these "Stand Your Ground" laws goes well above and beyond that.
Personally, I don't see a problem with the »duty to retreat:« most people are not equipped to handle situations in which they may be injured or killed, and they do much more harm (to themselves and potentially others) by thinking they're John Wayne. I don't think it is okay and should be legal to shoot an unarmed robber in the back. The »duty to retreat« has been supplemented by many decades worth of legal precedents so as to allow for enough room for legitimate self-defense where proportionality between action and reaction is considered.

To me, »Stand Your Ground« laws suggest to people that this is the first instinctual reaction they should have. Instead of standing your ground, the first reaction should be to get out of harms' way.
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Mar 28, 2012, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Where does the law say this? If you're referring to precedent, then it's exactly as I just said: the law is not the problem, the interpretation is.
The reversal of the burden of proof is the core of the law, not precedent.
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Mar 28, 2012, 03:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
No, it's a perfect example. There are cases of plain jane self defense in which "any defense attorney who can't win them should be disbarred" too. When there are no witnesses, the defense can just make shit up. Are you saying there has never been a situation where self-defense was claimed and there were no witnesses?
No, I'm saying prosecutors don't press charges on cases they're almost assured to lose.

As for whether charges are brought up when there are no witnesses, I'll bet you dollars to donuts it happens more in states where there's an onus on the defense to show they had no other choice. If that was the case in Florida, I guarantee you Zimmerman would be in a cell right now discussing possible plea deals.
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by oreocookie View Post
the reversal of the burden of proof is the core of the law, not precedent.
Where does the law say this?!
     
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Mar 28, 2012, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
No, I'm saying prosecutors don't press charges on cases they're almost assured to lose.

As for whether charges are brought up when there are no witnesses, I'll bet you dollars to donuts it happens more in states where there's an onus on the defense to show they had no other choice. If that was the case in Florida, I guarantee you Zimmerman would be in a cell right now discussing possible plea deals.
"Discussing?" More like "rejecting." Any attorney who can't win a self-defense case with no witnesses should be disbarred. They can just make shit up, after all.

My point is that blaming the law for something that's true of many/most other laws, will not solve anything. It's a placebo. It's an unfortunate fact of reality that with no witnesses and only circumstantial evidence, and a general presumption of innocence until proven guilty, not all murderers can be punished. "Stand your ground" or "duty to retreat" are just scapegoats.
     
 
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