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Stand Your Ground: George Zimmerman Charged

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by CHICO13, Mar 20, 2012.

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  1. antifan

    antifan Moderator Staff Member

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    The Florida Jury Instructions

    An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:

    1) A “person of ordinary judgment” would know the act, or series of acts, “is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another”

    2) The act is “done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent”; and

    3) The act is “of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.”

    Sorry i got the wording slightly off. Zimmerman doesn't even make it past the first element.
     


  2. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

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    I imagine I must be misunderstanding what you mean by the second bolded part, as one would think that shooting someone in the torso is something "a person of ordinary judgement" would recognise as reasonably likely to kill etc.

    Meanwhile the expletive on the tape would suggest ill will at the least; so part three would seem to be the part to be established. If he was actually protecting himself, it isn't fulfilled. If he shot Trayvon while not under attack, it can pretty much be assumed, though?
     
  3. antifan

    antifan Moderator Staff Member

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    You're absolutely right, i was only thinking of Zimmerman following Martin with a loaded gun.


    If he shot Martin only because he considered him a "punk", then that doesn't sound like second degree murder to me. That sounds like first. And i'm not sure complaining about "********ing punks" really shows ill will, as it wasn't directed at Martin.
     
  4. taosjohn

    taosjohn Member+

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    You think he was talking about the dispatcher? :confused:

    And he didn't say anything about killing one of these ********ing punks-- I don't see it as evidence of premeditation, just of, shall we say, negative feelings towards someone he was assuming on no realistic basis was out to do wrong in his bailiwick...
     


  5. antifan

    antifan Moderator Staff Member

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    You've heard the tape. Did he sound like he was ready to kill someone?
     
  6. wallacegrommit

    wallacegrommit Member

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    The prosecution is going to try to build their case for "ill will" from the call, but that is a very thin thread and it won't be an easy task. The legal question isn't whether Zimmerman had ill will in general that night or whether he decided to get out of his vehicle because he was mad about the burglaries and wanted to do something about it, the element requires that the ill will be the reason that Zimmerman decided to shoot the victim. Zimmerman's self defense claim goes right to the heart of this, because he's going to say that the reason he shot Trayvon was because he was being attacked.
     
  7. stanger

    stanger BigSoccer Supporter

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    Which he believes, I'm sure. It's the extenuating circumstances that will get him in the most trouble.

    I don't think he set out to kill anyone, nor do I think he is a racist. He saw what he thought was a suspicious person and got in over his head, albeit by his own actions. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know exactly what the charges should be or what the proper penalty should be.

    Regardless of the outcome there will be people upset.
     
  8. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    Other than perhaps some sort of nebulous due process issue, I don't see anything in this statute that could be considered unconstitutional.

    Incidentally, the U.S. Supreme Court has twice found self defense to be justified along grounds very similar to SYG or castle laws. But neither case involved a constitutional challenge. In fact, in both cases there was no statute at issue. Rather the question was whether the trial court had correctly charged the jury on the common law pertaining to self defense and more specifically duty to retreat, and in both cases, the court said that there was no duty to retreat under the circumstances.
     
  9. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator Staff Member

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    For me it's a question of initiating a confrontation while being armed. The way I see it self defense goes out the window at that precise moment.

    Totally agree with your last statement.
     
  10. wallacegrommit

    wallacegrommit Member

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    How about if a man tries to steal a woman's car and she walks out of the store, sees him and confronts him while having a gun in her purse, saying "Hey you, what are you doing in my car?" Can he grab her and try to rape her and if she shoots him she's guilty of murder?
     
  11. gmonn

    gmonn Member+

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    It seems like both of you are buying his story though. If that was Martin screaming for help, which both audio experts and some if not all people on the scene are saying is the case, it's a different scenario than the one you're discussing.
     
  12. wallacegrommit

    wallacegrommit Member

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    The prosecutor apparently disagrees, because the charging affidavit essentially alleges that Trayvon was the one screaming, yet the charge is 2nd degree murder not premeditated murder.
     
  13. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably not.....So how about if that same woman is walking down the street with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea and that man, armed with a Glock walks up to her and says WTF are you doing in this neighborhood? She's taken aback and fears for her life because she feels like she's being stalked and intimidated. Is she free to fight for her life?
     
  14. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    I'm guessing the bolded word is the point the case will turn on.

    During the course of the discussion here I've heard various people say that Zimmerman 'chased' or 'pursued' Martin but, when that's been said, I'm reminded of a Muslim couple* I see sometimes when I go out for my daily 'constitutional', (a walk, IOW:)). The man is in front and his wife, wearing a niqab as shown below...

    [​IMG]

    ... walks several paces behind him BUT at a fixed distance.

    The point is nobody would say the wife is 'chasing' or 'pursuing' the husband... they'd say she was following him and, in the same way, I'm not sure how it can be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman 'chased' or 'pursued' Martin.

    My guess is that Zimmerman told the police he followed Martin, but with no intention to catch up with him, simply to see where he went and, without anyone to argue the point, it's going to be bloody hard to prove otherwise.

    If that's true the question then is DID he initiate the confrontation or, maybe more to the point, can it be proven that he did?


    * With apologies for the somewhat rambling anecdote :D
     
  15. gmonn

    gmonn Member+

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    Disagrees with the two posters I was addressing, I agree. They seemed to be discussing essentially scenarios of self-defense, even though one said Z got in over his head and they didn't know what the charge should be, and the other thought self defense went out the window with confronting while armed.

    To me, who's screaming for help is pretty key to the difference between self-defense and 2nd degree murder, unless you've got a "depraved" AND calculating mind at work who's screaming for help while having the upper hand and killing.

    I actually think through long exposure to foreign wars, we're creeping toward a popular idea of self defense that's basically military, and will include preemptive strikes. Not a legal definition, just a popular one leading people to shoot sooner and sooner.
     
  16. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    Isn't the Iraq war pretty much the definition of SYG... but for a country instead of an individual?
     
  17. wallacegrommit

    wallacegrommit Member

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    Is she on trial? Or is she dead?
     
  18. gmonn

    gmonn Member+

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    Kind of, but it wouldn't fly in a civil context. SYG doesn't include preemptive strikes. I just think people are beginning to think in that direction though. The bar for feeling "threatened" goes lower and lower.

    The Iraq war is more like one gang banger hearing rumors that the gang banger on the other side of town is talking shit about him and upgrading to an assault weapon, so he goes and does a drive-by, taking out everybody on the porch.

    Our national policy is strikingly at odds with our civil ideals. We think everybody should have a gun to be able to defend themselves in this internal shoot-em-up, but internationally are willing to use force to prevent those who don't have nukes from getting them. At the personal level, a gun is pretty much a nuke.
     
  19. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator Staff Member

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    She's pushing up daisies
     
  20. wallacegrommit

    wallacegrommit Member

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    So why ask the question?
     
  21. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator Staff Member

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    Because her family wants justice for her. Why did you ask your question?
     
  22. Michael Russ

    Michael Russ Member

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    Ok, this is what I am thinking. It would seem generally "unfair" for the prosecution to basically argue two completely different theories of a case like this one.

    for instance if the prosecution tried to argue that zimmerman was a complet liar and that he actually stalked Martin and drew his gun as a way to intimidate him and shot him before he was ever in any real danger. So you should convict him of Second degree murder.

    but then argues, but if you don't believe that theory, and instead you believe martin was telling the truth and there was a fight and he did not draw his gun until the middle of the fight, but he still was not in danger so you should convict him of manslaughter.


    Even though there is not a verdict on a second degree murder charge and then a second trial, the prosecution is in essence allowing the jury to consider one set of circumstances and then come to a conclusion, and if they decide against the prosecution they then can consider a completely different set of circumstances in order to convict.

    It just seems to me in that case it is giving the prosecutors in essence a "second chance" to convict somone for the same action.
     
  23. chad

    chad Member+

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    If only there were places one could go to learn the law...

    I mean other than right wing blogs.
     
  24. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    But it's neither unusual nor unreasonable to ask the jury to judge a couple set of facts. Whether it's murder two or manslaughter, the essential question is, did Zimmerman use unreasonable force to kill Martin? If the answer is "yes", then you ask, "Did Zimmerman intend to kill Martin?"

    IANAL, but my understanding is that two-step tests are pretty common in trials.
     
  25. That Phat Hat

    That Phat Hat Member+

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    But look at what they've done for our understanding of science!!!
     
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