Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Prosecution's Failure to Prove Zimmerman Did Not Act in Self-Defense "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" Led to Acquittal

I haven't followed the trial of George Zimmerman as closely as others.  My impression of the trial came from watching daily summaries of the trial on the news stations while working out at the gym.  It appeared to me the trial was not going well for the prosecution.
George Zimmerman

Contrary to a common discussion point, Florida's controversial "stand your ground law" was never an issue in the Zimmerman case.  Rather Zimmerman offered a routine self-defense claim, in particular that he shot Trayvon Martin when Martin was on top of him hitting him and shoving his head against the pavement.  Zimmerman offered up an expert who said that story was consistent with the physical evidence.

While under Florida law, self-defense is an affirmative defense, once the defendant presents evidence of self-defense, it becomes the state's requirement to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not shoot Martin in self-defense.

Here is an article which talks about how the burden of proof on self-defense in Florida has been clarified in recent years.

People who try to turn the failed prosecution into a racial thing are terribly misguided.   The bottom line is the only person alive who knows for sure what happened that night is George Zimmerman.  His story that he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense simply could not be disproved beyond a reasonable doubt. It appears that the prosecution never had a strong case and probably only filed criminal charges in response to political pressure, including pressure from the White House.

In a subsequent wrongful death action, the burden of proof is a "preponderance of the evidence" which means that Martin need only tip the scale in his direction. Under that standard, Martin's family has a much better chance of prevailing.


Unigov said...

Yeah, I keep hearing about "Stand Your Ground", which as you state, has nothing to do with this case. The general public is too misinformed to even know the difference.

The other meme being repeated this morning is that the police ordered Zimmerman to get back in his car. I'm not so sure that was clearcut, and of course, the police can't order people to do things.

If you've ever been sucker-punched by a thug, you understand what Zimmerman went through.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Even if the police "ordered" Zimmerman to get back in his car, I don't know how that changes the self-defense claim he obviously won on.

I do kind of wonder though considering how stocky Zimmerman is compared to the Trayvon Martin how Martin could have gotten the upper hand on him and was on top of Zimmerman, but it's certainly possible and the injuries are consistent with that. I didn't hear too much discussion of their size difference.

Guest said...

Zimmerman was thin at the time of the self defense shooting-he gained weight during his waiting for trial period. I hope this ends this. I do hope he prevails in his lawsuit against NBC for their rush to judgement and rabble rousing when this happened. The lawyers should finally go after Sharpton and Jesse for trying to incite riot or something. The media is very culpable in the misinformation on this which will persist. Martin was the one who jumped Zimmerman- He could have chosen to ignore him.

Ellen said...

But, guest, the question is: why didn't Zimmerman ignore Martin?

The kid wasn't "doing" anything except walking back from the store.

american patriot said...

The question is why didn't Treyvon ignore Zimmerman? He was under no legal requirement to even talk to George.
If Treyvon was in fear of his life why not call 911?
Was George required to defend himself by trying to tickle Treyvon or maybe distract him by saying "hey, there's Elvis!"?

Why was the media afraid of riots only if Zimmerman was found not guilty? Don't they remember all the riots by colored people (white is a color) back when OJ was found not guilty?
They don't because there weren't any.

Gary R. Welsh said...

What is outrageous is to sit through neighborhood meetings and listen to residents complain about out-of-control crime in their neighborhoods. Police tell the residents they aren't doing enough to assist them, particularly ignoring suspiciously-behaving people in their neighborhoods before they commit crimes. See something, say something they tell us. The neighborhood associations want someone else in the neighborhood to volunteer their crime watch efforts because they're too busy. When someone like Zimmerman steps forward to help out a neighborhood that has been plagued by home invasions, the people who are demanding protection of their homes are the first to point fingers when something like this goes wrong.

The evidence showed that it was more likely than not that the aggressor was Martin, who would have been safely in his home had he left the 7-11 store and gone straight home instead of wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood. He liked fighting and made a point of writing about it often in the text messages the judge barred the defense from offering due to the prosecution's discovery abuses in not timely turning over the evidence until called out on it by a whistle blower, who subsequently lost his job.

What really upsets me is how people ignore the fact that Martin's own mother had kicked him out of the house and forced him to go live with his father, who was shacking up with a woman who lived in Zimmerman's neighborhood. The mother kicked him out because of his unruly behavior, including fighting, drug use and run-ins with the police, who found women's jewelry and tools used for breaking into homes in his school locker. Sometimes very bad things happen to very good persons. This was not one of those instances. Martin made a choice to confront Zimmerman violently rather than ignoring him and continuing walking home the short distance to his home. Interesting that the father's girlfriend booted the father out of the house not long after the shooting.

Ellen said...


You're suggesting that an unarmed teenager should IGNORE gun-toting adult stalking him?


Ellen said...

It is an inescapable fact that Mr. Zimmerman created the circumstances in which he felt his life was in danger, and then was able to use Florida’s self-defense law to avoid imprisonment for shooting and killing the person he feared.

Gary R. Welsh said...


There is nothing from the record to indicate that Zimmerman "stalked" Martin in a way that would constitute an unlawful offense. Zimmerman's weapon was concealed so Martin had no idea that he was armed with a gun when he confronted Zimmerman and sucker punched him. That was the only credible evidence the jurors heard, which the prosecutors were unable to refute.

The evidence showed that Martin was the aggressor, who was on top of Zimmerman. Have you ever been pinned to the ground by a skilled street fighter and had your head pummeled? It happened to me once after some drunk, unlicensed teen blew through a stop sign and t-boned my car at 32nd and Central. When I got out of the car, some teenage thugs immediately ran over to me and began punching me, knocked me to the ground and got on top of me, pounding me with their fists for no apparent reason. If a police officer hadn't happened on to the scene when he did, I would have likely been killed or sustained worse injuries than the busted nose, chipped tooth and bruised ribs that I suffered.

This Martin kid bragged about street fighting and inflicting damage on the people he fought. He had been suspended from school for that very reason. His mother booted him out of the house because she was unable to deal with his unruly behavior. You don't appreciate what that feels like to be in that position, helpless to defend yourself. You have a total misconception of what these violent young men are capable of doing. They simply don't value human life. If you read the text messages and photos he sent from his cell phone, you would get a clearer picture of the person he was.

Sadie Pepper said...

So in Florida a man with a gun can stalk a teenager with skittles, when the unarmed teenager who's guilty of nothing and being stalked confronts you, you shoot and kill them. Something is wrong if you think that's okay.

Sadie Pepper said...

Martin was the one "standing his ground." Zimmerman was a racist coward with a gun. If he didn't have that gun, he would have never left his car. Zimmerman reminds me of some of the little men that post around here.

Downtown Indy said...

Homeland Security constantly reinforces the idea that 'if you see something, say something.'

They WANT people to get involved, not turn a blind eye to possible criminal activity.

George did exactly what Homeland Security wanted him to do.

Downtown Indy said...

Sadie, if Trayvon was 'standing his ground' his mistake was getting on his knees and pinning George to it.

Sadie Pepper said...

Zimmerman saw a black kid walking through his neighborhood and assumed he was a criminal. The cops told him not to follow him.

Guest said...

No more to be said- Sadie can neither read, or hear and process the facts -She obviously did not listen to the trial but only to the race baiter talking points designed by Sharpton and Jesse to keep them rolling in dollars.

Southsider said...

Guest is correct. Wonder what she'd say about this incident.

Thankfully a good guy came to the rescue and he was black.

Sadie Pepper said...

Anyone using Breitbart as a source, is obviously a fool. That's like quoting The National Enquirer. LOL, really? Friends of Hamas? Krugman bankrupt? You guys must be little pussies that need a gun to be a man and have deep race issues, just like Zimmerman.

Sadie Pepper said...

Guest, if you're going to slam me, at least be man enough to state your name. You fucking coward.

Guest said...

I have to be a coward namewise due to what is going on with those who disagree with an opinion-threats ,intimidation= "fucking coward" as you say, the list goes on. My comments came no where near that. "You guys must be little pussies that need a gun to be a man and have deep race issues." as you said Miss Sadie. This has zero to do with race except in your eyes which sadly keeps you apart from the facts.

Sadie Pepper said...

Guest, so I was right. You're a coward and a pussy. I bet you have a gun with you so you can feel like a man. PATHETIC.