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Susan Estrich: Trayvon Martin - What Really Happened? (Surprising)
The Marietta Daily Journal ^ | April 4, 2012 | Professor Susan Estrich

Posted on 04/03/2012 10:36:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

What happened to Trayvon Martin? The short answer: I don’t know.

I know that he was shot by George Zimmerman while wearing a hoodie and carrying a box of Skittles. No weapons of mass destruction. An awful tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and family. A thorough and fair investigation is obviously a necessity.

But after decades of studying the criminal justice system, how it works and how it doesn’t, including the shadow cast by racism over that system, that is what I know.

I also know this: If the police and prosecutors had a clear case that Zimmerman had unreasonably resorted to deadly force in a situation where the law prohibits it, if they had probable cause to arrest him and believe they could and should secure a conviction, they would have arrested him.

With the eyes of the nation upon them, with the president comparing Martin to the son he doesn’t have, with marchers and editorials, the easiest thing, the most political thing, the move that would turn down the temperature would be to arrest Zimmerman.

I know that is not always what has happened. Too often in our history, police and prosecutors have been reluctant to arrest African-American men for killing white men in situations where they would have done so had the races been different.

I know that police and prosecutors and juries have been too willing to assume that any African-American man in a hoodie is likely to be a criminal and that crimes involving the death of an African-American have not received the same attention as those involving the death of a white person.

I also know that in highly politicized cases, just the opposite has happened.

The most notorious example of this, obviously, was the Duke lacrosse team case, where the prosecutor moved too fast, where his motives were political, where a thorough investigation would have spared not only the young men involved but also, ironically, the young woman, whose reputation was also ruined in the process.

And Martin’s also almost certainly would be were an unjustified arrest made here.

We are a nation of laws, not men and women. From everything I can see, police and prosecutors in Sanford, Fla., are proceeding carefully and thoroughly — as they must, given the issues involved.

The law allows an individual to resort to deadly force when he reasonably believes he is facing death or serious bodily injury. In many states, an individual is required to retreat (at least when attacked outside his own home) when he could do so safely. Florida is not one of those states. I do not support “Stand Your Ground“ laws because they allow lives to be taken in self-defense where it is not in fact a necessity. But I don’t make the law in Florida, and neither do those charged with its enforcement.

The law does not require that the individual who resorts to deadly force be right. His actions must be judged at the time he takes them. The standard is objective: what a reasonable person would do. But in applying that standard, the reasonable person stands in the shoes of the one who resorted to deadly force.

Obviously, race should not be a factor in this analysis.

Obviously, wearing a hoodie should not be a factor in this analysis.

But if there is credible and substantiated evidence that Zimmerman reasonably believed he was facing death or serious bodily injury at the time he shot, then the police and prosecutors would be violating their ethical duties and the rule of law in arresting him to respond to a political crisis.

I understand the president’s identification with Trayvon Martin. I understand his concerns that deaths such as this have, historically, been too easily ignored on racial grounds. But it is essential that our leaders have the courage to say that, ultimately, the issue here should not be race. The issue is the rule of law, applied without regard to race.

*******

Susan Estrich is a law professor in Southern California and managed the 1988 presidential race of Democrat Michael Dukakis.


TOPICS: Government; Politics
KEYWORDS: florida; georgezimmerman; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
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>> Comments?

With her every written word, Susan’s raspy, wheezing voice resonates at a deafening level tweaking the tinnitus I try to ignore.

Yeah, she can be sane at times.


21 posted on 04/03/2012 11:27:33 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Newt/Sarah 2012)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That’s a pretty funny satire. Ironically, it did cross my mind when the story broke that maybe Trayvon did steal the Skittles.
Is that wrong? Am I a bad person?
(sniff)


22 posted on 04/03/2012 11:29:55 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: ModelBreaker

“If you elect George Bush, black churches will burn!”

Yeah, for the shameless, scumbag Democrats there is no bottom of the sewer.


23 posted on 04/03/2012 11:31:52 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: DaveTesla

Thank you! I never put 2 and 2 together, but your comment makes sense. The “Stand your ground” law has NO application here. It’s just a liberal way of trying to get rid of a law that they don’t like. Not relevant in this case. Self-defense is more appropriate.


24 posted on 04/03/2012 11:49:41 PM PDT by boop (I hate hippies and dopeheads. Just hate them. ...Ernest Borgnine)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
But if there is credible and substantiated evidence that Zimmerman reasonably believed he was facing death or serious bodily injury at the time he shot, then the police and prosecutors would be violating their ethical duties and the rule of law in arresting him to respond to a political crisis.

I understand the president’s identification with Trayvon Martin. I understand his concerns that deaths such as this have, historically, been too easily ignored on racial grounds. But it is essential that our leaders have the courage to say that, ultimately, the issue here should not be race. The issue is the rule of law, applied without regard to race.

So in other words, Hillary will be running as a centrist.

25 posted on 04/03/2012 11:52:31 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: Lancey Howard
Actually the quote was: "If you elect George Bush, MORE black churches will EXPLODE".

As if black churches "explode" all the time, and nobody reports on it.

Not to mention if black churches BURNED DOWN "all the time", like Bill Clinton remembers from his childhood.

Ridiculous. But there are cretins that believe it.

26 posted on 04/03/2012 11:55:21 PM PDT by boop (I hate hippies and dopeheads. Just hate them. ...Ernest Borgnine)
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To: cynwoody

“.. interrogated for five hours..”

Would that length of time be unusual for a someone who had a broken nose, a head injury, and the truamatic experience of taking a life and almost losing your life? I know I would not have said more than I want an attorney and a ride to the hospital.


27 posted on 04/04/2012 12:05:39 AM PDT by Bizhvywt
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I do not support “Stand Your Ground“ laws because they allow lives to be taken in self-defense where it is not in fact a necessity.

I don't believe that is true. SYG law is not relevant to this case though IMO.

The law does not require that the individual who resorts to deadly force be right.

No, Susan, I am certain that that is not the case. One is still required to believe, by the 'reasonable man' standard, that one's life or another person's life is in imminent danger. As a Constitutional scholar you should know better than to characterize a law without knowing it.

28 posted on 04/04/2012 1:02:51 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: icwhatudo

No, Zimmerman was not arrested. He was detained and questioned but not arrested.


29 posted on 04/04/2012 1:04:46 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: okie01
Estrich is annoying. But she is one of those rare honest liberals.

This article is a hit piece on SYG laws disguised as reasonableness about the Martin/Zimmerman incident. Her apparent honesty about the law is cover for a political agenda.

30 posted on 04/04/2012 1:07:31 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: mylife

“Skittles” is street slang for the drug dextromethorphan, or DXM found in some cough syrups.

http://www.baylorhealth.com/PhysiciansLocations/Dallas/About/BaylorDallasNews/Pages/Decoding%20Drug%20Slang.aspx


31 posted on 04/04/2012 1:09:56 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What happened to Gloria?
Did she fall down and bump her head?


32 posted on 04/04/2012 1:18:19 AM PDT by gigster (Cogito, Ergo, Ronaldus Magnus Conservatus)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Re: Skittles

Is there actual documentation that Martin made any kind of purchase at a store before he was shot?


33 posted on 04/04/2012 2:24:45 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: boop
"It’s just a liberal way of trying to get rid of a law that they don’t like."

Right!

34 posted on 04/04/2012 2:44:11 AM PDT by DaveTesla (You can fool some of the people some of the time......)
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To: icwhatudo

Re: Handcuffs

Handcuffing, searching, and physically examining the survivor is standard police procedure until the details are sorted out.

Zimmerman always had the option to say nothing - which is always the best plan when you find yourself at the center of an intensely emotional, intensely dangerous legal situation.

It appears that Zimmerman thought that “voluntarily cooperating” with the police might bolster his credibility.

Horrendous mistake.

Zimmerman could also have politely and persistently requested that he be released or arrested.

Based on just the physical evidence, it’s hard to see what grounds existed for an arrest.

Lesson learned.....

Unless you’re terrified of spending a couple nights in jail, NEVER talk about what happened, even if you’re completely innocent.


35 posted on 04/04/2012 2:50:48 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: zeestephen

“Re: Skittles

Is there actual documentation that Martin made any kind of purchase at a store before he was shot?”

I think that is an important question. Now that FReepers have schooled me on drug language, I’d be interested in seeing an autopsy result. Since “skittles” is street code for Ritalin, maybe someone was scoping the neighborhood for easy cash. One other question: If Martin, while on top of Zimmerman, had somehow managed to pull the gun out of Zimmerman’s waistband and shoot him, would that have been acceptable to the Black community?


36 posted on 04/04/2012 2:54:36 AM PDT by FryingPan101
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Are there two Susan Estriches?

I can't recall a single instance where, in a discussion of a crime, she did not take the most extreme liberal and PC view possible.

Not once

Until tonight.

Maybe it's just too dark at 3:00 am to see pigs flying, but I am looking out the window anyway.

Ca alors!

37 posted on 04/04/2012 3:04:07 AM PDT by Publius6961 (It’s easy to make phony promises you can’t keep. - Obama, Feb23, 2012)
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To: TigersEye
One is still required to believe, by the 'reasonable man' standard, that one's life or another person's life is in imminent danger. As a Constitutional scholar you should know better than to characterize a law without knowing it.

PC is rotting your brain, Dude, Something I would expect Susan to say, but to her credit, she refrained.

"Being right" in this context, is NOT the after the fact definition of "right." It is the personal honest belief of the victim of an attack, at the moment, right or wrong.

38 posted on 04/04/2012 3:16:50 AM PDT by Publius6961 (It’s easy to make phony promises you can’t keep. - Obama, Feb23, 2012)
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To: mylife
Actually, the only two convenience stores within five miles of my house BOTH carry Skittles in the movie size box. Of course, they carry the regular packages, too.


39 posted on 04/04/2012 3:24:25 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (May Mitt Romney be the Paul Tsongas of 2012.)
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To: DaveTesla
What does Florida's “Stand Your Ground“ law have to do in a situation where your attacker is on top of you breaking your head open on the concrete under you?

The alternative interpretation is absurd. If we were to entertain the claims of the brainless mob with blood in their eyes, we would have to postulate that after shooting the "child" dead, Zimmerman then continued to break his own nose and give himself a concussion.

African Science and logic.

40 posted on 04/04/2012 3:25:44 AM PDT by Publius6961 (It’s easy to make phony promises you can’t keep. - Obama, Feb23, 2012)
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