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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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To: mylife

I bought a box last night - no kidding. They are packaged in many ways. Like others though, I can’t find any evidence he actually had Skittles or iced tea...and no still shot of him at the gas station....was he really just wandering around the neighborhood? Did the lawyer make up the candy run story?

51 posted on 04/04/2012 4:32:20 AM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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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?

Did Zimmerman shoot Martin while Martin was on top of him? I don't recall any reports of Zimmerman having blood on his clothes, just blood on his head from his own injuries.

52 posted on 04/04/2012 4:34:53 AM PDT by kidd
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To: FryingPan101

Re: Autopsy Report

Last I read, the autopsy report is still sealed.

My political instincts say if Martin showed no trace of drugs, someone would have leaked that to the press.

But, that’s a 100% guess.

I’ve also thought it’s possible that Martin might be positive for marijuana.

That would be a huge political black mark.

The ONLY reason Martin was in Sanford was because he got a school suspension for possession.

But, once again, just a guess.

53 posted on 04/04/2012 12:23:45 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Publius6961

You normally make a lot of sense but that post was muddier than the Mississippi. What PC? The SYG law does require that the “reasonable man” standard be applied. Estrich is saying that it doesn’t. There is no PC in my thoughts and Estrich is full of crap. Please explain what you mean.

54 posted on 04/04/2012 1:07:01 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: TigersEye

>> “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.” <<

That’s it in a nutshell.

55 posted on 04/04/2012 1:16:36 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
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To: Publius6961
The local cops say he was arrested, and I hesitate to argue with them, since I am no longer in Jr. High.

Please provide a link to your source for that. Shouldn't be too hard since you're not in Jr. High anymore.

Here is what the City of Sanford said...

Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?

When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.

56 posted on 04/04/2012 1:19:44 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: aruanan
Here is something for you to learn.
57 posted on 04/04/2012 1:22:49 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: BykrBayb

DO I trust the media to actually sort this out? No way. Wish I had some dough to put up an animated reconstruction based solely on the 911 calls on youtube. Every now and then I lament not being rich enough. It would be $5000 well spent.

58 posted on 04/04/2012 1:23:38 PM PDT by anton
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To: editor-surveyor

Thank you. People are quick to give Estrich the benefit of the doubt without looking at what she is really saying. She is making nice about the Martin/Zimmerman incident while making a case for more gun control and repeal of the SYG law. And she lied about SYG to do it.

59 posted on 04/04/2012 1:43:44 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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