Skip to comments.Is the second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman fair?
Posted on 04/12/2012 3:03:37 PM PDT by South40
Is the charge of murder in the Trayvon Martin case justified?
Yes. The charge allows the judicial process to move forward. A jury will determine whether Mr. Zimmerman acted in self-defense.
No. The special prosecutor didnt cite any new evidence to justify sidestepping state law. This is a response to political pressure.
(Excerpt) Read more at mycrains.crainsnewyork.com ...
This may be paradoxical. That is, the stand your ground hearing is almost unique to that law; but in this case, it is not a stand your ground situation, it is pure self defense.
The pertinent law is in section (3). It assumes that a person is attacked in a public place, that they have no duty to retreat, but can stand their ground. But a problem arises when they couldn’t retreat if they wanted to.
George Zimmerman was allegedly punched in the face that knocked him down. Then Martin apparently straddled him and continued to punch his face, then smash his head on the asphalt. Only then did Zimmerman’s shirt get pulled up, exposing his gun. Then he and Martin struggled for the gun, which eventually Zimmerman got control over and used to shoot Martin.
Thus it can be said that stand your ground did not apply, but instead regular self defense. And if *that* is the case, then there is no stand your ground hearing.
And thus Zimmerman might be exposed to a lawsuit, after the fact.
Even Starsky & Hutch didn’t do U turns that spectacular.
Even if the stand your ground law doesn’t seem to apply, is there any downside for Zimmerman seeking to have the SYG hearing?
Yes, my FRiend. Damn the media and their attempts to justify the public lynching they've been engaged in.
Well, it's my impression that the stand your ground law has more parts to it than just the removal of the duty to retreat. If successful, it would make Z, the homeowners' assoc., etc. immune from civil suits by Trayvon's family. I don't believe Z has much in the way of assets, but there are other deep pockets. Even the city might get pulled in if they trained Z.
I will state that from what I have seen, I don't think there's a case for 2nd degree murder.
That’s a good question, but I suspect that it is a Catch-22.
That is, “Stand Your Ground” is a peculiarity as a law, because it is not describing a crime, but a defense to what could be described as a crime, but shouldn’t be.
But the only way you might be able to use this defense is under the situations written into the law itself.
SYG was created not as a stand-alone law, but to fill a loophole in the much more comprehensive laws of “self defense.”
That loophole was that “if you could retreat, you should retreat, and can be punished if you defend instead of retreat”. So SYG says, “if you could retreat, you don’t have to retreat, and can defend yourself where you stand.”
But in Zimmerman’s case, he could *not* retreat, because he was punched, knocked down, pinned to the ground, and in a life or death struggle. Thus, it was purely self defense, and would have been legal even before SYG was written, going back to long before the United States existed.
That is, it would never have come under the SYG loophole, so it would have never needed the SYG defense.
*But*, because of that, and this is the zinger, he may not have the SYG hearing *available* to him! That is, the SYG hearing may only be available to those who are caught in an SYG situation.
Had he shot Martin as Martin was charging him, he could invoke the SYG hearing. But after Martin punched him, knocked him down, and was straddling him trying to kill him, any SYG argument was superfluous. He was desperately trying to save his life in pure self-defense, long recognized by the courts as legitimate.
And because of this, he might not be permitted an SYG hearing. And likewise, he may be vulnerable to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Even though Zimmerman was unable to retreat, the law still says that
"(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer...."
So, it would appear to me that Zimmerman should be able to have that hearing; and in fact, if he is successful, he should have a cause of action against the state for unlawful imprisonment; and he would also be immune from civil suits.
Do I think he is likely to be successful in such a hearing? In a just world, yes, but not bloody likely unless the prosecution has a whole lot more evidence than the public has seen.
WILL the truth “come out”? Depends on whether the Prosecutor will do her job fairly, outside of politics or thuggish threats. And according to Alan Dershowitz (certainly no conservative but a decent man), she’s not.
He blasted her, saying she’s not doing her duty as evidenced by her brief, which ignores anything about an altercation and makes no mention of any eyewitnesses, although two have spoken out supporting GZ’s story, or the audio of him agreeing not to follow Martin but to meet the officers at the mailboxes.
Dershowitz said she’s duty-bound to include any facts or evidence favorable to Zimmerman. He also said if she did her job fairly, the preliminary hearing would show insufficient evidence to support a charge of second degree murder.
I just want a fair process, but thus far it’s not looking good.
Yes. The charge allows the judicial process to move forward. A jury will determine whether Mr. Zimmerman acted in self-defense. (32%, 243 Votes)
No. The special prosecutor didnt cite any new evidence to justify sidestepping state law. This is a response to political pressure. (68%, 517 Votes)
Total Voters: 761