Skip to comments.Why Trayvonís killer should be acquitted
Posted on 04/25/2012 7:31:39 AM PDT by marktwain
Critics of Floridas self-defense law object to its recognition of a right to stand your ground in public places, which eliminated the duty to retreat from an assailant. Yet many of these critics seem to believe they have a duty to stand their ground and never retreat, using George Zimmermans shooting of Trayvon Martin as a weapon to attack Floridas law, no matter what the evidence shows.
The emphasis on the right to stand your ground is puzzling in the context of the Martin case, since Zimmermans defense does not seem to rely on it. The 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, who was released on bail this week after being charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford, told police the unarmed teenager knocked him down with a punch to the face and pinned him to the ground, repeatedly smacking his head against the pavement. By Zimmermans account, then, he had no opportunity to retreat.
Floridas law also has been blamed for delaying Zimmermans arrest, and it did require that police have probable cause to believe the shooting was unlawful. But this is the same standard that applies to arrests for all other crimes.
One unusual aspect of Floridas law that will be apparent in this case is that Zimmerman has a right to a pretrial hearing at which he can try to convince Judge Kenneth Lester, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he acted in self-defense. If he can meet that standard of proof, which requires showing it is more likely than not that his use of force was appropriate, the charge against him will be dismissed. But even if he went to trial, he would be (or at least should be) acquitted with that much evidence in his favor, since the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasnt acting in self-defense which, as Northern Kentucky University law professor Michael J.Z. Mannheimer pointed out, would be true in virtually every state.
Zimmermans defense is that he was attacked and reasonably believe[d] shooting Martin was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. Contrary to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is leading a national campaign against Florida-style self-defense laws, that does not mean people make their own decisions as to whether someone is threatening or not and therefore have a license to murder. The threat assessment has to be reasonable.
Even if the Trayvon Martin case does not really illustrate the shortcomings of Floridas law, it is possible that eliminating the duty to retreat in public places, combined with reinforcing the castle doctrine (which applies to home invasions) and extending it to vehicles, has encouraged avoidable escalations of violence. The laws opponents note that the annual number of justifiable homicides in Florida (excluding police shootings) nearly tripled after the law was passed in 2005, from an average of 12 from 2000 to 2004 to an average of 35 from 2006 to 2010.
Still, you would expect to see an increase in homicides deemed to be justified even if the law were working as intended. The crucial question, which the task force appointed last week by Gov. Rick Scott presumably will ask, is whether these homicides should be deemed justified.
It is worth noting that Floridas violent crime rate, which fell 12 percent in the five years before the stand your ground law was enacted, fell 23 percent in the five years afterward. Since 1987, when Florida adopted a nondiscretionary carry permit law that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence blames for year after year of carnage, the states violent crime rate has been cut nearly in half.
Eric Holder and his people want guns outlawed because they consider violent crime to be a legitimate career path, and armed victims to be an OSHA violation.
The guy who pulled the trigger did not kill the punk, those that created the punk society did. If it would have been Zimmerman with any other racial group, a death would not have occurred.
This is a big plus in that the prosecution will have to bring out every shred of evidence it has at this early hearing in an attempt to rebut the assertion of self-defense. If it has nothing, Zim will walk. If it has something then the defense gets an early opportunity to cross examine the state witnesses and "lock them in" with regard to any later testimony at trial. It is going to be very, very difficult to convict this guy.
In Great Britain, the people who commit robberies, burglaries, assaults and murders are not considered criminals. The only real criminals are any citizens who dare try to defend themselves or (gasp!) their property.
That’s what the leftists want here.
Repeat and repeat and repeat.
Finally an MSM piece that recognizes that SYG is *probably* not going to be the defense. Self-defense is.
Which is why he was not arrested originally.
This is a big problem for the left. They want unlimited predation of the "ruling class" (that is, people with jobs) by the "oppressed." They see this as "taking class struggle to the next level."
Most people blathering about either side of the “stand your ground” vs “duty to retreat” issue fail to see there is no contradiction: if retreat is possible*, shooting isn’t justified; if shooting is justified*, retreat isn’t an option. The “stand your ground” law just codifies this, enforcing the notion of “innocent until proven guilty”.
* - ignoring small odds and strained logic.
Don’t rule out SYG. He’ll need it to ward off future prosecutions. The SYG immunity clause is very important.
“which eliminated the duty to retreat from an assailant”
I don’t remember swearing an oath to retreat. Ever.
As I said on another thread, they can’t take our guns. But they’re trying to make us afraid to use them.
IMO, unless he agrees to a plea bargain reducing 2nd degree murder to manslaughter, he won't be found guilty of anything. That's why his lawyer will advise him not to cop a plea.
As Dershowitz has already harped on, prosecution was already required to bring out all objective evidence (regardless of which side it benefits). There isn’t any. Short of late-breaking discoveries, introducing anything now that was withheld then will go very badly for the prosecution.
“Duty to retreat” goes way back in common law. To a time when almost all weapons were edged and wielded by hand.
Obviously retreating is a lot more feasible than in an era of repeating firearms.
Let me correct that: Despot. Not Mayor, Despot. He's a Despot in the purest sense, in every sense of the word. Come live here in New York city like I do if you want to get an idea what it's like to live under a totalitarian state. That's what the people get when they vote for a liberal posing as a Republican.
Good point. Made sense when a couple steps back was enough.
Still, the notion doesn’t apply when the one charged was on the ground with a bashed nose, cracked skull, and under the not-inconsiderable weight of an attacker. If stepping back isn’t an option, stand (lie?) your ground is. Z had no means of retreat at that point, so duty thereto doesn’t apply.
>>Dont rule out SYG. Hell need it to ward off future prosecutions.
I don’t know what you mean unless you are talking about civil suits but I would imagine both GW and his legal team are focused on getting him off murder 2 at the moment.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.