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Why Trayvonís killer should be acquitted
suntimes.com ^ | 24 April, 2012 | Jacob Sullum

Posted on 04/25/2012 7:31:39 AM PDT by marktwain

Critics of Florida’s 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 Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin as a weapon to attack Florida’s 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 Zimmerman’s 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 Zimmerman’s account, then, he had no opportunity to retreat.

Florida’s law also has been blamed for delaying Zimmerman’s 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 Florida’s 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 wasn’t acting in self-defense — which, as Northern Kentucky University law professor Michael J.Z. Mannheimer pointed out, would be true “in virtually every state.”

Zimmerman’s 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 Florida’s 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 law’s 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 Florida’s 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 state’s violent crime rate has been cut nearly in half.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist; constitution; martin; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
I think we see the real reason that the leftists oppose the "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws. The crime rate has been cut in half.
1 posted on 04/25/2012 7:31:41 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

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.


2 posted on 04/25/2012 7:34:59 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: marktwain

Bookmark.


3 posted on 04/25/2012 7:36:39 AM PDT by SunTzuWu
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To: marktwain

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.


4 posted on 04/25/2012 7:39:33 AM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: marktwain
"One unusual aspect of Florida’s 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."

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.

5 posted on 04/25/2012 7:39:37 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: marktwain; E. Pluribus Unum

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.


6 posted on 04/25/2012 7:39:45 AM PDT by samtheman ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ-4gnNz0vc)
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To: marktwain
Since 1987, when Florida adopted a nondiscretionary carry permit law ... the state’s violent crime rate has been cut nearly in half.

Repeat and repeat and repeat.

7 posted on 04/25/2012 7:41:26 AM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: marktwain

Finally an MSM piece that recognizes that SYG is *probably* not going to be the defense. Self-defense is.


8 posted on 04/25/2012 7:44:55 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: circlecity; All
It is going to be very, very difficult to convict this guy.

Which is why he was not arrested originally.

9 posted on 04/25/2012 7:45:04 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: Former Proud Canadian
Since 1987, when Florida adopted a nondiscretionary carry permit law ... the state’s violent crime rate has been cut nearly in half.

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."

10 posted on 04/25/2012 7:46:19 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: marktwain

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.


11 posted on 04/25/2012 7:51:04 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: expat1000

Don’t rule out SYG. He’ll need it to ward off future prosecutions. The SYG immunity clause is very important.


12 posted on 04/25/2012 7:52:52 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: marktwain

“which eliminated the duty to retreat from an assailant”

I don’t remember swearing an oath to retreat. Ever.


13 posted on 04/25/2012 7:55:25 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

As I said on another thread, they can’t take our guns. But they’re trying to make us afraid to use them.


14 posted on 04/25/2012 7:58:39 AM PDT by Terry Mross ("It happened. And we let it happen." Peter Griffin - FAMILY GUY)
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To: marktwain
It is going to be very, very difficult to convict this guy.

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.

15 posted on 04/25/2012 8:00:23 AM PDT by luvbach1 (Stop the destruction in 2012 or continue the decline)
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To: circlecity

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.


16 posted on 04/25/2012 8:00:45 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: ctdonath2

“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.


17 posted on 04/25/2012 8:07:28 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: marktwain
Contrary to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg....

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.

18 posted on 04/25/2012 8:08:29 AM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (From the dough tree we get donuts.)
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To: Sherman Logan

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.


19 posted on 04/25/2012 8:13:09 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: ctdonath2

>>Don’t rule out SYG. He’ll 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.


20 posted on 04/25/2012 8:13:14 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: marktwain
Florida Statues 782.04 section 2

The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. (3) When a person is killed in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any:(removed for brevity ... drugs, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, escape ...)

by a person other than the person engaged in the perpetration of or in the attempt to perpetrate such felony, the person perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate such felony is guilty of murder in the second degree, which constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Source

Based upon the information made available, they will have to prove that Zimmerman was of a 'depraved mind' when he killed Trayvon. This is nearly impossible to prove, expecially when the evidence shows Trayvon pounding Zimmermans head against the sidewalk at that point in time.

21 posted on 04/25/2012 8:15:58 AM PDT by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: marktwain

Zimmerman shouldn’t even go to trial.

He shouldn’t have been charged.


22 posted on 04/25/2012 8:17:36 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: marktwain

George was under no obligation to get beat to death!

THAT is why he should be aquitted!


23 posted on 04/25/2012 8:20:23 AM PDT by G Larry (Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding)
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To: ctdonath2
"Duty to retreat" was invented because of the many violent situations where two guys get into a shouting, then pushing match which escalates, and somebody winds up dead. IMO the survivor of such a confrontation should not be allowed to walk just because he managed to kill the other guy.

Take dueling, for instance. The other guy was trying to kill him, so should the survivor be entitled to claim self-defense? Of course not. In a duel both participants are guilty of attempted murder. One can't be prosecuted because he's dead. The other should be prosecuted for murder.

IOW in a great many violent episodes neither party is innocent. Someone who should have been charged with assault or aggravated assault had his opponent survived shouldn't be able to just walk away because he succeeds in killing him.

I'm not claiming this applies here, only that it is often the case.

24 posted on 04/25/2012 8:20:43 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I think Holder and the Dims want guns banned is because it is hard to impose the government’s will on an armed citizenry. It is much easier to overtake an unarmed nation.


25 posted on 04/25/2012 8:26:32 AM PDT by Heartland Mom ("Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." - Ronald Reagan)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
"Zimmerman shouldn’t even go to trial. He shouldn’t have been charged."

I agree. The police were correct the first time. And the prosecutor's bypassing a grand jury, when there is so much evidence in support of Zimmerman, was just wrong.

26 posted on 04/25/2012 8:58:04 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: ctdonath2

That’s why the SYG law was passed. Overzealous prosecutors went after people, wondering why they didn’t retreat across 20ft of open ground to go around a corner.
They did strain logic going after easy self defense cases.


27 posted on 04/25/2012 9:01:05 AM PDT by LevinFan
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To: marktwain

From the article: “The law’s 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.”

Which possibly means that an average of 23 people per year were unjustly prosecuted during the years 2000-2004 for successfully defending themselves. Alternatively, they were afraid to use their guns to defend themselves from an assault in the absence of a Stand Your Ground law and now they’re just dead.


28 posted on 04/25/2012 9:06:08 AM PDT by Norseman (Defund the Left-Completely!)
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To: marktwain
"... . The law’s 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... [you] would expect to see an increase in homicides deemed to be justified even if the law were working as intended."

Many years ago in debates with fellow gun rights advocates, the subject of broadening personal security through concealed carry of firearms was a hot issue. The thinking went along the lines of "We'll expect an initial increase in justifiable homicides, but overall the crime rate will decrease once criminals know that their game is riskier because they'll start being countered by citizens exercising CCW with the law on their side."

I used to say "I agree, but the gun grabbers will make a point to showcase some high profile justifiable homicide cases and cause them to be the flavor of the month. They're not going to sit still and let a bunch of street hoodlums get shot to death without making us out to be the bad guy. Anyone who shoots and kills a bad guy out on the street is going to be left completely on their own against the liberal media."

These discussions go back over 20 years when CCW was not sweeping the land and the thought of it becoming a national movement seemed an unlikely prospect we gun right libertarians were merely fantasizing about.

Well, we're finally here -- thank God -- and Zimmerman is our own not so clean-cut case that we needed to warn ourselves against. His lawyer better win this case. America with it's thug-embracing modern culture needs to get served notice that people can suffer immediate and irreversible repercussions if they don't behave themselves civilly.

CCW is not just some government license to deploy, it's intended to be used in practice. We never intended hidden guns to be a mere warning, they're a 'No Apologies' option for decent people intent on protection and defense.

29 posted on 04/25/2012 9:08:16 AM PDT by The KG9 Kid (Semper Fi)
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To: marktwain
This was an act of self defense pure and simple.

The gun did it's job, it protected someone from being killed, and that is what the Left hates.

30 posted on 04/25/2012 9:25:18 AM PDT by fortheDeclaration (How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!-Sam Adams)
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To: marktwain

I am still the ONLY person who will be making the decision as to whether I am in danger or not.

NO ONE else lives here—I live rural—Sheriff wouldn’t be here in less than 10 minutes—etc.

Decisions about my own safety are now & always have been in my own purview since I was about 10.

I surely don’t expect to ask someone else’s opinion as to whether I should, could, would, or ought to protect myself, up to & including killing an attacker or a person who is menacing me.

It seems we have bred the survival gene out of the last 3 generations.

I feel pretty sure I still have such genes & they will trigger a strong response when I need one.

I AIN’T ASKING PERMISSION OF THIS AUTHOR!!!


31 posted on 04/25/2012 9:58:13 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: DannyTN
>"Zimmerman shouldn’t even go to trial. He shouldn’t have been charged."

I agree. The police were correct the first time. And the prosecutor's bypassing a grand jury, when there is so much evidence in support of Zimmerman, was just wrong.

If that's the case, then Zimmerman has a 18USC241 and/or 18USC242 criminal case against the prosecutors and/or the state; and additionally may sue them directly civilly with 42USC1983; simply because of the 5th amendment: US Constitution, Amendment 5:
   No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury [...]

32 posted on 04/25/2012 10:06:12 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: marktwain

WOW! This article comes from the CHICAGO Sun Times. Reason is even beginning to penetrate the darkest fever swamps of the left.


33 posted on 04/25/2012 10:07:05 AM PDT by libstripper
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To: The KG9 Kid
The KG9 Kid said: "Zimmerman is our own not so clean-cut case ..."

Actually, if you discount the fabricated "evidence" created by the media, there is no reason to believe that this is not a "clean-cut" case.

If Zimmerman hadn't been armed, we wouldn't be discussing this case. If Zimmerman hadn't taken an interest in preventing burglaries of his neighbor's homes, we wouldn't be talking about this.

I find it absolutely hilarious that the libs are attacking a "white hispanic". I know I wouldn't be voting for the libs in November if I were an hispanic. I expect some of them to figure out that the libs only use minority groups to get what they want; they don't really care about minority groups.

34 posted on 04/25/2012 2:04:13 PM PDT by William Tell
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To: Steely Tom
This is a big problem for the left. They want unlimited predation of the "ruling class" (that is, people with jobs) by the "oppressed."

I'm going to respectfully disagree on the details. The ruling class wants unlimited predation of the middle class. They want the middle class to be totally dependent on them for their safety.

35 posted on 04/25/2012 2:11:43 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Sherman Logan
“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.

If it was so safe to retreat in the era of hand-wielded blade weapons, why are there so many instances in ancient history of defeated armies being utterly slaughtered in their attempt to retreat?

36 posted on 04/25/2012 8:00:26 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which ¬ďliberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: marktwain
The title should read:

"Why Trayvon's Intended Victim Should be Acquitted"

37 posted on 04/26/2012 1:16:34 AM PDT by Minutemen ("It's a Religion of Peace")
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To: Minutemen

Ditto.


38 posted on 04/26/2012 1:17:36 AM PDT by PA Engineer (Time to beat the swords of government tyranny into the plowshares of freedom.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Retreating is very different from running away.

A successful retreat is, they say, the most difficult of all military maneuvers to pull off, because human nature is to keep retreating faster, which leads to panic, breaking of the formation and slaughter.


39 posted on 04/26/2012 5:24:46 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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