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Why Trayvon Martin's Case May Not Go To A Jury
South Florida Criminal Lawyers Blog ^ | 13 April 2012 | Kevin Moot

Posted on 04/15/2012 1:01:36 PM PDT by ironman

Now that prosecutors have brought charges against George Zimmerman, you probably think that a jury is going to hear the facts and decide the case. Think again. Under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, if George Zimmerman can convince a judge that he acted justifiably, he is entitled to immunity from prosecution. That means no jury; no conviction; no jail. Think of it as a big "Get Out of Jail Free" card. It is worth repeating: Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law does not just provide an affirmative defense; it provides immunity. The distinction is extremely significant...

Thus, when looking at the elements that Zimmerman must establish to prove he acted justifiably, it seems reasonably certain that Zimmerman can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that: 1) he was not otherwise engaged in unlawful activity; 2) he was at a place where he had a right to be; 3) he was attacked; and 4) he reasonably feared he would lose his life or suffer great bodily injury. The State has never alleged--nor could they--that Zimmerman's following of Trayvon Martin was an unlawful activity; or that it placed Zimmerman at a location where Zimmerman had no right to be. Similarly, as already stated, the State does not seem to have an eye-witness to the initial physical confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. Therefore, it will be extremely difficult for the State to contradict Zimmerman's claim that Martin attacked him and bashed his head into the concrete, creating for Zimmerman a well-founded fear of great bodily injury.....

Make no mistake: George Zimmerman has a real chance of avoiding a jury. All he has to do is convince a judge, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he acted in justifiable self-defense.

(Excerpt) Read more at southfloridacriminallawyersblog.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bloggersandpersonal; martin; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
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To: ironman

If not if Florida, it will go to trial. In steps Holder, and Sharpton.


51 posted on 04/15/2012 3:12:54 PM PDT by takenoprisoner (Constitutional Conservatism is Americanism.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Which is what I understand from yet another article, that that was why Treyvon’s mom wanted an arrest. She didn’t want a conviction, she wanted an arrest so she could bring a civil law suit (big $). I also understand that she’s already filed for the trademark on the name Treyvon Martin so the proceeds from sales of merchandise bearing his name will go to her.


52 posted on 04/15/2012 3:15:29 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (culture, language, borders)
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To: GnL

People make their choices as to whether they should burn cars, riot, kill people. Each person is responsible for the decisions (s)he makes. I choose to follow the law of our land and not burn cars or kill people.


53 posted on 04/15/2012 3:31:24 PM PDT by winkadink (During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell)
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To: ironman

If he is released based on the SYGL, then the press will just launch a simple-minded attack on those laws.


54 posted on 04/15/2012 3:32:21 PM PDT by Fido969
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To: ironman
All he has to do is convince a judge, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he acted in justifiable self-defense.

At the hearing the prosecution will have to show way more than they have up till now and the local cops will probably be called in as witnesses (at least deposed) for the defense.

55 posted on 04/15/2012 3:46:04 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Romney just makes me tired all over.)
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To: Alberta's Child

The prosecution would insist on a jury because they know that they will have blacks on the jury no matter what and so their worst case scenario is a hung jury. Whereas with a judge, they risk an acquittal.


56 posted on 04/15/2012 3:59:28 PM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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To: DJ Taylor

sometimes, you have to make a stand. Too many people in the Country are intimidated by just an unruly mob.


57 posted on 04/15/2012 3:59:33 PM PDT by ClayinVA ("Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it")
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To: Mike Darancette

What concerns me the most is how much Zimmerman has been talking to the authorities with no attorney present. Any inconsistency, misstatement or exaggeration will be used to call his version of events in to question.

He could be totally forthright and cooperative, and still say something that puts him in serious legal jeopardy.


58 posted on 04/15/2012 4:07:01 PM PDT by M1911A1
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To: Las Vegas Ron

“At least the jury can remain anonymous.....IF, you could get a fair one.”

My question is, in light of Florida’s “Sunshine law”, which means the trial will be televised, how can the jury remain anonymous? Do the cameras not show the jury?


59 posted on 04/15/2012 4:24:14 PM PDT by mtrott
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To: M1911A1

“What concerns me the most is how much Zimmerman has been talking to the authorities with no attorney present”

It was not smart to give a statement the night of the incident with out attorney present. I have not been able to verify whether he had a legal advisor with him the next day when he reenacted what happened at the scene.


60 posted on 04/15/2012 4:37:37 PM PDT by ironman
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To: Mike Darancette

The prosecution will have to show cards at the Arthur hearing if they contest efforts to bond GZ out.


61 posted on 04/15/2012 4:39:31 PM PDT by ironman
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To: Sherman Logan

“Unfortunately, the only evidence for what happened is Z’s story. “

I’d say; “Fortunately, the only evidence for what happened is Z’s story.” Me. . .I’d take the word of Zimmerman over some disgusting, gold-teeth wearing, tatted-up (at 17?) misogynist, vile-speaking, burglar, thief, illegal drug using, supended-from-school-for-10-days (!!!) thug gansta wanna-be.

Others may choose otherwise.


62 posted on 04/15/2012 4:40:52 PM PDT by Hulka
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To: Sherman Logan

“it is surely legal to pound his head on the concrete, something which while damaging is a whole lot less likely to be lethal.”

Right. . .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc_SgpyJWRY

Yup. . .much less lethal. . .so much better.

Once you have your head bashed in we all know the thug will quietly walk away. After all, we can trust him not to kill you.

You may bet your life that the thug won’t kill you once you have scrambled brains with permanent brain damage. . . I’d rather not.


63 posted on 04/15/2012 4:46:40 PM PDT by Hulka
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To: mtrott
My question is, in light of Florida’s “Sunshine law”, which means the trial will be televised, how can the jury remain anonymous? Do the cameras not show the jury?

I don't know, in a case like this I would assume there would be jury anonymity...but you know what they say about assuming...

64 posted on 04/15/2012 4:48:23 PM PDT by Las Vegas Ron (Rush Limbaugh = the Beethoven of talk radio - http://www.istandwithrush.org/)
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To: ironman

“What concerns me the most is how much Zimmerman has been talking to the authorities with no attorney present”

It was not smart to give a statement the night of the incident with out attorney present. I have not been able to verify whether he had a legal advisor with him the next day when he reenacted what happened at the scene.


No, it was not smart to speak to the police without counsel. However, if his extemporaneously given statement and physical condition are not contradicted by any credible evidence, I think the fact that he could not yet have been coached actually lends more credibility to his account. We all know that, often, in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, for example, a person who caused the accident will say something very truthfully such as, “I’m really sorry, I didn’t see you”, or something to that effect, only later to change up their story a bit after speaking with friends or legal counsel.


65 posted on 04/15/2012 4:58:40 PM PDT by mtrott
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To: anonsquared
If the parents sue him, can he counter-sue and end up owning the rights to Trayvon Martin’s name since his mom has that trademark as an asset?

Zimmerman selling "Trayvon was hunted down and murdered like a dog" T-Shirts for profit? That's funny right there.

66 posted on 04/15/2012 5:02:23 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (I tweet, too... @Onelifetogive)
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To: crosshairs
$200 Nike shoes and big screen televisions will fly off the shelves.

I remember Rush a few days after the Kind riots. (from memory)

"And I'd to welcome all the new listeners tuning in on their brand new radios!"

67 posted on 04/15/2012 5:11:57 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Verginius Rufus
According to Zimmerman's account, the confrontation began when Martin came up to him. If it was lawful for Martin to bash Zimmerman's head against the concrete sidewalk, it was either because he was offended by seeing Zimmerman watching him (several minutes earlier) or he was offended by something Zimmerman said in their conversation.

If Martin has a reasonable belief that Zimmerman is threatening him, and attempting to draw a firearm while going so, then it is indeed lawful for Martin to bash Zimmerman's head against the concrete sidewalk.

68 posted on 04/15/2012 5:15:10 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel - Horace Walpole)
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To: Oztrich Boy
One detail that I don't think has come out yet is how far apart the two were when Martin first noticed Zimmerman.

It does appear from a map that has been posted on FR, that Martin could easily have gotten to the safety of his father's home after he noticed Zimmerman. He told his girlfriend that he wouldn't run--would he say that if he thought his life was threatened? Anyway he has no reason to suspect that Zimmerman has a gun at this point.

If, from what we have heard of the case so far, Martin had a lawful basis for bashing Zimmerman's head on the sidewalk, then Zimmerman has totally misrepresented what happened...or the rules for lawful self-defense are much different in Australia than they are in the US.

69 posted on 04/15/2012 5:45:36 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Hulka

Maybe Martin was trying to get Zimmerman’s gun. I would love to see the crime scene report.


70 posted on 04/15/2012 5:47:05 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Romney just makes me tired all over.)
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To: Traveler59; Sherman Logan
Similarly, as already stated, the State does not seem to have an eye-witness to the initial physical confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin.
Am I mistaken but I thought there was an eye-witness to Martin pounding Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk.
. . . but what exactly precipitated that? Martin stalking and surprising Zimmerman with an attack? Or Zimmerman drawing his weapon? If there were witnesses to the first contact between the two, Zimmerman would have to be concerned that his own testimony might be disputed. But absent a witness who claims to have seen it, it’s Zimmerman’s word vs. the prosecutors’ - and the prosecutor wasn’t there at the time of the confrontation.
One thing if Zimmerman tells various conflicting stories which don’t all match up with other testimony/evidence. But if Zimmerman tells a single story and it matches up with what is known of the case from other sources, what basis would the judge have for rejecting his testimony? Inconvenience?

71 posted on 04/15/2012 5:49:51 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: Hulka

I am speaking statistically. Fights with no weapon involved are much less lethal, statistically, than fights where a knife is present, which are less lethal than fights with a gun involved.

Why do people do concealed carry? Because a gun is more lethal than not having a gun. This doesn’t mean one cannot kill someone with his bare hands, it’s just that for most people it’s quite difficult to accomplish.


72 posted on 04/15/2012 6:56:18 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

I quite agree that it will be difficult for the prosecution to prove something happened other than Zimmerman’s story, since there probably is no other witness for the start of the fight, the relevant issue.

They will have to not only cast doubt on his story, but will have to come up with some alternate scenario with Z as the aggressor, and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Which I don’t think they can do.


73 posted on 04/15/2012 6:58:54 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: ironman

I think I’ve just figured out the ideal scenario for Obama.

The judge rules the case to be justifiable homicide under Florida law and dismisses all state charges.

The feds then arrest him and charge him for violating Trayvon’s civil rights. This allows Obama to pose as the savior of blacks against the evil white vigilante state justice system.

It also allows the Obama administration to control the pace of the trial for political timing purposes. Releasing “new evidence” at critical points, etc.


74 posted on 04/15/2012 7:03:33 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Alberta's Child
It's also unlikely that any civil trial would proceed (or even a lawsuit filed in the first place) until the criminal proceedings are done
Exactly right. A conviction (even if reduced in a plea to perhaps brandishing a weapon) is the go ahead for a civil suit.

That's why the immunity provision is so important. If you were in the right, defending yourself or another you don't have to go to court much less lose your house and savings to a criminal or his family. ;-)

75 posted on 04/15/2012 8:02:07 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
When Zimmerman first talked to the police, he couldn't know how many witnesses there were--I think he had seen one (who had run inside to call 911). If he lied, there could be a person watching from a window who could disprove what he said.

The police may have already known him from earlier times when he had reported suspicious activity and had a sense of whether he was telling the truth.

76 posted on 04/16/2012 6:47:17 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Mike Darancette

According to Zimmerman, the thug saw Zimmermans gun and was trying to grab it. . .some Freepers here are gun experts and explain the single shot and the empty casing still in the weapon (not ejected) because the thug had the gun slide in his grip.


77 posted on 04/16/2012 7:38:59 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Hulka
. . .some Freepers here are gun experts and explain the single shot and the empty casing still in the weapon (not ejected) because the thug had the gun slide in his grip.

If Martin's prints are on the slide ....

78 posted on 04/16/2012 1:07:24 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Romney just makes me tired all over.)
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To: Alberta's Child
If he is covered by the Stand Your Ground law and someone files civil suit against him, they are going to run up against this: (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
79 posted on 05/17/2012 7:26:10 PM PDT by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll eventually get what you deserve)
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