Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-79 next last

1 posted on 04/15/2012 1:01:45 PM PDT by ironman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ironman

The jury will take to the streets.


2 posted on 04/15/2012 1:03:58 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ironman

Not only that, but I read in another article that he cannot be sued!


3 posted on 04/15/2012 1:04:26 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ironman

If he gets released on the “Stand your Ground” law, then expect Eric Holder to charge him with a Civil Rights violation.


4 posted on 04/15/2012 1:04:53 PM PDT by P-Marlowe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ironman
1) he was not otherwise engaged in unlawful activity; HE WAS NOT.

2) he was at a place where he had a right to be; HE WAS.

3) he was attacked; HE WAS

4) he reasonably feared he would lose his life or suffer great bodily injury; I'M SURE HE DID.

"Stand your ground" or "self defense", this will not go to trial.

5 posted on 04/15/2012 1:05:58 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ironman

What are the odds that the justice system will work as it was intended to, throughout the rest of the process? It seems that pressure from the mob caused the Special Prosecutor to lay charges, without a reasonable expectation of conviction. Why should anyone trust the first judge in the case to do the right thing; rather than the expedient thing?


6 posted on 04/15/2012 1:10:26 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SkyDancer

Cars will burn. People will die.


7 posted on 04/15/2012 1:10:26 PM PDT by GnL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: ironman
Even if the charges are not dismissed, Zimmerman can avoid a jury by simply demanding what is known as a "bench trial" (a trial before a judge instead of a jury) on the charges. Federal and state laws do not require all trials to be heard by juries; they just give any criminal defendant the right to a jury trial.

This may be one of the rare cases where a bench trial might give the defendant a better chance of winning an outright acquittal than a jury trial.

8 posted on 04/15/2012 1:10:35 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: P-Marlowe

You’re talking about a new ex post facto law i.e. defending oneself while white (DOWW). That could start CW-II on the spot.


9 posted on 04/15/2012 1:10:35 PM PDT by varmintman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: 2nd amendment mama

Ping!


10 posted on 04/15/2012 1:10:57 PM PDT by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ironman
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.

11 posted on 04/15/2012 1:13:11 PM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Former Proud Canadian
"Stand your ground" or "self defense", this will not go to trial.

Yes it will, no judge wants his home picketed by Al Sharpton.

12 posted on 04/15/2012 1:13:23 PM PDT by jtal (Runnin' a World in Need with White Folks' Greed - since 1492)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
He can certainly be sued. Anyone can be sued by anybody else.

What is likely to happen, however, is that his defense in a civil suit would involve a cross-claim against the homeowners' association for indemnification. Basically, this means that if he was acting in some kind of official capacity for the association as a volunteer, the association may be obligated to pay not only any judgement against him, but also the cost of defending him in civil court.

This would all depend on one or more of three important considerations: (1) Florida law as it relates to not-for-profit corporations; (2) the bylaws of the homeowners' association; and (3) the ultimate disposition of the criminal charges against Zimmerman. Item (3) is critical because the association would probably have no legal obligation to indemnify Zimmerman if he is convicted of a crime.

13 posted on 04/15/2012 1:15:51 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ironman

I have read about this “stand your ground” immunity other places as well.

The question is: who has the responsibility of proof to establish immunity?

Is it up to Zimmerman to prove? If so, does that mean he must testify at the immunity hearing — and if he does testity, but fails to establish immunity, can his testimony then be used against him?

Or, does his attorney merely need to *claim* immunity and then it’s up to the prosecution to prove he does not meet the requirements?


14 posted on 04/15/2012 1:16:22 PM PDT by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Former Proud Canadian
3) he was attacked; HE WAS

That's a triable fact. That, in fact, is the purpose of a jury.

15 posted on 04/15/2012 1:18:19 PM PDT by Jim Noble ("The Germans: At your feet, or at your throat" - Winston Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child

I think the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law specifically prohibits someone who is innocent under that law from being sued by other “involved” parties (say, Martin’s parents for example).


16 posted on 04/15/2012 1:19:15 PM PDT by Sigurdrifta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child

“But in another aspect peculiar to Florida, if the appeals court sides with Zimmerman, not only will he be forever immune from facing criminal charges for shooting the 17-year-old Martin - even if new evidence or witnesses surface - he could not even be sued for civil damages by Martin’s family for wrongfully causing his death....”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2872174/posts


17 posted on 04/15/2012 1:22:56 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Ich habe keinen Konig aber Gott)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Former Proud Canadian

“he was not otherwise engaged in unlawful activity; HE WAS NOT.

2) he was at a place where he had a right to be; HE WAS.

3) he was attacked; HE WAS

4) he reasonably feared he would lose his life or suffer great bodily injury; I’M SURE HE DID.

“Stand your ground” or “self defense”, this will not go to trial. “

Let us hope outside threats don’t sway the judge.


18 posted on 04/15/2012 1:23:14 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Former Proud Canadian
1) he was not otherwise engaged in unlawful activity; HE WAS NOT.

This is an assertion, not a fact. IF he assaulted Trayvon when they came face to face, that was unlawful assault and possibly aggravated assault and his self-defense claim is no longer valid.

2) he was at a place where he had a right to be; HE WAS.

True.

3) he was attacked; HE WAS

This is again an assertion, not a fact. We don't know who attacked whom. It seems likely he was losing the fight when he fired. This does not prove he didn't start the fight.

However, since the prosecution must disprove his story, it seems unlikely they'll be able to do so. Political issues are obviously much more important than the facts of the case.

We DO NOT KNOW what happened in those seconds between Trayvon getting off the phone with his sweetie and the eyewitnesses looking out the window because of the screaming outside. From a legal standpoint what happened in those seconds is the only real issue. Unfortunately, the only evidence for what happened is Z's story.

19 posted on 04/15/2012 1:27:28 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Former Proud Canadian
"Stand your ground" or "self defense", this will not go to trial.

Assuming he has an honest judge. I hope so, but don't count on it.

20 posted on 04/15/2012 1:28:54 PM PDT by Hugin ("Most time a man'll tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear"--Open Range)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Traveler59
Am I mistaken but I thought there was an eye-witness to Martin pounding Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk.

There is purportedly such a witness. However, this story is for the last seconds of the fight, not its start. We do not KNOW Martin wasn't doing what he did in self-defense.

After all, if it's legal to shoot someone is self-defense, it is surely legal to pound his head on the concrete, something which while damaging is a whole lot less likely to be lethal.

21 posted on 04/15/2012 1:31:37 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: GnL

All because the way the media reported it. Even here the BBC showed Martin as a 12yo kid, not the way he looked today. Any death or destruction must be laid at the door of the media.


22 posted on 04/15/2012 1:32:58 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child

In most states, the Prosecution has a right to request a jury, same as a defendant. They would have to agree to a bench trial. Not sure about Florida, but likely the same there.


23 posted on 04/15/2012 1:33:43 PM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child

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?


24 posted on 04/15/2012 1:35:39 PM PDT by anonsquared
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Jim Noble
That's a triable fact.

That's true; however, as I understand it, he only needs to establish it by a preponderance of the evidence before a judge in a pretrial hearing. No jury involved in that hearing.

25 posted on 04/15/2012 1:36:43 PM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: ironman

The US insurance companies will inform the Sec of Treasury that if rioting happens they will not have the money to pay out the ensuing property damages and go under because the current assets are being used to cover bad derivative bets, and at the same time Wall Street banks have deals with these large insurance companies and will implode with the insurance companies. The Fed Reserve cannot print and the US Treasury has no money. Answer to problem is simple, the powerful bankers and Sec of Treasury/Fed Reserve will call in the Gov of FL and his key guys and establish the need to avoid rioting at all costs. The Gov and his key guys will read the riot act to the judge in charge of the case, convict Zimmerman to avoid economic implosion. Don’t think this is possible. Read the judicial shenanigans that happen when several black kids were tried for near death beating of white truck driver shortly after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Black community basically told LA if these kids are convicted of murder, more riots and more expensive property will go up in flames. Insurance companies in CA were hurting from the losses in the first riots were behind the scenes pressuring LA city gov to go easy. Today the pressure will be greater because it will involve US and international financial order.


26 posted on 04/15/2012 1:40:06 PM PDT by Fee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Defiant

I wasn’t aware of that. I’m not sure why the prosecution would insist on a jury trial in any case. In NYC a while back a group of police officers who were charged with murder after shooting an unarmed civilian opted for a bench trial and were acquitted of all charges. Why wouldn’t the prosecution have insisted on a jury trial in a case like that?


27 posted on 04/15/2012 1:43:11 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child

Nope. SYG and Castle Doctrine both protect you from civil litigation.


28 posted on 04/15/2012 1:46:39 PM PDT by spacejunkie2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: anonsquared

The counter-suit would have to include a claim for damages that can be supported and documented. And then they’d have to figure out how much that trademark is worth. I suspect it’s probably not very much.


29 posted on 04/15/2012 1:47:10 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
I read that, too. And really...I'm sure Zimmerman has a million bucks in the bank, right??

They'll sue the condo community?? There's really no one to sue.

30 posted on 04/15/2012 1:48:41 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: spacejunkie2001
First he'd have to make the case that either one of those legal principles applies. That may not be determined until after a lawsuit is filed.
31 posted on 04/15/2012 1:49:37 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: GnL

There you go...my expectation is Zimmerman will pay the price of a show trial to appease the demand for retribution, then sit in jail til an appeal restores justice.


32 posted on 04/15/2012 1:49:53 PM PDT by bigbob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child
He can certainly be sued. Anyone can be sued by anybody else.
Au contraire. The SYG law in Florida provides for IMMUNITY from arrest, prosecution or CIVIL LIABILITY. If self-defense grounds are established - dismissal of all charges is ordered.

By extension, the Homeowner's Association arguably stands in Zimmerman's shoes in that if his actions were legal then they're equally immune from liability. ;-)

33 posted on 04/15/2012 1:51:27 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan
On the tape where Zimmerman is talking to the police dispatcher, he reports that the person wearing the hoodie is staring at him. From that point until the confrontation, several minutes elapsed--more than enough time for Martin to go to his father's home if he felt threatened.

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 the confrontation began the way Zimmerman says it did, it is hard to see how Martin's actions constitute self-defense. Maybe it was self-defense in a wider sense of defending young black men from being "profiled"?

The prosecutor is relying heavily on the testimony from the girlfriend who was talking to Martin on the phone. Maybe the judge can instruct the jury to treat that testimony as reliable and treat the testimony from Zimmerman as unreliable.

34 posted on 04/15/2012 1:56:59 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: GnL
Cars will burn. People will die.

$200 Nike shoes and big screen televisions will fly off the shelves.
35 posted on 04/15/2012 1:57:28 PM PDT by crosshairs (As long as there is evil, "Coexist" is impossible.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: bigbob
It may be like the (fictitious) plot of To Kill a Mockingbird: no matter how weak the case is against the defendant, the local jury finds him guilty, but the hope rests in an appeals court overturning the verdict. Maybe it will end the same way with the defendant "being shot while attempting to escape."
36 posted on 04/15/2012 2:00:17 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: ironman

Well it is because of the FL “stand your ground law”.


37 posted on 04/15/2012 2:03:07 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
Oops - I meant to include you in my reply to Alberta's Child ... I wish people without a clue would keep their opinions to themselves. ;-)
38 posted on 04/15/2012 2:03:32 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: P-Marlowe
If he gets released on the “Stand your Ground” law, then expect Eric Holder to charge him with a Civil Rights violation.

Holder probably has plans to arrest Zimmerman at the courthouse if the charges are dismissed.

39 posted on 04/15/2012 2:14:58 PM PDT by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: jtal
"Yes it will, no judge wants his home picketed by Al Sharpton."

Any judge who has the temerity to dismiss this case would undoubtedly have a bounty placed on his head by the NBPP and he knows it.

40 posted on 04/15/2012 2:16:59 PM PDT by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Verginius Rufus
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.

Those scenarios are possible. It is also possible Zimmerman physically attacked Martin, perhaps with a drawn gun and Martin was physically defending himself as best he could.

My point is that all any of us have at this point are various stories as reported by the press. Sort of the ultimate in hearsay as relayed by a biased person.

None of this, AFAIK, is sworn testimony and none has been subjected to cross-examination.So it is more than a little premature to go around saying WHAT HAPPENED. For anybody.

41 posted on 04/15/2012 2:17:41 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Tunehead54
There's a big difference between being sued and being held liable after all is said and done. There's nothing under the law -- including the "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" principles -- that prevents Martin's family from going down to the county courthouse tomorrow and filing a civil lawsuit against Zimmerman.

How the case ends up up being adjudicated is a whole different matter, and I'll venture to guess that it would be years before all of the motions and appeals work their way through the system. 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.

42 posted on 04/15/2012 2:19:06 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: GnL
Let Zimmerman off?

Oh, my...


43 posted on 04/15/2012 2:31:09 PM PDT by Gritty (Republics fall when the wise are banished because they dare to be honest - Justice Joseph Story)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: GnL
Cars will burn. People will die.

Hopefully, Florida's middle-class is well enough armed that most of the dying will be the rioters.

44 posted on 04/15/2012 2:36:09 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Alberta's Child
This may be one of the rare cases where a bench trial might give the defendant a better chance of winning an outright acquittal than a jury trial.

Never in a million years would I take that chance.

You would trust ONE man/woman to judge your fate with the kind of pressures they would be under?

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

45 posted on 04/15/2012 2:39:52 PM PDT by Las Vegas Ron (Rush Limbaugh = the Beethoven of talk radio - http://www.istandwithrush.org/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ironman
...if George Zimmerman can convince a judge that he acted justifiably

This guy is on LSD if he thinks there is a judge anywhere with the balls to be "convinced".
Not happening. This case is toxic; it's a hot potato that is going to be handed off to somebody else whenever possible.

46 posted on 04/15/2012 2:41:53 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sacajaweau

condo communities carry liability insurance. There is your deep pocket.


47 posted on 04/15/2012 2:46:50 PM PDT by freedomrings69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Lancey Howard
This case is toxic;

Yep, this is the ultimate perversion of a free Country.

This case under "free press" has been so polluted that the truth, no matter what it is, will never prevail.

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose...

48 posted on 04/15/2012 2:49:46 PM PDT by Las Vegas Ron (Rush Limbaugh = the Beethoven of talk radio - http://www.istandwithrush.org/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: ironman

I wish Jorge the best


49 posted on 04/15/2012 3:04:17 PM PDT by The Wizard (Madam President is my President now and in the future)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SkyDancer

Let them take to the streets. Maybe some of them will get some travyon-justice too.


50 posted on 04/15/2012 3:09:10 PM PDT by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell. Signed, a fanatic)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-79 next last

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.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson