Friday Night Open Thread

I know a lot of people want to continue dissecting the facts (as opposed to law) in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case. I cleaned several comments from an earlier thread about today's hearing, after asking commenters to copy and save them for an open thread, or a new thread about the evidence in the case. My post today was about the court hearing.

If anyone wants to continue the discussion of Zimmerman, on any facet of the case, you can do so here.

Comments on other topics are also welcome.

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  • I did get to go see Bobby Horton (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:34:57 PM EST
    do a musical presentation to accompany the viewing of the works of some selected Alabama artists artwork last night in Dothan.  Here is a write up of the same event when he did it in Tuscaloosa.  It was the coolest thing I've attended since moving here.  Bobby Horton sang 'Strange Fruit' to the viewing of Thornton Dial's work 'Strange Fruit'.  Gave me bad bad goose bumps.  Bobby Horton is an amazing musician though and fearless as well as unvarnished in speaking of Alabama's history, and everything that is great and everything that is horrible.

    Hoodie Timeline (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:12:27 AM EST
    March 13: ABC News published a report stating:

    Zimmerman described Martin as suspicious because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking slowly in the rain, police later told residents at a town hall.

    March 16: Sanford police released tapes of 911 calls and Zimmerman's non-emergency police call. On his call Zimmerman mentioned Martin's hoodie only once, in a matter-of-fact description of Martin's clothing. He did not cite the hoodie as a reason for being suspicious of Martin.

    March 23: On this day were two major hoodie events, apparently independent of one another.

    A photo of thirteen members of the NBA team The Miami Heat, posed in hoodies, was posted on-line by one of the players.

    Geraldo Rivera, serving as a guest on Fox and Friends, notoriously declared 'I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was.' He went on to say 'I'll bet you money' that Trayvon Martin wouldn't have been shot had he not worn a hoodie. He didn't specify an amount, and cited no evidence stronger than his willingness to bet an undisclosed sum. Geraldo rounded off his Philippic against the hoodie with a concession. The hoodie is acceptable when 'it's raining'. No one pointed out that it was raining in Sanford the night Martin was shot.

    Comments on Hoodie Timeline, Pt. 1 (none / 0) (#26)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:37:37 AM EST
    The ABC News report of March 13 didn't say Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that the hoodie was among his reasons for being suspicious of Martin. It said someone speaking for the Sanford police told a 'town hall' that Zimmerman had said this to the police at some time.

    Later ABC News reports have attributed the claim to the Sanford police, without mentioning the town hall.

    AFAIK no one but ABC News has confirmed this. I've looked for other reports of the undated town hall, particularly in The Orlando Sentinel and The Miami Herald, without success.


    If there's anything (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by RickTaylor on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:00:55 PM EST
    this whole sad case has taught me, it's to be suspicious of any view I hear attributed to someone that's not backed up with a direct quote. And even direct quotes can lack context.

    Right (none / 0) (#169)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:54:59 PM EST
    I was making the same point earlier about ABC News substituting 'cornered' for whatever Dee Dee really said. That was a clue that whatever she did say wasn't serving their narrative well enough.  

    "Cornered", possible term for economy (3.00 / 2) (#206)
    by Mary2012 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:14:07 AM EST
    of words.  In this particular case of "cornered", ABC might've used the term for economy of words. IOW, it might be Zimmerman stood between Trayvon and Ms. Green's home, i.e., blocked his path.  Or he could've blocked Trayvon as he tried to proceed forward to go around Zimmerman -- either to the left or to the right -- and GZ would move in 'that' direction to block. (based on GZ not willing to let him get away.) Also, for Trayvon to instead turn around & go the way he'd just traveled, perhaps given GZ's pursuit of him -- that avenue too might've not seemed likely and/ or likely he would as readily make it back home type of thing.

    Simply put: he was "cornered". In this way, one can be -- for all intents & purposes, imo, "trapped" ("entrapped"?), "cornered" in an open area. I'm not saying 'this' is how it happened that night but just to give an example of how one could possibly be "cornered" despite being in an open/ fairly open space.

    Depending on the flow of the story and time constraints (I never saw the segment myself), it could be they used "cornered" in an effort to economize on words.  Maybe, too, it wasn't a key point in that particular news report which would make economizing in this instance more likely?  I don't know.  As I said, I didn't see it.    

    Do you know how Dee Dee actually described/ recounted this part of what happened?


    Matt Gutman/ABC News isn't a reliable source. (3.00 / 0) (#58)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:30:53 AM EST
    For anything. This is the clown who (http://abcnews.go.com/WN/trayvon-martin-case-exclusive-surveillance-video-george-zimmerman/story?id= 16022897) covered up the back of GZ's head with an ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE banner and declared "no abrasions or blood can be seen in the video" [of GZ's arrival at the police station], then when others pointed out that the abrasions COULD in fact be seen, admitted (without giving credit) that the wounds were visible, in -another- ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE (http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-case-doctor-sees-evidence-george-zimmerman/story?id=16055412 ) that WASN'T a mea culpa, but instead was titled "George Zimmerman Video Shows Little Evidence of a Broken Nose, Doctor Claims" (O'Mara said at the bail hearing he had medical records to the contrary), then, when the photos of Z's bleeding head surfaced (http://gma.yahoo.com/warning-graphic-photo-possible-evidence-shows-george-zimmermans-050145810--abc- news-topstories.html), minimized the damage as "small cuts" and declared "In police surveillance video obtained last month by ABC News Zimmerman's wounds are not apparent, and there were no bandages on his head", thus sending the prior ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE down the memory hole. So Gutman invented hoodie-ism too?

    Meme Motherlode (none / 0) (#144)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:55:37 PM EST
    That March 13 ABC report has several interesting claims that are known to be false or remain unsubstantiated. Some have become persistent memes, others are forgotten.

    The strangest is that Austin Brown saw both Zimmerman and Martin that night. I haven't seen that repeated elsewhere.

    The others, in the order they appear in the report:

    A dispatcher told him to wait for a police cruiser, and not leave his vehicle.

      * * *

    But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective pepppered Zimmerman with questions . . .

      * * *

    Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.

    The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

      * * *

    Lee publically admitted that officers accepted Zimmerman's word at the scene that he had no police record.

    The first was shown to be false by the release of the tapes, but it still circulates. The last one I haven't researched.

    The narcotics detective story got some play for a while, but I think it was dropped when the narrative of Chris Serino as the courageous dissident emerged. Serino himself debunked that for The Orlando Sentinel.

    The anonymous witness has not been heard from again, by ABC or anyone else, unless she can be identified with one of the known witnesses.

    At first I thought she might be Mary Cutcher or Selma Lamilla. After going over several of their interviews, I saw that neither of them were making that particular complaint.

    The witness who has appeared anonymously on CNN, on March 29 and April 6, might be the ABC witness. I think she is the caller on the longest 911 call, which lasts almost fifteen minutes.

    It's only in the second CNN interview that she said she believed Trayvon Martin was the screamer. In her 911 call she seemed to vaguely assume that the person calling for help must have been the one who wound up dead. In the second CNN interview she said that an investigator told her it was the screamer who survived.

    That doesn't exactly match the ABC report, but she might have been the source for it.


    Hoodie Timeline Correction (none / 0) (#29)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:15:40 AM EST
    Further research has uncovered a huge error. I thought the first Million Hoodie March came some time after the team photo and the Geraldo flap. Actually the first MHM was on March 21.

    Public statements associated with the team photo and the MHM seem mostly to express the idea of wearing the hoodie to honor Martin, because he wore one on the night of his death. The hoodie as contributing cause was rarely if ever mentioned, except for a few ABC reports, until the Geraldo flap.


    School Rules (1.00 / 0) (#27)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:41:22 AM EST
    What it takes to get a 10 day suspension:


    That same debunked rumor - AGAIN?!? (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:07:36 AM EST
    You've posted this same debunked story several times, now.  Once again, there is no basis for claiming that Martin assaulted a bus driver, beyond some winger website interpretation of a tweet that they believe came from Martin's brother, repeating a rumor.  The Miami Heral already reviewed the school police reports and there's nothing re: this fairy tale of an assault.

    Moreover, look at page 25 of your own link.:

    Possession or use of alcohol and/or controlled
    substances - Suspension from school from one to ten days.

    Maybe the story's been debunked... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:00:01 AM EST
    ...(I haven't looked into it, and you haven't provided links) but you're not convincing me. The tweet came from "Tray's big bruh" @NO_LIMIT_NIGGA and read "yu ain't tell me yu swung on a bus driver". So the rumor didn't come from the winger website, the interpretation is straightforward, and there's no reason to think it was a school bus driver, so why would mere examination of school police reports dispel it? And even if "big bruh" was responding to a rumor, it sheds light, perhaps, on Tray if his brother believed it. Not dispositive, but spare the whitewash.

    The debunked myth ... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:26:47 AM EST
    ... I was referring to was the claim made by the OP (several times) that Martin could not have been suspended for 10 days for possessing marijuana paraphernalia.  Her own link debunks this myth, as it notes that such possession is punishable by 1-10 days suspension.

    the rumors of this tweet and alleged assault are posted all over rightwing websites.  Yet, oddly enough, not a single news organization was able to confirm them.  In fact, the Miami Herald examined trayvon Martin's school records, specifically noting that the reason for the suspension was marijuana paraphernalia.

    The tweet came from "Tray's big bruh" @NO_LIMIT_NIGGA and read "yu ain't tell me yu swung on a bus driver". So the rumor didn't come from the winger website, the interpretation is straightforward, and there's no reason to think it was a school bus driver, so why would mere examination of school police reports dispel it? And even if "big bruh" was responding to a rumor, it sheds light, perhaps, on Tray if his brother believed it. Not dispositive, but spare the whitewash.

    Really?  And how is it that you know this was Martin's big brother? (hint - you don't)  You do realize that anyone can make up any screen name and post something on Twitter, right?  There's even a "no limit nigga" on twitter right now.  Of course, it appears to be a young woman.  I say "appears" because, as we all know, there's no way to know.

    As far as the school police reports, do you seriously think that - if Martin had done something like that - it wouldn't have been part of those records?

    Pfffttttt ...


    FERPA and school records (2.33 / 3) (#80)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:07:27 PM EST
    I do not understand how the police released school records to the media since that is a clear violation of federal law, FERPA. I suspect the media reports are incomplete and maybe inaccurate.  

    I think it a  myth that TM was scared by "some guy following him" since TM crossed paths with GZ prior to GZ parking and exiting his car at the clubhouse.  TM knew GZ was a resident of the so-called gated community. I am completely willing until evidence proves otherwise to believe that TM was more likely to feel dissed and pissed than scared. Being disrespected in black youth culture is an actionable offense.


    What?!? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    TM knew GZ was a resident of the so-called gated community

    How could you possibly know this?

    I am completely willing until evidence proves otherwise to believe that TM was more likely to feel dissed and pissed than scared. Being disrespected in black youth culture is an actionable offense.

    Let me guess, ...

    ... you're not black?


    Amazing, isn't it? (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:50:52 PM EST
    at what continues to be allowed on this topic. It seems that almost anything negative speculation about Zimmerman is either held to 100+% accuracy or deleted whereas you can wildly speculate Martin, even repeating the same dubious and irrelevant nonsense over and over again, and with nary a peep.

    Apologies for the typos (none / 0) (#91)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:20:20 PM EST
    KS that is not true (none / 0) (#124)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:13:40 PM EST
    Speculative character attacks on both have been deleted.

    Speculation derived from facts is allowed if relevant to the issues in the criminal case.



    Ok (none / 0) (#126)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:16:28 PM EST

    Not black (2.33 / 3) (#88)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:18:32 PM EST
    but have taken in black males friends of my son where the parents dropped the ball.

    and testified on behalf of two black males in expulsion hearings.

    most importantly, I have street creds in my hood.

    Identity politics never really help.


    "Street creds in your hood" aside, ... (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:13:10 PM EST
    It's always nice to learn that "Identity politics never really help", from someone who uses offensive, racial stereotyping (the angry, black male) to conclude that Trayvon Martin - someone you've never met and who has no history of violence - attacked Zimmerman because he felt "dissed".

    But good to hear you have some black "friends" ...

    BTW - You never did answer the question - What makes you claim that "TM knew GZ was a resident of the so-called gated community"?


    BTW - It's called a "leak" (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:38:51 PM EST
    ... like the many other leaks from police departments in this case.  Your opinion that it is "a clear violation of federal law" notwithstanding, FERPA doesn't protect the privacy rights of deceased students.

    thanks for the clarification (none / 0) (#148)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:19:21 PM EST
    I was not familiar with that provision.
    Were you familiar with FERPA prior to my query?

    I was n/t (none / 0) (#160)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:26:02 PM EST
    Your last paragraph is what I would (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:51:40 PM EST
    consider to be a perfect example of "talking out of one's a$$;" in all of the comments you've made, in all of the claims and other things you have thrown out there, I don't think a single one of them has been backed up by independent, linked and searchable sources.

    Do that often enough and you end up with zero credibility; for my money, you're already there.  The more you've said, the more you have been challenged, the more I feel a nascent and ugly undercurrent in your comments that seems driven by agenda not, not fact.

    I'd suggest you find some way to support the things you present as facts, or you're not going to find yourself having a very good time here.


    Anne, who are you addressing? (1.00 / 0) (#136)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:55:08 PM EST
    I don't get your tone when responding to anybody.

    You've offered several unsupported opinions yourself, seemingly based more on your view of the morality of this case rather than solving the many puzzles of it.

    You seem to have robbed George Zimmerman of the presumption of innocence.

    I overlooked your rude comments to me -- or are these also directed at me?

    Who are you talking to and, more importantly, what is preventing you from stating your point of view without trying beittle or claim you are superior?


    Click on the "Parent" button and (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:07:20 PM EST
    that will show you the comment to which someone is responding.

    Thanks, casey! (none / 0) (#196)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:23:34 AM EST
    My comment was directed at Michele, (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:11:51 PM EST
    who seems determined to demonize Trayvon, and who continually makes assertions she fails to support.

    Where is her proof that Trayvon knew Zimmerman lived in the neighborhood, for example?  Have I made any kind of claim remotely close to that?

    I am also not claiming superiority, 12345, I am attempting to get michele to provide some back-up to the things she keeps throwig out there as if they are established facts.

    It's not the first time I've asked for that, and others have asked, as well; providing support for our assertions is how we do things here.


    easy ...... (1.00 / 0) (#145)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:59:00 PM EST
    This blog post informed me, in tracking the dispatch calls and positioning each person movements on an area map. Be warned this analysis comes from one of the those pesky enemy conservative blogs:


    Common sense supports my thinking as well, as a visitor to a gated community I assumed that everyone I passed likely lived there, isn't that the point of a gated community.



    The usual nonsense (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:14:32 PM EST
    In other words, you have no support for your claims.  Linking to a site that you and some others seem to enamored of is not proof of your various dubious claims.

    So, people who live in gated communities (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:41:55 PM EST
    never have visitors?  Of course they do, because Trayvon Martin was himself a visitor, for crying out loud, so he had no reason to assume anything about anyone he might have encountered there.

    I mean, you yourself just said,

    as a visitor to a gated community I assumed that everyone I passed likely lived there,

    Why couldn't someone you encountered also be a visitor?  

    "Common sense?"  I don't think so; more like "nonsense."


    Shortcut (none / 0) (#152)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:17:01 PM EST
    This gated community isn't so secure. It seems there is at least one gap in the fencing.

    NY Times:

    The teenager with candy entered the Retreat at Twin Lakes, either passing the front gate or taking a not-so-secret shortcut.

    The Miami Herald shows the location. On the aerial photo it looks like much of the community facing away from the streets is unfenced.

    The gates are operated by cards, and don't have human guards. As has been mentioned elsewhere on the thread, there are photos showing the gates open. They may close them for the night, but the incident happened just after 7PM.

    I don't think those folks are getting their money's worth.


    All of which ... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:09:48 PM EST
    ... is not remotely surprising.

    Actually, the school records are among the... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:09:59 PM EST
    records sealed by Crumb, I think. Anything reported about them is not officially from the police.

    And Z's truck was parked near the cut through, quite far from the clubhouse.

    The development has gates, though it's not clear if they're ever closed. You can see them on Google's street view.


    thanks (none / 0) (#89)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:23:14 PM EST
    for the clarifications

    Gandy please don't bring up (none / 0) (#120)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:08:40 PM EST
    Trayvon's Twitter account by name. His character is not under attack, his tweets do not show who first attacked how, and I don't allow the use of that word on TalkLeft. Your comment with the name of his account and bolded no less has been deleted.

    Bolded? I don't know the html to bold anything... (none / 0) (#166)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:47:52 PM EST
    here. The capitalization, if that's what you mean, is apparently in the original. That is, it was in caps where I saw it quoted.

    And of course Trayvon's character is under attack. It's alleged by the defense that he committed an unprovoked criminal assault on GZ, and a character which would make that plausible is not an untarnished one. And I was of course responding to an attempt to whitewash his character by denying the tweets were his account, which is nonsense.

    That said, it's your site, and if the handle TM chose for himself is too rough for your sensibilities I'll substitute some locution in the future.


    Html (none / 0) (#175)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:29:05 PM EST
    Use 'strong' for bold and 'em' for italics. Or you can highlight and click one of the buttons above the comment box.

    there' s no question that was (none / 0) (#118)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:06:20 PM EST
    his twitter account. I deleted the comment bolding his twitter name because I don't want that word associated with TalkLeft and because Trayvon's tweets are irrelevant to what happened that night. For anyone who wants to read them, a cached version is available for download on Scribd. And no, I won't debate know I they are his, anyone can do the research and cross-checking of the people he tweeted with and reach the same conclusion. Yman, don't bother bringing it up again.

    10 day off campus suspensions (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:04:56 AM EST
    are reserved for the worst offenses,short of expulsion. I never believed the pot story, because schools across the county are directed to reduce off-campus suspensions since they impact students ability to keep up with classwork. Generally speaking a student has to be a threat to others to get the maximum suspension which is what TM received.

    How's That? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:23:02 AM EST
    The handbook says 1 to 10 day suspension for a Level III offense.

    Level III offenses include 'possession or use of alcohol and/or controlled substances'.


    So what's your point? (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:24:38 AM EST
    That because Trayvon got into trouble in school he deserved to die? Because it sounds to me like you are trying to make the case that Trayvon Martin was some kind of "bad kid", and therefore it's okay that he was killed.

    And while schools may be directed to reduce off-campus suspensions (I don't know if that is true or not), kids get suspended all the time for all kinds of things, things that do not make them throw-away kids whose death does not matter.

    I mean, come on, the poor kid is dead. Aren't the "insults by innuendo" a form of piling on at this point?

    Speaking for me only.


    "insults by innuendo" (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:36:01 PM EST
    That's a good way to put it.  There's not much to work with regarding Trayvon (e.g. no criminal record, no known history of violence, etc.) so the usual routine of demonizing folks like him is closed off.  As such, the school suspensions and his limited football playing and possible teen hip-bop style is being blown up and implied to be  something "sinister".  

    Of course not... (3.67 / 3) (#33)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:44:42 AM EST
    I think this tragedy involved two people's actions, I think TM sucker punched GZ and then bashed his head into the sidewalk.

    I think that type of violence is not uncommon among teens these days, and that is because I have personal experience as a victim, and as the parent of teen victims.

    17 year old football players play it tough, the expression is to go hard.



    Sucker punched? Bashed? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:57:57 AM EST
    Very descriptive, although not necessarily true.

    Yes, there are teens who are violent, just as there are adults who are violent and middle schoolers who are violent and elderly who are violent. There are also multitudes of people in all of these groups who are not violent.

     It sounds to me like you are taking your personal experience and attempting to extrapolate it to the whole American population. That does not work. The vast majority of people in this country are not prone to acts of violence.

    I am sorry that you and your children have been the victims of violence. That is truly a terrible thing to go through. Still, that is not a good reason, IMO, to condemn Trayvon Martin.


    extrapolate (3.00 / 2) (#36)
    by pngai on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:28:04 AM EST
    And yet you seem quite confident that Zimmerman decided to and carried out a cold blooded execution of Martin.

    In your theory, why wouldn't Zimmerman just shoot Martin in the back? Why all the yelling for help and hitting with fists and blood on the head and broken nose? In fact, why call the police at all?

    Just execute the one you criminally profiled and disappear.

    This kind of theory doesn't seem likely to me.


    I think you have me confused with someone (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:11:12 AM EST
    else. Please read my comments again. Nowhere did I claim that Zimmerman "carried out a cold blooded execution of Martin."

    I don't understand where you get the idea that I have a theory that includes Zimmerman shooting Martin in the back either.

    It is true that I believe Trayvon Martin's death is a tragedy. That is not the same as believing it to be "a cold blooded execution."


    casey, you're smart; help me out here (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by NYShooter on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:06:37 PM EST
    I haven't commented on the GZ/TM tragedy for a variety of reasons, but as an interested observer one thing stands out vividly. And, that is the obviously opinionated, descriptive, agenda laden words used to describe certain actions of that fateful night.

    TM didn't push GZ's head on the ground, nor did he force it, or shove it. He "smashed" it into the concrete. Think about that for a second. Can you imagine a skull, or a brain, being "smashed" into the concrete? Those that promote that scenario are asking us to believe that a young, virile, athletic male aggressively lifted another man's head up off the ground/concrete, and with all the force he could muster "smashed" it into the concrete. Not once, they claim, but "smashed and smashed", over and over again into the concrete.

    Seriously? And minutes later this victim is presumably discussing the incident quietly & rationally with the police?

    I'm not going to put forth any judgments regarding that proposition. I'd just like people to stop and ponder what such a theory would be like if it occurred in the world of reality. Flat-line comes to mind.

    Secondly, why is it, for those who believe GZ was the victim of an assault, they always describe him as "screaming?" Not yelling, shouting, grunting, but "screaming?" you gotta admit, "screaming" puts an emphasis on the encounter that seems to have a not so hidden agenda attached to it. Doesn't it?

    That's it. I got no more.


    I don't know, Shooter. (5.00 / 4) (#167)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:48:57 PM EST
    There are a lot of new commenters of late. Except for the "2nd amendment everybody should have a gun" folks that filled that one thread with some interesting comments, the new people are here to comment on the Zimmerman-Martin case. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Still, most of the new commenters are, IMO, waging quite a war against the late Trayvon Martin. The innuendo, the unsupported smears, the insistence that Trayvon was a bad kid (with nothing of substance to support that view), well, there is certainly an agenda at play.

    Comment threads here at TL can get contentious, but I find an ugly undercurrent running through the posts of many of the new commenters.


    CaseyOR, I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 01:39:29 AM EST
    If anything, I am disturbed by the attacks being made by old commenters on the new commenters. Especially comments mocking their point of view. And it needs to stop.

    The new commenters, as far as I can tell, are writing their opinions, without profanity or  personal insults, without mocking or being rude  to those who don't share their view.

    I do not agree it is "blaming the victim"  to look for support for Zimmerman's claim that Martin threw the first punch. It may be the most significant legal fact in the case. And it is in dispute.

    Those of you who think GZ's acts were legally criminal don't hesitate to hash and rehash his 2005 arrest and civil restraining order, which in my view is immaterial to events that night.  

    That said, personally, I do not think  that TM's background warrants extensive dissection at this time because I doubt it will be relevant to the criminal case. I have deleted the comments that make spurious allegations on his character -- such as those that claim his now deleted Twitter account is evidence of his violent nature.

    I also don't happen to think the reason for his school suspension will matter in this case.  Nor will national patterns or the causes of teen violence or  gun statistics. Or commenters' personal experience with violent crime or those that commit it.  Nor do I think his socio-economic status will be relevant to the legal issues. But that's me. And this site is not an echo chamber of what I believe, even though chatterers with opposing views may be limited in the number of times they can express such views.

    I think forensics will tell what happened.  Mark O'Mara, who is trying the case and gets to decide what Zimmeran will raise in his defense, has clearly indicated he won't be attacking Martin's character. Making the argument Trayvon struck his client first, putting him in fear of serious bodily injury or for his life, is not an attack on Martin's character. It's an attack on his actions. Attributing the cause of the fatal encounter to Martin's actions that night is perfectly appropriate for the defense. Discussion of facts that may support it is appropriate here. Others are free to raise facts that don't support it. If you want a site whose primary focus is victims' rights, this isn't it.

    So long as commenters, new and old, don't blatantly distort the facts or law, present disputed facts as uncontroverted facts, clearly indicate the writer is expressing an opinion when taking sides on facts in dispute, and don't mock or insult other commenters, I'm not going to put further restrictions on what they can discuss in threads where the facts are being discussed, whether I think they are relevant or not.

    I think the discussions here contain all points of view.

    If new commenters have been drawn to the site because I'm expressing a "Zimmerman friendly" view, that's fine with me. This is a defense-oriented site. I will not allow those of you  who support the prosecution to drive them away -- especially by mocking or insulting them.

    Please stop the attacks and mocking of new commenters. If you see an objectionable comment, let me know so I can read it and if I agree, delete it.


    Inclusive views (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by michele on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 03:20:58 AM EST
    thanks, I did find the personal mocking/ganging up to be a bullying tactic meant to discourage my participation and it probably will.

    I think diversity of thought is a value to support.


    Stop profiling the new commenters! (none / 0) (#180)
    by SuzieTampa on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:04:35 AM EST
    What about (2.00 / 0) (#162)
    by Raoul on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:54:27 PM EST
    Boxers who can get knocked out cold and leave the ring on their own power just a few minutes later then give post fight interviews.  Same thing with MMA fighters who are pounded and forced to tap out.  

    padded gloves in controlled environment (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by NYShooter on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:38:43 PM EST
    Brain "smashing" concrete..

    right, same thing.


    I tried (none / 0) (#168)
    by Raoul on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:53:26 PM EST
    To give two alternate examples where people are knocked senseless and moments later recover.  He must have had a huge rush of adrenaline and ringing ear from the gun shot.  Zimmerman is not required to actually suffer great bodily harm rather have reasonable fear it might happen.  

    This is why (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by NYShooter on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 01:16:52 AM EST
     this thread is going nowhere. Of course, anything is possible. Regardless of any scenario one side or the other lays out as a plausible chain of events the other can realistically state, "but, it's possible, isn't it?" Coming up "red" ten times in a row during roulette is "possible." But, is it realistic, or plausible? Of course not.

    I'll bet you anything that GZ's lawyers are frantically strategizing on how to deal with this problem for the upcoming trial. Picture a renowned neurosurgeon testifying for the State as to what a realistic, probable, plausible result would be for a man suffering the assault TM is postulated to have committed. My guess is death, or permanent, debilitating injury.

    And, that's just one of many, many hurdles the defense will have to  try and convince a jury makes sense.

    I don't have a clue as to how this will all turn out. My only hope is that the truth isn't as much of a victim as I fear it's destined to be.


    Catch 22 (none / 0) (#187)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 02:55:05 AM EST
    You seem to be suggesting that a person cannot reasonably be in fear of great bodily harm until after the harm is inflicted.

    Screaming (none / 0) (#163)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:24:54 PM EST
    Five of eight 911 callers used the word 'screaming'. One, probably 'John', said 'yelling'. Austin Brown's sister said she heard 'something' she didn't further describe. Mary Cutcher didn't say she heard anything before the gunshot.

    i don't have an agenda (none / 0) (#165)
    by NYShooter on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:43:07 PM EST
    just giving my interpretation of things that struck me a little strangely. "Screaming" isn't a term, or image, one normally associates with a tough, burly male.

    not saying it's impossible, or even wrong. It struck me as an agenda talking point, repeated over and over again.

    Could be perfectly legit.


    Image (none / 0) (#171)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:02:42 PM EST
    Maybe that's why John preferred to say 'yelling'. But Austin Brown saw Zimmerman also, and he said 'screaming'.

    The "screams-yells" are online (none / 0) (#195)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:20:49 AM EST
    The voice that is calling for help can be heard in the phone call a neighbor made to the police.  The audio of that is online, so if you haven't listened to it, you can find it.

    I Have Never Seen An Answer (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:56:34 AM EST
    Why would Zimmerman kill Martin in cold blood if he knew the police might arrive at any time? He was hoping for a witness to his crime?

    On the other hand (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:56:34 AM EST
    Why would Trayvon Martin attack an adult?

    There are indications that both participants felt fearful of the other, and were in fact taking actions to avoid encountering each other.

    Then suddenly there is a lot of fast violence culminating in a shooting.  There seems to be a real gap in everybody's knowledge about how it went from two guys trying to avoid it each other to two guys locked in a fight to the death.


    Not saying this happened or not (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:52:50 AM EST
    But to answer your question - Why would Martin attack an adult? Any number of reasons:

    1. We've been told many times that teenagers don't think like adults.  We also know that many teenage boys, filled with testosterone, have to flex their muscles to show that they "are a man".

    2. Martin saw a smaller man follow him and thought he was "dissing" him.

    3. Martin was afraid because a stranger was following him.

    4. Martin was up to no good and didn't want to get caught.

    There are many reasons why it's possible Martin would attack an adult.

    We can all make up reasons (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:03:02 AM EST
    I can make up five more:

    1. Martin was on drugs
    2. Martin thought Zimmerman was someone else
    3. Martin knew other boys in the neighborhood whom Zimmerman had previously called the police about.
    4. Martin mistook Zimmerman's cell phone was a gun
    5.. Martin had an undiagnosed brain turmo

    and I can also think of reasons why all four of yours are unlikely (i.e., #3, someone afraid of a stranger runs rather than attack, ditto #4, #1, psychologists say fear trumps age every time, etc)

    The real point of my response to MSimon was to question focusing on only one person's allegedly mysterious behavior.  From what little we have that is undisputed fact, the behavior of both parties defies easy explanation.  To get "answers" now, you have to make up stuff.  Of course it sounds reasonable to the person making it up -- that's how they think! -- but it could be miles from having to do with anything that happened that night.


    PS Jbindc: Can you answer MSimon? (none / 0) (#46)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:12:26 AM EST
    MSimon has never heard an answer as to why George Zimmerman would shoot knowing the police were on their way to the scene.

    For openers, I would question whether George Zimmerman actually believed the police were on their way to the scene.  His recorded statements indicate that he believes the police response is not speedy and that he has no faith that the dispatcher has understood his location despite giving directions several times.

    One version of his story also has him reaching for his cell phone to call the police again after exchanging words with Martin.  Why do that if you think the police are minutes away -- unless you are holding Martin at gunpoint?

    And on and on.  I'm sure we can think up other scenarios.


    Police Response (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:18:09 AM EST
    George's complaint was that the police were not speedy enough. You know - when seconds count the police are only minutes away. I'd have to look at the timing again but the police had been on their way for at least two minutes - maybe longer. So their arrival was immanent. As proven by the fact that an officer was there within a short time after the shooting. But George had no way of knowing that. Had a patrol car been closer the officer would have been there sooner.

    I can't think of any case (except murder suicides) where the perp calls the police in advance. Maybe some one has a link.

    I look forward to discovery where we may find out more facts. Or not.


    But his calling the police isn't exulpatory (none / 0) (#57)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:26:51 AM EST

    I'd be surprised if there weren't plenty of cases where people called the police before they killed someone.

    But that aside, George Zimmerman's phone call to the police ends in plenty of time for him to develop a different mindset about the person he was pursuing.  If you listen to the call itself, I think you can hear that his mindset does change, several times.  So it could have changed again.

    You also can hear Zimmerman having great difficulty getting the dispatcher to understand the directions he is giving about where the police should go. And the dispatcher sounds equally confused about the location Zimmerman is talking about.

    Zimmerman sounds worried that he doesn't know where Martin is -- he's worried Martin is close by -- and he can't come to an understanding with the dispatcher about his location.

    So it is a leap to suggest that Zimmerman couldn't have possibly decided to get his gun at the ready and shoot first if he saw Martin because he knew the police were about to be right there.  He was already feeling threatened (that is what he is saying on the tape)  and he thinks it is unlikely the police know where he is.


    Z got his gun at the ready? (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:08:06 AM EST
    ...and held it at the ready for about a minute while TM broke his nose and his head? All the while screaming for help? And TM ignored it all that time. Until GZ finally shot? Uh... Can't quite picture that.

    That's your description, not mine (3.00 / 2) (#68)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:21:24 AM EST
    I can't picture your description either.

    But I can picture George Zimmerman disconnecting with the phone call from the police and continuing to be very nervous that he doesn't know where Martin now is -- as he expressed to the police. I can picture him taking out his gun for protection as he walks to where he thinks he will be safer.

    I can see Martin accidentally surprising him by suddenly appearing from seemingly nowhere.  I can see Zimmerman lunging to grab Martin to hold him. I can seem Martin swinging a punch in alarmed self-defense, knocking Zimmerman down and trying to pin him down and disarm him.  I can see Zimmerman firing.  I can see Zimmerman making up a story of self-defense.

    Not saying it happened that way -- but I can see other ways it could have happened where the fact that Zimmerman began the events by calling the police or once thought they were on their way was really very far from his mind when he pulled the trigger.

    I mean, did he really think he was in such imminent danger of dying that the police weren't going to get there in time to save him?

    The questions cut both ways.


    Again, the fight went on way too long, and... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:50:34 AM EST
    ...Z was doing too poorly to think he started with the gun in his hand and both held onto it AND held off shooting that long. No, the provocation of Z having the gun in his hand just isn't available to you.

    And Z readies his gun, then thinks he's going to get safer by advancing away from his truck and around the corner and down the shaft of the "T"? Sorry, wrong direction. He went looking for TM, as was his right, and as the dispatcher had every reason to expect, but the gun was in his holster.

    "...did he really think he was in such imminent danger of dying that the police weren't going to get there in time to save him?" Uh, yes. Z had a gun. M had busted his nose and his head and if M had gotten the gun it was quite reasonable to think Z would die. Particularly if M had said so.


    Looking for Martin wasn't Zimmerman's right (none / 0) (#138)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:06:29 PM EST
    If  it is established that Zimmerman went looking for Martin past the point of seeming to agree not to follow, per the dispatcher's instructions, then I don't think a jury will hold him blameless for the death of Trayvon Martin.  Given what the charges are, and what the law is, I am not sure what is open to a jury or a judge, but if SYG in Florida says that the armed Zimmerman had no duty to retreat at that point against a person who had caused him no harm, then the law is truly evil.

    I'm still not buying there is no chance Zimmerman could not have unholstered his gun, especially if he went looking for a person he'd already told the police he was afraid of.


    The jury gets instructed as to which facts... (1.00 / 1) (#197)
    by Gandydancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:32:11 AM EST
    ...they are to reach conclusions on. A runaway jury is of course possible, and appears to be Corey's only chance of getting a conviction. And is why it was unethical of her to bring this charge, as prosecutors are not supposed to bring charges in the hope that the jurors will ignore their instructions.

    Z was perfectly free to try to regain sight of M. If a jury ignores that they will be behaving as lawlessly as the prosecutor.

    You can choose to ignore my argument as to why it is unlikely Z had unholstered his gun and believe what you want. It just doesn't reflect well on you.


    If he had stayed in his f-ing car, he (4.00 / 4) (#137)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:04:43 PM EST
    would have had no reason to be nervous, would he?

    To my mind, that he got out of his car, that he followed Martin - these are all the actions of someone who had no training in law enforcement, who got in over his head pretty quickly.

    With predictably tragic results.

    George Zimmerman thought he knew what he was doing - Trayvon Martin had no idea, while walking back to where he was staying, that he was going to be essentially stalked by someone he didn't know, for reasons he didn't know, to what end or purpose he didn't know.

    The whole thing just makes me so sad.


    Again, have you listened to the call? (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:14:16 PM EST
    Zimmerman does very little that he is not asked to do by the police dispatcher.  There is an apparent misunderstanding about to what extent Zimmerman should keep Martin in sight in order to report his movements to the police, but there is no question that the dispatcher asked Zimmerman to do that.  

    When they asked ZImmerman to stop following, Zimmerman says "OK".  I hear that as compliance, other people hear something else.

    I don't like neighborhood watch programs, but the fact that Zimmerman moved from one spot to another to keep watching someone he suspected might be a burglar didn't make any thing predictable.  People do this all the time when they call the police because they see something outside.  They move from one place to another if the suspicious person moves.

    Because Martin in now dead, it looks like George Zimmerman did everything wrong.  But if Martin had called the police to say he was being followed, things might have turned out differently. Even if he had just run home, he'd still be alive. I'm not saying Martin caused his own death -- which he might have however -- I'm saying I don't know where things went so wrong. But it wasn't because George ZImmerman did what police requested of him.


    MO (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:26:12 AM EST
    George's MO was not to corner suspects and hold them at gun point. Of course he may have been frustrated and operated that way in this instance.

    And had Martin lunged for the gun he might have caused a self inflicted wound. I look forward to the forensics report.

    We are never going to know the truth absolutely. But absent evidence that counter's George's story he is going to walk. Innocent until proven guilty.

    And if the preponderance of evidence is in George's favor he might even walk at the SYG/self defense hearing.


    We might know the truth absolutely (none / 0) (#61)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:50:46 AM EST
    I don't rule out the possibility that George Zimmerman could confess to doing things that are different from the story he is now telling, and explain fully what happened and say he previous tale was false.

    I'm an absolutely stickler for the presumption of innocence. In tossing around scenarios, I'm being very even-handed.  Just showing that more is unknown than known. I'm  interested in people's analysis and thinking about the whole issue, not toverturning the presumption of innocence.

    Will there be a SYG hearing? When?


    I know.... (none / 0) (#70)
    by bmaz on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:29:23 AM EST
    ....some commenter said somewhere there might not be a SYG hearing and have cited statements by O'Mara. From what I can discern, O'Mara has only said this:

    "It's really too early to say until we see the facts, once we see the evidence, and we can come up with an idea as to what defense applies to it. Stand your ground, traditional self defense, We just don't know yet," said Mark O'Mara.

    and this

    "It's much too early. I'm not even certain [the] Stand Your Ground statue applies yet. It seems like it will have some application, but it's too premature," said O'Mara.

    I would be shocked if O'Mara does not move under Florida Rule 3.190(c) to dismiss under SYG/Dennis.  But he cannot do so until he knows and has a grip on all the facts, because they will form the core of such an effort. O'Mara does not appear to even have full discovery yet.  Personally, there is no way I would pass up the opportunity to put the state's case on the stand, under oath and examination ahead of trial. That is usually golden for a defense attorney. Maybe there is some tactical reason not to that I haven't seen yet, but I think you can expect such a hearing to be noticed and moved for.


    @bmaz, thank you for the detailed info (none / 0) (#127)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:18:34 PM EST
    Makes sense for O'Mara just to tamp down talk of SYG for the moment, and say he doesn't yet know enough.

    I don't have an answer (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:20:06 AM EST
    But I think that's a chink in the state's case - how can you claim profiling and especially malice if the defendant calls the police and gives his name, number and location?

    Maybe (none / 0) (#95)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:49:38 PM EST
    But the two things are not mutually exclusive.  You can call the cops and still profile and have malice against someone.  Isn't Zimmerman alleged to have said "these a*holes always get away and f**ing punks" on  the call?  That seems to show malice.  The profiling question seems more open.

    Recividism crime rates (1.00 / 1) (#112)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:07:10 PM EST

    Before insinuating the meaning of the statement,
    "they always get away with it"
    you should verify youth offenders recidivism rates there is Orlando area.

    GZ observations though tracks with the facts of juvenile crime nationally.


    Which of course.... (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:11:20 PM EST
    is relevant to Trayvon Martin who didn't have a criminal record.  Uh huh.  

    national stats are irrrelvant (none / 0) (#170)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:01:58 PM EST
    it's what Zimmerman was referring to and his basis of knowledge. You can find it in the prior police reports and 911 calls, you don't need to bring in national stats. There were buglaries in the neighborhood, people got away, and he was aware of this. In another post I recounted the details.

    agree (none / 0) (#177)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:37:16 PM EST
    Maybe (none / 0) (#106)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:47:50 PM EST
    Malice in general towards people who break into houses.  That's what he initally thought.

    But of course, some want to make it be malice towards a black teenager wearing a hoodie - without any evidence.


    But also ... (none / 0) (#108)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:54:21 PM EST
    ...there's no evidence that Trayvon was one of those people who break into houses either.

    Strategy (1.00 / 1) (#159)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:12:28 PM EST
    I have a simple hypothesis to explain why Martin would avoid Zimmerman at one time, and later seek him out.

    If Martin attacked Zimmerman immediately, the fight would have happened in view of a public street. Martin may have waited for a chance to ambush Zimmerman in a place concealed from passersby.

    Martin may even have run away in a calculated attempt to lure Zimmerman away from public streets.


    please don't post (none / 0) (#173)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:04:25 PM EST
    rank speculation here as opposed to your opinion based on facts. Creating scenarios of misconduct by either one out of whole cloth is not welcome here. If you want theorize and muse about possibilities, you should find a site that encourages that. Opinions here should have some basis in fact.

    Facts (1.00 / 1) (#179)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:03:00 AM EST
    It is a fact that Zimmerman was in view of a public street when Martin ran from him. It is a fact that the fight took place in a backyard, with houses blocking the view from the public streets in every direction.

    If statements attributed to Zimmerman are accurate, he went through the backyard area going eastward on the sidewalk from Twin Trees Lane to Retreat View Circle. If Martin was in a position to see this, he might have guessed that Zimmerman would return the way he came on the way to his truck. Martin could have assumed a position by the northwest corner of the northeastern house. From there he could come at Zimmerman from the left and behind, again consistent with statements attributed to Zimmerman.

    The facts appear to be consistent with a scenario in which Martin was waiting for an opportunity to start something out of public view. That doesn't mean it happened that way. Certainly there are scenarios consistent with known facts that have Zimmerman the aggressor. And maybe  the scenario I've suggested is excluded by facts I have overlooked. If so, someone will probably point them out. Then I will learn something, and the discussion will advance.


    That's what makes the second degree (none / 0) (#183)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 02:06:17 AM EST
    murder charge so perplexing. So far, while we haven't seen everything, it appears one of the two impulsively over-reacted. If it was Zimmerman who over-reacted in response to being punched by Trayvon, Florida case law is clear manslaughter, not second degree murder is the appropriate charge:

    In a 2011 Florida case, Dorsey v. State, the court cites at least four cases in which Florida appellate courts have overturned second degree murder convictions because manslaughter should have been charged instead, when the defendant's claim of self-defense was rejected by the jury and the evidence showed an "impulsive over-reaction to an attack" but not that the defendant "acted out of ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent."

    Under these cases, an impulsive overreaction to an attack or injury is itself insufficient to prove ill will, hatred, spite, or evil intent.

    While the jury may reasonably reject the theory of self-defense in a case involving a defendant's impulsive overreaction to a victim's attack, such a case warrants a conviction for manslaughter, not second degree murder.

    If this is a case where Trayvon punched Zimmerman, but not hard enough to warrant his responding with lethal force -- even if  Zimmerman had a duty (which I don't think he had) and an opportunity to remove himself from the encounter, and even if his fear that his life was on the line or that he was at risk of serious bodily injury was not objectively reasonable -- the charge should be manslaughter.

    Following someone because you find their actions suspicious and using profanity  when discussing your frustration that they've disappeared from your view, even wrongly believing them to be involved in criminal activity, is not evidence that in killing them, you "acted out of ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent."  The test isn't whether he harbored such feelings, but whether those feelings caused him to shoot Trayvon. It's whether he "acted out of" meaning because of such feelings. That's why the courts say most second degree murder cases involve those who have had previous contact with each other. From Dorsey again:

    "Although exceptions exist, the crime of second-degree murder is normally committed by a person who knows the victim and has had time to develop a level of enmity toward the victim."  Moreover, "[h]atred, spite, evil intent, or ill will usually require more than an instant to develop."

    I don't understand the 2nd degree murder (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by caseyOR on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 02:36:01 AM EST
    charge, either. Somewhere on one of these Zimmerman-Martin threads there is some discussion that the 2nd degree charge is supposed to make a plea deal more likely by Zimmerman.

     I am not a lawyer. So, I have no first-hand experience with how these things go, but is this a usual prosecution tactic? To over-charge a defendant as a way of pressuring them into a plea deal? If so it strikes me as a sleazy way to do business. isn't there a good chance that someone who is not guilty will plead to a lesser charge out of fear that they will be convicted of the greater charge?


    Over-charging (none / 0) (#185)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 02:34:22 AM EST
    It doesn't seem strange to me that prosecutors would over-charge, because there doesn't seem to be much downside for doing so.

    I see a duty on GZ to retreat earlier, jeralyn (none / 0) (#198)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:44:52 AM EST
    I think once GZ formed the belief that Martin might be an armed criminal who was a threat to his safety (and the 911 call contains statements by Zimmerman that he thought this at the time), then GZ had a duty to obey the dispatcher's instructions to stop following Martin and turn that duty over to the police.

    To my ears, GZ does stop following Martin.  Others listening to the audio have heard otherwise (even GZ's defenders), saying that GZ disregarded the instructions and went looking for Martin.

    I think that if GZ went looking for Martin at that point, then the prosecution has the glimmerings of a case that supports a charge of murder in the second degree.  At that point, Zimmerman would be stalking a man who had no committed no perceptible crime, who was not presenting any bodily harm to anyone.  Why was Zimmerman carrying things this far? Anger and ill-will at perceived criminals -- even falsely perceived criminals -- has some plausibility.

    Does Trayvon Martin lose his right to self-defense when he is being stalked by an armed stranger?

    It is possible that under the law, if enough evidence can be produced to show that  Martin reached for Zimmerman's gun, then Zimmerman did not commit murder, but I think if Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after being instructed to stop, he wasn't acting that way out of community concern. I think he had formed a hatred of these "effin punks" and was playing with fire.


    A question about "malicious intent" (none / 0) (#201)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:51:44 AM EST
    If Zimmerman felt malice and ill-will toward people he suspected were criminals in his neighborhood, and disregarded police instructions to quit stalking them, and continued stalking them with the intent not to kill them, but to perform a citizen's arrest on them on behalf of the police, even though that person had committed no crime,  does that constitute a malicious intent that supports a charge of murder in the 2d degree if the end result is the dead body of an unarmed innocent person (innocent of any criminal behavior)?

    Emotion/anger (none / 0) (#48)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:42:33 AM EST
    ... usually part of any physical confrontation.

    emotion/anger (none / 0) (#54)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:18:49 AM EST
    almost always interferes with recollection of events, and the willingness to see oneself as possibly having been in the wrong, resulting in an inclination to describe what happened in a confrontation that casts the best possible light on one's own actions.

    What exactly are you saying ... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Mary2012 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:26:36 PM EST
    I think that type of violence is not uncommon among teens these days, and that is because I have personal experience as a victim, and as the parent of teen victims.

    You think Trayvon "sucker punched GZ and then bashed his head into the sidewalk" and then continue on with the quote above, that this "type of violence is not uncommon".  Are you saying/ implying it's justification to shoot these kids if/ when they sucker punch someone? (based on your support of Zimmerman)

    In the same vein and assuming Zimmerman is versed similarly to you: if he really believed Trayvon was as you seem to be making him out to be, then WHY did he follow him? was it because he had a gun?  

    I'm just trying to better understand where you are coming from on this.


    where I am coming from (2.00 / 1) (#140)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:07:53 PM EST
    I am neutral in the case, not in support of GZ as you assume.I think it is a terrible tragedy,perhaps preventable, but is likely to happen again.

    I think O'Mara is fascinating to watch and very smart. I think it horrible that the entire Zimmerman family is feeling threatened by retaliation.  

    I think forensics will be a deciding factor in how this case is resolved.

    I resent agitprop media manipulation.

    I support gun control. And policing which includes the  use of legal searches of offenders on probation/parole in an effort to remove illegal weapons from our streets.

    I think Liberal Mark Kleiman,UCLA, is right on about failure of the Left to effective address  public safety matters. We should and can do better.


    I doubt I will ever read any libreral ever again (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:26:11 PM EST
    ... since I am actually on the Left, and when people feel a need to cite a Liberal for political cover, I wonder whom they think they are kidding.

    Public safety depends on paying taxes to police, to support better education for everybody, and to institute strict gun control.

    It's okay with me if you say Left-wingers don't criticize black people enough.  I don't criticize them at all. But please don't talk code about public safety and accuse the only people still willing to talk and act like adults after Tucson, or school shootings in Ohio, the Trayvon Martin death, as the obstacles to public safety. It's pure slander, which you seem to think you are against.


    do you even know Kleiman's body of work? (none / 0) (#150)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:47:48 PM EST

    this is just one resource to gain insight to my comment.


    Do YOU know Mark Kleiman's body of work? (5.00 / 2) (#153)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:24:49 PM EST
    First of all, he's no liberal.

    Secondly, you can't pick one loudmouth and proclaim he/she speaks for "liberals" or represents "liberal thought."

    Good grief.


    Directed by whom? (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:43:53 AM EST
    There's a noticeable lack of linked support for anything you've claimed in your comment.

    Where does your "generally speaking" comment come from?  Are you speaking for yourself, or do you have some outside and verifiable basis for saying it?  And if so, why not provide it for others to check out?

    Here's my "general" problem with comments like yours - and there have been others that have taken this same approach: whether you think you are or not, you are blaming the victim, and justifying the shooting because "it turns out" that it was only a matter of time before Trayvon escalated from rather benign kid-variety trouble to the kind where he was breaking into houses and just randomly assaulting people on the street.

    And George Zimmerman gets to be the upstanding, community savior in this story, which works out very neatly - for him.

    Whether or not Trayvon was or was not whatever comments like yours make him out to be, the essential truth here is that decisions that George Zimmerman made are what ultimately led to the Trayvon's death.  If Zimmerman calls the police from his car, reports his suspicions and continues on his way doing errands, Trayvon lives, Zimmerman isn't out on bond awaiting trial for killing him.  If George Zimmerman does what standard community watch members do when observing a possible suspicious person/situation - calls the other members via pre-set telephone tree, so that word can be gotten to the entire community, and alerting them that the police have been called - there is no reason to play detective and start tracking Trayvon - and Trayvon lives.  If he was "up to no good," the people trained to investigate are the ones handling it.

    Do I feel bad for George?  Sure - whether he is ultimately freed, or gets immunity, his life will never be the same - but he still has a life, something Trayvon does not.

    SYG may end up saving George from trial and/or conviction, or if it gets to trial, he may prevail over the state, but I have to believe that for the rest of George's life, there might not be a day that goes by that he doesn't say "if only," and I don't think that's going to be about "if only" that kid hadn't punched me, but "if only I had just stayed in my car."


    Essential truth? (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Raoul on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:09:37 AM EST
    Applying your logic, the decision by Tracy Martin to permit Trayvon to go the store when he begged him to let him go ultimately led to his death. If Tracy says no Trayvon lives.

    Not blaming the victim (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:56:08 PM EST
    Identifying the complicated dynamics in this tragedy does not lead to your assertion that I am "blaming the victim". Hardly.

    Again, as I stated in my first post to this site, as a resident of a high crime area I have monitored where a YBM was heading after I profiled him as suspicious based on observed  behaviors such as street drug sales, adjusting a gun in his trousers, or casing houses. As have most of my neighbors who happened to be black, Hispanic, Asian and white and attend crime prevention meetings run by the community not the police. You learn that pretending is not doing anyone any favors. That we need to step up to be a part of the solution, otherwise we are a part of problem, bystanders who do nothing.

    Remember, witness John, he stated he was not going to intervene, very common.

    When my 15 year old son was stalked and robbed by three black males aged 25-30, my son fought them, flagged a car over  that stopped and then took off, he called out for help to the lady across the street, she went inside and closed the door. My son was out placing noticing on porches about the upcoming neighborhood meeting following a series of shootings. It was broad daylight.

    I do not have a gun, nor will I ever.

    One of the primary warning given against concealed weapons is the threat of having the gun taken in a fight or assault.

    I think TM assaulted GZ, there is no evidence yet that GZ fought back or was in a position to.

    As I posted earlier, I experienced a similar assault while walking home from public transit. I was punched in the face and knocked to the ground, then kicked in the head by violent teens. I could only cover my face, not fight back. Lucky for me a family stopped in the middle of the street and the offenders ran.


    Twin Lakes (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Mary2012 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 02:45:55 PM EST
    I've not heard the Retreat at Twin Lakes referred to as a "high crime" area.  Is it?  They've had a rash of break-ins -- does that constitute "high crime"?

    Also, do we know what type of neighborhood wrt crime, Trayvon lived in with his mother, Sybrina Fulton?  I've not heard anything on that either.

    Even if one or both are high crime, it doesn't mean Trayvon is a criminal or on the path to becoming a criminal.  My impression is that most people in high crime areas are actually law-abiding citizens.  Am I mistaken?

    Both of his parents seem to have pretty decent jobs -- could well fall into the middle class.  I'm blocking on Tracy Martin's girlfriend's occupation at the moment...

    Are you sure your analysis fits this family?  Maybe it does but from what I've heard, it would seem to me the question needs to be raised... what are you basing this on?


    Conflation/ serious times (none / 0) (#109)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:56:24 PM EST

    I believe you are conflating issues.
    My point was rather simple.

    It is not unusual, contrary to your comment, for residents in any community to track the direction of suspicious people after calling police.

    GZ was not stalking, just watching.

    Second point, dissed and pissed versus scared.

    Teen culture promotes two problematic attitudes these days:
     1. no snitching
     2. "what's you looking at"

    I agree TM seemed like many teens I have met, he  fit right into the spectrum of typical behaviors.  However, youth culture today demonstrates some fundamental confusions about ethics and values in ways harmful to young people individually and society at large. Parents know this and we often feel at a lost, since during the high school years peer culture exerts a greater influence regardless of our best intentions. We know from data that youth risk behaviors are more dangerous these days, more guns etc, and affect kids from all demographics.

    The blending/acceptance of street culture into youth social norms has led to many distressing outcomes.

    This Berkeley tragedy linked below is an example of these blended values resulted in tragedy that was very tough for the community to accept. The parent of  the victim, a Brown U. student worked for the city manager developing youth violence interventions.  Why would this promising, smart and political savvy young woman call her close friend and ask him to bring a gun to an argument with UCB football players.


    Goodness gracious... (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:05:16 PM EST
    Give it a rest.  Your "speculation" is mostly off- topic, irrelevant and inflammatory chatter.

    ks are you a parent (none / 0) (#149)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:42:44 PM EST
    Inflammatory rhetoric?? that is how you dismiss a parent sharing a story about the harsh reality and challenges families face today.

    I wish you were in my house that week, when I witnessed and supported several teenage males, as they dealt with the inherent conflicts, grief, and anger in coming to terms with a classmate's homicide.


    What? (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:45:37 PM EST
    You give new meaning to the term "Open Thread".  How your ridiculous chatter is allowed to clutter this thread is beyond.

    Michele, please provide some support (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:54:29 PM EST
    for this claim:

    It is not unusual, contrary to your comment, for residents in any community to track the direction of suspicious people after calling police.

    A link to a study, an article, something, because otherwise it just isn't credible.

    And no, your usual fallback position of "common sense" isn't going to cut it.


    practical experience (1.00 / 0) (#176)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:35:58 PM EST

    perhaps you missed the previous posts where I explained I was the chair of a large neighborhood association for 8 years in a neighborhood where homicides are not uncommon.

    1. From resident reports during public community policing meetings.

    2. Local crime blotter detailing incidents

    3. 15 years of engagement in community policing in Oakland.

    Rash of breakins in last year... (none / 0) (#204)
    by Gandydancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:00:40 AM EST
    ...and a shooting. Not of Trayvon.

    What do you mean (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Darby on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:10:42 PM EST
    blame the victim? I don't think it has been established that Zimmerman isn't the victim of a violent attack.

    Detective's questions are legit (none / 0) (#51)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:04:45 AM EST

    Anybody s looking for the truth in this case would have to investigate what Trayvon Martin might have done or even might have had a predisposition to do.  It can't be off limits.  Preferably, this is done by police and detectives, right? They go around trying to determine answers to possible alternative explanations:  "Did he have a bad temper? Bad judgment? Did he take drugs or talk about trying them?"

    One of the puzzles of this case is how brief the police investigation was.  I think most of would agree that had it been the unarmed son of the governor found dead,  the self-admitted shooter would have been held for however long it took to get to the bottom of previous charges of domestic violence, assaulting an undercover cop, etc.

    So the police investigation in this case seems disturbingly light -- and it goes both ways.  Why didn't they make more of an effort to find out who Trayvon Martin was and learn more about his history? How can people be so certain it has nothing to do with what transpired that night?


    That sound you hear is the (1.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:21:09 AM EST
    entire point of my comment going right over your head.

    George should have let the police handle whatever "investigation" of Martin they deemed appropriate while Martin was alive and able to participate in it so that detectives could determine if Zimmerman's suspicions were justified.

    If police found something in their questioning of Trayvon that warranted further action, so be it, but George never gave them that chance, did he?

    Now, instead of questioning Trayvon over whether Zimmerman's suspicions were justified, they now have to investigate whether Trayvon's shooting was justified - a shooting that ended in someone's death.


    Have you listened to Zimmerman's call? (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:43:59 AM EST
    Where we probably differ is that, after listening to the call itself, I think George Zimmerman did exactly what you say he should have done: He agreed to let the police handle the situation and indicated he would go elsewhere, and asked to be called on the phone by the police, away from the scene.

    Another set of exchanges to listen to closely on the call is the sequence from when the dispatcher asks Zimmerman to please keep watching Martin and relating any more suspicious actions back to the dispatcher.  Should Zimmerman have complied with this request? Most people would say yes.

    Even after Zimmerman relates that Martin is running,  the dispatcher asks for more information -- until  the dispatcher realizes that Zimmerman is physcially following Martin and tells hi that's unnecessary.  Zimmerman says "OK".

    People hear different things when they listen to the tape but right now, because of the tape, so you may not agree with me.

    But I am not disputing the principle of that Zimmerman should have let the police handle the matter. I'm disputing your contention that he didn't do that.  He sounds like he is doing that all during the phone call, and intends to keep doing it after he hangs up.  What he actually did or thought after that is more of a mystery.


    And if Zimmerman was trying (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by ding7777 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:25:37 AM EST
    to pinpoint the suspicious person's location for the police and was jumped by Trayvon, what would you want Zimmerman to do?

    it's not going over anyone's head (2.00 / 0) (#184)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 02:32:22 AM EST
    people disagree with you.

    The facts are in dispute as to what happened.  George may have been trying to do what you suggested but prevented from doing so because he was attacked.

    The investigator testified he had no evidence to contradict GZ's claim he was walking back to his car when the encounter took place. GZ reportedly told police (and police have since verified ithis is what he said) that he was going back to his car to wait for police. He siad Trayvon surprised and attacked him. Even his phone friend says TM first verbally challenged GZ. If that's what happened, and I understand your opinion that it did not, he didn't purposefully obtstruct any investigation by the police. He was prevented from allowing events to unfold that way.

    Yes one person is dead. But if Zimmerman's version is accurate, had he not acted, he might be dead or permanently brain-damaged, especially if it turns out there was a struggle for the gun.


    TM verbally challenged GZ first? (none / 0) (#194)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:10:52 AM EST
    My recollection of the friend's statement that what she overheard on the phone was:

    GZ: What are you doing here?

    TM: Why are you following me?


    Sorry. Your recollection is in error. (none / 0) (#200)
    by Gandydancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:49:15 AM EST
    Investigation (none / 0) (#100)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:20:06 PM EST
    The police investigated for fifteen days, handing the case to the state attorney on March 13, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

    Are you assuming that a case cannot be investigated without a suspect in custody?

    A lawyer who comments at Bloggingheads has said that prosecutors often prefer not to arrest a suspect before the investigation is complete, especially if the suspect is co-operating as Zimmerman was. See the last two paragraphs of this comment.


    Statements made to Martin's father (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:39:09 PM EST
    My recollection is that the police told Martin's father that Zimmerman was 'squeaky clean' by way of explaining why Zimmerman had been released.  I don't think they told Mr Martin that 15 days later.  I would have thought Zimmerman's past difficulties with assaulting an undercover cop, anger-management classes and domestic violence accusations would be easy to find on a computer - or through direct questioning -- and be a reason not to let Zimmerman back on the street within a few hours.

    I can appreciate that there are reasons not to hold a suspect.  But I think Zimmerman effectively ceased to be a suspect within a few hours.  I could be wrong about that, but I am surprised at how little vigor there seems to have been on the part of the Sanford police to find out if anybody in the vicinity could identify Martin and what was up with George Zimmerman the shooter.

    Maybe there are explanations that have been published that I missed.


    btw, nomatter0nevermind, thx for the link (none / 0) (#134)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:51:16 PM EST
    it was interesting to read and answered several of my questions about dismissal of the case and the prosecutor's affidavit

    Official City Manager Statement (none / 0) (#147)
    by Raoul on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:17:39 PM EST
    Why was George Zimmerman labeled as "squeaky clean" when in fact he has a prior arrest history?
    In one of the initial meetings with the father of the victim the investigator related to him the account that Mr. Zimmerman provided of the incident. At that time the investigator said that Mr. Zimmerman portrayed himself to be "squeaky clean". We are aware of the background information regarding both individuals involved in this event. We believe Mr. Martin may have misconstrued this information.



    and police say his father (none / 0) (#174)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:20:56 PM EST
    misinterpreted some of their comments. So as well-intentioned as Mr. Martin may be, his recounting of what he was told is not fact.

    Police did not stop investigating the crime or GZ's account by not arresting him. They questioned him again the next day, and GZ did a walkthrough at the scene with them. They submitted clothing for forensic analysis. They had the gun to submit for testing. They needed to get the autopsy results, and phone records. And interview and reinterview witnesses. They had nothing at that time to disprove Zimmerman's account and therefore no grounds to arrest. The law in Florida say you are immune from arrest unless the police have probable cause your self defense claim isn't true. They didn't. The witnesses interviewed that night did not dispute Z's claim. John backed him up. Cutcher/Selma later changed their account according to the Sanford POlice (and the 911 call) and you can see them flanked by Martin attorneys at their press conference.

    The police did not stop investigating the crime. They didn't rush to judgment which is good. An investigation isn't about trying to find facts to fit your theory. It's about following the facts wherever they lead.

    GZ's prior arrest that did not result in a conviction and a civil restaining order is not probable cause for murder. He didn't take anger management classes in connection with a dom viol dispute, it was in connection with the alleged assault on the police officer. In almost every deferred case, classes of some type are required. Drug classes, anger classes. They pick the one that fits the crime. For assualt, it's anger management.

    The judge at the bond hearing didn't find the 2005 arrest relevant, he basically told the state to move on when it brought it up and the judge gave several examples of college type behavior he found similar which didn't mean much several years later.


    Thanks for the added information jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:09:25 AM EST
    I did know that the anger management classes were tied to the assault, not the domestic violence claim.  But had not known this much detail about the police investigation -- and never suggested that the police investigation should be about constructing a theory of the case.

    I will say again, though, that I perceive an asymmetry in the way George Zimmerman's past behavior is viewed and Trayvon Martin's is.  Leaving aside the reactions of police and the judge to information as to whether George Zimmerman's past behavior in college or even more recently in his neighborhood might be a "prelude" to his shooting Martin, it is pretty obvious that the most trivial high school and teen misbehavior on Martin's part is being considered relevant to whether Martin did the implausible thing of attacking Zimmerman without provocation.  Not saying Martin didn't -- just saying it defies logic.

    Don't know how the law and society deals with such asymmetry when long-time observation suggests the asymmetry is due to a persistent double standard based an on near-automatic racism.  In this particular instance, one does not want to see Zimmerman get anything less fair due to a national legacy, at the same time, one wonders if utterly flimsy "evidence" of Martin's alleged attack will be seen as believable because of same legacy.


    Honestly, I don't get where you (none / 0) (#199)
    by Darby on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 06:49:07 AM EST
    are saying there was negative asymmetry in the way Martin was portrayed. If anything, in the media it was the opposite for weeks. Zimmerman was portrayed as a 250 lb vigilante, whom we only saw depicted in a mug shot. Compared to photo of what appeared to be a little kid. We were led to believe there was absolutely no evidence
    The Sanford police record/statement shows they were away of the history on both individuals.
    We know only the prosecutor is the one who introduced background information at the hearing; which the judge ruled immaterial.

    Despite knowing that their is an eye witness who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, Zimmerman calling out for help, injuries sustained by Zimmerman, we have still heard for weeks about Martin was hunted down and killed like a rabbit.

    I just don't see the rational behind your claim.


    A dead body vs. a suspension (5.00 / 2) (#208)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:15:29 AM EST

    I only became fascinated by the GZ - Martin case about a week ago, when I finally listened to the 911 call for the first time.  I was really shocked by how different the phone conversation was from what had been portrayed in the media.  Really shocked.  Especially when it came to hoodies and such.

    I am very much aware of the media mis-portrayal of these events and the people involved.  But there is a big difference in gravity when it comes to shooting somebody and a school suspension when it comes to how we -- or at least I --scrutinize somebody else's character and position in society.

    I am a stickler about the presumption of innocence.  I think GZ may have acted in self-defense. I think it is possible that not only did TM attack him, but that he was engaged in criminal behavior in the neighborhood before that which Zimmerman had observed.

    But I think determining whether Zimmerman had a predilection  to act impulsively, including possibly a predilection to act violently on impulse, is of more import in this case than if Martin had a history of school suspensions for smoking weed.

    I'm not quarreling with what the judge did at the bail hearing. I don't think Zimmerman is a flight risk. And I expect he will disallow both Zimmerman's past record and Martin's past record to be brought up at trial, .  However, if Martin's character or past is allowed to become an issue in the trial in the way some people on the internet apparently think it should be,  it will be dismaying, to say the least.


    directed by whom (none / 0) (#83)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:28:54 PM EST
    That is an easy answer: local school boards, state and federal education agency.

    Reducing the number of suspension of minority  students particularly males has been a primary focus of educational agencies for the past decade.

    These policy directives represent progress in discipline programming aimed at improving educational outcomes, as described in the Dade county handbook the preferred discipline alternative are referrals to on campus interventions and supportive services.  

    I have been deeply involved in education and school safety compliance matters for over a decade. My husband is an data analyst in a large inner city school district providing compliance monitoring reports and assessments.  


    Maybe because (none / 0) (#50)
    by Darby on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:57:41 AM EST
    it was his 3rd suspension this school year, so they felt compelled to give him the maximum suspension.

    Have things changed a lot since I was in school? (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:16:32 AM EST

    When I was in American high school, punishments and suspensions were highly arbitrary and unfair -- and kids regarded them with mixed feelings, to say the least. Certainly nobody respected them or thought they were proof of anything. They were meaningless. Kids disregarded them (even came to school to see their friends), to which the administrative response was to -- ta-dah! -- create longer suspensions, so kids fell behind, had worse attitudes.

    Maybe Trayvon Martin went to a really lousy school with bad teachers. Does that make it more likely he attacked George Zimmerman unprovoked? Hardly. But then being suspended from school for 10 days hardly indicate anything either about the events of that night.


    Never suspended myself (none / 0) (#60)
    by Darby on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:44:10 AM EST
    so can't comment. I don't know that length of suspension indicates anything about the night of the shooting either. A poster above seem to question why he was suspended for 10 instead of fewer days, so I offered up a possible explanation.

    The fact that Trayvon was suspended multiple times does change the early narrative of him that was thrust onto the public.


    I can't remember if I ever was! (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:57:41 AM EST
    It's not because it's been so long since I was in high school, it's because discipline in the schools I went to was seen as a joke by the kids, simply because the teachers seemed to make up the rules on the spot.

    The picture of both parties that was "put out there" is wildly divergent from realities.  In addition, some things about Zimmerman's past are being treated as shoulder-shruggers (domestic violence, anger management courses, no steady career) while misbehavior by Martin is being taken as evidence of a budding criminal.

    I'm also surprised at how often I hear theories of the case that rest upon Martin's "hormones."  It is hard to imagine that if females were the actors in this case that "hormones" would be accepted as explanatory of anything.  It would be seen as prejudicial stereotyping ("Was she having her period? Wouldn't that have made her act irrationally?")


    I don't think that's irrational (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:17:11 AM EST
    You don't think that some teenage boys with tons of testosterone, combined with a culture that encourages young men to be macho and not let anyone "disrespect you", could lead to trouble, especially in a high adrenaline situation?

    Nothing fits that description of Trayvon Martin (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:26:33 AM EST
    My real point was that people take a very dim view these days of saying female behavior is driven by female hormones.   But it is fashionable to believe boys' should be watched closely for hormonal disturbances.

    Bear in mind that most descriptions of Trayvon Martin are that he liked to babysit, bake cookies and some other similarly "feminine" things.

    I just doubt if George Zimmerman's lawyer will be putting hormone experts on the stand to back up Zimmerman's claim that Martin attacked him without provocation. But maybe so many people would buy that, he should!  I wouldn't buy it.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Darby on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:32:59 AM EST
    Bear in mind that most descriptions of Trayvon Martin are that he liked to babysit, bake cookies and some other similarly "feminine" things.

    Where have you heard these descriptions? I have heard he was a football player, had multiple suspensions including one for possession of drug paraphanalia, tweeted with a, um, unfeminine handle (nolimitnigga) and have seen photo of him sporting gangsta style gold teeth.

    Seems quite the opposite of a babysitting, cookie baking youth.


    Yes so? (none / 0) (#105)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:45:05 PM EST
    jbindc is correct though I'm disagree about the testosterone thing.  It's not a case of opposite.  It's a case of different sides of his personality.  I imagine that a lot of people are multifaceted.

    I think I read Charles Blow in the NYTImes (none / 0) (#130)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:25:49 PM EST

    I should add I've read all sorts of things about Trayvon Martin -- that he was an honor's student, that he wrote dirty tweets, that he did or didn't have a girlfriend, that he was shy, that his father thought he was a problem.

    I have no idea which are true and which aren't true, but all of them sound more believable to me than this is a case of male teenage hormones.  Most boys don't attack grown men without what most of us would consider sufficient provocation  This could be an exception, but Zimmerman's story that he didn't do anything to initiate the struggle needs more explaining than "Martin has testosterone."


    Zimmerman doesn't have to explain it. (none / 0) (#205)
    by Gandydancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:04:30 AM EST
    He's innocent until proven guilty.

    Whch doesn't mean anything (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:39:23 AM EST
    He also played football and worked out.

    And I don't know if that's what happened.  But it's not out of the realm of possibility that Martin was both - into "feminine things" and could be fierce and a typi al teenage boy.  Heck, Rosey Greer was one of tbe fiercest defensive tackles in the NFL and took down Sirhan Sirhan on the day of the Robert Kennedy assassination, yet he's written dozens of books on needlepoint and macrame.

    I don't think it's "fashionable" to look at boys and talk about testosterone - I think it's something thatcan eadily be observed in any mall on any given weekend.


    He was being followed... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Dadler on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:43:13 AM EST
    ...by an irrational guy with a gun, who believed a hoodie automatically equated with criminal mischief.  Martin, whether he was 17 or 45, it is clear, had every reason to be in fear.  

    But I have a hunch Zimmerman will walk or get a slap on the wrist, and then all hell is going to break loose.  And I mean HELL.  Hope I'm wrong.  


    None of which (none / 0) (#74)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 10:48:29 AM EST
    ...by an irrational guy with a gun, who believed a hoodie automatically equated with criminal mischief. Martin, whether he was 17 or 45, it is clear, had every reason to be in fear.

    You really know and are just completely and wildly speculating.


    What "early narrative"? (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:04:29 PM EST
    The fact that Trayvon was suspended multiple times does change the early narrative of him that was thrust onto the public.

    The one that portrayed him as a perfect boy who never got in any trouble?

    That would be imaginary.

    Maybe the one that portrayed an unarmed, teenager who went to the store and was returning home?

    That would be accurate.

    How does it change that?


    You're really in denial... (1.00 / 1) (#188)
    by Gandydancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 03:11:11 AM EST
    ...if you don't recognize that there was an "early narrative" that has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

    If Stand Your Ground laws (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:16:49 PM EST
    become any more common place, and people can just blow away someone when they feel (feelings aren't facts) "their life is threatened", I don't think very many Americans have the abilities and skills required to have quality of life in that environment.  My husband might have a decent shot at it though.

    Canard (none / 0) (#4)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:52:07 PM EST
    This is a Big Lie circulated by opponents of SYG. Such laws do not remove the traditional requirement of reasonable belief.

    Here's the Florida statute.


    Translation (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:54:41 PM EST
    leave no witnesses.

    Really? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:55:20 PM EST
    He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony

    What's "reasonable", define it


    Here's the jury instruction (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:10:06 PM EST
    There is a presumption of reasonable fear only if it occurs in a dwelling, residence or car. Anywhere else, the objective, reasonable standard is used. 3.6(f)  JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE
    (2010 Version):

    In deciding whether defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used.  The danger facing the defendant need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.  Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.

    All SYG does is take away the duty to retreat:

    If the defendant was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony (by the victim.)

    The existing Rules of Engagement (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:12:47 PM EST
    that currently exist in Afghanistan are more strict than what too many argue for here and demand is fine for SYG laws.  Do you understand that?

    of course they are. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jpe on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:34:37 AM EST
    we're doing counterinsurgency there.

    What constitutes a failed state? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:54:18 PM EST
    No social safety net as well as the government being unable to provide basic safety to the populace.  Academia basically agrees that Afghanistan became the terrorist haven that it did because it is a failed state.  And for me, this SYG stuff is on the road to our own country visiting the realm of failed states.

    So the ROE's are screwed up. (none / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 06:56:13 AM EST
    The ROE have always been really tight (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:18:16 PM EST
    But when everyone we know that left in December went to train up they said the ROE are even tighter.  Better not shoot even in horrible fear in the war zone of Afghanistan and be wrong, you will be charged with murder....in the United States though it is okay.

    This is from the recent Military Times.

    An Army captain gave a master sergeant the go-ahead to kill an insurgent in Afghanistan who was plotting an attack on a medical convoy on its way to treat local women and children.

    But shortly after the NCO killed the insurgent, both he and the captain were charged with murder and violating rules of engagement.

    The rules of engagement, or ROE, govern when it's OK to shoot and when it's not. After-action reviews of commanders' decisions have led to courts-martial, career-killing bad evals and endless second guessing.

    The rest of this story will be available online later.


    Strange, confusing language: (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:52:30 AM EST
    Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.

    Will there be a SYG hearing? (none / 0) (#38)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:54:29 AM EST

    I had gotten the impression from reading early news reports that there would be some kind of hearing where the judge could end up dismissing the case based on a preponderance of the evidence showing that George Zimmerman "stood his ground" in the face of great threat, etc.

    Then I read that O'Mara might not ask for such a hearing.

    Does O'Mara have any options in the coming days or weeks to argue for a dismissal of the charges that isn't based on "stand your ground" but on other claims the charges should be tossed away?


    Immunity Hearing (none / 0) (#101)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:29:13 PM EST
    I think O'Mara was supposed to start getting discovery material yesterday. I haven't seen any report on whether that actually happened.

    I would think O'Mara would take a day or two, maybe longer, to study the evidence before moving for the immunity hearing.


    And what is one man's great bodily (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:59:08 PM EST
    harm is not another man's great bodily harm.  Define exactly what is great bodily harm, and I can fear that anyone who has said one single unkind (I perceived it as unkind) word to me might mean to inflict great bodily harm upon me.

    Being Reasonable (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:20:20 PM EST
    If what you say is true, your quarrel is not with SYG but with the doctrine of justifiable use of deadly force that has been part of American law for generations. It is also with the many other areas of law in which jurors are asked to apply 'reasonable belief' and 'reasonable person' standards.

    I didn't used to just have to be afraid (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:28:46 PM EST
    though to blow someone away.  They needed to pull a gun on me or something of that nature.  Now, I just need to "believe" in a confined space or a space I believe I'm confined in that they are going to pull a gun on me, or a knife, or severely beat the crap out of me..... and then I can blow them away.

    Patiently I Repeat Myself (none / 0) (#13)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:40:37 PM EST
    Now, I just need to "believe" . . .

    You need for the jury to agree that the belief was reasonable. They all have to agree for you to be acquitted and jeopardy attach. One dissent, the jury hangs, the prosecution can try again.

    That's the same as before SYG.

    You're just repeating the same falsehood that's already been debunked.


    Don't need a jury. (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:56:07 PM EST
    All you need is an agreeable judge at a pre-trial hearing.

    Good Point (none / 0) (#19)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:46:04 PM EST

    You do have to convince the judge under a preponderance of evidence standard. The jury only needs reasonable doubt.

    Or you might have a bench trial, but in I'm told that in Florida the state has to consent.


    No sorry (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:47:06 PM EST
    The jury only needs to believe that I believed.

    False (none / 0) (#20)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:46:41 PM EST
    This has been shown to be false, and you keep repeating it.

    The general standard I apply to self defense... (none / 0) (#18)
    by redwolf on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:33:17 PM EST
    if the person defending themselves was a cop would they go to jail for it?  As long as cops walk away from the most brutal killings without jail time then I believe it fair to hold regular citizens to the same standard.  

    are you in Florida? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:21:20 AM EST
    Their self-defense rules for law enforcement officers are different than those for other people, and the jury is instructed differently.  

    Nope (none / 0) (#23)
    by Cody on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:30:23 AM EST
    SYG laws have not changed this one iota.

    Great Bodily Harm (none / 0) (#25)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:37:24 AM EST
    My Friday night comfort food TV (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:20:16 PM EST
    'who do you think you are?' is good tonight  Rob Lowe looks fabulous while discovering his Hessian ancestor.

    I used to watch that on Fridays (none / 0) (#189)
    by lilburro on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 03:11:49 AM EST
    with a group of people at a bar I went to...with I think the appropriate mixture of gossip and suspense :)  Rosie O'Donnell's episode stands out in my mind.  

    comment deleted for name-calling (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:10:26 PM EST
    of George Zimmerman.  As that commenter knows, we don't allow that. If s/he continues, s/he will be banned from commenting.

    Redacted from the charging affidavit (none / 0) (#24)
    by MSimon on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 12:33:53 AM EST
    "Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin."

    Evidently mistakes were made in the charging document.

    I believe there was a response (by Jeralyn?)... (none / 0) (#76)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:20:16 AM EST
    ...explaining that the upcoming SYG hearing would simultaneously address the sufficiency of the evidence for the arrest, under a different section of law. Can someone point me at that posting?

    I don't believe there was (none / 0) (#116)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:00:57 PM EST
    such a post. The sufficiency of the affidavit for arrest would probably only come up if property had been seized, observations by police or statements made by GZ that GZ claims was fruit of the illegal arrest.

    Otherwise, the affidavit may be used for impeachment purposes during cross-examination of the investigators or others mentioned in it.

    The affidavit was been found to constitute probable cause by Judge Herr at the first appearance. If there's nothing to suppress from it, there's nothing to ask for. The remedy for an illegal search or seizure or arrest is suppression of any items seized or statements taken. GZ doesn't want his statement suppressed, he wants them to come in so he can show he told the truth right away and had nothing to hide. Same for their observations of his injuries.


    It might have been on a site... (none / 0) (#172)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 11:03:49 PM EST
    ...linked to from here, one that you post to. It was explained that the initial hearing was only on sufficient cause to make the arrest, that the level of proof was something like suspicion and not probable cause, and no examination was made of the adequacy of support for the charge. Also the hearings were referred to by "name" (Florida casename, eg "'Davis' hearing", or somesuch) as well as statute number. But thanks for your clarification.

    I want to be charitable... (none / 0) (#102)
    by ks on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:29:59 PM EST
    But, a lot of these tales seem suspect.  To me, they read like "just so" stories created to fit a narrative and/or opinion.  

    charitable ? (2.00 / 1) (#146)
    by michele on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 07:06:58 PM EST
    would city press releases with suspects photo make it easier for you to be charitable towards a crime victim's mother?

    How do you think it felt to arrive to the scene while my son reported details to the beat cop to see the hand prints on my sons neck?

    My agenda is simple, less violence.

    you just violated me.


    Yep. Exactly. (none / 0) (#110)
    by Mary2012 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:56:47 PM EST
    Is the Zimmerman/Martin (none / 0) (#103)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 03:33:23 PM EST
    fine-tooth-combing here more or less worthy of interest than my Polanski obsession?  Do NOT answer that.  

    I See Your Polanski (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:54:17 PM EST
    And raise you a Duke lacrosse team.

    OMG! (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by Zorba on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:04:01 PM EST
    {As I run screaming from the room, covering my eyes, and vowing never to read another comment.  At least for a whole 30 seconds.}

    LOL! (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Zorba on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 04:55:47 PM EST
    You just had to remind us of the whole Polanski obsession thing, didn't you?    ;-)

    I got pretty into VdS too. (none / 0) (#119)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:07:03 PM EST
    Tebow too! (none / 0) (#121)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:09:01 PM EST
    but not the DEA's African vacation? (none / 0) (#122)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:09:56 PM EST
    Or the Somali pirates? Or DSK? Or Paris? There are so many....

    What did I miss re Paris???? (none / 0) (#123)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:11:25 PM EST
    Hopefully nothing (none / 0) (#125)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:15:08 PM EST
    I was just naming other cases I thought worthy of fine-tooth combing and obsession.

    If you could use an investigative reporter-- (none / 0) (#128)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:21:14 PM EST
    pick me!  (Once my renewed passport arrives, that is.)

    oculus, I do believe the Paris (none / 0) (#129)
    by caseyOR on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:25:49 PM EST
    in question is Paris Hilton, not Paris, France. Sorry to rain on your potential Parisian parade, kid. :-)

    Not on my radar! (none / 0) (#131)
    by oculus on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:30:49 PM EST
    DSK is glad you asked (none / 0) (#133)
    by 12345 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 05:42:54 PM EST
    There is a new set of articles by Edward Jay Epstein in the Guardian, ahead of his book about DSK and the missing blackberry and Sarkozy,  if you are still into fine-tooth-combing:



    I read the editor's statement weeks ago (none / 0) (#178)
    by michele on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:00:14 AM EST
    From the statement:

    It should be mentioned that at this time Wagist is not retracting evidence that Dan has gathered, but merely the narrative that was constructed to surround it.

    Comment posting malfunction? (none / 0) (#209)
    by 12345 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 07:41:39 AM EST
    At least on my connection, I've lost the ability to reply to individual comments in this thread.

    @GANDY -- can you see me down here?

    I don't know you felt the need to add an ad hominem insult to your response to me.  I didn't ignore your analysis of why you think it is impossible that GZ could have unholstered his gun. I said I didn't buy it.  We could both go on forever writing screenplays about guns drawn, guns being knocked out of hands, why struggles were 2 minutes instead of 5, etc.  But it is all just speculation.

    As to GZ having a "right" to "regain Martin in his sight",  we also disagree. The police were not required to get a restraining order against Zimmerman to back up their stated request that he stop following Martin, especially since they obviously believed they had a secured an agreement from Zimmerman to desist.  

    Everyone has an obligation, in my view, not to give falsehoods to the police.  If Zimmerman had lied to the police about Martin's movements, it would not sit well.  If Zimmerman was lying about his movements, this too is a  problem.

    If you disagree, surely you can find a way to express yourself that doesn't involve personal attack.

    Who was on top of whom? (none / 0) (#210)
    by Luke Lea on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:10:28 PM EST
    If it's true that 5 of the 911 callers reported screaming then it is likely there were more witnesses that heard same but didn't call 911 and it is also likely that one or more of those actually took a peek out the window.  I shouldn't be suprised if there are more eye witness accounts come trial.

    the reply button (none / 0) (#211)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 12:53:37 PM EST
    stops working when comments hit 200 because our threads automatically close at 200 comments. This thread is at 210 so it's closed. I'll put up a new open thread.