Zimmerman: Jury Instructions

This thread is for a discussion of the jury instructions and lesser included offenses the judge will provide the jury.

I'll update as soon as I find out what the final decision was. If you've been watching, please fill us in.

Update: There will be no third degree murder from child abuse instruction. There will be no instruction on provoking the use of force (aggressor.) The judge rejected the defense request for a circumstantial evidence instruction. Thanks to Cylinder, here are the links to video of the charge conference.

< Benjamin Crump: Who Screamed Doesn't Matter | Zimmerman Trial: State's Closing Argument >
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    Summary of Jury Instructions (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:14:09 PM EST
    2nd degree murder
    Lesser included of manslaughter
    3rd degree murder on aggravated child abuse is out (no allegation in the information plus no evidence adduced at trial)
    Self defense instruction does NOT include the provocation disqualifier.
    Defense request to have a "following is not illegal nor is it provocation" instruction is denied, and the state is allowed to argue that following is a pseudo-element of the crime.

    thank you! (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:23:46 PM EST
    I was just looking for that.

    She will also instruct them that justifiable homicide precludes conviction on murder 2 and manslaughter, but there was some discussion at the end about where it was going to go.


    She said one thing that made me think (none / 0) (#1)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:59:10 AM EST
    she was leaning toward throwing out the 3rd Degree Murder because of "intent" with child abuse.

    Then later I wasn't so sure she'll do that. I guess we'll see in a few minutes.

    I don't think it's right to spring something at 7:30 in the morning with a 9:00 hearing on it. That's not what justice means to me as a person. Lay it out up front, then prove it. It may be legal, but there's a lot of "legal" (or illegal) things I don't agree with.

    Wow she said no on 3rd Degree (none / 0) (#2)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:04:17 PM EST

    Judge excludes third degree (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:05:07 PM EST
    murder/child abuse

    That's good for the defense. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:08:46 PM EST
    Jeralyn, I tried to take notes while they went through these. Manlaughter By Act requires intent they said.

    That means to be found guilty, the jury should find he had intent to kill TM? I don't see that. Do I have it wrong?


    So I take it that is different than (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:15:19 PM EST
    some kind of Involuntary Manslaughter, where they could find that in shooting, GZ just meant to stop the fight, not to kill TM.  Too bad actually since I believe that is closest to what really happened.

    Self-Defense (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:18:42 PM EST
    Rules out any manslaughter. So the State would have to prove Zimmerman was not acting in self defense, Imo..



    If you take out the self-defense (none / 0) (#12)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:23:26 PM EST
    part. I try to tell myself "take the gun out". If, in the fight, GZ got in a blow that somehow killed TM, and he had a sentence of a few years, I couldn't strongly argue that, though, in that case, I'd want to know who started the fight. The gun is only there because FL allows it (here, too, and I hate it).

    It's a bad sad case. I don't think under FL law he should go to prison for 30 years or more with manslaughter. That's my big hang up.


    No Gun (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:27:08 PM EST
    If all things were the same, save no gun, I do not think that there would be any substantial difference in the law if Zimmerman delivered a fatal blow to Martin.

    And if you are consistent, there should be no diff (none / 0) (#18)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:36:12 PM EST
    The narrative would be identical except for the final act.  "And then Zimmerman delivered the fatal blow with his fist."

    All the rest would be the same.  Zimmerman profiled, followed, there was a confrontation, Zimmerman is a wannabe cop, he studied MMA and self defense, somebody was screaming (Sybrina says it was the victim).

    So, in order to be consistent, the Martin side has to come to the same conclusion, 2nd degree murder, depraved mind (on the same facts used to establish depraved mind by this prosecutor), unlawful use of force, victim is dead.

    In the Gibbs case, Gibbs was charged with murder because the victim died of a heart attack half an hour after being shoved and stressed out.  So, the fact that the force was not deadly doesn't save defendant.


    Right, I agree. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:40:16 PM EST
    I think the gun made it more the national storyline it became is what I meant. If one died in a plain old fight, I don't think we'd know about it unless we were living there.

    I meant my perception of it, I guess.


    Not So Sure (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:45:01 PM EST
    A bereaved family who believes that their son was murdered, and that the murder is going scott free because the system is racist, might hire Crump, even without a gun involved, and all the players would line up for personal gain.

    it does make a litte sense (none / 0) (#24)
    by nyjets on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:07:31 PM EST
    If someone kills someone's else in a fist fight, unless one or both are trained in hand to hand combat, if someone dies it may more often than not be an accident.
    However, if one person brings a gun to a fight, it makes it less likely that it was an accident the assumption being is that if you bring a gun, you are at least thinking of hurting someone.
    Mind you this is all hypothetical and every situation is different.

    No intent to kill (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:21:51 PM EST
    It's intent to do the act not to kill.

    There is no intent to kill in either murder 2 or manslaughter.


    Ah, thanks. So if they believe he had (none / 0) (#14)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:24:48 PM EST
    intent, with NO self-defense, it's guilty even if he didn't mean to or want to kill him.

    Mantei(sp) looks sick (none / 0) (#4)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:05:33 PM EST
    So it's either Murder Two or manslaughter.

    Judge Nelson (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by fishcamp on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:12:41 PM EST
    reminds me of Mother Superior at my Catholic grade school.  All she needs is a nun's cap to go with her robe/habit.  

    Or (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:17:00 PM EST
    OMGoodness. (none / 0) (#25)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:32:16 PM EST
    Nuns are almost as scary as dentist.



    When people say, the state has (none / 0) (#16)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:28:57 PM EST
    to disprove self-defense, how is that made clear to the jury? Maybe they don't believe it but aren't sure. In that case the state didn't meet its burden.

    But how does the jury know it's not that the defense has to prove self-defense, but it's the state who has to prove it was not?

    The judge (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:30:35 PM EST
    should instruct them (and probably has multiple times) that the defendant doesn't have to prove anything.

    But that's not the same thing from what (none / 0) (#19)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:37:48 PM EST
    FL defense lawyers say. They said they have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and have to disprove self-defense. Maybe it's just their way of expaining the same thing, but they always say it as if it's two burdens to meet.

    The STATE (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:44:27 PM EST
    ...to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and have to disprove self-defense

    The defendant does not have to prove anything.

    Technically, Zimmerman and his lawyers could sit there and play cards at the table all trial long and not say one word. (Although the judge might find that disrespectful!)  :)


    the state has to both (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:41:27 PM EST
    prove second degree murder and/or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt and disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

    If they don't prove intent on murder 2, they can consider manslaughter. But if they find the state didn't disprove self defense, then his conduct was lawful and he didn't commit a crime. From the pattern instructions:

    A killing that is excusable or was committed by the use of justifiable deadly force is lawful.

    If you find [Martin] was killed by [Zimmerman] you will then consider the circumstances surrounding the killing in deciding if the killing was Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter, or whether the killing was excusable or resulted from justifiable use of deadly force.

    Thank you, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#29)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:07:58 PM EST
    That sounds like a very tough burden to get over. I hope the jury understands that easier than I did. I'm glad they allow instructions in the jury room.

    may we have (none / 0) (#23)
    by kmblue on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:56:37 PM EST
    an open thread?

    done, sorry about that (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:43:26 PM EST
    I was immersed in the Zimmerman court proceedings.

    Jury Instructions for this case online yet? (none / 0) (#28)
    by RickyJim on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 07:03:40 PM EST
    I am most curious if they are written in such a way that the jurors will know that if they decide affirmatively that Zimmerman acted in self defense, there is an automatic acquittal on the Murder2 and Manslaughter charges.