The Legacy of the George Zimmerman Trial

Here's what I wrote last week on the legacy of the George Zimmerman case. It's as true today as it has been for the past 16 months.

The legacy of this case will be that the media never gets it right, and worse, that a group of lawyers, with the aid of a public relations team, who had a financial stake in the outcome of pending and anticipated civil litigation, were allowed to commandeer control of Florida's criminal justice system, in pursuit of a divisive, personal agenda.

Their transformation of a tragic but spontaneous shooting into the crime of the century, and their relentless demonization of the person they deemed responsible, not for a tragic killing, but for "cold-blooded murder," has called into question the political motives and ethics of the officials serving in the Executive branch of Florida's government, ruined the career of other public officials, turned the lives of the Zimmerman family, who are as innocent as their grieving clients, into a nightmare, and along the way, set back any chance of a rational discussion of the very cause they were promoting, probably for years. [More....]

The problems of racial disparity and arbitrary enforcement of our criminal laws are real, systemic and need to be addressed. Criminal defense lawyers see it and fight to correct it every day. From charging decisions to plea offers to sentences, the system is not fair and everybody knows it.

But this case has never been representative of those problems. And perhaps most unfortunate of all, as a result of the false narrative created by the lawyers for grieving parents who tragically lost their son -- a narrative perpetuated by a complicit and ratings-hungry media -- any attempt at meaningful reform is likely to fall on deaf ears for years to come.

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    I respectfully dissent (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:14:32 PM EST
    But it's been a pleasure rading your analysis, as always, Ms. Merritt.

    Coming from an interracial family, with members who get followed around a store the minute the enter (because they are black men and assumed to be criminals), and having been held at gunpoint myself in 1979, at a mere twelve years old, by a cop who mistakenly thought I'd robbed a liquor store at (if that guy'd had an itchy finger then I AM Trayvon Martin today, and very long gone), I've tried to be clear that all my prejudices as a result have played into my reading of this case (and I did read everything, paid no attention to MSM talking heads or anything but what I could read of the factual record).

    Anyway, this is why I give money. So this kind of site can exist. I may not like the POV on every chosen case, but freedom requires I support it.

    Peace, J, and great work as always.

    Proofreading is your friend.... (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:15:50 PM EST
    ...proofreading is your friend, proofreading is your friend, proofreading is your friend, proofreading is your friend, proofreading is...

    It is very sad to see (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:17:08 PM EST
    the heart of the African American community broken.  It seems every single African American is grieving over this case.

    It is not so easily dumped on Crump and his group in Florida for the divisiveness.  Everyone could see for themselves what happened independently of Crump et. al.



    I'm not an African American and I'm done. (none / 0) (#188)
    by dainla on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:27:55 PM EST
    Seriously, I'm 46. I'm done with this country.  The gun fascination, the endless violence, the turning back of rights.

    I give up.  Obama made me not want to be political but now I'm just finished.  Time to become like B37, stick my head in the ground and not pay attention.

    It's not worth it. The corporations run it all.  (And yes, in this case, the NRA, a lobbying organization created by the gun manufacturers, too)

    I'm just done.


    As the details of that night came out (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jtaylorr on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:16:45 PM EST
    it became clearer and clearer that, under Florida law, Zimmerman committed no crime.
    But to me that this is one of those events that people will look back at in 50 or 100 years and think 'how could anybody believe that they lived in a fair, modern, civilized society in 2013 when what Zimmerman did was considered legal?' Though I think the same about our country's gun laws, so I'm sure many here will disagree. Suppose it comes down to whether one believes that American exceptionalism/radical individualism will still be the prevailing national ethos a century down the road.

    Self defense is self defense regardless of the... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by redwolf on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:31:43 PM EST
    weapon used. If for example what if Zimmerman hit Martin with a rock and killed him?  Dead
    is Dead. A single blow to the head can and often does kill.  Guns only serve to make men and women, young and old, strong and weak equal when it comes to self defense.

    Just which of the... (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by heidelja on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:30:10 PM EST
    ...multiple head injuries do you think were self-inflicted? And for those that maybe weren't self-inflicted which ones would be seen as "serious" by domestic violence advocates if such injuries appeared on a women so victimized? Would/should this go seen differently in 100 yrs, as well?

    I think (none / 0) (#187)
    by dainla on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:25:21 PM EST
    the part where a guy can stalk the streets with a gun and end up killing someone.

    You won't find many western counties where that's okey dokey.


    Part of the Legacy (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:24:26 PM EST
    is dictated by how the elected officials react.

    Here is the President:

    "The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.  I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.

    "We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that's a job for all of us.  That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin."

    The president got it wrong (3.25 / 4) (#63)
    by rickroberts on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:38:28 PM EST
    This was not a case about gun violence. It was a case about self-defense. Perhaps the president can start a dialog with young men who think violence is an appropriate response to being dissed.

    yup (4.00 / 3) (#89)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:31:15 PM EST
    The first paragraph was fine.  The second was just adding fuel to the fire.  Self defense is not gun violence.  

    Come on (none / 0) (#189)
    by dainla on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:29:12 PM EST
    be realistic.

    You make no points for your side by being pedantic.  


    It's seems good, (3.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Char Char Binks on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:57:09 PM EST
    but it's still biased against Zimmerman.

    Crime of the century? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:24:59 PM EST
    Not even the top case in Florida's I-4 corridor in the last two years.

    Not even a crime (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:36:08 PM EST
    We're only 13 years in...plenty of time (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:14:02 PM EST
    for there to be something to take over the top spot.

    In all seriousness, I agree.  This was not the crime of the century, unless your last name is Zimmerman or Martin, and then, yes - it's going to be the worst thing that happens to you, probably ever.


    Thanks for the wonderful coverage and analysis, J (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Green26 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:59:09 PM EST
    Don't know how you find the time, but everything you do is much appreciated. You summary of the spin machine and media that went after Zimmerman is excellent. You are remarkably good at poking holes in cases and showing us what the likely outcome should or will be.

    This case is a setback for advancing the causes of reducing prejudice and bringing fairness to people of all colors. Very unfortunate.

    It became fairly clear early on, from reading TL, that what was being portrayed in the media was not accurate, and sometimes not even remotely accurate. It also became clear that Zimmerman should be acquitted, at least in my view.

    As for comments that say that what Zimmerman did, should not be legal. I truly don't understand why. No matter what caused the altercation, one has, and should have, the right to defend oneself. If you nose is out of joint, your head is being banged against the sidewalk, and you can't get away from the guy banging your head against the sidewalk, you should have the right to take action to defend yourself (and save yourself from further harm or death), in my view. And, my view is that the altercation probably started when Smith came Zimmerman.

    My politics aren't on the left, but I enjoy this site, and read it daily (and sometimes more). I too just made a donation. Thx.

    profiling (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by star on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:41:47 PM EST
    We had 4 different burglaries in our otherwise safe family friendly gated community in seminole county FL last year. Police suspected it was someone in the community. and one witness to the 2nd break in said it looked like 2 or 3 teenagers. Almost every teenager was given a second look in the community after that. at the 4th burglary, lady was in her house and saw the boys. both were living in our community and were 16 and 17. there was a massive hunt, choppers, canines the whole nine yards..boys were caught from a neighboring park.
    so would it be profiling if were watching out for any kids who fit the police description? we did not care if kids were white , black or any other color. but we were definitely profiling kids who were male and looked between 16-19 years.  

    Random Thoughts (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:46:57 PM EST
    A big OK to Jeralyn for all her hard work in keeping the signal to noise ratio here better than other places on the net.

    I spend a lot of time on the Volokh Conspiracy and the betting there was the time line was the key to this case.  O'Mara's closing where he said this is how long Martin had to get away and then waited four minutes in complete silence was a real goodie from where I was watching.

    Moving along I am wondering about some of the comments that Rick Scott and Pam Bondi should get bashed for their role in this mess.  I was sorta under the impression that Scott was a rather inexperienced pol who just wanted the whole mess out of his hair (or what little is left of it) and Bondi was basically on the side line.  Not to say Corey did not make things much worse, especially with not having a GJ.  But Scott and Bondi are on one side of the political fence and Corey the other.  I sorta viewed it as Scott saying the dems can deal with this and I wash my hands of it.

    Of course I could be wrong about this, as I am often wrong about lots of stuff.

    Still I see little hope that pols will not try and make hay out of this and doubt there will be any real effort to make things better in terms of changing stuff.

    My last point for now is about HOAs.  Florida law is that HOA rules have the same force as local or state law as long as there is no conflict.  The owner of the unit signed a document agreeing they and their guests (including Martin) would abide by the HOA rules.  Those rules include boiler plate stuff about not doing anything harmful to the HOA.  In a sense this would include Martin not acting like a jerk when confronted by Zimmerman.  It would also include an affirmative obligation on Zimmerman's part to observe and report (and possibly more) suspicious activity.  It is very common for HOA members to approach strangers and ask what they are doing in private property.  Especially in a gated community.

    Don't get me started on HOAs in Florida, but my impression is that none of the lawyers on either side fully understand the difference between being on public property and HOA property.

    HOAs differ a lot (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:13:01 PM EST
    But almost all but the most expensive have a lot of boiler plate language in their rules and declaration.  One important thing is what is common area, limited common area, and private property.  As a rule a street or sidewalk is common property, along with much of the grounds; and anyone allowed in the complex can use it.  Sometimes a small area bordering a unit, like a patio or garden, is limited common area and the owner of the unit has some say over who can enter the limited area.  The inside of a unit is private, but the HOA may have the right to enter with reasonable notice.

    Most HOAs restrict soliciting and can even keep out political and charitable solicitors.  If there is a gate with a lock and a no trespassing sign the public is restricted from entering.  A gated community normally implies privately maintained roads.

    Perhaps more to the point members of an HOA sign a document agreeing to follow the HOA rules and insure any renters or guests follow those rules.  Renters contracts are suppose to contain a clause about following HOA rules and ignorance of the law is no excuse

    This is where Martin runs into problems.  He is suppose to act like a nice guy and Zimmerman has the right to insure folks he sees in the complex belong there.

    Don't get me started on dues.  A big problem in Florida is that if a bank forecloses on a unit they do not have to pay the dues, which means some complexes have a real budget problem.


    HOA Private Property (none / 0) (#51)
    by PM on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:01:39 PM EST
    I'm confused by nearly every commentator on TV today saying anyone has a right to be there and walk in the community. What is the Florida law regarding  gated communities and private property? In my area, it is considered private property and guests have to be registered at the security entrance. So, the commentators currently on TV saying anyone has a right to be there, would be wrong here. I take it Florida private property law/gated community is different?

    Martin was staying within (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:14:39 PM EST
    the complex.  He was staying with his Dad.  He had a right to be there....

    I have never heard of a requirement of being registered with the HOA to get in.   If you enter by yourself, you may need to have the owner put your name on a list for the security guard....

    But Trayvon was not just an overnight guest.


    His (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by DebFrmHell on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:36:35 PM EST
    father was either working or at a hotel in Orlando.  He didn't go to Brandy Green's until Sunday.

    In any case I believe that both individuals had the right to be exactly where they were prior to the confrontation.  The only question for me was whether or not it was self-defense.

    The prosecution never got close to explaining away the 4 minute gap.  And that to me was the key.  I was ready to be convinced and they didn't do it because there was no evidence to the contrary.

    Gilbreath said at the very beginning, first bond hearing, that there was no evidence that contradicted the statements made by Zimmerman.

    Doesn't it make you wonder even a little bit why O'Steen and Gilbreath were not called as prosecution witnesses?  That they called Serino instead?

    Two judges said that there was evidence that the case was strong.  Well, where was it?  I didn't see any of it.


    He was an overnight guest... (none / 0) (#87)
    by unitron on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:05:25 PM EST
    ...just for more than one night, but both he and his father were guests of Brandy Green, who was not a relative of either, so he wasn't staying at his father's or at the home of a family member.

    Here in FL it depends on the community (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:25:18 PM EST
    Some of them have gates and private roads, some gates and still public roads, etc. Many gates have no guards, so if you know the code you can walk or drive in.  Different HOAs are more restrictive on who can come in.

    In any event it does not matter for this case since TM was a guest of a resident.


    We even have a local HOA that has told (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:32:56 PM EST
    the guards not to let in guests of people that are behind on their HOA dues.

    I know of one place that makes residents give the drivers's license numbers of all guests they expect. It they are not on that list they don't get in.

    I believe GZs complex did not have a posted guard or any of these more restrictive policies.


    One more thought and then I'll stop.... (none / 0) (#62)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:37:57 PM EST
    I get the impression from the residents that were witnesses, as well as the size and layout of the place, that this is a basic near-meridian type development for this part of Florida. I've heard people say it was a feted community as if that implies some high standard of living, when here it does not. That community is near a major highway and a major shopping plaza, I surmise they gated it to keep extra traffic out because of those unique circumstances.

    WTF? (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:42:21 PM EST
    Can't get in if they do not pay their dues?

    Oh my....That sounds like a good lawsuit.  


    It was in the news- I think they probably did sue. (none / 0) (#71)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:51:00 PM EST
    I think the HOA may have backed down...or maybe not.

    Since the foreclosure crisis here, dues collection really has been a big problem, forcing many places to shut down pools and other amenities for the residents. Some of these places have huge dues, hundreds a quarter.  Mine is only $115 per quarter- we don't have any amenities except a playground and some landscaped areas.


    That makes sense (none / 0) (#61)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:34:22 PM EST
    The way it was described was that you had to register with the HOA, as in the HOA runs the show....It is merely getting an owner to let you in.  Here that owner clearly was allowing Trayvon to stay there...

    Sounds like California HOAs....


    It could be they have a rule like that in the (none / 0) (#69)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:42:50 PM EST
    HOA by-laws for the Retreat at Twin Lakes, but unless there is a guard to enforce it it doesn't have much practical value. Though maybe it protects the HOA in some way if a guest does something wrong.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#64)
    by PM on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:38:59 PM EST
    I appreciate the explanation. I'm now guessing the difference is ours is private roads, security, etc. paid and maintained by homeowner's dues vs tax payer dollars. My assumption now is that Retreat at Twin Lakes is a "gated community" but roads, etc. are maintained by the tax payers of Sanford. I hadn't thought about that before.

    I think that is most likely for RATL (none / 0) (#70)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:46:32 PM EST
    Especially if the gate was an afterthought. Some of the HOA members in my own subdivision have suggested putting up a gate. that would be our situation too -still public property, but restricted access, for cars anyway. I am opposed , fwiw.

    Marketing (none / 0) (#76)
    by PM on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:07:17 PM EST
    Or the gates were maybe a marketing strategy by the real estate developer of RATL that was known as "a family friendly gated community" that became a "Neighborhood in Fear" or at least that's how it was described by the Reuter's article on what happened to the neighborhood after the financial crisis real estate crash. I think understanding that transition in the community leads to understanding better those that lived in the community of RATL.

    Your q brings up... (none / 0) (#128)
    by heidelja on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:16:39 AM EST
    ...legitimate additional q. What would/should have the police done had TM been "caught" by them being there had the confrontation not occurred? TM would have been seen as a potential trespasser under Florida law given any id he carried was not local.

    But, YES, every commentator is technically wrong to arbitrarily say TM had a right to be there on first inspection by the police.


    Same (none / 0) (#231)
    by morphic on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:05:12 PM EST
    where I live. Not only do you have to register every guest, but give the vehicle license number.

    Just saw Jeralyn on CNN (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by DennisD on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:50:32 PM EST
    with Tom Mesereau who says Zimmerman should've been convicted of manslaughter because he confronted Martin. The host cut Jeralyn off when she wanted to respond due to time constraints, but does Mesereau know something we don't? When did Zimmerman confront anybody?

    Maybe Jeralyn can post this CNN appearance and any others she's done with this case.


    Well (4.40 / 5) (#41)
    by dainla on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:44:22 PM EST
    Did Travon drag him out of his car.

    Look, you guys are looking at this like lawyers, which is what you're  supposed to do.   I don't read this site much anymore because Obama has destroyed my interest in politics, but...

    From a layman's position, if I was being followed and followed and I ran away and still followed, then said man got out of his car, uh, guess what, I'd feel threatened and probably try to fight him off.  One is the aggressor and one is not.  The one running away was clearly not the aggressor.  The one being told to stop chasing was the aggressor.

    It's almost like you guys are staring at the minutia and can't see the big picture.  A man profiled, followed after being told to stop, and then ended up killing an unarmed teenager.   You here seem to act like that's just how it goes.

    Pretty astounding.

    I look forward to a civil trial, where Zimmerman has to take the stand because he seems to have some difficulty with the truth. And his actions led to the death of the teenager.  And he should pay for that in some way.  Financial is as good as any.

    Something very wrong occurred here.  Provable in court?  Maybe not.  Go read the first chapter of a book called "Blink" and you'll understand what we are all feeling.


    Assuming facts not in evidence (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:59:31 PM EST
    As I have posted earlier many folks (lawyers and non lawyers) thought the time line was key to this case.  There was also the claim that O'Mara did a great job of exploiting the time line in his closing.

    As I am sure you remember O'Mara pointed out there was a four minute gap between the time Z lost sight of M and the fight started.  In that four minutes M would have to have traveled about 80 yards to reach the condo he was staying at where he would be safe and able to eat his Skittles.  Then O'Mara stood silent for four minutes and let it sink in to the jury just how long M had to get away from Z.

    The obvious point is that M did not want to get away, and instead confronted Z.

    As for the civil suit any civil action will need to find a way around Florida statute 776.032. Since 776.032 grants immunity from civil action anyone whose use of force is permitted under s. 776.012 and the jury had determined that Zimmerman acted in accordance with s. 776.012 it doesn't look like there with be any civil action.

    Sorry to bring in the legal stuff but O'Mara said at his press conference he will ask for a SYG hearing about this.


    Sure, O'Mara (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:10:06 PM EST
    said he would seek a Stand Your Ground hearing in any civil lawsuit.

    He almost dared the Martins to sue.  But if the judge denies the motion, the Martins get their jury trial for wrongful death.

    In a civil lawsuit, Zimmerman is deposed, cross-examined, and does not enjoy a presumption of innocence.   Nor can he rely on a guilt beyond a reasonable doubt standard....

    Big difference.

    O'Mara said it was a David v. Goliath and they were David.  Huh?  The prosecution hired no experts, but just used people on the City payroll.  In a follow up civil lawsuit, the Martins can do a lot better than that.

    And typically the defendant has the burden of proving affirmative defenses such as self defense, unless the Stand Your Ground has reversed the normal burden of proof.  O'Mara does not get to use his "Beyond a reasonable doubt" chart.

    It would be a preponderance of the evidence standard, after Mr. Zimmerman spends several days in deposition and on the stand at trial.  No softball questions from Sean Hannity.

    The Martins could well win a civil lawsuit.


    Really? (none / 0) (#55)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:18:53 PM EST
    Do you think that after a not-guilty verdict that it is common for a civil trial to proceed, and if it does get to proceed, I would imagine that it is very rare for the plaintiff to prevail.

    Yes, surely you remember (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:21:30 PM EST
    probably the most famous instance of them all?

    Really Not Comparable IMO (none / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:24:53 PM EST
    But, it is an example. You are right about that.

    Please don't make me say (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:25:17 PM EST
    the name of that case again....

    And, the sympathies would be totally different in a civil trial.  Zimmerman is no longer fighting to stay out of prison.  It will be about getting some of the money he will likely garner from book deals, appearances on Fox, perhaps a speaking slot at a NRA convention.  That money belongs to Trayvon's family, not the guy who shot him dead.


    In a civil case though (none / 0) (#148)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:28:20 AM EST
    Do you not still need evidence?  Even though you only need to present the greater weight of evidence, you still need to have some. Circumstantial evidence alone hopefully isn't enough.  I dont know details of OJ case to know if there was real evidence or not

    And, the second time (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:40:43 PM EST
    around you do not fall asleep at the wheel and let O'Mara run wild and ask Serino's opinion on whether Zimmerman was telling the truth.

    You ask all kinds of questions of Zimmerman and his "expert" on use of force about where his hands were when he was getting punched 25-30 times.

    What was Zimmerman doing at the "T" for two minutes before the confrontation?  Looking for addresses on the back of the townhouses?  Zimmerman would have to answer.....

    It only gets better for the Martins in a civil suit.


    I have to ask... (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:40:20 PM EST
    why is it that you so eagerly want Zimmerman to be the bad guy in this situation, MKS? It's as if you can't even imagine that a young black man would foolishly return to beat the cr@p out of some "white cr@cker" he thought profiled him? Do you not know any African Americans who are unjustly angry at white people? Or do you feel so angry at white people that you think any anger coming from African Americans is justified and deserved?



    But (none / 0) (#66)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:42:10 PM EST
    That was your opinion throughout this trial, no?

    I think I said here (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:52:47 PM EST
    that Zimmerman could well get an acquittal.  I told my wife yesterday before the jury came back that the verdict would be not guilty.  

    What do I personally think should have been the verdict?  Different question.    


    In a civil trial... (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by CuriousInAz on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:53:33 PM EST
    Martin's school history, drug history, and phone information will not be off limits...Omara pulled alot of punches IMO, I doubt a good aggressive civil atty will do the same.

    No holds barred....


    Disagree (none / 0) (#120)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:48:18 PM EST
    The same evidentiary standards should apply--"character" evidence or evidence of prior bad acts is generally inadmissible.

    The issue would most likely be decided via motions in limine prior to trial.

    On the other hand, in a civil trial, the pain of the Martins would be directly relevant on the issue of their damages.  The Zimmermans would not be able to reciprocally testify.  Another advantage to the Martins.


    MOM says (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by friendofinnocence on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:01:12 AM EST
    Zimmerman will request and receive civil immunity if any civil case is brought against him.  After watching MOM in the trial, I believe he knows what he is talking about.

    Ah, but (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:50:38 AM EST
    there are those pesky depositions, in which pretty much ANYTHING is allowed to be asked - including Trayvon's background, the stolen jewelry found in his backpack, the drugs, the Facebookposting, even things like his parents' marriage, their subsequent relationships - all that gets to be asked about.

    None of which were known to (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    George at the time of the event.

    I have to say that I really kind of hate the way your comment sounds like "it's not like this was a good kid, anyway, so what's the difference?"

    Note - I am not saying this is what you said - I can read, and am aware that those words are not in your comment.  But the satisfaction you appear to be taking from the mountain of evidence that could be used against Martin makes me a little sick.

    All that aside, there is no deposition that I'm aware of that will be able to get answers from Trayvon himself or allow him to put all these things in context.

    Personally, I hope it's over.  Period. Done. The End.  


    Which doesn't mean a darn thing (none / 0) (#166)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:58:38 PM EST
    When talking about the process of a civil trial.

    And many experts believe that TM's interest in fighting, his drug use, toxicology reports, etc.  can be used in trial (depsite MKS's comment below).

    That certainly helps make the case that maybe he had culpability in his own death.

    And, as Jeralyn pointed out - GZ has no money (unlike OJ) to go after, so a civil suit would bring out a whole lotta ugly for both the Zimmermans AND the Martins and little to no payoff for the Martins.


    Sure, then excluded at trial (none / 0) (#165)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:49:26 PM EST
    Actually, (none / 0) (#167)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:06:03 PM EST
    a protective order would be appropriate to prevent deposition questions about the Martins' "marriage and subsequent relationships" because they would have no potential relevance and would be calculated to harass and embarrass.

    Not necessarily (2.00 / 1) (#168)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:17:21 PM EST
    It could go to how Trayvon was raised.  Did he exhibit behavioral problems after their divorce or when there was trouble in the marriage? How was it handled?  How did he relate to the other people in his parents' lives after their divorce, especially other romantic partners?

    It might not get in at trial, but it certainly can be fair game if it relates to his behavior.


    Oh for gawd's sake. (5.00 / 2) (#169)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:20:41 PM EST
    You don't think (none / 0) (#170)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:21:55 PM EST
    The history of Trayvon's behavior can be inquired about?

    I think it is in admissible evidence of (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    "Bad character. Kind of like attempts by "experts" to establish a person convicted of one murder could have been prevented for committing that murder because it was so obvious he or she fit the profile. And I surely hope my adult children are not destined to become "spoiling for a fight" due to the psychological impact of their parents' divorce.

    And, the Martins (none / 0) (#123)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:00:35 PM EST
    could only pray for a Rambo who tries to tear down Trayvon and tear them apart on cross.

    Zimmerman had some amount of sympathy when he was trying to stay out of jail.  Not so much when he is trying to protect the proceeds from his book deal.


    From "a" book deal (none / 0) (#124)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:03:28 PM EST
    assuming he goes forward with such a thing.

    Just checked (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:27:31 PM EST
    Under California law, which I assume (perhaps erroneously) follows common law, self defense in a civil action is an affirmative defense on which the defendant bears the burden of proof.

    what does California have to do (none / 0) (#139)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:16:19 AM EST
    with anything? And you've made your point about civil cases. We're discussing the criminal case and verdict.

    he has no money (none / 0) (#135)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:45:23 AM EST
    why would they bother? And since lawyers operate on a contigency in those cases, what's in it for them? I expect the lawsuits will be filed against public officials and entities with deep pockets.

    I wonder if that's why O'Mara read his letter of thanks to the Sheriff of Seminole County. It wouldn't be the first wrongful death suit over a 911 call gone awry. During the discussions of event codes, I posted the "translations" which I got from a deposition of Ramona Crumph (who also testified in this case)in a federal wrongful death suit against the Sheriff and others.


    Absurdities (3.50 / 2) (#77)
    by Adirolf on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:11:44 PM EST
    There is no point of law I know of that a possible victim could have or should have run home faster, done a better job of hiding, or even that the act would not have occurred had the victim just stayed home in the first place.

    Confronting is different than running (3.00 / 2) (#79)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:21:07 PM EST
    O'Mara's point in bringing in the time line is not that Martin had to run away.  It was that even if Martin was lolly gagging around he had a four minute head start on Zimmerman to cover 70 yards to get home, something most of us could do in under a minute if the intent was to get home.

    It is not like Martin was the slow fat guy and Zimmerman was the fast thin guy.

    But more to the point Martin has a lot more documented bad acts than Zimmerman and that will come out in a civil trial as well.

    The OJ case is not really on point because Nicole did not really have a history of bad acts like Martin does.

    I am still waiting for anyone to make a strong civil case.


    What Rageboat said. (none / 0) (#130)
    by Char Char Binks on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:28:43 AM EST
    It's not that M was OBLIGED to run away or hide, but that he obviously DIDN'T.  People harp on the choices Z made, the so-called "bad decisions", completely ignoring the fact that M also made decisions, and also had two feet to take him where he ended up.  So much for "DO NOT APPROACH!".

    While the 4 minutes IS significant... (none / 0) (#145)
    by heidelja on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:33:28 AM EST
    ...we do know with confidence what GZ was NOT mostly doing during this "window of opportunity"! He was NOT chasing TM because by his call audio which continued for another 1+ min and the testimony of Rachel, TM was talking to her until the very end of this window. And if, as she testified, TM was at the back of Brandy's apartment and she discerned TM running, should we not assume some of TM's fast spaced movement she says she heard was TM going back towards the T where the altercation was witnessed?

    A serious question deserves a serious answer (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by woodchuck64 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:34:35 PM EST
    From a layman's position, if I was being followed and followed and I ran away and still followed, then said man got out of his car, uh, guess what, I'd feel threatened and probably try to fight him off.

    "Fight him off" presumes Zimmerman attacked first, but that's not what the evidence showed.  The evidence showed that Martin physically attacked first, the prosecution did not attempt to disprove that as far as I can tell.  

    Would you really physically attack someone just for following you?  Would you really do something illegal that would likely put you in court in response to someone not doing anything illegal to you?

    A man profiled, followed after being told to stop, and then ended up killing an unarmed teenager.

    Profiling is not illegal, ignoring a dispatcher's suggestion is not illegal.  Neighborhood Watch even expects you to profile when it asks you to watch and report suspicious persons.  But the attack on Zimmerman was illegal; aggravated assault in fact.  In Florida, an assault that makes someone fear for his life can be met with deadly force.  

    I don't happen to agree with gun laws in Florida, but I can't blame Zimmerman for not following non-existent rules on how to avoid physical confrontations occurring due to a misunderstanding in the dark while carrying a concealed weapon. I can only hope they fix the laws in response to this tragedy.

    I look forward to a civil trial

    It won't happen.  Trayvon's parents will decide not to, saying that they don't want his reputation to be dragged through the mud by Zimmerman's defense attorneys again.  I think you know why.

    And his actions led to the death of the teenager.

    Not culpable actions.  Have you heard of friendly fire in war?  I happen to think both Zimmerman and Martin mistook each other for the enemy and came to deadly blows.  But were they really enemies at heart?  I don't see any reason to think that.  Those who kill during friendly fire are not prosecuted for murder because they mistook a friend for an enemy, and that's right in my view.


    That's basically how I see it. (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by melamineinNY on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:20:35 PM EST
    And if TM was really as scared as the disinformation machine is now insisting, why didn't he call 911? Or go home, lock the door and call 911, instead of commiting an act of battery that got himself killed? Is that what "children" are taught to do when they think someone is following them? He made a mistake and it cost him his life. It's tragic, but so is sweeping it under the rug of censorship because the truth, that it cost him his life, hurts. Not only, but more than any other factor IMO, that is why he died.

    Those who believe assault should be legalized and following someone should be criminalized should have a conversation about changing the laws instead of excusing the breaking of one and ex post facto criminalizing the other.


    excellent point (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:03:03 AM EST
    Those who believe assault should be legalized and following someone should be criminalized should have a conversation about changing the laws instead of excusing the breaking of one and ex post facto criminalizing the other.

    I think I will borrow that point if you do not mind.


    ...no, by all means. : ) (none / 0) (#150)
    by melamineinNY on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:48:17 AM EST
    Assuming that happens you will be disappointed (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Payaso on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:18:56 PM EST
    I look forward to a civil trial, where Zimmerman has to take the stand because he seems to have some difficulty with the truth.

    Detective Serino said that minor differences between multiple statements is normal and to be expected.

    What "lies" did GZ tell?


    Classic deconstruction (4.43 / 7) (#45)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:54:14 PM EST
    of the evidence.  You reduce the evidence into smaller and smaller pieces until it looks less damaging....

    So, getting out of your truck is not a crime.  Going down the same path as Trayvon is not a crime.  

    You can make anything look innocent and even meaningless if you shear it from its context and reduce it into small enough, itty bitty, atomized parts.

    Context is what gives actions meaning.


    I suppose GZ (2.50 / 6) (#81)
    by Char Char Binks on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:27:36 PM EST
    broke Florida's law prohibiting exiting one's vehicle on a public street?

    I just posted a clip from it (none / 0) (#134)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:38:49 AM EST
    (here) but not that one. I think the one you are talking about is here. He was wrong, but as you point out, the anchor didn't want to hear it.

    In another clip he went on about how bad the media was to Michael Jackson. I didn't want to take the attention from GZ, or I would have pointed out that I was one of the few TV lawyers who defended Jackson repeatedly during that case.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:54:25 PM EST
    There is no evidence that Zimmerman was using race as a factor in calling NEN. Zero. From the evidence presented it would seem that hero man Z would have called NEN has the guy been white, spanish, asian or jewish.. aka the only race issue was being one of the human race and appearing not to belong where he was.

    There is tremendous racism in america, and the justice system is rife with it. That Zimmerman wound up shooting Martin is tragic.  
    But to paint Zimmerman as a vile racist and use this case to promote civil rights may be a human weakness, but it is wrong, imo.

    Quick question about the prosecution (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by flyerhawk on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:16:43 PM EST
    Hi Jeralyn,

    I hear some folks talking about how the prosecution engaged in prosecutorial misconduct related to not releasing everything during discovery.  The Director of IT for the DA's office was fired for caused because of his whistleblowing/leaking of information.

    Is this a legitimate claim or is this just lay people speaking about things they don't understand?

    More facts to come (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:55:56 PM EST
    My understanding is that to claim whistle blower status you have to have tried to get someone inside the SA office to do something before you go outside to a lawyer; and this did not happen.

    On the other hand this guy turned up more than FDLE did in a year of investigating.

    I hope jeralyn weighs in and am interested in additional facts.


    No, (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by rickroberts on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:47:32 PM EST
    but they bought into a very effective public relations campaign. There a plenty of reasons to be angry and frustrated about how young black men are treated sometimes, but this case was not an example of it.

    what an arrogant remark (5.00 / 5) (#151)
    by kempis on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:50:00 AM EST
    One can equally pooh-pooh the certainty with which the Zimmerman-defenders blame the media, Al Sharpton, the Florida legal system for "bowing to unwarranted pressure" and having the temerity to actually bring to court a case against someone who shot and killed an unarmed person.

    This case all boiled down to one thing: Zimmerman's credibility. Some people found his story credible. Others did not. Some wanted to find his story credible, and others did not.

    The only fact is this: no one was alive to corroborate or dispute Zimmerman's accounting of the moments leading to the death of Trayvon Martin.

    Saying with certainty that people who did not believe Zimmerman's tale were unjustified or irrational is a matter of pot-kettle.

    This case was an inkblot. People interpreted Zimmerman's defense through the lens of their own experience. There is no more evidence supporting his tale than there is contradicting it--though I will say he must have a mighty hard head to have weathered such a life-threatening beating so well.


    You are absolutely wrong (none / 0) (#152)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:37:31 AM EST
    Ther was eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence that corroborated his story.  There is no alternative story that has any evidence.   Which is why none was offered by prosecution.  George Zimmerman shot an assailant, not an unarmed child.

    Two Minute Gap (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by DennisD on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:04:03 AM EST
    Has anyone offered an explanation as to what Zimmerman was doing for that 2 minute period or so between the end of his dispatch call and the first 911 call? His reenactment certainly doesn't fit the time.


    Don't know (5.00 / 0) (#162)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:16:49 PM EST
    Apparently the prosecutor had no ideas either

    Messing with flashlight for 2 min (none / 0) (#158)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:00:46 AM EST
    Z told dispatcher he was messing with his flashlight and there was a sound like he was slapping the flashlight on his hand.  Probably something anyone who has owned a flashlight has done when it does not come on.

    You've Hit the Nail on its Head (none / 0) (#172)
    by RickyJim on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:07:14 PM EST
    Of why Zimmerman hasn't been shown to be Innocent - just Not Guilty.  There are still gaps in our knowledge and reasons to suspect that Zimmerman has not told us the whole truth.  However I haven't been able to construct any theory of guilt that is more plausible than Zimmerman's story of what happened after he and Martin met up at the T.

    "..hasn't been shown to be Innocent- (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:04:00 PM EST
    just Not Guilty."    The criminal justice system provides verdicts of  Guilty or Not Guilty.  Not sure what the role "innocent" plays or that a verdict of "Not Guilty" may be somehow legally discounted if innocence is not shown.   Not Guilty will do.

    It is not a Legal Distinction in the USA (none / 0) (#190)
    by RickyJim on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:46:03 PM EST
    All along, the AA community seems to have been demanding proof of Zimmerman's "innocence".  The way I would explain the difference is that not guilty means that there is a reasonable innocent explanation for the evidence.  Innocent means that there is no reasonable guilty explanation for the evidence.

    Not at all, (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by TomDPerk on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:14:22 AM EST
    It's that the choices clearly Martin made make it plausible he assaulted Zimmerman.

    Rape has nothing to do with it.  Your bringing it up as an excuse for your tendentious conclusions; that says a lot about the worth of your conclusions.  I have to expect it is also felt to be terribly demeaning to many people who are actually raped.

    Of course I also expect you not to care what they think, until what they think supports the Narrative.

    alternatives to NW (5.00 / 2) (#199)
    by ZtoA on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:51:33 PM EST
    People want to know about danger and crime in their neighborhoods but NWers carrying weapons should make most NWers uncomfortable. It gives NW a bad image.

     Since many dislike NW in general what is the alternative? With all the new technologies it might be that surveillance cameras are installed pretty much everywhere and NWers can monitor them. Be careful what you wish for because it might elicit a response that is not just a going back, but further reliance on the new tools available.

    None of the Neighborhood Watches (5.00 / 2) (#209)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:27:43 PM EST
    I know of allow, or support, their volunteers carrying weapons of any kind.

    Legacies (5.00 / 0) (#202)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 08:19:27 AM EST
    Sanitized beliefs that do not comport w/realities.  More people resenting one another because the system fails once again to provide some measure of justice and sends the wrong message to would be protectors of the neighborhood from scary people.

    Those jurors had a chance to be brave and make a statement about the society we want to live in, but no, they chose the basest fear-driven answer possible.  Get your guns America, it's OK to be scared of one another.  Heck, in some places you can even kill w/o repercussion.

    Or (3.50 / 2) (#204)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:29:45 AM EST
    "they had no choice" because that's what the law says.


    ...sends the wrong message to would be protectors of the neighborhood from scary people.

    I think the message is loud and clear to people who want to protect their neighborhoods - mind your own business and don't get involved.  Screw your neighbors.


    No, just don't shoot (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:32:45 PM EST
    your neighbors.

    Ok (3.00 / 2) (#213)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:38:39 PM EST
    As long as the neighbors don't come up and punch me in the nose, mount me, and punch me repeatedly.

    We know MKS's message applies (5.00 / 1) (#214)
    by Yman on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:46:24 PM EST
    ... since it actually happened.

    Yours is simply an accusation.


    We know (3.00 / 2) (#215)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:54:45 PM EST
    GZ was actually punched and suffered injuries.



    Not a lot (5.00 / 1) (#216)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:08:17 PM EST
    according to the ME.  And I agree with her.  Minor stuff.

    You mean the ME (5.00 / 1) (#221)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:38:08 PM EST
    who never saw Zimmerman, let alone examined him?

    I choose to believe people who, you know, actually treated him.  Like the paramedic:

    Paramedic Stacy Livingston said Zimmerman had a swollen, bleeding nose and two cuts on the back of his head an inch long. When O'Mara asked if Zimmerman should have been concerned with his medical well-being because of his injuries, Livingston said, "Possibly."

    Or, the PA:

    Folgate testified that Zimmerman had two lacerations on his head, two centimeters and 0.5 centimeters, neither of which needed stitches, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    Zimmerman's nose was "likely broken, it's hard to say definitively," Folgate said, reports the paper. On cross-examination, Folgate said Zimmerman's injuries could be consistent with having his head slammed into concrete, reports the paper, as Zimmerman claimed Martin did before the fatal gunshot.

    Do you believe ... (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 01:44:39 AM EST
    Bernie De La Riondo or Angela Corey?  Both have acknowledged that at some point Martin struck Zimmerman.  BDLR even stated that in court during one of the hearings.  

    You will notice that they never said the same about Zimmerman.  Why was that?  Because they had no evidence to support otherwise.

    And if you follow the law, no injuries even needed to occur. Just a reasonable doubt.  If he had shot him w/o injuries, I can only assume that the jury would have come to the conclusion that manslaughter was the correct decision.

    You continue to assume that Zimmerman was the bad guy in all of this and have never looked honestly since you also assume that Martin was not.

    Just IMO and IANAL.


    "Next"? Heh (5.00 / 1) (#225)
    by Yman on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:49:04 PM EST
    We "know" no such thing, although it's interesting how you backtracked from "punched multiple times" to "punched".  GZ says he was punched - first 20-30 times, ... then a "dozen" times ... then he didn't know how many times.

    Some people choose to believe him, but that doesn't make it something we "know" (aka a "fact).


    "Come up".. (5.00 / 1) (#217)
    by jondee on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:08:48 PM EST
    who came up empty handed and who came up with a loaded gun?

    What? Guns are so much more civilized? All shiny and exciting and a symbol of power?


    So vicndabx , what would you like to be (none / 0) (#228)
    by melamineinNY on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:07:50 PM EST
    convicted of in order to satisfy society's need to make a statement, and how much of your life and resources do you think you ought to forfeit in order to become a symbol for this greater good?

    Those jurors had a chance to be brave and make a statement about the society we want to live in, but no, they chose the basest fear-driven answer possible.

    Following the law is neither base nor a sign of being fear-driven, but ignoring it to satisfy a select crowd would certainly be. If a law is believed by enough of the people to be unjust, a jury of 6 is not the one to make that decision or to "fix" it symbolically by nullification by guilty verdict and scapegoating. In fact, there is a reason why nullification is not used, to my knowledge, as the basis for a finding of guilt rather than innocence, because it's intent I believe, was to protect a defendant, not to punish. Jeralyn or anyone, I would appreciate if you can provide case law to support nullification having ever been used to convict. It's a scary thought.  


    Legacy... (5.00 / 3) (#218)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:18:53 PM EST
    Stevie Wonder is boycotting FLA and all states with SYG laws. No "Uptight" for you!  Everything is not allright.

    I know, I know...it wasn't a SYG case in and of itself, but otoh nothing is in and of itself.  

    More Legacy...Soul Singer Lester Chambers assaulted by some crazed Zimmermanista on stage, for dedicating a song to the memory of Trayvon Martin..  If only it had happened in Florida, Lester coulda blown her away.  Or was the crazy lady in reasonable fear of her life and justified?  Curtis Mayfield did write some killer tunes.  So confusing...

    Guess he won't be going many places (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:29:04 PM EST
    (Including back home to Michigan), since 30 states have some version of SYG laws on their books (passed and signed into law by both Republicans and Democrats).

    Thank Gun, I mean God. (5.00 / 1) (#220)
    by jondee on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:31:27 PM EST
    Sh*t... (5.00 / 2) (#222)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 02:18:29 PM EST
    there are grounds to boycott all 50 for one reason or another, but we all pick our battles.  I salute Stevie's social conscience...it's how positive change happens.  

    I agree with this (5.00 / 1) (#223)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    At least he's willing to put his money where his mouth is. Stevie has a lot of integrity, IMO.

    The Lester Chambers story makes me ill (5.00 / 1) (#224)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:11:56 PM EST
    And consider the song he was singing in tribute -- one of the greatest peace songs of all time. But, apparently, the Zimmermenistas only know how to use violence as dissent.

    I thought 2010 was... (5.00 / 1) (#226)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:54:44 PM EST
    the summer of hate, looks like 2013 is gonna give 2010 a run for her money.

    To be fair, the Martin camp has had some violent outbreaks too, but damned if I know what the Zimmerman camp has to be upset about...their martyr won.  Rejoice!


    Federal hate crimes (3.50 / 2) (#4)
    by Darby on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:23:28 PM EST
    Much is made in the media about the DOJ investigating the use of  racial profiling in this case.  I do not believe it  exists. But if for arguments  sake it did, is that really a crime?  I  do not condone racial profiling but f a private individuals want to profile Muslims,blacks,Jews etc is that really the domain of ANY government?  THAT is more scary to me.

    If you actually cared about racial profiling, (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:00:55 PM EST
    you would be bothered by anyone doing it -- either private citizens or government employees.

    Bothered by it (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Darby on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:30:34 PM EST
    And thinking it should a crime are far apart.  I am talking about individuls being  charged with a crime for being afraid of a Muslim,black etc.  or being suspicious of them  

    Why? (3.50 / 2) (#18)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:05:43 PM EST
    Pretty much every single person profiles someone every single day for myriads of reasons. I'm bothered by a lot of people doing it, but I also know that much of it is natural or born through experience.

    Institutions are another matter, but individuals are not.


    And who makes up institutions? Individuals. (4.00 / 3) (#21)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:11:13 PM EST
    I posit that individuals with a propensity to racially profile are not the people we want running government institutions. Apparently, some of you don't care about that. It's good to be honest about it.

    well, (none / 0) (#35)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:16:54 PM EST
    here's the difference. I don't mind if I walk down the street and a woman crosses the street because I'm a big guy, it's dark out, she's alone, etc...
    Doesn't bother me one bit.

    I do mind if that same woman doesn't hire me because I'm a big guy, it might get dark in the office and she may be alone with me some time getting work done.


    Yes, there is such a crime on the books (none / 0) (#95)
    by Peter G on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:15:34 PM EST
    Section 249 of the Federal Criminal Code.  It was only adopted in 2009 and has been rarely invoked; I don't think it has been judicially tested as to whether it exceeds the Constitutional authority of Congress to legislate for enforcement of the 13th and 14th Amendments. I'm not so sure that it doesn't exceed those limits, as applied to the prosecution of a private actor (someone not acting "under color of state law," that is). The federal prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant injured the victim "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion or national origin" of the victim.

    It may surprise you but, (3.50 / 2) (#22)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:12:37 PM EST

    almost all firearms are NOT "designed specifically for killing."  They are designed to reliably, safely, and accurately place a bullet on target. Don't confuse talking points with reality.


    Then why not bullets made of paper? (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Palli on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:14:57 PM EST
    They won't disable the target (none / 0) (#26)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:34:58 PM EST

    If killing were the design priority, bullets would come dipped in neurotoxin.



    Can't tell if you're serious... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Thanin on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:41:59 PM EST
    the point is (none / 0) (#203)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:21:55 AM EST

    "Killing" is not a design priority.

    Ah... (none / 0) (#229)
    by Thanin on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:52:25 AM EST
    So you'd say being killed is an unfortunate side effect from, say, being shot in the chest or head.

    Not at all (none / 0) (#230)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:42:22 AM EST

    Only that, to use your example, guns are not designed to hit chests or heads in priority over other targets.



    Couldn't TM run (3.50 / 2) (#164)
    by Char Char Binks on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:39:00 PM EST
    70 yards in 4 minutes?  I'm not saying he had to by law, I'm just saying he didn't, or if he did, he somehow made it back to where he started.

    Why is it that Trayvon (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:10:13 PM EST
    has to run?

    I've already said twice (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by Char Char Binks on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:51:13 PM EST
    that he had no obligation to run.  But he didn't, did he?  Or if he did, he came back for some reason or other.

    Well (3.00 / 2) (#50)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:00:45 PM EST
    You obviously have been not following popular sentiment.

    Zimmerman, due to many using him to forward their agenda, is viewed as a vile racist. Many are predicting that he will be dead soon, and quite pleased about it.

    The only people I've heard predicting (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:42:30 PM EST
    any harm to Zimmerman are his brother, Robert, and others of his supporters.

    But, but ... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by Yman on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:54:41 PM EST
    .... "many" are predicting it, and even "quite pleased about it".  It's "popular sentiment".

    From the guy who complains of others using a broad brush.



    disingenous at best (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by lily on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 01:31:29 AM EST
    denial more likely

    google threats against GZ you can read the tweets and who wrote them yourself


    then you must have your fingers (1.50 / 2) (#174)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:16:26 PM EST
    in your ears singing la la la la la

    ^^^^^^ Commenter insulting other commenter^^^^^^^ (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by Leopold on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:51:03 PM EST
    Another compliment from sweet Theresa (none / 0) (#175)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:22:24 PM EST
    Nope, no fingers in ears. Unlike a lot of people, I don't have cable TV and have not been paying one bit of attention to the idiot talking heads during this trial. However, I heard Zimmerman's brother talking fearfully on NPR Saturday morning.

    Teresa (1.00 / 1) (#177)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:29:46 PM EST
    I think Jeralyn cleared it up for you.  If not take the suggestion about google.  Seems you just want to mock the idea of the death threats to GZ.  Makes you an ass in my opinion.

    You are not observing the commenting rules. (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:32:02 PM EST
    ^^^^^^ Commenter insulting other commenter^^^^^^^ (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by Leopold on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:51:29 PM EST
    And also using profanity to other commenter.

    LOL. It gets this pathetic with you, does it? (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 07:27:03 PM EST
    If you're upset at getting a reply to your silly assumption about "fingers in your ears" then don't make the comment to begin with. Unlike you, I haven't been living and breathing the Zimmerman trial.

    Please, even I got (none / 0) (#137)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:03:42 AM EST
    an obscene veiled threat on my office phone after going on TV today and it was the first time I have said anything on TV about the case. It's too obscene to post publicly, but let me know if you want to hear it and I'll send you the link. (I uploaded it to another one of my websites to preserve it).

    O'Mara and Don West have gotten many threats, including death threats. There is no shortage of unstable and unintelligent television viewers. Because this group is incapable of intelligently or rationally expressing their opinions, the mild ones resort to insults about physical appearance and vile name-calling while the truly unbalanced resort to sexual threats and death threats.

    Years ago I saved some of the most extreme I got from TV commenting and showed them during lectures on Representing the Hated Defendant: Why We Do What We Do. And no, they weren't from representing McVeigh, they were sent regarding my commentary about JonBenet Ramsey, in which I wasn't representing anyone, just commenting.

    The more involved you are in the case, as a lawyer, a relative or the actual defendant, the worse the threats get.

    The person in the greatest danger that some nutjob will act on a threat is GZ or a member of his family.


    Actually (none / 0) (#146)
    by Palli on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 07:13:19 AM EST
    That is exactly what we are saying- there may be danger to those specific the Zimmermans or Defense Attorneys as individuals. Personal danger caused by specific actions.

    But the danger African Americans live with is not specific to themselves as individuals-it is an over-reaching constant threat to them as human beings. It is a deep fear that every individual African American must find a way to live with daily if they are to stay alive and contribute healthily to the whole of society.

    To deny this is blatant human ignorance or willful denial of history and contemporary life.


    Hyperbole like this in an era when we have a black President and a black AG is just fueled by the fire the media created in this case by blindly chasing their ratings-getting narrative.  

    Black Americans enjoy the most legal protections and the most favorable media they have ever had.  Black Americans hold prominent and powerful positions across the US. Blacks have more academic opportunities than they have ever had. Unfortunately, success and good news are not what drive media coverage so they try to keep us focused on the negative by trumpeting it wherever they can find it.

    A young black man today are much more in danger of death at the hands of another young black man than walking down the street of a white neighborhood.


    Not Too Brilliant IMO (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:40:33 PM EST
    And really insensitive. Walking, running, driving while black is a routine crime, that blacks face on a daily basis through no fault of their own. Stop and frisk statistics in NYC have brought the Federal Government in to monitor as it is so racist. This is real, so please stop with the whitewashing racism in the US by going on about the current golden age of opportunity for blacks, and racist talk that the only thing blacks have to fear are other blacks.

    I agree with you both (none / 0) (#186)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:08:45 PM EST
    But think neither hand anything to do with this case

    wow, no, not at all true (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:37:45 PM EST

    OMG (2.00 / 1) (#176)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:22:35 PM EST
    do you have any idea how ridiculous this comment is in response to what Jeralyn posted?
    Shorter Palli:  "enough about you, lets talk about me."

    justice was not served (2.67 / 3) (#10)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:43:31 PM EST
    Justice could not be served by ANY verdict in this case. O'Mara was right that this was a tragedy -- and there is no justice in tragedy. There could be healing but it seems like both sides are just digging in and promoting more ill will. At least so far.

    I'll take from this that the law is not justice. Its just as close as we can get to it. I'm not sure I blame the "media" since it is ratings driven and that means many people were very interested in the case. Piling on more blame and outrage for one's side is not justice and will prevent healing and moving forward in a better way.

    Lily, huh?? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:04:00 PM EST
    Do you strongly disagree that this was a tragedy?

    Lilly and Romberry (none / 0) (#100)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:32:33 PM EST
    I don't know why you do not think this case was not a tragedy. Unless you think that Z meant to kill M and/or that M deserved to die. Maybe you think that Z having to deal with all of this is AOK. For all involved, and all families it is a tragedy. Any verdict would be a tragedy. Plus I don't think it was unreasonable to actually try this case in a court of law.

    The shock is Jack203 5-ing you... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:39:32 PM EST
    I suspect he didn't mean to give you the 5 - on no universe that I'm familiar with would Yman and Jack be of the same mind.

    [see what I mean?  don't let it get to you]


    What is justice? (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:19:42 PM EST
    I think how that question gets answered depends on whether the side one has taken is the one that "wins."

    I'm pretty sure that all these people crowing about how justice was served would be raging today if the same jury believed to be so fair for its acquittal had come back with a conviction.

    As it was, there were people here calling the jury stupid for taking so long to reach a verdict.  Are they still stupid now that they've acquitted GZ?

    There's no such thing as pure justice; there can't be.  It is a rare case where everything's on the table, where this evidence and that haven't been excluded - and the underlying reasons for this are meant to support the presumption of innocence we're all supposed to be afforded.  But it can cut both ways, putting defendants in a more precarious position, and leading to convictions.

    And let's not forget that being able to pay for a private defense team can make all the difference - is that justice?  Aren't there plenty of people languishing in lock-ups and prisons because they couldn't afford a defense, whose cases may be on par with Zimmerman's?  How is it that he gets justice but they don't?

    Seems like the best you could say is that the case made its way through the system and reached a conclusion - the jury spoke on the basis of the information it was allowed to have.  

    As for the downrating by the usual suspects, don't let it get to you.


    The state outspent the defense (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by SuzieTampa on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:38:11 PM EST
    according to O'Mara. We will know eventually when someone totals up the cost.

    O'Mara also suggested that BDLR doesn't play fair, choosing cases in which he can roll over defendants with less money.


    O'Mara also said (somehow without a sly wink) (none / 0) (#110)
    by Palli on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:52:22 PM EST
    "I think that things would have been different if George Zimmerman was black for this reason. He never would have been charged with a crime."

    At any rate Zimmerman and their donors found a "simpatico" lawyer.


    Except... (none / 0) (#191)
    by ml67 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:50:32 PM EST
    That perhaps, as someone who has represented defendants, many of them black, for 30 years, what O'Meara meant was that given the exact same facts and outcome, except that Zimmerman was black, he never would have been charged with a crime because the investigation would have revealed, like it did in this situation, that it was self defense under the law and Zimmerman's claims were substantially supported by the evidence.  The difference is, in the situation where GZ was black, no demagogues showed up to create the spectacle, and the police and state attorney decline to prosecute.  

    Quite A Broad Brush There Anne (5.00 / 0) (#93)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:44:38 PM EST
    Uh...it was meant to be broad. (none / 0) (#102)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:35:05 PM EST
    Guess John Madden's title as Master of the Obvious is still safe.

    Now your just being obtuse. (2.67 / 3) (#20)
    by redwolf on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 03:11:04 PM EST
    I'm sure this man would have been better off armed:
    Instead he was beat to death by 4 men for the crime of stopping for gas.

    MLK himself was always armed for protection.

    Obtuse? No, Non-violent to the core (none / 0) (#101)
    by Palli on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:34:49 PM EST
    Tearing the nation apart (1.00 / 1) (#205)
    by Tina59 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:45:38 AM EST
    Back when Obama first ran for President, Jerlyn, you supported him and said we needed racial healing. It was your great hope for the nation. After this Zimmerman case and after five years of Obama, we can clearly say, the nation is being torn apart. That is another consequence of this case. People in all racial groups are very mad at how Obama and the press stirred racial tensions. People will be upset for a long time.i think we've been set back on race relations for decades. IzmHO.

    There was an awful lot of bleeding (none / 0) (#15)
    by Char Char Binks on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:59:00 PM EST
    and hot-blooded screaming for a "cold-blooded murder".

    Well said and thank you (none / 0) (#30)
    by woodchuck64 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:03:55 PM EST
    Jeralyn, thanks for being the voice of reason throughout the Zimmerman investigation and trial, an unflinching advocate for justice whether "politically correct" or not, and through it all showing compassion and sensitivity to racial issues in America.

    forced to accept? (none / 0) (#33)
    by reasonableperson on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:13:41 PM EST
    Is there any evidence that these laws are unpopular?  It seems like most normal people support the right to self-defense but an extremely vocal minority is trying to take it away.

    If you don't like guns don't buy one, it's that simple.  If you don't like Stand Your Ground, vote for politicians who will repeal it or move to a state that doesn't have it.

    huh? (none / 0) (#38)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:25:41 PM EST
    The public isn't forced to accept anything as their is a ballot box. Stand your ground had nothing to do with his case so just keep posting something that doesn't have anything to do with anything. As there being no centralized authority, huh?

    And no, we are all not African Americans now. And no, we are all not white now. And no, we all aren't anything now other than humans.

    Remember, GZ had ample opportunity to shoot many people. Why this one? Answer that question and then we can begin a conversation and reconciliation toward healing.

    "This one" is (none / 0) (#47)
    by MKS on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 04:56:57 PM EST
    the one that he was not going to let get away.

    If Zimmerman is to be believed, Martin circled his truck....That sounds like a difference from the other instances.  After that event, Zimmerman gets out of his truck and follows Martin.


    Oh, brother (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by rickroberts on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:42:42 PM EST
    Are you really going to re-try the case?

    it's not the only time he said it (none / 0) (#136)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:47:42 AM EST
    Singleton was confused as to when he said it occurred in the first interview and he corrected her when she later stated her perception. He also told it to others.

    Facts (none / 0) (#108)
    by MarkO on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:43:38 PM EST
    This is from the police report:

    "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about" and "looking at all the houses".

    This is not profiling (which has a racist connotation). This is being careful.

    "They" (none / 0) (#143)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:40:03 AM EST
    are never going to leave this man alone.  On TV right now talking heads praising the parents of Martin on how they are gracefully living with the results of the jury trial as they said they would.  And I was thinking "yes, until the civil case starts".  But then maybe I will be surprised and they will truly have more class than those around them and the vengeful people commenting online and on TV who seem to still need their pound of flesh.

    you are so confused (none / 0) (#119)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:45:14 PM EST
    self defense is not gun violence.  Gun violence is happening, but it has nothing to do with this case.  Obama should go give that lecture in Chicago.  

    I deleted that comment (none / 0) (#138)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:12:50 AM EST
    and I'm tired of reminding commenters to keep their gun politics out of the discussion. Talk about this case, don't give us your views on guns in general. I care far more about the Second Amendment and every other constitutional right than I do about your fear of guns. GZ had every right to be carrying his gun.

    Well then, I'll say this (5.00 / 1) (#200)
    by Palli on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 11:53:44 PM EST
    I don't want George Zimmerman in a militia.  

    I am sorry I keep (none / 0) (#141)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:17:42 AM EST
    getting sucked in to it.

    oops forgot to say (none / 0) (#142)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:20:52 AM EST
    I agree, I carry a gun and I do not consider myself "going out armed".  

    They said (none / 0) (#129)
    by Char Char Binks on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 12:22:19 AM EST
    he had a "depraved mind", M2.  Apparently they could read minds, because none of his actions or statements showed ill will, depravity, or hatred (racial or otherwise).

    Well, the evidence... (none / 0) (#154)
    by TomDPerk on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:03:17 AM EST
    was also on the back of his head.  It was photographed there, even after an EMT had cleaned him some.

    Where have you been (none / 0) (#155)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:18:48 AM EST
    Even the prosecution witnesses say there were impact marks of George Zimmermanas head with the concrete.  There is photographic and medical evidence of injury as well. Do I think it was 25 times?  No.  Do i think it could have seemed like more than it was to george or he exaggerated? Yes.Do I believe it could have been half a dozen times as  attested by a forensic expert? Yes.  Do I think if someone has smashed my head multiple times on concrete, broken my nose and is mounted on top of me is enough for me to be in fear of great bodily injury?  ( all of which were proven by evidence)Unequivocally yes,

    Of course there were impact marks (none / 0) (#195)
    by kempis on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:19:10 PM EST
    Z had two superficial wounds on the back of his head and a swollen nose.

    You seem to think the only plausible explanation for those marks was provided by Zimmerman, who you acknowledge likely exaggerated.

    Maybe he did tell the truth. Or maybe the puncture wounds to the tip of his nose were caused by his gun's recoil. Maybe that recoil caused the injury to his nose.

    Again, this case is an inkblot. The evidence is open to interpretation, and Zimmerman's attorneys did a better job of building a narrative that the jury was willing to buy.

    That's all this verdict means. It does not mean that Zimmerman told the truth about why he pulled that trigger.


    kempis, you are missing the point (none / 0) (#196)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:22:59 PM EST
    GZ didn't have to prove anything. He didn't have to prove his version was correct. The state had to prove it wasn't correct and the jury determined it failed in that burden.

    Your recitation of facts is erroneous as others have pointed out.

    The forensics and several of the state's witnesses, as well as GZ's witnesses supported his verions.

    We are not retrying the case. It's over. Please refrain from repeating your arguments.


    Totally agree (none / 0) (#181)
    by Tina59 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:42:25 PM EST
    As the child of parents who marched with Dr. King, I totally agree with you. The problem is that Trayvon Martin is not totally innocent himself. The media latched on to a story that he was just walking in the neighborhood and got shot for no reason. There was a fight that night which happened near Zimmerman's truck which seems to show that Martin started the fight. Martin could have gone home. The evidence seems to show he was smoking pot. He just got kicked out of school. Mr. Zimmerman is part white, black and Hispanic. He mentored poor, black kids. He is not a monster. Young men fight. It is a tragedy, but this is the wrong case to select as a symbol of a black youth being killed by a racist. The facts don't fit, and it will be seen as crying wolf; however tragic.

    Zimmerman race/ethnicity (none / 0) (#185)
    by ml67 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:52:06 PM EST
    I read through the comments and may have missed it; but one fact that the media intentionally declined to report (at least most media) is that Zimmerman's grandfather (or great grandfather??) was black.  So he has a mix of races and ethnicity.  I realize this didn't fit their desired narrative, hence the repugnant 'white hispanic' meme, but the galactic media malpractice here is just disgusting.

    On another note - regarding information about Z and Trayvon that would come out in a civil trial... I believe Florida has contributory negligence.  So Trayvon's past and his actions that night would come in to play because if a jury found Z liable they would then have to determine Trayvon's part in what happened.  So maybe Z is liable, but Trayvon's actions contributed 30% to what happened, so X amount of damages minus the 30% attributed to Trayvon.

    Have to agree with the layers and layers of grey in this sad situation.  The neighborhood and the crimes, the two people's pasts and view of the world... and two people who made really foolish choices that night - which led to a very tragic death.  

    The whole situation was heartbreaking, but  inserting the racial element to gin up ratings and controversy was absolutely abhorrent given that Zimmerman is also a minority male and given that the evidence (and the FBI investigation) showed nothing of the sort.