Weekend George Zimmerman Thread

Looks like our recent George Zimmerman posts have maxed out at 200 comments, which is the limit. Here's a new thread.

Over at Slate, William Saletan breaks down the Juror B-29 interview pointing to ABC's phoney-baloney editing job, which appears to be designed to produce the maximum salacious effect. Three versions are here, here and here. [More...]

Those on the right seem to be bashing Juror B-29 and her lawyer, David Chico. I disagree. If you take out the hatchet editing job, what you are left with is: She followed the law, the charges weren't proved she voted to acquit. That's her duty and she fulfilled it. Her personal moral views of his conduct and not wanting to be viewed as a traitor by those she later learned felt differently are important only to her. What's important to everyone is that she still believes her verdict was the right call.

As I've pointed out before, she has a lawyer who flew with her to NY for the interview. He obviously reviewed the verdict with her and explained the jury instructions. However she is now describing to Roberts what she understood them to be at the time, she had them explained to her satisfaction during deliberations and still believes the jury made the right decision.

The jury's understanding is correct that Zimmerman's actions leading up to the shooting, from the time he left his house up until the time of the shooting, don't factor into manslaughter.

While a series of acts can be considered for establishing intent for Murder 2 which requires ill-will, hatred, etc, there is no series of acts language in the manslaughter statute (more on that here.) Intent for manslaughter is solely whether he intended to shoot Martin, which he never denied. It's at this point the jury considers self-defense for manslaughter and determines whether the shooting was justified. The instructions say:

In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used.
If the shooting was in self-defense (or the state failed to disprove self-defense) no crime was committed. Which makes it all the more curious ABC didn't include any questions about self-defense in the portions of the interview it aired.

As to people criticizing Juror B-29 for saying she had the instructions "read" to her: The judge orally read the instructions in full to the jury before they retired to deliberate. The jury instructions went back to the jury room. Were there one copy or six? Did they pass them around or did the foreman re-read them aloud? Who cares? B-29 said they reviewed them for 9 hours. B-37 said the same. Neither one has said she misunderstood the instructions.

Obviously, Roberts' interview of B-29 lasted far longer than the 10 or so edited minutes they aired. Robin Roberts is a respected reporter. Do you really think she didn't ask B-29 what she thought of George's self-defense argument, or how the jurors as a whole felt about self-defense? I don't. I think Roberts asked, but since the answer didn't fit with the salacious headline ABC was going for, they left it out.

As to those questioning where she got the funds to fly with her lawyer to NY: The news doesn't pay for interviews but they pay for airfare and hotel.

Yes, her lawyer was a prosecutor in Orange County in 2005 when the office charged Zimmerman with the bar incident. Michael Isikoff reported this over a year ago for NBC (video here), which I wrote up here, discussing a different issue.

I doubt he was the chief case prosecutor when it was in felony court. He was only admitted to practice in 2004. He became a trainee with the office in March, 2005 and was made a prosecutor in April, 2005. I don't know of any prosecutor's office in a populated urban area that puts newly minted prosecutors, fresh out of law school, on felony cases. They start with misdemeanors and get moved to felony court when they've got some experience. David Chico may have worked on the case after the felony prosecutor moved it to misdemeanor court for diversion and ultimately dismissal, but I doubt he was a decision maker. He was gone from the office by mid-2006 (he began representing defendants at least by August, 2006 according to dockets available online at the clerk's office.)

08/07/2006 NOTICE OF APPEARANCE FILED DAVID M. CHICO Case No. 2004-CF-004473-A-O
The Nolle Prosequi motion is signed by Wayne Wooten, a different state's attorney. Also, here's the interview the FDLE conducted in the course of this case of a friend of Zimmerman's who was present during the incident which directly contradicts the agent's version.

Zimmerman's felony complaint was filed in July 2005. It was transferred to the misdemeanor division in August, 2005. Subpoenas for the misdemeanor trial went out on 10/14/05. The trial was called off when they made a deal. He was approved for pretrial diversion in 12/2005. The nolle prosequi was filed on 7/28/06.

The court dockets for Zimmerman's 2005 case are available here. You have to type in Zimmerman's name and then click on both criminal felony and criminal misdemeanor to come up with the dockets for both cases.

Chico was also a commentator for the Spanish edition of the Orlando Sentinel (El Sentinel) during the trial. His commentary favored the defense (although he thought the all-woman jury would favor the prosecution.) He said the evidence of Zimmerman's injuries supported self-defense and the law on self-defense went in Zimmerman's favor. He said the state would stay away from Martin's character not wanting to open the door to negative information, and the defense didn't need to go there because it had the injuries and a good claim of self-defense.

El Sentinel disclosed he was involved in the 2005 prosecution in the second linked article.

Chico, as a prosecutor, incidentally attended Zimmerman's first brush with the law, when in 2006 he faced charges for assaulting a police officer.
This was his reasoning for believing the text messages on Martin's phone were not important (via google translator, alternative versions used in places):

The lawyer believes that this evidence is not so relevant to Zimmerman, because "even before it was known of these texts and the presumed fight by Martin, [Zimmerman] had one hundred percent of the account of the facts in his favor, the laws are very strong for self-defense in Florida, and the defendant was clearly beaten, and I do not believe any juror will ignore that. "

Chico's law firm website has a section "What is Juror B-29 Saying About the George Zimmerman case?" Yesterday, it featured two articles. While the first doesn't paint his client in a particularly flattering light, it does favor Zimmerman and the verdict. The article is by by the Brenner Brief, which appears to be a Christian conservative group. It says:

This case, which Juror B29 is correct about, should have never gone to trial. But once the race-baiters got involved, it went to trial. When President Obama insert himself into it, it became solely about race. And given Juror B29′s move, it’s hard not to wonder if she is trying to get on the “right” side of the race war, just in case the Al Sharpton’s and Eric Holder’s of the world come after her.

And given the fact that she is a minority, this will only help her. She can boldly proclaim that she thought Zimmerman was guilty of murder, even thought she clearly contradicts herself, and that she was the lone hold out. That she was the lone voice of reason in a jury of white women who wanted to convict this man. The only blessing is that she followed the law. Other than that, this looks like self-protection.

...Just in case the progressives come after her, she can say she tried to do the right thing. And given the ferocity of this case and the absurd and overt racist overtones, they probably will. But Juror B29 has covered her tracks.

The second article called "Prosecutorial Abuse On Steroids", is harshly critical of the Zimmerman prosecution and Angela Corey and particularly the media:

The lead-up to Corey’s second-degree murder indictment against George Zimmerman came after what was an almost unprecedented campaign of vilification against him involving coordinated efforts by prominent blacks such as Al Sharpton, the U.S. Department of Justice (led by Attorney General Eric Holder), and the news media. In light of the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, according to a number of journalists who covered the proceedings, what went down was shocking.

Early on, the media from CNN to the New York Times to NBC News (and especially its sister network, MSNBC) falsely claimed the Hispanic Zimmerman was “white,” that he killed Martin for “racial reasons.” There was no proof, but it didn’t matter as journalists simply declared what they wanted to opine.

Chico is active in his community and represents many Hispanic clients, but he does not appear to jump on board every claim of discrimination. In 2010, there was a local dust-up about a Puerto Rican businessman named Hector Negron who claimed he was discriminated against at a local diner. Local activist groups called for a federal hate crimes investigation into Joanie's Diner. The Orlando Sentinel ran 3 articles on it, one is reproduced here.

Chico came to the aid of the diner, which he also frequented, and said the allegation wasn't credible. (Here's a picture of Chico and another lawyer meeting with the waitress and owner of the diner. He's identified in the article as being on the left.)

David Chico is a Kissimmee lawyer, Puerto Rican and weekly customer at Joanie’s.

“I just don’t believe the allegations,” he said. “I’ve been coming here for a long time. It just sounds like BS to me, based on the people I know here. It seems to purport with common sense and how things happen in life.”

He said that in a day when Kissimmee residents are starting to get used to the changing population dynamics, such accusations of discrimination are detrimental.

“I would just hate for these allegations to grow in a way that, for me, kind of sets back progress instead of advancing it,” he said. “I just don’t know how this is helpful at all.”

There were calls to revoke Joanie's Diner's business license. The matter was investigated and went nowhere, even though Negron supposedly passed a polygraph which asked "Did you lie about the waitress telling you that the table was reserved for white people?” Also in the police report:

The police report detailing Negron’s complaint against (Officer)Hanna stated that Negron paused before he left to say that he wasn’t sorry for Officer Thomas Bartholomew, the department’s only officer killed in the line of duty and who is memorialized on the lobby wall. He told the officer to whom he had filed his complaint that he places a star on his calendar every time an officer is killed or injured because they “must have done something during their career to deserve what happened to them.”

The point being, I think Juror B-29 and her lawyer went on ABC to explain her view, which was that the case was correctly decided and race was not a factor. Nonetheless, she wanted to express that she's sorry the law didn't allow for other options, and apologize to Martin's mother with whom she empathizes, particularly since she also is a mother. Morally, she thinks Zimmerman was wrong to kill Martin. Legally, she thinks he was not.

Jurors who follow the law and reach an unpopular decision should be praised, not condemned. That her motivation in going public may have been to seek redemption and forgiveness, rather than to support Zimmerman's actions, is not of major importance. He wasn't being tried in the public square.

Juror B29 and B37 both said race wasn't a factor in the case. Chico seems to agree with that. All three say the jurors followed the law. Juror B-29 says she was the loudest voice among the jurors. She wasn't intimidated.

At some point, people need to accept that in this case, the system worked. Charges were brought, a jury was fairly selected, a public trial was held, the state brought its best evidence, and it failed to persuade the jury. To the jury's credit, they left their personal feelings outside the jury room and decided the case by evaluating the evidence produced in court and the law as instructed by the Judge.

The function of a criminal trial, as I've said too many times to count, is merely to test the state's evidence: Have they proven the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Those looking for more need to look elsewhere, outside the criminal justice system, which was never designed to cure every conceivable social ill.

[Note on Comments: While this is an open thread on Zimmerman, I'm not interested in wading through offensive comments about race whatever your beliefs (it had nothing to do with the charges, the trial or the verdict) or debating the sanctification of Trayvon Martin. So please leave unrelated race issues, protests and Martin's character out of the discussion, including rebuttals with specifics of negative references that could come up in a civil suit, or your comment won't stay up very long.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Bob Somerby weighs in (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Nemi on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:24:25 AM EST
    How incompetent is ABC News? ... and questions Robin Robert's skills, ending his post:

    It's good being Robin Roberts, toying with people's lives in such deeply careless ways.

    Reportedly, Roberts is paid $6 million per year. The rest of the scuts at ABC News are vastly overpaid too.

    ABC has done incompetent, morally careless work. But then, when we deal with people like these, what the heck else is n[e]w?

    Which system worked (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ragebot on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:20:00 AM EST
    While I do agree the verdict was the right one I am not sure about a lot of other things.  Was it really necessary for gov Scott to appoint Corey, did that part of the system work?  What about Holder and Obama commenting?  I am sure the media part of the system did not work the way I think it should work.

    I am also concerned that Crum works for a law firm that has an employee with a title of 'head activist'.  Does anyone really think that is the way the system should work?

    Given the evidence gathered at the shooting I doubt any charges would have been brought without the efforts of Sharpton,and his ilk, the pols who support him, and much of the media.  This is not what I would call the system working.

    When (none / 0) (#24)
    by morphic on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:21:59 PM EST
    the prosecution witnesses are all that's needed for a not guilty verdict, the state has an obligation not  to file charges, IMO.

    It's important for an ethical prosecutor (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by txantimedia on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:26:18 PM EST
    to consider the impact of a trial on the defendant, IMO.  If the evidence points to self defense and there is really nothing contradictory, it's grossly unethical to proceed with a prosecution knowing that it will cost the defendant thousands and thousands of dollars and entirely disrupt their life.

    In this case, there was nothing substantial contradicting Zimmerman's account and no reason to file charges other than vindictiveness or political pressure.  Neither has any place in our justice system.


    Nature of the beast (none / 0) (#42)
    by cboldt on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 05:14:49 PM EST
    Just to add, the outcome of trial is "not guilty," and as has been pointed out by many, this does not represent a judicial/legal conclusion that Zimmerman was justified under the law.

    IOW, Zimmerman is tainted by the mere fact of a charge, and that taint cannot be removed, no way, no how.


    Let's hope not! (none / 0) (#66)
    by Palli on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:39:07 PM EST
    he shot a person, Please read about neighborhood watch programs in other communities..

    I assume . . . (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Mr Mark Martinson on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:48:57 AM EST
    she was asked about self defense.  

    My wild speculation is that she believed Zimmerman was in reasonable fear of serious bodily harm and death and perhaps even that TM "threw the first punch" but that he was reckless and put everything in motion.

    It's sad that she is being put out there as "the juror with a conscience" without the entire interview being posted.

    Well her real bombshell (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:31:25 PM EST

    Well her real bombshell was that she thought the matter should not have gone to trial in the first place.  However, that doesn't fit the narrative at all.




    That was a kind of important (none / 0) (#49)
    by Teresa on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:01:36 PM EST
    opinion she expressed. I haven't read about or seen any coverage of her interview that even mentioned it. If she believes that, I guess she has to believe the self-defense part (or at least not proven it wasn't).

    Publicity stunt (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:09:24 PM EST
    3. She thinks the case should never have gone to trial. According to ABC News, when Roberts asked "whether the case should have gone to trial," Maddy answered, "I don't think so. . . . I felt like this was a publicity stunt."




    Ah, thank you (none / 0) (#53)
    by Teresa on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:20:18 PM EST
    I took Anne's advice and really dialed back my reading (except here) and TV watching, so I missed that.

    She appears (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by bmaz on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:49:41 AM EST
    ...to have understood and applied the law just fine. She had issues to work out in relation to the facts vis a vis the law contained in the instructions, did so, and arrived at the proper verdict.

    Here's a good project for those of us (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by SuzieTampa on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:09:06 PM EST
    who have followed this case closely. Would anyone who knows the details forward and backward like to check out the 2 Wikipedia entries for the case and report anything that is incorrect? It's not hard to edit Wikipedia; I've done it before. If Jeralyn allows this, could it be a thread in the forum? Millions of people get information from Wikipedia.

    You can make a new thread in the forums (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:35:28 PM EST
    I think it would fit under

    "Post-Verdict Events and Thoughts"

    Sounds like a good idea.


    Jeralyn, this seems like a good (none / 0) (#97)
    by Teresa on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:01:02 PM EST
    place to tell you that if you wanted to take a year off from law and write a book, there is literally enough information here to write one.

    Since I can't do much but read right now, I'm reading court documents and then looking for your blog posts discussing the issues I see in those documents. I've made it through the 527 page court document that had the two judge removals in it and the bond hearings.

    That first bond hearing had portions where O'Mara questioned Galbreath about the evidence, or lack of, and I guess that was to point out the evidence wasn't strong and therefore bond shouldn't be too high. The questions on evidence have me looking for your posts on the affidavit itself and how it was pretty lacking in evidence. (Galbreath seemed pretty lacking in knowledge at that point, too.)

    That part read like I'm used to seeing here in arraignments. I'm looking for your post now on that bond hearing. You have an amazing amount of information here. I'd guess only Mark O'Mara has more than you do, if even he does, considering the sunshine laws in Florida. This case would have been very different for your blog and those of us interested without all that public discovery wouldn't it?

    Do you remember offhand if you wrote a post on their sunshine law which gives both sides all their evidence prior to trial? Don't look for anything, just if you remember writing one.


    If you... (none / 0) (#99)
    by DebFrmHell on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:52:14 PM EST
    look in the forum in the Pre-trial section you will find a lot of information on all of the hearings.

    The hearing that really got me wound is when Judge Lester denied Zimmerman the opportunity to be in court when his bail was denied.  He told O'Mara to do it on the fly.  I thought that was a gross miscarriage of due process as I understood it.  That happened before I found this site so...IANAL!


    I have been looking there. (none / 0) (#100)
    by Teresa on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 01:14:53 AM EST
    I finally figured out how to find all of Jeralyn's posts in date order and I'm all the way to April 17, 2012! :)

    If I hadn't been away from all media and internet, I would have been in the forum with you guys. Lots of good info there. The comments help me understand the documents.

    I'm going to save so much Kindle money I can send some to J for the blog! I'm getting bogged down because I keep reading the comments with her posts and I know I don't have the time for that so I'm scrolling through them trying to find comments from people still here. And I know I can't make comments with questions from over a year ago about something I'm just now reading, so I go look in the forum to see if anyone else asked my question and usually they do.


    you can find all my Zimmerman case posts (none / 0) (#101)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 02:02:50 AM EST
    in chronological order by going here. There are 195 posts.

    Thank you! (none / 0) (#102)
    by Teresa on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 04:25:55 AM EST
    I was just coming back to tell you something - you are very good, Jeralyn.

    In the comment section on April 21, 2012, you said the judge wouldn't give the aggressor instruction, and why, and she didn't.

    It's really fascinating to read your thoughts from 17 months ago and see how right you were about so many things. Even things before any discovery was released.

    Being MIA from the world, there's so much I didn't know, like wrong information about taking three days to notify Mr. Martin. The jury did a good job ignoring all that stuff from back then, if they knew about it. Thank you for the link. It may take a long time, but I'm reading all of it.


    OMGoodness! (none / 0) (#104)
    by DebFrmHell on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 09:51:36 AM EST
    Now that I have that bookmarked maybe I can bring myself to get rid of the 100 or so that I've collected.  

    Every time I go to do that...I just can't  8-)


    J, I found some of your writing (none / 0) (#98)
    by Teresa on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:26:06 PM EST
    on FL's public record laws (you don't like them) and that's mainly what I wanted to know.

    So, never mind, and thank you.


    Robin Roberts may be respected reporter (4.67 / 3) (#2)
    by AmericanPsycho on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:08:02 AM EST
    but that interview was all over the place with the cuts and edits.  She could learn a two or thing from Anderson Cooper.

    That said, I would like to see the unedited interview with B29 because something about what I saw just wasn't kosher.

    such as reporting on March 28 that (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by lily on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:58:13 AM EST
    George said "f... coons" on the NEN recording.

    Your mention of Anderson Cooper... (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by rob411 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:58:08 PM EST
    resonates for me.

    My expectations were essentially set by Anderson Cooper interviews of the jurors, Robert Zimmerman etc. I don't watch news shows much and assumed his format was the standard one.

    The B29 interview clips completely confounded me. They all played like cut-up trailers for the real thing.

    ABC claims the editing was for time constraints but, surely, they face no such constraints on the web. Why not put up the whole thing?


    Rob, did you see or hear ABC (none / 0) (#58)
    by Teresa on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:35:42 PM EST
    comment on criticism of the editing?

    If it is a controversy, I agree with you that they should just put it on the web. If B29 had something she didn't want shown, I'd be ok with that, though I'd like to see it all.


    ABC's response... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by rob411 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:34:40 PM EST
    was mentioned in an article, which quotes an ABC spokesperson.

    I don't know if they've addressed it on their own website or on TV.


    reward for the 6 jurors names & pictures (4.50 / 2) (#10)
    by Babel 17 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:03:33 AM EST
    A new article at an obscure site pops up and is getting linked and quoted.

    It attempts to push the idea that Zimmerman's involvement as a good Samaritan in the vehicle accident is a set-up of one degree or another. They have sources! Text messages have been seen!

    But be that as it may, or may not, what's disturbing, and possibly more relevant, is this.

    Still large reward for the 6 jurors names & pictures

    We still need the public's help in identifying the names of the six female jurors, especially the bully f the group Juror B37 who went on CNN hidden in darkness a few weeks ago basically admitting to being the leader who guilt tripped the hold out vote into not causing a hung jury & forcing them to wait it out until they all switched to not guilty. A lot of curious readers out there would like to see what they look like. Even with the interview of juror B29 "Maddy" who showed her face yesterday, it is not enough. We want her identity for our publication. Our freakishly OCD need to be thorough & complete extends to complete uncensored media. So if you know that your neighbor was one of them, send their name & pic in for a large reward. We aren't expecting a family member to give them up. Read about each of them, see & hear their interviews HERE.

    I'll post the link to the site if requested by Jeralyn. I don't want any appearance of promoting that place or the sites linking to it.

    So the idea of jurors having organized enemies out there, rabble rousing, stirring up the hate, is now more than just a theory.

    Also on YouTube (none / 0) (#15)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:40:23 AM EST
    Last night I was looking for a YouTube video of one of the interviews to link to for a post on the forum. The first one I found had a similar 'identify the jurors' request at the beginning. Of course I kept looking.

    please don't post links (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:19:28 PM EST
    to such sites or tell people how to find them. You've made the point they exist, and described what they say. That's enough.

    With all due respect (3.50 / 2) (#28)
    by Char Char Binks on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:50:30 PM EST
    I wouldn't call Roberts a respected journalist.  True, she did popularize the catchphrase, "Go on with your bad self!", but aside from sports, entertainment, celebrity gossip and misrepresenting the facts in a murder trial, what has she done?

    a few things (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:19:24 PM EST

    At GMA, she has done extensive field reporting in the Middle East, Africa, and Mexico. Roberts played an active role in ABC News' coverage of the 2008 presidential race, interviewing candidates and a wide-range of political newsmakers and reporting live from Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. She was the first journalist to interview President Barack Obama after he was sworn in as President.

    Thanks for setting me straight. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Char Char Binks on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:13:58 PM EST
    I was wrong.

    Jeralyn, I am honestly at a loss to understand (3.33 / 3) (#3)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:22:10 AM EST
    why you are drilling down so far in a case in which the jury rendered the only verdict you thought they should reach.  Is it that you feel compelled to prove that the jurors got it right for the right reasons?

    If the only thing that was different was the verdict, would you still be saying the system worked?  Or would you be doing the exact opposite of what you're doing here, and trying to prove that the jurors were incompetent or unfairly biased?

    I guess what I find interesting is that, as much as you limited the discussion here to only that which was admissible in the trial, and took the position that we couldn't consider all the other things that didn't come in, now that you're trying to prove the credibility of this juror, all of a sudden, it's important that we know about all the interview material that must have ended up on the cutting room floor.

    Come on, Jeralyn, do you really think Robin Roberts didn't have a hand - a large hand - in editing that interview?  

    The reason the verdict (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:42:25 AM EST
    (not the case evidence) is still being discussed is because the media continues to unfairly portray it with salacious soundbites. In case you haven't noticed, protests are ongoing, people who believe this edited stuff are signing petitions calling for a civil rights investigation (when no legal grounds exist to support one under federal law) and even today there was a violent mugging in Adams Morgan in Washington by three men who police say claimed to be retaliating for Trayvon. Ignorant people who know nothing about the case form their views from the media, and the coverage continues to range from biased to inaccurate.

    The spin has to be scaled back. If you aren't interested, then don't read it.

    Also, I never said Robin Roberts didn't have a hand in the editing job. I would have no way of knowing that. What I said was I don't believe for one minute she didn't ask Juror B29 about her thoughts on Zimmerman's claim of self-defense and I chastised ABC for not including them, if she did discuss it.

    I do not believe and have never believed there  are larger issues beyond whether self-defense justified the shooting, and I'm not willing for this site to be used to perpetuate the media myths the public has bought into.

    These are not political posts I am writing. They are posts about the criminal justice system.


    I don't know how TL could be (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:53:55 AM EST
    used to perpetuate media myths about this case if you decided it was not to be a topic of conversation, but I completely understand your commitment to the truth.

    But the ability of the media to manipulate that truth and drive the public's perception is just standard operating procedure for them - it doesn't matter if it's about the criminal justice system or the health care system, anyone who takes the time to get and be informed quickly realizes that if they want the truth, the typical media sources - the nightly news or these interview shows - are not where they are going to find it.

    I actually made this discovery years ago, when our kids' school burned down (it was on a weekend, so no one inside).  We wanted them to rebuild on the existing site, but the county took the opportunity to look for another site so they could build a mega-school, as opposed to the relatively small, country-type school the original had been (since we are in a rural area, building permits have everything to do with whether roads and schools can support more development, so if you have a bigger school...you get more houses and we didn't want that).  At one point, a developer offered to donate the land - free land! - in exchange for allowing him to get better zoning for another property he had, but it turned out that the land he wanted to give away had been on the SuperFund list for contamination...public meetings were held, and the community was given the opportunity to speak.  I spoke.  I'd been communicating with other parents, we'd been doing all kinds of research and talking to county and school officials and were on top of what was going on.  The media got involved - both TV and print.

    When I saw the TV report and read the print coverage, I was stunned to find out that neither bore any resemblance to events at which I was present.  I mean, I remember turning to my husband and asking him if it was just me, or did it seem to him like they were reporting on some other story, since they got almost nothing about the whole issue right.

    So, I get it.  And I've never since taken anything I see or read in the media at face value.  Yeah, sometimes it can be a matter of time and space constraints, but sometimes the things they get wrong would be so easy to get right that there's no excuse.

    But this is why, when polls are done, and usually used to "prove" something, they reflect only the level of information most people have from a media that seems unable or unwilling to educate and inform.

    I hate to say it, but it may be a little like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    Oh - about the school...the donation of land was rejected, but so were plans to build on the existing site.  A new site was found, less than a mile from the old one, and a new school was built.  In the meantime, space was found at a school about 5 miles away, so the kids were bused there in the interim.  One of my kids had already gone on to middle school at the time of the fire, and the other was in third grade - by the time the new school was completed, my younger daughter was also in middle school.  It's nice enough - that's where we all vote - but the stone facade of the burned-out school still stands, behind chain-link fencing, and it kills me to see it.  They've never done anything with the old site in almost 20 years.


    it does matter (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:14:44 PM EST
    to me that the media manipulates perceptions on a particular case going through the criminal justice system and that is the only topic I am discussing.  Whether they do it on all issues is not relevant to the topic I am addressing here.

    This is the first case that I have really paid .. (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by Cashmere on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:37:22 PM EST
    such close attention to.  I am not sure why this case grabbed my attention so much, but, having said this, and having heard how this case has been portrayed sooooo inaccurately by the media, and how, even after the verdict, this continues to occur, it very much disheartens me.  I am most definitely a sceptic now re: anything the media states.

    I'm not saying it shouldn't matter, so I (none / 0) (#35)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:46:46 PM EST
    wish you would not respond to me as if that's what I'm saying.

    But the reality is that the media gets away with this kind of shoddy and manipulative reporting on this story because that's the way they approach pretty much everything; if this was some kind of one-off for them, objecting to it would have more effect, I think.

    And I guess I have to state, clearly, that that doesn't mean you shouldn't object as loudly as possible - you should, I should, we all should.  Maybe if enough people do object, we raise the standard.

    Not that the media really cares about anything other than how many eyeballs are watching or reading what they're putting out there, so there's no value in them abandoning the sensational, none, unless people stop watching, and stop buying the products advertised.

    Again - I'm not saying you shouldn't care, nor that you shouldn't keep trying to educate people.  But as much as you don't think the larger picture has anything to do with all of this, I do have to disagree with you on that.  


    There is the matter of integrity (none / 0) (#6)
    by cboldt on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:38:03 AM EST
    In response to your -- I do not believe and have never believed there  are larger issues beyond whether self-defense justified the shooting --, as well as to a similar sentiment being raised in the OP, the thought crossed my mind that lapses in prosecutorial judgment and/or integrity, and lapses in judicial "fairness" (I really don't like that word, but it seems to fit, here) are larger issues than any one case.

    If the fairness of criminal justice system is an illusion, then why should anybody have any moral respect for it?  I think that is a big deal, and I think some of the players in Florida's criminal justice system come up short.


    One (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:31:54 AM EST
    issue is fairness.

    The other issue is whether or not the verdict was correct with respect to Florida law.

    I don't see how the jury could have come up with another verdict in this case.

    Z may have tracked M because of racial profiling.

    He may have been wrong to follow M to the point where M became aware of Z following him and asked him why he was doing so.

    But if M is the one that initiated a physical attack, and was beating Z to the point where he feared for his life, I don't know what other verdict the jury could have rendered.

    This case does not seem to me to be a good example for those seeking to remedy the unfairness of the judicial system. Uneven sentencing would be a better beginning place imo.

    And regarding racial profiling: Mayor Bloomberg recently defended the practice in New York saying, in essence, minorities are the ones committing the crimes so it makes sense to racially profile them for his stop and frisk program.

    Why this little gem did not create a gigantic and ongoing sh-tstorm of controversy and protest is, imo, an issue worthy of discussion.


    I agree, there are (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:46:43 PM EST
    larger issues in the case of prosecutorial overcharging and withholding of evidence as well as whether decisions were made based on improper influences by third parties and the public in the overall case, all of which I covered repeatedly. In the context of the verdict, which is based only on evidence at trial, I think the issue is whether the shooting was justified. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

    Is anything likely to come.. now.. after the (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cashmere on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:52:13 PM EST
    acquittal, re: the defense's motions re: the prosecution's witholding of evidence?

    Hearing is inevitable (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by cboldt on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 05:11:55 PM EST
    The motion for sanctions has to be disposed of.  O'Mara has said he will submit modifications to his motion.  I assume Kruidbos and his lawyer will be available for the hearing, if not called.

    I think Nelson can dispose of the motion in a summary fashion (no prejudice, the evidence is inadmissible), but I don't think the disposal survives appellate review.


    Zimmophobia (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by RonK Seattle on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:49:42 PM EST
    The actual case was not that interesting, either from a legal perspective or a social perspective.

    But the mainstream media portrayal and social reaction is phenomenal, and is something we will all have to deal with for years to come (especially those of us with African-American loved ones at impressionable ages).

    In a span of five years, only nine GZ's were legally determined to have committed justifiable homicide against nine TM's, yet the lessons some people drawn form the case is that young black men should never go to Florida )or 30-0dd other SYG states ... or should never go out at night at all!

    If this isn't domestic terrorism, what is?

    It's also emblematic of major malfunctions in our media culture, with wider implications for collective dialogue and for democracy itself.


    Citation or link? (none / 0) (#84)
    by woodchuck64 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 10:23:55 AM EST

    In a span of five years, only nine GZ's were legally determined to have committed justifiable homicide against nine TM's

    Citation or link for this?


    Recall a recent sensational headline ... (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:04:58 PM EST
    ... regarding an Urban Institute study finding whites who shoot blacks are 354% more likely to "get away with murder"?

    Drill down into the articles and you'll find that out of ~45,000 homicides in the scholars' 5-year database, this subsample comprised 25 cases. (Shootings by law enforcement were excluded, as were acquaintance shootings, e.g., domestic violence cases.)

    Drill down further into published summaries by the study's authors, and you'll find the 25 is actually 23 cases, of which 9 were not charged or found not guilty.


    Eric Zorn says (none / 0) (#13)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:05:10 AM EST

    "No, I'm referring to when "Maddy" said, "Manslaughter, in order to be charged, we had to prove that when (Zimmerman) left home, He said 'I'm going to go kill Trayvon Martin.'"

    This is simply not true. I have the jury instructions in front of me here, and they say, "In order to convict of manslaughter by act, it is not necessary for the state to prove that George Zimmerman had an intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death."

    The idea that "Maddy" would have crumbled in her beliefs and yielded to other jurors based on such a profound misunderstanding of the manslaughter statute ought to be dissatisfying to everyone on all sides of this debate."


    I've pointed out several times that (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:06:26 PM EST
    her statement about him having intent to kill when he was leaving the house was incorrect as to the elements of manslaughter. But self-defense cancels out manslaughter, and the only time period relevant to self-defense is the moment of the shooting.

    Juror B-37 made it clear that the jury had already rejected murder 2 with its requirement of ill-will, hatred before moving on to manslaughter. Their question to the judge, which she said resulted from some jurors being confused about whether acts leading up to the shooting were relevant to manslaughter, was sent out while they were discussing manslaughter.

    The only time period relevant for self defense is the time of the shooting. Thus, if they found Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin in response to Martin's attack on him, he couldn't be guilty of manslaughter.

    She may have been explaining why she thought the shooting was justified in self-defense -- that since he didn't go out that night intending to kill Martin, he didn't cause Martin's attack on him and therefore he was justified by responding with deadly force. Or the reverse, that had Zimmerman gone out that night with the intent to kill Martin, she would have decided Martin's attack was justified and somehow negated his claim of self-defense.  

    That's why it's so troubling that the interview is so choppily edited and Roberts didn't ask her about self-defense. It's not clear if she's saying the elements of manslaughter weren't proven or that the justifiable use of force prevented them from convicting on manslaughter because a person who acts in self defense cannot be convicted of any crime, whether murder or manslaughter.

    The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant....

    The defendant cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide:

    I agree completely (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by bmaz on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:30:07 PM EST
    It would be really nice to have the full unedited interview to see if the self defense issue was covered and, if so, what was said.

    Because, for all the caterwauling about the clarity of the jury instructions, there were exactly two elements described as to manslaughter on the applicable instruction (page 10 of the instruction pak) and they are blindingly clear. It is pretty hard to see how they are overcome except by application of self defense justification.


    Full unedited interview (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by lily on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:46:09 PM EST
    is likely in the same place as Gutman's tape of the DeeDee interview set up by Crump.

    exactly (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:14:16 PM EST

    Clarity (none / 0) (#40)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:59:14 PM EST
    Because, for all the caterwauling about the clarity of the jury instructions, there were exactly two elements described as to manslaughter on the applicable instruction (page 10 of the instruction pak) and they are blindingly clear.

    I don't think the wording is as clear as it could be on whether there must be intent to cause death. That seems to be the point that may have tripped up B-29.


    Really?? So, tell me... (none / 0) (#43)
    by bmaz on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 05:43:36 PM EST
    ...exactly how you propose that it be made more simple than this:

    To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    1.    Trayvon Martin is dead.

    2.    George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.

    Seriously, that is as straightforward and simple a jury instruction as to critical elements as you will ever find in any trial anywhere, anytime.


    Jury Ínstructions Were Poor (none / 0) (#47)
    by RickyJim on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:44:40 PM EST
    I'll repeat what I have said before.  They were redundant, had irrelevant sections and were poorly organized.  In the example you give, it is not clear from the wording that the act or acts mentioned in 2. could only be pulling the trigger.  Why couldn't the judge come right out and say it?  Also the jurors had to realize that the proving of the elements of Manslaughter or Murder2 can be abrogated by finding it reasonable that the Justifiable or Excusable Homicide criteria were operative in this case.  The jurors would have had an easier time if they were told to follow an expansion of this flowchart:
    Justifiable or Excusable Homicide? --> Yes, Not Guilty; No, Depraved mind shown? --> Yes, Second Degree murder; No Manslaughter.

    I asked you previously about your early days when you would question jurors after a verdict.  If they were written in a style similar to want we saw in this case, didn't you also find confused jurors as to what their task was?


    your way is backwards (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:27:15 PM EST
    It's not rocket science

    Murder 2
    Are elements proven?
    If no, fill out verdict form saying not guilty on this count and go on to lesser offense of manslaughter

    Are elements proven?
    If yes,has state disproved self-defense?
    If no, return not guilty verdict

    B-37 said this is what happened.

    You seem to think these instructions are different than instructions given in other Florida cases involving murder charges and self defense. Have you found a case to support that? If not, I would assume this is the order given in all Florida cases charging murder in which the defendant claims self-defense. This wasn't Judge Nelson's first rodeo.

    It also makes sense that the jury is instructed to first  decide if the crime has been proven, and then they address the affirmative defense. If the affirmative defense applies or has not been disproven, the verdict has to be not guilty

    If juries haven't been too confused to return verdicts in other cases, these probably weren't confusing either. I can't recall any appellate cases in which the defense argued the instructions were too confusing because of the order in which they were given. (I also haven't looked.) Have you found one?


    Where is That Recipe Found? (none / 0) (#82)
    by RickyJim on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:34:40 AM EST
    Maybe one can read those questions into what Juror B-37 said, but if they really had it in mind, it must have taken quite a while for them to come up with that procedure.  The verdict form did not have any place for a check mark for not guilty on Murder2 - just places for Guilty of Murder2, Guilty of Manslaughter, and Not Guilty.

    If what the judge and lawyers produced in this case is the style of jury instructions that are always given in Florida, then shame on them.  What would have happened if Judge Nelson gave them my way?  I hope you don't endorse the Florida method of using a probable cause affidavit to indict somebody for a non capital crime, so why isn't their method of giving jury instructions also open to criticism?  Also, since the case was all about Self Defense with very little discussion of Murder2 and Manslaughter, why not have the instructions oriented towards disposing of that issue first?  If they did that, I don't think B-29 would have been confused at all.


    Not a Lawyer (none / 0) (#52)
    by Cylinder on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:19:50 PM EST

    Which act actually caused Martin's death is not a matter of law for the judge to instruct, but rather a question of fact for the jury to decide. In this case, it just wasn't a contested fact but it very often is.


    you are selectively quoting Zorn (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:13:40 PM EST
    He also says in that column:

    In the end "Maddy" the juror did her job, followed the law, and should feel no shame or even regret. It's OK, though to be haunted by the issue that still plainly divides the nation -- the inability of criminal trials to dispense satisfaction instead of justice.


    Jurors on the Zimmerman trial considered all the evidence, followed the law and correctly concluded that they could not find Zimmerman guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of manslaughter or murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin

    For very GOOD reasons the discussion... (none / 0) (#75)
    by heidelja on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:23:27 AM EST
    ...must be sanely continued.

    The MSNBC mantra since the verdict seems to me to be the sort to perpetuating the notion of old stereotypes.

    1. The shooting was racially motivated (because TM was racially profiled) so hence the jury verdict HAD TO BE, too. Especially given juror B29 going public.

    2. An unarmed black teen was shot by an armed white man and "got away with it." This would never have happened if the roles were reversed.

    3. The DoJ must now investigate the perceived Civil Rights abuses.

    Additionally, educated black opinions continue to be sounded that are out of the mainstream...

    1. Stand Your Ground laws must be repealed because violence is increasing because of them.

    2. When one person is dead and another is standing how could it not have been for reason  of "murder"?

    MSNBC, since the verdict, has rightly focused limited attention to the absurdity of injustice played out in the State's (Florida) case versus Marissa Alexander, but it avoids incendiary commentary regarding Florida's mandatory sentencing laws which likely would show a racial bias.

    This case has impacted TL (3.00 / 5) (#48)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:54:17 PM EST
    But unfortunately not in a good way.

    I will be glad when this time passes.

    It's brought out the ugly in everyone. No one excluded, including myself.

    I am perplexed. I think this site.. (5.00 / 8) (#54)
    by Cashmere on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:42:05 PM EST
    was the only rational place to discuss this case.  I am very happy that TL has provided the forum and the posts for this case to be discussed.  I have learned so much from all posters here, you included ABG.

    me too! (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:34:39 PM EST
    And I've received dozens of emails and many financial contributions from those who agree. I've also done my best to delete ugly and irrational, misinformed comments by both sides.

    Jeralyn, I'm wondering if anyone has (none / 0) (#76)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:51:49 AM EST
    pointed you to Abbe Smith writing in the Washington Post yesterday:

    What motivates a lawyer to defend a Tsarnaev, a Castro or a Zimmerman?

    From the piece:

    I have been a criminal defense lawyer for more than 30 years, first as a public defender and now as a law professor running a criminal defense clinic. My clients have included a young man who gunned down his neighbor in front of her 5-year-old daughter while trying to steal her car, a man who beat a young woman to death for failing to alert drug associates that police were coming and a woman who smothered her baby for no apparent reason. These are the kinds of cases that prompt people to ask: "How can you represent those people?" All criminal defense lawyers are asked this; it's such a part of the criminal defense experience that it's simply known as "the question."

    Most of us have a repertoire of stock replies about how the system can't work without good lawyers on both sides, or the harshness of punishment, or the excessive number of people -- especially minorities -- locked up in this country. Capital defenders such as Tsarnaev lawyer Judy Clarke tend to cite their opposition to the death penalty.

    But our motivations are usually personal and sometimes difficult to articulate. I often say I was inspired by "To Kill a Mockingbird." There is no more compelling figure than Atticus Finch defending a wrongly accused poor black man. Innocence, though, is not a chief driver for me. To the contrary, I often call my life's work "the guilty project." Criminal defense is, for the most part, defending the factually guilty -- people who have done something wrong, though maybe not exactly what is alleged.

    Highly recommend the whole article.


    yes I read it (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:46:11 PM EST
    There are books about this and I used to give continuing legal education lectures on it. (I called mine "Representing the Hated Defendant: Why We Do What We Do."

    I like this blogpost by a federal judge describing his representation as a defense lawyer of a murderer.


    we're almost passed it (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:40:46 PM EST
    There are very few Zimmerman posts now and posts on other topics. I expect it will be rare to see a Zimmerman post here soon, only if there is news relating to legal actions or if major media continues to slant. I don't even intend to cover what politicians say about the case.

    I disagree. (5.00 / 6) (#67)
    by Synthesist on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:12:28 AM EST
    I think TL has done a very excellent job of covering the Zimmerman case.

    It most certainly has not "brought out the ugly in everyone. No one excluded...". At least, not for me or the many others that have commented here.  

    Ms. Merritt has stood by her principles as a defense lawyer that a defendant must only be tried of charges in strict accordance with our rights under the Constitution. We need more people like her, on both sides of the political spectrum, who can resist the easy path of blind political party loyalty to instead have the integrity to fairly weigh all of the facts in a case like this.

    I have noticed that she has been attacked by some of her fellow liberals here because they just can't accept the fact that this case did not proceed and end with a guilty verdict as they hoped it would. Apparently, they just can't put their politics aside. That is just so unfortunate and unfair.


    Ditto (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Darby on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:29:54 AM EST
    I referred to Jeralyn the other day as being an independent. I meant an independent thinker.

    I can't get over the attacks here against anyone if they sided with the law and not the baseless racial hysterics in this case.

    I wasn't here before (and no I am not a right winger or tea partier!), but I suppose those who think it changed are only comfortable with the liberal left group think approach to things.


    Yep... (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Synthesist on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:34:01 AM EST
    It's such a real shame that so many have been so easily deceived and duped by the false narrative of the obviously nonexistent racism that George Zimmerman has been accused of in this case.

    One way to "get passed" this case of not a guilty verdict is for all of the true facts to be revealed, and for everyone to accept the fact that six jurors found George Zimmerman not guilty.


    Maybe, (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:50:53 AM EST
    as you say, it brought out the ugly in you, but here on TL it has brought out serious discussion. I'm proud to be among these people on TL. And Jeralyn's posts have been incredibly detailed, thorough, fair and illuminating - an example of which is above.

    It doesn't appear as if you bothered to read it.


    Good example of what I am talking about (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:54:15 AM EST
    Disagree with an opinion and it can only be due to ignorance?


    I learned from Jeralyn's posts and got something out of the discussion.  But often the viewpoint of those who disagreed with it was viewed as ignorant of the law, blinded by mindless reaction and generally not worthy of the same respect.

    So yeah Lentinel, I read it all. I just disagreed with what it all meant for the judicial system and society.


    I would think that on a legal blog (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by itscookin on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:38:25 AM EST
    the basis for all conversation would be to seek a verdict based on the evidence or lack of evidence presented in the trial. The Zimmerman verdict appears to meet the criteria of being in synch with the evidence presented. The mindless reaction appears to be coming from those who expected the jury to not weigh the case based on the evidence, but rather to decide based on some perceived societal ills. We need more juries like this one. "Just the facts, ma'am."

    I did (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:43:10 AM EST
    not call you ignorant, although you may well be. I don't know.

    In your post, you did not deign to mention the specific issues in Jeralyn's post with which you disagreed - so I can have no way of characterizing an opinion of yours which has not been expressed.

    But I can personally and emphatically disagree with your assertion that the discussion of this case on this site "brought out the ugly in everyone - no one excluded..."

    That particular sentence does indeed sound ignorant.


    Or (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:53:14 AM EST
    But often the viewpoint of those who disagreed with it was viewed as ignorant of the law, blinded by mindless reaction and generally not worthy of the same respect.

    In some cases (and repeatedly, even though they have been told otherwise, it's not ignorance of the law, but rather, ignorance of the facts.


    In my opinion, there was far too much (3.83 / 6) (#87)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:26:46 PM EST
    designation as "facts" things that could only be determined by supposition or wild-ass guessing because of the lack of eyewitnesses and the inability to get a dead person's side of the story.

    It just seemed to me that too many people had already decided on the justifiable nature of the shooting, and that meant that all the gaps - and there were plenty of them - had to be filled in such a way as to not get in the way of the desired conclusion.  And once filled, what they were filled in with were deemed "facts."  There was no tolerance for conjecture or consideration that the conclusion could possibly be different if the gaps were filled differently.

    There certainly were actual facts, but there were also a lot of things deemed fact for no other reason than that they made sense in the context that worked for those deeming them as such.


    I was thinking more of (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:47:12 PM EST
    the "Facts" that have been spread by the media (and around here by those who wanted GZ to be punished), and more importantly, by those who want to make this a major civil rights case or want to see racism at every turn.

    "Facts" that are fed by those with an agenda that is stirring up unrest and hatefulness - or just to make a buck.


    The big issue with facts, especially from Angrybc (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Darby on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 10:00:53 PM EST
    Was the e issue of racial involvement and culpability. Th only fact we heard is that often times black are profiled and people clutch their bags and lock their car Iis. Acknowledged but there still are no facts
    1.  That Zimmerman profiled Martin as suspicious due to his skin. It was because he was wandering, seemingly loitering in the rain, looking into houses. In hindsight we now know he was talking on Bluetooth, so perhaps that is the reason he appeared strange and aimless.  Innocent, of course, but yes, maybe suspicious.
    2. Even if Zimmerman profiled him in part due to his race, which again no facts to support it, it still gives Martin no right to dish out the a$$ whipping without Zimmerman defending himself

    Char Char Binks: how many times (none / 0) (#93)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:14:03 PM EST
    must you be told that "1" ratings are not for mere disagreement before you stop handing them out like candy?

    That's not my rule, that's Jeralyn's.  


    Nerts. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:42:39 PM EST
    You supposedly "disagree" with what Jeralyn's post with respect to her conclusions about what this case means for the judicial system and society... but rather than take the time to write in plain language what exactly you disagree with, you call everybody ugly.

    There is not a hat size big enough to fit on your noggin, Mr. Man.


    Just the facts (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:58:54 PM EST
    should be the basis of what a juror uses to determine if a defendant is guilty or not guilty.

    As some have pointed out while there were some facts in the Zimmerman case it would have been nice if there were more facts.

    So how does one go about filling in the blanks if some facts are lacking.  If one starts off by presuming Zimmerman was innocent and then assumes proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt it is hard to se how a guilty verdict is possible.  Especially given the facts we know and the law.

    Do those thinking Zimmerman should have been found guilty really start off with no preconceived ideas.


    Respected Reporters (none / 0) (#1)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:38:52 PM EST
    Robin Roberts is a respected reporter. Do you really think she didn't think to ask B-29 what she thought of George's self-defense argument, or how the jurors as a whole felt about self-defense?

    I have no idea what Robin Roberts asked or didn't ask, other than what I have seen.

    Isn't Matt Gutman a respected reporter?

    yes he is (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:22:51 AM EST
    I have a question (none / 0) (#14)
    by chezmadame on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:21:05 AM EST
    about the possible civil case against Zimmerman. Does the defendant get to choose whether it's a trial by jury or by judge?

    Two birds for the price of one (none / 0) (#16)
    by Visteo1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:59:25 AM EST
    Did the Martin's say anything that Zimmerman could sue for?  I tried to avoid the media on this case, except witness statements, since late Mar 2012.

    Comments deleted (none / 0) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:31:56 PM EST
    that talked about unrelated race issues and protests and DOJ and monitors. While this is an open Zimmerman thread, I expressly asked that you stick to the case when commenting and not "unrelated race issues and protests." Comments about the KKK are completely inappropriate for the purposes of the discussion at the this site.

    She didn't understand the law! (none / 0) (#68)
    by DennisD on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:46:54 AM EST
    How Jeralyn, Zorn or anyone else can say B29 followed the law is preposterous considering she was completely clueless about manslaughter. Moreover, if this woman believed self-defense was justified why was she still trying to find, as she puts it, Zimmerman guilty of something until the end, especially considering it was only intent that was preventing her from convicting?

    From what we've heard from B29, I can't see how anyone can feel comfortable that she was on the jury, or may be on another in the future.

    Understanding the law in every detail... (none / 0) (#81)
    by rob411 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:25:49 AM EST
    I don't think that's necessary to arrive at the legally proper verdict.

     I expect the process to work as follows: form a verdict based on your interpretation of the evidence and the law and rely on the diversity of your fellow jurors to have differing opinions on difficult matters. Use discussion based on the jury instructions to resolve those differences and you should have a fairly good chance that your consensus will be consistent with the law.

    It works the same in the corporate world, where teams rely on multiple group reviews to enure consistent interpretations of a specification, not deep understanding by individual team members.

    In Maddy's case, I'd guess she correctly sensed that there was little possibility of finding a legal basis for guilty, so the occasion for carefully understanding manslaughter simply didn't arise.


    "Use discussion based on (none / 0) (#94)
    by DennisD on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:42:50 PM EST
    the jury instructions to resolve those differences and you should have a fairly good chance that your consensus will be consistent with the law." I hope you feel that this fairly good chance is fine when it is you on trial.

    My point was that for anyone to say B29 followed the law is absurd because she evidently has no idea what the law is.


    ABC: Release the full unedited B-29 interview! (none / 0) (#71)
    by Synthesist on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:33:37 AM EST
    ABC should release the full unedited recording of the "Maddy" juror B-29 interview if they want to try to retain any residual claim that they are a credible news organization.

    I saw one early excerpt on a local news broadcast where B-29 was asked the leading question; paraphrasing that `some say that George Zimmerman got away with murder'. The unedited version of that excerpt shows, in my opinion, that "Maddy" seemed to take that as direct personal challenge to her not guilty verdict. Her physical response along with her halting, hesitant and delayed answer, are revealing. After a long pause, she then parrots the leading "George Zimmerman got away with murder', to then  try to deflect blame for her not guilty verdict by stating that GZ would have to answer to a higher moral authority anyway. But ABC later cut that revealing halting response and hesitation when they did the Nightline broadcast later that night. That is just a totally unacceptable way for a so called major news organization to edit this excerpt like that.

    In regards to B-29's effort of doing a "news interview" to redeem herself in the eyes of her community for her not guilty verdict, in my preliminary opinion she failed miserably. But my opinion is only based on what ABC has selectively released of the interview so far.  

    B-29 Said What She Said. (none / 0) (#72)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:53:18 AM EST
    Mind-reading her hesitations is ridiculous.

    Clearly that being repotted on TV... (none / 0) (#78)
    by heidelja on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:54:34 AM EST
    ...that I have limitedly seen is that it is made to appear on her own volition B29 said "Zimmerman got away with murder" and it serving as the gut wrenching attention gripper for the story of her ABC interview. This "behind the scenes" look sharing the variant ABC reporting goes far to explain the obvious discontinuity in the totality of what can be found reported that "she said" here...

    "You can't put the man in jail, even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," said the angst-ridden woman, known during the trial as Juror B29. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."

    The question at the heart of the case was whether Zimmerman, 29, acted in self-defense because he thought his life was in danger -- thereby bringing the shooting under the parameters of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

    "That's where I felt confused," Maddy told Roberts. "But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty."

    Maddy's approach contrasted sharply with that of Juror B37, who was first to speak out. That panelist, a white woman interviewed anonymously on CNN, expressed sympathy for Zimmerman and said Trayvon was partly responsible for his own death.

    Both Maddy and Juror B37 said the case was never about race. Despite her conviction that Zimmerman did wrong, when Maddy was asked whether the case should have gone to trial, she replied, "I don't think so."

    "I felt like this was a publicity stunt," she said.

    So then WHY? (none / 0) (#103)
    by heidelja on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 06:59:35 AM EST
    Why didn't ABC instead go with the TRUTH by leading in that B29 said it was all a "publicity stunt" if that's what "she said"? Instead they use a clipping of her regurgitation of a leading question which avoids a certain culpability on their part for perpetuating a stunt to fool the public for what was not to be seen as ordinary garden variety wrongful justice happening so many times before.

    It didn't fit their narrative (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 10:55:07 AM EST
    The spin was that the only non-white juror would be the holdout, the one who really empathized with TM's family. Her talking about publicity stunts doesn't fit in there at all.

    Again - and still (none / 0) (#108)
    by Nemi on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 08:57:32 AM EST
    Bob Somerby questions the press corps. With a reference to Camus and his "The Plague" he writes:

    "Stupidity has a knack of getting its way," [Camus] writes at one point in this brief meditation, "as we should see if we were not always so wrapped up in ourselves." The humanists die first in what follows, he rather gloomily says.

    Does stupidity have a knack of getting its way? In our view, something resembling stupidity has been getting its way in America's press corps for at least the last twenty-one years, with the best and the brightest among us defiantly failing to notice.

    And with a reference to James Joyce's "Dubliners" he asks:

    In our own Dublin, our own Oran, has there ever been a press corps episode in which so many sectors ended up playing so active a role? For today, let's try to stick with the conduct of the professional journalists.

    He then lists these four 'Basic elements of the press corps' sacred story' ie the Martin/Zimmerman case:

    Factual statements which are false
    Factual claims which are unfounded
    Factual statements which are true but irrelevant
    Factual information which has been disappeared, withheld

    - but can't that be said of many, many more stories the media present us with? Bob Somerby himself mentions the pseudo-scandals sorrounding Bill and Hillary Clinton and how these stories have since just kind of faded, noone ever explaining why they were invented in the first place.

    And he laments, as do I, how the fact-checkers now as well as back then seem to have gone missing. AWOL as it were.

    The Press Coverage (5.00 / 3) (#110)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 10:59:23 AM EST
    Ben Crump and Ryan Julison sold the narrative to the press and no one bothered to check anything.  It was all based on an emotional response from viewers to pressure officials to bring charges against GZ.  

    It is scary how well that worked and how many people still believe even though facts have come out that counters what they were told.


    Please keep the discussion to the Zimmerman case (none / 0) (#111)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:28:46 AM EST
    and reporting of it. You can discuss media coverage of political events in other threads. thanks.

    But the Daily Howler post (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Nemi on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:04:17 PM EST
    is about the Zimmerman case and reporting of it.

    Feel free to delete my comment ... but I don't understand your objection?


    Another category and (none / 0) (#113)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:33:01 AM EST
    one that bothers me a lot is disputed facts misrepresented as undisputed truth.

    The Toxicology Report (none / 0) (#109)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 10:50:14 AM EST
    was ruled admissible even though O'Mara and Zimmerman decided not to use it.  IIRC, the rest of it was ruled inadmissible.  IIRC, it had something to do with relevancy since GZ didn't know TM prior to the altercation, the verification, and who had control of the phone for the pictures and text messages.

    IMO, they decided not to open the door for character attacks and they didn't want to lose the jury by seeming to go after young Martin.

    the comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#112)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:30:42 AM EST
    was deleted as an unsubstantiated character attack on Martin.