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Author Topic: Murder trial of George Zimmerman
Obama
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Anyone been watching this the last few days? There's no way Zimmerman won't walk on this, as well he should. The prosecution's witnesses have helped the defense more then the prosecution.
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Samprimary
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Are we talking primarily about Rachel Jeantel's performance on the stand?
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Obama
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That, and the witness today who stated he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, raining blows to his head MMA style. He also testified that the scream could only have been from Zimmerman. This was the prosecution's witness.
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Rakeesh
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He didn't, in fact, testify that he saw Martin punching him-there was some ambiguity in that. I'm also curious as to what this guy actually knows about 'MMA style'. He couldn't confirm the guy on top was hitting the guy on bottom...but he knows it was 'MMA style'? Sounds like some pretty standard eyewitness-in-the-dark uncertainty to me. Though of course if that's all they've got, I wouldn't be outraged if Zimmerman did walk.
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DustinDopps
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The 'MMA-style' quote is in dispute. The witness actually said he might have heard it from police before he ever said it. But his testimony that he saw someone in dark clothing straddling someone in lighter/red clothing is pretty damning.
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Samprimary
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Oh, yeah. Between the two of them it acts as a pretty amazingly perfect study in culture preference and culture barrier to presentation and presentability in court. Jeantel was nearly incoherent, and various cultural and educational issues made it so that she was pretty perfectly out of her element re: interrogation and direct questions. the end result is a 'combative and impossible' client which the defense can pick apart easily.

In contrast, John Good was a world away — clear, concise, and ably capable of responding quickly to ensure that his statements were not being taken incorrectly or out of context, no language barrier, not a cultural oddity in the courtroom who was going to evoke a bunch of "Precious" comparisons.

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TomDavidson
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I've heard quite a few people suggest that the prosecution -- which never wanted to actually prosecute this case in the first place -- is deliberately spiking it.
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Obama
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The witnesses are who they are. How could the prosecution do better?
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TomDavidson
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Coaching, for one thing. There is of course a fine line between "witness preparation" and "witness coaching," but it's hard to believe that either happened in this scenario.
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Geraine
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Jeantel being propped up as the "star witness" for the prosecution was an extremely poor decision. She has a history of lying, doing drugs, etc. Jeantel seemed like she was deliberately trying to twist the facts to make it seem like Martin did nothing wrong at all, and that Zimmerman was just a guy that decided he wanted to shoot someone.

She said she was in the hospital when asked why she didn't attend Martin's funeral. Then we found out that was a lie. Why did she lie? Because the lawyers weren't "law enforcement."

She then deleted all of the tweets mentioning drugs and heavy drinking from her Twitter account.

If she is treated any differently, I would HOPE that it is because of the way she has acted, not because of cultural differences. This girl literally said she couldn't read a hand written letter in cursive, even though she is the one that supposedly wrote it. Either she is lying about writing the letter, or she is lying about not being able to read it. Nevermind her durogatory and racist label for white people. Hey, racism goes both ways.

It is the prosecution's mistake. John Good did say that it looked like the person on top's hands were going up and down in a punching motion, but couldn't confirm whether or not there were actual blows.

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
I've heard quite a few people suggest that the prosecution -- which never wanted to actually prosecute this case in the first place -- is deliberately spiking it.
Who's suggesting this? The prosecution came out fighting the first day. Just because their number one witness was a flop doesn't mean they're spiking it.

Jeantel's claims have also been inconsistent since the time of the incident, not just during the trial. It's true that she might not be able to articulate her rendering of events or offer clear and concise answers during cross examination - this as a result of her background - but her credibility is still in question.

There have been numerous witnesses called to the stand since Jeantel and all have gave testimony that more strongly support Zimmerman's claims.

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Geraine
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Jeantel has now admitted to lying under oath on two seperate parts of her account. One of her testimonies by the DA was given with Martin's mother in the room.

If you are the DA, why on earth would you question a girl in front of the victims mother? Jeantel has admitted that she cleaned up the language and lied because she didn't want Martin's mother to get more upset.

It looks like the defense will probably have this case in the bag after Jeantel's and John Goods testimony. Its like the Prosecution just handed them the win.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Nevermind her durogatory and racist label for white people. Hey, racism goes both ways.
You mean the "creepy ass cracker" thing, right

is that not less 'her' label, and more a description she reported martin as using

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Obama
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The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

Unless something really unexpected happens or comes up, it's looking pretty unlikely that that is going to occur.

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

Unless something really unexpected happens or comes up, it's looking pretty unlikely that that is going to occur.

The second degree murder charge was a farce anyway.
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Samprimary
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quote:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.
AFAIK the issue is more nuanced than that. Even under Florida's terrible law, you can't start a fight and then claim self defense/SYG as a defense for death as a result of escalation

So honestly what the prosecution's central focus should be is making it seem evident that zimmerman was rashly confrontational and went after this "punk" kid — and then shot him after his confrontation or initiation started a physical altercation

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
[QUOTE]So honestly what the prosecution's central focus should be is making it seem evident that zimmerman was rashly confrontational and went after this "punk" kid — and then shot him after his confrontation or initiation started a physical altercation

But then there's the question of escalation. They would have to prove a significant degree of hostility on the part of Zimmerman as he pursued Martin (if that's even the case, which is yet unproven) and then that he initiated the violence by physically accosting Martin.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

Unless something really unexpected happens or comes up, it's looking pretty unlikely that that is going to occur.

The second degree murder charge was a farce anyway.
Probably. Though the bottom line is, for me, that Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had minded his own d*****d business instead of playing sheriff, manslaughter would seem to be a better charge.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
But then there's the question of escalation. They would have to prove a significant degree of hostility on the part of Zimmerman as he pursued Martin (if that's even the case, which is yet unproven) and then that he initiated the violence by physically accosting Martin.

By 'hostility' it's meant encroaching aggression, correct
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Rakeesh
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Guy follows another guy with a gun. Eventually, under unclear circumstances, a struggle ensues. Other guy gets shot and killed after in fact not being armed at all and having started the evening minding his own business and pedestrianationizingly himself around. Many questions, dubious witnesses, an account of uncertain validity and consistency from multiple parties...

Yeah. Totally a farce. What we should do when someone unarmed is shot is just, you know, assume the shooter is telling the truth because...well, I don't know why, really.

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Obama
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I'm not saying that there shouldn't have been a thorough investigation. However unless the prosecution really picks up it's game or drops a bomb, I'm going to find it a little confusing as to how the they thought they had enough to actually charge him for murder 2 and put him on trial.
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
... unclear circumstances... Many questions, dubious witnesses, an account of uncertain validity and consistency from multiple parties...

All these are reasons why manslaughter, not 2nd degree murder, would have been a more appropriate charge, especially given the details known to the public at the time. The prosecution would be much more likely to get a guilty verdict with manslaughter charges. It's a stronger case.
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GaalDornick
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quote:
I've heard quite a few people suggest that the prosecution -- which never wanted to actually prosecute this case in the first place -- is deliberately spiking it.
After hearing the defense's awful opening statement that dragged on for three hours, began with a knock knock joke, and was interrupted by the judge multiple times for not presenting what an opening statement is supposed to, I (somewhat facetiously) thought the defense was throwing it probably due to threats from the Black Panthers of what would happen to him if Zimmerman got off.
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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

Unless something really unexpected happens or comes up, it's looking pretty unlikely that that is going to occur.

The second degree murder charge was a farce anyway.
Probably. Though the bottom line is, for me, that Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had minded his own d*****d business instead of playing sheriff, manslaughter would seem to be a better charge.
Hindsight is always 20/20, eh? I'm sure if Zimmerman could go back in time he probably would have "minded his owned d*****d business instead of playing sheriff". It's not like he followed Martin hoping that Martin would end up on top of him so that Zimmerman could have a reason to kill him.
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TomDavidson
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I would not be surprised if he didn't always kind of hope, deep down, that he'd get to fire that gun at somebody, though.
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GaalDornick
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Nor would I.
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Samprimary
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after seeing the defense lawyer's infamous new picture post i am now wondering if this is a case in which both sides are really trying to throw it and so it becomes a contest to see who can throw it better
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
Nor would I.

Doesn't sound like you're sure at all, then, really.
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GaalDornick
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Sure about what?
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
after seeing the defense lawyer's infamous new picture post i am now wondering if this is a case in which both sides are really trying to throw it and so it becomes a contest to see who can throw it better

The defense lawyer recently posted a picture?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
It's not like he followed Martin hoping that Martin would end up on top of him so that Zimmerman could have a reason to kill him. [/QB]

I expect something like that is exactly what Zimmerman was hoping for when he ignored police instructions not to engage with the unknown young man whom he had not observed breaking any laws.

Haven't you met people like that? I have. People who carry weapons on their persons, who seem to like to talk about what they'll do when "something goes down." And something does magically seem to go down when a person is armed with a deadly weapon, literally looking for trouble. Don't you know people who "trouble always finds?" I've seen people like this in everyday life- they engage with the world around them as a series of reasons to exert their wills. Personally, I think Zimmerman may be a psychopath; perhaps not a particularly violent one, but one who enjoyed feelings of authority. How many calls did he make to the local police in a few years? Could you continue doing that without feeling strange about it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not even convinced this is murder or manslaughter. If Martin attacked him, it may not be. But I know this kind of guy. I know this type of thing doesn't happen to people like me (at least, I can be sure it is only a remote possibility). And that is saying nothing about who Martin was, or how he may have actually acted that night. People like Zimmerman find these situations, and they get off on them. And while this one might have gone further than he would have liked (because of the consequences), he's not sorry about it. He doesn't understand what he's done wrong.

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GaalDornick
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I know the kind of person you are talking about and comparing Zimmerman to. The difference I think is that Zimmerman wasn't hoping use his gun to rescue himself from being beat up by a kid who, at least up until that point, had committed no crime. He was hoping to catch Martin robbing a house or assaulting an innocent civilian where he heroically shoots Martin to save the day. That's what I meant when I agreed with Tom that he, deep down, hoped to get to use that gun on someone someday. I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to fire that gun on someone in a way that would earn him a medal and the gratitude of the community. I really don't think he wanted to fire it on an innocent kid who was carrying a drink and skittles and then deal with all of this.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

.

You are mistaken. When a plea of self defense is made, the defendant has the burden of proof not the prosecution. Zimmerman has to show a clear and convincing evidence that he killed Martin in self defense.
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Obama
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I guess if I ever kill someone in self defense and feel there isn't ironclad evidence present that it WAS self defense, I'll be trying to hide the body or fleeing the scene. What a stupid way to run things.

Doesn't Stand Your Ground modify this in Florida, though?

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Obama
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Plus the wounds Zimmerman had, in addition to the witness testifying Martin being on top of Zimmerman and at least trying to punch him, topped off by the same witness saying that it was Zimmerman yelling for help. A case of self defense has been made in my eyes. Being followed isn't justifiable cause to assault somebody.
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manji
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http://www.ohioverticals.com/blogs/akron_law_cafe/2012/04/zimmermans-low-burden-of-proof-on-the-issue-of-self-defense/
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
I guess if I ever kill someone in self defense and feel there isn't ironclad evidence present that it WAS self defense, I'll be trying to hide the body or fleeing the scene. What a stupid way to run things.

Doesn't Stand Your Ground modify this in Florida, though?

Have you done any looking into self defense killing? It's not as clear cut as you're making out. For example, it's far from unheard of for people-in a variety of scenarios-to injure or attempt to injure themselves. Sometimes it's because an accident happened during a fight, and someone died, and the survivor (naturally) panics. Sometimes it's a cold blooded thing. Sometimes it's a hot blooded thing with panic following.

Obviously I'm not saying every time there's a fight and someone claims self defense, this is what happened-or even a small minority of the time, and if the state doesn't discredit what's been said so far somehow then I would very likely vote to acquit too. But when one guy brings a gun to a confrotation he started and then, at some point after, the guy without the gun ends up dead, yeah, I'm far from unhappy with the law saying he needs to, you know, have something more compelling than just his word and some uncertain inheres to explain the body that dropped.

Of course I would be happy too if as a society we could get behind the idea of scorning ideas such as self-selected armed neighborhood watch people to the point of men desiring to do so would be embarrassed rather than empowered, but eh.

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Edgehopper
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

.

You are mistaken. When a plea of self defense is made, the defendant has the burden of proof not the prosecution. Zimmerman has to show a clear and convincing evidence that he killed Martin in self defense.
No, Rabbit, you're the one who's wrong. The defendant has a burden of production to produce sufficient evidence to raise a defense of self-defense. Once the defendant does that (and the bar is very low), the prosecution has the burden of proof to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt in Florida, and in every state other than Ohio. This is different than affirmative defenses in civil cases, which do impose the burden of proof on the defendant.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
The bottom line is, it has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed murder and did not act in self defense.

.

You are mistaken. When a plea of self defense is made, the defendant has the burden of proof not the prosecution. Zimmerman has to show a clear and convincing evidence that he killed Martin in self defense.
I'm not certain, but I believe the standard for self defense is a preponderance of the evidence, a lower bar than clear and convincing.
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Darth_Mauve
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This is all the problem with the "Stand Your Ground" laws.

Zimmerman claims self defense. He was attacked, so used his gun to defend himself. He did not flee--but stood his ground.

What was he defending himself against? Martin.

Why was Martin attacking him? Because he felt Zimmerman was a threat. Zimmerman followed Martin in an aggressive and creepy way. Martin tried to flee, but Zimmerman followed--very creepy. Martin did not have a gun, just his size and strength, but he was "Standing His Ground" just as the law allows--except he was using fists instead of a gun--so Zimmerman survived.

The big social issue does not require Zimmerman to be prosecuted. It required a real investigation to occur. What originally happened appeared too much like a racially motivated lack of interest by the police in the death of a black man. Thanks to the protests of good people, such an investigation happened. I am losing interest in the trial.

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Edgehopper
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
This is all the problem with the "Stand Your Ground" laws.

Zimmerman claims self defense. He was attacked, so used his gun to defend himself. He did not flee--but stood his ground.

What was he defending himself against? Martin.

Why was Martin attacking him? Because he felt Zimmerman was a threat. Zimmerman followed Martin in an aggressive and creepy way. Martin tried to flee, but Zimmerman followed--very creepy. Martin did not have a gun, just his size and strength, but he was "Standing His Ground" just as the law allows--except he was using fists instead of a gun--so Zimmerman survived.

The big social issue does not require Zimmerman to be prosecuted. It required a real investigation to occur. What originally happened appeared too much like a racially motivated lack of interest by the police in the death of a black man. Thanks to the protests of good people, such an investigation happened. I am losing interest in the trial.

This doesn't have anything to do with Stand Your Ground, which says nothing more than that the defendant claiming self defense has no obligation to retreat if retreat is possible. Zimmerman's story is that Martin had him pinned down on his back when he fired. There's no opportunity to retreat that would trigger SYG.

The rest of your post has no evidence. "Zimmerman was following him in a creepy way." Objectively? All we have to support this is uncorroborated hearsay testimony from Jeantel that only came out at trial, not at any of her previous depositions. Even then, it came from someone who repeatedly referred to Zimmerman as a "cracka." I guess racial slurs aren't evidence of racism when uttered by blacks.

To follow your post, I have to believe that being "followed in a creepy way" justifies a lethal assault in "self-defense," but being on the receiving end of a lethal assault doesn't justify using a gun in self defense. Fortunately, the law disagrees.

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Edgehopper
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Oh, and left out one thing: If Martin had wanted to flee, he would have. He was 100-150 yards from his home when he spotted Zimmerman 400-500 yards away. I'm fairly sure the 6'1 slim Martin could beat the obese Zimmerman in that foot race.
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Rakeesh
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Right. Because somehow, it was unreasonable for Martin not to flee, but that *exact same line of thinking* somehow doesn't apply as much if not more to Zimmerman.
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Rakeesh
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It's just...man. The double standards expressed so often in these discussions would be surprising if they weren't so common. For example: black kid in a hoodie at night on a known pedestrian path, scary, a scumbag who always gets away. But we shouldn't be too hasty in wondering if he's a racist.

Black kid uses the word cracka, open and shut racist.

Also, wait. So now you're saying we can't be sure Zimmerman followed Martin? Or that it couldn't 'objectively' be said to have been creepy?

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Wingracer
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If the story that Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on top beating him is true, SYG does not apply and doesn't matter in any way. Why?

1. If there was no SYG law, the law only requires you to flee if you have the opportunity to do so. If there is no way to flee, you can still defend yourself.

2. No law I am aware of requires anyone to run away from an argument. Yes it was stupid for Zimmerman to follow Martin and confront him but it is not illegal, SYG or not. SYG has NOTHING to do with following suspects, confronting people about their behavior, etc. SYG only applies when someone's life is in imminent danger AND has an opportunity to flee. Zimmerman was not in imminent danger until Martin attacked him and by then, there was no opportunity to flee (again, if the story is true).

So it is my opinion that the arguments in this case would be exactly the same if there was no stand your ground law, so what difference does it make?

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Wingracer
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double post
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kmbboots
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I am not sure SYG will make a difference here but here is an interesting article on it.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/florida-stand-your-ground-law-yields-some-shocking-outcomes-depending-on/1233133

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theamazeeaz
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Can we just lock up forever vigilantes who roam their neighborhoods at night, pick fights with unarmed people and then shoot them when they fight back?

Because they are a menace to society.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Can we just lock up forever vigilantes who roam their neighborhoods at night, pick fights with unarmed people and then shoot them when they fight back?

Because they are a menace to society.

Sounds good in theory but where do you draw the line between "picking a fight with someone" and simply confronting them about their behavior?

For instance, say my neighbor is running a leaf blower while I try to sleep. Am I not allowed to go over and ask him to stop? If he gets mad, tackles me and starts beating the crap out of me forcing me to kill him in my defense, am I now a vigilante menace to society? Of course, if instead of asking him to stop I just walk up to him and punch him, then I deserve what I get but again, where do you draw the line?

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Rakeesh
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How about the part where you appoint yourself to be the leaf-blower-checker for your neighborhood and then, contrary to what police groups and leaf-blower-checker groups advocate, you decide you really need to bring a firearm just in case things go seriously bad...

Which, you know, begs the question of why exactly it was so important to check that leaf blower in the first place if the risk is so serious, but whatever, can't cast aspersions, hard to draw a line (apparently).

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