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Old Jun 11, 2013, 09:47 AM   #1
Blue Velvet
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State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman

Since jury selection has now begun, even though there's a much older thread on this case, perhaps it might be best to start afresh with a new one that's forward-looking and centred around the upcoming trial, as it unfolds over the coming months.

Even though I'm fairly opinionated regarding this story, to start this thread, I'll leave it to Wikipedia to neutrally summarise:

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On April 11, 2012, George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In support of the charges, the State filed an affidavit of probable cause, stating that Zimmerman profiled and confronted Martin and shot him to death while Martin was committing no crimes. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced the charges against Zimmerman during a live press conference and reported that Zimmerman was in custody after turning himself in to law enforcement. In Florida, a conviction for second degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If a firearm was used then the mandatory minimum is 25 years in state prison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_o...hael_Zimmerman


The LA Times gives a brief précis of how jury selection works in this case:

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Jury selection is often the critical battleground in many trials, but it is especially important in this type of case, in which the defendant acknowledges taking an action, but argues that it was defensible. Both sides will be probing to find out how prospective jurors feel about self-defense arguments and about racially charged cases like this one, which sparked demonstrations around the country.

In the first phase of jury questioning, the prosecution and defense have concentrated on the impact of pretrial publicity on the prospective jurors. The first group of 100 people have filled out questionnaires and both sides are working through that group and, if needed, will deal with a second group as well.

Eventually, the sides will get to 21 possible jurors who will be questioned further. Six jurors will be chosen to decide Zimmerman’s fate. Selecting a jury and four alternates could take several weeks, lawyers have said.

The process has been going very slowly. The lawyers were able to question just four possible jurors. It is too soon to know if any of those interviewed Monday will actually get on the jury, though at least one appeared to have been already excused.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/n...,5079341.story
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Six jurors? What happened to 12?
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Six jurors? What happened to 12?

According to Fox:

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Prosecutors and defense attorneys are trying to find six objective members and four alternates. In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/11...#ixzz2Vv9re9uT
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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According to Fox:
So, from 300 perspective jurors down to six?

Get set for the appeals process to take the next 20 years for this case.

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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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Given the notoriety of this case, I'm surprised the trial is being held in Sanford.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Get set for the appeals process to take the next 20 years for this case.

If that's the case, if I'm busy, would you mind giving the thread a little bump some time in 2033?
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Given the notoriety of this case, I'm surprised the trial is being held in Sanford.
That's the other thing. This trial could be moved elsewhere, but it would have to stay in state. And with that, and how much media attention this case has had, they will be hard pressed to find 6 people who really do not know much about it.

But a move of the trial should definitely be in order. Key West at the farthest.

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Old Jun 11, 2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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I've made these points before, but since I have a new thread.

1. The Stand Your Ground Law is a legal abomination procreated by conservative idiots. Any law that says you can start a fist fight, but when you get in over your head, start to lose and will get a good thrashing, or (wink, wink) feel like your life is in danger (personal feeling that is ripe for abuse), you can then pull out your gun and shoot the person you started the fight with.

2. Zimmerman saw the suspect, profiled him, followed him against 911 operator instructions, ended up in a confrontation with Martin, which either one could have initiated face to face action.

3. According to reports, Martin was alarmed by this guy following him, as evidenced by calling his girl friend. For whatever reason, a fight started, based on I would assume verbal instigation coming from either person. If Zimmerman had stayed in his vehicle, I don't see it happening. If Zimmerman did not carry a gun and decide not to use that gun, it would not have happened. Zimmerman was the local association vigilante who was carrying a gun despite the homeowner association rules (reported in the news) that neighborhood watch not carry weapons. Unless the sequence of events has been misrepresented by the press, it is pretty obvious that Zimmerman committed manslaughter or 2nd degree murder in his vigilance to protect his neighborhood.

Of course these days when it's ok to shoot your wife's lover or your prostitute who you think is ripping you off, then hey what the heck, lets issue guns to everyone and let the fun begin...
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 06:31 PM   #9
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I just hope these jurors are truly objective and see Zimmerman for the blood thirsty monster he is. I hope he rots in prison for the rest of his life only to be protected by his boyfriend (who would be named Trayvon, yeah I'm dreaming but that would be some awesome irony).

These "stand your ground laws" need to go as they are nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of guys who want to act tough by waving around a big gun as they're probably just making up for a much smaller gun.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 06:37 PM   #10
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Stand your ground has nothing to do with this case. Zimmerman's lawyer will argue self-defense.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 06:46 PM   #11
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I just hope these jurors are truly objective and see Zimmerman for the blood thirsty monster he is.
Characterizing a defendant in a criminal trial as a blood thirsty monster probably isn't going to win you many points in the "truly objective" sweepstakes.

Personally, I think it is an outrage that Florida (and other states) have these ridiculous "stand your ground" laws. Its one thing to act truly in self-defense (ie. an attacker comes at you with a weapon) - its another thing entirely to stalk, confront, and kill another human being just because you don't like the way they look or they way they are behaving. If Treyvon Martin had been hammering on the door of Zimmerman's home with an iron pipe I could maybe understand a "stand your ground" defense. But the fact that, contrary to the instructions of the police dispatcher, Zimmerman confronted Martin in the street, pretty much eliminates the "self-defense" portion of his claim.

But that doesn't necessarily make Zimmerman a "blood thirsty monster." I think its more likely he is one of those silly young men who want to be a "hero." But lacking the skills, training, and dedication to actually join a profession where "heroism" is part of the job (ie. police officer, firefighter, combat soldier, etc ) he rushed into a situation he was unable to either control or properly react to.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 07:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by vrDrew View Post
Characterizing a defendant in a criminal trial as a blood thirsty monster probably isn't going to win you many points in the "truly objective" sweepstakes.

Personally, I think it is an outrage that Florida (and other states) have these ridiculous "stand your ground" laws. Its one thing to act truly in self-defense (ie. an attacker comes at you with a weapon) - its another thing entirely to stalk, confront, and kill another human being just because you don't like the way they look or they way they are behaving. If Treyvon Martin had been hammering on the door of Zimmerman's home with an iron pipe I could maybe understand a "stand your ground" defense. But the fact that, contrary to the instructions of the police dispatcher, Zimmerman confronted Martin in the street, pretty much eliminates the "self-defense" portion of his claim.

But that doesn't necessarily make Zimmerman a "blood thirsty monster." I think its more likely he is one of those silly young men who want to be a "hero." But lacking the skills, training, and dedication to actually join a profession where "heroism" is part of the job (ie. police officer, firefighter, combat soldier, etc ) he rushed into a situation he was unable to either control or properly react to.
I agree.

People, in general, try to do the right thing, but because they are misguided, ignorant or short-sighted they actually cause harm when it was not intended.

IMO, Zimmer is not a monster ... just a foolish man who felt his gun gave him license to play out his hero fantasies.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 08:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
Stand your ground has nothing to do with this case. Zimmerman's lawyer will argue self-defense.
So, does place the burden of proof on Zimmerman, to show that Martin initiated the hostilities?
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 09:45 PM   #14
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Stand your ground has nothing to do with this case. Zimmerman's lawyer will argue self-defense.
Which, given what is known (ie he started following him despite the 911 operator saying that he shouldn't) and the like, will be hard to do. If there is any proof that he tried to engage Martin in any way, an argument of self defense is going to be very hard to prove.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 06:04 AM   #15
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So, does place the burden of proof on Zimmerman, to show that Martin initiated the hostilities?
I'm not a lawyer, I only play one in PRSI.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 07:36 AM   #16
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Stand your ground has nothing to do with this case. Zimmerman's lawyer will argue self-defense.
The provisions in this law certainly do apply, if events have been reported accurately, a defense of Stand Your Ground could be argued by the defense lawyer if he wanted too. The law does not just apply to home invasion.

The problem with this law is it's potential for abuse. I don't have a problem with the concept of, someone enters your home with the intent to do you harm, you have a right to defend youself including deadly force if necessary. The problem comes when you have a law that basically says if someone is in your home without your consent, you can shoot them. Ripe for abuse IMO. Almost like the guy who shot the kid on his front porch who was looking for help.

Even worse is the notion that you can start a confrontation, get into a fight, discover you are going to lose and get a beating, but to avoid that outcome can legally whip out your gun and shoot that person. IMO, the law is horribly written giving a green light for those people on the edge of the laws intent to commit murder.

FloridaStandYourGround.org

Quote:
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
Does anyone here believe that when you getting the snot beat out of you, from a fight you started, this gives you the right to kill the other person with a gun? How do you decide what is reasonable? How do you maintain your perspective when you are being hit? What is "great bodily harm"? How badly was Zimmerman beaten? Do you think the bodily harm he received justified him shooting Martin? Hey, you don't even have to be hit, all you have to do is "believe" you are in imminent danger or say you did. Green light for folly.
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Last edited by Huntn; Jun 12, 2013 at 07:49 AM.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 07:52 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Huntn View Post
The provisions in this law certainly do apply, if events have been reported accurately, a defense of Stand Your Ground could be argued by the defense lawyer if he wanted too. The law does not just apply to home invasion.

The problem with this law is it's potential for abuse. I don't have a problem with the concept of, someone enters your home with the intent to do you harm, you have a right to defend youself including deadly force if necessary. The problem comes when you have a law that basically says if someone is in your home without your consent, you can shoot them. Ripe for abuse IMO. Almost like the guy who shot the kid on his front porch who was looking for help.

Even worse is the notion that you can start a confrontation, get into a fight, discover you are going to lose and get a beating, but to avoid that outcome can legally whip out your gun and shoot that person. IMO, the law is horribly written giving a green light for those people on the edge of the laws intent to commit murder.

FloridaStandYourGround.org



Does anyone here believe that when you getting the snot beat out of you, from a fight you started, this gives you the right to kill the other person with a gun? How do you decide what is reasonable? How do you maintain your perspective when you are being hit? What is "great bodily harm"? How badly was Zimmerman beaten? Do you think the bodily harm he received justified him shooting Martin? Hey, you don't even have to be hit, all you have to do is "believe" you are in imminent danger or say you did. Green light for folly.

I'm well aware of the law. Zimmerman waived his right to a pre-trial SYG hearing. Had he won that, he would be immune to prosecution both criminally and civilly. Wonder why they chose not to have one.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:07 AM   #18
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I'm well aware of the law. Zimmerman waived his right to a pre-trial SYG hearing. Had he won that, he would be immune to prosecution both criminally and civilly. Wonder why they chose not to have one.
I'm glad they are not trying to use SYG as a defense. It's still a horrible law.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:21 AM   #19
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Which, given what is known (ie he started following him despite the 911 operator saying that he shouldn't) and the like, will be hard to do. If there is any proof that he tried to engage Martin in any way, an argument of self defense is going to be very hard to prove.
There is NOTHING in the law that says you are required to obey a 911 operator who is not present on the scene. The fact that he disobeyed the operator will be a fact that the jury weighs, but if the defense can show that the "victim" was an aggressor, then self defense is still available. The operator's instructions shouldn't be a factor unless the state has some other evidence that this hispanic guy had intentions of murdering the kid.

From everything I have seen, the most the state has is that in a flash, either the "victim" attacked the defendant, and he used self defense, or the defendant was following this kid, and for reasons no one knows (after calling 911 and knowing police are on the way), a guy decided, hey, it might be cool to shoot this kid.

Which one sounds more likely?

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I'm glad they are not trying to use SYG as a defense. It's still a horrible law.
Just because you don't use the pre-hearing motion, does not mean you are prohibited from introducing evidence along those lines at trial. As a defendant, you don't do a hearing on a motion if you suspect you might lose because you give your best evidence, under oath, to the prosecution. Better to save your big guns for trial.

--yes, I'm a former defense attorney.

(edit) I hate stand your ground. I think it is going to be abused, and it requires some adjustment, however, in this case, even without SYG, this defendant should walk. I don't think the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, after calling 911, knowing police were on the way, made a decition to murder a black kid who happened to be in his neighborhood. It just seems like a case where the defense has more arguments than the state, and the state has the burden.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:23 AM   #20
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I don't think he can get a fair trial in Florida no matter my feelings on the matter.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:27 AM   #21
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I don't think he can get a fair trial in Florida no matter my feelings on the matter.
Why? After you answer, what do you think of having professional jurors? I don't want a jury of my peers, I want a jury that consists of people with legal training and who know that emotions and all the BS are nothing more than emotions and BS. I want 12 people who know that beyond a reasonable doubt means something, and who ignore TV shows like CSI, and who can objectively look at the evidence and actually know what it means.

(edit) Actually, I guess those would be my peers.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:28 AM   #22
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(edit) I hate stand your ground. I think it is going to be abused, and it requires some adjustment, however, in this case, even without SYG, this defendant should walk. I don't think the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, after calling 911, knowing police were on the way, made a decition to murder a black kid who happened to be in his neighborhood. It just seems like a case where the defense has more arguments than the state, and the state has the burden.

Hey counselor, how about we wait and see what evidence is presented before we let Zimmerman walk?
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:31 AM   #23
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Hey counselor, how about we wait and see what evidence is presented before we let Zimmerman walk?
I'm all for that, but he is presumed innocent, so until there is evidence that says he did commit a murder, then why don't we start with that presumption?
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:33 AM   #24
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Why? After you answer, what do you think of having professional jurors? I don't want a jury of my peers, I want a jury that consists of people with legal training and who know that emotions and all the BS are nothing more than emotions and BS. I want 12 people who know that beyond a reasonable doubt means something, and who ignore TV shows like CSI, and who can objectively look at the evidence and actually know what it means.

(edit) Actually, I guess those would be my peers.
To much news about it..I even heard about it on SAT 1. I would imagine the state of FL has been inundated with new's..
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:45 AM   #25
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To much news about it..I even heard about it on SAT 1. I would imagine the state of FL has been inundated with new's..
Casey Anthony got a fair trial. Just because someone has heard of something doesn't mean they can't be impartial.
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