The George Zimmerman Trial For Dummies

Ok, I didn’t mean that you were a dummy. I meant that I’m going to attempt to simplify the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.

GZimmIf you’ve been following the trial, you know that the pundits and the talk show hosts are every day covering who won or lost the trial that day, meaning the prosecution or defense. They are also grading and evaluating each witness and their potential affect on the jury. Once again, the pundits are assured that only they have the wisdom and insight to see through the testimony of each witness and that the jury members are far too dumb to understand the real meaning of the witnesses’ testimony.

Then you have the mandatory “panel of experts.” This is where they fight back and forth, insult each other and otherwise argue over minutia. After watching the shows, one comes to accept the wisdom of the statement that everyone with an anal sphincter has an opinion.

But what are the real issues in the George Zimmerman case? I could also list dozens of pages filled with minutia, the unimportant and the trivial but all of those things take us away from the real issues and the simple reality of the events of that night.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I don’t plan to be sensitive to biases, prejudices and preformed opinions that individuals had acquired long before any evidence was revealed to the public.

I’m not an insensitive individual. That’s not what stops me from being sensitive in my addressing these issues. However, what does stop me is the fact that “sensitivity” or pussyfooting would simply obscure the simple reality of the case and here is the simple reality of what happened. What I am about to write is not colored or slanted it’s just a pure view of the events of that night.

George Zimmerman was driving through his neighborhood when he saw a black male wearing a hooded sweatshirt, walking through the neighborhood in the rain, acting suspiciously to Mr. Zimmerman. George Zimmerman, then called 911 and reported what he saw and what he believed to be true. The 911 operator suspected that George Zimmerman might be following the guy that he just called to report. The 911 operator told Mr. Zimmerman, not to follow him.

Now you might think that me adding the part about the 911 call and the operator telling him not to follow the person, who we now know to be Trayvon Martin, is adding to the trivia. It really isn’t trivia. It’s important to what follows. The 911 operator knew that it is dangerous for a number of reasons, for a citizen, a non-police person to follow another person. It’s just dangerous. A policeman is trained to do that, is empowered to do that and a civilian simply is not.

Now back to the story. George Zimmerman leaves his truck, makes his way in between houses and comes to encounter Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin had no weapon, in fact he had nothing that could be used as a weapon. He had a plastic bottle of iced tea and a small bag of skittles and a cell phone. George Zimmerman had a 9 mm pistol in a holster located at the back of his waist.

They start to fight. If you’re a Zimmerman supporter you inherently believe that Trayvon started the fight. If you’re a Trayvon supporter you believe that George started the fight. It really doesn’t matter how the fight started. Let’s be honest though, if you’re a man out there reading this and you were being followed in the night, in the dark, by someone who was not a police officer, it would frighten you and you would be prepared to fight and defend yourself. Is that unfair of me to say? I don’t think so and I don’t think any honest man out there would say otherwise. It’s reasonable to conclude that Trayvon felt threatened.

If you decide to follow a stranger in the dark, between houses, then you better be prepared for a fight to break out. It might not happen but it very well could and if you’re honest you have to admit that. I mean come on guys, just making eye contact for too long a time, with another man, can cause a fight to break out. Guys, am I lying?

Again, back to the story. George and Trayvon are fighting. They are wrestling around, throwing amateurish blows at each other. I say that because neither combatant had any serious or even semi-serious fight related injury. I know that Trayvon ends up with a big hole in his chest but that’s not fight related that’s gun related.

George ends up with a swollen nose, that may or may not have been broken and again let’s be honest, two abrasions to the back of his scalp. Neither one required stitches or similar medical attention. Four hours later, a photo shows that most of the swelling to George’s nose had gone down.

Have you ever been in a fight? If so, you’d be mighty lucky to come out of any fight with only those minor injuries.

That’s an important part of the story because George Zimmerman claims he killed Trayvon in self-defense. That means that George thought that Trayvon was about to kill him. George probably did believe that but that doesn’t mean that he was right.

I want you readers, especially you guys, to think back about the fights you’ve been in and the fights that you’ve heard of or observed, where it was fists only, no gun, no knife, no club, no rock, no nothing, just fists. How often do those fighters die? How common is it for a man or teenage boy to kill or be killed in a fight, a fistfight?

Usually, you saw both combatants the next day in school. Neither one, looking too bad. Maybe a black eye or a small cut or broken nose but nothing too serious, no one ended up in the hospital.

So back to the story, yet again. Trayvon and George are still fighting. George says that Trayvon is on top of him. George said that Trayvon hit him in the face 25 or 30 times, yet we can see in the photo only George’s swollen nose but no other damage to his face. Maybe George was right and Trayvon did hit him 25 or 30 times but if it is true and if that’s what happened, Trayvon was not hurting him.

George claims self-defense. He needed to kill Trayvon before Trayvon killed him. That’s what George says and I believe that’s what he thinks. The simple truth is that George Zimmerman was fighting a 17-year-old boy who weighed 50 pounds less than George did. Anyone who knows anything about fighting , knows that it’s not the height of the fighter that is important but it is the weight of the fighter. In boxing, weight is so critical that fighters must fight within a weight class, thus we have lightweight, flyweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and so forth.

Now George was in pretty good shape. He had been taking mixed martial art classes and those are simply fighting classes that teach someone how to be a good fighter. He took those classes three days a week for a year. George wasn’t a couch potato. He had more training in fighting than 99.99% of the men in this country. Very few men take mixed martial art classes, three days a week, for a year.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think that George Zimmerman is, was or ever will be a good fighter. I think, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old kid was winning the fight. I don’t think Trayvon Martin, was much of a fighter either. I think he was just a kid trying to be a “man.” He was not a man but he was trying to be a “man.” Trayvon was fighting back, trying to defend himself from the stranger who had been following him.

A fight broke out, that’s what happened. I would expect a fight to break out in that type of circumstance. There was fear on both sides.

George knew that he was losing the fight and he was probably quite frightened and he pulled out his gun and shot Trayvon. And here is what it comes down to. If you are losing a fight are you allowed, under the laws of this country, to shoot and kill the person who is winning the fight?

What if George did not have a gun? How do you think it would have ended? I think it would’ve ended like most fistfights. One guy quits. One guy wins. Both guys go home. Seriously, I ask you again if George did not have a gun, how do you think this all would have ended? Don’t forget the police had already been called. Many neighbors, called 911. I don’t know for sure, how this fight would’ve ended, no one does. But it is reasonable to conclude that it would’ve ended in the manner that is most common to all fistfights.

As for George Zimmerman’s contention that he had to kill Trayvon before Trayvon killed him, I need some evidence of the danger of death that George faced. That means I need to see the evidence of injuries to George Zimmerman. If George had been hospitalized for three weeks following the fight, if I saw pictures of George Zimmerman and his face was so damaged that he was nearly unrecognizable, if George had broken ribs, a broken jaw, missing teeth, then I might conclude “yeah that Trayvon, had already just about killed George and George needed to shoot him before Trayvon did kill him.”

But instead, I see pictures of George with a swollen nose and two small lacerations on the back of his head. That picture does not tell me that George was in serious danger. It tells me instead that George had suffered minor injuries from a fight that had already gone on for a lengthy period of time. If it had gone on for five more minutes, which is an eternity in the world of street fighting, how much more damage would George have had? Was George in imminent danger of dying or was he in imminent danger of just losing a fight? You are simply not allowed to shoot someone because they are winning the fight and you are losing. It’s not okay to kill someone because you are frightened. It’s not okay to kill someone, if you are really, really frightened. It’s not okay to kill someone if you’re scared to death. It’s only okay to kill someone if it is the only way to prevent that someone from killing you. George was licensed to carry a gun but he was not licensed to shoot anyone.

James Bond was licensed to kill, not George Zimmerman.

125 thoughts on “The George Zimmerman Trial For Dummies

  1. First of all why was TM in a private community? How would GZ know how much TM wieght was? It was deadly force by TM as he was smashing GZ head to the ground. How do you know, GZ or anyone else if the next head blow to GZ would have killed him? GZ always carried a gun which I don’t feel is right but don’t think he was out to gun anyone down that night. It is a tragedty what could have been avoided had not GZ get out of truck and TM had not gone on private property and then not circled back. Both parties played thier own part in this. Whit or black this should not have happened.

      • Tracy Martin’s girlfriend, Brandy Green, lived in the same condo community as Zimmerman. Tracy would make the drive on weekends to stay with Brandy and her young son.

        Trayvon was with his dad at Brandy’s condo because he was on a 10-day forced suspension from his Miami school. The suspension will not be disclosed to the jury but I’m offering it as FYI on the circumstances of Trayvon being at the gated community.

        Trayvon and Brandy’s son were alone in her condo while Tracy & Brandy went out for the evening. Tracy came home and figured Trayvon had gone to a movie with Tracy’s Tracy’s nephew. He couldn’t reach the nephew by phone so everyone went to bed.

        This is very poignant to me because Trayvon’s body remained unidentified. His phone had locked and police couldn’t access it immediately. Tracy finally called the police next morning and detectives along with a chaplain arrived at Brandy’s condo.

        Contrary to what some note about prevalent negative press concerning Trayvon, I had to search diligently awhile back to get this background info. Whereas with GZ, I had to research the facts to confirm or disprove the massive amount of information swirling around continuously, on social media and news portals.

  2. As usual, great observations. If every kid, or adult, who started a fight, or set the stage for a fight and was losing shot the person winning, we wouldn’t have a population control problem. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that the state of Florida and George Zimmerman think this is a good thing?

  3. So, by that line of reasoning, if Zimmerman had been a 70-year-old obese man with osteoporosis he would still not have been justified in shooting Martin. It’s still just a fistfight, right?

    Does one need to be near death in order to defend with deadly force? Or does the law say one only need have a reasonable fear for their life?

    • GZ was and is not a 70 year old man with any infirmities. I suspect if he was he would not have followed Trayvon Martin who had every right to be in the “private” community as he was a guest of a person who lived in that community, i.e. his father’s fiance. GZ either provoked the fight or set the stage for the fight by his actions. His injuries were minor and do not comport with his “story” that his head was slammed on the pavement 12+ times. The forensic evidence contradicts GZ’s story, i.e., no DNA under TM’s fingernails, one minor abrasion on his knuckle and again, GZ’s swollen noise and 2 scalp abrasions. If you instigate a fight, there is a higher legal threshold to claim self-defense. See: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776.html In other words you can’t confront or threaten an innocent, unarmed bystander and then when there is a fight, shoot him because you fear for your life when there is no indication that your life was in danger! You don’t just get to say I killed him because I thought he was going to kill me when there is no evidence of that except for your own story which is contradicted by the evidence.

      • Right on mysteryquest! Maybe the prosecutor will argue the statute on the original aggressor not having deadly force available except under the most narrow and strict circumstances. Somehow we’re all jumping the gun (me!!) prematurely believing this case has already been lost. But we haven’t heard the jury instructions and how they will incorporate these statutes to guide the jury on the law–the real law as written in those statutes minus our collective and media interpretations. Proving Zimmerman was the original aggressor is the key and I think that is quite simple as Dr K’s analysis above. Its common sense that the pursuer saying “shit, he’s running..these assholes always get away” is the original aggressor who “provoked” the other one to fear and act out accordingly.

      • My original comment concerned a hypothetical and the very specific “line of reasoning” I was referring to was the “Guys Will Be Guys” argument — guys get into fist fights, go home, slap a raw steak on their black eye and get on with life. No big deal. That presupposes that both combatants are equally matched. My hypothetical assumes they are not and nothing else.

        Dismiss Zimmerman’s injuries if you like, but you may recall a recent news story where a teenaged hockey player socked an umpire once in the face with his fist. The umpire lapsed into a coma and subsequently died. This level of trauma didn’t happen to Zimmerman but it well could have.

        Eye witness John Good saw Martin pummeling Zimmerman with his fists. Think about that. When you hit someone with your fist, how much DNA are you likely to gather under your fingernails?

        When you stated that Zimmerman confronted and threatened Martin, what evidence to that effect were you referring to? I’m not aware of any and I’ve watched the entire trial. Aside from Zimmerman’s account, all we know is that Zimmerman followed Martin. According to Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, she heard Martin make the initial contact when he asked Zimmerman why he was following him (testimony I happen to believe).

        As for the aggressor not being able to claim self-defense, please see the link you quoted (excerpt below):

        776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The [self defense] justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
        (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
        (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.

        We could debate Zimmerman’s efforts and ability to get away from Martin. I would submit that his calls for help showed a desire to get away. And yes, I believe the testimony saying it was Zimmerman’s voice was the more compelling.

        I happen to believe the evidence for 2nd degree murder with “ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent” isn’t there. Since it appears I may be alone here in my belief, I’ll make this my final post on the subject.

        • What your argument appears to be is that, since in one anecdotical case, a man was killed by one punch, then GZ was justified in fearing for his life since he was in a fist fight with TM. If he was concerned about the effect of one punch, one would have thought he would not have put himself in such a situation which he did of his own choosing.

          The opponents were not evenly matched, GZ had a distinct weight advantage. The eyewitness was not sure he saw TM punching GZ. There is no competent evidence that GZ was screaming, in fact, that issue is hotly disputed as evidence has been entered that it was TM who was screaming.

          The simple fact of the matter is that GZ injuries were extremely minor and transient so if TM was repeatedly throwing punches at him, he was missing! Please keep in mind that there is a long standing tenant of law which states that you cannot take a life to save property. So even if GZ assumption that TM was a burgular was correct, there was no reason whatsoever to follow him with a loaded 9 mil gun. As Kristin states, a civilian cannot reasonable expect to follow a stranger in the dark and not expect a confrontation, so it was GZ actions that led to the confrontation.

        • Linda K, you are not alone. I agree with everything you stated. Hope you have the time to read some of my posts regarding the Zimmerman trial.

          I was saddened by the tone of Mr Osborne’s remarks to you. This is typically a community of respectful and cordial posters. No one should have their (valuable) opinions dismissed as “rubbish.”

          • Brigid, my comment of rubbish was directed at the analogy made with the 70 year old,not the opinion. I,too, respect the opinion of others on this blog.

          • Thank you, Brigid. I finally did get a chance to read your posts. Since anything I say at this point runs the risk of being further twisted and misconstrued, I’m going to refrain from further comment on the topic. You understand, I’m sure.

        • Your not alone as I feel the same way. It is a tragedy that should never have happened Two people in the wrong place at the wrong time. I do not think GZ is innocent but do believe he had a fear for his life when his head was beening smashed into cement. Would the next blow kill him?

          • If that was what happened, then GZ might have feared for his life, however, the evidence contradicts his “story” that his head was “slammed” on the pavement over 12 times. No loss of consciousness, no skull fracture, no brain trauma, no contusions, no extensive bleeding. No blood on TM clothes or hands or DNA. Just 2 abrasions on GZ’s skull. It is hard to believe that GZ’s head was “slammed” against the pavement even once. It is possible that TM punched him and he fell down and hit his head and that is what caused the abrasions.

        • *applied logic is key. Thanks again Kristina. Eyewitness testimony is statistically highly flawed + unreliable. Especially a witness a a dark, black, rainy night.

    • Linda,
      If Zimmerman was a 70 yr. old obese man,chances are he would not have followed
      someone on foot. More than likely he would have called the police and gone to his car or home.The point is in this particular case is that George’s actions before the encounter contributed to a needless death.George could have easily stuck his head out of his car window when he first noticed Trayvon and said something.
      Was George in fear of death or great bodily harm? Obviously. Did George play a major role in this escalation? Obviously he did.

      • Chris…I agree with you. I think Zimmerman’s actions contributed to Martin’s death. But were Zimmerman’s actions second degree murder? I don’t think the prosecution ever had a chance of proving second degree murder.
        It’s hard to prove second degree murder when the lead detective states at trial that he believes that Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense.

    • Linda…reasonable fear for life. No injuries at all are necessary to have a reasonable fear for life. My personal opinion is that Zimmerman did not tell the truth regarding the fight between he and Martin. I think that Zimmerman made it sound as if Martin did much more damage than he actually did. Zimmerman said in the walk through the day after the shooting that Martin kept “pounding and pounding” his head onto the concrete. It’s just my opinion but that is hard for me to believe. I think Zimmerman would have more injuries to the “pounded” area. It’s just my opinion that Zimmerman lied about other things which happened during the fight. However, I still can’t prove that Zimmerman was not in fear of his life when he shot Martin. And if he was in fear of his life…that is self defense. It was up to the prosecution to prove that Zimmerman was not in fear of his life and they blew it.

      • I agree that the prosecution blew it. They overcharged the case to start with. It was always a manslaughter case. They should have conceded the real possibility that TM hit GZ because he was a strange, civilian following him and suddenly reached into his pocket (according to GZ to get his phone, which is odd since he had been carrying it). Hitting GZ would have been a normal reaction and TM had the right to defend himself. There was no reason for GZ to be screaming when he had a gun and his story about being grounded and pounded is simply not supported by any evidence outside of GZ’s own testimony. The case should had been presented as you and Dr. K summarized it. The prosecution ended up wasting time and credibility trying to prove more than they needed to.

        • Would you be confident enough to present the scenario you described to the jury? Or is it a subjective opinion. This may sound like nitpicking but it matters.

          Everyone is entitled to a personal opinion. I try to qualify with an IMO when musing, ranting, even theorizing.

          You support Trayvon punching GZ in self defense because 1) he was being followed and 2) GZ was reaching into his pocket. You don’t believe anything GZ said, so why do you believe this? Does everyone have the right to start punching people who are walking behind them?

          As for GZ having no reason to scream, maybe you wouldn’t scream if someone punched your nose and straddled you however briefly, long enough to result in head lacerations. Have you seen the pictures of his face and head before paramedics cleaned him up?

          Even small scalp wounds produce a lot of blood. If you disregard the paramedics and police written reports, neighbors saw the scuffle, allowed as testimony. Jonathan Good saw them on the ground very near his condo and confirmed GZ’s account. He’s not a buddy or even acquaintance and came across as credible.

          Whether GZ is a chubby wuss vigilante or not is irrelevant to evidence. Without a video of the fight, eye and ear witnesses are key to this case. Do you disregard this testimony? What data did you rely on to form an opinion about Trayvon’s right to self defense and that GZ sustained no attack to produce injuries? If GZ statement, witness statement, paramedic and police reports are not relevant?

          I’m not being a smartypants, just inquiring and trying to understand.

          • You minimize the issue by saying “Does everyone have the right to punch someone who is following them?” No, but that is not the complete picture. Its dark, you are minding your own business and not engaged in any criminal activity, and a strange man in civilian clothes talking on the phone is following you and has been following you. You ask him why he is following you and he suddenly reaches into his coat pocket? Of course you would be concerned even combative. He’s not a police officer, so he could be a mugger, or a serial killer! Why is he following you in the first place? You follow someone around you in the dark you should be concerned about how they might react to you. GZ thought TM was a burglar based on his flawed perception, so TM didn’t have a reason to think GZ might be a burglar or worse?

            Yes, I saw the pictures of GM after before the paramedics cleaned it up, I don’t understand what that has to do with it. He couldn’t see himself. His injuries were minor regardless of what they may have looked like. He might have been startled and screamed once, by why repeatedly? How did he scream with TM’s hand over his mouth as he alleges.

            GM has no credibility because many of his allegations or not supported by the evidence. The most important one being that TM hit him and pounded his head into the payment over 12 times. As I stated before his injuries would have been much more extensive and he would have at least been unconscious, moreover, TM’s knuckles would have had multiple abrasions. He says TM ambushed him from bushes which did not exist. He says that TM tried to take his gun from him and TM’s DNA is not on it.

            Mr. Good did not confirm GM’s account. He stated that he saw TM on top of GZ which his (TM’s) arms moving. He said nothing about the TM punching GZ. Watch the testimony again. Again, GZ’s injuries do not even begin to comport with any his testimony. None of the evidence or testimony at trial substantiate GM’s allegations regarding TM’s supposed actions. Again, his injuries were very minor. His nose may or not have been broken. He didn’t bother to follow up with a ENT doctor who could have substantiated the broken nose. That is another anecdotal indication of the less than serious nature of his injuries. Dr. K has explained quite well why TM had a reason to punch GZ. I have simply expounded on that.

            What I don’t understand and have seen no evidence of why GZ would have a reason to fear for his life. His injuries certainly did not indicate that. Moreover, he did not need to follow or confront TM and he had no authority to do so.

      • Self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means it is up to the defense to raise it with enough evidence. Then the burden shifts to the state to refute it beyond a reasonable doubt. A person cannot just kill someone and say they were in reasonable fear for their life with no evidence to show it. When the person doing the killing instigated the confrontation the burden is greater. Zimmerman’s actual injuries, IMHO do not justify a reasonable fear for his life. Yes, injuries are not necessary but the situation he was in, facing an unarmed, younger and lighter person, IMHO do not justify a reasonable fear for his life either. If he feared TM why did he follow him on his own volition in the first place especially when he says he thought he was a criminal? He had already alerted the police…the real ones, and been told not to follow the “suspect”. He got out of his truck to get a the name of the street when there only 3 streets in the devolopment? Now, I think the prosecution over reached by charging M2 and they should have narrowed their focus and framed the case the way Dr. KR summarized it. I still do not buy GZ’s claim that he was in reasonable fear of his life, especially when he tries to say TM pounded his head into the pavement 12+ times which to me is an obvious lie and in a self-defense case, credibility is important since there will usually be only one eyewitness alive.

        • Like I keep saying, what I know about law I could write on the back of a postage stamp, but I was always under the impression that, in a court of law, it is not up to the defense to prove anything, with the prosecution refuting. It is up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant (who is legally –and often annoyingly – presumed innocent until proven otherwise) is guilty. It is then up to the defense to refute their arguments.

          IMO, the problem with this case is the prosecution was woefully inadequate, at least that’s how it looks to me. This means either they aren’t very good at what they do, or they didn’t have a solid case to begin with. This could be why they didn’t charge Zimmerman early on, until media and loud public pressure intervened. But while our system is complex and we don’t always get the results we personally want, the jury system is one of the few wheels of justice left in our country that continues to operate under the radar of political, personal, or mob pressure. It’s what separates us from ultimate Mob Rule in the end. Avoidance of mob rule is the primary reason we are a Republic instead of a pure “Democracy”. Do they get it wrong now and then? Yeah. They do (or sometimes we *feel* they do). Do they get it right according to the law of actual evidence pretty often? Yeah. They do. They can do this because the law demands that they must consider evidence and not personal feelings. This is one reason why jury selection is so tedious. Being on a jury in these times is a daunting task, it seems. It is unsettling that we are forced to allow jurors to be ‘anonymous’ because of fear of reprisal from one mob or another. But it does appear that when it comes to the jury system, America does what it has to do to protect and preserve its integrity. I’m happy about that, because I am personally convinced that all 3 branches of our government have been controlled by political partisanship for a long time. How else do we explain the number of 5-4 decisions the Supreme Court hands down?

          I’ve seen some pretty believable and solid arguments here on this forum that suggest what the prosecution should have suggested–but didn’t. Instead, they suggested at 11:59 that the charges be changed to Child Abuse. I have also seen some comments on this forum from people who would have made better expert witnesses than some of the clowns the prosecution placed on the stand. I’m sorry, but these guys are the pits. I wouldn’t want them arguing a case on my behalf, even with an Eye Candy lawyer for the Jury Girls To Fall In Love With. As this all wraps up, It’s almost as if they wanted to throw this case.

          The other thing I rarely see is validity to the assumption mentioned here on various threads that the primary purpose of a court of criminal law is for attorneys to Seek The Truth. I think that is not the case. To me, it seems that the primary goal of the prosecution is to convict. The primary goal of the defense is an acquittal. It seems that it’s only up to the jury to seek the truth in the end. They are expected to do that with evidence. They cannot convict someone if the evidence reflects reasonable doubt, even if you and I personally don’t like it.

          • We have what is termed an adversarial system of justice. The truth can be a casualty in such a system as its discovery is not the main goal of either the prosecution or the defense. We hope that the verdict results in the “truth.” However, in many cases, who really knows what the truth is? In this case, as in many homicide cases, only the the defendant and the victim know. One has a constitutional right not to be forced to tell the truth (or a lie) and the other, unless you believe in seances, will not be heard from. Our system is structured on the premise that it is better to let 9 guilty persons go free than to convict one innocent one so it will always be more difficult for the prosecution. Here is a link to a layman’s summary of the self defense claim. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Self-Defense “A person claiming self-defense must prove at trial that the self-defense was justified.”

          • Let’s clear something up. No doubt some may feel led to study up on adversarial systems of justice. No matter what the online Free Dictionary reports, our legal system requires that the prosecution prove its case BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Civil trials have lower standards.

            The defendant is NOT required to prove anything. GZ could have sat there coloring throughout the trial as Jodi Arias did. He’d probably lose but he doesn’t have to do anything.

            Did you hear Judge Nelson ask GZ if he decided to testify? Announce he was under no obligation to testify? He opted to not testify. I might do the same if I feared being drawn into verbal battles with skilled opposing counsel. That’s me, not pretending to speak for Zimmerman.

            The online source may have been referring to what a defendant needs to do if he wants a better chance of winning. In self defense it is sometimes to a defendant’s benefit to do so.

            As I stated to you before, it’s helpful to preface statements with IMO when presenting unsubstantiated claims. No problem with theorizing and discussing but, IMO, it gets problematic and confusing when citing opinions as facts.

    • Linda K, what absolute rubbish. I am a 70+ year old man who would not have the slightest hesitation in taking Z on if that was what he was looking for. By any analysis, the man is a weakling. If I was sizing him up, there are certain physical giveaways to this. Take a look at his mouth. It is in no way manly – quite effeminate, in fact. He tried to adopt the appearance of a macho man to go about his neighborhood watch ‘duties’, but the best appraisal of his physical capabilities was given by his physical training instructor who rated his performance as .5 – and you can bet he would not get as high a rating as that for his courage.
      This pathetic excuse for a man found himself in a real life fight – a situation he was hopelessly lost in – due to his own stupidity and at his own instigation. I have little doubt that it was him screaming for help, despite TM’s mother, understandably, believing it was her lost ‘baby’s. And he was up against a considerably lighter 17 year old.
      Dr K. likened West’s x of Rachel Jeantell as man v child. This was a case of man v child in the fight, but there was little fight in the man.
      What’s the old saying? It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

  4. Dr. Randle, I agree that Zimmerman had no business following Trayvon. The 911 dispatcher clearly advised against it. As I stated before, this was a matter for the police. Now a young man has lost his life in a tragic, unnecessary struggle.

    For this major lack of judgment, GZ is being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I did not contribute to his defense fund and I always believed he needed to be tried.

    I don’t believe that the prosecution has presented an adequate pool of evidence to prove 2nd degree murder. It’s their burden to do so. Both sides launched PR machines early on. Trayvon was pictured as a prepubescent child, an almost angelic child. This image stuck. Social media supporters still refer to him as a child.

    GZ had an uphill battle as he was demonized from the start as a crazed racist vigilante. Again, I’m not supporting him, but this was the reality once the media storm ignited.

    Dr Randle, I have no experience in hand to hand combat. I really don’t know any of my female friends having fighting experience either although some are fans of boxing matches. Call me sheltered but witnessed for maybe 10 seconds a bar fight that broke out and immediately stopped by other patrons. Maybe my brothers fought in high school, probably so.

    Unable to speak from that experience, I did listen to the 911 calls, and listened to neighbors’ testimony. There is no video footage and sadly young Trayvon can’t offer his side of the story. Excluding GZ’s explanation, there isn’t sufficient testimony from witnesses to convince me GZ didn’t fear for his life.

    Neighbor Jonathan Good testified he saw orange jacket individual being straddled by hoody individual. He’s not a GZ friend and had no reason to lie. He came across very credibly parsing words so as to be as accurate as possible.
    I can’t state with certainty that GZ’s injuries were minor. His nose was considerably swollen initially. Paramedics recommended visiting the ER which GZ declined. Autopsy results could have been compromised by the delay in transporting Trayvon’s body to the morgue and plastic bags were substituted for paper in key evidence.

    Fingernail scrapings/clippings, vitally important, were taken with the same implement instead of separately. The ME was a disaster on the stand IMO. He changed his opinion about the possible level of impairment caused by Trayvon’s marijuana use. He believed the impairment could have been significantly greater than original theorized

    My apologies for the lengthy post but there are so very many facets you addressed… and stated very well I might add. Whether it’s fair or not to the victim, these are areas of prime importance to the jury. They have a difficult job as it is with unavoidable consequences no matter what they conclude.

  5. I really love this one. I think it distills the issues down to their essence.

    Putting the legal aspects aside, this is what seems to have happened. From these essential facts the legal questions arise. Hopefully the jury instructions will guide the jury in the established legal principles that already explain under what facts a person is criminally liable for circumstances they set into motion. When and how carrying an inherently dangerous weapon imposes criminal responsibility if the weapon is used in a way that escalates the harm that would not have occurred if the gun was not there?

    I’m more disgusted by the prosecution every day because this case was complicated unnecessarily. There really are simple legal answers to these questions. By charging second degree without presenting the evidence of it competently, it created a morass of confusion. What he did was not reasonable regardless of his intentions or license to carry a gun. The burden of consequences should not fall exclusively on Trayvon who is dead and who did not set this situation into motion and was trying to run from it. Even if he turned back or throw the first punch.

    The law is supposed to rectify what unjust about this situation. The injustice of Trayvon bearing the full weight of the consequences he did not create.

    That’s why there’s negligent conduct manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

    • Maria, you packed a lot of legalese into this post but what are the answers? Wish I have mastered copy and paste on my tablet but here goes.

      WHAT are the legal principles you cite that “already explain under what facts a person is criminally liable for circumstances they set in motion”?

      How and when” does carrying an inherently dangerous weapon impose criminal responsibility if the weapon is used in a way that escalates the harm that would not have occurred if the gun was not there”?

      What can you tell us that the prosecution has not? I really want to know.

      From the emotional racial component (and it does exist), conjecture and wild speculation everywhere presented as fact about GZ’s toxicology, where none exists, to certainty about the fight, where none exists, to flawed forensics, and a confused, possibly negligent ME (anyone see his testimony?), I’m finding precious little in the way of certainty so many even here profess.

      Both families claim the screams as belonging to defendant and victim. Neighbors, eye and ear witnesses are divided too. Nothing is ironclad IMO.

      According to the law, Maria, please states facts supporting 2nd degree murder in this case. GZ was foolish to leave his car and follow. Did he break the law by doing so? He has a constitutional right to own a gun and a legal permit for the weapon. So if you could explain the legalities that the prosecution has not about the gun, it would be appreciated.

      • Brigid, normally the jury instructions provide the key phrases and elements of those principles from state specific case law, and what facts must line up to meet the definitions. Since we’re so close to the end, lets wait for them to be posted and discuss then. (I’m too tired to write out all the possibilities in general language not specific to Florida.)

        Briefly on the gun and pursuing. Pursuing may not be illegal if its done without a purpose or with a justified purpose. It becomes illegal when done to prevent someone who has the right to get away from you because it can become an assault, and if there’s a gun, its an aggravated assault. Stalking crimes are about pursuing people too. What is normally not illegal becomes illegal when the intent in pursuing is to act on the other person in a way that restricts their movements, causes them reasonable fear, violates their rights or endangers them. In some ways, the Zimmerman case would be an easy aggravated assault case. Just that the penalty is too low for having killed him.

        On the gun, the license to carry a concealed weapon tells us a lot about why Zimmerman’s actions in pursyonly means he does not break the law when hiding the gun on his person. Because guns are so inherently dangerous, policies are in place to limit and restrict the number of concealed guns for the very reason that concealment creates risks not present if the gun is exposed. For example, the risk of a fist fight ending in a shooting. If you don’t know the danger you’re in, you have less of a change to avoid it or defend yourself. The other person has the advantage that places you at high risk.

        That risk is even higher if the person carrying the gun (concealed or not) takes actions that cause you to fear them and act defensively. This is where Zimmerman’s second degree reckless disregard for Trayvon’s life comes in. Zimmerman may carry the gun because he passed whatever requirements for licensing, but if he creates situations that place another in an unreasonable high risk because he has a gun, he’s liable civilly and criminally.

        I’m conflicted on the second degree murder. Second degree is counter intuitive because we all expect murder to require the intent to kill and second degree does not require the specific intent of killing. Second degree requires only “reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life.”

        My initial impression is that the opening statement laid out completely the facts and elements of second degree. It should be less complicated than it is. The self defense claim, which is supposed to come in last, has taken center stage.

        I missed some of the testimony, so I’m not sure if the prosecution put on strong enough evidence to support it. But the facts to support would be simple–the evidence of profiling, of seeking to apprehend suspects, of “wanting to go into law enforcement to hunt fugitives” and playing out this fantasy on Trayvon. This is enough for profiling. Profiling need not be racial but rather profiling whom he believed met the definition of his real or fantasy fugitives.

        The reckless disregard making it murder comes in because he carries and ends up using a deadly weapon in his role playing on an innocent person who did not provoke being pursued. He created the unjustifiable high risk to Trayvon of pursuing him with a gun with reckless disregard for Trayvon’s life if they should end up in a fight as a result. He then shot him in the chest. Its that simple if we can resist the urge to ask where’s the intent to kill.

        The self defense analysis comes in next to see if he can justify what would otherwise be unjustified second degree murder. That’s where the lies and lack of witnesses benefits Zimmerman.

  6. Dr K, as usual, you have analyzed the facts and interpreted them correctly.
    As a teenager living in a tough area, I had to learn to look after myself and to learn the ‘art’ of looking after myself in a street fight. I was involved in several of these and received a kicking on more than one occasion – and broken noses etc were par for the course.
    Z’s injuries from this altercation are almost laughable – despite the evidence of the defense expert.He had a few abrasions to his skull and a nose that looks to me very much as though he took one blow to it – and not a particularly forceful one at that. Someone who knows how to fight would have inflicted far more serious damage to his opponent than this – particularly if it was a fight to the death. Unfortunately the jury consists of females who well may not understand this, and I fear Z will get off. I cannot, consequently, understand why the prosecution opted for females as jurors.
    Z is delusional. He believes he is the neighborhood hero, but in fact is a coward. Only a total coward would have taken the action he did in such a situation. He not only bears the appearance of a weakling, he is a weakling. His actions were reprehensible and way out of line. He deserves to be held accountable for them, and though he cannot be punished in the manner he chose for his opponent, it would be a travesty of justice if he were acquitted and not receive adequate retribution

  7. I can only comment on being chased. An RN, I was the walking home from work, @ 12 AM, across a wide, deserted square. Enjoying the quiet, the peace, from the hectic shift from the hospital. I know, late & a woman, but I had done this for months. And being in my early 20’s, young, little fear. That is, until I heard a loud noise behind me. I turned around, & in the distance, @ 200 ft. away, an adult male was running right towards me as fast as he could. Without a moments thought, I ran ahead with all the strength & speed I had with no looking back until I reached my front door. This was terror. And if this person had caught up with me, no questions asked, I would have fought like a fierce, trapped cat. In a frenzy. Survival.

  8. I have been in more physical fights than I can count, both as a police officer and when I was growing up. A few of them were life or death struggles and I still remember the fear I felt during them. The story GZ is telling simply does not match the evidence. This 17- year old kid is being followed by someone who clearly made him uncomfortable. In the re-enactment GZ thinks he has lost his “suspect” and hangs up with the dispatcher. GZ sees TM and says he is digging for his phone, but it isn’t where he thought it was. GZ says that is when TM hit him in the face. If I was close to the man who has been eyeballing and following me and he starts digging around in his jacket, I would have thought he was reaching for a weapon and I would have probably done something similar. Then TM is supposedly slamming GZ’s head against the sidewalk. GZ is shaved almost bald and probably a little oily from the normal skin oils. It is raining or drizzling so the head is more slippery. Unless TM grabbed GZ’s ears how would he be able to get a firm enough grip on this bald, sweaty head without having to dig in his fingernails. If he grabbed GZ’s ears there would be tearing or trauma where the ear connects to the head, or marks where he was grabbing at his head. GZ claimed 25 to 30 blows but no trauma to TM’s hands other than a small injury to one finger. GZ states TM must have seen his gun when his shirt rode up, except GZ wears his pancake holster in back of his right hip above his butt. Watch his re-enactment when he pats the place where he wears his holster and then catches himself and shifts it quickly to his hip. Gun guys wear their holster in the same place every time. Then, TM was supposedly smothering him with one hand on his nose and one on his mouth. GZ had a bloody nose so why wasn’t the blood smeared all over GZ’s face? And why wasn’t there any blood on TM’s hands. Rain might remove some blood but there would have been blood left in the tiny creases of his palms and fingers, but no blood from GZ was found anywhere on TM. If GZ was being smothered and fighting for air as he claims, how was he able to scream so loudly and why did the screaming stop so abruptly when the shot was fired? The list goes on and on. Just my opinion, but I believe TM had landed on top during the scuffle and was fighting for his life. When he pulled away to get up, I think GZ thought another one of these A#@holes was going to get away and grabbed the front of TM’s hoodie with one hand and put the gun close to his chest and fired. I think GZ was frustrated by all the ones that got away. I don’t think he was in fear for his life when he followed TM. I do think, that by stalking TM and not identifying himself, GZ caused a 17-year old boy to fear for his safety and try to defend himself, and I feel GZ’s actions caused the death of this young man.

    • Cherie, I agree with your whole analysis. I’m glad to hear it from someone experienced in how these events really happen. I always suspected his reaching for the phone was really reaching for his holster like officers do when they place their hand on the holster to be ready and show the other will lose if he dares. Unbelievably he claims that he only remembered he had the gun when they were on the ground and it was exposed. So we’re supposed to believe he reaches for his phone on the same side as the gun and doesn’t have cognitive awareness of the gun that he carries for this very purpose. A gun he straps on to go to the grocery store.

      By adding these unbelievable “state of mind” explanations he reveals that he’s not telling facts but rather orally writing a legal brief to meet the elements of justifiable homicide like he would in his criminal law class.

      Here’s another UNBELIEVABLE statement from George written in his hand in the police report, “I tried to slid out from under the suspect and continued to call for help. As I slid the suspect covered my mouth and nose and stopped my breathing. At this point I felt the suspect reach for my now exposed firearm and say “You’re gonna die tonight mother fucker.” I unholstered my firearm in fear for my life as HE HAD ASSURED ME he was going to kill me and fired one shot into his chest.”

      Later in the reenactment he claims not to know if he shot him and changes position onto Trayvon’s back to wrestle his arms to the side.

      My blood boils. This is so deliberately contrived to meet the legal requirements of deadly force self defense that he learned in his classes. And to explain why the neighbor who came out at that moment saw him on top.

      It makes no sense. He’s supposedly bloody from the many punches. Just a moment before he kills him, Trayvon covers both his mouth and nose and gets NO BLOOD on his hands. Covers so tightly that he cuts off his breathing. Then suddenly the gun gets exposed. Trayvon, acting against all common sense, rather than realizing he’s in danger, now feels more empowered because he can get the gun and announces in WORDS that now he’s going to kill him. Cause that’s what you do in a fight–you see your opponent has a gun attached to them and you tell them now that pisses me off now I’m really going to kill you.

      Despite having his breathing blocked and being under him, he then unholsters the gun from his SIDE OR BACK, he can’t decide, and shots him BECAUSE HE ASSURED ME HE WAS GOING TO KILL ME. Yet after shooting once with such urgency, he thinks he didn’t get him and doesn’t feel the urgency to shot again but rather ends up on his back wrestling for his hands. Because of course hand to hand combat makes sense now that he thinks he missed. He simultaneously needs to shoot because he’s ASSURED he will be killed then abandons the urgency to shoot once he thinks he missed.

      Each piece of his story is contrived like a fill in the blanks criminal law quiz:

      My actions show I was not the original aggressor because ______________. In support that I lacked the mental state to assault “the suspect” I did not even remember I had a gun and reached instead for my __________. I used deadly force because of necessity. My necessity defense is supported by the required mental state of reasonable fear of imminent death. Facts supporting that my fear was reasonable are that the suspect did the physical act of _____________________ and further assured me of his criminal intent by saying ___________________. My weapon was exposed when ______________ providing the suspect opportunity to kill me.

      Creep.

      • Cherie & Maria, I watched the Zimmerman trial late, but saw the neighbor, Mr. Good testify. He went out his sliding glass doors to look at what was going on. I have tried to figure out how TM ended up on top, according to Good, with GZ (in red clothing) on the ground, apparently calling out, “Help.” Then the shot. I imagine there was a good amount of struggle & fierce fighting in a short amount of time, rolling over & over. Hence, maybe the time of GZ’s bloody nose. I admit I now lean towards Trayvon trying to get away & George starting the “stand-off” that led to fight. Who threw the 1st punch though. Regardless, I run that night through my mind like a nightmare. Dark, rainy, cold with someone following you. Most likely trying to get away & then GZ reappears. Then the showdown. The gun. It is my belief, that the 40 second screaming was from Trayvon. I wonder WHEN Trayvon 1st saw the gun. WHEN George Zimmerman 1st pulled it out. Something tells me the gun came out BEFORE the final ground tussle. And the minor scrapes on the back of GZ’s head. If his head was pounded on the sidewalk concrete, with even minimal force, he would have had much more damage, & even a hematoma. No, if anything, his head got scraped. Finally, with all respect to other posters here, I feel Zimmerman had an agenda that night. He finally reached his tipping point after calling 911 on a regular basis, many nights before, about neighborhood problems & “suspects.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/22/george-zimmerman-s-history-of-911-calls-a-complete-log.html He most likely carried is gun constantly (to grocery store) & watched the neighborhood with a vigilance. He was obsessed.

        • Exactly, Dawn. Have you noticed the connection between Frank Tafee and this tragedy? Zimmerman claimed he first saw Trayvon standing on Tafee’s lawn. That’s why Frank Tafee, whose the other obsessed neighborhood watchman, goes around defending Zimmerman. Because Zimmerman saw Trayvon on Tafee’s territory, on his friend’s territory, and he could not resist the impulse to defend Tafee’s territory. And the connection with the other sick friend, the ex-cop, who testified he encouraged Zimmerman to carry a gun because he believes EVERYONE should carry a gun. All of society should be armed. These three sick minds fed off and empowered one another and needed to create situations to act on their territorial beliefs.

          • Maria, No, I did not know Zimmerman said he 1st saw Trayvon on Tafe’s lawn! Too nice & cozy comfort & pat. GZ’s “best friend.” And Tafe says Zimmerman is like a son to him, as he lost two sons. I didn’t know about the ex-cop. This is down & dirty. I watched the Zimmerman trial a little late. I was kind of maxed-out from Jodi Arias. But injustice, sociopaths, really affect me. I usually stayed with animal advocacy, but I now think I am hooked on trials! Oh my! Now Andrea Sneiderman! Well, when I was in social work school, I thought of combining my MSW with a law degree. I spent long hours in the law library researching Florida’s massive convictions of pregnant drug addicts for child abuse…instead of getting them drug treatment along with keeping them in monitored housing throughout the pregnancy to protect the babies. This was in the 1990’s. OK, enough of that…:) Welllllll…after I wrote the above about Zimmerman I watched the prosecutions closing argument..& had to smile. Thank you.

          • OMG, Dawn! Lets not even get started on those child welfare cases against parents! I’ve handled some of those cases. If people knew the harm and destruction the state causes in the name of saving children from their parents, we would all be in shock. I just read “Wounded Innocents” last year. I didn’t recover emotionally for about a month.

  9. Dr K., your comment about biases, prejudices and pre-trial opinions says it all.
    From afar, and free from all these influences, I cannot believe that anyone could rationally argue that Z should not have been charged with murder. What else did he do, other than murder TM? He murdered that boy as sure as God made little green apples, and to argue otherwise smacks of the above. This case, without the biases, is an open and shut one – even if you accept the self-serving explanations given by Z. Some people want to rely on eye-witness testimony. There were no eye witnesses. Was there anyone there who said, ‘I saw Z shoot TM and I witnessed everything that happened’ andeven if there had been, eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Regardless of who hit who first (and it surely wasn’t Z as he couldn’t hit a barn door) or who was on top of the other (which in either event is no help to Z), the salient points (and beyond debate) are that Z decided that TM was a ‘suspect’ and followed him. He had a loaded and cocked gun. He couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag (verified by his gmn. instructor) and he shot to kill – not to disable, but to kill.
    How can you argue his case? He hasn’t got one.If Z should not have been charged with second degree murder, what would have happened if the boy had disarmed Z (as he is wanting us to believe he tried to) and shot Z – what would he have been charged with? And if TM was on top in the commanding position (and with Z handicapped with those horrific injuries he suffered) how did Z get his arm free to release the gun from its holster and shoot his victim without any form of resistance?
    Z was not ‘sucker-punched’ nor was he told he was ‘going to die tonight’. He was confronted and fainted ( I’d like to give another description but decorum doesn’t allow me). Juan Martinez – armed with the evidence of the gmn. instructor – would have said, “So he couldn’t fight for breath, right? and left it to the jury to decide why he shot the boy. But these prosecutors were inept.
    Look at that photo of Z with his life-threatening nose injury. It should have carried a caption: “Wah, Mum. Look at what that big bully did to me at school”. But this is no laughing matter. A young boy lost his life through another’s cowardice.

  10. Our legal system is too complex. Sometimes the wisdom of Solomon is sufficient. So I say that the blame should be divided equally between GZ and TM. So, find Z guilty but give him a sentence only half as long as the usual one…

    • dcs my thought was to give him 1 yr and have him serve community serves for another yr or 2 away from anything that has to do with the law. I think both were guilty but GZ should have a penalty just not what they would give if he was found guilty of 2nd degree. Have no idea if that could be done by judge????

  11. I agree whole heartedly with you Dr. Randall that this was a fist fight that George Zimmerman was losing and he ended it by pulling out his 9 mm gun which was loaded to kill.

    As a principal and a teacher, I have witnessed many fights between teenage boys and never heard one of them say, “You are going to die tonight.” Trayvon Martin’s goal was to win the fight, not kill anybody. Zimmerman’s goal was to collar the suspect or bag the deer. That’s why he sat on his back after he fell over dead. Zimmerman didn’t see Trayvon Martin as a person. Zimmerman talked like a cop and even called Martin “the suspect” when he was doing the re-enactment.

    If we believe Zimmerman, he was just doing his duty as neighborhood watch commander and getting an address for the police when this thug jumped out from behind the bush, punched him in the nose, knocked him to the ground and used the sidewalk as a deadly weapon and he just lie there and did nothing but scream for help. Zimmerman’s story is preposterous considering he is the one who was determined that the bleeping punk and a$$hole was not going to get away this time and he is the one with martial arts self defense training. The police did not interrogate him at all even though his story makes no sense.

    I missed the last two weeks of the trial and returned from vacation to a verdict watch. I can’t stand Frank Tafe so I avoid HLN and haven’t read much so I missed the defense case and the closing statements.

    I still believe George Zimmerman was making an illegal citizen’s arrest at gunpoint and Trayvon Martin was fighting for his life.

    I have no idea what the jury will do but I suspect they may come up with a compromise with one of the lesser charges between second degree murder and self defense.

  12. I believe George Zimmerman pursued…stalked…Trayvon Martin most of the time. And had his gun drawn as he stalked. I cannot imagine Zimmerman looking for the “hooded punk,” in the maze of the condo complex, in the darkness & rain, w/o the gun drawn & ready. I believe Trayvon saw the gun (“Why are you following me?”) long before the the tussle on the ground, at the end. Trayvon could have been ordered by Zimmerman, at gunpoint, to “halt!” A “Come out with your hands up” sort of thing… The screams most likely, Trayvon. Who knows, maybe Zimmerman tried to take Trayvon down on the ground, as police do…Trayvon screamed…tried to run away, screaming for his life knowing he was at gunpoint. The gun was paramount & crucial for the whole stalking, with Trayvon trying to hide, run away. George Zimmerman was delusional. Paranoid. Aggressive. Enraged. It would have been good to have a mental health expert.

    • Yes, Dawn, George Zimmerman’s did strike me as being paranoid, grandiose, delusional and like he has no empathy, feelings or remorse for shooting a human being to death.

      He believed every black youth in the community was suspicious. He believed Martin looking at houses and being curious why Zimmerman was staring at him and following him was suspicious.

      Zimmerman told the police he didn’t know he shot Martin and yet he heard the shot after he fired his gun with a hollow point bullet in the chamber into Martin’s chest. He said he thought Martin was surrendering and pushed him face down on the ground and got on top of him and moved his arms out so he could see them. Pictures taken before the cops got there showed Martin dead lying face down clutching his chest with both hands. Zimmerman’s odd behavior shows he fantasized he was a cop who was apprehending “the suspect” and shooting “a perp” to death was all in a day’s work.

      A witness who ran out after the screaming and gun shot stopped described Zimmerman as calm and asked who she should call. He never said to call 911 or tried to resuscitate Martin himself but asked someone to call his wife and tell her he shot someone. He acted like shooting someone dead was a normal occurrence. When he spoke to cops, he weaved a story that painted Martin as “the suspect” and aggressor and himself as the victim.

      When people nationwide were outraged he wasn’t arrested, Zimmerman took to the Internet and slandered Tracy Martin and his supporters. He also whined on a webpage that he was getting death threats and couldn’t work and begged for money to support himself and fired his lawyers when they told him to keep his mouth shut and close down the website and let them handle the fund raising.

      When his website didn’t raise enough money, he and his new attorney Mark O’Mara took to the airwaves to beg for cash. On a TV show, Zimmerman was calm and appeared not to understand why anyone thought he did something wrong. When the interviewer asked him what he would do differently, he replied, “Not a thing, sir. You can’t change God’s will.”

      He ended up raising $30,000 which provided him with enough food to put on 150 lbs. while Martin is a 17 year old skeleton rotting in the ground.

      In court, at times Zimmerman appeared to be so bored he was falling asleep. It is like this has nothing to do with him and he is just an innocent bystander.

      There is definitely something wrong with someone who seems just like a big pile of mush with no comprehension of his actions.

      • Funny, I had forgotten the shenanigans he engaged in against his first set of lawyers which caused them to withdraw publicly on TV. We can add too that the first judge found him to have lied during the bond hearing when recorded telephone calls between him and his wife a few days before the hearing caught him instructing her on how to transfer and hide money so they could both testify he had no money for bond. The judge specifically found he also hid a second passport in preparation to flee with the money. http://www.scribd.com/doc/99228805/George-Zimmerman-Bond-Order

        I’ve been more hopeful lately despite being so underwhelmed by the prosecution because even though they did not do a great watch “proving” second degree, ZImmerman’s own words alone can be enough for the second degree conviction. If jurors listen to his statements and decide he lied, for example when he suddenly told Hannity that Trayvon was not running and not afraid, the jury can decide that his words and lies prove the elements because his lies remove the credibility of self defense. Because the thing Zimmerman must be credible about is that Trayvon acted in such a way that it was reasonable to believe he was going to kill him. Zimmerman said he was going to kill him not just hurt him badly, but specifically was going to kill him.

        Once that element of deadly force being justified in self defense is not credible because the person making the claim is a liar, the rest falls easily into place from the ill will words he used on his way to find Trayvon, the pursuit, the carrying of a loaded gun and then using it in the confrontation. I love that bond order above. :)

      • Give me a break a 17 yr old skeleton? So tired of people speaking that TM was a child. NO he was a 17 yr old young man that should have gone home and not come back to the situation. If he was a child he should have been home by dark. My children sure were. Why would he be reaching for his cell if his girlfriend was speaking to him when the confortation started then is when it dropped off. Do I think GZ is innocent – NO but both played a part in this tragedy. Don’t think anyone will ever know the truth.

        • Penny,
          Rachel Jeantel was not his girlfriend,just a friend that he known since 2nd grade
          and they had just been reacquainted for a few months. He was listening to his phone through ear-buds. His hands were free, and it was only 7:00 pm when he went to the store.

        • It is a little paternal to say that TM should have been in bed after dark. He had every right to walk to the store and buy Skittles and Ice Tea and there is certainly nothing illegal about that. There was no curfew in the development and as a guest of a resident he had every right to be there. Now I don’t know what GZ saw suspicious about him, but it certainly wasn’t anything TM was doing outside of perhaps “walking while black.” The confrontation was sparked by GZ’s actions which were based on misconceptions. He was a captain of NW yet he violated at least two of their basic tenants (1) do not carry a weapon and (2) do not pursue a “suspect.” Please read http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/us/trayvon-martin-death-spotlights-neighborhood-watch-groups.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          Travin Martin may not be a “child” but he was not a burgular either and was not engaged in any criminal activity and have every right to walk down a street and I do not see how he can be blamed for doing that.

          • I noticed something new yesterday re-watching the Hannity interview. George claimed he got the gun because he promised his wife he’d protect her after she witnessed a burglar running behind their house. The person had committed a home invasion on their neighbor, a young woman with a newborn baby. That home invasion and another burglary became his mantra on why he carried a gun and was suspicious.

            Yet in telling the story of what happened that night, he claimed he was on his way to the grocery store as he did every weekend to buy groceries and cook with his wife for the week. He strapped on his gun and left his wife ALONE WITHOUT A GUN at home. Since burglaries and home invasions are the pretext of why he’s packing heat, why in the hell does he leave his wife alone in the house without the gun? Shouldn’t he leave the gun with her since she’s the one in danger of a home invastion/burglary? There’s been no incidents of fat guys getting car jacked, so no reason he needed the gun with him and his wife home unprotected.

            That’s because he’s a liar. He was not armed to protect his family from home invasions, he was armed to go out looking for criminals outside his house, not to protect his wife at home. She was sitting at home alone eating ice cream, unarmed, unafraid of any home invasion or burglary as her husband took the gun with him in case he should come across a criminal during his travels back and forth.

          • I was really hoping for a hung jury so Judge could sentence Zimmerman. Hoping for a few yrs in jail then community service for a few more yrs. If he was found quilty I feel that would have been to harsh as TM played a part in this as well. His sentence now is that he will never live his life with any piece in it.

          • Was Shellie Zimmerman home at that time? Does she know how to use a gun? Does she have her own gun?

            If she doesn’t use a gun, WHY would the gun be left at home? If she couldn’t or didn’t want to accompany George, as an adult woman, she was willing to risk a breakin while he was was gone. If I lived in a neighborhood with a documented history of breakins and robberies, I’d be afraid too.

            What happened to Trayvon is a tragedy. But the prosecution did not prove that Zimmerman was not defending himself. They could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

            Maria, I’ve respected your opinion and legal knowledge many times here. I know you feel passionately about this case. But now the Zimmerman threads are not debates, they’re rants which feed off each other. It’s very disappointing for me but the adult thing to do is to step back from Zimmerman discussion.

          • Thank you Brigid. I to feel the same way. It was a racial and political from the very beginning. If it would have been two whites or two blacks we would have never heard a thing about it.

          • Penny, I agree we would not have heard about it if the race issue was not involved. But it would have been equally wrong for one person to pursue another believing them to be a criminal while packing a gun and then resulting in a fight that lead to a death. The world would not be involved for sure.

            For several years I’ve been joking with friends who come to my highrise condo about our security guards. One or two security guards over the years has acted like a cop wanna be and I’ve always had an issue observing those behaviors. My joke has always been that one day we’ll find out one of those two is a BTK killer, obsessed with pretending to be in law enforcement because they like to have control over others. All involved are white. This cop wanna be issue for me has never had anything to do with race.

            If the race issue in this case is what bothers you, I understand that because focus on one issue distorts the case for the public. On the personal level for Trayvon’s family, though, race matters because teens like him are more likely to get caught in the web of these cop wanna bees.

          • Brigid, Why would you say this to me? I’m not advocating any action regarding the acquittal. If anything, I’m looking more objectively today at how the prosecution overcharged by committing their analysis in what charges to bring only to general intent crimes rather than charging on another tier that only requires high degrees of negligence leading to criminal responsibility.

            To me this case is tragic on many levels, including the errors the justice system makes by yielding their power in ways that are not sufficiently restrained, and the way the public often calls out for unrestrained power from officials when they want something, then scream about abuses of power when they’re on the other side. The pressures we place on the system often lead to bad outcomes. (One reason I have a hard time being too hard on the Jodi Arias foreman because I think it has consequences down the line as other jurors decide to avoid criticism and it alters their decisions.)

            The bottom line here is that Zimmerman’s actions, if copied by many others, endangers all of us. So the middle of the road approach the law normally takes is to discourage that behavior by placing criminal sanctions on creating dangerous circumstances that lead to such a tragedy. But if the state goes overboard and can only charge a more serious crime such as murder, we get the double tragedy that defeats the message that if you carry a gun and approach people, you will be responsible for the consequences if the gun gets used, and instead seems to reconfirm to some gun obsessed people that they have a right to shot if they’re in an altercation.

            I don’t think a verdict ends the discussion here nor in any case.

  13. I am glad people are noting Zimmerman’s apparent complete lack of empathy. It seems very abnormal for a civilian to be so calm after having to supposedly shoot someone in self defense. And what makes me even more alarmed is how he never really apologized. I feel like if you truly shot someone in self defense you’d have some thoughts along the lines of “I’m so sorry, but I really really thought I was going to die.” Instead he interviews with Sean Hannity and says knowing everything, he wouldn’t change a thing about what he did that night and that it was all part of God’s plan. The closest he ever came to apologizing was when he took the stand in his own bond hearing and said he was sorry he shot the Martin’s son, but he thought he was older, closer to around his own age. Which is ridiculous considering on the non-emergency 911 call, the operator asked Zimmerman how old he thought the kid was and he responded “late teens”. Such a liar.

    • George seems very unemotional and a little detached.
      During his first interrogation he showed no emotional upset at all.
      I mean he just killed someone,even if he thought he was justified
      He should have shown some emotion.

      • I have thought the same way then I turned it around thinking maybe he was so in shock about everything that he couldn’t take in everything that what was actually going on at that moment. I think I would have felt numb. As far as saying he was sorry I would think his attorneys would have told him not to say anything until trial is over. I would almost sound like an admission of quilt.

    • Madeleine, George Zimmerman never said he was sorry he shot Trayvon Martin at the bond hearing. What he said was “I am sorry for your loss,” which is what you say at a funeral. That is not taking responsibility or an apology.

      In fact, Zimmerman’s entire defense was that he did nothing wrong and Trayvon Martin was the aggressor and he was the victim. The jury agreed with him.

  14. “Use your life experiences in your deliberations” – this oft used advice can hardly be given to this particular jury. But one most useful tool they can certainly use is logic – combined with the proven evidence.
    There has been one account provided – the killer’s. Logic says that account must be ignored. It is totally illogical to accept one version of events – particularly when a cannon could be fired through it. False assumptions can be made from it that cloud and confuse the issue, such as his claim that his head was being repeatedly slammed into the concrete – his injuries do not provide evidence of that.
    Logic, and evidence, says that Z instigated the confrontation. Evidence says that only one of the two was armed and that the weapon was in the ready to fire position. Why? Evidence says that Z tracked his ‘suspect’ and left the comparative safety of his vehicle when he was warned not to by 911. Logic says that he was not going to let this ‘suspect’ get away.
    Logic does not say that TM ‘skipped’ away and then doubled back to ambush him. Why would he do that? And why would Z be seeking an address when he knew very well where he was? Logic says the confrontation occurred almost immediately after Z left his vehicle, and at the place where the shooting happened. ‘Eye witnesses’ say that one was on top of the other on the ground but none can say with certainty who was where. There was no witness to the shooting and positions can change in two ticks in a fight – they could have even got to their feet in that time.Logic says that Z was in the commanding position with a loaded weapon.Evidence says that TM did not touch the gun. Logic says TM was screaming for help ( I have changed my mind on this, consequently) – why would a man with a ready to fire gun scream repeatedly for help? Logic says TM was terrified at this point. Logic says the shot was deliberate and not the result of a struggle for the gun – the co-incidence of a shot entering the vital spot in the manner that it did is just too great. Besides the consideration that Z was on the bottom suggests a virtual anatomical near impossibility to be able to reach back to the holster, draw the gun and fire it in a front on position through the heart – and without any form of resistance.
    Logic, if not evidence, says that Z fantasized about being a person of authority – and carried out his fantasy with tragic results. Evidence, and logic, would suggest that Z has a more serious, and gross, form of Walter Mitty Syndrome.
    In his mind his actions are fully justifiable – hence his righteousness.

    • Exactly Don. Normally prosecutors argue the logical inferences you can draw from the known facts. What you’re arguing are reasonable inferences. This is why even though they did not do a great job with the evidence, George’s own statements and the recordings could have been enough by themselves for a second degree conviction. But for that you need prosecutors to at least show the jurors the logical inferences they can draw in a sequential logical way. The only time I heard the lead prosecutor do this was with the Hannity interview where George denies Trayvon was running so he could deny he was afraid of him even though we all know he was running because he told the operator “Shit! He’s running.” These prosecutors did not explain to the jury how to draw reasonable inferences from the circumstances or that this is the way to reach the verdict.

  15. Dear Brigid.
    I did not need to preface my post with IMOH as concerns what a defendant asserting self-defense needs to show or “prove.” The law is unambiguous Here it is:
    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776.html
    776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
    (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
    (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

    A defendant asserting self-defense has to provide evidence, show, “prove”, that he used deadly force BECAUSE he had a reasonable fear that his life was in danger and it was necessary to save his life. If he does not provide any evidence of that, then the prosecution has an easy case, a slam dunk even.

    Jodi Arias was asserting self-defense and she may have sat in her seat most of the trial, however, she did take the stand for 18 days asserting she killed TA in self-defense. I assume if GZ was not going to put on a defense then he wouldn’t have bothered to waste time and money on lawyers. He is asserting self-defense. There is no dispute that he killed TM, so if he doesn’t assert self-defense then he will be convicted with little effort from the state.

    GZ was advised not to testify because video tape of his statements to the police and to Sean Hannity had already been played for the jury and in them he made a showing that he he acted in self-defense. His defense team made a further showing during their case in chief. Now the prosecutor has to rebut that allegation of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the defendant still has to make a showing that he acted in self-defense which is the same as “proving”. If he jury does not believe he acted in self-defense then they will convict him. So perhaps this misunderstanding is just a matter of semantics.

    • By your logic, the prosecution had a “slam dunk” case when Zimmerman didn’t take the stand. The verdict is in. The jury could not convict because the state could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

      You’re correct that you can say what you want here without distinguishing your personal opinion from facts. I cannot engage in further conversation with someone who disregards the essentials of cordial debate, driven to be always right. It’s akin to talking in the wind.

      • I did not say that if GZ did not testify the prosecution would have a slam dunk. I said “If he not provide any evidence of that [self-defense] then the prosecution has an easy case, a slam dunk even.” I also said one of the reasons GZ did not testify is because he asserted self-defense in the interviews that were played for the jury. None of that was logic, its law. Self-defense is a affirmative defense which must be asserted, shown and “proven”

        • whether anyone likes it or not he was found not guilty. I never believd he should get 2nd degree. Was hoping jury would dead lock and Judge could sentence him to 1 to 2 yrs in jail and community servce. Both GZ and TM played a part in this tragedy and only one paid a very high price because of it. That is what I find so very sad.

        • This is true, it’s a legal standard on how self defense must first be shown by the defense not the prosecution. It was the same with Jodi Arias. Juan did not have to prove she killed Travis not in self defense. Jodi had the burden of raising and presenting self defense to make a prima facie showing and only then Juan had to rebut and show why it was hogwash.

    • I agree with you. Its an affirmative defense, the defense needed to make the initial showing of self defense, and the narrow circumstances under which the initial aggressor can use deadly force was a major issue. This prosecution blew this case so badly, its unbelievable! They spent the closing arguments raising questions instead of explaining these distinctions between the original aggressor and one who is innocently assaulted and needs to defend themselves. I can hardly believe how little of the actual law was brought out in the case. I don’t think the original aggressor statute even made it into the jury instructions. How did these prosecutors miss this? What an incompetent mess!

      • I wholeheartedly agree! Had the presented a narrow case along the lines of Dr. RK excellent post yet would have had a better chance at conviction, i.e., it was just a fist fight and GZ shot TM because he was losing.
        First charge manslaughter not have to back in to it when it was clear the M2 case was floundering.
        Focus on the fact that GZ packed a gun and followed TM in violation of clear NW regulations. Read http://t.co/MubCV7tvee and http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-14/news/os-trayvon-martin-beth-kassab-031512-20120314_1_orlando-police-block-captains-zimmerman
        Point out that GZ showed bias in believing TM was suspicious in the first place http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/03/23/george_zimmerman_s_long_lonely_war_against_black_youths_doing_things.html? utm_source=tw&utm_medium=sm&utm_campaign=button_toolbar and even calling the police on TM was another violation of NW as he was not looking into houses or doing anything suspicious at all.
        Point out that TM had ever right to be suspicous of GZ and when GZ reached into his pocket suddenely, it is not surprising that TM would have hit him, however, TM obviously did not hit him 12+ times or slam his pavement against the concrete 12+ times.
        Then of course, there are all the inconsistencies in GZ’s story which impact his credibility which is so important in this kind of case.
        However, the state had other issues, including the testimony of the medical examiner which was a disaster and the lead detective who sabotaged the case. http://internationalwww.chicagodefender.com/index.php/news/nation/20845-zimmerman-trial-update-detective-chris-serino-hero-or-villain-of-the-zimmerman-trial
        Many Floridians see GZ as just a concerned neighbor who though he went too far, well way too far, was doing the “right” thing and that was not an easy assumption to overcome.

      • Maria – I fully understand that a defendant is not obliged to take the stand, and in what his counsel believes to be a weak case, it’s not in his best interests to do so – but how is it that he can decline to, and avoid cross-examination, yet have his explanations/lies as to what took place given to the jurors, while lawyered up via a television interview. You can’t have it both ways, surely – but Zimmerman appeared to.

        • Don, I think that’s what mysteryquest was getting at regarding an affirmative defense. The defendant must out on his self defense story himself unless the prosecution does it for him as in this case.

          You’ve identified the main error made by the prosecution that sank this ship. Under the rules of evidence, the defense CANNOT introduce his out of court statements to show what happened or to show this is the truth. The prosecution can introduce the statements as admissions against interest to show he was lying, made inconsistent statements, etc. But the prosecution should have NEVER introduced them in their case in chief because by doing so they floated George’s self defense theory upfront and made it unnecessary for him to testify. They handed him the chance on a silver platter to get his story to the jury without cross examination.

          The prosecution should have just laid out the essential prima facie facts in the case in chief without even mentioning George’s self defense claim–just his interest in catching fugitives, the non-emergency call, his words of hostility, his pursuit and then shooting Trayvon. Then George would have no choice but to testify to put on his self defense claims as his affirmative defense. Only then does the prosecution have to respond to the affirmative defense and could then put on his statements or whatever.

          The rules of evidence precluded George from relying on those statements or introducing them. He had to testify. Unless his attorneys could rely on the prosecution’s evidence–the statements–by reference to tell his story without cross examination.

          It was the prosecution that let him have it both ways. It’s mind blowing!

          • Thank you,Maria. And he was allowed to have it both ways without having to be under any resemblance to an oath

  16. Good grief, that Angela Corey’s press conference: Like pouring a huge bowl of warm syrup over everybody. Talk about words not matching expression and demeanor. She’s so cheerful, you would think she won.

  17. I was unbelievably on pins & needles last night waiting for the verdict. When I heard “Not Guilty” I gasped. And out loud, “Noooo!” This morning, as I was waking up, I had that dreaded feeling that something was very wrong. Then I realized it was Zimmerman was free & Trayvon convicted. OK, I began watching this trial objectively. But with all the evidence the jury could look at, I felt all was there to prove GZ was a murderer, with an agenda. I really did try to block out his very disturbed mental state, obvious life-long racism, past history of trouble with the law… But that said, this all could have been “evidence” by inference, factual knowledge…logic. Zimmerman’s life will not be ideal. And if back out there, he just might slip-up. Delusional people, sociopaths do this. I cannot imagine him living a life of reason. Very telling was his immobile body, stone-faced throughout the trial. No emotion. This was even shown when being examined by the police right after the killing & at the reenactment back at the condos. Lat night, when he heard “not guilty,” no emotion. Stone. He NEVER looked to his parents or wife! Only later, leaving the court, did he smile. Like he did not know how to feel…he had to take cues from others as sociopaths do. Very importantly, the effect of this trial & verdict: global consequences to the black community, stereotyping young black males…civil rights. I feel there will be a backlash, but limited. Black people will bring this to the forefront, to protest, to educate. This trial will go down in history as a major injustice. Classic racism. How we have come a long way & need to go much further. Hooded Trayvon, stalked by an insane racist, will prove to be a major advancement of civil rights. R.I.P.

    • I so agree with you. This trial was nothing but racial and polcital. The only difference between anyone is skin color so who cares. If it had been two whites or two blacks we never would have known about this trial. Both GZ and TM played their own part in the tragedy. GZ was found not guilty but will pay a high price for what happened. He nor his family will never be the same and he will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.

      • Penny, I respectfully disagree. IMHO and in the HO of many others, the only thing that GZ found suspicious was the color of TM’s skin. In fact, he has a long history of calling the police to report suspicious activity by black males, even one as young as 7-9 years old. TM was not looking in houses, or exhibiting any suspicious or engaged in any criminal activity so I do not see what he did to deserve to be confronted by some stranger with a gun. I can see no way that TM hit GZ in the face 12+ times or hit his head on the pavement 12+ times. GZ would have suffered extensive injuries not some boo boos that did not even require stitches. I think D.R. Has summed that situation up very well.

        • Mystery, I’m kind of a nitpicker about details as you’ve no doubt noticed. You began with an IMHO, even including the HO of other posters. Is it really necessary to bolster your own opinion by linking it to others?

          Anyway, you believe GZ was only interested in the color of Trayvon’s skin. Before the case went to trial, the FBI investigated whether GZ had perpetrated hate crimes, which would be racial in this case. They found NO evidence. Is that not sufficient?

          I don’t have a complete record of GZ’s calls to police to verify your accusations. Do you? I do have a pdf of police reports in their Twin Lakes community which had been hit hard by vandalism and robberies since 2011. You don’t want to hear or accept the number of young, African American males reported as suspects by MANY other residents. Some were arrested after investigation, some were caught with the evidence.

          Do you want affidavits of these multi racial residents, roofers and construction workers, all the diverse people reporting? I can’t link the file here on my tablet but here’s a report by The Daily Beast, a reputable, non-conservative publication.

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/28/zimmerman-s-twin-lakes-community-was-on-edge-before-trayvon-shooting.html

          You flatly state Trayvon was not looking in houses or exhibiting any suspicious___?? With no video, no witnesses coming forward , how do you know this? It was raining. He could have been taking shelter. It’s called speculation. The jury weighed the evidence, or lack of, and clearly were not required to fill in gaps with their imagination. You’re entitled to use your imagination but please stop stating as fact what you don’t know!

          I think we should all choose our words very carefully. Because the fires of racial tension are being fanned to the max, there could be serious consequences in our own neighborhoods.

          • Penny, Well I don’t need to bolster my opinion with the opinions of others and that was not my intention. Obviously, others share my opinion just as others share yours. No I did not see Trayvon Martin, however, if he was looking in houses I should think that GZ would have certainly relied this to the police and he didn’t. Moreover, GZ said nothing about TM looking at houses during his police or media interviews, so again, I feel its safe to say TM was not. No, I don’t have affidavits from everyone. There is a news organization, Slate, that says they looked at a log of GZ’s calls to the police. Here is the article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/03/23/george_zimmerman_s_long_lonely_war_against_black_youths_doing_things.html So I’m comfortable and re-quoting them as I’m not a reporter and don’t have time to gather this information myself. If you wish to cite to affidavits or other information to bolster your position, by all means do so. However, you express your opinion whether you have all the information or not, just as I do.

          • Thank you Brigid. Even had TM been white there had been a rash of burglarys in that neigherhood. The color of the skin has nothing to do with this. It is what followed after he saw TM. None of us were there and will never no the whole story. Like I have said before both of them played their own part in this tragedy.

          • Please note that a jury finding, that the evidence they considered was insufficient to find GZ guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the charged crime does not make him innocent. I abide by our justice system, but it is not fallible by any means. In fact, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”, summarizes it very well. I happen to believe that GZ is one of those 9 and that is just my opinion. OJ was found not-guilty also and not many people really feel he was guilty. I’m quite confident that my typewritten words will not spark a riot, race or otherwise, and I see no consequences in expressing my opinion.

            At the risk of restating Dr. KR’s blog post to which we are commenting, even if Trayvon Martin was a burglar, and all indications are that he wasn’t. (No I wasn’t there but then only GZ was and prosecutors, who weren’t there either charged GZ with a crime despite that.) GZ should not have carried a gun or pursued TM and that is not really debatable. He was the captain of the NW yet choose to ignore their rules. (1) Don’t carry a weapon and (2) don’t follow a “suspect.” http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-14/news/os-trayvon-martin-beth-kassab-031512-20120314_1_orlando-police-block-captains-zimmerman and http://t.co/MubCV7tvee The rules of NW are quite clear!
            GZ was not a police officer who is easily identifiable, supervised, trained and accountable. It was his disregard for NW regulations, the dispatchers instructions, and his unwillingness to let the real police do their job.that led the confrontation. Now, of course, we weren’t there at the confrontation. However, if I’m a young man, not engaged in any criminal activity, walking home, and a strange unidentifiable man is following me, I’d be concerned. I’d be even more concerned if when I ask him what he wants he suddenly reaches into his pocket. He might pull a knife, gun or blackjack, hit me over the head, and kidnap me or who knows what!
            As, Dr. KR stated, if TM hit GZ, as it appears he did, it certainly was understandable. Did TM hit GZ 12+ times and knock his head into the pavement 12+ times? IMHO, well of course not, unless the confrontation took place on the Moon or some other heavenly body which has much less gravity than Earth.

    • If I might disagree (again!), think that’s an unfair assessment. As with any forums where there are serious discussions, we all get a bit fractious now and then. But on the whole, if you think this forum was rough, you haven’t seen some of the forums I’ve seen.

      Overall,considering the gathering of a good number of strong personalities, I would say we did comparatively well. If I wanted a forum where everybody always agreed about everything, I would go talk to myself somewhere. As in real life, sometimes one or more of us does not play well with others. But it’s still worth it.

      As a person who had a heated forum for 4 years with nearly 5 million hits –until I finally gave up, exhausted — I can tell you it’s hard work to operate a forum like this, and I have nothing but respect for anyone who puts the time and effort into it while fielding disagreements on some very heated topics that attract some very passionate people. So, kudos to Dr. R. You’ve got a good thing going. You can psychoanalyze me anytime you want!

  18. I totally agree with Maria,the prosecution really put on a dis-jointed and confusing case.I believe they should have simplified their story the best they could.
    They just did not have enough evidence for 2nd degree.Why didn’t they go for manslaughter? Was it the State Attorney and all the politics? One thing that bothered me was Don West and his attitude during the press conference. When asked about his relationship with the judge,he basically rolled his eyes and said no comment “I want to be a member of the bar for a couple of more years” Have some respect Attorney West! It’s her courtroom to run. It was also reported that one of the prosecutors went up to West to shake his hand after the press conference and West refused. Besides the national attention, this was one of the hundreds of cases these attorneys try every year.West could take a lesson or two from Mark O’Mara on how to handle himself with a little more grace.

  19. I was disheartened to hear that George Zimmerman was found not guilty. In my opinion, the jurors may have found out that the charge of Manslaughter, when committed with a firearm, can raise the penalty to life in prison, just like 2nd degree Murder. I am not familiar with Florida law and was surprised to learn that. The jurors may not have wanted to find him guilty of manslaughter if the penalty was that harsh. I would not have wanted to be a juror on this case.

    As for George Zimmerman being found not guilty…well, he may be free in the sense that he is not in prison, but as a man, he will forever be looking over his shoulder and endure the stares and whispers when someone recognizes the face that has been made so recognizable by the media. And his dreams of ever being a law enforcement officer in any real sense, are gone. There is not a Police or Sheriffs department anywhere in this country that would hire him, even though he was found not guilty. George Zimmerman has a very skewed, unrealistic opinion of what a law enforcement officer is and what that officer actually thinks and feels. I have read several posts referring to civilians shooting someone and it is just as hard for police officers to shoot someone. The training may help them fire the shot, but no amount of training can make what they have done easier.

    I have known and worked with many officers who had to take a life in the course of their duties. Some even tried to give aid to the person they shot. We are not judge and jury…but we are human beings. In 31 years, I had never seen a single officer that was so cold and uncaring after a shooting. They may have been in shock, but they were always emotional and devastated over taking a life. This man was not the least bit upset at any point following the shooting and was quite comfortable with what he did. George Zimmerman was more interested in impressing on the police that he was one of them. How very sad.
    Today, the world now knows who George Zimmerman is. They know a great many of his secrets, and what type of a man and what kind of a human being he really is. There is no place he can go where someone will not know what he did. He will not be liked, admired, or respected by the majority of people he will encounter….and while it is not as good as a “Guilty Verdict”… it is something.

  20. Maria Cristina, in response to your 9:01 pm comment, had to move the thread down without room left to respond above.

    Maria, my remarks were not intended to hurt you but I can see they did and for that I apologize. My disappointment related to your interpretation of the Zimmermans motives for possessing a gun.

    You called GZ a liar, a fat boy and implied Shellie was sitting home eating ice cream…read “fat.” Unless it was part of GZ’s narrative to Hannity and then I’m in the wrong.

    I’m not the moderator nor am I dictating what you can say. But I can let you know that this tone and line of discussion is not what I expected from you. My take on it is an implication of white trash vigilante with lazy, paranoid wife sitting around getting fat. In fact, Shellie is a licensed cosmetologist studying for a nursing degree.

    Let’s revisit the incident that frightened Shellie. It’s true that on 8/3/11 neighbor Olivia Bertalan’s home was invaded by two African American young men while she hid in the bathroom with her baby. The TV was being disconnected when police arrived, they fled from the rear & shellie saw a young man running through her yard.

    Their Twin Lakes gated community, multi-ethnic, had experienced plunging property values, reported burglaries and drug activity starting around 2011. Police calls and reports were made by numerous residents, not just GZ. African American young males were seen loitering and linked to many of the burglaries. (I’m not implicating Trayvon in any way shape, form.)

    Another resident was burglarized in early Feb 2012. Tatiana Demeacis stolen laptop was found by police in backpack of 18 year old Emanuel Burgess. Residents were edgy.

    This is the setting where Trayvon came to stay with Brandy Green, his dad’s girlfriend. I want to add to this later. But this is why I took issue with your presentation and conclusions. It read as if GZ left hysterical shellie at home unprotected (with her ice cream) the very night of a home invasion. Confusing.

    Maria, in similar circumstances, I’d be terrified. I’d be vigilant in reporting suspicious people to police (it’s a gated community ) and I would arm myself. I have NO scruples about my right to self defense. What I would not do is exit my vehicle or attempt to follow.

    Am I a racially bigoted, paranoid woman, engaging in racial profiling? Or am I a woman vulnerable to potential predators and robbers, taking active, lawful precautions?

    To be continued.

    • Okay, Brigid, that’s fair. I called them on eating ice cream cause I remember the jailhouse call where Shellie is asking George what he’s eating while he’s talking to her and he says “hotdogs,” and she says “you’re so cute.” I can’t stand either one of them living off of other people’s money and lying to the court under oath about the money. And I’m pissed that he’s not held accountable, that she enabled him, and so I’m taking swipes at them.

      No, I don’t think you’re a racially bigoted paranoid woman. I think I’ve said, I would be cautious of a black teenager in a hoodie cause that’s the truth. It’s conditioned.

      I just don’t buy George’s motives. Unlike you and me George thrives on this kind of fear in his community. He wrote he wants to “catch fugitives.” This was an opportunity for him to live out his passion, not the same as for someone else who is terrified and just wanted to call the police if they saw anything suspicious.

      Remember one of the earlier non-emergency calls played in court from a different incident? George is on the phone reporting another black kid and you can hear Shellie screaming, “Don’t go outside!” Then the call hangs up. We don’t know if he went outside though the defense claims he has made many calls and never pursued anyone. We don’t know that at all. We do have Shellie screaming at George as if she sees he’s about to go out. She knows her man.

  21. Maria, I respect your opinion and I know you respect mine. Thanks to Dr Randle offering this forum, we’ve been able to debate this trial and follow it through to conclusion. I use that word because the verdict was reached. I choose not to follow the cries for federal prosecution because I believe the verdict was correct based on facts and evidence.

    How exactly is this helping? I believe the family has the right to pursue whatever legal avenues available. They have asked that it not be about race so WHY is the Rev. Jesse Jackson fanning the flames of racial and gender hatred? “This is not a jury of his (Trayvon’s) peers. Six WOMEN, not one black, not one man.”

    Rev Jackson, please use this time to effect positive change in your community as a start. In Chicago, 500+ murders were recorded for 2012. African American young men, predominantly in Trayvon’s age group, are killing each other and innocent citizens walking the sidewalks. Where is the outrage to this tragedy?

    Yes there are white, Latino, Asian gangs. But African American leaders need to shine the spotlight on the disproportionate number of African American victims of the gangster lifestyle. We have an African American president. Are these forgotten young men his son’s too?

    Here is a different tragedy that unfolded in Tulsa in the same timeframe. Race of victims shouldn’t matter but for the record they’re white. It’s a trial I’ll follow in October but there’s no PR team to draw media attention. Bob and Nancy Strait, ages 89 and 84, were victims of a home invasion. Tyrone woodfork, 19, admitted to the robbery, theft of their car, and brutal physical assault on Bob and Nancy.

    Nancy was raped and beaten so severely she died later at the hospital. Her husband lingered for about 6 weeks before dying.

    http://m.news9.com/story.aspx?story=19428191&catId=112032

    I can’t imagine the terror and pain they endured, nor the acute suffering inflicted on their family. Are they “our grandparents”? Personally I take a special interest in crimes against children and the elderly as our most vulnerable.

    Rev Jackson, Mr. Sharpton, New Black Panthers, if you read here, please be proactive, part of the solution.

    • Hi Brigid, I do respect your opinion. Sorry I went a little too far with the hotdogs and ice cream. I’ve had my own issues with hotdogs and ice cream, just felt like venting even if those were cheap shots.

      I don’t listen to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Wendy Murphy when I can help it. So I have no idea what they’re saying. When those three want to apologize for the Duke LaCross case where they incited racial and gender hatred in the face of obvious clues the woman was lying and the prosecution was violating the due process rights of three young men, I might listen again. Sorry, I have no idea what they’re saying. (I know you didn’t mention Wendy and she supports George’s acquittal.)

      But they also don’t speak for all of the black community (or for all women or all victims). There may be some civil rights issues to be looked at as we have tiers of processes in the justice system. I don’t agree with people who say this state jury made a decision so the whole case is over. I don’t think the department of justice will bring a case unless they find specific facts of racial discrimination or police misconduct. I will wait and see what they do.

      Yes, that’s evil what that guy did to those older people. And I agree that black violence on black people is far more widespread than black on white. The lives of black people are more endangered and made miserable by black violence than anything else as far as I can see. I don’t know why we haven’t been able to deal with what goes on in places like Chicago other than the reality that greed runs everything and poverty is ever with us.

  22. Hi Maria! Still lol’g at the hot dog and ice cream remark. Funny!

    OK, I appreciate your determination to follow this through pending a decision by the DOJ. My statement was not intended to dictate your interest level, merely my own. But since we’re still discussing it, you’d be reasonable to suspect my interest is swindling. :-)

    Wish you’d consider listening to the post-verdict rhetoric of Jesse Jackson, Sharpton, the numerous voices of influence in the black community. Not that you’d be surprised but because I believe we need to know what they’re doing to incite racial, gender hatred and divisiveness. Wendy Murphy is a talking head with no influence in my opinion.

    The feds/FBI reviewed the case and found no civil rights violations. My perspective is that if Eric Holder takes this one case on, for a 2nd go round by the feds no less, he’s setting a precedent. You and I will never agree about this part, Maria. IMO it’s problematic for the DOJ to selectively take on cases.

    The feds declined numerous petitions from across the country to review the Casey Anthony verdict, a case with far more circumstantial evidence and a jury giving interviews showing a shocking disregard for the law and no understanding of their job. Was Caylee’s life less valuable than Trayvon’s?

    We live in a country with opportunities only dreamed of throughout much of the world. We have an African American president, attorney general, former secty of state, Colin Powell’s, governors, doctors, athletes, every niche of our country.

    IMHO it’s a big mistake to make one victim, one cause, the nation’s undivided focus to the point of obsession. Trayvon’s family should pursue their legal options. They didn’t get the verdict they hope for and I truly feel for their sorrow. In the meantime violence is erupting, fires, property destruction, injuries. It needs to stop. Eric Holder is wrong that there’s no civil unrest and Eric Holder needs to follow the law.

    • Dear Brigid, You say, …” its a big mistake to make one victim, one cause, the nation’s undivided focus to the point of obsession,” for it is causing violence to erupt across the nation. There are many precedents in black history, catalysts for justice, equality, social action, social change… It has takes one “isolated incident” to affect the nation for years to come. One incident & name comes to mind. She did not die, she was arrested. Rosa Parks, age 42, Montgomery, Alabama. 1955. She would not give up her seat for a white man. Reverse discrimination..racism…one could say. A black against a white. This woman, tired, coming home from work, arrested, changed the course of American history. And an unknown Baptist minister bailed he out of jail: Martin Luther King.

    • Brigid, admittedly I’m not hearing what’s going on, not even aware till now that there has been unrest or many protests. I know Jackson and Sharpton incite racial unrest. I too believe they’re racist and sexist. I was disgusted by them during the Duke LaCross case.

      I only want to point out though that in the Casey Anthony case there was no jurisdiction by the DOJ to investigate. Jurors have absolute immunity regardless of what they say or do. Absolute. The only time juror misconduct can be looked into is to overturn a conviction but not to look into why they did not convict.

      Did you know that one of the jurors that acquitted William Kennedy Smith of rape charges (also in Florida) was so in love with the defense attorney, Roy Black, that she called him after the trial to get together for lunch and they ended up getting married? Her name is Leah Black and she’s now on the Real Housewives of Miami. Nothing the Casey Anthony jurors say or do can be remedied by the feds.

      The Dept of Justice is there for civil rights cases and some others involving federal jurisdiction. The racial and gender makeup of juries is a civil rights issue. There are rules about not disqualifying jurors for reasons of race or gender. I don’t know what the facts are on whether either side wrongfully excluded jurors based on race or gender. But this kind of case qualifies for a federal investigation.

      I think rioting is more likely when groups of people feel they’re alone in their outrage and the rest of us don’t care. It seems to me that so many white people caring about this helps us all avoid violence.

      • Maria, you highlight critical issues in this post. The DOJ is investigating potential civil rights violations regarding racial identity and gender of jurors excluded during voir dire, and the race and gender of jurors empanelled. This post-verdict federal involvement is virtually unprecedented at the state judicial level.

        Although you stated that jurors have absolute immunity, it’s clear that they do not. If the state was so inept as to violate the civil rights of potential jurors by excluding them during voir dire, the entire judicial system is suspect and might as well be scrapped. If 5 white women and 1 Hispanic woman are considered the WRONG gender and race to serve on this case, that is a blatant violation of THEIR civil rights.

        How many times will the feds get involved? The FBI found GZ did not commit civil rights violations. When the verdict was not what people wanted, more political and racial pressure was applied… enter Eric Holder. Mr. Holder is an African American who rose to lead the nation’s Dept of Justice. Are we to believe he achieved his education and position in a country so bigoted it elected an African American president?

        Now, you made a very perplexing statement that cannot be ignored. Paraphrasing, there haven’t been serious riots because WHITE PEOPLE listened and cared. I won’t expand on the assaults and vandalism here in my geographic area, but only a well prepared law enforcement curbed the escalation. IMO white folks had nothing to do with it.

        Here lies the crux of a major problem in this country. Blaming others, in this case white people for the actions of one Hispanic man, is the principle at work in the Zimmerman trial and verdict. Introducing GZ’s and Trayvon’s race in this case that wasn’t supposed to be about race was the first preemptive strike of the prosecution and black community leaders.

        Maria, you have now introduced race in holding white people responsible for causing and preventing the fallout of racial violence, aka riots. I know you believe I have misinterpreted your meaning. I believe I understand only too well. It’s the socially sanctioned racism alive in this country. It is offensive and it is unjust.

        • You may have misunderstood and I probably phrased it incorrectly. Removing race from the sentence, generally I believe that when any group or person feels completely alone in feelings of injustice they are more prone to act out in rage and blindly so against people who are not to blame.

          What I meant is that when all people–white and black and hispanic and asian and every race–show empathy and solidarity with another group over the injustices they have experienced, it helps prevent the feelings of aloneness, rage and the acting out of the few whose emotions erupt over into violence. The opposite is also true, when people like Sharpton and Jackson spread the false idea that black people are alone, no other race cares about what they go through, it incites that blinding rage and disconnect from the rest of humanity that leads to violence. It’s a continuum. The antidote to Sharpton and Jackson is to disprove to them that black people are alone and isolated in their feelings of injustice.

          Just a general observation about human nature. By no means do I place responsibility on anyone for the actions of any other person. Nor give credit to anyone for anything other than their own actions. So it’s not what I meant.

          I’m going to post a joke about Jodi Arias now…don’t be mad at me again. :)

          • Maria, you have a way with words to be sure! :-)

            Of course I’m not mad at you, and LOVE Jodi Arias jokes! Bring it girlfriend!

          • Okay, but please don’t stone me anyone… (I have my own struggles with ice cream, I’m not 120lbs.)

            I know this is mean…. But I’ve been fantasizing about what I’d like to see happen to Jodi Arias…. Been fantasizing about the Sheriff letting her have all you can eat hotdogs and ice cream for the next few months…and her then showing up for the retrial looking like George Zimmerman. One can dream…

          • LMAO!

            She is so vain that packing on the pounds (like her mom and auntie) would probably send her back to the psych ward! Horizontal stripes would make her look even fatter.

          • HAHA She wouldn’t have a problem eating all that junk. Anything that would keep her name out there she would love. Getting fat oh well she has no man to impress.

        • By the way, I’m not sure what you mean about the jurors. I meant the jurors themselves are immune for that they do under judicial immunity. (I was responding to something about investigating the actual jurors for acquitting him.)

          If the civil rights of the jurors themselves are violated, or of the defendant because of something related to the jurors, there is recourse for that, of course. Only the jurors cannot be charged with anything was my point.

          I don’t love this prosecution team. I hear that they tried to exclude white women. That’s outrageous. It’s illegal. I don’t defend things like that.

  23. Dawn, Rosa Parks was a courageous woman. There’s no disputing that she has a rightful place in American history.

    That said, there is no, repeat zero, comparison to 1955 Montgomery Alabama! Please! This is becoming utter madness. Do you really want to revisit that time in history?

    Let’s ask Alveda King, niece of my personal hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She was interviewed yesterday. She’s not a fan of her uncle’s image being hijacked in the Trayvon Martin hoodie campaign. Said Ms. King:”I can almost promise you Dr. MLK, Jr would NOT wear a Hoodie ”

    TV and radio personality Tavis Smiley was interviewed today, sputtering and full of anger. He spit out this statement: America only has contempt for black men. I’m astounded and offended at this self-absorbed entitled, flat out false statement.

    Oh and if Trayvon is included as a black man, it’s about time. He was not a child. I dislike being manipulated by the media half truths and innocent images of a 10 year old boy. He was a troubled young man on his third school suspension. In his own words, his mom kicked him out because of his rebellion at school.

    His dad seems not to have had much time for him, with many kids from marriages and relationships. Trayvon was at his dad’s girlfriend’s condo that weekend . Dad went out for the night with Brandy his gf, leaving Trayvon unsupervised and clearly not grounded for the suspension. And before I get accused of being a racist, unreasonable and harsh, I’d say the same thing about a white, brown or purple family. Parents need to know where their kids are.

    Why does no one want to talk about these facts, yet nothing is off limits for GZ? It gets worse. Because Trayvon had no ID on him, he lay unclaimed at the morgue. Tracy knew he wasn’t home that night, made a half hearted phone call and went to bed. The police weren’t called til the next morning. This is a heartbreaking tragedy. My heart aches for this young man.

    But Dawn, back to your defense of pursuing this case to kingdom come, my thinking is that it’s not productive, as the FBI cleared GZ of any hate or racial motive after interviewing scores of individuals and scrutinizing him. Are we going for triple jeopardy here?

    In today’s America, black youth are killing each other in shocking numbers. Check the statistics. Do you care equally about them? IMO there’s no reason for them to drop out of high school, grade school except the appeal and money of the gangster lifestyle. With concerted effort, maybe they can be guided towards change. Isn’t that proactive and worth striving for?

    I see no healing or resolution to dwelling on racial conflict. This is not the America of the 50s. Immigrants from Africa and Asia are coming here kicking ass academically. And keep in mind our president has won a second term in a country that is, what, full of contempt for black men? No. It’s an America of Affirmative Action and safety net of social services. Not remotely like the world of Rosa Parks.

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