Guns-Why

Guns-Why

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Turn: Just a Few Questions from Jane Doe, Private Citizen

Does Florida's Stand Your Ground Law really mean that anyone can shoot someone and go scott free without even a rudimentary investigation by the police? Really? Just like that?

What if the law doesn't even protect George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin? Dave Kopel, NRA member and author of “Firearms Law & the Second Amendment,” thinks not.
I think if you actually read what the law says, it doesn't apply in this situation. The stand-your-ground law is about when a person who is a victim of a violent attack, under what circumstances do they have a duty to retreat rather than take action to defend themselves? If Zimmerman is the aggressor in this case then he wasn't the victim. And since he wasn't the victim, he had no right to self-defense at all, and the issue of whether he should retreat or not wouldn't - has nothing to do with it.
But Zimmerman is, in fact, claiming that he was acting in self-defense, that he was "violently" attacked, his nose broken and his head busted open.

I'm no lawyer and have no training in law enforcement, so I - Jane Doe, Private Citizen - can only ask the first question that comes to my non-legal mind. What if Zimmerman isn't telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

As a private citizen, I have nothing to go on but the same photos and videos everyone else has seen, like this police video of Zimmerman's booking thirty minutes after that shooting on a rainy night in Sanford..



Allegedly, Zimmerman was treated by paramedics while he sat in the police car before being brought to the station. Still, Jane Doe, Private Citizen, asks: Where are the grass stains? Where is the blood on his person and clothing? Head wounds do tend to gush. Where are the bruises? Where is the broken nose?

Let's just compare Zimmerman to a few others in similar circumstances:



And here's this guy with a broken nose.


I have been told that there's a picture of Zimmerman with a huge "nasty gash" on the back of his head. I haven't seen it - not on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the Internet, or anywhere else. But I have seen this one.


Whoever put this up didn't identify the expert witnesses but I've seen a lot of bald or partially bald headed men with hair tufts in the most unlikely places.

What if Zimmerman is telling the truth and Martin did attack him? At The Examined Life, Sheria Reid, an attorney, asks: "... did Zimmerman have a reasonable fear for his life that justified his taking of Trayvon's life?"
To answer that question, a jury needs to examine evidence of all of the events of that evening. Was Zimmerman justified in following Trayvon? Who initiated the confrontation? What about Trayvon's state of mind? He realized that he was being followed, he told his girlfriend that there was someone following him. Would it be reasonable for Trayvon to fear for his own safety? Did he not have a right to defend himself based on a reasonable fear that the stranger who approached him meant to do him bodily harm? Would there have been any type of altercation if Zimmerman had not continued to follow Trayvon after the 911 operator expressly advised him not to do so?
On MSNBC's The Last Word, Melissa Harris-Perry echos some of these same questions - starting at about 5:00.

George Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty and has every right to a rapid and fair trial, which might come sooner than later. The prosecutor in the case Angela B. Corey said "her probe could possibly result in state charges that bypass the need for the Seminole County Grand Jury, which is slated to convene April 10 to hear the case."

In a sense, not only will George Zimmerman be on trial but so will Trayvon Martin and the Sanford Police Department. Even private citizen Jane Doe could come up with a few questions for the latter. Questions like, what happened to Martin's cell phone? Was Zimmerman tested for drugs and alcohol? If not, why not? If Zimmerman was so "violently" attacked, his nose broken, etc., why wasn't he taken to the hospital on the night of the shooting?

Just asking.

UPDATE: Experts say it was not George Zimmerman's voice crying for help.

17 comments:

  1. Angela Corey is from the county where I live and is known for putting more criminals in jail and obtaining more convictions than any other DA in the state. That's why tricky Ricky chose her to lead the investigation. Should be a fun ride.

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    1. I did find this little tidbit, but have no way of know how much of it is factual:

      "It would be hard to find a special prosecutor in a racially charged murder case that sends red flags flying sky higher than Florida’s Fourth Judicial District’s Angela “tough on Crime” Corey. Corey is the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin murder.

      The figures tell Corey’s grim tale of locking young black males up as early as she can. The year before she took office in 2008 black juvenile males made up slightly more than sixty percent of those tried in adult courts. The next three years the percentage of black juvenile males packed off to adult courts soared more than 10 percent. During those same three years, under Corey, the number of white juvenile males dropped to less than twenty percent of those tried in adult courts. There was a mild break in the pattern in 2010-2011. The total number of juveniles tried as adults dropped, and so did the lop sided racial disparities. But they didn’t end. Black juvenile males still made up more than sixty percent of those tried in adult courts. White juveniles made up less than thirty percent tried as adults.

      Corey’s penchant to throw the book at young black males raised racial suspicions about her impartiality in the Martin case for more reasons than just her perceived fixation on young black male offenders. The overwhelming majority of the population in the district that Corey legally polices is white. Though Florida has been the toughest state in the nation in trying juvenile offenders as adults, many Florida counties began reversing the trend the past three years; that is trying a declining number of juvenile offenders as adults. In some counties the drop-off was especially sharp as prosecutors realized that tossing the book at juveniles was counter-productive. It increased recidivism, imposed a greater fiscal and resource drain on the prison system. And worst of all, ignored the overwhelming evidence that juvenile offenders are far different than adult offenders in development, emotional maturity and social skills. But the mildly more enlightened approach to dealing with juvenile offenders has had little effect on Corey.

      The percentage of adult referrals on her watch still remains higher than any other county, and the majority of them are still young black males. Corey ignited a firestorm of protest for her dogged insistence to try then 12 year old (now 13 year old) Christian Fernandez as an adult charged with the beating death of his brother. If convicted this would make him the youngest in the nation to get life without parole at the very moment when courts and legislatures are taking at closer look at these types of overkill sentences for juveniles. Legal experts note that even by Florida’s harsh standard for dealing with juvenile offenders that trying Fernandez as an adult is a rarity, but not with Corey.
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      The conventional wisdom is that a hard-nosed, law and order prosecutor such as Corey is tailor made to bag George Zimmerman, the self-admitted killer of Martin. But there’s no guarantee that that’s the case, and much reason to doubt it. To think a prosecutor whose gear is stuck in overdrive when it comes to the hardest line prosecution of young black males can switch gears and be totally unbiased and set aside biases and predispositions to see crime with a young black male face is more than problematic."

      http://www.eurweb.com/2012/03/special-prosecutor-angela-corey-in-trayvonmartin-case-sends-red-flags-sky-high/

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  2. That's good news Mr. Charleston (but don't tell Mike I said that or he'll be after me for making a noose!)

    Anyway...L, I have the exact same questions as Jane. I even have a scenario...

    Trayvon is walking home and on the phone with his GF when he spots GZ following him...GZ is on the phone with 911, we have tapes of the cops telling him not to follow the kid but you can hear him huffing and puffing like he is chasing him. One 911 caller says he heard a shot, called them, and while on the phone he hears cries for help then silence AFTER a shot! Now if this is true then that means there were two shots. Could the first one have been a shot from GZ to scare Trayvon enough to make him stop running, could he then have been cornered by GZ hence the cries for help, could he then have lunged at GZ in a fight for his life or a fight for the gun and GZ shot him in the chest?...

    There are enough inconsistencies in GZ's story and enough evidence to arrest him so a jury can hear the evidence and sentence him for a crime of murder or set him free...THIS is why the country is so furious, it looks and smells like a cover up!

    The racists are putting the blame on Trayvon when all the kid did that night was WALK WHILE BLACK...GZ went after him, said he looked suspicious...there would have been NO scuffle if GZ stayed in his car, the cops were MINUTES away. But GZ was not about to let a black hoodie wearing kid get away, not this time ...

    This story has consumed me L, as you can see...

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    1. One does have to wonder, if there hadn't been such an outcry, would there even be a special prosecutor, a potential grand jury or a trial. The police, imho, were all too willing to take Zimmerman's words for what happened without any investigation to speak of. Without the outcry it might have just all been swept under the rug. A trial will hopefully fish out the facts one way or the other.

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  3. I think, by your description of Corey, I misunderstood. I was thinking she'd be a good one to bring about justice for Trayvon...

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    1. It's kind of hard to tell. Hutchinson doesn't provide any sources, so it would be hard to verify it. I'm afraid we're just going to have to wait and see.

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  4. Leslie

    We are going back-asswords and are doing so at an incredible pace. Absurd gun laws, allowing killers to escape justice and now this http://nearsightedindeed.blogspot.com/

    This country is in some seriously deep shit.

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    1. Yes, we are. And thanks for that link. Already knew about it but others may not. I feel more than ever that the country is being taken over by fascists.

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  5. Like the Sanford authorities' initial attempt to lowball this killing, keep a low profile and wait for it to blow over, the subsequent effort to whitewash Zimmerman and what he did isn't working out. It's nowhere near a courtroom yet and has fallen apart under media and public scrutiny.

    Also, although not evidence in a legal sense, it's highly revealing that the first person to appear on a cable news show trying to verbally exonerate Zimmerman and depict Martin as the aggressor was an official of Gun Owners of America.

    The insight above about the local prosecutor is interesting. My hunch is that with national attention focused on her handling of the case, Corey will be obliged to play it straight, whatever her personal leanings. Doing otherwise could turn out to be a very bad career move, and I'm sure she know that.

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    1. Didn't know that about the official from Gun Owners of America. Very interesting.

      I think it's a little ironic that those who have been chastising the media for not mentioning incidents such as this or for not covering them in depth are now criticizing them for doing just that. At the same time, I think the Martin lawyer needs to exercise a little caution and not be so vocal. All this outcry could backfire and create a situation where an impartial jury will be impossible to find and it could end up being "hung." A change of venue would be useless here.

      Here is a very interesting comment from CBS This Morning - and yes, it is actually from this very morning - about the special prosecutor.

      http://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/2218825427/trayvon-martin-special-prosecutor-begins-new-probe

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    2. Interesting clip. What they didn't mention, though, is that if the case goes to a grand jury, Corey or someone who works for her will present the evidence and run the proceeding. So, that wouldn't be as much of a handing-off exercise as those in the CBS clip indicated.

      You're right about a case that has drawn this much attention creating problems where getting an unbiased jury is concerned. Then again, if Zimmerman is charged, his lawyer well might prefer the case be decided by a judge and not a jury.

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  6. The pictures you post of real injuries make the contrast between Zimmerman's story and the film evidence even more compelling.

    And I hadn't thought of the cell phone question. Good job!

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    1. Thanks, Nance. It's good to see you out and about, my friend.

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  7. Good questions. The whole thing is a tragedy, but a predictable one in the context of a society that worships frontier justice and promotes the use of guns.

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  8. To me the thing that makes Zimmerman culpable is the fact that he was told by the police to stand down and he still followed Trayvon. Whether Trayvon attacked him after that is moot.

    Today it has been reported that enhancing the photo of Zimmerman's neck shows gashes. Then is was reported that the enhanced photo was photo-shopped and is not valid.

    As you said, we will just have to wait and see.

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    1. There'a a lot of that out there. Yesterday, a FB friend posted a video headlined "14 shot, 2 dead in Miami at Trayvon Martin rally!!!" It was gang related and had nothing at all to do with Martin, as many pointed out to the nitwit who put it up.

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