Prosecution Rests in George Zimmerman's Trial and Defense Begins

Video via The Orlando SentinelVideo via The Orlando SentinelThe prosecution in George Zimmerman's murder trial rested its case today after presenting testimony from Trayvon Martin's relatives and the medical examiner who autopsied his body. Both Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, testified that they recognized the screams in the background of a 911 call as coming from Martin. The point is important because the screams can be heard right before the gunshot that ended Martin's life. If he was the one who was screaming, it would undermine Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin to prevent his own death or serious injury. If Zimmerman was the one screaming, however, it would support his self-defense claim. Zimmerman says the screams are his, and his relatives say they recognize his voice on the recording. All of these people, of course, have strong motives either to lie or to convince themselves that they are telling the truth, so it is hard to choose between their conflicting accounts. Given the prosecution's burden of proof, the benefit of the doubt here goes to Zimmerman.

Medical examiner Shiping Bao testified that Martin, though doomed, could have lived for as long as 10 minutes after Zimmerman shot him in the chest. He said the autopsy indicated that the gun was not pressed against Martin when it was fired but was instead at an "intermediate distance" up to a few feet away. Neither point confirms or contradicts Zimmerman's description of the fight.

In short, today's testimony did not help the prosecution erase the doubts about Zimmerman's guilt that it has been working hard to create during the last two weeks. It is possible, though by no means certain, that the fight ending in Martin's death unfolded more or less as Zimmerman described it. The evidence presented by the state does not come close to establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was unjustified, although I'd say there is a pretty good chance that it was.

After the prosecution rested, defense attorney Mark O'Mara moved for a judgment of acquittal, which requires the judge to conclude that the jury could not legally convict the defendant based on the evidence presented by the state, even when that evidence is construed in the light most favorable to the prosecution. O'Mara argued that the prosecution has failed to adequately rebut Zimmerman's self-defense claim and that it has fallen far short of proving second-degree murder, which requires showing that Zimmerman acted "from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent." His references to "fucking punks" and "these assholes" who "always get away" during his call to police are not enough to establish that element, O'Mara said, and even if Zimmerman overreacted in the heat of a fight and used deadly force when it was not justified, that would amount to manslaughter, not second-degree murder.

Rebutting O'Mara's argument, prosecutor Richard Mantei seemed to suggest that the act of shooting Martin through the heart, regardless of the motivation, was enough to demonstrate "ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent." It clearly was not a "benevolent" act, he said. Even if Judge Debra Nelson agrees that the prosecution has not made a case for second-degree murder, Mantei said, she should allow the trial to proceed on the lesser charge of manslaughter. He argued that Zimmerman had exaggerated the severity of the injuries he suffered during the fight with Martin and the threat that Martin posed to him.

Nelson rejected the motion for a judgment of acquittal, finding that the prosecution had presented enough evidence for the second-degree murder charge to be considered by the jury. So there will be a defense. Perhaps it will return the state's favor by helping to make the prosecution's case.

The first defense witness was Gladys Zimmerman, the defendant's mother, who identified the screaming voice on the 911 recording as her son's, just as confidently as Sybrina Fulton had identified it as her son's. The second witness was George Zimmerman's uncle (and Gladys Zimmerman's brother), Jorge Meza, who said he recognized "my nephew screaming for his life" the first time he heard the recording, when he happened to hear it playing on the news without at first knowing the context.

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  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It is possible, though by no means certain, that the fight ending in Martin's death unfolded more or less as Zimmerman described it.

    In a nation of laws, that's game over for the prosecution.

  • ||

    Exactly. The prosecution has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is guilty, and that's all there is to it. Acquittal is the only just outcome here.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I was determined to cling to the fence about this case, but unless the defense comes up with something to destroy its own case, I'm convinced.

  • Hyperion||

    Just? What is that? Is that like when you throw online gamers in prison for making jokes? Or is it more like busing people for 6 packs of water, or is it more like shooting dogs, just because?

    In fact, here is just so much justice going around in Murika, I for one am convinced it will prevail, and here is how it works:

    Trayvons relatives said that it's him screaming on the recording. The only reason anyone would not believe them, and not believe Zimmerman shot him in cold blood, is the obvious, racism.

    Zimmerman is toast.

    /sarc

    There is not justice in this country, besides the justice that your elected betters and their goons decide you should get.

  • Paul.||

    n it was fired but was instead at an "intermediate distance" up to a few feet away

    Got a notice in the mail saying "HAMP Refinancing" could save me UP TO $800 a month on my mortgage.

  • Dweebston||

    Geico offers discounts of 15% or more. Theoretically I could have free car insurance.

  • Hyperion||

    Geico is way the fuck cheaper than anyone else in MD, for car insurance. And no, I don't work for them.

  • Careless||

    I've finally gotten to the point where the "people who switch save $___" is more than what I pay in a year.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    According to the prosecution's witness, "intermediate distance" is anywhere from 0.4 inches to four feet. It was easily consistent with Zimmerman's claim.

  • Dweebston||

    And this was the prosecution's witness. I wonder if anyone informed the DA that inspiring "reasonable doubt" is the defense's job.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't you have to already be in foreclosure to get that?

  • DrAwkward||

    "The evidence presented by the state does not come close to establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was unjustified, although I'd say there is a pretty good chance that it was."

    What evidence do you have it was unjustified!?

  • Dweebston||

    Unfortunately, for the state, the same evidence that suggests there's a pretty good chance it wasn't unjustified.

  • Virginian||

    Yeah it looked like it was a bad shoot when the story first broke, but every single piece of evidence had pushed it more and more in Zimmerman's favor. At this point anyone who thinks Zimmerman is guilty of murder is just plain wrong.

  • ||

    I read some bright flower elsewhere theorizing that Zimmerman self-inflicted his wounds by battering himself with the recoil action of his slide as he fired his gun.

  • Dweebston||

    Brilliant. Even assuming that makes sense, it still puts him on the ground and still puts Martin within a few feet, at the very maximum.

  • ||

    ---"I read some bright flower elsewhere theorizing that Zimmerman self-inflicted his wounds by battering himself with the recoil action of his slide as he fired his gun."---

    I had somebody tell me this week (serious as a heart attack)that they thought Zimmerman banged up his own head to make it look like Trayvon beat him up.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I had somebody tell me this week (serious as a heart attack)that they thought Zimmerman banged up his own head to make it look like Trayvon beat him up.

    That's more logical (but still not really) than saying that recoil from firing the gun caused his injuries.

  • DrAwkward||

    Cable news commentators have been trying to say since Z was "carrying hot", it was basically an assassination.

    Also, "Kel-tec" sounds like Kill-tec, so the pistol is made for murder, not self defense. Or something.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    WTF would be the point in carrying a gun that wouldn't shoot?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    A masochist looking to get beat up/murdered might carry such a thing.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "One moment, good sir, while I rack a round."

    I wonder if these idiots think having your seatbelt already buckled means you're out looking to get in a wreck.

  • Careless||

    So he's got his gun in front of his nose and shoots Martin in the heart. What was Martin doing in that guy's scenario, tit-fucking him?

  • SIV||

    I was wondering the same thing.

  • Jacob Sullum||

    I don't have much evidence (and neither does the prosecution). It just seems plausible to me that Zimmerman overreacted--that he feared for his life but not reasonably so. It is impossible to know for sure without details we probably will never have.

    If Martin tried to grab the gun, for example, the shooting was clearly justified. But who knows if that really happened? Was Martin's assault life-threatening in the absence of a gun grab? Maybe, maybe not.

    If Zimmerman had to establish his case beyond a reasonable doubt, he'd be in trouble. But as it is, the evidence falls far short of what's required for conviction.

  • Ice Nine||

    Sullum, Banging a head against cement is unequivocally life-threatening to the bangee.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So without "much evidence" there's a "pretty good chance" it was unjustified. Got it.

    How many times does a head need to be banged on concrete before "pretty good chance" fades away? The prosecution's own witness said four times was certainly plausible based on the injuries, so I'm guessing you require a minimum of five.

  • Tman||

    Yeah, I don't see how Sullum says he knows this is "unjustified" either way based on the slim amount of physical evidence.

    No one other than Zimmerman and Martin really know what happened that night.

  • Ted S.||

    Yeah, I don't see how Sullum says he knows this is "unjustified" either way based on the slim amount of physical evidence.

    He's a cosmotarian who still wants to be invited to all the cool parties in DC?

  • DrAwkward||

    With all due respect, it sounds like your information comes entirely from Nancy Grace.

    A gun grab isn't necessary, nor is a fractured skull required for self defense.

    Just how many more blows to the back of the head would have been necessary for you to consider this legit self defense?

  • DrAwkward||

    Now the defense will bring in the countless examples of people paralyzed, permanently blinded or killed from one blow to the back of the head, of less severity than Zimmerman sustained.

  • Seamus||

    It just seems plausible to me that Zimmerman overreacted--that he feared for his life but not reasonably so.

    That might be what seems plausible to someone sitting calmly at home reading the news accounts of Martin's assault. But as Mr. Justice Holmes (not usually one of my favorites, but he got it right here) said, "Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife." I'd say that applies equally to the presence of a concrete sidewalk that is repeatedly encountering the back of your head.

  • Seamus||

    I meant to provide a like to Holmes's opinion, which bears reading. (The prosecutors in that case, like those in Zimmerman's, were trying to railroad a defendant for having the temerity to defend himself with deadly force.) http://tinyurl.com/nk6x8pu

  • Seamus||

    Sigh. Meant to provide a *link* to the Holmes opinion.

  • Tman||

    Yeah Jacob, don't throw that opinion out without explaining a little further.

    What evidence have you reviewed that would indicate that Zimmerman was "unjustified" in using legal force?

    You might want to send your answer to the prosecution, because they haven't done a very good job of showing it either.

  • DblEagle||

    What people are forgetting is that Zimmerman is still screwed NO MATTER what this jury decides. If he is convicted, it is because the jury is swayed by emotion vice the evidence. If he is acquitted, Holder swoops in with a Federal charge of violating TM civil rights. Good luck winning a Federal trial on that. There is no way the Obama Admin is letting Zimmerman free to continue his life.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    ^^This. Plus, sending Zimmerman to jail is tantamount to a death sentence; I suspect that the brothas in the slammer would be looking to shank him "for Trayvon".

  • 16th amendment||

    Reasonoids are instinctively anti-cop. There are many articles here about how cops bully all sorts of innocent people. So the fact that Zimmerman wanted to be a cop makes reason writers automatically biased.

  • DrAwkward||

    I hope Sullum isn't among the idiots who feel Z should have allowed a few more head slams into concrete before shooting.

  • Hyperion||

    In the neighborhoods bordering where I have to park for work, here is what the geniuses that be in charge of the city recommend, if you are stupid enough to park more than a few blocks from your workplace, or stupid enough to walk around there late at night:

    If(when) you are attacked, do not resist, give up all of your stuff, remain calm, ask the robbers if they are sure they took everything. Offer to drive them to your home to take the rest of your stuff. When you arrive, cook them dinner, and don't forget the wine and beer. Be sure to thank them before they leave. Then call the police.

    Ok, I exaggerated, a little...

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Yes, you *never* mix beer and wine!

  • ||

    He never should have been charged, especially with murder. Shades of Diallo and politix. THe initial response by police/DA was not to charge and it was only once the politicians got involved that that changed. I hope Zimmerman's defense does a good job.

  • Virginian||

    Fuck you you worthless cunt. The two cases have exactly zero to do with one another.

  • ||

    They have everything to do with each other. Politix taking precedence over case facts. Heck, even Hilary referred to the Diallo case as a 'MURDER'.

    both cases are politix trumping case facts and totality of the circs. THe cops and prosecutor got it right, initially, and then were overrun by political concerns.

    It's only your blind hatred for cops that blinds you to the similarities that an injustice has been done, similar to others in the past.

  • Virginian||

    Only in dunphy world is four cops firing 41 rounds at an unarmed man who was standing still a justified shoot.

  • Whahappan?||

    Bullshit. Murder might have been overboard in Diallo's case, but no way was it justified. To pretend that cops and prosecutors aren't political is an absurd lie. The only injustice in the Diallo case was that the cops walked. And you know it.

  • carol||

    The defense doesn't need to do anything. The prosecution has done their job for them.

  • Dweebston||

    "Ladies and gentlemen, the defense would like to thank the State for having made its case in a manner befitting the gravity of this matter, and for having made ours even better. The defense rests."

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I've tended to give you the benefit of the doubt in reading your posts since I do know a couple of decent cops, but you've gone full pigtard here in bringing up Diallo.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The point is important because the screams can be heard right before the gunshot that ended Martin's life.

    The point is important because the lady jurors would hear from the grieving family members. Feelings.

  • MasterDarque||

    I dont know how the law views this but I am quite sure this is what happened - Zimmerman confronts Martin with a wanna be cop attitude, Martin tells Zim to go fuck himself, Zim tries to flash gun and act tough, Martin jumps on the pussy and starts fucking him up, Zim cries out for help like a bitch, Martin satified that Zim will not be fucking with him any longer gets up to leave, Zim shoots him because he got his ass fucking handed to him - case closed - Zimmerman is a pussy ass dude form following stalking someone solely because they were black (and I dont give a fuck about you libs claiming race had nothing to do with it) for one I live in the area and trust me race is very much a factor here -

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What do you have against Hispanics?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Martin satified that Zim will not be fucking with him any longer gets up to leave

    You miss the part where the prosecution witness said Martin was on top of Zimmerman hitting him and that he was going to call the cops if Martin didn't stop and Martin didn't stop?

  • Virginian||

    Wow so you saw it happen? Why didn't you testify?

  • JeremyR||

    You know that Zimmerman is 1/4 black?

    It's pretty unlikely he's racist. At least against blacks.

    OTOH, we know that Martin was racist against people who look white

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Can borrow that crystal ball/tarot card set/Ouija board/whatever form of mystical postcognition you're employing, when you get finished with it?

  • Irish||

    Man. With all this evidence you have, I'm surprised the prosecution isn't doing better. You'd think the 'pussy ass dude, don't give a fuck about you libs' defense would be pretty flawless.

  • Enigma||

    Here is what probably happened: Trayvon is high on weed and eating skittles (he's got the munchies). Zimmerman pulls up and scares Trayvon off. The racist Trayvon sees that its a white guy and then jumps Zimmerman from behind like a coward. The pussy Trayvon then proceeds to try and silence Zimmerman by straddling him, who is yelling for help. The weak Trayvon then sees Zimmerman's pistol, which he tries to grab because he is scarred Zimmerman might get the upper hand and beat his retarded pussy racist ass. He tries to go for the gun, but the more capable Zimmerman gets there first and puts a 9mm sized hole in his chest. The weak racist hoodlum Trayvon lies in a pool of his own blood, and the victorious Zimmerman walks away into a squad car. Case. Closed. Thats probably what happened, and no amount of Al Charlatan's racist, drug addled rantings will change that. Oh and race had plenty to do with it: Trayvon was a racist. Oh and I live in a majority black neighborhood... and I'm a White Hispanic and race is a definite factor. MastaFark, go fuck yourself.

  • Acosmist||

    Nope, Martin said he was being stalked by a homo. So he was in for a little gay-bashing.

  • Mike M.||

    They're all talking out of their asses of course; anyone claiming that he can recognize a person's scream is just completely and utterly full of horseshit. It's a downright preposterous notion on its face.

    Having said that, the idea that Martin would be "screaming for his life" BEFORE getting shot strains the boundaries of credulity when all of the reliable evidence indicates that he was the one beating the crap out of Zimmerman the whole time before the shot was fired.

  • ||

    Reiterating that if George was named Jorge I'd have likely never heard of this case at all. What's in a name, indeed.

  • DJF||

    Can I start rioting?

  • Hyperion||

    Only if you're a White Hispanic.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I'm not Hispanic, I am white. My childhood nickname was Julio, though. Can I riot?

  • Hyperion||

    No. Brazilians aren't Hispanic either, but they have names similar to Hispanic names, except they pronounce them differently. So, NO, you, or no Brazilians, may riot.

    Mexican Julio, though, he can riot like a mofo, as long as he's one of those Hispano Blancos.

  • sarcasmic||

    In a system of innocent until proven guilty, Zimmerman would be all set.

    Unfortunately that is not the system under which we live. Prosecutors don't press charges against innocent people. They're not going to waste tax dollars on innocents. Nope. They only charge the guilty. Or at least that's what most believe.

  • TheBombDiggity||

    I honestly think you're wrong about the distance not pointing towards the state or defense theories. The testimony so far has established that that gun was fired in immediate contact with the clothing but an intermediate distance from the body. The only way that is possible is if Martin is leaning over Zimmerman at the time of the shooting such that his clothing hangs off of his body. The state had tried to argue early on in the trial that in their theory Zimmerman is on top firing into Martin. Forensically that is impossible now. That's a huge boost to any self-defense claim.

  • crashland||


    Even if Judge Debra Nelson agrees that the prosecution has not made a case for second-degree murder, Mantei said, she should allow the trial to proceed on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

    So the jury can find him guilty of manslaughter even though he was put on trial for second degree murder? The judge should have entered a summary judgement of not guilty, but the consequences of such a verdict would mean riots, so...

    The prosecutor knew the shit case he had and he still went with murder rather than simply manslaughter or even better no case at all, which is exactly what he had. No rational person wouldn't have reasonable doubt about exactly what occurred. The state failed to make the case so regardless of what happened, Zimmerman needs to be found not guilty.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So the jury can find him guilty of manslaughter even though he was put on trial for second degree murder?

    Yes. Florida is a lesser-included charges state. Even if the state fails to make its case for second-degree murder, the jury can still be instructed to consider whether or not the defendant is guilty of lesser offenses, which in this case would be manslaughter.

    It's designed to stack the deck in the state's favor even before a case gets to trial.

  • Virginian||

    That's constitutional?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Awww, you think the Constitution still matters. How quaint. But yes, not only have the Nazgul said that it is Constitutional, but in cases with a potential for the death penalty, the jury must be instructed to consider lesser-included offenses. The Nazgul's reasoning was that the jurors would convict people for greater offenses that the facts in evidence did not prove if their FEELINGS told them the defendant was guilty, so better to let them go down for a crime that was never explicitly charged or argued.

    God Bless America!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "The Nazgul's reasoning was that the jurors would convict people for greater offenses that the facts in evidence did not prove if their FEELINGS told them the defendant was guilty, so better to let them go down for a crime that was never explicitly charged or argued."

    Uh, you do realize that the rule you're describing is a restriction on the state, right?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Uh, you do realize that the rule you're describing is a restriction on the state, right?

    How so? As you've noted yourself, lesser-included offenses statutes are an invitation for prosecutors to overcharge a defendant.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It's often presented as the power of juries to rebuke prosecutors.

    But you've convinced me of how it could in practice be used to their favor.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What part of the Constitution do you think that violates?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    On it's face, it looks like a sneaky way around the double jeopardy clause.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Can you explain further?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The idea that a jury can come back with a decision of guilty of a lesser charge has been described as an empowerment of the jury over the state.

    But in thinking about your post I can see how it might in practice be useful to a prosecutor. Charge up for politics sake and you can still perhaps count on a lesser charge coming in...

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The idea that a jury can come back with a decision of guilty of a lesser charge has been described as an empowerment of the jury over the state.

    More like an empowerment of the state over the defendant for exactly what you stated: Overcharging prosecutors can throw big numbers at the defendant, argue a loser of a case on the enumerated charge, and still get a conviction.

    And for, shall we say, less than scrupulous prosecutors, W's are all they care about.

  • Virginian||

    Not to mention the use of the big number to coerce plea deals.

    "Look, we have all this evidence. Tell you what, instead of life we'll give you 50, with parole eligibility kicking in at 25 years. What do you say? This is a limited time offer though."

  • crashland||

    I understand that our system of injustice is based on an adversarial battle between the persecutor and the defense. I understand how sometimes this results in justice but wouldn't it be better if rather than looking for the win prosecutors actually sought out justice?

    Today we have prosecutors that overcharge to force a plea, hide evidence that helps the defendant, facilitate perjury by the police etc etc etc, all to simply bring in a win. Rather than looking at a case as "can we manipulate things to get a guilty verdict" shouldn't the state be trying to honestly assess the situation and always erring on the side of allowing the potentially guilty to go free?

    Minor tweaks to the current system aren't enough to bring justice, it's time to rework the entire thing. Maybe look at how the process works in other countries and adopting the system which best results in actual justice versus the one that allows the state to extort pleas from defendants.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    If he is found not guilty, you can be sure the Feds will step in with a civil rights violation charge

  • Alice Bowie||

    The state failed to prove 2nd degree Murder. He should have never ever been charged with 2nd degree Murder. The state purposely over-charged Zimmerman so that there would be no question of obtaining an acquittal.

    What Zimmerman did is a typical police action that the state needs to protect.

    I think Zimmerman is, at best, guilty of in-voluntary manslaughter and should probably have that silly gun taken away from him before he shoots himself in the foot next time.

  • Virginian||

    So he was in the right, but you still want his guns taken from him?

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Alice Bowie||

    He was definitely NOT in the right and he's definitely the type of guys that i'd rather not be running around chasing black kids around in laws of garden apartments.

    He is NOT guilty of any form of murder.
    He is the cause of that kids death.
    The kid wasn't a burglar.
    Zimmerman, acting as a cop, pretty much committed malpractice. Not Murder.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Being the cause of someone else's death is not, in and of itself, a criminal act (but it's almost always grounds for civil liability).

    It is unlikely that the prosecution will be unable to disprove Zimmerman's self-defense arguments.

  • Alice Bowie||

    That's a lot-a negatives.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    But it's also true.

  • cavalier973||

    It's certainly not untrue.

  • Virginian||

    He didn't shoot him for burglary, he shot him because said kid was straddling him and slamming his head against a concrete sidewalk.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Zimmerman clearly botched up the legal contact he was having with Travon had Zimmerman been acting as a police officer or security guard. This is an act of malpractice.

  • Virginian||

    What the fuck are you babbling about? You're just making shit up at this point.

  • Irish||

    It's Alice Bowie. He's either brain damaged or a sockpuppet based on the insanity of his posts.

  • ||

    Alice is male?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Zimmerman clearly botched up the legal contact he was having with Travon

    How so? They both had a legal right to be in that place at that time. And they both had the right to question why the other one was ther.

    had Zimmerman been acting as a police officer or security guard. This is an act of malpractice.,

    And Zimmerman was not acting as a cop or mall cop so you have not point here.

    And malpractice? Really?
    Who was defrauded by Zimmerman's theoretical malpractice?

  • ant1sthenes||

    How do you know he wasn't a burglar? No one put him on trial.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I take it back.

    Given all the press George Zimmerman has received. And, his perception of being racist against young black kids, I'd say he'll need to keep his gun by his side.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You seem like you are wishing harm on this guy, and that's frankly disturbing.

  • Hyperion||

    Where is your proof of Zimmerman being racist against young black kids?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Some of the things he said in the 911 call seem to support that he was racially profiling. A black guy wearing a hoodie walking around in the rain "staring at houses" is not exactly worthy of a 911 call and confrontation by a watchman.

  • Acosmist||

    That's...not racist.

  • Locke||

    This is a common misconception. He did not dial 911 to report a suspicious person, he dialed the police non-emergency line. AS HE WAS INSTRUCTED TO DO SO by the police when the neighborhood watch was set up. He was also told during the neighborhood watch briefing that they are the eyes and ears of the police, so even if he was following Trademark (and there's no evidence saying he did- Z said he was trying to get a street address to give to dispatch) , he was doing so at the instruction of the police.

  • ant1sthenes||

    It isn't? Wasn't there a neighborhood watch newsletter where walking around in the rain was explicitly listed as a suspicious activity?

  • Seamus||

    Does that include the young black kids he used to tutor?

  • ||

    I think Zimmerman is, at best, guilty of in-voluntary manslaughter and should probably have that silly gun taken away from him before he shoots himself in the foot next time.

    Well the prosecutor done poisoned that well when he explicitly said in his opening statement that Zimmerman killed Martin "because he wanted to".

  • Acosmist||

    Involuntary? Pretty sure he fired the gun. You think it fell on the ground and discharged?!

  • Hyperion||

    Why are we talking about what the state proved or didn't? Or justice, and all of the old shit? Does Zimmerman look like Aaron Hernandez, or O.J. Simpson?

    No. If he did, he would walk. But he's just an average, average looking, white Hispanic, and has a jury filled with soap opera educated harpies. He's fucked. I fail to see why so many here realize this.

    Sorry, if you want to see justice here. Justice does not exist anymore, in our legal system. So, really, it doesn't matter whether Zimmerman acted in self defense, or he hunted down Trayvon and killed him for a laugh. All that matters is who Zimmerman is, and the emotions of the jury as greatly influenced by a lot of things, and none of them justice.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What would you change in this system to make it more just?

  • ||

    Nothing, but it would help if we had more civic-minded and rational citizens.

  • Hyperion||

    That's a broad question. There are a hell of a lot of things that I would change.

    Relative to Zimmermans trial, I don't think there is much in the system that I could change. I can't change people. But it is absolutely disgusting what the MSM, celebrity assholes, and the left have done to Zimmerman.

  • cavalier973||

    Educate people on their rights and responsibilities as jurors--both in the grand and petit juries.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What would you change in this system to make it more just?

    I'd strip prosecutors of their immunity.

    Maliciously prosecuting someone should expose the perpetrator to harsh consequences and the best way to actualize that is through civil suits that would result in tort damages and disbarment for guilty prosecutors.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Better to strip prosecutors of their monopoly.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "What would you change in this system to make it more just?"

    Well, I'd force Florida to comply with the grand jury clause of the 5th Amendment - you know, not putting anyone on trial for certain serious crimes (like murder) unless he's been accused by a grand jury. Florida retains of the option of bypassing the grand jury in non-capital cases, and I think they used that option here.

    With all the prosecution witnesses giving testimony which helps Z, then a grand jury hearing wouldn't exactly have been a slam-dunk for the prosecution. Maybe using average citizens as a screen against bogus, politically-inspired charges is a good thing.

    I'd also get rid of *Williams v. Florida,* or whatever that case is which (overturning numerous precedents) said that a jury doesn't have to have 12 members. (If you're *really* concerned with minority presence on a jury, why would you arbitrarily reduce the number of jurors to, say, six, diminishing the possibility of a representative jury?)

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think there is reasonable doubt that Zimmerman committed 2nd degree murder. Perhaps there was some form of manslaughter, but I've yet to see convincing evidence of that.

    I think the prosecution pressed this charge for purely political reasons. And I think the Martin family and some of the press helped this in many ways (by putting up pictures of Martin as a younger child, etc).

    Having said that, I'm not sympathetic to Zimmerman. The 911 tapes convinced me that he was at best an overzealous yahoo and at worst a racial profiler.

  • Irish||

    Having said that, I'm not sympathetic to Zimmerman. The 911 tapes convinced me that he was at best an overzealous yahoo and at worst a racial profiler.

    Being an overzealous yahoo or a racial profiler does not mean you should have your life ruined, be threatened with death, and be put on trial for second degree murder.

    Even if he isn't a great guy, he didn't deserve what happened to him and still has my sympathy.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    On that I totally agree, see my reply to Alice Bowie above.

  • Acosmist||

    At worst a racial profiler? Since that's nothing, then at worst he's a great guy. OK!

  • shamalam||

    I don't think the racial profiler charge holds water. When he made to call to the police it is quite clear that he did not know TM's race. When asked about the race of TM he said, "black, I think", clearly he was not sure, hence he could not have profiled TM based on race, just actions.

  • Locke||

    He did not call 911. He called a non-emergency number because some thugs had previously burgled several residences and he saw a suspicious person peering into houses in the rain

  • myaskyler9||

    until I saw the draft four $7371, I did not believe ...that...my mother in law could actually bringing home money part time on their laptop.. there moms best frend has been doing this for under twentey months and a short time ago cleared the debts on their place and got a brand new Renault 5. go to, Go to site and open Home for details
    http://WWW.JOBS31.COM

  • Swamp Think||

  • oscarwhitehead01||

    up to I saw the check 4 $4313, I did not believe that my neighbour realie bringing in money part-time at there labtop.. there moms best frend has done this 4 only about twenty two months and a short time ago took care of the dept on there cottage and bought themselves a BMW. I went here.... WWW.CNN13.COM

  • Adam330||

    Isn't the burden of proof on the self defense defense on the defendant? Maybe FL is different, but that's my recollection from crim law. If so, whether the prosecution has disproved self defense beyond a reasonable doubt is the wrong question.

  • shamalam||

    According to the defense attorney, Omara, the prosecution has the burden to disprove self defense. He said that during his argument to dismiss charges. Nobody objected, so I assume he is correct.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Florida is different from the old common law classification of self-defense as an affirmative defense. In FL, as shamalam writes above, once the defendant introduces evidence of self-defense, and it can be just a scintilla, then the prosecution must disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. See Montijo v. State, 61 So. 3d 424 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011):

    The answer is this. No, he did not have to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. He did not have to prove even that his additional facts were more likely true than not. The real nature of his burden concerning his defense of justification is that his evidence of additional facts need merely leave the jury with a reasonable doubt about whether he was justified in using deadly force. Hence, if he wanted his self-defense to be considered, it was necessary to present evidence that his justification might be true. It would then be up to the jury to decide whether his evidence produced a reasonable doubt about his claim of self-defense.

    It's a really tall hurdle for the State to overcome, which is one reason I think why you see such unusual self-defense cases in FL.

  • Adam330||

    Interesting. I always thought the common law rule was unjust. Glad to see its not universally applied.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    This is absolutely a political trial, and not just in regards to race. The anti self-defense crowd plans to use it too: if Zimmerman is convicted they'll say that this "proves" that allowing citizens to carry a firearm for self-defense is a bad idea, and they'll try to use it as leverage to get concealed carry and "stand your ground" repealed.

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