Juror Says She Believed George Zimmerman's Account of His Fight With Trayvon Martin

CNNCNNIn an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night, one of the six jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman uttered the words "Stand Your Ground." Is this the evidence that critics of Florida-style self-defense laws have long sought, proving once and for all that abolishing the duty to retreat for people attacked in public places enabled Zimmerman to get away with murder? Does the interview show that even though neither the defense nor the prosecution saw this as a "stand your ground" case, the jury did? Not quite.

While Juror B-37 faulted Zimmerman for getting out of his car after calling police to report the "suspicious" character who turned out to be Trayvon Martin, she said she was convinced by the evidence that Martin threw the first punch and pinned Zimmerman to the ground. "I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him," she said. "I think George was pretty consistent and told the truth, basically. I'm sure there were some fabrications, enhancements, but I think pretty much it happened the way George said it happened." That means Martin was on top of Zimmerman, knocking his head against the pavement, when Zimmerman shot him.

The juror told Cooper she was not sure whether Martin really was reaching for Zimmerman's gun, or whether Zimmerman just perceived it that way. But that detail did not matter, she said, "because George had a right to protect himself at that point." She said she was sure that Zimmerman honestly believed his life was in danger and that it was his voice, not Martin's, crying for help in the background of a 911 call that was played repeatedly during the trial, because "whoever was calling for help was in fear for their life." In short, she accepted the general thrust of Zimmerman's account, including his claim that Martin was on top of him, preventing him from getting up, which means the right to stand your ground would have been irrelevant. With these points in mind, consider the exchange in which the juror mentioned Florida's "stand your ground" law:

Cooper: Did you feel like you understood the instructions from the judge? Because they were very complex. I mean, reading them, they were tough to follow.

Juror: Right. That was our problem. It was just so confusing what went with what and what we could apply to what. Because I mean, there was a couple of them in there [other jurors] that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there's just no way—no other place to go.

Cooper: Because of the two options you had, second-degree murder or manslaughter, you felt neither applied?

Juror: Right. Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground. He had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.

Cooper: Even though he got out of the car, followed Trayvon Martin, that didn't matter in the deliberations. What mattered was the final seconds, minutes when there was an altercation and whether or not...George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger?

Juror: That's how we read the law. That's how we got to the point of everybody [voting] not guilty.

Cooper: So that was the belief of the jury, that you had to zero in on those final minutes/seconds, about the threat that George Zimmerman believed he faced.

Juror: That's exactly what happened.

Cooper: So whether it was George Zimmerman getting out of the vehicle, whether he was right to get out of the vehicle, whether he was a wannabe cop, whether he was overeager—none of that, in the final analysis, mattered. What mattered was [in] those seconds before the shot went off, did George Zimmerman fear for his life?

Juror: Exactly. That’s exactly what happened.

Cooper: Do you have any doubt that George Zimmerman feared for his life?

Juror: I have no doubt that George Zimmerman feared for his life in the situation he was in at the time.

And again, the "the situation he was in at the time," according to his own account, which the jurors evidently accepted, involved lying under Martin, who was pummeling him and smacking his head against the sidewalk. So whatever Juror B-37 meant by referring to "stand your ground," she clearly did not mean that Zimmerman easily could have extricated himself from this situation but decided not to.

Contrary to a lot of misleading reporting on this case, Florida is not unique in asking whether someone who used lethal force reasonably believed it was necessary to save his own life. Nor was that standard part of the changes made in 2005, when the legislature eliminated the duty to retreat in public places. The same language was already part of Florida's self-defense law.

Confusion about what "stand your ground" means is apparent in this post by Nicole Flatow of Think Progress, who writes:

Earlier reports suggested the notorious law that authorizes the unfettered use of deadly force in self-defense was not applied to the case, because Zimmerman's lawyers opted not to request a Stand Your Ground hearing. But as ThinkProgress explained in a post earlier today, the jury instructions contained the law's key provision and instructed jurors that self-defense meant Zimmerman was entitled to "stand his ground" with "no duty to retreat."

The juror's interview with Anderson Cooper Monday night confirms that the jury not only considered this language in their deliberations, but that their decision hinged in part on the Stand Your Ground Law.

Since the law sets forth conditions in which deadly force is justified, it clearly does not allow "the unfettered use of deadly force." And the reason people like me have been saying that "stand your ground" had nothing to do with Zimmerman's defense is not that he waived his right to a pretrial hearing; it's that his fight with Martin, as he described it, left no room for him to retreat. If the jurors accepted that account, as Juror B-37 says they did, it is hard to see how their verdict could have hinged on the absence of a duty to retreat.

You can watch pieces of the interview here.

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  • Acosmist||

    People who think SYG was relevant here are the same kind of people who think imaginary numbers are fake in some sense. They hear magic words and their tiny little minds shut off.

  • Ragnar||

    Umm, so if they're real, why do they call them imaginary numbers?

  • ||

    Don't you mean your sister the whore made that much money turning tricks?

  • ||

    Apparently the latest internet freak-out about this case is that Zimmerman will have his firearm returned to him if he requests it.

    People are beside themselves at this prospect.

    It's a great display of ignorance, because I'm not sure what they thought would happen if he was acquitted. Did they think that the state gets to hold the evidence forever?

    (I know I know, they didn't allow that possibility to enter their mind)

  • ||

    Due process? We don't need no stinkin' due process!

    God, it's like they've never heard of the Fifth Amendment.

  • ||

    This case has the left looking to repeal the 5th Amendment, and pretty much every other aspect of American jurisprudence.

    "Reasonable Doubt? Fuck that!"

    "Innocent until proven guilty? Fuck that BULLSHIT, too!"

    "Jury of your peers? Fuck all of it!!!!111"

  • Doctor Whom||

    He had his trial by Facebook and was convicted. What more could you possibly want?

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    I want a civil trial and restitution (reparations?) to be doles via World of Warcraft gold.

  • ||

    I also love the people who seem to think that there was something about Florida that makes all these events unique.

    Guess what. Zimmerman would have been acquitted in any state. He also would have been given his firearm back in any state.

    Enough with the "Glad I don't live in Florida" crap.

  • Alice Bowie||

    That's not true. He would have been
    convicted in NY State and probably in NJ.

    It's the south, in general with their attitudes toward young black kids and Guns and the law. Florida, and the south, in general, like to make vague laws that are open for interpretation. And then, the interpretation is handled arbitrarily.

    Look at it when florida removed the "CRIMINAL INTENT" element of Drug Possession. This effectively made a male handler a criminal if they were delivering a package of drugs. The Florida Police/DA quickly said they would never bring charges up against the mail man.

    A blonde kid dressed in the same outfit that Trayvon was in would had never been confronted by good-ole george.

    He needs his gun back.

  • Rich||

    A blonde kid dressed in the same outfit that Trayvon was in would had never been confronted by good-ole george.

    Citation needed.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'm sorry Rich you are right.

    As I don't have a carbon copy of the exact incident, you are absolutely right, George would have shot and killed the Ambecombie-&-Fitch kid as well.

    My bad.

  • wareagle||

    you don't suppose TM looked out of place because GZ knew about a string of break-ins involving black suspects, do you? This could have ended much better had either person not done a couple of things that were done. But the notion that this was some random "I'm gonna shoot a kid" story defies common sense, not to mention the facts.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I don't believe it was random.
    What I due believe is that any teen black boy would have been treated that way.

    Clearly, it appears that no teen black kids lived in the development.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I don't believe it was random.

    Because that gives you a chance to lie down and scream on the floor with the rest of the 3-year-olds?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Clearly, it appears

    No need to read any further than that.

  • mgd||

    Two theories, Alice:

    1. Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin and knocked to the ground, where Martin straddled him and beat him. Zimmerman screamed for help for the better part of a minute before shooting Martin to prevent further injury to himself.

    2. Zimmerman, an Hispanic Obama voter, hates blacks and decided he was gonna up an' shoot hisself a nigger that night.

    Zimmerman's statement, the police's initial investigation, the 911 recording, the testimony of the only eyewitness, and medical evidence all support the first theory. Lacking even a shred of evidence to support the second theory, that's the one you're going with.

    Why do you feel compelled to create a story based on racial animus where none exists?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    If he was pounding his head into the pavement, damn straight he would have.
    Hell, I would shoot blue-eyed-blonde Miss America if she was breaking open my skull.

  • ||

    And such as the Iraq.

  • Azathoth!!||

    You all keep leaving out the 'pounding his head into the concrete' part as if it's irrelevent.

    But there is something to be said for the idea that of a white kid not getting shot.

    See, chances are, the white kid wouldn't have went back once he reached the house(as Jeantel said Trayvon did). The white kid would just have gone inside. He might even have called the cops to report that there was a strange hispanic man wandering around and following people.

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    That racist white kid would be profiling then.

  • RBS||

    Apparently this person is unfamiliar with HOA busybodies.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It's like I keep saying, folks, it doesn't matter how much nastiness goes on up North or out West, the South is still going to be reviled.

  • Alice Bowie||

    We probably should have never fought the civil war and just let the south be a separate country.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    We probably should have never fought the civil war and just let the south be a separate country.

    Considering the Hartford Convention had already showed the North considered secession to be legal when it suited them, it would have been the less hypocritical thing to do.

  • wareagle||

    I keep forgetting which southern city had that stop and frisk measure that was debated here not long ago. Anyone?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I keep forgetting which southern city had that stop and frisk measure that was debated here not long ago. Anyone?

    New York City, Mississippi, maybe?

  • wareagle||

    there is a Philadelphia MS, so you could be right.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Give Alice a break.

    She lives in NYC, where the public and government are openly racist. And she "knows" that it's worse south of the Mason Dixon line.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    She lives in NYC, where the public and government are openly racist. And she "knows" that it's worse south of the Mason Dixon line.

    I feel inspired to change my screen name to Yosemite Sam and post everything in his voice. "Great horny toads, I’m up Nahrth! Gotta burn my boots, they touched Yankee soil!"

  • KalkiDas||

    In another universe, a meth-addicted hick from Gainesville was killed that night. The news was on the back page of the local paper and no where else.

  • wwhorton||

    Well, I guess that explains why all those black kids keep getting shot in Chicago by other black kids. People just love shooting black folks. Probably the reason behind that other famous Florida racist cop incident with Amadou Diallo. Thanks for that insight.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I met a guy last night who wanted to ban all guns. His solution for hunters was to have a "federal armory" where hunters could go check out weapons. He also claimed that the 2nd amendment was obsolete, and we didn't need to protect ourselves from the crown anymore.

    I wish he could understand just how horrifying he sounded to me, but I have no idea how I'd ever make him understand. I also didn't mention the bloodshed that would occur while the confiscation of existing firearms occurred.

    But anyone who suggests that the left wants to ban all guns is paranoid.

  • wareagle||

    the guy you met is a microcosm of liberal thought - they believe that their way is the ONLY way and that given enough time, they can shame everyone else to their point of view.

    They simply don't understand that not everyone sees the world through their eyes, not everyone's tongue is firmly planted on a govt boot, and that a diverse society means not everyone will agree with you. Because someone like him hates guns and would never consider violence against another person, even in self-defense, he projects that view onto others as the only reasonable view that can be held.

  • gaijin||

    2nd amendment was obsolete

    And yet, there is a mechanism for him to try and repeal it...but no way will he agree to pursue that...because minority rules or something.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    That was the other argument I didn't feel like having with him. I just sat there and drank my beer.

  • ||

    I like this, Hit & Run After Dark. Free to post random comments it's like I'm Prince of the Blog.

  • AuH20||

    What are you wearing?

  • C. Anacreon||

    Free to post random comments it's like I'm Prince of the Blog.

    Is that the same thing as "Prince of the Bog of Eternal Stench?"

  • Generic Stranger||

  • ||

    The anti-Zimmercrats are now pinning their hopes on a federal criminal trial. My prediction: It won't happen.

  • ||

    Considering that the FBI has basically already cleared him in the investigation last year, I don't see how they come up with anything for a charge.

  • ||

    The only avenue they have that I can think of is to argue that the trial was tainted by racism since there are civil rights laws that were intended to overturn local courts that flagrantly ignore evidence to acquit a white man or railroad a black.

    Which totally happened in this case, right?

  • some guy||

    This path is probably open to them, but I don't think they will take it. They'll just let the civil court take it out on Zimmerman via a wrongful death claim.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think Florida prohibits a civil suit when there's a justifiable homicide.

  • ||

    Who rules that the homicide is justifiable? Or is that automatic in the acquittal?

  • Gray Ghost||

    He needed to be cleared by the pre-trial immunity hearing, which his side waived. (For good reason, given that Judge Nelson had zero intention of finding in his favor.) I do not know whether his side can have that hearing post-verdict, but if he can, and he wins, then he is immune from further criminal prosecution and civil liability. He'll need to prove, by the preponderance of the evidence, that is use of force was justified. I also don't know if he retains his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination for this hypothetical post-verdict hearing.

    See Fla. Stat. Section 776.032. Note that the statute says:

    A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,

    [Emphasis added.] A Not Guilty verdict in a criminal trial is not the same thing as finding that the defendant's use of force was permitted.

    IANAL and for all you know, I could be some random crank. Go see a lawyer if you think you might need one.

  • Gray Ghost||

    The thought I had on the 5th Amendment question was that he no longer faces state criminal liability for the shooting---he was found not guilty---so the reason for having the protection against self-incrimination shouldn't apply. Unless the court figures that Z could still face federal criminal liability if he opens his mouth. If his protection against self-incrimination still applies, it's a pretty big blow to whoever will be suing him, as that'll mean he doesn't have to testify or submit to a deposition. (I guess he can show up, and plead the 5th for every question. Not sure how that is hashed out in civil discovery.)

  • wwhorton||

    Well, since the trial occurred in the south, it must be racist. It always is, it's something in the water. Unless a black person is acquitted, in which case it's an outlier.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Unless a black person is acquitted,

    In that case, "justice" prevails.

  • Cyto||

    Right... FBI cleared him. And the local police and prosecutors declined to prosecute because they found strong evidence that the shooting was justified by self-defense. How'd that work out for them?

  • ||

    Well that ended up being pretty useful in his acquittal. He got the detective to testify (though late stricken), that he believed his story.

  • free2booze||

    The only option they have is to accuse Zimmerman of a hate crime. Of course, Florida has hate crime laws on the books, and even they weren't ready to toss that charge at Zimmerman. Also, if the prosecution wasn't able to come up with a shred of evidence proving "ill-will and malice", then I don't see how the Feds will be able to prove that the shooting was racially motivated.

  • ||

    Have fact and law ever stop the Obama administration on doing anything it wants? Pulling the right to suspend his own law out of his ass is only the latest trick of his.

  • ||

    If they tried that shit a Federal court would smack it down hard and in the most embarrassing way possible.

    If it wouldn't negatively effect Zimmerman I would hope Holder is stupid enough to try.

  • ||

    I think it will with the same result. The Obamabots expected much more violence than we have seen so far.

  • C. Anacreon||

    During the interview, the juror also said that race did not come in to question in the deliberations. Anderson Cooper was incredulous. He asked about five questions in a row which were all variations of "are you sure race wasn't discussed?"

    The juror said no, they felt that Zimmerman went after Trayvon because he was a stranger in their neighborhood acting suspiciously, just like you would expect a neighborhood watch person to do. (I live in a very quiet hilly suburb with fairly large lots, and if anyone is seen poking around your property, cops get called pretty quick, regardless of race. And when I was a teenager in the suburbs, if my friends and I were screwing around somewhere where we weren't known, someone would invariably come around and ask us what the hell we were doing. We weren't black -- we were behaving suspiciously around someone else's house. I understand it well now as an adult. Get the hell off of my lawn.)

    Which gets me about all this. Everyone (Anderson Cooper included) wants us to believe that Trayvon was followed while he was innocently walking home, for no reason but he was black. Instead, he was a young man acting suspiciously around private property, which raises concern regardless of race. Most people would understand this, but there is far too much pressure to make this into a racial thing, and that pressure seems to be growing. "Trayvon is Emmett Till."

  • AuH20||

    If I ever heard someone ever compare Trayvon Martin to Emmet Till in person, I'd call them what they are- a racist who is disgracing the memory of Emmet Till.

  • PapayaSF||

    The "Trayvon Martin = Emmett Till" thing is indeed ridiculous.

    So whether it was George Zimmerman getting out of the vehicle, whether he was right to get out of the vehicle, whether he was a wannabe cop, whether he was overeager—none of that, in the final analysis, mattered.

    Of course not. None of those things are illegal, and none are a justification for assault. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who think those things are important.

    And while I've brought this up before, Rachel Jeantel keeps saying Martin thought Zimmerman was a rapist, which means this might well have been a gay-bashing. I think that angle has not gotten much attention. But then again, this is a 19-year-old high schooler who can't read cursive but who can hear wet grass over a cellphone, so maybe it's better to just ignore her.

  • C. Anacreon||

    I've wondered about that "homophobia" angle as well. But again it doesn't fit the narrative, so other potentially aggrieved minorities (in this case gays) must keep quiet. Trayvon must be maintained as perfect in all ways. And it is OK to call him a child, even though if you publicly said that about any other 17-year-old young black man, your career would be rivaling Paula Deen's.

    Remember: Trayvon was just an angelic little boy who was walking straight home from the corner store after buying candy and a soda pop, just what little boys like to eat and drink. A mean white man who was too psycho to be a cop and shouldn't have been allowed to own a gun, thought he would be a hero by killing this child just for being black. And the racist judicial system let him free, because in our country it is still OK to kill blacks for no reason.

    That is the whole story for far too many people, and they twist details to make it fit. My goodness, Zimmerman got out of his car! In his own neighborhood, across the street from his own house! That's just like being in the Klan! He should never have gotten out of his car, that's proof he intended to murder!

  • ||

    I've wondered about that "homophobia" angle as well. But again it doesn't fit the narrative, so other potentially aggrieved minorities (in this case gays) must keep quiet.

    Black homophobia is one of the most underscrutinized things about the Democratic coalition. In every state that has voted to amend its constitution to prohibit gay marriage blacks have voted overwhelmingly in favor of it.

    A mean white man who was too psycho to be a cop and shouldn't have been allowed to own a gun, thought he would be a hero by killing this child just for being black. And the racist judicial system let him free, because in our country it is still OK to kill blacks for no reason.

    I find the Zimmerman is a wannabe-cop slant amusing since Zimmerman to me seems much too compassionate and empathetic to be a cop.

    I don't see how anyone can question the fact that he was clearly motivated by a desire to keep his neighborhood safe and not racism.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That comes from the fact that Zimmerman was so sure Martin was a burglar but the investigation found no evidence of that.

    Many blacks feel unfairly profiled on race and they see this as a textbook case of that.

  • Rich||

    the fact that Zimmerman was so sure Martin was a burglar

    I don't know if *that* is a fact.

    However, was, in fact, Martin a burglar?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    From what I understand Martin was never charged or convicted of burglary and the investigation determined there was no evidence he was up to one that night.

  • PapayaSF||

    From what I understand Martin was never charged or convicted of burglary

    Technically true, but he was caught with a "burglary tool" (a large screwdriver) and the proceeds of a burglary taken from a nearby house. The school district police force, however, had a new policy to not report black male students to the real police, and simply suspend them instead. This had the handy effect of causing the student crime statistics to drop, which was duly trumpeted in the media.

  • some guy||

    That's fine. Zimmerman may have unfairly profiled Martin, but listening to the phone call it sounds like he profiled Martin based on Martin's actions, not his race. This is another case where many people are letting their own racism show when they automatically accuse Zimmerman of racism.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think people thought his explanations based on actions were so flimsy sounding (he's walking around in the rain, like he's on drugs, his hand is in his waistband) that some racial bias was inferred.

    Of course that doesn't make it so. I'd say the fact that he had a history of calling the cops on people makes it more likely he just was a very suspicious guy.

  • free2booze||

    Zimmerman said to the 911 operator that he suspected Martin was on drugs... and Martin was in fact high at the time, so there's that.

  • Gray Ghost||

    and Martin was in fact high at the time, so there's that.

    O.K., Martin had THC metabolites in his blood. (So, I suspect, does much of the commentariat. The stuff lasts awhile compared to alcohol.) Were those metabolites in enough concentration to indicate impairment, or just residues from previous marijuana use, like days ago?

    It's frankly hilarious if this board starts taking the position that any THC metabolites in your blood means that you're impaired at that time.

  • wareagle||

    Black homophobia is one of the most underscrutinized things about never ever discussed in the Democratic coalition

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Didn't this get discussed quite a lot after Prop 8?

  • wareagle||

    not by the left; it was too busy blaming the Mormons. The predominant black view toward homosexuality is a malicious truth that liberal gays avoid at all costs.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If you google Prop 8 blacks gays you will see there was much discussion over the rift and its implications.

  • wareagle||

    sorry, but most gays ignore it just like they ignore how Obama was agaisnt gay marriage, too, until it became politically expedient to say otherwise. The black angle was not a mainstream topic of discussion.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So all that discussion in LA Times, NPR, HuffPo, those were not mainstream discussions?

  • MasterDarque||

    Blacks dont have homophobia - most blacks are simply church goers and they believe sex between two people of the same sex is a sin - for people who claim to support freedom and liberty you crowd are so fixed that people must accept your view on things

  • JoeE||

    "most blacks are simply church goers and they believe sex between two people of the same sex is a sin"

    There is no real distinction between this and homophobia.

  • TimMcD||

    The hell there isn't. Most church goers also believe sex between a man and a woman not married to each other is a sin. So, church goers are also heterophobic? You might want to think before you type. Sounds to me like you have some phobias of your own you need to address.

  • C. Anacreon||

    I will say that recently the term "homophobia" has been tossed around to mean anyone opposed to anything on the gay agenda. One could oppose gay marriage per se, but still support civil unions and be otherwise completely accepting of gays and lesbians -- but currently still be called "homophobic" by many for not endorsing gay marriage.

  • RBS||

    I just heard bits of the Anderson Cooper interview. He basically called the juror a moron when wondering if she actually understood the jury instructions.

  • Floridian||

    Obviously she is a moron. She voted not guilty. Right Anderson?

  • sarcasmic||

    What would she know? She was sequestered. All of us who have not sat through the trial are much more informed than some stupid juror.

  • Andrew S.||

    They were talking about this case on sports radio last night (Miami) for some absurd reason. One of the e-mailers actually said that the jurors didn't have enough information because they didn't listen to the commentators talking about the case.

  • some guy||

    All of us who have not sat through the trial are much more informed than some stupid juror.

    Is this sarcasm? Because given all the evidence that was ruled inadmissible I'd say we are more informed than she is.

  • Harvard||

    And all that information is...well...irrelevant to the case. Did he have a right to shoot him or not. In that he (Trevon) was 6'1, 190, tattooed, dope smoker, expelled, in possession of burglary tools, etc) means absolutely.....nothing.

  • Acosmist||

    That's relevant evidence, and I am glad you're not anywhere near the legal system if you fail to understand that.

  • Harvard||

    Zimmerman can be ever thankful he found 6 intelligent women as jurors and dodged your dumb ass.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If she voted to acquit "Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground" like she said then there's some evidence she didn't understand the jury instructions. The reason to acquit here would be that there was reason to believe in imminent deadly or serious harm to Zimmerman.

  • some guy||

    I don't know if it was this juror, but one of them said that at the beginning of deliberations the breakdown was 3 for acquittal, 2 for manslaughter and 1 for murder. They all obviously settled on acquittal. To me this indicates that 3 jurors fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the law and were going with their gut feelings until a few more level-headed jurors convinced them otherwise. I'm not sure whether I should be upset that 3 jurors could come through that trial still believing in guilt or happy that those 3 were willing to be convinced otherwise. Either way, I think this is evidence that larger juries are better because it increases your odds of having a few level-headed jurors who can explain things to the rest.

  • Harvard||

    It illustrates just how much Zimmerman dodged a bullet. His life was in the hands of 6 women and thankfully half of them realized the entire essence of this case boiled down to the seconds before the gun went off, ie do we believe Zimmerman feared for his life or great harm. Thankfully the 3 intelligent jurors were able to convince the other 3 by reading, and rereading what the LAW on 2nd degree and/or manslaughter actually says. Oddly, in this case, reason prevailed. Often, it does not, and every concealed carry guy should take a moment and realize this.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -If the jurors accepted that account, as Juror B-37 says they did, it is hard to see how their verdict could have hinged on the absence of a duty to retreat.

    And yet the juror says they decided for acquittal: -Right. Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground.

    So what in the world?

  • sarcasmic||

    How do you retreat when someone has got you straddled and is pounding your head into the sidewalk?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is your comment misplaced, because it doesn't seem to be in response to mine?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yes, it was misplaced. I mistook you for someone who is honest and argues in good faith. I apologize. It won't happen again.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It's just that I wasn't questioning that point at all and in any way which made yours seem out of place. Perhaps you meant something totally different than what you wrote?

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you want me to apologize again? Fine. I'm sorry I mistook you for an honest person, alright? An honest person will admit to obvious implications, while someone who argues in bad faith will not. I mistook you for the former, and I am sorry. Are you satisfied?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I appreciate the attention but I'm just not that into you...

  • Floridian||

    I didn't watch the interview. Was it live and unedited? If it was edited then AC may have asked about SYG in an earlier question that was removed and her answer could have included a response to SYG from an earlier question.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Good point, it's not above CNN to do some creative editing.

    But if that answer followed Anderson's question as the transcript says, then what in the world?

  • Floridian||

    I pretty much have stopped watching TV news. There is too much incentive to get the viewer emotionally involved in a story to provide just the facts. Especially live feeds where they have to say something, even if incorrect, just so they don't have dead air.

  • RBS||

    Like when the STORM TEAM hangs out at the beach freaking out while everyone in the background just goes about their day?

  • Floridian||

    Did you see the one with the lady reporter in a boat talking about flooding, then some people walked through the ankle deep water she was reporting from? Hilarious.

  • RBS||

    Haha, I liked the one from VA Beach a couple of years ago where the guy was interrupted mid freak out by a bunch of teens/college kids running around in the background.

  • Floridian||

    Nice. It is like you have to have no scruples to be a reporter.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I also consider that we have a juror who is probably not used to being in the public light, not a public speaker, who is just coming off an intense and long trial, who might have just misspoke.

    But the thing is, her crazy comment is going to start off a whole another round of 'this was based on SYG!!!'

  • RBS||

    No, because she already said the basis for her decision was that she believed Zimmerman's account.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But if she believed his account then why say the acquittal was "because of SYG?"

    It was an odd statement, and is only going to fan more flames about the role of the law.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "But if that answer followed Anderson's question as the transcript says, then what in the world?"

    Maybe her point is that regardless of whether it was possible for him retreat or not, Zimmerman had a right to use deadly force in self defense. Or perhaps she is just paraphrasing the jury instructions poorly:

    "If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sure, but that would mean that SYG was the factor in this trial...And if, as Sullum argues, her other comments can be fairly described as buying Zimmerman's story that Martin was on top of him, then that is hard to make sense of.

  • SugarFree||

    "I think George was pretty consistent and told the truth, basically. I'm sure there were some fabrications, enhancements, but I think pretty much it happened the way George said it happened."

    The defense did their job well.

  • Rich||

    Oh, very well then -- *Mister* George.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I noticed that too. A lawyer who can get his defendant on a first name basis with the jury has to smile.

    The prosecution had an uphill battle but they still seemed inept to me. It usually seems that way in high profile cases, the government prosecutor seems terrible compared to the usually private defense attorneys. A lesson there...

  • Alice Bowie||

    The lawyer was good, but it's all in the jury pool.

    The exact same people would not had believed him if George was black and the dead kid was white given the exact circumstances.

  • Alice Bowie||

    THe jury would had never heard the story. George would had copped a plea deal, when arrested by police.

  • mgd||

    The jury would never have heard the story, but only because a special prosecutor wouldn't have been appointed and the case never would have been prosecuted.

  • Floridian||

    I will go ahead and call bullshit for the entire world.

  • ||

    Hypotheticals are lovely devices since you can never be proved wrong. Try this one: "The exact same people would have lynched him if George was black and the dead kid was white given the exact circumstances." I mean, really, if you're just making stuff up, why not put some effort into it?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Oh, you're not even trying--

    "The exact same people would have pureed him if George was a dolphin and the dead kid had vestigial wings given the exact circumstances"

    See.

  • ||

    But George Zimmerman, the 'White Hispanic' is in fact 1/4 Black. Just not Black for the race hustlers and the followers of St. Trayvon.

  • ||

    His name doesn't sound black or Hispanic, ergo, he's white.

    /liberal dumbassery

  • PapayaSF||

    The exact same people would not had believed him if George was black and the dead kid was white given the exact circumstances.

    I don't believe this. If George was black but still a short and pudgy and married neighborhood watch guy, and Martin a white wannabe gangster, there was still plenty of reasonable doubt.

  • Fluffy||

    I am more than OK with the verdict, based on the case the prosecution actually chose to offer.

    But I have one question:

    I thought that self-defense was an affirmative defense. And Zimmerman never took the stand. How could he offer an affirmative defense without taking the stand?

    The juror says she thought George was telling the truth. But how? He never offered any testimony for her to evaluate as true or false.

  • Floridian||

    His video testimony and statements to the police.

  • tarran||

    I thought that self-defense was an affirmative defense. And Zimmerman never took the stand. How could he offer an affirmative defense without taking the stand?

    An affirmative defense is one where the defense affirms that the criminal event occured but that their actions were lawful.

    Zimmerman affirmed that he shot Martin from moment 0. His defense was self-defense as expressed to investigators.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Self defense in Florida is NOT an affirmative defense. The state has the burden of Proof beyond the reasonable doubt to dis-prove the defense argument...effectively, putting the state in the situation of having to dis-prove the negative.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Considering how the prosecution's witnesses were ripped up during cross, it doesn't matter to this case.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    effectively, putting the state in the situation of having to dis-prove the negative.


    Aw, the poor, poor jack-booted tyrants have to prove a negative! For shame!

  • Gray Ghost||

    Self-defense, back in the misty days of English common law, used to be an affirmative defense, as you thought. Nowadays, and if Volokh's discussions on the topic are right, once the defendant offers up some evidence of self defense, it's just another thing the prosecution has to overcome beyond a reasonable doubt. Ohio is the only state that doesn't follow this idea.

    How much evidence is "some evidence?" I've heard a scintilla, which is essentially next to nothing, but I haven't found that language in the few Florida cases I've looked at on this topic. It certainly isn't by a preponderance of the evidence. John, IIRC, in another of the multitude of Z/M threads, mentioned that the defendant's Answer would be enough. I didn't think the Answer or other pleadings were entered into evidence though.

    As to how Z could offer the defense w/o taking the stand, I wondered about that too. The prosecution did it for Z, by introducing into evidence the videotapes of his police interviews. You can't cross-examine an interview though. I don't know if just testimony from one of the neighborhood witnesses who saw the fight would have been enough. I'm guessing probably.

    FWIW, his side couldn't have introduced into evidence the videos or statements to the cops as they are hearsay. The prosecution could though, as his statements are "admissions by a party opponent," one of the hearsay exceptions.

  • creech||

    GZ is a liar, according to several of my acquaintances. He "probably"
    baited Martin into hitting him so he could shoot him with his gun.
    They had nothing to say, however, when I pointed out that a cold, calculating liar like GZ - seeing Martin dead and no witnesses - could have easily and sympathetically embellished his "lies" by claiming TM called him a fag or queer and then started to whale away at him.

  • OldMexican||

    Confusion about what "stand your ground" means is apparent in this post by Nicole Flatow of Think Progress,


    Confusion regarding all of reality permeates pretty much anything that gets posted in Think Progress; there is no room for befuddlement.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him," she said. "I think George was pretty consistent and told the truth, basically. I'm sure there were some fabrications, enhancements, but I think pretty much it happened the way George said it happened."

    Since Zimmerman didn't testify at the trial, this is basically an admission the juror had already made their decision before the trial even began.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Stormy, didn't the jury hear Zimmerman describe what happened (according to him) in the police interviews played back to the jury? Even though he didn't take the stand, they did hear him give his side of the story.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Stormy Dragon,

    Since Zimmerman didn't testify at the trial, this is basically an admission the juror had already made their decision before the trial even began.


    Never mind the transcripts, the interviews with the police or the reenactment done at the site just a couple days after the incident. Nah - the lady already made her mind up without hearing or listening to anything.

    Next suspension of rationality, please? I need more amusement.

  • MasterDarque||

    Be careful old Mex I don't want this to be you - I know yesterday you were channeling your Charles Bronson but just be careful walking the streets :) http://reason.com/24-7/2013/07.....nt_3872559

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    The presumptuousness (and arrogance) of this assertion is quite amusing indeed.

    What the fuck do you think the jury did? Pick their noses and fed shnotts to each other?

    No. Its' progressives who 'made up their minds' before facts were gathered.

  • ||

    The jury is typically made up of people who haven't heard about the case before the trial. How would they make up their mind in advance?

  • free2booze||

    Zimmerman didn't take the stand, but he did "testify". The prosecution introduced, and played the police interviews of Zimmerman stating his story of what happened that night, as well as answering questions from the two different detectives.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Since Zimmerman didn't testify at the trial,

    Jeantal testified as much.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    How did this juror think it was a good idea to get interviewed by Cooper? Didn't she know he was going to try to make her out to be a racist and/or idiot, in order to buttress the Emmett Till narrative?

  • #||

    In order for her to get on the jury, she had to be someone who had never heard of this case before despite it being plastered on the news for 6 months. You think she's the type who knows who's who in the media?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The old standard was that that it's OK to have *heard* of the case, just so long as you haven't formed an *opinion* on guilt or innocence.

    Who is more credible and reliable - someone who says, "I saw something about this on TV and the Internet, but I don't know if he's guilty like they say; yes, I will limit myself to the evidence in court," or someone who says, "it was on TV? Well, I only turn on the TV to watch my stories, and I don't mess with those new-fangled computers, so I don't know anything about this case."

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    One step forward, one or two steps back for Cooper it seems. I think he can be useful and level headed at times but then he goes all narrative.

    There's hope for him but sometimes...

    Anyway. Could you imagine how tough it must have been for investigators from the get-go in this case? They weren't accorded the decency of doing their jobs.

    Critics seem fixated on "Why wasn't he arrested immediately" but that too doesn't pass the sniff test.

  • Slayer t-shirt||

    The state did not prove its case against Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin may not have been a saint but neither is Zimmerman. He would have shot the white kid with long hair and a Slyer t-shirt just as quickly. I think Zimmerman is a punk wannabe cop.

  • Slayer t-shirt||

    *Slayer

  • GLK||

    Anderson Cooper and the rest of Liberal Hollywood should be well aware that getting out of your car and following someone (whether they like it or not) is not illegal. The Paparazzi do it to them all the time. What is illegal is pummeling someone's head into the sidewalk. Martin may not have deserved to die, however, as facts about his lifestyle emerge it is clear he made many poor life choices. Attacking Zimmerman for following him was a poor choice.

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