Trayvon Martin

Double Jeopardy for George Zimmerman?

The Department of Justice wants to waste more money trying him for a federal hate crime.

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On Nov. 3, 1979, as members of the Communist Workers Party chanted and sang at a "Death to the Klan" rally in Greensboro, N.C., a group of white men drove up, got out of their cars and began firing at the demonstrators. Five protesters were killed.

Despite video footage, a state criminal trial ended in acquittals for those charged. Amid public outrage at this apparent miscarriage of justice, federal prosecutors indicted six members of the Ku Klux Klan and three members of the American Nazi Party for violating the civil rights of the shooting victims. After a lengthy trial, the defendants were found … not guilty.

The massacre is largely forgotten today, but it was far more shocking than the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who on Saturday was acquitted of murder and manslaughter. The lesson of the Greensboro episode is that it's really hard to get a conviction of someone who has already been tried and acquitted. That, by the way, is not a bad thing.

The NAACP has gathered a million signatures on a petition urging the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. He could also be indicted for a federal hate crime. These options are supposed to remedy the failure of the Florida jury to dispense the correct verdict.

The department agreed to consider the suggestion. "Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction," it announced.

You may recall that the Constitution bars trying someone twice for the same offense. The government gets one chance to take away your life or liberty in a criminal trial. A conviction may be appealed; an acquittal is final. If authorities could keep trying until they win, no suspect, however innocent, would ever be safe.

The option of trying someone on a different charge, in a different court system, based on the same conduct, does exist. But it historically has been—as it should be—reserved for extreme and outrageous cases. The Zimmerman verdict may have been wrong. But it was not a howling travesty.

When NAACP President Benjamin Jealous compared the case to the notorious 1955 murder of Emmett Till, his example highlighted the weakness of his claim. Till was beaten and shot in the head by white men outraged that he had been disrespectful to a white woman.

An all-white Mississippi jury took barely an hour to acquit the accused men—and one juror said, "We wouldn't have taken so long if we hadn't stopped to drink pop." The defendants later candidly acknowledged their role, with one of them explaining: "As long as I live and can do anything about it, niggers are gonna stay in their place."

There was never any question, in the Jim Crow South, that Till's murderers would go free. Zimmerman's fate, by contrast, was in doubt from start to finish.

The reason for his acquittal was not that the jurors thought Martin deserved to die. It was a frustrating lack of definitive information about what ensued in the minutes before he was shot. This case was a thick fog of reasonable doubt. For the feds to try to overturn the outcome would be an insult to everyone who took part in the proceedings.

It would also most likely be an exercise in futility. A jury just spent weeks hearing the best case prosecutors could make against Zimmerman and was unconvinced. There is no reason to think the evidence would be more persuasive to another jury.

The federal government did successfully prosecute two Los Angeles police officers for beating Rodney King in 1991, after they got off in a state trial. But that time, there was a tape of the cops using their batons to take batting practice on King's head.

Even so, two other officers were acquitted in the federal trial. An attempt to right the alleged wrong here would almost certainly end the same way, with Zimmerman walking out a free man.

Some critics would like the feds to spend time and money contesting the debatable decision of fallible human beings. But my advice to the Justice Department is to treat state juries according to the old rules for dealing with baseball umpires. Rule 1: The umpire is always right. Rule 2: When the umpire is wrong, see Rule 1.

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  1. -But it historically has been — as it should be — reserved for extreme and outrageous cases.

    This might be crazy, but how about reserving it for cases in which there is an actual federal interest?

    1. And I don’t mean ‘Zimmerman’s coat or gun was bought in another state” or ‘he just got back from a vacation in South Carolina’ as a ‘federal interest.’

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    2. If they can spin some crappy civil rights argument, that will be the “federal interest.”

      1. “Interesting case you’ve got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

  2. How is the verdict wrong? Look, this isn’t rationally debatable–the evidence on hand wasn’t even close to sufficient to convict. The prosecution’s burden is extremely high–they have to prove to the jury that the defendant is guilty of a crime or crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden is so high that we intentionally allow guilty people to be found not guilty. Intentionally.

    I’ve beat this into the ground with multiple comments now, but you can go back to Blackstone on this one–better to let ten guilty people go free than to convict one innocent one. Or, to apply the Franklin multiplier, better to let one hundred guilty people go free than to convict one innocent person. That’s deeply embedded in our legal system.

    Technically, of course, it’s fairly well established that there’s no double jeopardy in the federal government trying even the exact same elements of a crime after the state has. But it’s obviously wrong to do so, unless there’s an egregious abuse of power by the state/local government. In the Zimmerman case, the only argument to that effect goes in exactly the opposite direction–they probably had no business trying him at all, with the flimsy evidence they had.

    (cont’d)

    1. Zimmerman may be guilty, but there’s little proof of that. That sucks, if he’s really guilty of murder or manslaughter, but that’s an intentional consequence of our system, and it only arises here because of a fairly unusual course of events. If there were a shooting with no evidence of unreasonable force being used by Martin, Zimmerman likely gets convicted of something.

      1. This one’s hard for me. I think Chapman thinks the verdict is right, just a little upset about the lack of evidence.

        1. Let’s say Zimmerman, for whatever reason, went after Martin for damages for civil battery. So, from the facts that were presented in the criminal trial, he has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Martin started a fight and used unreasonable force against Zimmerman. I think Zimmerman, given the evidence we know about, might well win such a case.

          The evidence is that bad. Remember, some of the best evidence for Zimmerman was presented by prosecution witnesses. That’s one of the reasons this case is so sickening. As it was, not only did that happen, but the prosecution appears to have unethically sat on further exculpatory evidence.

          Zimmerman may, in fact, be guilty. But no one can possibly even rationally speculate to that given the evidence on hand. It favors his version of events too well. That maybe a terrible twisting of the truth, but that’s what we have and nothing more.

          1. I’m just saying if GZ were guilty, there really ought to be a whole lot better evidence than “GZ HATES NIGGERS,” which appears to be the last red herring of his persecution. Somehow, I don’t believe GZ is some kind of criminal mastermind that’s gone through all of this bullshit to kill some random teen thug.

            It’s absurd that they’re still trying to find something, anything to hang this guy for. Fuck, I’d rather he be set free even if he is guilty than lock him up, mostly because there’s obviously some kind of reasonable doubt as to what happened.

            1. There’s not a lick of difference between this and totalitarian show trials, except that in our case, the system has this one last safeguard that prevented an unjust conviction. Unjust as far as the process goes, of course, not in the ultimate sense, given that we don’t know and can’t apparently know what really happened.

      2. -If there were a shooting with no evidence of unreasonable force being used by Martin, Zimmerman likely gets convicted of something.

        I would have voted to acquit and I can’t see any reason to bring any federal charge here.

        Having said that, I’ve had more thoughtful liberal friends ask me, while conceding this decision followed the law as it is, if this kind of law doesn’t make it to likely that a person will start trouble, then kill the victim, and if there are no witnesses it is just the killer’s story. I have to think about that one.

        1. It’s not that simple. If Martin hadn’t been seen whaling on Zimmerman with Zimmerman underneath him, Zimmerman might very well have been convicted, at least of manslaughter.

          The lesson here is not to use unreasonable force, either way.

          1. I probably expressed myself poorly. What I mean is this: if I come up and attack you and we fight, and then I shoot and kill you (and let’s say my life was not in danger when I do), I look around and see that no one has seen it, now I can tell whatever story I can concoct about self defense and you are dead and unable to rebut it.

            1. If by “we fight” you mean “you fail to land a single blow while getting wailed on” then maybe.

              1. No, I mean I attack you. We both land blows. At one point, not one where I’m in imminent fear of death or bodily danger I say to heck with this and just pull out my gun and shoot you.

                I’m going to have at least some sign of a struggle with you, so when the cops come I just say you started it and I was in fear of imminent danger when I shot you. There are no witnesses, what are you going to say?

                1. We both land blows.

                  So, not like Zimmerman at all. OK.

                  At one point, not one where I’m in imminent fear of death or bodily danger I say to heck with this and just pull out my gun and shoot you.

                  Or he makes that decision first and you are the one dead. Seems pretty risky.

                  Why are you attacking? For the fun of it? As a subterfuge to provoke a chance to kill someone. If you just want to kill someone, there are easier ways.

                  There is always the risk that a situation with little or ambiguous evidence leads to someone guilty being found not guilty. What alternatives are there other than lowering the burden of proof or making it harder to invoke self-defense? Those aren’t risks worth taking, imo.

                  1. -What alternatives are there other than lowering the burden of proof or making it harder to invoke self-defense? Those aren’t risks worth taking, imo.

                    I think the alternative would be something like requiring self defense be proven by the one claiming it.

                    I’m on the fence about it. I’m not sure my libertarian beliefs require me to choose on over the other. On the one hand, this kind of change would favor the state in its prosecution of individuals, so libertarianism seems to be inclined against it. On the other, I’m a not an anarchist and think the state has a proper role in protecting people’s lives, so if this rule gives undue protection to murderers or initiators of violence I don’t know.

                    I’m inclined to go with what Pro Libertate says below, that any change would just shift the injustices somewhere else (people who were really defending themselves but can’t prove it). But like I said, Im going to think of it some more.

                    1. I think the alternative would be something like requiring self defense be proven by the one claiming it.

                      It sounds like the problem isn’t with stand your ground laws, but with the concept of being innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.

                      As long as that’s the way justice works, there will always be room for people to break the law, as long as there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

                      The last thing I want the government to do is start going around demanding that people prove themselves innocent.

                    2. “It sounds like the problem isn’t with stand your ground laws, but with the concept of being innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.”

                      Not really. If you want to say you didn’t do it, you still get that higher bar. It would only be if you claim there were extenuating circumstances that would need to show that they exist.

                      The rules of procedural justice (like innocent until proven guilty) are not necessarily inherently just or unjust in and of themselves, they’re just supposed to help produce just outcomes. A lower bar for self-defense claims is pretty defensible, and my impression is that FL is the unusual case.

                2. “At one point, not one where I’m in imminent fear of death or bodily danger I say to heck with this and just pull out my gun and shoot you.”

                  It’s impossible to determine whether Zimmerman (or Martin) was in imminent fear of death or bodily danger without the aid of a mind reader or medium, plus such a standard is giving paranoiacs a license to kill. It makes more sense to consider whether some hypothetical reasonable person would fear imminent death or bodily danger, given the scenario as jurors understand it.

                  Even though a bad punch can kill, most reasonable people would probably not fear death from a fistfight, as it is unlikely. However, there are always extenuating circumstances — if the fight got especially vicious, or one person said they were going to kill the other person, or the attack came as a surprise and (based on what the killer could reasonably know or believe) unprovoked.

                  1. ant1sthenes: The self defense standard does require subjective and objective fear–i.e., that a reasonable person would be in imminent fear of great bodily harm. I think in all jurisdictions, unreasonable but honest self defense (e.g., “I thought the clown was going to kill me because clowns terrify me”) will get a conviction for voluntary manslaughter. It’s called the imperfect self defense doctrine.

                    1. I guess I’m just saying that the jury can still try to figure out what happened by looking at the evidence and placing themselves in that position, and seeing if they find it plausible to fear dying. For them to do that in the situation of a fist fight (which is the situation BCE proposed), it would have to be an unusually vicious fight (in terms of the killer’s injuries) or there would need to be some other circumstance.

            2. Having the very high burden of proof we have, any situation where the evidence sucks is good for a guilty defendant. It’s an inevitable consequence, and it’s something we have to live with. There are a decent number of guilty people walking the streets, after all.

            3. ya, that is an unfortunate side effect of presuming innocence.

              But I don’t see what the good alternatives are: make self defense illegal? Tie a weight to em and see if they float?

              1. There is no just solution. Weakening the burden of proof would create monstrous injustices and vastly expand state power. Self-defense is a right we have to have; otherwise, we’re sacrificing victims to aggressors.

                Zimmerman would’ve walked in any common law state or country, because they all have a self-defense right. Some wouldn’t have let him have the gun, of course, but aside from that, without an ability to retreat or, from the evidence presented, avoid the use of force, he’s not convictable.

              2. I don’t know if it is just an unfortunate side effect of presuming innocence. Remember in a case like Zimmerman’s you have a dead body and you know the guy shot and killed the guy. What happens then is there a presumption that the guy’s story about why he did it is right, and that must be overcome. Some argue that so-called ‘affirmative defenses’ should have to be proved by the one affirming it.

                Of course I’m not sure that the current law is any different than saying the mens rea element must always be proven by the prosecution, which is normal common law.

                Like I said, I need to think about it.

                1. Well, I think some jurisdictions require that self-defense be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, as the constitutional burden is supposed to be on the state to convict you of a crime. I mean, totally innocent people may just be unlucky in their ability to prove self-defense.

                2. Like I said, I need to think about it.

                  Don’t flatter yourself, Hammurabi. We’ve seen the results of your thinking so far, and it’s not impressive.

              3. “If he’s whiter than a mallard, death!”

            4. I shoot and kill you (and let’s say my life was not in danger when I do), I look around and see that no one has seen it, now I can tell whatever story I can concoct about self defense and you are dead and unable to rebut it.

              This is how an amazing number of murders go down. No small number wind up with the murderer in jail. Know why?

              Because this–I can tell whatever story I can concoct about self defense isn’t as easy as it sounds.

              In the antagonistic interrogation they told Zimmerman they’d found surveillance tape of the incident. Zimmerman said ‘Thank god, I hope they got it all’. What would your murderer say when faced with the same scenario?

            5. if I come up and attack you and we fight, and then I shoot and kill you (and let’s say my life was not in danger when I do), I look around and see that no one has seen it, now I can tell whatever story I can concoct about self defense and you are dead and unable to rebut it.

              OK, but where’s the part that has anything to do with stand your ground? No law can be passed that stops somebody from lying. Unless your friend wants to get rid of self defense entirely, like they practically have in Britain?

            6. There will often be forensic evidence that helps in these cases, or an eyewitness or earwitness or something. Crimes that are completely unwitnessed by anyone are extremely rare. In Zimmerman’s case, the forensic evidence and single eyewitness both corroborated Zimmerman’s story, which was pretty powerful.

          2. The physical evidence was more compelling. Martin supporters were reduced to arguing either that your head repeatedly smashing the pavement was not a serious injury or that Zimmerman did it to himself in the 1.5 minutes between the shooting and the police arriving. The media simply ignores it altogether, but (thank god) most juries have more integrity.

        2. What’s the alternative?

        3. I don’t think this applies to Zimmerman, mainly because he called 911 first. Who–short of some kind of fictional criminal mastermind–calls 911 before committing a murder?

          If you’re just speaking in general terms, it seems to me there are much easier and less risky ways to commit a murder than starting a fight with the intent to shoot someone and hoping for the best with a self-defense claim in court–especially given the lengths prosecutors went to to convict Zimmerman.

        4. But if Zimmerman’s story existed in a vacuum, he might well have been convicted. To the extent that there was evidence, the evidence mostly introduced doubt of guilt, rather than reducing it.

          1. “To the extent that there was evidence, the evidence mostly introduced doubt of guilt, rather than reducing it.”

            There isn’t any practical difference between introducing doubt of guilt and reducing guilt it in a criminal trial.

            The evidence supports the juries decision that Zimmerman was innocent. Justice prevailed. We should all be grateful for that.

  3. So far, from progressives, I have heard calls to ditch the innocent until proven guilty principle, Juries, prohibitions against double jeopardy, and reasonable doubt. Since this administration has been in office I have heard them calling for ending term limits for the president and letting him have total, unfettered power. Our own beloved Tony has called for the complete government take over of all industry, especially the energy industry.

    Progressive journalists have even been calling for controls on the press, getting permission from the government to be a journalist, and the prosecution of journalists who report on things the government doesnt like.

    In what way are these people not totalitarians? Have they never read a history book? My god, even the hope and change campaign poster from shitweasel’s first run was something straight out of soviet propaganda. This is a national nightmare.

    I guess I just Godwined the thread right off the bat.

    1. and the prosecution of journalists who report on things the government doesnt like.

      I think they already got that one locked down.

    2. they don’t believe your definition of totalitarian applies to them. It’s a new breed of Top Men.

    3. When I first entered university, I had no idea where I stood politically. Ok, I had some clue but I pretty much winged it.

      All I knew is I wasn’t “progressive” listening to them in class.

      And over beer.

      Just plain idiots.

    4. and the prosecution of journalists who report on things the government doesnt like

      Is “prosecution” a euphemism for blowing them up and burning the body, or poisoning them and killing their coroner?

    5. “Have [progressives] never read a history book?”

      Many of them have and think the Stalinist SSRs, the Nazi Secret Police State, and Maoist China were model societies. Centralized top-down control, total-surveillance police/war/welfare state and an out-of-control ultra-corrupt ruling elite — yeah, fuck it!

  4. Damn, Chapman’s 2 for 2 here lately, although I probably missed some bullshit article he’s written between the concealed carry one and this one.

    While I disagree with what I perceive to be Chapman’s premise of Zimmerman being guilty, at least he still draws a correct conclusion on the trial part.

    The reason for his acquittal was not that the jurors thought Martin deserved to die. It was a frustrating lack of definitive information about what ensued in the minutes before he was shot.

    This sentence in particular I find pretty accurate.

    1. I would agree, except for the use of the word frustrating. It implies that the writer is less interested in the facts of the matter than in reaching a desired conclusion.

  5. The problem with “should be reserved only for extreme situations” is that isn’t how the government works. If you tell them they can do something, they do it regardless of how rarely you intended to allow them to do it.

    If you put a ban on double jeopardy, except in certain situations, then you haven’t actually banned double jeopardy at all. IOW, everything becomes “fire in a crowded theater.”

    1. The problem with “should be reserved only for extreme situations” is that isn’t how the government works. If you tell them they can do something, they do it regardless of how rarely you intended to allow them to do it.

      I agree with this; I think a good fix would be to abolish federal courts and act as a mediator between state court systems for who gets to try whom.

      1. Wouldn’t you need federal courts for truly federal interests?

          1. Robbing the US mails. Evasion of federal tax law. Treason against the United States. That kind of stuff.

            1. You assume any of those things exist in Libertopia.

              1. And also, why could the defendant be tried in the respective state’s court system?

                1. *couldn’t*

                2. Let’s say treason was committed abroad. What state would they try him in?

                  Another thing, let’s take something like a state that decides they don’t like some federal law so they just don’t bring charges or convict people of it. This happened quite a bit with the Klan post-civil war for example.

                  Another reason to have federal courts is if I live in state x and you in state y and I sue you. Each of our respective home states would be ‘home turf’ for the other. The Founders provided for federal jurisdiction in these areas largely to protect businesses which were unpopular in some states they did business in.

                  1. Another thing, let’s take something like a state that decides they don’t like some federal law so they just don’t bring charges or convict people of it.

                    I’d say that’s a feature, not a bug.

                    Another reason to have federal courts is if I live in state x and you in state y and I sue you.

                    That’s why I suggested mediation between the states.

                    By having a federal court system, you’ve given the executive branch (read:President) pretty good control of 2/3rds of the entire country (judicial, executive). There’s nothing that stops him, at that point, from bullying the legislators into doing what he wants done, which we can see is already happening.

                    1. =I’d say that’s a feature, not a bug.

                      I’d say you need to broaden your examples. Like I said, this kind of thing allowed the Klan to literally get away with murder for decades in many states. It’s also been used to protect union violence. Also, the federal courts had to intervene to protect out of state businesses, especially banks and creditors, that were unpopular in some states. States were refusing to enforce debt collection and contract enforcement and such.

                    2. Like I said, this kind of thing allowed the Klan to literally get away with murder for decades in many states.

                      And having federal prosecutors would have solved this how exactly?

                      You’re basically using the left’s “Top Men” theory here.

                    3. -And having federal prosecutors would have solved this how exactly?

                      The Klan was less popular federally than they were in some states.

                    4. The Klan was less popular federally than they were in some states.

                      True, but irrelevant. Why would a democrat back then have gone after their own election money?

                    5. There might have been a Republican in office.

                  2. Bo Cara Esq.|7.18.13 @ 12:35PM|#

                    Let’s say treason was committed abroad. What state would they try him in?

                    Obviously Texas.

              2. OK, how about court martials for offenses committed by the military? Piracy on the high seas? Counterfeiting money?

                1. Counterfeiting money?

                  If it’s overseas, that’s a military/diplomatic issue. If it’s here, try them in the state they were doing it in.

                  OK, how about court martials for offenses committed by the military?

                  Military issue.

                  iracy on the high seas?

                  Military issue.

                  There is absolutely zero need for a federal court system. It’s redundant.

                  1. Wouldn’t military courts be federal courts?

                    1. Technically, yes, but they’d only be allowed to try personnel that sign up for their bullshit to start with, so fuck em.

                  2. Also, the Reconstruction Amendments apply to the states and give Congress the power to enforce them with ‘appropriate’ legislation. Where would cases under such legislation be heard? It would seem absurd to have them heard in the very states that might have led to the passing of these Amendments/laws.

                    1. Now you’re expanding the concept to trying states though. We were initially talking about individuals.

                    2. Not necessarily. The 13th pretty likely applies to even non-state individuals (and the 15th too I think). But I was thinking of state officials mostly.

                    3. The 13th applies to everyone, government actors and private parties.

                    4. Here’s another example.

                      A state puts up a bar to interstate commerce. A business sues. Where’s that going to be heard, in the courts of the state that set up the bar?

                  3. Today counterfeiting is ok cuz it’s STIMULUS.

            2. “Robbing the US mails. Evasion of federal tax law. Treason against the United States. That kind of stuff.”

              You talkin’ ’bout our current Executive Branch or Congress?

    2. Maybe the limit could be only to review abuses of power by states, not to retry individuals. So, for instance, if the jury, judge, or prosecution were intentionally violating civil liberties, they could be fined, imprisoned, whatever. But the defendant couldn’t be retried on the same facts for substantially similar crimes. That serves as a check on state power without philosophically crapping on double jeopardy.

      1. Another excellent point. If I understand you the feds could investigate and try the judge, the prosecution, the jury and the police if something abusive was done, but trying the same guy the state tried, that’s contrary to the spirit of double jeopardy.

        I think that’s the best solution I’ve heard on this topic.

        1. I think the lack of adequate checks on power is why the Constitution failed. We apparently needed many more than we originally had.

          The problem with trying to do that is that government becomes much less efficient. Yes, that’s a feature to libertarians, but it’s a bug to the majority of people who want the government to solve whatever problem they think only the government can address.

          1. The problem with trying to do that is that government becomes much less efficient.

            Wait, government can be even less efficient than it already is?

            Is this some kind of trick like cold fusion?

            1. One of the big “Ah, ha!” moments I’ve had was sitting on the Mall one day for lunch (when I worked as a fellow for the administration in the 90s) and realizing that the Founders intentionally made our government quite inefficient. It’s really obvious, but I’d never really thought about it that way before then. I guess I’d always thought before then that it was an unintentional side effect of limited government.

              1. The corollary you should draw from that is never trust anyone that wants to make government more “efficient.”

                1. That’s for danged sure.

      2. I like this solution. Make it so.

    3. -The problem with “should be reserved only for extreme situations” is that isn’t how the government works. If you tell them they can do something, they do it regardless of how rarely you intended to allow them to do it.

      That’s a fantastically thought provoking insight, well said.

      1. “extreme situations” may well become the norm under such a subjective criterion.

      2. What’s the point of having SWAT teams on standby and only using them for extreme situations? Let’s use SWAT teams for serving warrants. Keep the officers safe by making military tactics SOP. What could possibly go wrong?

        1. One of the more absurd features of our modern life in the US is SWAT teams serving warrants, a job that Seth Rogen did just fine in Pineapple Express.

          1. Rogen was serving subpoenas, Corky. SWAT teams didn’t eliminate process servers.

  6. It’ll be interesting how this double jeopardy thing translates into the realm of hate crimes.

    “Not guilty of hating a Pakistani.”
    Try again: “Not guilty of hating a Muslim.”
    Try again: “Not guilty of hating a dark-skinned person.”
    Try again: “Not guilty of hating a female.”
    Try again: “Guilty of hating a lesbian! Hah!”

  7. The Zimmerman verdict may have been wrong. But it was not a howling travesty.

    It was not wrong, either.

    1. But it may also have been a howling — Oh, never mind.

  8. If the Department of Justice does prosecute, expect a thoughtcrime trial.

    “You pursued Martin because you are racist, isn’t that right?”

    “No.”

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant is so racist that he is blind to his own racism. Find him guilty.”

    1. Oh yeah, gotta love the “PROVE ME WRONG” argument!

      Sad that I don’t doubt for a second that it’d work in this case.

      1. It’s all about voir dire.

        Finding a jury stupid enough to buy your argument is the better part of the battle.

        1. Then the prosecution did not get the most stupid. Only the most stupid would buy their arguments. In or out of the jury pool.

    2. Hmm. If one beats up a person because that person is a (perceived) racist, can one be convicted of a hate crime?

      1. What if I hate your hate? Is that a hate crime?

        1. Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance. So if you hate my hate, you are being tolerant.

      2. No. Racism is verboten and hate crime protection is not extended to people guilty of thoughtcrime.

        So beating a Muslim for being a Muslim is a hate crime. Beating a Dominionist for being a Dominionist is not a hate crime.

        Got it?

  9. How much longer until the mentally unhinged left finally gets tired of beating this dead horse and we can all get on with our lives?

    1. Let them beat it; it keeps them busy, and if they’re too busy beating on this horse they won’t kill the one living next to it.

    2. “We will never forget.”

  10. The reason for his acquittal was not that the jurors thought Martin deserved to die. It was a frustrating lack of definitive information about what ensued in the minutes before he was shot.

    Chapman, I am sorry to tell you that this is not true. There is enough evidence to infer that a) Zimmerman had only moved a few dozen feet from his vehicle; b) that Martin chose NOT to return home and c) that Martin punched Zimmerman in the face, breaking his nose. Exactly how the fight evolved from there can only be known by going through Zimmerman’s statements, but at a crucial point, Martin was on top of Zimmerman, pummeling him MMA-style, according to the one true eye-witness, while Zimmerman’s cries for help are clearly heard in the background of a recording of a 911 call made by another neighbor. The jurors believed that those cries were Zimmerman’s because he had told a neighbor and the police that he was crying for help in vain, before ever knowing that his cries were recorded.

    So this notion that those few minutes are veiled in total mystery is simply not true.

  11. “The [Greensboro] massacre is largely forgotten today, but it was far more shocking than the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman”

    I happen to know a bit about this case. The Communists who got shot were not just regular Commies, they were militant Maoists at a time when even China was retreating from Maoism. These guys had violent fights not only with the Klan, but with rival Commies, and with a Chinatown newspaper in New York. Strangely, violence kept erupting around them, but it was never their fault because fascists and capitalist-roaders were trying to sabotage the glorious people’s revolution (which they thought would start in America within five years). Shortly before the “massacre,” they tried to violently disrupt a Klan showing of the movie *Birth of a Nation* at a local public library. Then before holding their “Death to the Klan” rally (nice nonviolent message there!) they sent taunting letters to the Klan saying basically “you’re such chickenshit cowards you won’t dare some to our rally!” And of course they brought guns to their let’s- nonviolently-kill-the-Klan demonstration. Somewhere in there, the two criminal juries found room for reasonable doubt (a civil jury found the Klan liable for the deaths of the single non-communist victim of the shootings).

    1. Interesting, thanks.

    2. Interesting story. Thanks.

      I love when they act all shock when people push back.

      1. (which they thought would start in America within five years)

        It’s always five years with those people.

    3. And I almost forgot the part where the commies refused to cooperate with the first trial, even the ones who were on the scene and might have had useful evidence. Because it’s a lot easier to get convictions of murder if key witnesses refuse to testify.

  12. shocked.

  13. Why the picture of a 14-year-old Martin, Reason?

    1. So you can see what he looked like before he became a creepy ass gay cracka whacka

    2. I think Reason should go whole hog and try to find pics of TM when he was an infant and post those instead.

    3. You’ll also note that the picture of Zimmerman is his mugshot. That picture was intentionally designed to influence emotion.

  14. 1. Shame on Reason for the biased photos.

    2. Continually referring to the sins of some individuals as white-hate-this and white-hate-that serves only to demonize ALL “white” people and foster hatred of ALL “white” people. Enough is enough.

  15. ” The government gets one chance to take away your life or liberty in a criminal trial.”

    As I read it, the Constitution speaks only of “life or limb” in the double jeopardy clause. Did I miss something? If not, that leads me to think that if the maximum possible punishment for a particular crime doesn’t lead to death or great bodily harm, you could theoretically try a defendant multiple times for the same offense. This is one reason, perhaps, to retain the possibility of the death penalty in cases involving at least the worst felonies.

  16. If you can’t shoot someone in self defense, who is on top of you, punching your face and slamming your head into concrete, when can you shoot someone in self defense? Only when they have a weapon, too?

    And even if Zimmerman had “profiled” Martin, so what? Martin had actually just been caught with stolen jewelry from a burglary. Was he a burglar or was he just holding it for someone? I don’t know. But he was living the thug life, and he ended up getting the results of that. He would have ended up either in jail or killed by someone else sooner or later.

    And that sort of lifestyle being glamorized is the real problem.

  17. Murderers should never be allowed to walk, so I support any efforts for this murderer to be put in general population

  18. “debatable” um, No

  19. Yeah, it’s pretty clear from the pictures of zimmerman after his attack that he had a pretty strong claim of definite bodily harm and high risk of death. I mean, did you see the pics? He was FUCKED UP. His face was swollen like crazy. That little hoodlum was smashing his head onto the ground; regardless of what hollywood movies might teach you, that can easily kill you.
    I’m astounded that anyone can consider this guy guilty of anything.

  20. The vast majority of people I spoke with believed Trayvon was a fully grown thug that bit off more than he could chew when he tried to murder Zimmerman.

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  22. As someone who just recently moved from Greensboro, I can tell you it definitely isn’t forgotten there.

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