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Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    02 May '13 20:57
    Though many commentators (including some here) believed that the killer of Trayvon Martin would prevail at a pre-trial SYG hearing and be immune from a criminal or civil trial, his defense has decided to forego it.http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense/index.html?iref=allsearch

    His trial on murder and other charges is now set for June 10 though the defense has been trying to delay it (standard practice when the defendant is free on bail).

    Usually a criminal defendant wants as many pre-trial proceedings as possible to preview the State's trial strategy and lock their witnesses into specific versions of the facts. In addition, prevailing in this type of pre-trial proceeding means all criminal charges are dropped and further no civil liability can ever be assessed in the future. It seems a curious decision to forego it here; obviously the defendant did not feel he could convince a judge that the SYG applies in this case.

    I look forward to the trial.
  2. 02 May '13 23:09
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Though many commentators (including some here) believed that the killer of Trayvon Martin would prevail at a pre-trial SYG hearing and be immune from a criminal or civil trial, his defense has decided to forego it.http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense/index.html?iref=allsearch

    His trial on murder and other charges i ...[text shortened]... ld convince a judge that the SYG applies in this case.

    I look forward to the trial.
    If what you say is true then his defence will be seriously diminished.
    He won't stand much of a chance without the SYG strategy.

    Although I do agree that he would probably have a hard time trying to
    make the SYG defence stand up to the intense scrutiny it would get
    from the prosecution.

    If the prosecution witnesses are strong and unbending and present
    incontrovertible evidence then he is going down.
  3. 02 May '13 23:25
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Though many commentators (including some here) believed that the killer of Trayvon Martin would prevail at a pre-trial SYG hearing and be immune from a criminal or civil trial, his defense has decided to forego it.http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense/index.html?iref=allsearch

    His trial on murder and other charges i ...[text shortened]... ld convince a judge that the SYG applies in this case.

    I look forward to the trial.
    What do you think is left for the defense? Simple self-defense?

    I know the defense can be silent and the prosecution has the full burden, I just wonder what the defense might present if anything.
  4. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    02 May '13 23:28
    Originally posted by JS357
    What do you think is left for the defense? Simple self-defense?

    I know the defense can be silent and the prosecution has the full burden, I just wonder what the defense might present if anything.
    Yes, he'll be claiming self-defense. It's hard to believe that Zimmerman won't take the stand unless the prosecution witnesses are a complete mess.
  5. 02 May '13 23:28
    Originally posted by JS357
    What do you think is left for the defense? Simple self-defense?

    I know the defense can be silent and the prosecution has the full burden, I just wonder what the defense might present if anything.
    They might do very little.

    He might not even take the stand.

    As you say, it is up to the prosecution to prove their case
    beyond all reasonable doubt.
  6. 03 May '13 00:38
    Anyway, my guess is that a jury of his peers based on the evidence will find Zimmerman guilty of cold-blooded murder with no affirmative defense.
  7. 03 May '13 05:44
    I'm curious if self-defense must be proved, like having to prove insanity in a murder trial, or if the prosecutor must prove it was NOT self-defense.
  8. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    03 May '13 06:18 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    I'm curious if self-defense must be proved, like having to prove insanity in a murder trial, or if the prosecutor must prove it was NOT self-defense.
    It's a defense; the prosecutor still has the burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused presents evidence indicating that there is an issue of self-defense (obviously that will happen at trial here), the judge must read as part of his final instructions to the jury that the prosecutor must disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

    In Florida the jury instruction concludes:

    If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty.

    However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find [him] [her] guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.

    http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/jury_instructions/instructions.shtml#

    3.6(f) Justifiable Use of Deadly Force
  9. 03 May '13 11:31
    Cold blooded murder?
    Hardly.

    http://www.amren.com/features/2012/03/the-trayvon-shooting-fact-versus-fantasy/
  10. Standard member vivify
    rain
    03 May '13 12:18
    This wasn't "cold-blooded murder", but a man violating his neighborhood watch's rules (carrying a gun while on duty) to harrass a teenager minding his own business (based on testimony of what was heard through Martin's cell-phone), and needlessly engaging in a scuffle against a minor who weighed almost a hundred pounds less than he did, shooting him dead in the process.

    Not "cold-blooded murder", but still very serious.
  11. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 May '13 13:23
    Originally posted by johnnylongwoody
    If what you say is true then his defence will be seriously diminished.
    He won't stand much of a chance without the SYG strategy.

    Although I do agree that he would probably have a hard time trying to
    make the SYG defence stand up to the intense scrutiny it would get
    from the prosecution.

    If the prosecution witnesses are strong and unbending and present
    incontrovertible evidence then he is going down.
    I don't think SYG is the main issue in this case. I don't think it ever was. SYG says that you may use deadly force instead of safely retreating if you are threatened with deadly force. That it not Zimmerman's claim here. Zimmerman's claim is that Martin was beating his head into the pavement and so he had to shoot Martin to save himself. If what Zimmerman says is accurate, then his defense is legitimate and he's not guilty and that's with or without a SYG law. If Zimmerman is lying and Martin wasn't actually bashing his head into the ground, then Zimmerman has no defense, again with or without a SYG law.
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 May '13 13:24
    Originally posted by moon1969
    Anyway, my guess is that a jury of his peers based on the evidence will find Zimmerman guilty of cold-blooded murder with no affirmative defense.
    There's no such crime as "cold-blooded murder" and so a jury of his peers could not possibly come back with such a verdict.
  13. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    03 May '13 14:51
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't think SYG is the main issue in this case. I don't think it ever was. SYG says that you may use deadly force instead of safely retreating if you are threatened with deadly force. That it not Zimmerman's claim here. Zimmerman's claim is that Martin was beating his head into the pavement and so he had to shoot Martin to save himself. If what Zimmerman says ...[text shortened]... his head into the ground, then Zimmerman has no defense, again with or without a SYG law.
    IF Zimmerman could convince a judge by a preponderance of evidence of evidence at a pre-trial hearing that said claim was true, he would be entitled to dismissal of the criminal charges AND civil immunity under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law:

    Under Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, a person who uses force as permitted in Section 776.012 or Section 776.013 “is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action” for the use of such force (with certain limited exceptions). Note the word “immune.” This means that, if the accused can factually establish pre-trial that his or her use of deadly force occurred under the circumstances outlined in Section 776.012 or Section 776.013, the State of Florida is legally and procedurally barred from further prosecution in the matter. In the event that a civil action is brought against the person who used qualifying deadly force, a court must award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred in the defense of the case.

    http://www.husseinandwebber.com/stand_your_ground.html

    The law states in pertinent part:

    the Florida Legislature enacted in 2005 what has been popularly known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law, as codified in Sections 776.012, and 776.013, Florida Statutes, provides that a person is justified in the use of deadly force and has no duty to retreat if either:

    (1) the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself, or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or


    Zimmerman's claim is most certainly that his use of deadly force was justified and that is precisely the issue at a SYG hearing.
  14. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 May '13 14:58
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    IF Zimmerman could convince a judge by a preponderance of evidence of evidence at a pre-trial hearing that said claim was true, he would be entitled to dismissal of the criminal charges AND civil immunity under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law:

    Under Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, a person who uses force as permitted in Section 776.012 or Sectio ...[text shortened]... that his use of deadly force was justified and that is precisely the issue at a SYG hearing.
    Okay, but Zimmerman is claiming he didn't have the opportunity to retreat because Martin had him pinned and was beating him up. Even if he had the duty to retreat (i.e., they were in a state without a SYG law), he's claiming he didn't have the ability to do so.

    I understand that straight self-defense can also be argued at a SYG hearing, but SYG is a bit of a misnomer on the facts of this case.
  15. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    03 May '13 15:06
    Originally posted by sh76
    Okay, but Zimmerman is claiming he didn't have the opportunity to retreat because Martin had him pinned and was beating him up. Even if he had the duty to retreat (i.e., they were in a state without a SYG law), he's claiming he didn't have the ability to do so.

    I understand that straight self-defense can also be argued at a SYG hearing, but SYG is a bit of a misnomer on the facts of this case.
    It's best to actually look at the law and the procedures under it rather than rely on its nickname. The Florida law is far different from standard practices regarding self-defense claims i.e. the ending of the "duty to retreat" was only a part of the law. From the cite already given:

    Section 776.032 was created by the Florida Legislature to establish a “true immunity” and not merely an affirmative defense.