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Old 03-21-2012, 10:09 AM   #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superchuck500 View Post
I actually don't think there's going to be much of a legal fight. I don't see how the law can exculpate Zimmerman. It just doesn't apply in this case - he followed Martin. He created the confrontation. There's no apparent support for a conclusion that he reasonably feared for his life. It all makes the law inapplicable, so I don't see the law itself being put on trial.

At the arraignment or if there is a show cause hearing, his lawyer is going to offer this defense and the judge is going to deny it at this prelimnary stage. And then at his trial, he will attempt to prove this defense, but it doesn't appear that it is going to work.

He's going to be convicted for some kind of homocide. The more I read about this, the more I am convinced this is going to happen.
Why do you say there is no support for a conclusion that he reasonably feared for his life, or feared great bodily harm, or that a forcible felony would happen?
There are any number of scenarios/stories Zimmerman could be telling police that fit within that standard.
The fact that he followed Martin and created the confrontation (even after being told by police dispatch not to confront) would matter without this law, but with it is immaterial as long as he was where he had a legal right to be and was not engaging in illegal activity. He has no duty whatsoever to avoid the situation, to retreat, or even not to escalate it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:14 AM   #242
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Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Setting up to be an important legal fight. Opinions from the authors of the "stand your ground" law:

The fathers of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law implicated in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin say the man who shot him to death probably should be arrested and doesn’t deserve a self-defense claim of immunity.

...

“The guy lost his defense right then,” said Peaden. “When he said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”

Under the law, a person who claims he was acting in self defense can be immune from arrest. But, like Peaden, Baxley said Zimmerman might have lost that right because he could have “aggravated” the situation and provoked a confrontation.

Said Baxley: “There’s nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue and confront people, particularly if law enforcement has told you to stay put. I don’t see why this statute is being challenged in this case. That is to prevent you from being attacked by other people.”

Stand Your Ground fathers: Trayvon Martin's killer should likely be arrested, doesn't deserve immunity | Naked Politics
That is not what his law says.
There is nothing illegal about following someone on the street. There is nothing in the law that says aggravating a situation means you have to stand down.
They need to admit they made a mistake and that 800 or so years of common law jurisprudence is probably wiser than they are.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:20 AM   #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
That is not what his law says.
There is nothing illegal about following someone on the street. There is nothing in the law that says aggravating a situation means you have to stand down.
They need to admit they made a mistake and that 800 or so years of common law jurisprudence is probably wiser than they are.
So essentially what you are saying is that someone could go to Florida, find someone that they don't like how they look, start a confrontation, kill them and then claim self-defense as long as there are no other witnesses around.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:28 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
They need to admit they made a mistake...
That could very well be.

I cited the authors' opinions out of interest but certainly the only interpretation and/or application that really matters is what the courts will eventually hold.

From what I've read and heard, legal experts are pretty divided over the implication of the law in this case and the course doesn't seem at all clear-cut yet.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:30 AM   #245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintamaniac View Post
So essentially what you are saying is that someone could go to Florida, find someone that they don't like how they look, start a confrontation, kill them and then claim self-defense as long as there are no other witnesses around.
Pretty much - yes.

Its important to note what these sorts of laws change.
Before this law a Floridian had the right to shoot someone when they felt like their life was threatened.
What changes is that before the law you had to retreat or get out of the situation if it were possible to do so. Now, that is not the case.

Not only that, but this particular law seems to allow you to create the situation, and escalate it - as long as you are where you have a legal right to be and are not engaging in illegal activity. There are no qualifiers.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:52 AM   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
Pretty much - yes.

Its important to note what these sorts of laws change.
Before this law a Floridian had the right to shoot someone when they felt like their life was threatened.
What changes is that before the law you had to retreat or get out of the situation if it were possible to do so. Now, that is not the case.

Not only that, but this particular law seems to allow you to create the situation, and escalate it - as long as you are where you have a legal right to be and are not engaging in illegal activity. There are no qualifiers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
Why do you say there is no support for a conclusion that he reasonably feared for his life, or feared great bodily harm, or that a forcible felony would happen?
There are any number of scenarios/stories Zimmerman could be telling police that fit within that standard.
The fact that he followed Martin and created the confrontation (even after being told by police dispatch not to confront) would matter without this law, but with it is immaterial as long as he was where he had a legal right to be and was not engaging in illegal activity. He has no duty whatsoever to avoid the situation, to retreat, or even not to escalate it.
I think these things are all interrelated. Because the law does not define "reasonable fear for one's life", I think this necessarily defers to the reasonable fear standard in the common law doctrine of self defense as applied in the relevant jurisdiction. These "stand your ground" laws, as I understand it, were enacted for one simple purpose: the common law standard arguably (under some circumstances) required an attempt at retreat before self defense could be used. In other words, your first option had to be to flee - before you could actually use deadly force in the face of a lethal threat. These laws were intended to change that standard . . . in other words, the legislators believed that you shouldn't have to flee in some situations.

And in fact, that's why many of these laws are limited to certain physical locations. In your home. In your car. Areas where you have domain. I don't think they were theoretically intended to apply to public places in general, though it appears that the Florida law may actually apply there. I would consider this to take the rationale behind the law too far, and authorizing lethal standoffs in public places simply because someone wants to "stand their ground."

But you ask for the support for my statement that there is no apparent justification under the reasonable apprehension of death, bodily harm or forcible felony. Because these terms aren't defined and therefore presumably left to the prevailing legal definitions in the jurisdiction, I believe that the support for my statement is there in the fact that: Martin had no weapon. Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend. Martin was returning to a friend's home from the convenience store. Martin is smaller than Zimmerman. These are factors that would likely be part of the reasonableness standard.

These things suggest (though I'll agree they don't prove) that Zimmerman unlikely possessed a reasonable fear of death, great bodily harm or forcible felony. Perhaps evidence will show otherwise, but it's hard to come up with a scenario. Such evidence would be very surprising IMO.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:59 AM   #247
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True
Arguing this stuff without any sort of facts is way beyond premature.

Nonetheless, it does make some sense out of there not being an arrest as of now.

And if it turns he did have reasonable fear of bodily harm then its over, he walks, Whereas without this law he could still be in jeopardy because he created the dangerous situation.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:01 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
Why do you say there is no support for a conclusion that he reasonably feared for his life, or feared great bodily harm, or that a forcible felony would happen?
There are any number of scenarios/stories Zimmerman could be telling police that fit within that standard.
The fact that he followed Martin and created the confrontation (even after being told by police dispatch not to confront) would matter without this law, but with it is immaterial as long as he was where he had a legal right to be and was not engaging in illegal activity. He has no duty whatsoever to avoid the situation, to retreat, or even not to escalate it.
You are correct in your last statement. The law says that you have not duty to retreat. That's why it's called a stand your ground law. Because if someone engages you, you have no legal duty or responsibility to flee. You can stand your ground.

In other words, if you approach me, and do something threatening, that I can reasonbly assume will result in harm, I can stand my ground and retaliate, possibly up to deadly force. That's because I am standing my ground.

Now, if you are 20 feet away from me, and do something threatening, and then you run away...and I pursue you, I am no longer STANDING MY GROUND. At that point, the law that says I am allowed to stand my ground and retailiate would no longer apply.

Here is what the law says:

And actually the law reads:
"if he or she reasonably believes [deadly force] is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."


So, in order for the law to apply Zimmerman would have to reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary:
--to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another (While I'm not a lawyer, I would not think this would apply if Zimmerman initiated the confrontation. I can't imagine that the law would allow me to use deadly force if I started a fight with someone and they started to get the upper hand)
--to prevent the commission of a forceable felony (The kid was walking down the street, and walked away. Zimmerman chased him. I can't imagine that in the time period that followed, Martin had the ability to do something that would cause a reasonable person to assume that the only way to stop him from committing a felony would be to shoot him. It was apparent that his only motive was to run away from the man chasing him)
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:05 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by FullMonte View Post

Now, if you are 20 feet away from me, and do something threatening, and then you run away...and I pursue you, I am no longer STANDING MY GROUND. At that point, the law that says I am allowed to stand my ground and retailiate would no longer apply.
Where do you get that from the language of the statute?
I read it as saying as long as you are where you have a legal right to be and are not engaging in illegal activity.
Pursuing someone on a street or sidewalk is not illegal and Zimmerman has a legal right to be there.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:06 AM   #250
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So basically under Florida law, you can get into an argument with a guy at a bar and mutually decide to take it outside and bring your guns. Then proceed to fire your guns in the street and the man that lives gets to go home victorious!
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #251
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Nonetheless, it does make some sense out of there not being an arrest as of now.
I don't really understand that, frankly. As I understand self-defense, even if statutory, it is an affirmative defense. I could understand a failure to arrest with truly compelling facts. But we don't have that here, and I think Zimmerman has nothing more than a defense that he will need to present in the process that begins with his arrest.

Even if he released without bail pending a hearing, the process needs to commence with the arrest - right?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:17 AM   #252
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Maybe this has been mentioned already, but despite what really happened or didn't happen; there was no outcome to the situation that would have resulted in this Zimmerman guy being killed and losing his life. So I don't see how him killing the kid is justifiable.

So if I'm walking down a street in Florida, minding my own business, and some crazy lunatic just randomly sucker punches me in the face, I can pull out a gun and shoot him dead?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:27 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by JimEverett View Post
Where do you get that from the language of the statute?
I read it as saying as long as you are where you have a legal right to be and are not engaging in illegal activity.
Pursuing someone on a street or sidewalk is not illegal and Zimmerman has a legal right to be there.
Except by pusuing and possible even grabing the young boy (a minor) without probable cause he was violating the victims rights and commiting a crime. To make matters worse - he calls himself a neighborhood watch captain but he is not a member of ANY nw organizations. he wasn't trained,elected or appointed. He is a lose canon who in several cases have intimidated his neighbors
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:36 AM   #254
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They need to admit they made a mistake and that 800 or so years of common law jurisprudence is probably wiser than they are.
So you're saying that 800 years of English common law might be wiser than the NRA?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #255
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So you're saying that 800 years of English common law might be wiser than the NRA?
it is sort of hard to believe.
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