A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Embarrassment Of The George Zimmerman Verdict

The result of a verdict today in a criminal trial is that everyone with a twitter or Facebook account gets to let the world know how ignorant they are of the criminal justice system. I know, First Amendment. But your ignorance shows again when you mention that. The First Amendment protects you from the government, it doesn't protect you on twitter or Facebook from people calling you out for your ignorance.

@A1Black_: RT @_surlySprite: They need to APPEAL THIS VERDICT AND GO TO THE SUPREME COURT ❗❗❗ Don't Stop until Justice is Served for T…

@34thwarrior: Trayvon parents should appeal this to the next level

@_CharNae: Trayvon Martin parents better appeal this case! I would NOT let nobody off for killing my child! HELL TF NO!

@_shVn: Trayvon's parents can appeal this verdict and try to get justice again! Lets pray they do and it turns out right this time! Rip

Some background before you start beating on your keyboard:

1. I'm a criminal defense lawyer in Florida since 1995.

2. I watched the trial. Had it on at home, in my office, in the car. I didn't watch it through updates from the morons on HLN or CNN, most of whom should be fired (more on that later).

3. I know the lawyers, on both sides, including the civil lawyers for the Martin family.

4. I did some commentary, and declined commentary on media outlets that were only trying to enrage the public.

As for the case, I think it's terrible that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. That's a tragedy. I don't think he had to shoot him, and had one or two things been different (he didn't get out of his car, didn't have a gun, on and on), we wouldn't be here. I keep hearing Trayvon Martin would have killed George Zimmerman, I don't think so, but I wasn't there.

You weren't there either. You don't know what happened, exactly. As much as you want to believe you were there and know what happened, exactly, you weren't, and you don't.

Not knowing exactly what happened requires a not guilty verdict, no matter how angry or outraged you are. The jury didn't free Zimmerman because they thought he was a good guy or because they weren't sad that a young boy was killed (jurors were rumored to be crying during the state's rebuttal), they found him not guilty because the facts and the law required them to do so.

The state had a crappy case, they knew they had a crappy case. This is why they assigned 3 career prosecutors with a combined stat of probably over 500 trials. Their first problem was no witnesses to the event. You would agree, wouldn't you, that witnesses help prove cases? Their second problem was a tape that no one could agree on. You know whose voice was on that tape? I don't. The state never laid out, point by point, what happened. If I'm being asked to convict someone of a crime, and I know the state has the burden of proof, the state is required to tell me what happened, not just ask questions and tell me "you decide" over and over again.

Juries don't make decisions because they are mad, sad, angry, or feel bad for someone's parents.

George Zimmerman is not guilty because the law says he's not guilty. You don't think it's right that he killed Trayvon Martin, but that's not what the law says in Florida where we like guns more than we like people. You have a problem with that, do something to change the law other than complain on social media. I know, you're busy, you won't. That's for others to do.

Five things I want to say in closing:

1. Your cries for an appeal are hurting my eyes. There is no appeal. Stop letting the world know how ignorant you are. If you don't know criminal law or procedure, shut up. Ask someone before you display your stupidity to the world.

2. If you didn't see the trial, stop criticizing the verdict, it just makes you look stupid.

3. HLN, get rid of Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell. They are not legal commentators helping the public understand our important, essential, and treasured criminal justice system. Neither are many of their guests who should never be asked back. There are 95,000 lawyers in Florida, there is no reason a lawyer from another state who doesn't know Florida law needs to be on daily telling everyone "I don't practice in Florida, I don't know Florida law" just because they can yell. Their daily display of drama may be what you believe to be the "First Amendment," but it is also pathetic, and making people dumber and angrier.

4. CNN needs to send Sonny Hostin and Gloria Allred packing. First of all Piers Morgan, this is a criminal trial in Florida. Why is the only guest you continue to have on is someone from California that doesn't practice criminal law and is known for representing, at press conferences, women victims? What could she possibly have to offer about this case?

And CNN, especially Anderson Cooper, get rid of Sonny Hostin. This woman was a prosecution shill from the beginning of this trial, struggling to say anything positive about the defense. Last night, after the verdict, she said "justice took the day off." She wasn't there to provide commentary, she was shilling for the state. She should have disclosed from the begining that she desperately wanted a conviction, that way it would have been easier to listen to her biased commentary. She's terrible and should never be asked to appear in the media again when there is an important trial.

5. The media, especially TV, needs to start vetting their guests. I know these are lawyers with agents, but they've never been in a criminal courtroom, or at least not since they spent a year as a prosecutor in 1978. Can you not find lawyers that actually know what they are talking about? Piers Morgan is asking Gloria Allred what she would do in opening in the Zimmerman case? I have a better question, Gloria, when is the last time you gave an opening statement, in any case?

That's all I want to say, for now.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal and Bar Defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.

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272 comments:

  1. Dennis8:52 AM

    Amen on the commentators!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Esther Panitch9:13 AM

    Brian,
    I hope you don't think all of us on HLN are morons.
    Best,
    Esther

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Esther, I think HLN as a network is a disgrace and I won't appear there. I understand you may think appearing there gives a good counterpoint to the raging idiots ( as I of course do not think you are a moron ) but that network is nothing but entertainment for the masses and does nothing to educate people on the legal system.

      Delete
    2. Nemo from Erehwon9:59 AM

      Ha, Brian, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!

      But seriously, while I can;t really comment on HLN (I am not sure I have ever seen it) I am pretty confident that it does not stand alone as being a disgraceful display of infotainment designed to engage emotions rather than minds. You see, I HAVE seen many of the other "news" networks.


      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:39 AM

      I completely agree with you regarding the commentators but can you please keep Robin Meade... She makes my morning..

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    4. I saw the station for the first time during this trial and was disgusted. Their comments were so ignorant that i wondered if they weren't watching or didn't understand the segment of the trial they were commenting on. And that shrill screamer should not have the name Grace. She has none. I shut the tv off when hearing her voice after seeing her the first time. CNN was no better and I literally have been distraught over the implications of the mass ignorance of our core, foundational principles of justice. These shrills were totally promoting guilty unless proven innocent and, even then, only with mass approval.

      Delete
  3. Television is entertainment, something to keep you hanging between commercials. Since Nancy Grace can't dance, sing or tell jokes, she's relegated to idiotic ranting to confirm the ignorance of the viewers, a highly desired demographic prone to impulse buying of items that are unlikely to work.

    She's a very valuable television entertainment property, and you have failed to give her the respect she is due. It's not like she's a lawyer. Oh wait...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I totally agree with you...you are absolutely correct on every thing you said.

    The media and these so-called TV show hosts & commentators helped to turn this into a racial issue. They fired up the masses and caused damage among the races regarding this trial. They do it for MONEY & RATINGS for their TV Shows. Shameful behavior and these media outlets should be held accountable for their deceptive actions!

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  5. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Boom.

    Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You had to mention Jane Velez Mitchell, didn't you.

    I just about had her stupid puss erased my memory from when she "covered" the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-B8_r8KNgw

    Thanks, Brian.

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  7. Anonymous10:12 AM

    While I agree wholeheartedly with you feelings on the media and overhyping this case (particularly Nancy Grace), you missed an opportunity to educate your readers on what the next steps COULD be.

    No, there is no "appeal". However, the NAACP has already put in for a civil rights case. As with the Rodney King verdict, the officers involved were still sent to prison time, as could George Zimmerman. I personally don't see this as a strong possibility, as I don't think the racial element can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    However, the possibility of a civil case, brought by Trayvon's family, has a strong chance of success. The ability to prove a wrongful death is a lot easier than murder, and would devastate a guy like Zimmerman financially for the rest of his life. Just look at OJ.

    While I appreciate your contribution to trying to educate the public, excluding information like this works against that goal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:24 PM

      The stand your ground laws will eliminate any possibility of the Martin's having a successful civil case.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:13 AM

      Anonymous is correct. And further...there was no profiling or racial hatred. That was proven in this case. The NAACP is trying race bait with calling in Holder and further litigation. It's the black community who are keeping race an issue everywhere in this country along with Sharpton and Jackson.

      Delete
    3. I'm not here to make you happy. If something's not included to your satisfaction, you're free to include it, or start your own blog.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous9:51 AM

      FBI already concluded race was not an issue. Personally I think administration wanted this case as a political issue to increase minority participation in the election.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous9:55 AM

      Oh Tannebaum Oh Tannebaum, you give us so much pleasure!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:00 AM

      I don't know who you are, never read your book or for that matter had much to say that is good about lawyers, but I'd hire you in an instant and vote for you twice as fast as that. Thanks for bringing some common sense into this matter.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:02 AM

      Pray tell.....why ARE you here? To enlighten the ignorant? To exhibit your profound understanding of everything law-related? To insult anyone who might have differing insights?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:19 AM

      The commentary above saying the NAACP is "race baiting" is 100% correct! Ever since the mid-1950s (and I'm old enough to remember), when the US government began attempting to "right wrongs" regarding black Americans by using official policy and legal mechanisms to do it, there has actually been MORE inequality, not less! Charlatans like Jackson and Sharpton saw quickly where they could "race bait" for a career, make a damn good living at it (millionaires), and never have to work a real job the rest of their lives! Then, when much of white America so desperately wanted to put the days of racial division and hatred behind, and so many naïve whites voted Obama into office, they brought in a man who is woefully unqualified to serve as our leader, with an agenda that would pit the races against each other as never before! As a veteran who served America in Vietnam, and came home "walking upright" rather than in a "body bag", as many good men did, I saw the racial hatred of most blacks toward whites up close in the Army, and before then never realized how much they are taught from childhood to hate "the man", and white people in general! You have to have compassion for the few blacks who really work hard and don't ask for government handouts, make something of themselves, and never look back! God bless them for not giving in to racial hatred and bigotry, as too many of our fellow citizens of all races have! God bless America! (and help America).

      Delete
    9. You are the racist next door

      Delete
    10. Your racism is showing. I, too, am old enough to remember the mid-1950s, grew up in the south, and remember segregated water fountains, bathrooms, and lunch counters. Trust me, there is *more* equality now than then because it's no longer being swept under the rug so we can pretend it doesn't exist. I'm not a big fan of either Jackson or Sharpton, but they play a role in the community that keeps keeps white America from pretending that everything is okay now just because we elected (actually, according to the vote) a black man as President.

      There are more than a "few" blacks who work hard and make something of themselves. (BTW, this statement is where your racism actually shouts out loud.) There are also a lot of whites on welfare rolls (check the stats for southern states), none of which has anything at all to do with bigotry and inequality. Of course white America wants to put the days of racial division and hatred behind; no one likes to be reminded or confronted with their ignorance and cruelty. If you think the NAACP and the above-mentioned Jackson/Sharpton are race-baiters, check out some of the disgusting tweets from the past couple of days. How would you feel if that was your son they were talking about?

      BTW, I'm white. And I don't feel a need to be "Anonymous."

      Delete
    11. That's right Cheryl, and racism lives on. I am heartily sick of it. It swings both ways. I do believe this case was blown way out of proportion by the media. The media has forgotten the definition of unbiased news. REPORT! However, it seems all of it is commentary. White/black/any color, we all have ingrained/taught/lived with issues regarding this subject. I only know of One who actually got it ALL right. That would be Jesus. Great example, and I'm still working on me!

      Delete
  8. Anonymous10:32 AM

    To be fair, he did mention knowing the "lawyers...including the civil lawyers for the Martin family." Either way, I don't think the prospect of civil case needed to be included to achieve its purpose.

    That said, the Martins have an excellent chance on a civil case. The jury there would only need to find it "more likely than not" that Zimmerman wrongfully killed Martin, a standard that it will likely meet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:01 PM

      A standard that it will likely meet?!? How? By saying, "We can't say for certain, but it appears that an unblemished 17-year old busted the back of the head and broke the nose of a 29-year old, and the 29-year old shot and killed the 17-year old." That is the more likely scenario, though, none of the scenarios are without uncertainty. I'd love to see a civil case and a civil rights case, just to witness the continued exposition of the liberal idiots and the kid that "would look like my son."

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:21 PM

      The basis for the civil action would be Zimmerman's bad choices/actions that led to the death of Martin. If he chose or acted negligently, he could be found liable, much in the same way that he would be liable for injuries caused by driving while intoxicated. Much in the same way that OJ was found "not guilty", but found liable in the civil trial for wrongful death.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:17 PM

      Except he wouldn't be found negligent if there as a superseding/intervening event to break the causal chain...perhaps such as a fight possibly started by the ultimate victim.

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    4. Anonymous5:28 AM

      The Martins have already won a civil suit against the homeowners association. That settlement more than likely contained a clause that there cannot be any further civil litigation by them ( or else the association had a real crappy attorney)If this is true I see no possibility of them being plaintiffs in any other suit.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous9:43 AM

      A civil case will have Zimmerman's lawyers introducing as evidence the records from TM's cell phone. There are texts where he talks a lot about being in fights and loving it. Not the picture painted of the innocent young man going for Skittles. His mother may not want that Trayvon outed.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous9:58 AM

      OJ lost the civil trial because much of the evidence that his lawyers got excluded in the criminal trial were admitted into evidence for his civil trial. Not so in Zimmerman's case, where the judge gave the prosecution the benefit of almost every ruling on evidence (evidence to include and evidence to exclude that was unflattering to Trayvon). The prosecution would have no more evidence against Zimmerman than they did in the criminal case, but the defense would have a lot more evidence to show Martin for what he was...a troubled kid with a history of violence and drug use. That doesn't in itself mean Martin deserved to die, but there were tragic judgment errors on the part of both parties that led to Martin's death. It would be hard, I think, for a jury to assign the blame entirely to Zimmerman when Martin had the chance to walk away and apparently chose to assault Zimmerman instead. Sadly, Martin was a contributor to his own demise.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous11:52 AM

      Based on what I have read over the weekend Fl law prevents a civil suit being brought when someone prevails based on self defense. Not a lawyer and if a knowledgeable lawyer would care to comment that would be interesting.
      -uncleFred

      Delete
  9. Kudos Brian for, once again, writing a non biased and intelligent blog post. Despite your clear dislike for the tv news' legal analysts (who can disagree), you break down the crux of the legal issues for non-lawyer types like me to understand. And you address the social impact as well. I shared your blog with my friends and look forward to the next topic.

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  10. Anonymous11:28 AM

    I guess you don't realize Zimmerman has no job, hasn't had one since he was arrested. How can a civil verdict criple him financially if he is already broke? With his father being a lawyer, I'm sure he will be able to live comfortably without showing an income.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:55 PM

      Well gee, he COULD actually get a job, then his wages could be garnished.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous12:00 PM

    A civil case. To what end? Let's say they prevail and get a judgement. Are they that short of toilet paper? Because that's all a judgement will be good for; wiping their arses. It is entirely too easy to ride through this life without legally owning any assets.

    The family will gain nothing from a civil trial. Only the lawyers and advertising-addicted media outlets stand anything to gain.

    And don't bother me with platitudes of "closure" or "vindication". Meaningless in the face of all this, and you damned well know it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The media, especially TV, needs to start vetting their guests.



    They have. It's corporate America's way of keeping the masses uninformed. After all, who owns the channel Nancy Grace and Jane Velez Mitchell appear on? Why, Time-Warner(They own CNN, too).

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  13. It is entirely too easy to ride through this life without legally owning any assets.



    For whom? The rich?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:53 PM

      No, for anyone who puts assets in a trust or owns them as an LLC. Any average Joe can do this. Zimmerman has a history of lying to the court and hiding money. Don't think he's not above what the OP suggests.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous1:13 AM

      The assets in the trust could be safe if the trust is proven to not have been formed to avoid paying a legal settlement. Furthermore, even though the res (whatever is in the trust) of the trust can be protected, any benefits gained from said trust could be garnished by the courts. So the capital remains intact, but he can't benefit from it. So what's the use?

      -FL Attorney

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:43 AM

      The prime example is O.J.

      Delete
  14. You have written exactly what I feel, the media has tried to make this about emotions and not the law, which is there for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous12:27 PM

    While I do appreciate the breakdown of everything and you did a great job I do have one question. What about the manslaughter charge? Am I to believe that this man is guilty of nothing? I dont believe that you follow or confront anything or person you feel is a threat. Unless you are armed. While I dont blame the jurors 100% I do know that 3 are unemployed and will gain notoriety from this once they are allowed to. Sanford Police botched this case from day one because you had a dead African American male dead who they believed started the entire thing. So the state was at a disadvantage from the jump.

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    Replies
    1. Remember innocent until proven guilty, he was not proven guilty, so he is innocent by our laws not your emotions

      Delete
    2. Anonymous8:14 PM

      Also remember the small thing of "Guilty Beyond a reasonable doubt." I find it hard to believe that anyone can look anyone else in the eye and say "I could have gotten the verdict."

      Delete
    3. Anonymous1:20 AM

      The evidence that was available decided the Jury's verdict. Mr. Zimmerman shot the late Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Self-defense laws in Florida, especially the "stand your ground" clause of their Castle Doctrine, make it such that this was not a case of manslaughter/murder. Similar laws apply in Texas. We have the Castle doctrine, which Florida shares. Both states contain a "Stand Your Ground" clause permitting a person to use self-defense including: Physical force, and/or deadly force, in any place in which they have a legal right to be, without a duty to retreat. No one is arguing that shooting someone is right. It is clearly morally wrong to take another persons life. But the law does not determine right or wrong. It only determines legal or illegal, and according to the law, Mr. Zimmerman was not guilty of breaking any such law. As for the manslaughter charge, if the court has already decided that he was not guilty of second-degree murder and that Mr. Zimmerman indeed acted in self-defense then it stands to reason that the evidence showed (to some extent) that Trayvon Martin was acting in such a manner as to warrant deadly-force by Mr.Zimmerman. This leaves us with one legal outcome: Trayvon Martin, from a legal stand point, appeared to have been meaning to kill Mr. Zimmerman or cause serious bodily injury and he met that assault with deadly force which was within his rights to do so according to the Florida Castle Doctrine and subsequently, the "Stand Your Ground" clause, regardless of any number of possible variables that could have prevented the outcome.

      Apart from that point, Mr. Zimmerman will live the rest of his life with the knowledge that he ended a young man's life. Justified or not, that is a heavy and sorrowful burden to bear. To hold the death of another human being in your hands...to feel guilt for their death. It changes your soul. I can attest because I'm an EMT and even though I didn't kill the man I lost under my hands while I was preforming CPR I still felt guilt because it was my job to keep him alive. Trust me, Zimmerman will suffer the consequences of his actions. Just not the way some people want him to. As for the Martin's they'll suffer from his actions too. No verdict or lawsuit will bring Trayvon back. There is no thing that can fill that gap. Nothing can ease their pain, and another court-loss may be more emotionally devastating than the first. Some times it's better to move on than to dwell on the past. It's been almost a year since Trayvon's death, the media needs to let that family alone in peace.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous9:11 AM

      Well Said!!!!! Money will never give the family peace. Zimmeerman should have follwed the advise not to follow and stay in the car.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous12:27 PM

      Two questions:

      1) If TM had lived wouldbhe have been prosecuted for a "hate crime"?

      The prosecution witness testified that he called GZ a "creepy ass craker". The ONLY ugly racial slur intoduced into any of the evidence. The prosecution witness also testified TM was on top of GZ rainng blows on him "MMA" style.

      2) Can GZ file a civil suit against the parents of TM for attacking him? Are the parents responsible for the actions of their child?

      Delete
  16. Finally, a small kernel of logic and reason blooms amidst a vast harvest of nonsense.

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  17. Well said, Brian. It's depressing to hear so much commentary from so many people who know so little. I like trial stories, and I might have been curious to hear if the prosecution's case was strong or the defense's closing good, but I'd have wanted to hear it from people who actually have the experience and knowledge to speak with authority.


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  18. Excellent posting. Although I wish the outcome were different, I agree with your assessment, and especially your critique of the media coverage. Thanks for writing this.

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  19. This is excellent. One typo: "You know who's voice was on that tape?" It should be "whose."

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous3:22 PM

      feel better now?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:27 AM

      He was correct. Problem with that?

      Delete
  20. Brian said it all. I was a prosecutor for 15 years and prosecutor several murder cases including 3 serial killers and for over 20 years have been a criminal defense handling several high profile cases. What Brian from Miami said is exactly how I feel. One of the reporters last night kept saying the Judge read the verdict when it was actually the deputy clerk I was the elected State Attorney for 4 terms and I can tell you I never would have filed the charges against Zimmerman. There just wasn't enough evidence to convict him. It is obvious the 6 women did their job. They too ample time to review the evidence and based their verdict on the facts and not pressure or emotions. Hat's off to them. JUSTICE WAS SERVED.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:56 PM

      Would you say "hats of to them" if it had been your kid? Would you still believe justice was served?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous4:29 PM

      People die every day. Do you shed a tear for all of them?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous4:50 PM

      The "would you say it if it was your child" holds no weight. The law is not based on emotions. The state did a poor job at proving without a reasonable doubt. The jurors did their job to the best of their ability wether we like the outcome or not.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous8:19 PM

      Bob, The state did initially decide to not pursue any criminal charges against George Zimmerman. It wasn't until after there was a sudden on-rush of "White man killed black boy!" to include the President of the United States saying "If I had a son, he would look exactly like Trayvon Martin." And I'm not positive on this next part, but I heard he charged the State of Florida with "You will find justice for Trayvon Martin." Doesn't sound like an executive order (in fact, it's not written.. so it isn't one), but it sure sounds like the President was pushing Florida to pursue the case. Not to mention to pressure from the media and likes of people like Al Sharpton.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous9:39 AM

      I seldom watch MSNBC or CNN, but I'd like to see a comparison of air time spent on the Travon Martin "murder trial", and the time spent on the 11 or 12 killed by guns in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend, plus 60 or 70 gun injuries.

      Delete
  21. Anonymous2:50 PM

    S.Y.G. Is a defense to a civil action as well, at least in state court. The lawsuit will be against the condo association, naming Zimmerman only for effect. The association's insurers will settle.....quickly.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:44 PM

      The HOA already settled before the trial for $1.5 million.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Hi Brian,

    Did you follow the Marissa Alexander trial at all? Would love your opinion of that one. All I can find is one sided stuff talking about it. Would love something that talks about it from a legal view, like you did with the Zimmerman Trial. Thanks.

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  23. That is a question that has to be answered based on emotions. Certainly my answer would be different if it were my son but that would be based on revenge and retribution, My emotions would interfere with sound judgment as far as the legal system would be concerned. However that does not change the facts that the evidence in this case did not support anything but not guilty. That doesn't mean that the killing of Trayvon Martin was not a tragedy nor does it mean that George Zimmerman was not guilty. It means that under our system of law it was NOT PROVEN. In England that is one of the choices a jury can choose. There the choices
    are GUILTY, NOT GUILTY or NOT PROVEN.

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    Replies
    1. It is only in the Scottish courts that a 'Not Proven' verdict can be handed down. Here in England, as in Ireland and Wales it is only guilty or not guilty. The same applies in most other countries which have continued a judicial system based on English Common Law, after gaining their political independence.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:05 PM

      You are incorrect. The verdict means precisely that Zimmerman is not guilty. He walked into court an innocent man, and with the failure of the state to prove his guilt walked out the same way innocent of the charges against him.

      Consider that when one claims they are innocent in the killing of another by virtue of self defense, the admit their action did kill the person, but the circumstances justified their use of deadly force and the subsequent result. If the state can demonstrate that the circumstances did not fall under the provisions in the law for self defense the person has admitted to an act which has been found to be criminal. Since the state was unable to demonstrate this, Zimmerman is NOT a criminal and is innocent.

      Delete
  24. Being asked "what if it was your kid" is like being asked "how can you defend those people." The answer is that if it was my kid, I could not be objective. I would have to be forced to understand law and reality over emotion. The other answer is that it's a dumb question to ask someone whose kid it isn't.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous3:42 PM

      Your opinion is that it's a dumb question to ask. Everyone's experience is different and, myself, as well as other mothers who could easily be in the Fulton/Martin family's position feel the pain of this case. But thank you for your reply.

      Delete
  25. Brian, FL statute 776.032 attaches with the acquittal correct? The Martin's cannot effectively civil sue and win?

    For the folks asking about a DOJ investigation, the FBI already investigated Zimmerman and didn't find any real evidence of racial animosity. At this point the DOJ would be second guessing their own investigators, much like the prosecution was second guessing the Sanford PD. I don't think another investigation would have any merit and it definitely would have the appearence of purely political motivation.

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    Replies
    1. They can sue, and the defense will file a motion to dismiss pursuant to 776.032.

      Delete
  26. "...helping the public understand our important, essential, and treasured criminal justice system."


    a so called criminal "justice" system that has produced a conviction rate higher than Nazi Germany and a record incarceration rate? lol Keep your head in the sand and mouthing platitudes about an overtly classist and racist Criminal "Justice" System.

    "Law and Order" hagiography from a person who makes a living from a fundamentally corrupt system.

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  27. I'm Canadian, and the first time I witness Nancy Grave in action stopped me dead in my tracks. My god that screeching harridan made my hair stand up. Great post.

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  28. Anonymous, there will be no civil trial. Florida law grants George Zimmerman immunity from civil action if he is found not guilty due to self-defense.

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  29. In Florida, there won't be a civil case.

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=776.032&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.032.html

    As for Zimmerman "coulda, shoulda, woulda" nonsense, this whole incident could have been avoided by just ONE thing...Martin going home. He had plenty of time to be there. He could have called 9-1-1.

    But Martin doubled back to confront Zimmerman. And with that action Martin became the aggressor.

    As for the feckless anchors...I agree...there needs to be some sort of consequences for their inappropriate actions.

    Unlikely, but definitely should. Maybe they should be sent to MSNBC for a couple years?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:22 AM

      Ah....so YOU were there? "Martin doubled back to confront Zimmerman. And with that action Martin became the aggressor." NOW, you tell us. Why on earth were you not called to testify? Did you not report what you knew, witnessed first hand, to the authorities?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:47 AM

      Hysterical. And ignorant. It sounds like Professor Shadow, like you, 'Anon 9:22', WASN'T there, but Professor Shadow *WAS, unlike you 'Anon 9:22', listening to the trial. Prosecution's witness, Rachel (?) says he texted her to tell her he was "safe", home behind the dad's girlfriend's house. He was HOME and decided to head back out. Per testimony FOR the prosecution who WAS there.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:45 AM

      Or he could have gone to a neighbor's house if he was afraid of being followed home. Whether he thought of 9-1-1 or a neighbor or not will remain a mystery, but I think all parents should make sure their kids know to go to a neighbor's house (probably should pre-arrange which neighbor in a neighborhood with all those breakins)and/or call 9-1-1 if they are in fear of their safety.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous12:36 PM

      Yes, it could have been avoided by just THREE things. Zimmerman calling police and letting them do their jobs. Zimmerman not following Martin with a gun. Zimmerman listening to the police who told him not to get out of his car.

      Delete
  30. Very well written, Brian. You have said a lot that needed to be said with clarity and impartiality. I watched (live and in total) the entire trial via Legal Insurrection and I formed my own opinion based on the evidence presented. The prosecution lawyers were amateurish at best; the defense lawyers were professional. I did not watch one minute of coverage presented by CNN, NBC, CBS, abc, msnbc, foxnews, etc.. The media in general is disgraceful! I hope Zimmermann wins his suit against NBC and bankrupts them out of existence. All that said, I do not have a soft spot for Zimmermann at all - he voted for Obama, a vote I am sure he now regrets given Obama's one-sided insertion of himself into the case. By the way, what was Travon Martin doing in the housing complex anyway? No one ever talks or talked about that, did they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:48 AM

      Martin did not live in the neighborhood. He was staying temporarily with his father at his father's girlfriend's house, because he was on a 10-day suspension from school. The news has tended to present this as Martin's "only crime" being that he went out late at night for a snack, but since he was not a long-term resident of the place (which was a multi-racial neighborhood), he could have defused the situation by saying something like, "Hey, man, I'm staying with my dad, his house is just down the street." I doubt Zimmerman would have assaulted Martin - someone younger and taller than himself - when he knew police were on the way. It appears that Martin assaulted Zimmerman, which was Martin's choice. (Apart from the gunshot wound, Martin's only injuries were to his knuckles; Zimmerman had a broken nose and a bloody back of the head; head injuries can kill.) So the media was very definitely reporting this in a lopsided fashion, making Zimmerman guilty of being "white" ("oh, okay, fine, a "white Hispanic") and killing a black person. Never mind the actual circumstances. Never mind holding Martin responsible for choices he also made. The fact that he was killed by a lighter-skinned person does not automatically make him an angel.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:34 AM

      olaf: You watched the entire trial and you did not know what Martin was doing in the housing complex? REALLY?

      Delete
  31. Anonymous5:18 PM

    Very well written and I agree wholeheartedly. I have worked in law for the past 26 years and you hit the nail on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jason S.5:24 PM

    Well said.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous5:26 PM

    I don't believe this was racial...I believe Rachel Jeantel inadvertently set this in motion. GZ had been watching TM for awhile before the shooting. He called the police and stayed on the line waiting for them to come. The story in his head said this individual looked suspicious in an an area that had seen a lot of crime. TM was talking to his friend Rachel for whom English was her 3rd language. Urban English is a variation on that. TM had already seen GZ and was heading home. He took off after reporting he was being watched by a creepy white ass cracker. Hearing this in her 4th language (urban English), I think she understood it as a creepy...white...ass-cracker. An ass cracker can be slang for someone who engages in anal sex ... possibly a pedophile or gay. She testifies she asks the "running back to the condo" Trayvon if GZ is a rapist. Now the thought is put into the testosterone filled head of a 17 year old that some guy was maybe checking him out. A hormonal 17 doesn't want the story to be that some fag was checking him out and he ran....so, he turns around. Now he's looking for some gay guy coming after him. He finds that sure enough, GZ has gotten out of his car and is looking for him. He figures maybe to teach him a lesson so he jumps him. He keeps hitting him because he's insulted the guy thought to check him out and pursue him. Unfortunately the story in GZ's head says the potential criminal he was tailing turned out to be his worst fear and he was afraid for his life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:58 AM

      This is an interesting line of thought, I had one similar. I suspect Rachel knows much more than she is telling. Is it possible the NSA has the recordings from these phone calls?

      It would not be out of question to think she encouraged TM to initiate a confrontation with GZ. She stated she feels guilty about what happened to TM, she did every thing she could not to cooperate.

      Delete
  34. Anonymous5:38 PM

    FL jurors had an opportunity to interpret the law and determine what they will permit in their society. Pursuing a child after being told not to by the police officers who had been informed of the concern and then killing the unarmed teenager after pursuing him and instigating a confrontation is apparently okay by FL standards. Society determined how the law is interpreted and what they will stand for.

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    1. Anonymous9:46 AM

      No Police officer told GZ not to follow. The 911 operator said we don't need you to do that (follow) and GZ said OK and went back towards his vehicle when he was attacked by TM. You cannot prove otherwise and this is the informationthe jury had to base their verdict upon.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:54 AM

      'Jurors had an opportunity to interpret the law' - what the hell are you talking about? They aren't supreme court justices. They don't get to make, interpret or alter the law, just apply it. Essentially, this was a (tragic) comedy of errors (not funny, very sad), both by TM and GZ. Very unfortunate outcome. But that does not in any way imply that society tacitly approves of this outcome. Your analysis is so political and misinformed it is truly as frightening as some of the know nothing commentators on TV. At the same time, if a person decides to beat on another person, they might wind up dead or in prison. There was much evidence to suggest that, at least maybe, TM took to beating on GZ. Bad decision - very bad. He wound up dead. Did he deserve it - maybe not (but also maybe). All depends on how much beating he intended to do. That TM was unarmed is relevant how - once he attacked Zimmerman and was pummeling him with that oldest of weapons - the fist. This case is really as simple as can be. A person has the right to defend themselves. The idea that TM was defending himself by attacking GZ (mommy, he's looking at me!) is absurd. Very unfortunate event (they happen all the time in the big world), but the criminal justice system did the right and honorable thing. And oh, by the way, it has always been open season on attackers - as it should be.

      Delete
  35. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Well said!!!

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  36. Anonymous6:08 PM

    ...I've been told that Florida law re-emburses a defendant for the costs incurred if he is found not guilty of all charges ! Is this true ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:46 AM

      I think he will have to sue to get anything.

      Delete
  37. So in Florida 'we like guns more than we like people'.
    Thanks for exposing yourself as just another leftie hypocrite.
    Just as bad as all the idiot commentators you condemn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:57 AM

      Thank you Mr. Tannebaum for so eloquently stating the truth of this trial,that the rule of law prevailed over the emotional blackmail attempted by the state and media. I like people and guns, but I love the rule of law above all.
      Keith Pridgeon

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:34 AM

      Hi Brian. My name is Ken, I wanted to post with my Google account, but it asks me to type in a password at this site. I wasn't sure if they are asking for the actual password I use for that account or for me to choose a password for that account on your blog.

      LOVE LOVE LOVE this SPOT-ON Blog, thank you for putting this into legal context AND for the pithy responses. I can tell that your time is valuable well above and beyond my own in this matter and I am one of those who certainly appreciates your time.

      Any of us could find ourselves in an ambiguous situation. Good to have this thread to consider. And there are as you point out some REAL pseudo experts out there spouting all kinds of dribble. Your post is clear, concise and based on your being an actual practicing attorney in Florida, certainly of far more use than the aforementioned.

      I'm sure I may well receive one of those pithy remarks myself for the following moot point:

      At which we diverge from each other slightly. I believe you express that Zimmerman showed bad judgment and therefor culpability, while I believe Zimmerman whether through instinct, common sense or serendipitous timing possibly saved someone else from being burglarized, assaulted or killed (if they were home when Martin might have broken into their home later).

      Somewhat similar to someone who follows a drunk driver until the police show up, Martin had burglary tools where he "stayed", he had been recently caught with stolen property at school and suspended, there had been a rash of burglaries in the area (and if the crime rate had NOT gone down since Martin's death the Lame Stream Media wold have been ALL over it). And the only reason Zimmerman paid Martin any attention is because Martin was 6'2", wearing a hoodie walking in the "yard" instead of the sidewalk, in fact was standing in the yard of a building that Zimmerman had recently reported to the police who found a window open and a door unlocked AND this was the wee hours of the morning - no good reason for Martin to be there acting suspicious, looking around, back at the building and at Zimmerman who had driven down the block away from Martin before calling it in to police.

      We will never know... But for Zimmerman, the difference between the above is significant...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:47 PM

      Wow Ken, there's a lot of misinformation (read: lies) in your post. He had been caught with stolen property? Wrong. He had been investigated by school police when they found women's jewelry in his bag. They could not tie it to any thefts and he claimed it belonged to a friend. They declined to charge him because there was no evidence. He had "burglary tools" where he stayed? In that same instance they found a flathead screwdriver. That's it.

      Delete
  38. I am sorry but you are misinforming the general public about the way the system was designed.

    Here is your mistake: The system is made up of checks and balances. If you were correct and the verdict was to be determined by technicality, then there would be absolutely NO NEED FOR A JURY OF PEERS. (or supposed peers)

    The jury is to balance the manipulation of the rule of law and the technicality side of the decision. In other words, it is the job of the jury to distinguish when the technicalities are misleading the verdict and to allow a guilty man to be free, as in this case.

    This is a check and balance. It is NOT the jury's job to rule the way a lawyer sees the case. It is their job to make a decision and weigh the given technicalities and combine what they know to be correct as their conscience guides them. As I said, if this was not true, there would be absolutely no need for a Jury, and the judge himself would make the verdict.

    Readers, please do not swallow everything you read that sounds smart from a person who claims to be educated, they are the ones that make the biggest errors in our society and lead people the most astray. Unfortunately the case was presided by a group of misled, manipulated, sheltered people, and justice was not served. This is justified by technicality.

    By the way: I love all you sheep that agreed whole heartedly to the educated man that said some big words...that is the way of things and I accept that. I'll never be like you. Ok Good day you poor sad people.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Anonymous9:03 PM

      Agreed. He's attempting to use Argument From Authority to shut everyone up.

      If a person with a gun confronts someone else, who doesn't even have a gun, and then shoots that person, in my opinion that person is at the very least, partially responsible. People have talked about self-defense for Zimmerman, what about Trayvon? Who was being confronted by an unidentified individual with a gun?

      Zimmerman says that he shot someone in self-defense, and since there is no witness, case closed I guess. Or perhaps they don't teach circumstantial evidence in law school anymore.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:57 AM

      It seems Zimmerman's gun was holstered when he was being assaulted by Martin. So Martin does not seem to have known Zimmerman had a gun until it came uncovered during the assault. I can understand if Martin was scared that he was going to be assaulted by an unknown person in an unfamiliar neighborhood (he was staying temporarily with his father; he was not a resident of that neighborhood); but did that justify Martin assaulting Zimmerman? Evidently, Martin also had time to get into his father's house before Zimmerman could catch up with him, lock the door, and call 911 to report that he was being followed. Why did he choose not to do that?

      Forensic evidence also supports the scenario that Zimmerman was on his back on the ground with Martin over him, when Zimmerman fired his gun. Zimmerman shooting Martin with them standing several feet apart, *that* would be a case where self-defense is less plausible. Zimmerman with a broken nose and bloody head, seeing Martin reaching for Zimmerman's holstered gun, *that* makes a strong case for self-defense.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous1:44 AM

      The gun Zimmerman was carrying was a concealed carry 9mm, ergo it was concealed as Florida does not permit open carry. Therefore the fact that Zimmerman had a gun was completely unknown to Trayvon. This invalidates the presumption that somehow Trayvon felt threatened by a man with a gun instead of Trayvon feeling threatened by a man who was following him. The latter is a real possibility but the prior is not possible. I believe you would agree with me that had Trayvon known that Mr. Zimmerman was packing heat, he would have thought twice about trying to best him in a show of fisticuffs.

      Zimmerman had the gun the whole time, and the evidence revealed that Zimmerman shot Trayvon after he had already begun to assault him. This is revealed by the physical injuries that Zimmerman had on his face and the back of his head.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous9:55 AM

      Dan Robbins: Thank you for pointing out the obvious. Just because a person can add the designation "Esquire" after his name (indicates "attorney") does not mean that he might be exempt from having his own peculiar prejudices. This man likes to use the terms "ignorant" and "dumb" to describe those with whom he disagrees. There are people lacking integrity in all professions, yes, even lawyers.

      Delete
    5. No, I use "ignorant" and "dumb" for people that are ignorant and dumb. I love disagreement, when it's with someone who disagrees without being ignorant or dumb. Let me know if you need me to explain that to you.

      Delete
  39. LUV your comments. I was a State probation officer in Sarasota County for many years. your commentary displayed an excellent knowledge of Fl law. The only problem I have is your comment ref "Florida liking guns more than people". Fl passed the concealed carry law (I assume your ref to that) because the State acknowledged the Peoples' God given right to protect themselves, thereby, also acknowledging that that an individual's right to life trumps the government's power to disarm the public.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous6:29 PM

    @Dan Robbins.

    Authentic frontier gibberish.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Unreconstructed and everyone else that "assumes" what I'm talking about when I say Florida cares about guns more than people. No, you're wrong. I have no issue with concealed carry or the Second Amendmement. Unfortunately those that only care about the Second Amendment, and have never read the others, can't stand when anyone comments, jokes, or mentions the Second Amendment because they fear someone will take their gun(s) away.

    What I meant, having spent almost every year since 1999 at the Florida Legislature during session, is that we spend more time expanding gun laws than we do passing laws on behalf of people in other areas.

    Sorry to disappoint.

    ReplyDelete
  42. http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/civil-case-against-zimmerman-in-florida-has-little-chance-of

    Chances of a civil suit are slim

    ReplyDelete
  43. Excellent and refreshing post! The defense in this trial didn't have to do much work because so many of the witnesses called by the prosecution give information much more helpful and supportive of the defense's claims than the prosecutors.

    Prosecuting Atty Corey needs to not only be fired but disbarred for the criminal and illegal actions she undertook. Twice. First, she suppressed exculpatory information known to prosecutors from the affidavit charging Zimmerman -- you can't do that in Florida or any other State. Then she hid (e.g., did not provide to the defense and did not tell them about) potentially exculpatory information in the prosecutors' possession --the pictures and tweets from Trayvon's phone were ultimately not allowed into evidence but there was the real possibility that they might have been and prosecutors are required to turn over all evidence and potential evidence and they did not. The whistleblower, Ben Kruidbos, who leaked that those photos and tweets were being hidden was fired by Corey today, by the way.

    No civil case can be mounted against Zimmerman in Florida but I believe a Federal Criminal Civil Rights suit could be launched. It would be entirely politically motivated but so was this trial in the first place because the evidence simply was not there to withstand the legal standard of reasonable doubt and anyone with more than a couple of braincells to rub together could see that going in.

    I find it so frustrating that the average American is just dumber than dirt.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous7:13 PM

    I keep remembering something about double jeopardy when folks talk of retrying Mr. Zimmerman for murder. I don't think you can do that, can you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Anonymous7:17 PM

    If you have such a problem with commentary, why don't you stop declining invitations to comment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. because someone that knows what they're talking about has to say something to help the idiots understand reality

      Delete
  46. Well said. Most of the media have taken lies and used them for ratings while ignoring the Florida law.

    ReplyDelete
  47. How good it was to read a piece that is balanced. I watched the entire trial (not, alas, the jury selection) from the opening arguments right through thanks to the live stream on wftv. Whilst there was some commentary it was confined to the breaks during sidebars and was never over the top or inflammatory. There was also a concurrent live 'blog' where the patience of the moderator, Bruce, was often tested but he remainded calm. Technical questions were answered by Bruce as well as the anchor, Greg Warmoth with legal consultant Bill Schaeffer.

    In my view those whoare now crying that justice has not been served are only exposing the fact that it was never 'justice' they wanted so much as retribution and/or revenge.

    Nothing is going to being the teenager Martin back and no amount of money is ever going to make up for that fact. I am led to believe that there has alreadyy been some sort of large settlement between the Martins and the HOA of that gated community,

    As attorney West said after the case was finished, Treyvon Martin's death was a tragedy for his family and friends as well as anyone else with a trace of compassion however, luckily, the verdict returned did not allow this tragedy turn in to a travesty.

    At least we in the UK have still got the laws of sub judice which precludes the potential of trial by media. Once the trial is done people can speculate as much as they want to, so our 'freedom of speech' is merely urtailed for a short period in order not to jeopardise ether the concept of presumption of innocence or to risk tainting both the potential jurors or the testomony of those called.

    The first American case to grab my attention was that of the 'West Memphis Three' and I still hope for justice for the families of the victims of that case. I watched The Casey Anthony trial to see 'American Justice' rolling out in real time. Given the evidence, that jury returned the correct verdict. Had Criminally Negligent Homicide been added to the 'menue' then Ashton may well have got the verdict he wanted - as it was he set the bar too high and the jury did the right thing.

    I apologise if I have expressed myself badly here, in mitigation trying to live both in British Summer Time as well as EST leaves little time for sleep.

    Thank you for your blog. After all the negative, and also some down right stupid, comments made, it was like a breath of fresh air stumbling upon your piece.


    ReplyDelete
  48. Anonymous8:58 PM

    "Why is the only guest you continue to have on is someone from California that doesn't practice criminal law and is known for representing, at press conferences, women victims?".

    The extra "is" negates all of you thoughts and emotions.

    Learn to read, idiot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:21 AM

      "...all of YOU thoughts and emotions."

      How fitting! Time to take a bit of your own advice.

      Delete
  49. All of them? Oh no. Sorry Gloria.

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  50. read Florida law and then maybe you'll make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Brian said: "in Florida where we like guns more than we like people."

    Now who's showing their ignorance? If an athletic 17 yr old who stands a head taller than you is sitting on your chest, pounding your head into the ground, try telling him that you love him more than the gun you could legally be carrying and that you're hoping this all works out in a PC manner for the both of you--idiot!

    ReplyDelete
  52. You're just generalizing by claiming that anybody who doesn't agree with the verdict is ignorant and emotional.

    The verdict was based on an interpretation of the facts presented and of the Law.

    When you read the facts in the affidavit of probable cause objectively, the case can easily be interpreted by Law as an imperfect self defense. In the end, it's up to the jury only to decide if the burden of proof is sufficient or not.

    As a lawyer, whatever your interpretation of the facts is just your opinion.

    Just because you're a lawyer, it doesn't mean that you have a better judgement in interpreting the facts and in commenting on the mediatisation of the case. Go back to being a lawyer and leave politics to the experts.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Agreeing with the verdict and understanding that it was correct pursuant to the law are two different things. If you have an intelligent argument against the verdict, which I surmise you don't, make it. And your last sentence made me laugh, hard.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anonymous10:42 PM

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Steven from France10:49 PM

    Well said and people need to get over it. All I have to say, it is unfortunate that the media with so much power can lie to its own people and do whatever they want so that ppl can be on their sides, and it is not the 1st time nor the last time that we will be lied by the Media.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Oh, imagine that, you have a book to sell.

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  57. Anonymous11:20 PM

    Why anyone would watch CNN to begin with shows a distinct lack of taste for the truth.

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  58. I'm thinking that if you voted for Obama (twice) and are OK with what he is doing, then you make your decisions on emotion, not responsible information. I therefore assume that you will be unable to process a sequential line of logic showing how the verdict was decided. And, we don't like guns more than people. We like good people to stay alive, so we have guns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you really a medical professional? God I hope not.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:38 AM

      He's not a Dr. He's a chiropractor. He thinks that he is a doctor just like the other idiot commenters on here think they're all lawyers.

      Delete
  59. An excellent read. Thanks to Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio for pointing me in this direction. I am glad to hear of the Florida Statute that may protect Zimmerman from the potential civil lawsuit. But idea of the Federal Government prosecuting Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin is appalling. Can a person pounding another person's head into concrete have their civil rights violated by the victim asserting his/her right to self defense? Who could argue that and still be allowed to practice law?

    What would have to be proven in order to convict in that case?

    I hope we don't have to see such a thing, but if we do, I weep for the future of law in the United States.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I would disable anonymous comments on your blog. Very confusing as to who says what otherwise, and people should identify themselves somehow.

    You've said what I've been thinking this whole time, which is it's a court case with rules of evidence and a specific case being presented.

    Do you know what FL law says about following someone "suspicious" like GZ apparently did? Is there some allowance for protecting property (it seemed like common property)? In CO we have concealed carry, but what does the law say about Zimmerman's actions in carrying AND apparently pursuing Martin? If it were me and I were being followed, I admit I'd be pretty freaked out.

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  61. Anonymous12:32 AM

    You are thinking everyone upset voted for Obama? You are thinking erroneously, and you are a doctor. sad.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Sometimes the greater good stands outside of the black and white confines of the law. Our legal system is far from perfect and this case gives us a perfect example of its flaws. Zimmerman was a hothead with a recorded history of violent tendencies. He was told by the 911 operator not to follow the subject,but he went ahead with his vigilantism. Because he once again disregarded the authorities Trayvon ended up dead. To people like Brian the world is black and white and there is no room for heart. But I say he is wrong and a change must happen. Zimmerman is culpable for his own negligence and should be held responsible. A civil case is necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous12:54 AM

    A Male neighbor questioned within minutes of this tragedy and who stood approximately 100 feet from George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin during this entire struggle, said that without any doubt (110%)that it was his neighbor George Zimmerman crying out for "help" that night and that George was definitely pinned on the bottom of the struggle. No one doubted this Man's account of the events..therefore, truth closeup.

    Within moments of the tragedy a visibly shaken and distraught George Zimmerman was photographed bloody, broken nose, swelling jaw and cheekbones..etc, etc. Lacerations on rear of his head. Trayvon Martin reports state that he had a small laceration on one finger and died from his gunshot wounds.

    Many other factors gave credibility to Zimmerman, but these in part, are the facts that in reality are the guts of a "not guilty" verdict for George Zimmerman.

    I also would have voted Not Guilty at this trial...with sympathy for a young Man who didn't have to die that night.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Brian your insight is appreciated. I'm not an attorney, however I did follow most of the trial.

    First, has to be a difficult task for the state, when the investigating detective has already tried the case in his mind and decided Zimmerman was innocent.

    Albeit, I keep getting stuck on the Zimmerman call to police. After listening to it several times, he clearly states his intent during the call when he says "these assholes. they always get away". His intent is to not let him get away.

    He reinforces that intent when you hear him say "shit he's running". So at this point, Martin is running AWAY from Zimmerman.

    Then, as the dipatcher asks "which way is he running", you hear Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle and he says "down towards the ah other entrance of the neighborhood". Now, Zimmerman is out of the vehicle and the dispatcher says "which entrance is that he is heading towards", Zimmerman begins pursuing him on foot, as he is running, he answers "the back entrance". The dispatcher then asks "are you following him" Zimmerman answers "yea". The dispatcher then tells Zimmerman "O.K. we don't need you to do that" Zimmerman say "O.K." and 10 seconds after the dispatcher tells Zimmerman "we don't need you to do that" Zimmerman stops running.

    Here is what bothers me. These are facts as presented just on this 911 call.
    1. The call is 4 minutes 4 seconds long and begins at 07:09:34 PM.

    2. Zimmerman knows he is dealing with a teenager.

    3. Zimmerman is convinced the teenager "is up to no good".

    4. 2 minutes 10 seconds into the call, Zimmerman gets out of his truck to pursue Martin.

    5. 2 minutes 15 seconds into the call, Zimmerman begins running after Martin.

    6. 2 minutes 23 seconds into the call, the dispatcher asks Zimmerman if he is following him.

    7. 2 minutes 25 seconds into the call, Zimmerman says yea.

    8. 2 minutes 26 seconds into the call, the dispatcher tells Zimmerman you don't need to follow him.
    9. 2 minutes 28 seconds into the call, Zimmerman says O.K.

    10. 2 minutes 35 seconds into the call, Zimmerman stops running.

    11. 2 minutes 38 seconds into the call, Zimmerman says he ran.

    12. This now puts Zimmerman 28 seconds away from his truck.

    13. Zimmerman did not return to his truck at this time.

    14. Zimmerman has acknowledged Martin was fleeing.

    15. At 07:13:38 Zimmerman's call with dispatcher ends.

    16. Zimmerman has now continued pursuing Martin another 1 minute 36 seconds.

    17. At 07:16:11 the first 911 call comes in and the encounter is underway.

    18. That's 2:43 minutes after Zimmerman's call ended.

    19. The killing took place less than 10 seconds from Zimmerman's truck.

    20. Zimmerman's actions of pursuit were aggressive.

    21. Martin was fleeing from Zimmerman according to evidence heard in the Zimmerman call.

    This evidence shows shows Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter.

    1. Trayvon Martin is dead.
    2. George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.

    The act clearly was not negligent.

    The act was NOT justifiable homicide because it was Zimmerman who upon leaving his vehicle to pursue the fleeing Martin became the aggressor. The incident escalates when Zimmerman continues his harassing behavior by pursuing Martin for no legitimate reason. At this point Zimmerman is committing a first degree misdemeanor by stalking (s. 748.048) Martin. So when the altercation that ended Martin's began, Zimmerman is in the act of committing a crime against Martin.

    The act was not committed by accident or misfortune.

    He was guilty of Manslaughter as defined under Florida law.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:30 PM

      I think this comment just highlights the larger point of Brian's post [at least the point I took from it], namely that the American public's mean/median knowledge of our legal system(s) is very simplistic and erroneous and that the mainstream media knows this and perpetuates it.

      I did not follow the trial, so I don't know how much your (btwisted's) facts represent a credible timeline, but assuming they do, you still haven't given enough law to support your assertion that Zimmerman "was guilty of manslaughter."

      First of all, you reference the stalking statute, seemingly as a way of invoking the felony murder rule. I'm not sure if Florida has a felony murder, but in states that do, criminal liability for murder only attaches to deaths caused in the commission of violent crimes that are classified as...yes...felonies. Because stalking is a misdemeanor, as you pointed out, whether Zimmerman was stalking Martin is very likely irrelevant.

      Also, of the two numbered 'elements' you presented, #2 is HIGHLY suspect. I'm not advocating any correctness of the verdict (again, I didn't watch/follow), but such a conclusory statement as your element #2 demonstrates the problem with the public view of the legal system. Not only is it overly broad, but it does not reference the elements of the crime of manslaughter as it is codified in Florida. Also, you make no reference to self-defense, the affirmative defense Zimmerman's counsel was advancing throughout the case. I think the fact that you are relying on Zimmerman's stalking well before the actual gunshot as your "intentional act" itself demonstrates that one cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt what happened during the exchange. That's the basis for an acquittal.

      Delete
  65. Brian,

    While it goes without saying that you as an authority in this area certainly have a right, perhaps even an obligation, to express your thoughts and explain Florida law here, most people are not among the 95,000 lawyers in Florida or any other state. (Yes, I know you said that, but read on.) You sound angry that we aren't, appalled by our audacity to express our thoughts and emotions about this lawsuit whether or not those may be a product of frustrating mixed-aisle "news" media hype.

    Thoughts, feelings and ideas are what "social" media are all about. They give us all, peons to pros, an equal opportunity to express ourselves, to vent vehemently if we wish to, on any subject we choose regardless of how well-versed we may be. It goes with the territory, for better or worse. If it upsets you that much, maybe you should take a break from it for a while, or altogether.

    The fact is, very few of us are an authority on more than our one or two fields of expertise. Should we be sentenced therefore, to silence with our thoughts and feelings relegated to the confines of our own puzzled psyches just because a professional finds our lack of knowledge disturbing? (Rhetorical question only...in my mind, the answer is obviously "no".)

    If you truly want to inform us, not just scold us and flaunt your degree and experience, it might behoove you to hone your approach. Labeling us with uncivil words like "stupid" coupled with indignant finger-wagging reprimands like "shut up", you reduce yourself from sounding instructive and professional to sounding like a teenage bully with his own emotional bundle of nerves to balance.

    Of course, you are entitled to sound that way, just as we are.

    That darn First Amendment again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Beverly, stop the sanctimonious bullshit. I've seen this type of comment for years. "You're being a bully," "respect our thoughts," "don't call us stupid," "be nice to us." Grow up. Bullying is a serious problem, it's not when people write things that make you sad. And I don't need to take a break from anything. There is so much misinformation leading to ridiculous emotion that someone, and clearly not you, has to say something intelligent. Now go be sad somewhere else.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous8:49 AM

      LOL! Brilliant, Brian. :-)

      Delete
    3. @ Beverly: The ignorant have a right to express themselves and waste our time with their foolish opinions (eg. the prosecution should appeal) and the educated have a duty to put them in their place.
      I hope you learned something from this but I doubt it

      Delete
  66. Anonymous1:36 AM

    Would love to see the news show all the recent 17 yr old photos of Trayvon instead of when he was 10 yrs old.

    ReplyDelete
  67. A quick way to lose credibility.... Misspell beginning. Enough said.

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  68. Braden1:43 AM

    Thanks for this great blog post Brian. I agree with a lot of what you say...there is a lot of innuendo of something happening, but there is no evidence. Ultimately, the prosecution is required to prove the points to the jury...beyond reasonable doubt is a term lost to many people these days I think.

    I have a question regarding the lesser charge of manslaughter the jury was allowed to consider, however. The conditions for 2nd degree murder, the original charge, according to the instructions given to the jury (a fairly easy to find document these days) were that a person needed to have killed another with intent and with no justifiable reason for murdering the other person. This falls apart fairly quick since we can't establish that Zimmerman had any intent of killing Martin with such intent from the evidence at hand. However, manslaughter is listed as being a conviction if a person kills another person, but without a justifiable reason (as would be obvious: dropping the "with intent of malice").

    In this case, I think we can identify that, unless there is interference from ghosts, that Martin was killed by Zimmerman. If you disagree here, could you notify me as to why? I haven't been able to read all testimony in detail (in particular from the prosecution), but I felt there was a fairly established result that Zimmerman/Martin were fighting and it ended as Zimmerman shot Martin.

    At any rate, assuming that this holds true, then it is in the hands of the defence to prove that there was justifiable reason to use lethal force (something I'm a bit unfamiliar with - I assume that burden of proof is on proving your justifiable reasons for murder, right?). This falls under two different regimes: justifiable and excusable homicides (I apologize - I just realized I've used homicide and murder interchangeably here. I'd typically replace them with the proper language, but my mind is half fried at the moment). No definition of excusable homicide makes sense here, while justified homicides would make sense if Martin was the aggressor (constituting assault and therefore acting as a felony), Martin was either attempting to murder Zimmerman (another case where justified homicide is used), or if Martin's actions went past a fight initiated by Zimmerman and constituted assault (again, making Martin guilty of a felony). At this point, the actions taken by Martin have to be argued as either required or excessive.

    At least, this is how I've interpreted the case. But I'm not heavily informed about legal proceedings in the US (being a Canadian with a single undergraduate course on law). Is there something I have missed or am misinformed about? Any help or information you, as someone more well informed on this case, could provide me would be greatly appreciated.

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  69. AninymousX21:45 AM

    Anonymous’ “The extra "is" negates all of you thoughts and emotions. Learn to read, idiot.” Is that anything like your “you” in “…all of you thoughts….”?
    …and you state “Learn to read, Idiot”? Or are you just showcasing your 'my is bigger mentality'?

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  70. I like the article, but the "Florida loves guns more than people" quote struck me as strange. - Florida Resident

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  71. Anonymous6:25 AM

    This guy is good! I thought I was the one with common sense......
    I'm soo sick of hearing. ..Booo Hooo Hoooo! For poor Treyvons parents!
    I say....BooooHooooHoooo to......us! The PUBLIC for having to deal with their undisciplined, disrespectful, law breaking and trouble making offspring they keep breeding into society! !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I boo hoo hoo for Trayvon's parents. No one should have to lose a child. What happened here is not a good thing, not a solution to "undisciplined, disrespectful. kids... etc.... Zimmerman was not guilty under the law, doesn't mean he should have shot the kid.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:03 AM

      While I tend to believe Zimmerman's story that he was being attacked and that he fired his gun in self-defense (Trayvon Martin's past history, the injuries Zimmerman sustained, and the testimony from the eye-witness all lead me to that conclusion), at the same time I don't think Zimmerman should get off scot free. IMHO, his actions that night were reckless and provocative. Had he simply stayed in his truck and reported what he was seeing to police, like a Neighborhood Watch volunteer is supposed to do, then nothing would have happened.

      He needs to be held accountable for his actions, and I think he will be held accountable in civil court.

      Delete
  72. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Thank you.

    Rainsong

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  73. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Florida loves guns more than people? you lost me with that comment.

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  74. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Excellent column, but it's not accurate in one important respect. The writer says that there were no witnesses. Actually, there was one very important witness: the homeowner who heard something, went out of his back door, and from 20 feet away saw a black man in a dark sweatshirt (Martin) on top of a t-skinned man in a red jacket (Zimmerman) flailing away at him.

    So there was indeed an eye-witness to the event ... and he corroborated George Zimmerman's story.

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    Replies
    1. Correct, but he saw a piece of it, not the whole event.

      Delete
  75. Anonymous8:52 AM

    Uh, Florida statues specifically permit both the defense AND the prosecution in a criminal case to file an appeal. http://law.onecle.com/florida/criminal-procedure-and-corrections/924.02.html The fact that there are probably no reasonable grounds for an appeal doesn't mean there CANNOT be one, just there it is highly unlikely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh, wrong. The State can't appeal a not guilty verdict. Now stop making people dumber.

      Delete
    2. But see http://law.onecle.com/florida/criminal-procedure-and-corrections/924.07.html

      Delete
    3. Jeff, please cut, copy, and paste the section that says the state may appeal a not guilty verdict. I'll wait.

      Delete
    4. Oh no, I'm agreeing with you. It ain't there. (The "but see" was directed to anon 8:52.)

      Delete
    5. I know. Just moving the conversation along...

      Delete
    6. I know. Just moving the conversation along...

      Delete
  76. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Excellent post, lots of good issues raised and I agree 100% on the legal "experts". Geragos was ripping Sunny Hostin to shreds last week because she couldn't seem to wrap her head around the law and the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Anonymous9:02 AM

    I think it's needlessly condescending to inform everyone who didn't sit through the trial that we look "stupid" by expressing dissent with the verdict. You bring up a lot of salient points about the futility of appeals to emotion when the CJ system is concerned, but to say that it's "stupid" to bring up this verdict in a discussion about systemic flaws is overly dismissive and haughty. It's okay to not be complacent with events like this (unless you're a lawyer in Florida, I guess).

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    Replies
    1. I think it's needlessly ignorant to think that 6 people who sat through every minute of the trial got it wrong, while you listened to cable news at night and saw pieces of it and of course would have made a different decision. So sorry the State didn't get to pick you.

      Delete
  78. You are right, again... That's why he SHOULD have been found guilty of manslaughter.

    Unfortunately, jury's just like judges don't always get it right.

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    Replies
    1. But you would have gotten it right. I guess the 6 people in court were just not listening to what you heard.

      Delete
  79. The lack of understand of the U.S. judicial process is astonishing. There IS no "appealing" a "not guilty" verdict. The state fell wayyyyy short in reaching the "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold. The fact the state didn't have a case plainly and clearly became obvious when Angela Corey pushed for a "child abuse" charge as a backup the 2nd-degree murder. Whine all you want about what could, shoulda, woulda been... but had Trayvon Martin just kept walking to his destination instead of initiating violence by trying to play "knockout" on Zimmerman's face and pounding him onto the concrete there'd be no shooting, and St. Trayvon would be still getting high and trash-talking on Twitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott, take your belittling comments about the dead kid and shove them up your ass... I agree that the evidence didn't support a murder 2 conviction... but you make it seem like Zimmerman was minding his own business prior to the initiation of the conflict when the reverse is in fact true... ok, I get it, you don't like the way the media handled this case... I don't either... but have some respect for the dead kid, and for his family... because your comments make it sound like you believe a kid who smokes weed and posts ridiculous comments on Twitter deserves to be shot to death... and you make it sound like George Zimmerman was just an innocent bystander... so let the record reflect that your bias is far more egregious and offensive than the media bias, making you a hypocrite and a clown...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:34 AM

      Zimmerman was minding his own business. He was on his way to Target to buy lunches for the week when he saw Trayvon acting suspiciously; peering into windows of homes. One of those homes had recently been burglarized...there was testimony from the home owner Olivia Bertelan about how she had to hide with her two kids while two black kids ransacked her house.

      The judge didn't allow the jury to hear Sanford Police investigator Serino's testimony that they found a "burglary tool" in the bushes near where Trayvon was killed. If Zimmerman thought Trayvon was acting suspiciously he had good reasons for that determination.

      Delete
  80. Anonymous9:14 AM

    I think we should just calm down a little. I think people's perspective of the situation is that Zimmerman, getting out of his car to follow an "asshole(s), who always gets away with..." as his 911 tape stated, armed with a gun, something was bound to happen. I believe he made several mistakes that led to him feeling as if he needed to "defend" himself against a 17 year old young man who was in every sense, half his size...There are several factors that the prosecution could not present or chose not to present due to it seemingly being an uncomfortable topic...Race sparked this "war" of words so to speak after the verdict because it is hard for African Americans to understand how this man who made over 44 phone calls to 911 referencing "black" boys in his neighborhood, got away with killing this young man...Michael Vick got 21 months, the young lady that shot off a warning shot because he husband was beating her behind got 20 years Zimmerman got nothing. I think that is where the problem is...Zimmerman would have had no reason to in his words defend himself from Trayvon Martin if he had kept his ass in his car just like the 911 operator told him to, "are you following him," Zimmerman "yes", 911 operator "WE DON'T NEED YOU TO DO THAT...." Which means keep your ass in your car we will be there shortly...

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  81. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Well said. There was no evidence in this case. The prosecution and the media went on emotion and speculation. Comparing the State's closing argument to O'Mara's proves that point. Fact is, while what Zimmerman did by following him may have been negligent, it is simply not against the law to follow someone in the manner that he did. Yes, this case was tragic and a life was lost. However, there should have never been criminal charges brought against Zimmerman based on the evidence that came out at trial.

    Watching HLN disgusted me. Great point on there being 95,000 Florida lawyers.

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  82. Hello Brian... I am not an attorney, and I'm certainly not an attorney in the state of Florida... I have a question about the manslaughter verdict, though... my (limited) understanding of manslaughter is that if you initiate a chain of events that causes a death and that death was reasonably foreseeable, then you committed manslaughter (ie, someone leaves the bar drunk and causes an accident that kills somebody- they didn't get into the car to deliberately kill someone, but the death was certainly not unforeseeable)... if that understanding is correct, it's hard to fathom how the jury came back not guilty on manslaughter, because there is no question that George Zimmerman initiated this sad chain of events... and if he couldn't foresee using the gun, presumably he wouldn't have had one... please enlighten me... and do you think that if the state had not overcharged (GZ may have committed murder, but the evidence never supported a murder 2 charge in the first place based on my very limited legal knowledge) then they would have been able to secure the manslaughter conviction? Thank you, Brian...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "there is no question that George Zimmerman initiated this sad chain of events."

      See Coach, that's the problem. The 6 jurors didn't see it that way. We cannot as the public assume we know all the evidence because we watched a lot of cable news shows and scrolled the internet. That's the problem.

      Delete
    2. No, I mean his decision to get out of the car and follow Trayvon... that decision initiated this entire chain of events, and that decision was clearly George Zimmerman's to make... is that not legally relevant? I'm asking, not assuming... And do you think they could have secured the manslaughter conviction had they not charged murder 2?

      Delete
    3. Well, even if Zimmerman did initiate the chain of events, he is still entitled to the self-defense defense if the State cannot prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he didn't have a reasonable fear for his life, right? I don't see how the State can do that given this evidence.

      Delete
    4. it may have been relevant, but the law doesn't require in a self defense case for the jury to determine "who started it." Self defense in Florida is complicated, and easy to prove.

      Delete
    5. Brian: Civil attorney in Texas here. I did not watch the trial because I did not have the time and I have ceased to watch the coverage because I see no need to fertilize my ignorance of Florida criminal law and procedure.

      Are you saying that a determination of the "initial aggressor" is irrelevant to self defense in Florida?

      It is my recollection that in most states, that the (initial) aggressor in a confrontation forfeits the right of self defense, but may regain the right if the (initial) victim escalates the degree of the confrontation.

      Is Florida law fairly consistent with those principles?

      Rick

      Delete
    6. In Florida the right of self-defense is forfeited if the person claiming self defense was involved in unlawful activity. This is the whole debate about the "following." Unlawful activity is tantamount to criminal behavior (assault, selling drugs, etc...) Following is not a criminal offense in Florida, yet.

      Delete
    7. Thanks Brian:

      Is the standard any different to establish the defense against the federal civil rights action?

      Rick

      Delete
  83. Perhaps not, or not with the same focus. BTW, I didn't deduct my opinion from any cable news commentary. I listened to the call over and over, putting together my own timeline to form my opinion.

    I think it's needlessly ignorant to think jury's get every decision correct whether it is 6 or 12 people. But that is just my opinion.

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  84. Brian, you pretty much nailed the cultural morass that has bred far too much ignorance of the U.S. justice system. Your post is getting a lot of play on FB among my fellow cop/prosecutor/def atty friends precisely because it expresses the frustration many of us feel about this tragedy. I am still stupefied, however, that Florida reserves the grand jury for capital offenses. In Texas, Zimmerman's case would never have made it past a Dallas grand jury. Problem solved. The lack of grand jury review led to railroading the police chief out of office and prosecutors (Angela Corey comes to mind) playing hide the ball from the beginning.
    Not to mention the protracted hell it put the Zimmerman and Martin families through.

    Excellent piece, except the comment about FLorida loving guns more than people and the oversight that there was indeed an eyewitness to the assault on Zimmerman.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Your analysis was intelligent, incite-full, and well written.

    My guess is someone will demand your ISP close you down as you obviously are a dangerous radical--someone whose actions could destroy the whole internet if others were encouraged to follow suit.

    Also, you obviously will never make it in politics or the media. Neither can tolerate rational thought.

    So, thanks for the article.

    ReplyDelete
  86. There is an insightful article posted on McClatchydc.com

    According to FBI records, agents found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist:

    After interviewing nearly three dozen people in the George Zimmerman murder case, the FBI found no evidence that racial bias was a motivating factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, records released Thursday show.

    Even the lead detective in the case, Sanford Det. Chris Serino, told agents that he thought Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because of his attire and the circumstances — but not his race.

    Serino saw Zimmerman as “having little hero complex, but not as a racist.”

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/12/155918/more-evidence-released-in-trayvon.html#.UeM9mT7DVoY#storylink=cpy

    Even so, Rome is beginning to burn because there are those who have been well taught that this altercation had EVERYTHING to do with racism.

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  87. Anonymous9:34 AM

    What is shocking about this case to me is that in Florida if I defend myself against an unknown stalker, and that stalker kills me, the stalker is not punished. I live in Texas. Is the law that way in Texas, too? That it may be is an unsettling thought.

    ReplyDelete
  88. that's a very simpleton view of the case and the law. I don't agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Nice piece, Mr. Tannebaum. Thanks for addressing the issue of appeal. And yes, the ignorance on display--with regard to how the system works--is disheartening to say the least. As I wrote in my own piece ( http://thepondsofhappenstance.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-post-zimmerman-world.html ):

    "And unfortunately, the general population is all too willing to follow the music of the Pied Pipers, to accept the tale being told by the media and to jump on the outrage train.

    And that's a shame. Because the evidence in some trials is not always cut and dried; sometimes, perfectly reasonable people can look at such evidence and not come to the conclusion others think they should come to. This isn't injustice. It's a consequence of a system built to minimize injustice."

    Thanks again for your insights.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Well written and objective. I also had a few good laughs from the comments here.

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  91. Terrence10:08 AM

    One larger point O'Mara made was a real good one. He said the state made a big deal about GZ learning all about self defense and stand your ground in community criminology class. One of the best students according to testimony.

    But somehow, GZ forgot all about his Miranda rights when he interviewed lawyer-free and did the video...

    Evidence question. I assume the jury gets written copies of all witness testimony. Do they also get written copies of the opening and closing statements from both sides?

    I will also mention I thought Guy had some good points in close about what he termed as a list of GZ's lies. I think it was like 8-10 different statements. I assume the jury does not get his powerpoint, just like they will not have the animation? (which was also very powerful for O'Mara.)

    Was the point about the screams for help being cut off at the gunshot a good one? Angela Corey says that fact is a major reason why they brought the case.

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  92. Anonymous10:31 AM

    A well written and intelligent article. However I'm not sure how MSNBC could go unmentioned considering their insightful, unbiased coverage and commentary. (Heavy on the sarcasm)

    ReplyDelete
  93. Anonymous10:38 AM

    As a result of this verdict, there were no public high fives, no dancing, chanting, showboating, etc. There was just a collective sigh of relief that our justice system had not failed us once again. I'm not sure this would be the case if the verdict went the other way.

    Sad I heard the NAACP is looking to encourage a federal civil rights case. What about Zimmerman's civil rights? As we saw from the testimony from the prosecution's very own witnesses, he was the only one racially profiled.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Can I hug you??
    (Hug)

    ReplyDelete
  95. Anonymous10:50 AM

    Thank you so for the insight that is one of the better ones I have seen. Then again when one has the Rev Jackson on National TV stating thus "you speak of jury of your peers: there was no man on the jury—Trayvon was a black boy—there was no man, no black on the jury. So at least the idea of jury of your peers was a stretch all the while", having one speak of an non existent appeal process really is not that much of a stretch. I mean here is Rev Jackson who does not realize who is entitled to a jury of their peers. I will not even touch on the women aspect of it.......that to me is more of a Civil Rights thing then anything else going on.
    Finally HLN will ride this out until the wheels fall off and they are only on the rims. I mean Nancy Grace still has not gotten someone to take their life yet so her work is not done.
    Once again Thanks I am glad that RCP brought me here.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:08 PM

      >>Finally HLN will ride this out until the wheels fall off and they are only on the rims. I mean Nancy Grace still has not gotten someone to take their life yet so her work is not done. <<

      Correction... Two women, Melinda Duckett and Toni Medrano both committed suicide after appearing on Nancy Grace's show.

      Delete
  96. Fred Schnaubelt You have to wish you had a lower IQ when watching TV today. Everything we know about the Zimmerman case comes from what we read (what others wrote) or from TV. Depending on which TV station we watch determines for the most part, our opinion about the case. All TV is designed to elicit responses. That should worry all of us.

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  97. Anonymous10:57 AM

    The appeal they are talking about if for the Obama DOJ to go after Zimmerman. And they are going to get it too........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, some are talking about a federal prosecution, but sadly, there are those who insist that the state can appeal. Hurts my head.

      Delete
  98. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Right on - the (liberal) media totally blew this one.

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  99. Anonymous11:42 AM

    The president is an embarrassment too. 19 firefighters die protecting an AZ town and the president phones in his condolences from Africa. 1 kid, who happens to look like the president's imaginary son, starts a fight and gets shot and the president makes public statements (twice now) to offer sympathy and show empathy and to suggest both times that the system failed the poor kid (because of his race in the first instance and because we allow citizens to posses guns in the second).

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  100. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Is it true that the Feds cannot prosecute GZ in a civil rights case because he is not "under cover of law"?

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    Replies
    1. They can prosecute him under the hate crime statute, but I don't think they will.

      Delete
  101. Anonymous11:54 AM

    The only thing I can say is YOU ARE AWESOME! You just might be my new favorite person. Why this case even made headline news is beyond me. Wait, no I do know. This administration wants to keep us divided & fighting. That's the best way they can control us. When did it become appropriate for the President of the United States to comment on a case in Florida and to say, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." Really? So, you would have a son who smokes pot, owns a gun, involved in fist fights with other students, vandalizes and burglarizes property? Yes, stand up kid there. Why don't we let Nancy Grace and the HLN staff all the things that were so conveniently left out about this "kid's" character & run in with the law?

    And if George Zimmerman was found guilty, how many riots would be taking place? I don't even need an answer to that, do I?

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  102. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Thank you. So many people cite the case in CA against the police...does not apply here AFAIK. Great article!

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  103. Nancy Grace and Piers Morgan are unwatchable by anyone with two neurons to rub together. I find it preposterous that this is the best that Cable News Network Inc. can do.

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  104. Anonymous12:16 PM

    Let's not forget that Melissa Perry-Harris on MSNBC. She looked like she was about to burst into tears after the verdict was announced.

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  105. Anonymous12:48 PM

    You nailed it Brian, my thoughts exactly.

    My understanding of Florida's stand your ground law in the context of a trial, is that to be successful the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the underlying crimes being charged, as well as that the defendant was the initial attacker and or was did not reasonably believe he feared great bodily injury or death.

    Here, the prosecution failed to meet their burden of proof and therefore Zimmerman was found not guilty. Based on all the evidence, it appeared Zimmerman was not the initial attacker (If we believe Zimmerman's account that Martin sucker punched him and broke his nose, which apparently the jury did) and the eye witness testimony about Martin being on top, Zimmerman screaming for help and his injuries, among other things (reasonable belief of great bodily injury or death).

    The only evidence that Zimmerman was not the initial attacker was Rachel Jenteel's testimony where she stated she heard Martin say, "get off me, get off me," or something to that effect. The jury was justified in finding her not credible based on the fact that her earlier accounts were inconsistent with this testimony. Also, even though I believe Zimmerman should have stayed in his car and follow the 911 operator's directives, it is too much of a stretch to say he was the initial attacker based on that information.


    Brian, I wanted to get your thoughts on this since it was unclear to me what the standard for a judgment of acquittal was under the circumstances (O'Mara's argument on that motion was unclear to me). Had Zimmerman been convicted, do you think the trial court's denial of the motion for judgment of acquittal would have been reversed as a matter of law.

    One other thing, I looked up New York's self defense statute, which states:

    Self-defense involving the use of deadly physical force:

    A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person under circumstances specified in subdivision one unless:

    (a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or about to use deadly physical force. Even in such case, however, the actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she knows that with complete personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the necessity of so doing by retreating; except that the actor is under no duty to retreat if he or she is:

    (i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor; or

    (ii) a police officer or peace officer or a person assisting a police officer or a peace officer at the latter's direction, acting pursuant to section 35.30; or

    (b) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery; or

    (c) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary, and the circumstances are such that the use of deadly physical force is authorized by subdivision three of section 35.20.

    I still think there is a good chance Zimmerman would have walked in NY too, though it is a closer call. It comes down to whether Zimmerman would be the initial aggressor by following Martin and whether he reasonably feared for his life as apposed to great bodily injury.

    Signed,

    NY 2nd year associate ATL fan

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