The Zimmerman trial?

The Zimmerman trial has concluded and a not guilty verdict has been rendered. The blogs are abuzz. Hell even my own blogroll was filled with Zimmerman this, and Martin that. Man with a Muckrake is not immune. The previous thread involving neanderthals ended with Zimmerman trial talk. So why not present a forum to talk about it? Me, I don’t care. I told my buddy SQ a couple days ago that I didn’t think too much of it fifteen months ago. Some Mexican dude shot a black kid and is using some stand your ground law as defense. That is pretty much all I know about this case. You may ask why. The answer is simple. I don’t care.

Mexicans shoot Blacks here all the time. And vice verse. As I told SQ, I have officially become desensitized to this. I live in a city that saw more than 500 gun related homicides last year. I’m sure the majority of them were young black kids. And I couldn’t tell you one of those kids names. But boy, everyone has heard of Trayvon Martin. And that is what the story should be in my opinion. Why do we care about this one event in Sanford Florida? What about all the other nameless kids (Unarmed by the way) shot on various streets every day? Especially in my fair city. Originally it was a news story because of this stand your ground law. NRA, guns, blah blah blah. I could at least understand that argument. But it has somehow evolved into nothing more than race. Is it an issue? Sure, why not? But what makes this case more special than any other in this country? The thread that was attached to the previous post speaks volumes about the passion people have in regards to this case. In that thread, our very own Engineer of Knowledge included a link to a blog (Progressive Professor). Yes I read the comments on that blog, and the subsequent comments on Muddy’s thread. From my point of view, this whole subject is a powder keg. So I figured hell with it. I’ll light the fuse over here.

Zimmerman was found not guilty and everyone is appalled. But in my opinion, (remember, I do not know the facts of the case) the outrage is directed at the wrong thing. Now I don’t know the details of stand your ground laws, but it seems that per the law, maybe Zimmerman is innocent. And that’s where the problem lies. The ability to carry a gun combined with a stand your ground law is very likely what cost Martin his life. I mean come on. The pictures I’ve seen of Zimmerman, he just looks like a coward. A beer muscle kind of guy who is always aware of the location of his peace maker. In fact I’m willing to bet the Mr. Zimmerman has the opinion that the reason so many gang bangers are shooting each other is because “kids today” are to afraid to take an a## beating. Sort of ironic, since that may be the very thing that cost Trayvon his life.

In the end George Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury. The system worked in my opinion. But how? A young unarmed man needlessly lost his life. There in lies the issue and the very thing that seems to be escaping America. The problem isn’t the not guilty verdict. The problem is the laws that enabled a not guilty verdict to be rendered. And the castle laws are even better. Who here climbed and jumped a neighborhood fence in order to take a shortcut to the arcade? I know I did. And my Daughter is getting to the age where she will be too. Just think, there are states that have a law that says your twelve year old child may be shot for doing that very same thing. I could have been shot. And a not guilty verdict would have been rendered! Maybe the NAACP should be going after law makers instead of Zimmerman for civil rights violations. After all, the laws were passed, and the next Trayvon Martin is out there somewhere.


19 thoughts on “The Zimmerman trial?

  1. Great analysis and placement of real blame for this tragedy. Darrell Opfer


    1. Thank you Darrell. I would like to see bloggers keep one thing in mind. The tragedy that occurred that night may have occurred because of one single reason. That reason is the stand your ground laws in that state. I can’t help but think that if this incident happened here in Chi town, Zimmerman would have just called the police and let them do their job.

  2. I think it is important to point out that he was acquitted, not found “Not Guilty”. The way the charges were presented and the trial was prosecuted, it all hinged with the ability of the defense to create a reasonable doubt in the perception of the jurors. It might have gone the other way with another group of jurors, but who’s to say. Under the letter of the law, they did do their job. The next step is to move on, and deal with the other aspects of the charges against Zimmerman. It highlights the bizarre legal knot ot the Stand Your Ground laws. The most important thing is that we do not allow Zimmerman to walk away as some kind of hero, a spokes person ‘expert” on FOX NEWS.He is already talking about going to law school…delusions of grandeur? I sort of think so. I believe from what I have seen in profiles of Zimmerman that he has some real demons within that he has to deal with first before he does something else foolishly tragic.

  3. I’d like to point out that the loudest most violent voices are almost the expression of the wishful thinking of the conservative gas bag commentators and politicians,Newt Gingrich being one of the most prominent screaming about lynch mobs and how anyone who protests this verdict hates America. The pathetic comments from George Zimmerman’s brother claiming he is afraid of being attacked come to mind. Gingrich is the ultimate huckster, jumping on any bandwagon he thinks can re new his failed political career. The conservative, racist faction here is indulging in one of the primary tactics of fascist manipulation. Portraying yourself as the victim and claiming to be the victim of the violence you would be too easily prone to inflict on your opponents. There has been no violence from the millions of Americans protesting this legal process. I personally know someone who was injured in an attack because he dared to dedicate his performance on stage to Trayvon. 73 year old Lester Chambers, who has been a family friend since the mid 1960’s was attacked by a woman who did some karate moves on him trying to silence him when he announced that he was going to dedicate his set, starting with the Curtis Mayfield classic, People Get Ready to Trayvon Martin. Dinalynn Andrews Potter immediately jumped on the stage and started screaming at Chambers who suffered bruised ribs, a huge scratch over his kidney where he was kicked and nerve damage. Is the violence the Fox Gasbags and Teabrained politicians were predicting? Does this mean that every unstable paranoiacally racist unstable idiot in America is going to feel empowered to act out their fantasies? I just saw a great video with the Author, James Baldwin, arguably one of the most intelligent commentators on American Society in the 50’s. He was talking to young kids and asking them about their feelings about being black in America. It was very interesting, on little kd talked about how there would never be a black president. The mind set of America in the 50’s certainly made the possiblity of a black president an almost science fiction fantasy. But we as a society have made great strides and there was a great struggle. Most Americans believe the same dream and you know what? No matter how loud the dinosaurs bellow, how much they flail a try to deny the reality of human rights, We Ain’t Never Turning Back!

    1. Thank you, Microdot, for this excellent comment. The ‘gas bags’ on Fox , it should be remembered, are well-paid actors who pander pathetically to the fairly ignorant (read: fantasizing) clutch of white Americans who are in denial of the reality that ‘their’ America is only a twisted memory, nevermore to return. Well-paid actors, to be sure.

  4. Bt the way, Lester Chambers is going to recover and he is in pretty good shape for a 73 year old man. Mybe the song you remember him for is the massive hit he had in the 60’s…one of the great cross over hits of the era…the rock song “Time Has Come Today!” I can guarantee you, when he;s back on stage, he’s gonna be singing this louder than ever now!

  5. Might “racism” be an over-simplification of a much deeper problem? 500
    dead black people in Chicago killed by black people. It seems that there
    is something more than racism per se as the cause…..

    1. The x-number of black-on-black murders in Chicago has nothing to do with ‘racism.’ Rather, it has quite a lot to do with economic impoverishment.

    2. I do not have exact racial statistics of murder victims and offenders in Chicago last year. I said “I’m sure the majority of them were young black kids.” I’m guessing that most shootings were not related to race, but gang territory and retaliations. Which is where the poverty may come in to play.
      Glad to see you up and about UTF.

  6. Did I specifically blame racism here? I used the words race and racist, but yes, the point I am trying to make is much bigger than that. UTF, I think that to ignore the racial issues here is a form of denial on your part! The conditions that created the black on black violence, the creations of ghettoes in America, the institutionalized segregation and the manipulative use of racial fear for political power is part of the heritage and history of America no matter how you would like to white wash it.
    BTW, UTF, my friend, I hope you are out of the hospital and doing fine! I seem to thrive in the summer heat, but my wife wilts and we are having an intense heat wave here. I will probably be reincarnated as a camel for my sins…but, I will be a happy sinner.

  7. The racial overtones are obvious in this case, but it is not the bigger picture. I believe the bigger picture is the laws in place that allowed this tragedy to end in an acquittal (Thanks for that Dottie. But I’m confused. Doesn’t a not guilty verdict mean an acquittal?)

    1. Doesn’t a not guilty verdict mean an acquittal? Yes, but it doesn’t mean not guilty. Should I search Google for the many names of KKK members who were ‘acquitted’ of murdering a Negro in the past 100 years or so?

      1. Sure, but a Jury Foreman doesn’t stand up and say “We acquit this defendant”. Don’t they say we find the defendant not guilty?

        Or are you and Dottie saying that the acquittal doesn’t mean he’s not guilty? If that’s the case Muddy, I may still have to disagree with you. Is it possible that Zimmerman is innocent, under that ridiculous law?

        1. Is it possible that Zimmerman is innocent, under that ridiculous law?

          Yes, innocent of the charge, but that is not the same as not guilty of murder.

    1. okay, more later. First, J.O.B., my friend, have you ever served on a jury? I was selected to serve on 3 jury trials involving murder and attempted murders in NYC. The reason? I always answered the attorneys questions as honestly as possible. I expressed my distrust of the police and lawyers in general…I expressed my pessimism as to the effectivity of the American legals system as honestly as I could, naively thinking that this might disqualify me as a juror. Unfortunately, my penchant for honestly expressing my true feelings only seemed to seal my fate. The option of not guilty and acquital is real, but here is the legal breakdown of what options this jury was presented with in this trial and I will admit that under Florida law and the charges against Zimmrman, the jury’s verdict was ultimately a not guilty decision. Do I agree with it? Do I accept it? Simply, No..let me parse the legality of it for you and tell me what you think( warning, this could get tedious):
      To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved” state of mind — that is, with ill will, hatred or spite. Prosecutors said he demonstrated that when he muttered, “Fuck punks. These assholes. They always get away” during a call to police as he watched Martin walk through his neighborhood.
      To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.
      More on what a lawful justification is below.
      The Washington Post notes that the jury was looking at the manslaughter charge, so they dismissed Second Degree murder:
      Earlier Saturday, the jury had sent a note to Judge Debra Steinberg Nelson requesting clarification of instructions related to manslaughter, signaling that they were taking a hard look at the lesser of the two charges against the former neighborhood watch volunteer and sending a jolt through the courtroom and the crowd outside. Before starting deliberations, the jury was given a cautionary note by Nelson, who instructed them that “Zimmerman cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide.”
      Negligence means there was no intent to kill, but you were so sloppy in your actions that you killed someone. You’re negligent when you leave a loaded gun near a child, and the child uses it and harms someone, but you didn’t intend for the child to harm someone.
      “Without lawful justification” sounds like you still have to find that there was intent to kill. But if you find intent, in order to convict it has to be an intent that was not lawful – meaning, it wasn’t justified by self-defense, or you weren’t a cop who’s justified in shooting someone. That’s “justifiable homicide” – you intended to kill someone, but you were justified in doing it.
      As for the other term, ”excusable homicide,” here’s what it means in the Florida statutes:
      782.03 Excusable homicide.—Homicide is excusable when committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent, or by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden combat, without any dangerous weapon being used and not done in a cruel or unusual manner.
      That’s a long definition. It actually contains 3 independent definitions of excusable homicide – if you can prove any of the three, you’re off the hook.
      In order to meet the first definition of excusable homicide you need to meet all of the following four elements:

      1. By accident: You drop a vase of water accidentally, it breaks, someone near you slips on the water and breaks their neck; and
      2. It also has to be while doing something lawful – meaning, if you accidentally kill someone while committing a crime, it’s not excusable homicide; and
      3. You have to be exercising usual caution: You can’t be negligent in doing whatever you did that accidentally led to someone else dying; and
      4. You can’t have had any unlawful intent: That one’s interesting. It think it means that if I was intending to kill you, and I accidentally drop the vase, you trip on the water and die – my intent was still unlawful. So even if it was an accident, they might not let me off the hook.

      But there’s a second definition that can independently count as “excusable homicide”:

      1. By accident; and
      2. It was the heat of passion and you were suddenly provoked to a significant degree.

      I’m not entirely sure I understand this second defense. I think that may be saying that the other elements in the first definition – that you were doing something lawful, that you were exercising caution, and that you didn’t have an unlawful intent may not be necessary for this second definition of “excusable homicide” if it was the heat of passion and you were suddenly provoked to a significant degree. I wonder if this isn’t the reason the jury found Zimmerman not guilty.
      And the third definition of excusable homicide in the law says that you were suddenly in a fight, and no dangerous weapon was used, yet the other guy died – that clearly doesn’t apply to this case, as there was a gun.
      The not guilty verdict means the jury of six women found that Zimmerman justifiably used deadly force and reasonably believed that such force was “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to himself — Florida’s definition of self-defense.

      1. Well Dottie, you are a great man as always. Thanks for taking the time to write all that for me, and everyone else to enjoy. To answer your question, I have never served on a jury. I have been involved with three different court cases. (I’ll leave it at that)

        This is what I think about what you wrote.
        “To win a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors had to convince the jury only that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.”
        It sounds like Zimmerman did not have lawful justification unless you take into account the stand your ground law. I’m really going to have to look that dumb law up. Because I don’t know how exactly it affects this case.

        “2. It was the heat of passion and you were suddenly provoked to a significant degree.”
        I agree with you. This must be what the jury was looking at. But it sounds utterly ridiculous. An excusable homicide defense can be used for use of a deadly weapon in a situation where the “Perpetrator” doesn’t even have a pocket knife. Whatever.

        Thanks again for taking the time out to explain the law a little bit.

  8. more later, but for now, here’s how insane this entire “Stand Your Ground” suite of laws really can be. A fellow in California was burglarizing an apartment when he was confronted by the person who lived there, so he shot him dead. Then after he was arrested for the murder he committed while in the act of robbing the apartment, he tried to use the “Stand Your Ground” defense because he saw the victim had a gun and it looked liked he was gonna get shot…

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