This is all speculation here, of course, and only based on what little we currently know about this case, but when all is said and done do you think Zimmerman will stand convicted of murder?
roger wrote:I think he's guilty of second degree murder, but won't be convicted.
I'd be interested in knowing your thinking behind it, I see voluntary manslaughter as being the more likely crime that I guess he is guilty of but am interested in what made you think murder.
Maybe I should examine the elements of second degree murder, but the situation seems quite similar to the crook who shoots someone in the commission of an armed robbery. In that circumstance, the charge would be murder as he cannot claim self defense.
I agree with you that I don't think he will be convicted of murder.
Quote:I understand Florida allows the prosecution to prosecute for murder, while allowing the jury to convict on a lesser charge. If this is the case, prosecution has nothing to lose, and may use the higher leverage the higher charge into a plea.
That makes sense, the murder charge seemed a bit ambitious to me but if that's how it works there really is little downside to it for the prosecutors.
Little downside for the prosecution, but not the direction I would like the criminal justice system to follow.
776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
The other thing I'm curious about, and don't actually know for sure, is when SYG kicks in for this.
If it kicks in when Zimmerman first saw Trayvon and thought he was a robber, then I don't think Zimmerman is covered by SYG.
But can it kick in right at the point of the physical confrontation? If Zimmerman provoked the confrontation, but then once it was provoked he thought his life was actually in danger, does SYG then allow him to shoot with impunity?
That's certainly a stupid law if so -- if I stand to get a big inheritance from my Uncle Paul I can start a fight with him and then if he strikes back, shoot him because hey I feared for my life, and since it was all legal 'n' stuff just go ahead and gather the millions -- but it already seems to be clear that it's a pretty stupid law. I just can't tell how stupid.
So if all seems to turn on whether Zimmerman reasonably believed that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and he has exhausted every reasonable means to escape that danger.
And if my Uncle Paul and I are in a private area with no witnesses and no recording equipment, all I'd have to do is rough up his knuckles a bit, give myself some bruises, and say I thought he was going to kill me. Hello, millions.
What Dershowitz and I think is pretty much the same.
Again if the kid had just decked the guy and walked away, it's fairly certain that nobody would have died. In real life, the kid knocked him down and then pounced on him and proceeded to try to literally beat the life out of him and, at that point, very few people in the same situation wouldn't have pulled the gun and shot the kid.
It really all comes down to how reasonable that belief in serious injury is and how the physical altercation was initiated. If Zimmerman initiated the physical contact (e.g. attempted to subdue Martin) then any kind of self-defense defense is going to be inherently problematic.
If, as Zimmerman claims, he was retreating to his vehicle when he was attacked then self-defense is an option and yes, if he reasonably thought he was in danger of grave injury or death it is self-defense.
Right, attacking my uncle wouldn't actually be SYG, but I'm trying to figure out what would keep me from saying that it was, if there were no witnesses etc.
All in terms of this case and whether Zimmerman saying that he reasonably believed that he was in danger will be enough for him to walk away from this. Presumably evidence will come into it, and hopefully witnesses will have seen enough to give clearer picture of what happened. Sounds like it was rainy and hard to see and a lot of contradictory impressions, though.