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Do you think Zimmerman will be convicted of murder?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 09:58 am
@sozobe,
I agree that it's all entirely speculative for us, but my personal speculation is that Zimmerman initiated a verbal confrontation by following Martin and that Martin did physically gain an upper hand on him briefly before being shot. How the physical confrontation started is the least clear (and also most one of the two keys IMO) but even if Martin initiated physical contact he could legitimately fear his safety when some guy is stalking him (a possibility here is even that Zimmerman approached with a gun, and Martin attacked in panic).

My guess is that neither side really was out for the physical confrontation and that it developed but that's just my speculation again.

Based on the available evidence I find it unlikely that Zimmerman was legitimately in enough danger to use lethal force, but with the caveat that in a fight its often hard to properly assess danger (when you are getting hit it often seems more dangerous at the time than it really is) and I think that based on the available evidence (especially the 911 tapes) that there legitimately was a brief physical struggle.

My guess is that the most likely crime he committed was voluntary manslaughter. I doubt that he went after Martin with intent to attack but I also don't see it as very likely that he was legitimately threatened to the point where the lethal response was warranted.

The charge for that guessed scenario would be voluntary manslaughter, in my opinion. In the heat of the moment he used severely disproportionate force (again, all my guess and speculation).
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:01 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
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?


The ansewr is that there is no legitimate way they can convict him of anything at all and they know it, they're basically just stalling for time.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:02 am
@gungasnake,
If you think it's such an absolute could you explain why you find the case against him for manslaughter to be non-existent?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:06 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

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.


0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:14 am
@Robert Gentel,
You might want to start by asking Alan Dershowitz why HE thinks the case to be non-existent, and then take a look at this:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-case-exclusive-photo-shows-bloodied-back/story?id=16177849#.T5GJnKuJfCJ

Robert Gentel
 
  5  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:30 am
@gungasnake,
Ok then, I'll ask Alan Dershowitz what you think.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:33 am
@Robert Gentel,
That's all about where I am at this point too, from what we do know, and with the knowledge that there may be pertinent info that changes my opinion later.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:34 am
@gungasnake,
as i said before, who cares what a man who helped a double murderer thinks, he's garbage

and gunga using the liberal media (abc) as a source, the end times are surely upon us
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:39 am
It all comes down to whether the prosecution can convince the jury that Zimmerman acted recklessly or negligently causing the death of Trayvon.

That sounds to me like manslaughter.

But this is probably going to come down to gun laws in Florida. Zimmerman carried a gun legally but against the advice of the Neighborhood Watch program. Zimmerman followed/confronted Trayvon while carrying that gun which raises the question of "stand your ground" being an acceptable defense or a license to commit murder.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 10:47 am
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.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:06 am
@sozobe,
Found this:

Quote:
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.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law

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.

Weird law.
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:11 am
@Robert Gentel,
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. I expect to see the charges dismissed before it gets to a trial, particularly with Dershowitz's commentary on the public record.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:23 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
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?


My understanding of it is that the main difference is that it merely doesn't require you to attempt to retreat before self-defense, which is otherwise largely similarly codified.

Quote:
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.


My understanding of it is that it's not nearly that bad, and that it merely is the difference between being required in other states to retreat if possible instead of using lethal force while the SYG laws merely don't require you to take that option.

If you attack your uncle I don't think it's self-defense at all and I don't think SYG comes into play. Only if your uncle starts the fight, and you could just run away but instead choose to use force to defend yourself.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:28 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
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.


My understanding is that this is what a typical self-defense criteria would be but that the SYG law removes the last requirement to attempt reasonable means of escape.

Quote:
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.

Weird law.


I think most of the ambiguity in this particular scenario isn't really the SYG law but just general ambiguity in situations where there are no witnesses.

After all, if there are no witnesses you could have claimed to have tried to run away anyway before self-defense anyway and with no SYG law your defense could still work.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:32 am
@Robert Gentel,
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.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:45 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:
What Dershowitz and I think is pretty much the same.


In that case it might be easier for you to go ahead and tell me what you think, it will save me the step of asking that Dershowitz guy.

Quote:
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.

Thing is, this is relative, and what is and is not reasonable is precisely what is going to be argued over. If you are so sure it was reasonable and you believe the claims that he was being beaten severely enough to warrant taking a life I'd just like to know why you think so. It's a speculation on your part, of course, but still would be interesting to know why you seem so confident of your guess.

I have a lot of doubt, personally. I know that after-the-fact this situation doesn't seem like it warranted a lethal response at all, but also understand that in the middle of a fight this hind-sight and emotional distance is not available. When he is on the ground things can certainly look a lot different that the next day from my computer. My guess is that the situation didn't warrant a lethal response but find it plausible that it was reasonable for Zimmerman to think so.

In any case, you have your usual strength of conviction about it and all, and you've made clear what you believe but I'd like to know why you believe, for example, that:

a) Zimmerman did not initiate the physical confrontation.

b) Zimmerman's claim of being severely beaten is both true and unexaggerated.

I think reasonable people can disagree on this kind of thing, but you seem unreasonably certain about it, and I'm interested in hearing (in your own words) why that is.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:52 am
@Robert Gentel,
To me if Zimmerman was seeking a confrontation verbal or otherwise he would not had try to get the police on the scene by calling 911 many times.

If Trayvon had been worry and concern about the man following him he could had call 911 himself something he did not do.

To me it is likely his being a kid without adult judgment had gotten mad at Zimmerman following him and turn and attack Zimmerman.

Now the only question is was the assault of such a nature as a reasonable person would hold the belief that the only way of preventing his death or serous harm is to use deathly force.

When I go arm I normally carry means of less then legal force as well as a firearm so I had the ability to grade my response to an attack.

In any case if Zimmerman was the assault victim my sympathy is with him not his attacker.
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 11:58 am
Quote:
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.

Quite true.

Quote:
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.

This is the lie that Zimmerman has been telling and which the Prosecution will show, by means of the evidence, that he was, in fact, not retreating to his vehicle at any point in time during the night in question.

Statement and emphasis mine.

~~
Joe( I wonder how the instructors from his anger management class are feeling about the success of their graduate?)Nation
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 12:06 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
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.


The same keys to self-defense defense without SYG as far as I can tell. That you didn't initiate the fight and that you legitimately feared for your safety.

I think that you don't really invoke SYG, your defense is self-defense either way and the SYG law merely means legal self defense does not include an obligation to retreat, so in a non SYG state you also have to say "I couldn't get away" but Zimmerman doesn't have to invoke SYG, his case is either self-defense or not on its other merits (who started the fight, whether he was reasonably at danger).

Quote:
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.


I agree that evidence like the picture released today with the bloodied back of his head is probably going to be what the case relies on. The cries for help, if it can be shown to be Zimmerman as he claims, would also help his case and there is at least one witness that claims to have seen Martins on top of Zimmerman. But ultimately I think there is little evidence and the witnesses are going to be largely unhelpful (as you said, it was rainy and none seem to have clearly seen much of it). None of it's very conclusive. The injuries to Zimmerman are of the nature that could have seemed to be grave danger at the time but also don't seem very serious after-the-fact, the screams for help could be from Martin, and the witness could be wrong about what he saw or how he interpreted it.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 Apr, 2012 12:07 pm

I believe that Zimmy will probably be acquitted,
but (the same as the OJ case) a lot depends on jury selection,
unless the court dismisses the case b4 it is submitted to the jury.

Let us note that when someone is getting slammed in the head,
he cannot judge how bad the NEXT impact will be, until it is too late.
Accordingly, it probably behooves him
to adopt the filosofy that "it is better to be tried by 12
than carried by 6."





David
 

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