Author Topic: Trayvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial  (Read 34248 times)

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Offline Dave Workman

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Trayvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« on: March 21, 2012, 02:32:03 PM »
Trayvon Martin case: Indict shooter, not the law, in Florida
 
   Gun prohibitionists and anti-self-defense advocates are capitalizing on the shooting of an unarmed teen in Florida three weeks ago to attack the Sunshine State’s stand-your-ground law…
 
http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/trayvon-martin-case-indict-shooter-not-the-law-florida
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 05:52:17 PM by Dave Workman »

Offline Faeruss7

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 04:42:38 PM »
     Thanks, it was a good read, instead of all this hysteria riding the airwaves.
"It does not take a majority to prevail. But rather, an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
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Offline bozwell

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 06:09:32 PM »
I think the "stand your ground" policy is a complete red herring - the duty to retreat, or lack thereof, isn't really the material issue here, and I wholeheartedly agree that people are blaming that policy based on an agenda and not based on the merits of this case.  The big question here isn't whether Zimmerman retreated, but rather the question is whether he had a reasonable belief that his life was in danger.  Another potential issue in my mind is who initiated the conflict, since it was Zimmerman who began following Trayvon.  If Zimmerman didn't have a reasonable belief of imminent bodily harm or if he initiated the conflict, he can't really argue self defense, at least not in any fashion that would absolve him of any and all charges.  However, neither of those determinations is affected whatsoever by the lack of a duty to retreat (i.e, the "stand your ground" policy).  As such, I think the anti's are just using this incident as a convenient way to attack Florida's self defense laws.

For my $0.02, I think there are sufficient facts in this case that Zimmerman should have been arrested, and I think the Florida PD messed up by not arresting him.  I'm not saying he's definitely guilty and should be punished, as that's for a jury to decide, but rather I think there are sufficient facts out there that cut against Zimmerman to support at least a charge of manslaughter.  I completely expect that, barring circumstances that paint a completely obvious self-defense scenario, I will be prosecuted should I ever have to discharge my weapon in self defense.  The facts here aren't all against Zimmerman, but they aren't all in his favor either, and this is not a clear cut case of self defense.  Rather, it's shades of gray, and it's worth remembering that self defense is an affirmative defense.  To not bring charges in the first place given the facts of this case seems like a clear mistake in my mind, and it's anyone's guess as to why they chose not to (and there are plenty of people guessing as to why).  Once charges are brought, all the facts can then be gathered and presented and he can argue his case of self defense to a jury (if it even makes it that far).  By not making the arrest when the facts supported it, they've brought tons of attention to this case and given the anti's a way to attack Florida's strong self defense laws, even though the policies they're attacking have very little to do with these circumstances (i.e., the stand your ground policy).

In any event, it's my understanding that the Florida state attorney will bring the case to a grand jury on April 10th and they'll decide whether to go forward with an indictment based on the evidence presented, so we'll find out what happens then.  In the meantime, I guess we'll have to hear about people protesting and twisting the facts, all while blaming a "stand your ground" policy which isn't even the material issue in this case.

Offline Twmaster

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 10:33:01 PM »
If the comments made in Dave's column are indeed accurate it sounds like Zimmernam screwed up royally and should face the music. This will either be interesting or frightening to follow as the antis try to spin this against SYG laws.
Mike

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Offline RenegadeMan

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Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 11:39:29 PM »
To my thinking, this has little to do with gun laws at all. The way I heard the story, (and the truth may never be known) Martin was just walking with a bag of skittles and talking to his girlfriend on the phone and this lunatic Zimmerman starts following him down the street. Sounds like a guy looking for trouble, and maybe his trigger finger was itching.

I'm all about gun rights and right to protect and defend yourself and everything else, but the fact remains that an unarmed teenager was shot down by a guy who could just as easily driven away and avoided conflict altogether.

The focus should not be about an attack on gun laws, but on punishing a foolish man who had no business hassling and then killing a kid who was seemingly minding his own business.

It will be interesting to see how this story continues to unfold, and I look forward to hearing others opinions on this matter, whether they share my views or not :)

Offline Spirit 1

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 12:08:18 AM »
Thanks, Dave!

Surely complicated. Did Martin have a lawful right to pass through the neighborhood? Yes. Did Zimmerman have a lawful right to follow Martin? Yes. Had Martin broken any law? Unknown. Was it a good idea for Zimmerman to follow Martin? Actually by law that isn't relevant, even though it might seem like a pretty stupid idea. I'm assuming he followed him on foot, and apparently at a distance, if he was also talking to the Police dispatcher.

I recall when some cities had unarmed vigilantes, the Guardian Angels. They were highly trained in martial arts and went about freely at will to 'police' high crime areas to ensure citizen safety. It was apparently quite legal, though Law enforcement often didn't appreciate the 'help'.

If after Zimmerman followed Martin, at some point Martin turned to challenge Zimmerman, even to attack him, the scene changes, maybe moving up to assault, and/or threats to do serious bodily harm. Possibly Zimmerman attempts to retreat and cannot. If this turnaround escalated to aggravated assault and battery against Zimmerman no crime was committed if Z was in fear of his life or great bodily injury. The report of someone crying out for help seems to lean Z's way. It's unlikely someone with a gun pulled on them is going to shout "HELP!" simply because it could cause the armed person to react with a trigger pull. Still, it's possible.

Odds are that Zimmerman's defense will be that Martin turned on him, came towards him aggressively, challenged and threatened Zimmerman, then escalated the encounter to bodily assault: at which time Zimmerman feared for his safety or life, called out for help, then drew his pistol to shoot his assailant.

Personally I can't see any reason to arrest Zimmerman until more facts in the case are developed by police investigation, plenty of time for that. Law enforcement would be incredibly busy if it was routine to arrest people for being stupid. At present there's no evidence or proof that Zimmerman committed a crime, at least in the eyes of law enforcement. Not knowing the facts prevents accusations against either man. However in reading between the lines, apparently Martin was not of a stellar character, busy running for altar boy of the year, but rather had a rap sheet like a roll of toilet paper.

Offline Twmaster

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 02:24:37 AM »
From what I read Mr. Zimmerman was following Martin in a car. And, yes. The rest of the details need to come out once the investigation is completed.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 07:24:37 AM by Twmaster »
Mike

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Offline Spirit 1

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 02:31:32 AM »
Interesting! Following in a car certainly puts a whole different spin on it. Real hard to explain why he would ever get out of the car if he is an entirely innocent party. Though all of that is legal as well, it doesn't sound real good....

Offline Hayfield123

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 06:05:13 AM »
Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law needs revision. 

In West Virginia, the law that involves use of a gun when out of your home goes into great detail with regards to self defense.  If you initiate the incident, you can't use a gun to defend yourself.  This prevents someone starting an altercation and then shooting their opponent "in self defense."

Had this occured here in WV, Mr. Zimmerman would have been arrested, as a result of the 911 call which showed he was not in imminent danger, but, claiming there was something "suspicious" about the victim, went ahead and approached and initiated contact.

Neighborhood Watch is not law enforcement . . . sounds to me that Zimmerman was a cop-wannabe.
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Offline Ma}{imus

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2012, 11:11:34 AM »
While the facts are still a bit foggy, my initial thought is that Mr. Zimmerman initiated the confrontation. He informed 911 dispatch that he was going to follow a 'suspicious person' against their advice. There was apparently no confrontation at the time of the call. I think Mr. Zimmerman will have a very hard time substantiating a claim of self defense.

There was a similar incident in Utah where the neighborhood watch followed a group of teenage girls. The difference was that one of the girls called their father about being followed and he showed up with a gun. Both the father and the neighborhood watchman were armed and engaged in a heated verbal confrontation. The father ended up shooting the neighborhood watchman, in self defense according to him, resulting in paralyzing injuries to the neighborhood watchman. The father was found guilty for attempted murder. Keep in mind that Utah is very gun friendly state. I posted a couple of links to that story below.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=7252008
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700051632/Bluffdale-man-guilty-of-attempted-murder-in-neighborhood-watch-shooting.html

Offline Dave Workman

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 11:45:46 AM »
Gentlemen:

I happen to concur with the consensus here.
It appears that Mr. Zimmerman did, indeed, unnecessarily initiate the confrontation.

I think he probably acted outside the parameters of the SYG law.  I think he will be lucky that I'm not called as an expert witness to testify...<tsk>

I think I will have more to write about on this!

 ::)

Offline myles

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 11:52:09 AM »
Based on the limited information that has come out, it would seem Treyvon Martin was the party likely to fear for his safety, not Mr. Zimmerman.  If you're a minor, followed by someone in a car while walking at night on a deserted street, the person then gets out and approaches you, then starts addressing you aggressively...it's not hard to see imagine how the situation might have developed.  I don't know if Mr. Zimmerman did anything to impede Martin continuing down the street or otherwise acted to restrain or restrict his movement, but from there to fight of flight is a very short distance.  The stand your ground argument might best be used by Martin's family, not Mr. Zimmerman.

Offline Spirit 1

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 01:07:40 PM »
I made a comment that was entirely uncalled for and wasn't necessarily based on fact!

"However in reading between the lines, apparently Martin was not of a stellar character, busy running for altar boy of the year, but rather had a rap sheet like a roll of toilet paper."

According to info I saw on one website, and sorry to say I don't remember which one, there were references to Martin having many prior problems with law enforcement or whatever. Now I don't see that anywhere else. My apologies to those here and to the family of young Mr. Martin, I was in error on that one!

Offline Dave Workman

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2012, 02:35:26 PM »
I made a comment that was entirely uncalled for and wasn't necessarily based on fact!

"However in reading between the lines, apparently Martin was not of a stellar character, busy running for altar boy of the year, but rather had a rap sheet like a roll of toilet paper."

According to info I saw on one website, and sorry to say I don't remember which one, there were references to Martin having many prior problems with law enforcement or whatever. Now I don't see that anywhere else. My apologies to those here and to the family of young Mr. Martin, I was in error on that one!


Not to worry. There's a lot of information floating around out there.  When I wrote that column,, I used the term "allegedly less than stellar"and I got jumped. It was an accurate assessment and I stand by it.  A lot of people are saying a lot of things. It' not really clear what is right or wrong..

But I can say this with certainty: There were two people in that confrontation. One of 'em started it and he didn't have to. He's the one still breathing, and he's not out of trouble by a long shot.

addendum:

Debate raging about Treyvon Martin case; Was ‘SYG’ law even relevant?
 
   While the broader public debate is raging over the slaying of Treyvon Martin in Florida and whether this was because of the “Stand-Your-Ground” law, gun rights activists across the map are focusing on a different question, whether the law is even relevant in this case.
 
http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-seattle/debate-raging-about-treyvon-martin-case-was-syg-law-even-relevant
 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 05:03:52 PM by Dave Workman »

Offline Spirit 1

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Re: Treyvon Martin case: FL stand-your-ground law on trial
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2012, 05:03:23 PM »
Thanks!

Yes, it looks like life as he knew it is over too.