August 4, 2013

How the Zimmerman Prosecution Blundered and Lost

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 10:16 am

Trayvon Martin shooting protest 2012 Shankbone 26

Guest post by John Victor

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer shot Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old who was walking to his father’s apartment. Zimmerman thought Martin was “up to no good” and followed the teen, even though a police operator advised him not to.

I predicted a year ago in The Freedom Bulletin that the Zimmerman murder case would be lost to the prosecution due to the fact that they would never reenact the crime with live actors. (See A Martial Artist Analyses the Zimmerman/Martin Murder Case, June 30, 2012). Fully equipped with tunnel vision and the tendency for lawyers to over verbalize and under visualize their cases, the prosecution was forced to accept the defense version of the crime, where Trayvon supposedly attacked Zimmerman. This version would never have survived a reenactment had the prosecution presented their case with live actors for the jury.

We can start with Zimmerman’s account made right after the shooting. There are four important elements: First, he claimed to be pinned against the pavement by Martin who had him in an MMA style mount position. Second, he claimed Martin, while pinning him down, was banging his head against the pavement. Third, Zimmerman was allegedly able to move himself onto the lawn from the pavement (with Martin still on top of him) so that his head wouldn’t be struck against the pavement, and fourth that Martin suposedly went for Zimmerman’s gun. None of this has any credibility.

Continue reading…

June 30, 2012

A Martial Artist looks at the Zimmerman/Martin Murder Case

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 1:45 pm

Guest post by John Victor

Thanks again to John, who earlier wrote a guest post about the Pring-Wilson trial, for providing his analysis of another high-profile case.

The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is a story that ran through most of the media earlier this year, with strong opinions expressed on both sides of the issue.  Martin was shot by Zimmerman as he walked to his father’s apartment in a gated community.  Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watcher who was armed, followed Martin assuming he was a potential burglar.  The two had a confrontation, where Zimmerman pulled out his holstered handgun and shot Martin.

Contrary to reports in the media, it is possible to reenact the murder and to discredit the stories coming out of the Zimmerman camp.  My own background is in martial arts and I do reenactments of street crimes for the purposes of self-defense training.

Zimmerman’s first story (as related by his brother to the media) is full of easily discredited holes.  He claims that Trayvon Martin was seated on top of him, smashing his head against the pavement, whereas he went for his holstered gun and shot him in the chest.  This story is as unlikely as “space aliens made him do it.”

Continue reading…

May 18, 2012

New developments in Trayvon Martin case

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 11:58 pm

Lots of new evidence, including photos, video, audio, and 200 pages of documents, have been released in the Trayvon Martin case, some helpful to George Zimmerman‘s defense and some not.

First, according to photos and police reports, Zimmerman had a broken nose and cuts to the back of his head. Martin had only a cut on his finger in addition to the fatal gunshot wound to his chest. Zimmerman’s injuries seem to support his claim of self-defense…but the relative lack of injuries to Martin could argue against that theory that they were engaged in a violent physical fight before the shooting.

Released earlier by ABC News, medical records from Zimmerman’s doctor go into more detail about his injuries. He had a “closed fracture” of his nose, two black eyes, two cuts to the back of his head, a bruise to his lip, and a back injury the day after the shooting.

Continue reading…

April 23, 2012

Twitter death threats against Zimmerman

Filed under: Internet,law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 10:23 pm

The Internet is a great thing. It allows people to find information about almost anything without having to go to a library or bookstore, and allows people (like me!) to express their views who otherwise would not be able to. But that can actually be a bad thing, as many recent tweets about George Zimmerman illustrate.

Unsurprisingly, when Zimmerman was released on bail last night, hordes of angry, often not very intelligent people took to Twitter to proclaim things like, “Ima kill zimmerman myself,” and “I WOULD KILL DA SHYT OUTTA DAT ZIMMERMAN DUDE IF I SAW HIS ASSS,” and “Start Writing Your Will! Justices Has Not Been Served.” *

And those are among the milder ones.

Continue reading…

April 22, 2012

Zimmerman awaiting release on bail

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 1:17 pm

Zimmerman, George - Seminole County Mug

After appearing in court on Friday, being granted $150,000 bail, and apologizing to the parents of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman could be out of jail any day now, once the logistics of posting the bail and finding him a place to stay are finalized. Also at the bail hearing, Zimmerman’s defense lawyer questioned an investigator for the prosecution, going line by line through the probable cause affidavit that allowed him to be arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Police reports from the night of the shooting were released before the bail hearing, which the Hinky Meter does a good job of analyzing. What’s clear is that Zimmerman saw Martin walking down the street, thought he looked suspicious, and followed him. I think he did act wrongly by doing this. People have a right to walk through publicly-accessible land without being questioned or followed, and what Martin was doing was not Zimmerman’s business. But Zimmerman claims he was walking back to his vehicle when confronted by Martin, a claim that the investigator on Friday admitted there was no evidence to disprove.

As I’ve written before, I support Stand Your Ground laws and the concept that people have a right to use force in self-defense, regardless of whether they are at home or in a public place, and regardless of whether they attempt to run away first. But according to a rundown of the pros and cons of the case by Alan Dershowitz, this is what Florida’s much-debated Stand Your Ground law says:

“Though this statute is anything but a model of clarity, it does suggest that whoever ‘provokes’ a deadly encounter has a heavy burden of justification in claiming self-defense. But the statute doesn’t define ‘provokes,’ and that ambiguous word may hold the key to the outcome of this tragic case.

If provocation is limited to a physical assault, and if Zimmerman’s account that Martin blindsided him with a punch is believed, then Zimmerman did not provoke the encounter. But if provocation includes following the victim and harassing him, then Zimmerman may well qualify as a provocateur. Moreover, a jury may believe that Zimmerman started the physical confrontation by grabbing Martin. This would almost certainly constitute provocation.

But to complicate matters further, even a provocateur has the legal right to defend himself under Florida law if he can’t escape and if he is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, as Zimmerman claims he was.”

This is one part of the law that I disagree with. In my opinion, a provocateur should not have the legal right to defend him or herself because by definition, that is not self-defense. By deciding to provoke someone, whether by physically assaulting them, following them without a good reason, or insulting them unjustly, you are choosing to become an aggressor. Every person should have a right to self-defense against an aggressor, but an aggressor shouldn’t have a right to self-defense against a victim.

Unfortunately, no one knows what side of this distinction Zimmerman falls on, and perhaps we will never know.

April 11, 2012

Mike Tyson: It’s a disgrace Zimmerman hasn’t been shot

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 10:04 pm

As almost the whole world knows, George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin and is now in jail awaiting trial.

No matter what you think of Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence, Mike Tyson’s comments were just a bit excessive. This is what he said in an interview with Yahoo News:

“Even though this is the best country in the world, certain laws in this country are a disgrace to a nation of savages. It’s a majority versus a minority. That’s the way God planned it. He didn’t want to do something about it, He wanted us to do something about it. And if we don’t, it’s gonna stay this way. We have to continue tweeting, we have to continue marching, we have to continue fighting for Trayvon Martin. If that’s not the case, he was killed in vain, and we’re just waiting for it to happen to our children. He’ll have gotten away with impunity. It’s a disgrace that man hasn’t been dragged out of his house and tied to a car and taken away. That’s the only kind of retribution that people like that understand. It’s a disgrace that man hasn’t been shot yet. Forget about him being arrested–the fact that he hasn’t been shot yet is a disgrace. That’s how I feel personally about it.”

Yikes. How about letting the justice system run its course?

March 29, 2012

Stand Your Ground in MA?

Filed under: personal liberty by Victoria Liberty @ 10:41 pm

More and more facts are coming out about the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Some support the account of George Zimmerman, who says he killed Martin in self-defense. Others make it look like Martin’s shooting was unprovoked and unjustified. And some could go either way.

But no matter what happened in the case, I support the Stand Your Ground law that many are (incorrectly) blaming for what happened to Trayvon. The law passed in Florida in 2005 simply allows someone to use deadly force “if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm.” In other words, Stand Your Ground gives people the right to defend themselves, whether at home or in a public place, and ensures that no one can be punished for defending themselves against an aggressor. According to State Rep. Dennis Baxley, who helped to create the law, “there’s nothing in this statute that authorizes people to pursue and confront people.” And former State Senator Durell Peaden said about Zimmerman, “When he said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”

That’s why I am glad to see that a similar law just might be coming to Massachusetts. State Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) introduced a Stand Your Ground bill, saying:

“Quite honestly, we’re Americans and we ought to be able to stand our ground. We stood our ground in Concord and Lexington, and we seem to be losing that.”

Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) is one of 30 co-sponsors so far of the proposal, called the Common Defense Bill. It is currently before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which is expected to vote by the end of April.

Next Page