Re: Trayvon Martin

1

Put your feet where your FB is:

http://trayvonoc.wordpress.com/


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 7:08 AM
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My Facebook feed needs to be pruned again.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 7:52 AM
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In general wouldn't a manslaughter charge have a different standard of self-defense than murder? Not sure how much this varies from state to state, or in particular if in Florida, manslaughter would have different standard for self-defense (for instance where being the instigator is material).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 7:54 AM
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No -- self defense is a justification for homicide. So if the jury found that the State hadn't proven lack of self defense beyond a reasonable doubt, they needed to acquit. Murder v manslaughter goes to Zimmerman's intent assuming no justification of self defense.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:02 AM
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The jury instructions are quite clear on this point. Look at page 12.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:12 AM
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People with guns shouldn't look for trouble.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:13 AM
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6 is truth. That should be codified in law.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:21 AM
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6: Right, that's the whole problem here. And because you can't count on people not to be aggressive assholes, they shouldn't be allowed to carry guns.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:22 AM
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6. Ethically, no they shouldn't. But if there's no sanction against them doing so, then if they want to they will, and you cannot say them nay. And there are always people who want to look for trouble - they find it exciting, or they have a weird view of the world, or they're psychopathic, whatever.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:23 AM
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Raceist murder is America's one true native art.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:29 AM
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4,5: Hmm, Ok. I managed to confuse myself that manslaughter might not allow an "imperfect" self-defense given that the lesser charge already took into account the mitigating circumstances. Maybe some other jurisdictions? Maybe nowhere?

Reading CC's link I also notice that although Zimmerman "waived" the SYG defense, the following is in the instructions:

If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:31 AM
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9: I think my long-abandoned pseudonym once, at L. Be/yer/ste/in's site, accused a deranged anarcho-libertarian gun enthusiast of "displacement sideways," shifting the entirety of his moral, emotional and sexual worldview to the firearm that he boasted of carrying illegally. I changed my pseudonym after that, because he seemed like the kind who would hold and reify an online grudge.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:36 AM
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9: And bigger, stronger, younger men than I, and groups of them, shouldn't be allowed either.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:38 AM
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5, 11: And those instructions look like they completely ignore the limitations on the self-defense defense that are supposed to apply even in Florida to an initial aggressor (i.e., an initial aggressor does have a duty to retreat or surrender before he can meet deadly force with deadly force, per stuff linked here the other day). I guess maybe the prosecution didn't argue that Z started whatever violence occurred? Or maybe the "not engaged in unlawful activity" condition is supposed to be shorthand for that limitation? If so that's insane.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:43 AM
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Hmm... Don't see what he can in fact do.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:07 AM
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14: I believe Zimmerman's defense was that the circumstances he claimed to exist at the time when he found himself in fear of serious injury (on the ground with Martin hitting him) prevented him from retreating or surrendering, such that his duty to do so was fulfilled. Horrible as this case is, falsifying that claim beyond a reasonable doubt is a really high standard, and I'm not surprised by the verdict.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:08 AM
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15 -- my understanding is that the prosecution did argue that Zimmerman started the violence that occurred -- that was their theory of the case, and if the jury* had found that he did, he would have been convicted. The problem is that there was no direct or testimonial evidence that Zimmerman started the fight, just inferential evidence from Zimmerman's conduct that he might have done so, and the defense successfully argued that this wasn't enough.

*as always, caveat with "who knows what juries are thinking."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:14 AM
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17 was to 14. I agree with 15.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:15 AM
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16: But the instructions don't ask the jury to determine whether there was a reasonable doubt about Z's ability to retreat, they say that if he wasn't "engaged in unlawful activity" he had no duty to retreat.

17: So did the judge decide the inferential evidence wasn't enough and thus refuse to let the jury consider that question? I have no idea what I'm talking about but I would think that should be a jury question, and they can't answer it if it's not part of their instructions.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:30 AM
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Ta-nehisi Coates on the verdict.

2.) I think the jury basically got it right. The only real eyewitness to the death of Trayvon Martin was the man who killed him. At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his basic narrative, because there were no other eye-witnesses.

3.) The idea that Zimmerman got out of the car to check the street signs, was ambushed by 17-year old kid with no violent history who told him he "you're going to die tonight" strikes me as very implausible. It strikes me as much more plausible that Martin was being followed by a strange person, that the following resulted in a confrontation, that Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation, and Zimmerman then shot him. But I didn't see the confrontation. No one else really saw the confrontation. Except George Zimmerman. I'm not even clear that situation I outlined would result in conviction.

I think this is pretty much exactly right. I think our conviction that this is a racist verdict comes much less from this jury having gotten it wrong, than from obvious likelihood that a different, and much higher, standard, would have been applied to the shooter if the races were switched -- evidence that wasn't enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for Zimmerman would have been easily sufficient for a black shooter killing a white kid in "self-defense" under similar circumstances.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:31 AM
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Of course to be clear I don't think the precise calibration of the jury instructions or even the law are the real problem here. Having caught up on the Gladwell thread Halford is exactly right in 208, the problem is the jury's willingness to have "reasonable doubt" about an unsupported implausible self-serving bullshit story when the victim is a black teenager.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:32 AM
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Is it unusual that the prosecution had to prove lack of self-defense? IANAL, but I thought the usual case was that if one wanted to claim "I did this act of violence, but it was in self-defense", one had to demonstrate it -- not that the prosecution simply had to fail to demonstrate that it was not self-defense.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:40 AM
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And I think Coates' point 2 in 20 is wrong. You don't need eyewitness testimony to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an unsupported implausible self-serving bullshit story is self-serving bullshit. Wouldn't more or less every murder without an eyewitness get a free pass under Coates' approach?

22: Apparently it's not uncommon for the burden of proof to be on the prosecution. Which makes sense at some level: the prosecution's job is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was unlawful, and a killing done in justified self-defense is not unlawful.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:46 AM
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21: Right. This guy is armed, sees himself as a night watchman, calls 911 because he sees a black teenager, and pursues when he's told not to -- and I'm supposed to believe he didn't threaten Martin with his gun, and that Martin delivered some movie quality lines before jumping him ('you gotta problem?/you do now') without provocation?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:48 AM
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23:unsupported implausible self-serving bullshit story

It was not simply Zimmerman's unsupported story.

State of Evidence in the George Zimmerman Prosecution ...bmaz at Emptywheel, generally respected poster. With many links to testimony, and lots of pushback in comments, answered by bmaz

I thought better of you than what you are showing here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:06 AM
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22 -- http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3571&context=jclc


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:11 AM
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bmaz from 25

State of Florida v. Zimmerman is a straight up traditional self defense case. It has never been pled as a Stand Your Ground defense case, irrespective of all the press coverage, attention and attribution to Stand Your Ground. It's never been Stand Your Ground, and certainly is not now that the evidence is all in on the trial record. It is a straight self defense justification defense, one that would be pretty much the same under the law of any state in the union including that which you are in, and that I am in, now (so don't blame "Florida law").

There is nothing whatsoever unique in the self defense posture that has been effected in this case. Nothing. And it is, whether it is comfortable or not, a compelling self defense case. Actually, let us be honest: It is not comfortable. Not even close. But no matter how uncomfortable it is to say, Zimmerman needs to walk, because the self defense case is strong.

The prosecution's case, and I think they admitted it, was almost entirely based on the "following and profiling etc," because the evidence was overwhelming for a self-defense acquittal once the physical confrontation began.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:12 AM
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25, 27: I think there is a willful misunderstanding of the outrage here. People are not outraged because they think that the prosecution presented a flawless case which an honest jury would have been compelled to accept. That is all that this "bmaz" character is speaking to, and it is completely irrelevant. People are outraged because the entire machinery of the criminal justice system is set up to enforce the color line in US society. We know that the law rarely delivers justice, no one is surprised by that outcome. What sickens people is the ease with which many white people fall back to a position of white supremacist organizing. That's the tragedy here, not some legal technicality.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:21 AM
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invoking concepts like "reasonable caution and prudence" (from the instructions, p. 12) without any mention of race are....tricky. is it reasonable to hold, uh, general views about young black men and crime?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:21 AM
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I'm agreeing with Bob? Wonders never cease! Yeah, unless a video showed up with Z banging his own head against the ground while next to a dead M there's nothing much the prosecution had to work with.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:23 AM
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because it seems to me as if the state of the law makes this sort of prejudice an effective source of reasonable doubt. lawyers?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:26 AM
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30: Because witnesses were tampered with and no serious investigation happened until long after the incident occurred.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:26 AM
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Because witnesses were tampered with

Wow, that's really serious, and I expect you to take your evidence of witness tampering to the relevant authorities immediately. I will be watching the news.

You can join the various witnesses in these comment threads who know Zimmerman blocked Martin's path. Y'all need to go to Florida and testify.

Saddest is the dead young man. Close to it is the craziness of this fucked up sick country, the fucking affiliation and loyalty rituals.

People on LGM actually...ah never mind.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:41 AM
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Looks as if all the witnesses, for and against, should have been put in a bag and drowned in the Okefenokee. Near as I can tell, they managed to cancel themselves out.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-05-22/news/os-george-zimmerman-key-witnesses-20120522_1_witnesses-change-shooting-fdle-agent


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:45 AM
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25: I don't know why I'm taking the bait (other than having work to procrastinate) but what the hell. There's no evidence at that link supporting Z's implausible self-serving bullshit story that M attacked him without provocation. And there's no evidence supporting Z's story that the force with with M attacked him put him in reasonable fear for his life (pissing your pants every time you see a black teenager is not a reasonable fear).

As for your "generally respected poster" bmaz: to take just one example, he supports the assertion about a "parade of witnesses that laid the foundation for the fact [sic] Trayvon Martin was the agressor in the actual critical physical encounter" with a link to an account of single witness whose testimony does no such thing. (Hint: testimony that M was on top when Z shot him does not prove, nor does it "lay the foundation for the fact", that M was the aggressor.) So he's either full of shit or doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, though I guess there was a much easier heuristic available that would have led me to that conclusion.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:55 AM
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35 -- The testimony of Jeantel, related in bmaz' comment 101, sounds pretty significant on this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:06 AM
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Is there somewhere with a list of states along with what the burden of proof is for self-defense? How unusual is Florida in requiring that it be proved beyond reasonable doubt that self defense *was not* used? I would have expected more of a burden in proving an affirmative defense.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:11 AM
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As i said in the other thread, I think it's instructive to imagine the situation in reverse. An older, armed black radical, member of a paramilitary group with implicit anti-white views, follows an unarmed white teenager, gets out of the car and follows him, and is told by police not to. The white teen ends up shot by the black radical. The defense is that the black guy was returning to his car to obey instructions, the white teen comes up, provokes a fight, pins him to the ground and the shooting is in self defense. Does anyone doubt that there would be a conviction of the black guy in most jurisdictions? I sure don't, and I think it's the fact of that imbalance that sits so uneasily with people.

I do agree that "Florida law," if we mean by that the law on the books, isn't the issue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:14 AM
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37 -- we looked at that in some other earlier thread. Without going back to look, my recollection is that in most states, including northern/eastern/presumptively more liberal states, and including Florida, it's the defense's burden to put forward some evidence supporting a self defense theory, but that once the defense has done so the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was not justified by self defense. I have to say that this feels like the right legal rule to me, though I'm not a criminal law expert.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:19 AM
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Orange post title-wise, what organizations would people support or join if they wanted to:

-- fight the progress of Stand Your Ground laws or the gun lobby in general
-- fight ALEC's legislative agenda (I know they've supposedly divorced themselves from gun lobbying, but still)
-- restore the Voting Rights Act -- and in general support organizing that connects the devaluation of black Americans' lives and political power to the agenda of corporate power
-- include anti-racist practice in their own work
-- reform the racist prison system


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:19 AM
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the evidence was overwhelming for a self-defense acquittal once the physical confrontation began.

"Once the physical confrontation began" is doing a lot of work in that statement. I think the legal analysis fits poorly with most people's intuition here. A common-sense reading of the situation would say that the confrontation began much earlier, while Zimmerman was following Martin in his car -- and therefore, Zimmerman's provocative actions at that stage are relevant to his claim of self-defense. (And, yes, I think people would be much less willing to accept such a strict legal interpretation if it had been a black man pursuing a white teenager.)


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:20 AM
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37 -- From the article I linked in 26, I don't think it's all that unusual. The prosecution putting Z's interviews into evidence may well also have been enough in a state that did require some sort of higher showing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:21 AM
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36: I hadn't read though the comments--I noted several of bmaz's misrepresentations and applied the lessons of derauqsd's one-minute MBA before I got that far. I'm still not sure how that testimony--even granting the accuracy of bmaz's account in that comment--does what bmaz asserts: at most it suggests M initiated a verbal confrontation. That does not make him the initial aggressor, unless you think it's reasonable to assume that a black teenager will always accompany a verbal confrontation with violence. But I'll be charitable and revise "unsupported implausible self-serving bullshit story" to "barely supported implausible self-serving bullshit story" and hopefully bob will go back to thinking better of me because boy 25.last really stung.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:25 AM
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43 -- You don't think it's enough for reasonable doubt? Not enough to convict M of starting a physical confrontation, certainly. Or even to say that it's more likely than not that M did start it. But in the face of Z's statements that he did, and no evidence to the contrary, what've they really got here?

I agree that if races were switched the result would be different. That's not enough to overcome reasonable doubt either.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:39 AM
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According to Volokh 49 states have the same rules as Florida (prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant wasn't acting in self-defense), while Ohio still uses the older rule (defendant must prove self-defense by a preponderance of evidence).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:42 AM
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45 And without reading Volokh or Ohio caselaw, I'm going to guess that the state has to prove an exception to self-defense -- that SD is unavailable because the defendant was the initial aggressor -- BRD.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:46 AM
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But in the face of Z's statements that he did, and no evidence to the contrary, what've they really got here?

A compelling case for dash cams and Google Glass.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:51 AM
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Digby is characteristically eloquent on the lessons learned from the Zimmerman verdict.

Americans are so frightened of everything, even 17 year old kids with nothing more than skittles and tea in their hands, that they must "protect" themselves from all threats by any means necessary.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 12:37 PM
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44: No, I don't. If that's enough to compel reasonable doubt how is anyone ever properly convicted of murder? Just assert that you were in fear of your life, point to evidence that the victim yelled at you or looked at you funny, and you've got reasonable doubt--who's to say for sure? I don't know what reasonable doubt is (and I don't think anyone else does either) but I don't think it's that.

I guess what it comes down to is that even though the concepts are nominally identical, there just has to be some difference between the usual reasonable doubt as to whether a defendant actually committed what would generally be a crime, and reasonable doubt as to whether a defendant who in fact committed what would otherwise be a crime should be excused from it. Or maybe a better way of putting it is that when A undisputedly shoots B, it takes more doubt to rise to the level of reasonable doubt when A claims self-defense, because shooting someone is such an extraodrinary thing that it's justifiable only under rare circumstances. Certainy a juror's priors properly come into play like that all the time when deciding whether or not reasonable doubt is present.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 12:48 PM
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36: 35 -- The testimony of Jeantel, related in bmaz' comment 101, sounds pretty significant on this.

Everything about bmaz's 101 reads tendentiously to me including his implied timing and his invocation Jeantel's testimony which may not be wholly inconsistent with Zimmerman's story but certainly does not support it in any conventional sense.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 12:54 PM
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Tell me more about respect for the rule of law, bob, because it makes me want to puke.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 12:57 PM
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49: Be careful of admitting Bayesian priors into this. You really want all the stats on racial/ethnic divides entering the cases?


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 12:58 PM
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According to Volokh 49 states have the same rules as Florida (prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant wasn't acting in self-defense), while Ohio still uses the older rule (defendant must prove self-defense by a preponderance of evidence).

Assuming this is accurate, would it make sense to change to the latter standard everywhere (obviously nowhere near adequate, just a positive move), or are there reasons it would be a bad idea?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 2:07 PM
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And there's no evidence supporting Z's story that the force with with M attacked him put him in reasonable fear for his life

Sure there is -- if he was down on the concrete and had lacerations in his head, that alone is a reasonable fear for serious bodily harm. Head injuries on pavement are a major way that people die in fistfights.

All of this is about whether the jury was willing to make a circumstantial conclusion that Zimmerman must have actively physically provoked the confrontation (as opposed to just following Martin and pissing him off in that way, which doesn't justify a physical assault). From the 911 transcript it seems like you could make that case, but there doesn't seem to be any physical or eyewitness evidence for it, it is based completely on inferring Zimmerman's state of mind from the call before the confrontation. I would tend to trust the jury who spent days with the evidence on a tough call like that.

obvious likelihood that a different, and much higher, standard, would have been applied to the shooter if the races were switched -- evidence that wasn't enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for Zimmerman would have been easily sufficient for a black shooter killing a white kid in "self-defense" under similar circumstances.

not sure this is true -- say it was a black self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer, white teenager, etc. Or, to be more accurate, say it was a Hispanic teenager as that is Zimmerman's ethnicity. In other words, switch the race but not the class or the circumstances, I think it is unclear what would happen. For a white teen in a confrontation with a black guy in the ghetto, with none of the gated community neighborhood watch stuff going on, sure, you're probably right.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 2:08 PM
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54:1: It doesn't have to be death. There's a great deal of evidence available about impacts, brain damage, and mental deficits thereafter, and that evidence has been around for decades. Getting hit in the head isn't much like it's shown in TV shows or movies.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 2:29 PM
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If he'd have slammed Zimmerman's head hard enough that Zimmerman couldn't pull the trigger, Martin would have had a better self-defense case than Zimmerman had.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 3:13 PM
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Yep. That's what my kids are stuck on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 3:57 PM
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"Whoever can still talk" seems suboptimal as a criteria for who has the burden of proof.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 4:14 PM
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It's unambiguous, at least.

Unless both parties can still talk.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 4:31 PM
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Raceist murder is America's one true native art.

Well and I think you'd really have to say we made advertising what it is.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:05 PM
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49 -- But there's more than that. An eyewitness says M was atop Z beating him. You can decide you don't believe the witness. But are you sure BRD that he's wrong?

The whole thing is awful, certainly. A zig instead of a zag anywhere along the course of events and the kid is still alive. That doesn't mean the state has proven BRD every element it has to prove to put the guy away.

What do you want to change to get the other result?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:41 PM
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I haven't followed the details of the trial and testimony, but doesn't it make more sense for self defense to be an affirmative defense? So if the prosecution proves killing and malice BRD, a defendant must prove self defense to a preponderance.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:50 PM
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Or at least armed self-defense against an unarmed opponent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:55 PM
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Don't forget the concrete sidewalk, Moby. That sidewalk was Martin's weapon.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 8:59 PM
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Zimmerman in an interview with Hannity: Zimmerman said, "I can't guess to what their[people who rushed to judgment] motives are. I would just ask for an apology. I mean if I did something that was wrong. I would apologize."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:01 PM
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Maybe Florida can try him for killing irony?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:07 PM
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He's lucky to live in a country where there will be no shortage of people telling him that he's a hero.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:09 PM
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Irony died on 9/11, remember?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:10 PM
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Right, weren't they holed up in the NYC Emergency Command Center in 7 World Trade Center?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 9:30 PM
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62 does kinda run firmly into Woolmington, though.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 10:47 PM
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61: As I understand the relevant law--which may not be very well--even if you credit that witness and believe that at some point M was on top of Z (and I don't think that testimony went much beyond that, no claim from that witness that M was raining down deadly blows on Z as far as I'm aware), that does not preclude you from believing beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was not in justifiable self-defense. You can believe any number of things--e.g., that the force M applied was not reasonably perceived by Z as deadly or likely to cause grievous injury; that Z initiated the altercation and failed in his resulting duty to break off or retreat if possible--that would still allow you to vote for conviction. And I think you can also require a fair amount of doubt before you believe there's a reasonable doubt that a racist cop-wannabe who spent his nights stalking black teenagers while packing might have shot this particular one in self defense.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-14-13 11:24 PM
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Zimmerman said, "I can't guess to what their[people who rushed to judgment] motives are. I would just ask for an apology. I mean if I did something that was wrong. I would apologize."

Life imitates The Onion again.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 4:26 AM
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I haven't followed the details of the trial and testimony, but doesn't it make more sense for self defense to be an affirmative defense? So if the prosecution proves killing and malice BRD, a defendant must prove self defense to a preponderance.

makes more sense if the defendant is guilty and we want to make sure he's convicted. On the other hand, if it really is a case of self-defense and we want to avoid convicting an innocent person, shifting the burden seems less like a good idea. It comes down to weighing whether we value convicting the guilty or not convicting the innocent more.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 5:51 AM
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Further to 65, you'd think some people would know when to STFU. They think the trial was a sporting contest or something and that they should be bragging about winning. Actually even most athletes aren't assholes this big.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 6:32 AM
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convicting an innocent person

When I was a kid and my mother punished me for something I insisted I didn't do, she'd tell me that she was sure I'd done something that merited the punishment.

Now we might not want to base our jurisprudence on that principle, but it galls me that people (not anybody in this thread) are calling Zimmerman an innocent person.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:28 AM
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If George Zimmerman Trayvon Martin was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The law is an ass.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:33 AM
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The law says neither had a duty to retreat and whoever is still alive is the innocent one. Trial by combat! The law says mideval times and the Wild West are fucking awesome because haven't you seen all the movies?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:01 AM
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I thinkthis, from Lemieux, is the best overall take.

The Florida self-defense law at issue here was just standard self-defense law, and, in general, it makes sense (to me) to keep the burden on the prosecution to prove absence of self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. But we probably need a special exception to the standard law of self defense in an age of concealed carry and widespread gun ownership. At a minimum, if you are carrying a gun outside your home, and you kill someone who is unarmed, you should have a burden to show that you didn't initiate the conflict and that your conduct was otherwise reasonable, and probably some form of criminal liability short of murder for people who violate those restrictions (although to be clear, the law that's there now should stay on the books too, so that murder convictions are possible). Otherwise, you're just inviting people with concealed carry permits to act like bullies and avoid the consequences of the use of their weapons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:19 AM
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http://yoisthisracist.com/post/55521097457/anonymous-asked-yo-im-so-confused-why-arent


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:31 AM
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Here is an interesting article that provides a racial breakdown of Florida cases where 'stand your ground' was invoked. Most do not involve cross-racial killings (less than 10 percent of U.S. homicides are cross-racial). However, there are a number of cases where black defendants successfully invoked self-defense to get off in killing a white man. E.g. this case:

In Pompano Beach in 2010, Patrick Lavoie, a white man, jumped out of his girlfriend's car and accused Cleveland Murdock, a black man, of tailgating. When Lavoie, who had a cigarette lighter in his hand, tried to reach through Murdock's passenger window, Murdock fatally shot him.

or this one:

Hygens Labidou, who is black, was driving in Deerfield Beach in 2007 when two white men jumped out of their pickup, pounded on his truck and yelled racial slurs. Labidou, still inside his car, fired his gun, striking both men and killing 28-year-old Edward Borowsky.

The article does find a gap between how often whites vs. blacks successfully invoked SYG, but the gap is small, and in the small number of cross-racial cases there is no difference. I think it's uncertain how this case would have turned out had the races been reversed.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:46 AM
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Here is an interesting article that provides a racial breakdown of Florida cases where 'stand your ground' was invoked.

That is interesting.

I think the article appropriately avoids from drawing any strong conclusions -- it compiles some numbers and then says that there just isn't enough data to come down strongly on one side or another. It does give the FL justice system the benefit of the doubt, but is open to the idea that there are real problems in the way the law is applied.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:57 AM
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Other commentary on SYG laws. "The data is clear, compared to white-on-white crimes, stand your ground increases the likelihood of a not-guilty finding, but only when a person is accused of killing a black person."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 12:07 PM
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I think it's uncertain how this case would have turned out had the races been reversed.

I don't think there's much use for this kind of counterfactual, but I think there's no way in hell it plays out the same way. Set aside the trial itself; the case came to national attention because there weren't plans for charges or a trial. I really can't see a black guy killing a white kid in a gated community and not at least being charged.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 12:50 PM
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Otherwise, you're just inviting people with concealed carry permits to act like bullies and avoid the consequences of the use of their weapons.

Which seems, from my distant perspective, to be exactly the point of the concealed carry laws, SYG laws, and everything else. It's about allowing small-metaphorical-penis'd idiots, bigots and racists the opportunity to throw their weight around.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 3:12 PM
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New York Monday-morning-quarterbacks the prosecution. Numbers 2 and 5 seem convincing to me.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 6:23 PM
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The Onion: CNN Holds Panel Discussion To Determine If There Race Problem In America.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 6:32 PM
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#slatepitch "I can write the most annoying thing yet on Zimmerman-Martin"--Wiliam Saletan

And unless I am phobically misreading "Martin's phobic misreading of Zimmerman" in the following, I think he's been smoking some Altcrack.

Martin, meanwhile, was profiling Zimmerman. On his phone, he told a friend he was being followed by a "creepy-ass cracker." The friend--who later testified that this phrase meant pervert--advised Martin, "You better run." She reported, as Zimmerman did, that Martin challenged Zimmerman, demanding to know why he was being hassled. If Zimmerman's phobic misreading of Martin was the first wrong turn that led to their fatal struggle, Martin's phobic misreading of Zimmerman may have been the second.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 6:51 PM
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MISTAKES WERE MADE. BOTH SIDES HAVE A LOT OF THINKING TO DO. ABORTION IS ICKY. WHITESNAKE IS ROCK'S MOST UNDERRATED BAND.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LORD SALETAN | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:12 PM
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Jay Rosen tweet after Saletan disputed Rosen's negative reaction to the piece: I'll say it another way, Will. You write *as if* you are The One looking at the facts and law. I don't find it a persuasive style.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:19 PM
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And the Volokh blog calls Saletan's piece "thoughtful and informative". How did I end up looking at Volokh? Because someone on my FB feed is now blogging there. Blech.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:23 PM
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I can't believe that Salatan still has a job, much less that anyone reads him, given his opus on race and IQ a while back. Seriously, have they no shame?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:34 PM
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The Onion: Nation Throws Hands Up, Tells Black Teenagers To Do Their Best Out There.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:35 PM
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91 - ANDY SULLIVAN AGREED WITH ME IN EMAIL, HATER.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LORD SALETAN | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:37 PM
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This juror B37 sure wants to get on the wingnut welfare wagon. She knows who writes the checks.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:46 PM
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Martin, meanwhile, was profiling Zimmerman.

It was just an unfortunate incident. Both parties were guilty of prejudice, of biased assumptions and misperceptions, of overreaction. It's too bad that the kid had to die. Maybe next time he'll be more careful.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 7:59 PM
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Good of the juror to explain that the jury decided GZ was guilty of manslaughter, but decided to find him innocent because they liked him. Also that the Stand Your Ground law factored so heavily into their thinking. Hopefully all those posts about how it was not part of the defense and therefore irrelevant can be corrected.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:05 PM
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96: Please tell me you're making this up.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:07 PM
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I get all my information from Matt Bors's twitter feed.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:09 PM
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DEAR MS. CATHERINE, I AM THE EDITOR OF AN ONLINE JOURNAL OF CONTRARY OPINION AND I WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS YOUR QUALIFICATIONS IN COUNTER-INTUITIVE ARGUMENTATION.


Posted by: OPINIONATED DAVID PLOTZ | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:10 PM
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96: Sorry Ned. I don't know how the jury was supposed to be thinking of that when the defense didn't mention it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:14 PM
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Normally I think it would be to be on a jury in a high profile case like this but sometimes I think it would be fun to browbeat the goddamn morons who seem to always decide these important issues. The instructions were too confusing so we said fuck it, let's all go sign book deals!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:18 PM
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+awful


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:19 PM
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There's always fun to be had, SP. How about "Trayvoning"?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362837/Trayvoning-latest-disturbing-social-media-trend.html


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:28 PM
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I haven't been following the reporting in any detail, but has anyone examined how the prosecutors were selected?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:29 PM
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104: It's Florida, so I'm assuming some combination of willing to work for not very much money and sort-of accredited law school attendance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:31 PM
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100: It was in the jury instructions,.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:34 PM
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A good discussion of the various roles SYG played in the case.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:40 PM
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103- And those assholes aren't even doing it right, didn't the picture they accidentally showed on TV have him face up (which made it more disturbing since you don't usually see the faces of actual dead people on TV.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 8:53 PM
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107 -- That discussion is not accurate. The unusual feature of the "stand your ground" law was that it allowed for a pre-trial judicial determination of the defense,. That was not put into issue by the defense at all. The change in Florida law also, I think, changed Florida law to the "no duty to retreat" rule, which is the rule in the majority of American jurisdictions (including, e.g., California) and so that is what was instructed in the case (that is, you don't have a duty to disengage and run away, but you do have a duty to use force proportionate to the threat you face). That's the basis of the article you link in 107, but in context it's misleading. In the US, the "no duty to retreat" rule is absolutely a standard rule, and was not the important or unusual feature of the "stand your ground" law.

Moreover, the no duty to retreat doctrine played little to no role* in the case, since Zimmerman's whole theory of the case was that he had no possibility of retreat. So duty to retreat never should have come into play at all, because Zimmerman's self-defense theory didn't rely on it. And, duty to retreat still requires a reasonable and proportionate use of force.

The chorus of "blame Florida law" appears to be enormously tempting on the part of well intentioned people, I guess because if Florida law really was to blame there would be an easy and obvious legislative fix,or maybe because Florida has such a reputation for idiocy. But it's the wrong analysis. We should blame *American* law and its inability to create special rules for gun-holders, not anything specific about Florida. The case would have gone down about the same way, as a legal matter, in essentially every US jurisdiction.

*As usual, insert the "you never know what a jury is thinking" caveat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:00 PM
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Too late. I've already changed my mind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:03 PM
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108 At least they have some shame.

Not only do I think that it likely that Zimmerman will go on the wingnut welfare circuit but I can see him selling the gun he used to murder a 17 year old kid stand his ground for a tidy sum.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:03 PM
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Apparently he wants to go to law school.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:09 PM
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109: I think it comes into play to the extent that if the jury believed that Martin provoked the encounter and that Zimmerman was afraid for his life, they didn't have to concern themselves at all with whether he could have gotten away because he had no duty to retreat. So they didn't need to believe Zimmerman's whole story, in other words, to find that he fired in self-defense.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:36 PM
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Obviously none of this really matters because it's not the legal theories which really explain the results in cases like these, but my favoured pet legal theory to solve this kind of problem is to say that analyses which break up things like the Zimmerman/Martin altercation into many small pieces are always going to lead to absurdities. Still, if you look at the the event as a whole it's pretty obvious Zimmerman was reckless at best with another human's life. (Single transaction theory woo!)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:48 PM
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Even in a duty-to-retreat state, the difference would have been absolutely negligible. There was absolutely no evidence that (assuming that he didn't provoke the fight) Zimmerman wasn't attacked and immediately overpowered; in fact, there was considerable witness testimony that suggested otherwise, with Martin on top of Zimmerman.

The evidence did, I think, provide a reasonable inference that Zimmerman instigated the fight and the entire encounter, but that's not a difference that's important between a duty-to-retreat and a no-duty-to-retreat state -- staring the fight would have been a problem under any rule. Again, the attempt to blame this on a weird quirk of Florida law is basically just a red herring, although it seems to be metastasizing into popularly held belief. The bottom line is that, as Scott Lemieux argues, you need a general change to the law of self defense that's pretty much universal in the US if we're also going to be allowing large numbers of non-law-enforcement people to walk around with concealed guns outside the home. But that's an issue for every state in the US, not just Florida.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 9:49 PM
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it's pretty obvious Zimmerman was reckless at best with another human's life

Yes, this. And that's what we need to have a clearer legal rule about. We need a rule that says something like "if you have a concealed weapon, and shoot and injure an unarmed person, you need to demonstrate not only self-defense in the traditional sense but that you didn't act unreasonably in getting yourself needlessly into a situation in which a gun might have to be used. If we're going to legally allow you to have a gun, you have a higher responsibility as a gun owner than the ordinary citizen to avoid potential danger, and we'll enforce that obligation with criminal sanction." But those kind of rules really aren't in place right now anywhere in the US.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 10:00 PM
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The law taken as individual pieces without an overarching logic leads to pretty absurd results- a guy with a history of violent behavior can be armed and confront an unarmed kid who is breaking no law, can start the fight (don't know either way but even if he did and then started losing, same result), and if he starts losing the fight he can kill the kid and face no legal penalty- which probably why a lot of people hate lawyers. So Zimmerman's next career move is well chosen, if lots of people already hate you, why not become a lawyer.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 10:01 PM
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Apparently he doesn't even have an Associate's degree yet, so it'll probably be a while before he's a lawyer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 10:24 PM
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Point 5 in the article Knecht links in 85 is something I've been puzzled about. How did Zimmerman manage to get his version of the events in front of the jury via his taped interview and statements? I don't know anything about Florida rules of evidence but I would have figured that's inadmissible (at least without Z being available for cross-examination). And without that stuff there's no self-defense story for the prosecution to disprove unless Zimmerman testifies. Did the prosecution introduce those materials into evidence? And if so, what the fuck were they thinking?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 10:32 PM
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By the way, the rule that Halford proposes is (I think, I may be misunderstanding his intent) the rule Alison (1831) states is the common law of Scotland: "the person who commences violence must answer in law for its consequences, and if one of those consequences is the compelling of the aggressor, even in self-defence, to slay the original object of his violence, he is still answerable for having feloniously imposed on himself the necessity of taking away the life of another".


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:45 PM
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(It's probably a kinda inevitable rule in any society with easy access to lethal weapons.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-15-13 11:50 PM
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The rule in 120 sounds extremely sensible. If you escalate, then whatever happens as a result of that escalation is your fault.

Escalation's a very important concept in the use-of-deadly-force industry. In Northern Ireland, for example, soldiers would patrol with weapons loaded but not made ready; not only was that safer, but it meant that one of the escalation steps was the very visible and audible one of cocking their rifles. (As well as, for example, shouting warnings and so on.)

76 and 77 are interesting: Martin had reasonable grounds to believe that he was in danger, so his use of (non deadly) force was entirely legitimate.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:19 AM
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I have to say that I was pretty shocked to read that it's legal to carry a concealed gun in MA. Can that be right? It says that it's legal in all 50 states. Wikipedia tells me that Illinois was the last state not to allow it, but an appeals court found their law unconstitutional. Gawd.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:27 AM
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109: That discussion is not accurate. The unusual feature of the "stand your ground" law was that it allowed for a pre-trial judicial determination of the defense.

Hmm, so we're only allowed to bring that law up with regard to its "unusual" features.

But before we get to the more contentious part (of which I in part agree with you), do you disagree with the other two points in the article?

1) That the initial inaction of the Sanford police was guided to a large extent by their theory of that law.

2) That the SYG law may specifically come into play with regard to a potential civil lawsuit.

Now as to the other, the article specifically acknowledges that the SYG defense was waived but do you disagree with the Florida legislator who says that it was the SYG law (if not its most controversial provisions) which changed the instructions from those shown in the article to those given? Sure, there are possible (maybe plausible) worlds where Florida enacts some form of "No Duty to Retreat" or some other variant of a "Stand Your Ground" law that looked more like other states, but in this world that was the 2005 law* which transformed Florida's self-defense regime. And here's where I agree that it is somewhat "misleading"--in this part of the overall event it is the concept of SYG/"No Duty to Retreat" in general, and that Florida is one of many states which have that law/doctrine which does come into play. And that comes into play in the setting the broader tone of society, not just the law narrowly defined (and I believe this is pretty close to Lemieux's position).

And of course juror B37 is out there specifically mentioning "Stand Your Ground," exactly where she made that connection I don't know (whether after deliberations or not), but that is what the one juror we've heard from so far has to say.

*And my understanding is that Florida was relatively early (and a model) in positively asserting No Duty to Retreat into written law.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:29 AM
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I mean the law is not just about the motherfucking law for God's sake.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:31 AM
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I think the big argument against the law mattering that much is that, supposing the law not to exist, does anyone think Zimmerman'd be in jail right now?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:45 AM
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I have to say that I was pretty shocked to read that it's legal to carry a concealed gun in MA. Can that be right? It says that it's legal in all 50 states.

That article elides a massive difference between "may issue" states like Massachusetts, where the authorities have discretion to deny an application for a concealed carry permit (and mostly do, unless the applicant has a good reason) and "shall issue" states, where the authorities are obliged to issue a permit to any applicant to isn't legally precluded on some narrowly defined grounds, like being a felon or mentally ill. One of the NRA's biggest legislative goals in the 'aughts was to convert "may issue" laws to "shall issue", and they were successful in most of red America. That's one of the reasons the surge in concealed carry in the Obama years was even possible.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:29 AM
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123- Yeah, there's more training required (I think you have to take a class and then actually show proficiency hitting a target x% of times to get your license) but I'm always surprised when I run into gun culture here. I mean, I'm sure it's more common than I think, but still odd when it's explicit- someone at work mentioned that another coworker has a collection of guns and I said I was surprised and he said, well, the guy did move here from Arizona. We've given the kids instructions on what to do if they see a gun e.g. when playing at a friend's house but don't do the thing you're supposed to where you explicitly ask every parent whose house the kids will play at whether there are guns there.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:29 AM
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In the US, the "no duty to retreat" rule is absolutely a standard rule, and was not the important or unusual feature of the "stand your ground" law.

Not true in Massachusetts. In my non-professional understanding, there is no duty to retreat if you're in your home, but in a public place there is. The whole point of SYG laws is to erase that difference.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:34 AM
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129: I believe Halford's point is that it is "standard" in that more than half the states either have affirmative written law around or SYG/No Duty to Retreat or case law precendent like California (which I think only has written "castle doctrine" law, but longstanding precedent on No Duty to Retreat even if not at home).

What I think he glosses a bit is that Florida's law was a model for SYG laws and many of the affirmative laws have been put in place in the last few years. But it does seem that in may places (apparently not Florida, however) No Duty to retreat has been in place for a long time. (I think it was California where I saw a late 19th century precedent*.)

*Yes, footnote 21 here:

People v. Newcomer, (1897) 118 Cal. 263, 273. ("[W]hen a man without fault himself is suddenly attacked in a way that puts his life or bodily safety at imminent hazard, he is not compelled to fly or to consider the proposition of flying, but may stand his ground and defend himself to the extent of taking the life of the assailant, if that be reasonably necessary [in the name of California self-defense].")


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:58 AM
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Since I am not possessed of sufficient goodwill, common sense or writing skills to mount an adequate defense of my position on these points, I appoint Witt as my champion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:16 AM
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125: I love you, Stormcrow.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:19 AM
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132 x-posted with 131, notwithstanding the time stamps!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:20 AM
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After her loathsome CNN interview, Juror B37 is dropped by her lit agent (with a generous assist from Twitter), and now says she never really wanted to write a book so there anyway.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:27 AM
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Martin had reasonable grounds to believe that he was in danger, so his use of (non deadly) force was entirely legitimate.

This seems to be the core of the disagreement in how people see the verdict. I don't think that Martin had reasonable grounds to believe he was in physical danger simply from Zimmerman following him or even from Zimmerman verbally accosting him and asking him to explain his presence in the neighborhood. Furthermore, I don't think there is any evidence that Zimmerman instigated the use of violence in the encounter, at least none was produced at trial.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:39 AM
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One guy was out with a gun looking for perps and the other guy was coming back from the store? That's pretty good evidence right there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:46 AM
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I don't think that Martin had reasonable grounds to believe he was in physical danger simply from Zimmerman following him

You know, I am sick to death of this argument. Every woman here has been followed at night by a stranger, and we all know that it is a tremendously threatening and aggressive act.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:53 AM
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119: . Did the prosecution introduce those materials into evidence? And if so, what the fuck were they thinking?

That is my understanding. And part of why point 2 & 5 in conjunction seem in retrospect a much better strategy. The simple prosecution story then can (per that article) be based on pretty much incontrovertible physical evidence (maybe you do Jeantel on the phone call, maybe not) and leave it at that. Let Zimmerman come on the stand and spin his tale of self-defense.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:58 AM
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You know, I am sick to death of this argument. Every woman here has been followed at night by a stranger, and we all know that it is a tremendously threatening and aggressive act.

This. This was why I thought Zimmerman wouldn't get convicted. A white man is allowed to follow a black man. A black man isn't allowed to follow a white man. The former isn't viewed as aggressive, but the later is.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:05 AM
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Every woman here has been followed at night by a stranger, and we all know that it is a tremendously threatening and aggressive act.

Don't forget the getting out of his car part. I can't remember if Martin knew that Zimmerman had gotten out of his car (rather than Martin just noticing GZ after he was already walking) but that's also a big red flag, because it shows escalation.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:05 AM
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I do see where in 109.mid and 115.1 Halford believes the self-defense argument here would be pretty much the same even in a "Duty to retreat" case, but I'm not sure I buy that.

For instance There was absolutely no evidence that (assuming that he didn't provoke the fight) Zimmerman wasn't attacked and immediately overpowered; in fact, there was considerable witness testimony that suggested otherwise, with Martin on top of Zimmerman gets into "bmaz tendentious summarization" territory. The 'considerable" testimony was Zimmerman's self-serving BS plus one or two people who believed they saw Martin on top when they first saw what was happening--to my knowledge no eyewitnesses to the initial encounter. And Jeantel's testimony would be supportive of Trayvon not being the aggressor (although as the defense attorney was at pains to show) not necessarily inconsistent with it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:07 AM
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In conclusion, Halford is a terrible person and I think he should expound more on how inconsequential Citizens United was.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:10 AM
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In Va, there isn't a duty to retreat, but you cannot use deadly force unless it is imminent. Often, this means that if you have another option other than shooting, you are in trouble.

In my class, I tell people to forget the "No duty to retreat" and focus on "If you have another option (i.e. leaving), then it isn't imminent."

I essentially agree with 115.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:12 AM
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(Actually. I think we are in general overall agreement on the larger points of Zimmerman-Martin.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:14 AM
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I was totally convinced by Halford on this thread, which makes me hate juror B37 even more.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:20 AM
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I don't think that Martin had reasonable grounds to believe he was in physical danger simply from Zimmerman following him

Seriously? In an era of wall-to-wall coverage of serial killers and sexual predators?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:24 AM
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Isn't Florida where most of the serial killers come from? At least, they got Bundy locked up there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:26 AM
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145: It would be interesting to see what the other jurors were thinking (although we'll never really know what it is in the moment). It is certainly possible (maybe probable) that B37 was off in her own private Idaho on this one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:27 AM
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http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/crime/photos%3A-florida's-serial-killers


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:29 AM
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Florida Man legitimately frightened by Florida Man.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:53 AM
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Those five points on the prosecution were pretty good. I'm not sure I agree with 3 -- there's only so much that witness prep can do. Point 5 is the killer: the prosecution introduced enough doubt to lose the case by putting Z's story before the jury.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:08 AM
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144 -- yeah, I think we mostly agree. As to 141, I agree that witness testimony was not illuminating one way or the other as to who started the fight. But that's not the duty to retreat issue -- even with no duty to retreat, if Zimmerman starts the fight and is the initial aggressor, he loses. I do think there was enough evidence for a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that Z was the instigator, which was why I think a guilty verdict would have been fine and I would have voted to convict, but frankly there wasn't very much evidence and I don't think the jury verdict was indefensible or wildly illegitimate. But in any case, that's not the duty to retreat issue -- that only comes into play where, assuming Martin started the fight, did Zimmerman have an ability to leave, and the witness testimony that M was on top of Z is decent evidence of "no," with not much evidence cutting the other way.

In general, I don't think duty to retreat matters all that much, largely for reasons Will said -- no duty to retreat is not a blanket license to use force against a non-imminent threat. And there are some cases where the duty to retreat rule hurt very sympathetic defendants.

But the real law we should be worried about here (but, of course aren't, because politics) is concealed carry. If we don't give wannabe vigilantes the right to walk around with a loaded gun, this never happens. At a minimum, if we are letting people walk around with guns, they need to be subject to heightened liability when things go wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:31 AM
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even with no duty to retreat, if Zimmerman starts the fight and is the initial aggressor, he loses.

I've been agreeing with you all along, particularly 115, but walk me through this? Can't he have a valid self-defense defense even as the aggressor, if there's an intervening moment when he reasonably believed he was in danger, and he then was unable to retreat? (The sort of situation where the Scottish rule Keir mentioned in 120, which sounds eminently sensible to me, would kick in.)

That theory is how I've been forgiving the jury -- that even if they believed Zimmerman was the aggressor, that it would have been hard not to have a reasonable doubt that he might have been both reasonably afraid of injury and at that time unable to retreat or otherwise end the altercation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:38 AM
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128: I think I'm going to have to be That Parent who asks. I will educate the Calabat in what to do around a gun, but I'm not too keen on entrusting his life to his common sense when he's small, because in my experience, even small boys with vegan pacifist parents think guns are cool.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:43 AM
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I will educate the Calabat in what to do around a gun...

Slam the head of the guy holding the gun into the sidewalk hard enough that you get to live?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:46 AM
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Can't he have a valid self-defense defense even as the aggressor, if there's an intervening moment when he reasonably believed he was in danger, and he then was unable to retreat?

Doesn't that lead to bizarre results though?

Unprovoked, I shoot at you and miss. In self defense, you draw and shoot at me and miss. I return fire and hit. At the trial I say "Well your honor, she was shooting at me. I genuinely feared for my life. And how could I retreat without getting shot in the back?"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:47 AM
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152: At a minimum, if we are letting people walk around with guns, they need to be subject to heightened liability when things go wrong.

I think this is imminently sensible. They ought to also be required to prove that they fully understand the law governing their actions. In some states the training for concealed carry is quite comprehensive.

Also 153.last is my take. I find it plausible that Zimmerman was getting pummeled and unable to get away at the time he fired the fatal shot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:49 AM
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153 -- not really time to walk through it now in detail, but the answer is "sort of" -- there can be, under the Florida law we looked at, a moment at which you can use deadly force even if you are the aggressor. The problem is that THIS law (even in a no duty to retreat state) requires that you exhaust all reasonable options to leave and/or affirmatively show that you are clearly trying to de-escalate the fight.

In essence, in layman's language, if you start a fight, you can't claim self defense, unless you show that even though you started out as the aggressor, you're now affirmatively trying to flee and/or very clearly end the fight, and the other person is about to kill you and is preventing you from leaving or stopping the fight. That's a very hard burden to meet, which is why I think that if there's an affirmative conclusion that Zimmerman was the aggressor, he should lose (and which also seems to have been the way in which both sides argued the case). The problem is that there was a genuine absence of evidence as to who initially started the fight.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:49 AM
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156:

Duties and rights change in the blink of an eye.

In your situation, you wouldn't be able to shoot unless you had disengaged. So you leave, and I pursue you. Then you might be able to reassert self-defense.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:51 AM
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155: Ugh, that too. What do you say? "Sweetheart, if a man with a gun gets out of his truck and confronts you, do whatever he says!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:57 AM
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Self-Defense--Defendant With Fault--Retreat to Wall



If you believe that the defendant was to some degree at fault in provoking or bringing on the [fight; difficulty], but you further believe that:
(1) he retreated as far as he safely could under the circumstances in a good faith attempt to abandon the fight; and

(2) made known his desire for peace by word or act; and

(3) he reasonably feared, under the circumstances as they appeared to him, that he was in imminent danger of being killed or that he was in imminent danger of great bodily harm; and

(4) he used no more force, under the circumstances as they appeared to him, than was reasonably necessary to protect himself from the perceived harm,


then the killing was in self-defense, and you shall find the defendant not guilty.

Sources & Authority

Governing Statute:

None.

Case Authority :

Cortez-Hernandez v. Commonwealth, 58 Va. App. 66, 706 S.E.2d 893 (2011) ; Connell v. Commonwealth, 34 Va. App. 429, 542 S.E.2d 49 (2001) ; aff'd per curiam, 257 Va. 239, 514 S.E.2d 147 (1999) ; Peeples v. Commonwealth, 30 Va. App. 626, 519 S.E.2d 382 (1999) (en banc); Lynn v. Commonwealth , 27 Va. App. 336, 499 S.E.2d 1 (1998) , Smith v. Commonwealth, 17 Va. App. 68, 435 S.E.2d 414 (1993) ; Foster v. Commonwealth , 13 Va. App. 380, 412 S.E.2d 198 (1991) ; Carter v. Commonwealth , 232 Va. 122, 348 S.E.2d 265 (1986) ; Bell v. Commonwealth , 2 Va. App. 48, 341 S.E.2d 654 (1986) ; Royal v. Commonwealth , 2 Va. App. 59, 341 S.E.2d 660 (1986) , rev'd on other grounds, 234 Va. 403, 362 S.E.2d 323 (1987) ; Perricllia v. Commonwealth, 229 Va. 85, 326 S.E.2d 679 (1985) ; Yarborough v. Commonwealth, 217 Va. 971, 234 S.E.2d 286 (1977) .

Practice Commentary

This instruction should be given when deadly force is used. When no deadly force is used, give Instruction No. 52.510. This type of homicide in self-defense is classified as excusable in Virginia. It is different from justifiable homicide in that the defendant must somehow contribute to the disturbance which leads to the killing. Nevertheless, although the defendant is at least partially at fault, the homicide will be excusable if he can show that he retreated as far as possible when attacked; that he demonstrated his desire for peace; and that he killed because of a reasonable belief that he was in danger of death or serious bodily harm. Bailey v. Commonwealth , 200 Va. 92, 104 S.E.2d 28 (1958) . See the decision in Smith. See also the Comment to Instruction No. 33.800 for a discussion of what constitutes a reasonable belief of imminent harm.


This instruction is appropriate in situations where the defendant is the sole cause of the disturbance, as well as in cases of mutual combat. Indeed, it has been said that cases of mutual combat "are those in which this duty of 'retreating to the wall' oftenest appears. Two men being in the wrong, neither can right himself except by 'retreating to the wall.' " Jackson v. Commonwealth , 98 Va. 845, 850, 36 S.E. 487, 489 (1900) .


The retreat itself must be made in good faith for the purpose of abandoning the conflict. The defendant cannot retreat in order to establish a better position from which to continue hostilities. Coleman v. Commonwealth , 184 Va. 197, 35 S.E.2d 96 (1945) . See also the Court's decision in Lynn.


In Perricllia the court held that under certain circumstances it is proper to give the jury two finding instructions on self-defense, one based on the defendant being entirely free from fault and one based on his being partly at fault in bringing on the difficulty. See also the analogous circumstances presented in the Royal case.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 7:59 AM
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That is the law in Va. Sorry so long. Meant to edit it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:00 AM
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The problem is that THIS law (even in a no duty to retreat state) requires that you exhaust all reasonable options to leave and/or affirmatively show that you are clearly trying to de-escalate the fight...

That's a very hard burden to meet, which is why I think that if there's an affirmative conclusion that Zimmerman was the aggressor, he should lose

Unless I'm confused, the burden of proof on that point is still on the prosecution. That is, what Zimmerman is obliged to do on the street, if he's the aggressor, is everything reasonably possible to retreat or to affirmatively show he's trying to de-escalate the fight. What the prosecution is obliged to show in the courtroom, though, to contravene a self-defense claim under those circumstances, is that they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt both that he could have retreated or de-escalated and that he didn't.

That's where a lot of the difficulty in thinking about this case is, I think; the slippage between what conduct and state of mind were required for Zimmerman to have legitimately acted in self-defense, and what the prosecution could have proved about his conduct and state of mind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:02 AM
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Yes, "retreat to the wall." Such a good name for a legal doctrine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:03 AM
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163 -- again, sort of. The defense needs to raise the retreat to the wall issue and introduce some evidence on the point. It's then the prosecution's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there wasn't in fact disengagement or a "retreat to the wall." In this specific case, though, there was no claim by the defense that Zimmerman attempted to retreat or disengaged after provocation; the defense theory was simply that he was attacked and pinned down and responded with a gun shot. I don't think the jury was instructed at all on retreat to the wall, though I don't have time to go through the jury instructions again now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:08 AM
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defense theory was simply that he was attacked and pinned down

I think this covers 'duty to retreat' by contending that pinned implies 'unable to retreat'. You're right that I didn't see anything on 'retreat to the wall' in the jury instructions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:14 AM
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A sidewalk is like a wall in the sense of being something you can't walk through.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:16 AM
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Right, but if Z was the aggressor, being pinned down wouldn't have made a difference unless there was evidence sufficient to raise a RD that he was affirmatively disengaging or trying to end the fight and flee. There was no evidence at all supporting that conclusion, as far as I know. Rather, both were engaged in an ongoing fight.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:23 AM
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160: "Sweetheart, if a man with a gun gets out of his truck and confronts you, do whatever he says!"

This is pretty good advice. Generally speaking if someone is threatening your life the smart move is to do everything possible to deescalate the situation, which usually means doing what the person says. Alternatively run the fuck away as fast as you can and hope he either doesn't shoot or is a crappy shot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:26 AM
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168: Wasn't there at least some evidence that Zimmerman was calling for help? Not saying it had to be believable, but enough to meet a burden of production. (And I'm not certain that Zimmerman had the burden of production on the 'retreat to the wall' issue in FL. He had to raise self defense generally, but I thought at that point the whole burden flipped to the prosecution.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:29 AM
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169: I have a hard time with this, because while running away is smart and should be the first option (though maybe not with a gun? I don't know whether it's better to run from a gunman or try to fight him), going along meekly with whatever the threatening man says is typically not good advice, especially if it involves being forced into a car.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:37 AM
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Wasn't there at least some evidence that Zimmerman was calling for help?

Florida Jury Heard Zimmerman Calling For Help ...Reuters, 12 hours ago

119, potchkeh

Did the prosecution introduce those materials into evidence? And if so, what the fuck were they thinking?

You have to be shitting me. You didn't know this? And you dissed people like bmaz who have been closely watching the trial?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:40 AM
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171.last: There's that, for sure. I've only ever had guns pointed at me by people working for the government, so my experience does not generalize.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:51 AM
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171, 173 --What is the standard women's self defense advice? Flee quickly if you can, I guess, but what if you can't?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:55 AM
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174: Flee, kick for the groin (my daughter is seriously into Krav Maga (and Glocks)), or at least make them shoot you in public, where someone might have a bandaid handy. Getting into the car is very often fatal.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:58 AM
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The Florida code on self-defense by an initial aggressor has a disjunctive: you've exhausted reasonable means of escaping the force by the other and reasonably fear serious bodily harm *or* good faith de-escalation followed by continued aggression.

I think pinned to the ground with other guy raining blows is enough to beat reasonable doubt on the first prong.

Also, it doesn't actually matter whether or not Z was the initial aggressor, in terms of throwing the first punch -- we're in this statute if Z "provoked the use of force."

I'm not looking at cases, though, and it may well be (and very likely is) that the instructions accurately reflect the case law.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:01 AM
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Yea. I always heard never get into the car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:01 AM
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Wasn't there at least some evidence that Zimmerman was calling for help?

Item 4 of the article linked in 85:

Going into the trial, it seemed as if the jury would be hearing Trayvon Martin's screams on a recording from that night. The prosecution had an expert ready to testify about them. But the judge found the science used to make the identification -- that Martin was screaming -- too shaky to bring into trial. Then came the defense, with an expert FBI witness testifying that the scream was too brief to be analyzed properly to make an identification -- but that the scream might be identified by people who knew him. Trayvon's mother and brother said it was Trayvon. But then came the defense with at least five witnesses -- old friends, people from every facet of Zimmerman's life -- all saying the scream was Zimmerman's."It really was a kick in the teeth to the prosecution when they couldn't bring in their expert," says Aidala.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:09 AM
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174, 175: I've always heard (1) comply peaceably with property theft; but (2) flee an attacker going after anything other than your wallet or (3) fight back rather than complying with an attempt to get you in a car or to any non-public location.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:22 AM
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Every woman here has been followed at night by a stranger, and we all know that it is a tremendously threatening and aggressive act.

I think people are not properly accounting for what an extremely serious thing it is to initiate violence. It's unfortunate if you are made afraid by your hypothesis about why someone following you, but that simply does not give you the right to initiate violence without a very direct physical threat.

Seriously? In an era of wall-to-wall coverage of serial killers and sexual predators?

I thought we all understand that kind of coverage is bullshit. It's also exactly the kind of coverage that stimulates vigilantism.

A white man is allowed to follow a black man. A black man isn't allowed to follow a white man. The former isn't viewed as aggressive, but the later is.

A white man who turned and punched a black man simply because he was being followed at night should and probably would get convicted of assault.

I do however agree with Halford up in 116 that we need to rethink the self-defense burden of proof on people carrying guns. It should carry a higher responsibility.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:25 AM
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178:Grass stains on Martin's knees; grass stains on Zimmerman's back; abrasions on Martin's knuckles with no other injuries other than the gunshot; Zimmerman's injuries, nose and back of head;witness saw Martin on top of Zimmerman.

It is pretty hard for me to imagine a scenario fitting the evidence that then has Martin screaming for help.

Martin saw the gun, and then grappled with Zimmerman, and then started screaming?

Zimmerman screaming as he is beneath Martin being pummeled, and then pulling the gun fits the evidence best.

Help me out here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:28 AM
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he self-defense burden of proof on people carrying guns. It should carry a higher responsibility.

I think it does in cases that are not on the 24 hour news cycle. The vast majority of cases are not reported in a searchable manner.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:29 AM
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A white man who turned and punched a black man simply because he was being followed at night should and probably would get convicted of assault.

On what planet?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:29 AM
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A white man who turned and punched a black man simply because he was being followed at night should and probably would get convicted of assault.

If the WM's testimony was 'I don't like being followed by BM' maybe. If it was 'I was scared because he's bigger than me, dressed like a thug, and there have been plenty of assaults in the area by people dressed as thugs' I wouldn't be so sure of a conviction.

Florida code: A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if . . . [h]e or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:32 AM
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184: That isn't what an actual WM would say -- it would be more like -- "I turned around to look at him, and I could he see he was about to pull a knife or a gun on me, so I hit him first."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:38 AM
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On what planet?

This one!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:40 AM
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180.last:Ban handguns. Rifles? I don't know.

I hate concealed carry. I would prefer (is the old story about announcing "My left hand is registered with the police as a deadly weapon an urban legend?) that anyone carrying a weapon be required to announce it, loudly and clearly. See rifles.

I cannot discount age, physical condition, skill, training. It doesn't take a gun, in a one on one encounter, for one person to badly hurt another. Women, and small people like me, know this, but honestly, I went a long way with craziness in my youth. Human bodies are fragile.

So I want some kind of equalization. Rifles?

My big dogs run from chihauhuas. They'll win, but why chance getting hurt?

Now, if you seriously want to make an effort toward eliminating the human capacity for violence, but that is pretty radical.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:41 AM
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183-84: I would be totally astounded if 'I felt uncomfortably scared of someone because he was big and black and appeared to be following me, so I attacked him' could possibly fly as a defense to criminal assault. I mean, maybe I have too much faith in the criminal justice system, but that is totally at odds with my sense of how criminal law works in the 21st century. This isn't Alabama, 1955. It certainly wouldn't work where I lived.

It is probably true that a white guy could lie more successfully in such a situation (e.g. falsely claiming he was attacked first) than a black guy could. But as a defense I don't see how 'I was being followed and I was scared so I struck first' could possibly work.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:42 AM
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I thought we all understand that kind of coverage is bullshit.

Whether crime is sensationally covered or not, a person you don't know following you at night for no apparent reason *is threatening*, no matter who you are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:42 AM
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Standard advice mirrors LB's: give the mugger your wallet; run if you can; fight back if the alternative is being taken away from where you are.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:44 AM
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Tokugawa samurai society was relatively peaceful,but they had a fairly draconian solution.

No self-defense. Swords drawn, both die.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:47 AM
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188 -- I wish I could agree with you.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:48 AM
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This isn't Alabama, 1955. It certainly wouldn't work where I lived.

This isn't Alabama in 1955 either, but three police officers were found innocent after beating a black teen standing outside his grandmother's house just because they said his soda looked like a gun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:50 AM
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191 cont...

(Although these rules were honored in the breach or whatever...you will find lots of exceptions.)

I forgot. And both clans are in huge fucking trouble.

So samurai in Edo, to the extent they went out at night, or by day, or went out at all, and there were strict curfews, went out in groups and packs. They took great pains to avoid rivals, and could be sanctioned for walking the same streets as rivals.

Also, 500 years of street-corner police boxes. An absurd number. Low-paying, low-training, easy gov't jobs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 9:55 AM
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193: police officers are an entirely different deal. You really think those officers wouldn't have been found innocent after beating a white kid?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:08 AM
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|| Those of you following the Montana Senate race can cross state auditor Monica Lindeen of your lists. She's ruled it out. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:15 AM
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195: I don't know. I'll let you know if it ever comes up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:19 AM
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The link in 82 has some actual evidence that white people who kill black people and claim self defense are more likely to be exonerated (compared to white people who kill white people, and especially compared to black people who kill white people and claim self defense). So yes I think we can say that race is a big factor in the US with these kinds of defenses.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:27 AM
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Not off topic: Stevie Wonder is awesome.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:35 AM
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197 made me chuckle sadly. Knecht had better add that to his price list.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 10:54 AM
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Now this, this is a completely insane self-defense state law that needs to be changed immediately. In Texas, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:09 AM
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Done that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:16 AM
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Perhaps, but since the original post was made by a woman,it was of no import.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:18 AM
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WaPo's Richard Cohen: Racist? or Really f***ing racist?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:37 AM
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@ 181: I'm not sure I've ever heard a remotely plausible narrative from the prosecution side. the only thing we hear is attempts to poke holes in the defense narrative.


Posted by: jpe | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:40 AM
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I think the thing linked in 204 is the most openly racist piece of writing I've seen in a major publication in a while. I guess Cohen's status as a "moderate/liberal" (hah!) gave him sufficient cover to get it into print.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:45 AM
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" The defense needs to raise the retreat to the wall issue"

you don't forfeit self-defense in FL if you initially provoke a confrontation. in any event there was no evidence that Zimmerman provoked the fight, so there was no jury instruction on provocation (i shouldn't have to say this, but merely following someone doesn't constitute provocation.)


Posted by: jpe | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:45 AM
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Following somebody with a gun while calling them a perp and a suspect is indeed provocative, fucker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:47 AM
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JPE, since I don't know you, I'm going to assume you're a racist troll idiot. Let's see if I'm proven right!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:47 AM
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206: This is a very old Richard Cohen argument.

I]n 1986 the Washington Post had to apologize for a column Cohen wrote in which he 'sided with city jewelry store owners who refuse to allow young black men to enter their shops because of a fear of crime


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:50 AM
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@ 208: as a matter of law, it isn't. or do you think the judge was secretly in on the conspiracy?


Posted by: jpe | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:51 AM
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Yes! I got this one right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:52 AM
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208 gets at what's so amazing to me about the pro-Zimmerman side. I can see the argument that there was reasonable doubt. But Zimmerman is a fucking stalker nut carrying a gun. In a sane world, Zimmerman wouldn't get much sympathy because his pattern of behavior was so out there. But apparently lots of people harbor the desire to be fucking stalker nuts carrying guns.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:54 AM
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Richard Cohen probably shouldn't be using the phrase "I would feel violated."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:55 AM
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But apparently lots of people harbor the desire to be fucking stalker nuts carrying guns.

Yep. I never bought the whole sublimated-penis thing as a common state of mind until I started seeing the reaction to the Zimmerman case.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 11:55 AM
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Yes to 213 and 215. It's also good to know about Cohen's personal life. What a dick!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:00 PM
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204, 206: Over at LGM they've been linking to some really hair raising stuff. And not just from random wingnut blogs either.

Did someone announce a large cash prize for winning a "How loathsome can you be in print in response to the senseless killing of a 17 year old" contest?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:01 PM
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Yglesias shows he's still good for something --

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/07/16/richard_cohen_bayesian_inference.html



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:10 PM
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215: There's some whole weird thing about about the superior masculinity of black men going on. I've seen a bunch of clearly-worked-up comments that go into great detail into how Martin was physically stronger than Zimmerman, like this was an incredible outrage against the natural order of things that could only be remedied by a gun. (And maybe Martin was stronger, but at 17 I was both bigger and taller than Martin, and a stiff wind could have kicked my ass.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:11 PM
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219: I think that's why Zimmerman's lawyer had him eat until he looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:15 PM
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I have no idea where to look for this, but have any big, pro-gun voices criticized Zimmerman?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:24 PM
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221: I would try a search on bizarro-google.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:26 PM
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Apparently, Rush reads Althouse. And, less surprisingly, conflates "gay" with "rapist."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:51 PM
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221: Closest I could find.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 12:53 PM
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216 - The 23-year-old that Cohen was harassing while writing his awful -- not just racist and sexist but unspeakably boring -- column later left the newspaper business, worked for Warren Buffett for a while, and now is some sort of hedge fund/private equity type. I'm sure she's awful, but I keep fantasizing that she's going to have the money soon to buy the Post solely for the purpose of firing him.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 1:06 PM
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218:Yes, Yggles reads

Bowling For Fascism ...academic pdf

"This suggests that both associations contributing to bonding and bridging social capital were important pathways for the spread of the Nazi Party."

Bonding = exclusionary; Putnam

213:So there is a pro-Zimmerman-side and and pro-Martin-side and nothing in-between or outside the lines? Got it. Which side will get the pretty armbands and badges? The side like us, or the one not like us?

My side has one other person and two dogs. A life lesson learned the hard way.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 1:37 PM
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My side has one other person and two dogs. A life lesson learned the hard way.

Whatever shall we do now that bob has dropped out of the struggle?


Posted by: Opinionated Revolutionary Cadre | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 1:55 PM
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Let's not get too confident, there, boss.


Posted by: Opinionated Two Dogs | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 1:58 PM
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The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:07 PM
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227: Whatever shall we do now that bob has dropped out of the struggle?

True, but he always was such a maverick. More power to him in his uncompromising quest for a true understanding of the common plight of humanity. To witness his unflinching commitment to integrity is to understand humility.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:10 PM
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Also, racist douchenozzle.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:10 PM
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229: Plagiarism! The one truly unforgivable sin!


Posted by: Opinionated Academic | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:11 PM
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226, 229: Glad to see that you're bringing your A game today.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:11 PM
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||

Two men with concealed carry permits exchange over 100 rounds in a freeway shootout. Each maintain that the other guy started it and they were defending themselves.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:17 PM
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234: This is, truly, the land of the Kilkenny cats.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:19 PM
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234: "I just kept thinking: What about the next person? What if they didn't have a gun?"


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:21 PM
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82 was pwned two days ago. Nice try, Halford.

(Why won't links work on my phone? It was in the Korean pilots thread.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:29 PM
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Good. I like my all female ninja bodyguard team to be on the lookout for pwnage. Go meet with Teela and Angel in the sparring room.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:35 PM
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exchange over 100 rounds in a freeway shootout.

Come on, it was probably only a couple dozen.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:44 PM
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232: 229: Plagiarism! The one truly unforgivable sin!

I'm pretty sure Gauss said that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 2:46 PM
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234 is just crazy. Crazy. A guy shoots at you and you decide the best thing to do is to start your car and drive after him, shooting one-handed while steering with the other?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:05 PM
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It strains credulity to suppose that neither party was somewhat the worse for drink.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:07 PM
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They may have both been better for drink, but huge assholes to start with.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:10 PM
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The steering hand was also holding a phone for extra points.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:11 PM
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241: Shake and Bake!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:13 PM
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241: That's what they do in the movies!

Also, you can tell he thinks he is the good guy because he was aiming for the tires.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:20 PM
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I assume gun laws are so lenient now that he'll be convicted only of using a phone while driving. That's dangerous!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:31 PM
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Sounds like like they arrested the right guy. Come on man, that's your sugar coated put yourself in a positive light account? Jesus.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:41 PM
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Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry Inc., a gun rights advocacy group, said both Adamany and Scott's actions fell well outside of any kind of responsible gun owner training.

What the hell?? Revoke that man's NRA membership! THEY WERE BOTH DEFENDING THEMSELVES.

But he also said their irresponsible gun use is outweighed by at least five instances in Milwaukee in which permit holders stopped crime or saved a life with their weapons.

Oh, okay, whew.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:45 PM
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Also, I'm stealing 234 for FB.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:54 PM
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CRIME HITS EVERYBODY -- EVERYBODY OUGHTA GO ON HIGHWAY SHOOTING SPREES


Posted by: OPINIONATED MILWAUKEE CRIME COMMISSION | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:54 PM
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Oh, hey Big Urp. I owe $50 to a non-libertarian charity of your choice. Name it and it's done.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:54 PM
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250: Maybe link to the original Journal-Sentinel article, without the crazy pop-ups?

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/pair-of-men-with-concealed-carry-permits-engage-in-rolling-road-rage-shootout-b9953189z1-215267661.html


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 3:59 PM
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252: Woot! I've totally forgotten what our bet was, but I'm glad I won. Please direct your donation to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (http://www.kftc.org/). Alternatively I'll give you double or nothing on the MLB all-star game. (I'm taking the AL.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:25 PM
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Done -- the payment, that is. I'm a NL fan I guess but no way am I taking that bet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:29 PM
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Looks like a great organization, by the way. I donated $100 because I owed another $50 to a charity for PGD, but he kept suggesting only various libertarian outfits, and this group seems likely to piss off PGD's white supremacist BFF Rand Paul. So it was kind of a double win.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:45 PM
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Shit, was our bet about the Zimmerman trial? If so, then I feel like a bit of an ass... a donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center would have been more appropriate.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:47 PM
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257 before seeing 256, which makes me feel a bit better. Anyway, in your honor I'll donate $50 to SPLC if the AL loses tonight.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:48 PM
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It was, but that's OK. No way that the work this group does doesn't also ultimately help on crime and gun issues as well.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:50 PM
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Ok, I'll take the other side of the SPLC all star game bet. They sure need the money these days.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 4:52 PM
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87 et seq: Probably nobody wants to see William Saletan's ass, but the sight is enjoyable in the context of Tom Scocca handing it to him.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 5:03 PM
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In Northern Ireland, for example, soldiers would patrol with weapons loaded but not made ready; not only was that safer, but it meant that one of the escalation steps was the very visible and audible one of cocking their rifles.

Alas, a very different situation from your ordinary Florida-dweller who carries a *concealed* weapon that only comes out by surprise.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 6:50 PM
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The SPLC thanks you for your support, Halford.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:39 PM
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The SPLC thanks you for your support, Halford.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:39 PM
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Goddammit urple.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:40 PM
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The first time was the South Poverty Law Center and the second was Society for the Protection of Llamas and Camels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:46 PM
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Because fuck alpacas, is why.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:47 PM
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I give up.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-16-13 8:47 PM
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148: It is certainly possible (maybe probable) that B37 was off in her own private Idaho on this one.

Four jurors put out a statement distancing themselves from juror B37.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:51 AM
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Longer 268 (which was contemporaneous with 64-100 in the other thread): "Mom, the door was closed! Can't a guy get any privacy around here."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 7:53 AM
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I'm sorry nosflow. I wasn't paying attention to the sidebar last night. I didn't mean to interrupt your self-dialogue.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:14 AM
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Donation made, but I knew that would almost certainly be happening anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:20 AM
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The NL was favored by the oddsmakers!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:22 AM
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Was 268 because I messed up the sidebar thing? Sorry. I didn't notice it either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:23 AM
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Really? I should have made an online bet and hedged against my charity.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:25 AM
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It feels great to be doing so much good for the world just by winning bets with Halford.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:26 AM
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I believe I'm now 0-3 with Unfogged online bets, although really that last one was just to save Urple from donating to charity money he should be spending on home plumbing repairs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-13 10:29 AM
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