tifosi77 wrote:How on earth is the Castle Doctrine even applicable here???
Florida’s enactment of the Castle Doctrine also includes a stand-your-ground provision that says you do not have to retreat—and can use deadly force if threatened with death or serious bodily injury—from any place you are legally entitled to be. My understanding is that Zimmerman told the police that Martin physically attacked him as Zimmerman was walking back to his truck. In the ensuing scrum (and witnesses did see the men wrestling on the ground), Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense because he then feared he was facing death or serious harm. Because Zimmerman claims he engaged in an act of armed self-defense while in a place he was legally entitled to be, Florida law appears to require that law enforcement have probable cause that Zimmerman’s use of force was not, in fact, lawful self-defense in order to even arrest Zimmerman for any crime, let alone charge or prosecute him. With the one witness who could clearly refute Zimmerman’s claims deceased, and apparently no witnesses as to how exactly the physical fight between the two men started (as in, who threw the first punch, who knocked who down, when did Zimmerman draw his gun, did Martin try to take the gun away from him, etc.), the police in this case have essentially said that they do not have the probable cause needed in order to arrest, charge, or otherwise prosecute Zimmerman.
I'm not a lawyer.... but isn't it an exception to hearsay if the person claimed to have made the statement is deceased, particularly homicide cases where the alleged victim is the one making the statements?
There are some exceptions related to decedents, but not a blanked exception merely because someone is dead. The “dying declaration” exception, for example, permits the introduction of testimony as to a declarant’s statement when: (1) the declarant is deceased; (2) the declarant’s statement was made while under the belief that his death was imminent; and (3) the declarant’s statement relates directly to the cause or circumstances of what he believed to be his impending death. For example, if a witness encountered John Doe lying bleeding on the street from a gunshot wound, and John Doe gasps out “Greg Smith shot me” and then dies, the witness will likely be able to testify at Greg Smith’s trial that he heard John Doe make that statement. That testimony would usually be hearsay, but the “dying declaration” exception would render it admissible.
In this case, while Martin was, according to the Martin family’s attorney, on the phone with his girlfriend shortly before the shooting, none of the statements at that time were made under any belief that his death was imminent, or related to the cause or circumstances of his impending death. He didn’t know his death was impending.