Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Shyster on Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:27 pm

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.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby CERV96 on Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:48 pm

Everytime I see this thread title I think of this guy.

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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby MWB on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:12 pm

Hockeynut! wrote:Everything I've read seems to indicate that Zimmerman will walk due to the Fla law. That has to be one of the most screwed up modern laws I've ever heard of, btw.


Agree completely. It seems that many of the laws, while maybe having good intention of some sort, could be used to protect someone who possibly did wrong. If Zimmerman was the aggressor, he's they type of gun-toter that gives those who act responsibly a bad name, and make someone like me like guns even less.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby MWB on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:15 pm

TheHammer24 wrote:
shafnutz05 wrote:That girl with the "look" sign is wearing a Duke hoodie...I'm calling shenanigans.

On a side note, I am most certainly guilty of this prejudice (right word for it). But you know what's funny? I only get that uneasy feeling when I am around a major metropolitan center like Philly, primarily due to the things I've witnessed and heard about.

When I am home in Altoona or something (yes, there are black people there), I don't feel uncomfortable in the slightest. Even where I live now (about 20 miles west of Philly), I would say half the residents on my street are black. But it's a lot of families and a very gentrified neighborhood. We get along awesomely with our neighbors here as well.

Lol, a lot of Northwestern Law students wear their Duke hoodies from undergrad. What are you calling shenanigans for.

I think we're all guilty of this kind of prejudice -- I certainly am -- and look at my stance on social issues. I'm saying that it's a problem, and maybe it's a problem without a solution.


Well said. Everyone has prejudices. Prejudice, stereotypes, and racism are three different things.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby MWB on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:19 pm

PensFanInDC wrote:If I said "yes" to the question posed in the picture would I be a racist?


If you saw that kid walking around Harvard with a hoodie on, would you think he was suspicious? A lot of this has to do with context.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby tifosi77 on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:52 pm

Shyster wrote:
Spoiler:
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.

Thanks for those explanations, but I'm still not sold that Zimmerman, or more importantly the Sandord PD, are blameless here. Nothing about this scenario as we know it from the 911 calls leaves much room for anything other than Zimmerman instigating an altercation, realizing he may have bitten off more than he could chew, then shooting the teenager 'in self defense'. My understanding of stand-your-ground is that it does not (how could it?) apply to a situation that you yourself create.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the 2005 "Stand Your Ground" law, but said Friday that he didn't think it cleared Zimmerman in Martin's shooting.

"This law does not apply to this particular circumstance," Bush said after an appearance in North Texas. "Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn't mean chase after somebody who's turned their back."

In point of fact, I would argue that SYG can apply to chase given after an altercation if you believe that your safety or the safety of others would be in danger if you don't give chase; bad guy picks a fight with you, pulls a knife and says "I'm gonna find your wife and have a good time with her" and then lets you go. To me, it would be a legitimate invocation of SYG if you pursued the bad guy.

But that's not what happened here. Not even close.

As regards procedure, the police may be required to have probable cause to arrest someone on a self-defense case..... but does that mean if I shoot someone I can merely invoke the claim of self-defense and escape all manner of scrutiny that, to me, seems like a simple no-brainer follow up for a case like this? (BAC/drug screen, searching the shooter's car, etc)

This is also not the first time Sanford's PD has been involved in a situation like this. The prior case, in 2005, two security guards shot and killed a 16-year old boy in the back who was driving away from them in a car. They were ultimately cleared on the basis of the then relatively new Stand Your Ground law in Florida.
Last edited by tifosi77 on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby MWB on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:00 pm

tifosi77 wrote:
As regards procedure, the police may be required to have probable cause to arrest someone on a self-defense case..... but does that mean if I shoot someone I can merely invoke the claim of self-defense and escape all manner of scrutiny that, to me, seems like a simple no-brainer follow up for a case like this? (BAC/drug screen, searching the shooter's car, etc)


That's what concerns me about this law. Does claiming self defense give you more of a free pass under this law than it would in a state that doesn't have this law?
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Guinness on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:09 pm

I have to wonder how many of the innocent children Obama has murdered via drone strikes in numerous, far-flung countries might have looked like him?

His faux sincerity literally makes me nauseous.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby doublem on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:25 pm

seems pretty shady to me. why not just wait for the police to arrive?
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Shyster on Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:14 pm

MWB wrote:
tifosi77 wrote:As regards procedure, the police may be required to have probable cause to arrest someone on a self-defense case..... but does that mean if I shoot someone I can merely invoke the claim of self-defense and escape all manner of scrutiny that, to me, seems like a simple no-brainer follow up for a case like this? (BAC/drug screen, searching the shooter's car, etc)

That's what concerns me about this law. Does claiming self defense give you more of a free pass under this law than it would in a state that doesn't have this law?

In response to tif:
No, the law does not prevent an investigation. In fact, the police presumably would need to investigate to obtain the probable cause. And I will say that so far as I know the police in this case hardly did any investigating to begin with. They didn't screen Zimmerman for drugs, they didn't canvass the neighborhood in an attempt to identify the victim (his body was in the morgue for several days as a John Doe), and I'm not sure how much they did in the way of gathering other evidence. A lack of faith in the police force in this case might be fully justified.

In response to MWB:
Yes, it does. Laws like this one are designed to make it easier to claim self-defense. It's not a bug; it's a feature. More than 20 states now have laws of this type, including Pennsylvania as of last year. Not all of them are as strong as the Florida version, though. For example, Pennsylvania's law does not require the police to first have probable cause that your use of force was unlawful in order to arrest or charge you, and it provides much less protection for people who are outside their homes.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Sarcastic on Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:10 am

That was my question also, Shyster, just forgot to post it earlier. I mean, if 2 dudes go to the woods and there are 10 witnesses who see them go off somewhere, then one comes out and says he killed the other dude but it was self-defense... then what, since no one saw him actually do it, he gets off? That doesn't seem right to me. This Zimmerman case is going to court and to the jury, as far as I know, so it will be the jury that decides what happens. I continue to believe he will be convicted.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Sarcastic on Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:24 am

BTW, did you watch Maher tonight? They said that Zimmerman used the word "coon" in that 911 call. I think they were talking about the word that was hard to figure out because he started whispering, but some thought it was the N word (I thought it was the word 'bs' or 'punk' but wasn't sure... I guess someone used special equipment to finally figure it out). Well, if that goes to the jury and they hear about that, he is screwed.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby DelPen on Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:01 am

Image

this is a better picture that I've seen that shows him to look more Hispanic. This was not due to race. There were 402 calls to the police and several thefts in the community the last year and neighbours cited Zimmerman as actually helping.

His father swears there is more to the story. Could he just be defending his son? Absolutely. Could there be more to this story then enraged white man kills defenseless black kid? Probably.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby shafnutz05 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:46 am

I will say, the constant media usage of "white Hispanic" has absolutely cracked me up. I have never heard that term used with any regularity in the general jargon. It's like they are trying (and wishing) so hard that it was a racist.


I would not be surprised if there were a lot of people that secretly wish the shooter was a white supremacist with no other ethnicity, to fit with their narrative.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby MWB on Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:17 am

DelPen wrote:His father swears there is more to the story. Could he just be defending his son? Absolutely. Could there be more to this story then enraged white man kills defenseless black kid? Probably.


Yes, there could be more to the story. The race part really doesn't matter. It should be enraged white man kills defenseless black kid, and the main focus should be on why that happened and what laws are on the books that could protect the possible aggressor here.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Sarcastic on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:11 pm

In no way do I believe it when he says Martin attacked him. I mean, what else is he going to say. He just killed somebody. Of course, he's going to lie.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby DelPen on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Sarcastic wrote:In no way do I believe it when he says Martin attacked him. I mean, what else is he going to say. He just killed somebody. Of course, he's going to lie.

There was a witness who says Zimmerman was attacked and the voice you hear on the 911 call is actually him. Him and the witness both said he was attacked going back to his car. If this is true it throws murder out of the window.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby TheHammer24 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:06 pm

Guinness wrote:I have to wonder how many of the innocent children Obama has murdered via drone strikes in numerous, far-flung countries might have looked like him?

His faux sincerity literally makes me nauseous.

Not at issue but a remarkably poignant example
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Shyster on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:11 pm

DelPen wrote:There was a witness who says Zimmerman was attacked and the voice you hear on the 911 call is actually him. Him and the witness both said he was attacked going back to his car. If this is true it throws murder out of the window.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/state/witness-martin-attacked-zimmerman-03232012
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby doublem on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:11 pm

I think I'm more disturbed by someone firing a gun in this situation than the racism thing.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Shyster on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:42 pm

Sarcastic wrote:That was my question also, Shyster, just forgot to post it earlier. I mean, if 2 dudes go to the woods and there are 10 witnesses who see them go off somewhere, then one comes out and says he killed the other dude but it was self-defense... then what, since no one saw him actually do it, he gets off? That doesn't seem right to me. This Zimmerman case is going to court and to the jury, as far as I know, so it will be the jury that decides what happens. I continue to believe he will be convicted.

Imagine the converse, though. Say I follow you into the woods with the intent to beat and rob you. Ten witnesses see us both go in. But none of those witnesses see me jump you, knock you to the ground, and choke you. Unfortunately for me, you have a CCW permit, and you manage to draw your weapon and fatally shoot me. There's no doubt you are the one who killed me; nobody else was around, all those witnesses saw us, and your gun and ammunition were the “murder” weapon. You are promptly charged with homicide. Would you be happy facing decades if not life in prison on a homicide conviction because you can't prove that your use of force was lawful? Where's the proof I attacked you first? Where are your witnesses who saw you being choked? My family will no doubt swear up and down that I was a good boy who would never so such a thing. With no witnesses to what happened, I hope you like your new cellmate.

This law makes it easier to claim self-defense and shifts the burden from the actor having to show the use of force was lawful to the police having to show that it was unlawful. I fully support these laws. It's a basic part of criminal law that the “right” outcome is not always reached. Innocent people sometimes go to jail, and guilty people sometimes go free. Law enforcement isn't perfect. But compare the possible negative outcomes with and without laws of this type. With the law, it is more likely that people who did not, in fact, lawfully use force in self-defense will go free. Criminals will get away with homicide. But without the law, it is more likely that people who did use legitimate self-defense will end up in prison. Innocents will end up convicted of murder. Between the two, I would always prefer a law that errs on releasing the guilty over one that errs on convicting the innocent.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Tico Rick on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Shyster wrote: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 am very curious to see how much weight, if any, the 911 dispatcher's telling Zimmerman not to pursue Martin will carry. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that if he was told not to follow Martin and he did, this is being very aggressive and makes the self-defense claim seem a bit silly.

Shyster wrote: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.... 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.


I see this as a Rashomon situation, and it's entirely possible that both parties believed they were the ones being attacked. If Martin was scared crapless - even to the point of thinking his death was imminent - by what he thought were aggressive actions by Zimmerman, wouldn't this make his statements to his girlfriend admissable in court?
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby TheHammer24 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:53 pm

Tico Rick wrote:
I am very curious to see how much weight, if any, the 911 dispatcher's telling Zimmerman not to pursue Martin will carry. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that if he was told not to follow Martin and he did, this is being very aggressive and makes the self-defense claim seem a bit silly.
It will be up to a jury, which could be you. This is a good point.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby TheHammer24 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:54 pm

For the record, middle class hispanics can have racial prejudices against black teenagers. It's not a minority-majority issue.
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Re: Shooting Reignites Racial Questions

Postby Sarcastic on Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:36 pm

Shyster wrote:
DelPen wrote:There was a witness who says Zimmerman was attacked and the voice you hear on the 911 call is actually him. Him and the witness both said he was attacked going back to his car. If this is true it throws murder out of the window.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/state/witness-martin-attacked-zimmerman-03232012


Let's not make the mistake of jumping to conclusions. The witness said he saw Martin on top. It does not mean it was Martin who initiated the fight. What likely happened is that Zimmerman started it and Martin had to defend himself. Since the other dude is probably a sissy (getting his ass whooped by a 17 year old and screaming for help like a woman), Martin ended up on top. So Z pulled out the gun and shot him. None of it had to happen if he listened to 911 anyway. It certainly complicates things, though. I would love to be on that jury, btw.
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