Zimmerman Trial Coming To An End

Zimmerman Trial Coming To An EndProsecutors in the George Zimmerman second degree murder trial have pushed hard on two points as they seek to make their case against him: that the injuries to Zimmerman on the night Trayvon Martin died were “insignificant” and that he had studied Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in a college class in 2010.

‘Depraved mind’

To win conviction on second-degree murder, the prosecution has to show that the death was caused by a criminal act “demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.”

Much was also made of the class Zimmerman took class at Seminole State College taught by Professor Alexis Carter.  The key supposedly was that Zimmerman really did understand Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.  Prosecutor Richard Mantei told the court that Zimmerman’s legal studies would help jurors understand his “state of mind” and “ambitions and frustrations” before the shooting.

‘No option to retreat’

But Zimmerman’s defense has never raised the “Stand Your Ground” law for one simple reason: with Zimmerman on his back and Trayvon Martin holding him down, he had no option to retreat.

Comments by President Obama, Al Sharpton, and others surely stirred up the racial aspects of the case and appear to have generated many case across the country where blacks attacked whites to avenge Trayvon Martin (e.g.,Gainesville, Florida; Oak Park, Illinois; Mobile, Alabama; Toledo, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Norfolk, Virginia).

It is a case that prosecutors should never have brought, but they let politics influence their decision. Next, it will be the defense’s turn to present their case.  But, for all practical purposes, the Zimmerman trial is already over.

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Source: John Lott | Fox News

Image: Huffington Post

George Zimmerman Case: Mounting Confusion With ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

The fatal encounter between a 17-year-old black teenager and a mixed-race neighborhood watch volunteer has created a furor over “stand your ground” laws, which have been enacted in more than 20 states; legislation is pending in others.

Murder vs. manslaughter: Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, “an act imminently dangerous to another, and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.” But a Miami criminal defense attorney who teaches trial strategy explained that “[s]econd degree murder is a crime that is hot-blooded and committed with a depraved mind.”

Is “stand your ground” actually relevant to George Zimmerman? In terms of legal defense, maybe not. “Stand your ground” is an expansion on the so-called Castle Doctrine, the right to defend one’s homestead. Instead of defending yourself on your own personal property, though, “stand your ground” lets you carry that immunity into public property, which can include places of business, like a bar.

Confusion around the law: Supporters such as former Republican senator Durell Peaden and Rep. Dennis Baxley, who co-sponsored the bill, or former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who signed the bill into law, have said Zimmerman lost his right to this defense when he sought out Martin. Bush stated that “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”

But since the law may be confusing to enforcement—the controversy blew up when Sanford police declined to make an arrest—it has bolstered critics ranging from State Senator Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to call for widespread reform. If self-defense is sufficient, they argue, “stand your ground” may, literally, be legislative overkill.

Who makes the decision? Rather than ask how relevant “stand your ground” is in the Martin-Zimmerman case, the real question may be who makes the decisions in the first place. The Sanford city manager claimed that the law “prohibited” police from making an arrest. Should police make the arrest and leave it to the district attorney to bring charges, as would happen in self-defense cases? Should such cases appear before a judge? Does a jury make the call? These are some of the core questions that will be revisited in the coming months, if not years.

Source: Yahoo News

Image: The Grio