Zimmerman Case Apparently Disintegrating

[UPDATE: Article is a year old. I’m pretty sure I got this one from Google, which sometimes resurfaces old material. I usually catch it, but sometimes if it was a year ago, similar date, I miss that the year is off. This is one of those cases.] Via Human Events:

As Dershowitz points out, the evidence released in this case means Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law isn’t even a factor in Zimmerman’s defense.  Much political hay has been made out of this law, but if Zimmerman was on the ground getting beaten to a pulp, withdrawal from the encounter was physically impossible for him.  “A defendant, under Florida law, loses his ‘stand your ground’ defense if he provoked the encounter,” observes Dershowitz, “but he retains traditional self-defense if he reasonably believed his life was in danger and his only recourse was to employ deadly force.”

That’s what we’ve been saying all along. The whole “stand your ground” nonsense was ginned up by political opportunists.

15 thoughts on “Zimmerman Case Apparently Disintegrating”

  1. Uhh, that article is over a year old. I agree completely, but it’s stuff we have heard before. How did it pop back up again?

    1. Don’t know. One reason Google Alerts are terrible. Often times I fail to catch it when it’s only a year off.

  2. I never thought SYG was a part of it either. I do have a silly question, though. Does following someone constitute provocation and is punching someone while holding them down a legal and appropiate reaction? TS

    1. H’lo there TS. Not silly if you really don’t know. The short answer is no, and no.

      If somebody follows me, especially in the night through a dark neighborhood with few to no other folk out and about, that IS a red flag which, provided that I notice them, will cause me some concern. There are any number of things I may do about it, to include approaching the fellow and talking to him or, if I were sufficiently disturbed by his demeanor, calling the police and preparing to defend myself. What I may NOT do is attack him, not with a gun, a knife, nor even my fists. Only following me does not constitute sufficient enough threat to me or any other to justify that legally or ethically, no matter how creepy it seems. Of itself, it is not a sufficiently credible threat.

      As for holding someone down and punching them, this is acceptable in a UFC fight with a referee. Out on the street, and even in a clear cut self defense, it will probably be difficult to justify to the authorities. Remember that self defense typically allows only for enough force to functionally end the threat; holding someone down and beating them may or may not pass that test. You would need to credibly show that a failure to do so would result in your “opponent” subsequently causing serious harm to yourself or another, and even then it won’t look good.

      Hope that answers your questions.


      1. I was being silly but you did explain the legality, or lack thereof, of Trayvon Martin’s actions even if Zimmerman ceased having the SYG protection much better than I could have. Thanks. TS

  3. If Zimmerman is found not-guilty or his case is dismissed, what do you think the reaction will be?

  4. Sincere question: Are there any statistics (or even enough anecdotes) to indicate whether Castle Doctrine or SYG are actually helping many people, or, are they being used to project the fundamental principles of self-defense in a bad light, when people engaged is questionable shoots appeal to them for a defense?

    Full Disclosure: I have always thought CD/SYG legislation passed too easily, in too many states, too quickly, to be entirely intended for what it was represented to be. As I have put things, I have always smelled a rat, even if I couldn’t identify the species of the rat. (Don’t get mad, it’s just the way I think.)

    1. I read Ace of Spades. Hmm… I hope I didn’t get this from him and failed to hat tip. That probably happens more than Google resurfacing old shit. I usually try to note mentally where I get stories from, but sometimes that fails. Especially when I’m busy. But maybe it was Google I read it from :)

  5. Well, year old or not, it does explain to me why the plea used did not involve stand your ground.

  6. SYG mattered in one and only one regard.

    The FL SYG law gave Zimmerman the option of holding a SYG hearing, where if he could prove his innocence the case would be dismissed. He declined. I have seen conflicting reports that this hearing would have been in front of a judge that has been hostile to him, I am unclear on that but it’s what I have read.

    Instead he chose the route where they have to prove him guilty. It may well be he didn’t want to tip too many cards in that trial to risk one where the burden of proof was on him.

    Other than that, when the state has an eyewitness that says your “victim” was on top of you in the MMA “ground and pound” position pounding your head with (in to?) a lethal weapon, i.e. the sidewalk, the state is in a difficult position in regards to convicting you of murder.

    1. If I understand it correctly, if he relies on self-defense as his legal defense during the trial and he’s found not guilty, he would be shielded from lawsuits, but if he lost the SYG hearing, then even if a jury found him not guilty due to self-defense he would be vulnerable to a civil suit.

      But I could be wrong about that – I am not a lawyer, and I am certainly not a Florida lawyer. That’s simply my understanding.

      1. Very much not a lawyer, physicist actually. Also not in Florida.

        My understanding had been, if he’d done a SYG trial and won, he’d be immunized from criminal and civil suits. Without a SYG trial, he faces a criminal trial and then is open to civil actions. I don’t know if he can beat the criminal rap, then get a SYG under a different judge? But without SYG immunization, the fact that he was charged criminally makes him open to civil suits even if he beats the rap.

        I don’t know if he can do a SYG after he beats the murder charges. No clue.

        Again, not a lawyer either, that was my understanding from FL reports and blogs. My sources could easily be talking about “that shoulder thing that goes up” for all I know for sure.

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