Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Contact Us | Routes Available | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS
 
 
 

More about the Trayvon Martin case

July 3, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
There's probably a reason that all defense attorneys tell their clients to keep their mouths shut.

Reading accounts of the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Fla., this morning, I see that the prosecution showed the jury a TV interview that Zimmerman gave several months after he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, following a scuffle he claims was started by Martin. Prosecutors contend that he deliberately followed Martin, profiled him as suspicious, and shot him "because he wanted to."

In the TV interview, Zimmerman said he had never heard of Florida's Stand Your Ground law until after he shot Martin. Today the prosecution put one of Zimmerman's college professors on the stand, who said Zimmerman got an A in his class and knew all about Florida's self defense and Stand Your Ground law before the shooting. Had the shooting never happened, Zimmerman would have graduated in the spring of 2012 and hoped to become a police officer himself.

I don't know that Zimmerman's obvious poor judgement, his interest in the law or even his allegedly fibbing to a TV reporter necessarily adds up to a guilty verdict. I, too, know a fair amount about the law and at one point considered becoming a lawyer. I have read North Dakota's Century Code and State and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, as well as various legal blogs. I know it is a very bad idea to talk to the police, even if you're innocent, without a lawyer being present. I suspect all of that knowledge would fly straight out of my ears if I were ever in the situation Zimmerman was in that night in February 2012. Yesterday his friend testified that Zimmerman was stunned and wide-eyed when he picked him up from the police station. The police officer who interviewed him soon after the shooting testified that Zimmerman, a Catholic, told her that that killing people is always a sin. He was surprised and upset that Martin had died. I'm not sure that a man who was in shock was capable of a convincing fabrication.

What's interesting at this point is the way social media is being used in this trial, for good or for ill. Every time a witness appears, people give instant (often unflattering) feedback on Twitter and on various blogs. The defense attorney's daughter posted an Instagram photo of her and her father eating vanilla ice cream. The caption read "We beat stupidity celebration cones." The prosecution, apparently believing that the defense attorney can control his daughter's exercise of her right to freedom of speech, is demanding an investigation. Angry supporters of the Martin family have tweeted death threats to Zimmerman if he is acquitted. If the NSA is really watching us all, as Edward Snowden (currently in hiding) has said, then none of these people seem overly concerned.

What would have been good advice to Zimmerman is also good advice to Molly West and to the scores of blabbermouths threatening violence on Twitter: when in doubt, shut up.

 
 

Article Comments

(38)

billldoesntgetit

Jul-16-13 12:52 PM

agreed.. now Rachel the star witness told CNN that she told trayvon to run because the guy following him might be a rapist and maybe was going to attack him..

So maybe Rachel was the instigator in the fight????

Maybe if he hadn't been on the phone and wasn't being coached maybe he would have gone to his fathers on a dead run.. Was he trying to show rachel he could handle himself? Was he trying to impress her?

AndreaJohnson

Jul-16-13 12:33 AM

In danger of losing their lives? Not likely in Minot. I think they probably do get looked at a little more closely when they're walking down the street or in the store, etc. After awhile, that's got to be a pretty stressful way to live. I can understand all the outrage to some extent, but I still think this was the right verdict under the law as it is written.

billldoesntgetit

Jul-15-13 11:00 PM

AJ Unless you live in a really bad city blacks don't have the fear walking down the streets either.. Are you saying blacks in North Dakota fear for their lives when they walk to the store?

Yes there are bad neighborhoods in cities but the majority of the killings are black on black or hispanic on hispanic.. Its not white on white..

AndreaJohnson

Jul-15-13 8:00 PM

I'm white, not black, and I don't have much to fear if I walk down the street on my way home from the store. In a lot of ways, I can understand why black parents are so upset by this and feel that Zimmerman should have been punished. Statistically, minorities are more likely to be prosecuted and to serve longer prison sentences than whites for the same crime. Profiling and sentencing laws and programs like New York's "stop and frisk" all contribute to the outrage. Those are the feelings that Obama and Holder are trying to address. But all the moral outrage in the world wouldn't have made it appropriate to convict Zimmerman. The state simply didn't prove its case.

billldoesntgetit

Jul-15-13 6:58 PM

Seems the DOJ would be at odds with the FBI who claim they have investigated this already and found no racial bias.

I suspect Holder doesn't have the gonads to come right out and say justice was done. Like Obama he has to use the system and excuses for 30 or 40 days to get his people calmed down before he can agree with the verdict.

What a sick country we have with our current leaders.. Pathetic

AndreaJohnson

Jul-15-13 5:02 PM

I knew what you were getting at but the law that people call "Stand Your Ground" sounds like it was an addition to the standard self defense statutes that a lot of states have. Zimmerman's lawyers were claiming that he acted in self defense and weren't using the newer law for his defense. The newer law could come back into play if Zimmerman uses it to claim immunity to civil action.

So far I see the President and Eric Holder making soothing noises in their speeches and saying they'll look into it, but Holder's office also talks about the "limited" options under the law. I think the DOJ likely knows they wouldn't be successful bringing a federal civil rights charge against Zimmerman.

billldoesntgetit

Jul-15-13 4:45 PM

Andrea the point is there is no "Stand Your Ground Law" That is a slang for "No Duty to Retreat" ..

I suspect that Stand Your Ground is NOT TAUGHT but rather they are taught No duty to Retreat.. Even the teacher said they dont "teach" Stand your ground" but they do teach No Duty To Retreat!

AndreaJohnson

Jul-15-13 12:03 PM

The statute that would apply relate to "self defense." Zimmerman's lawyers mounted a self defense case and didn't use the so-called Stand Your Ground law that says there's no obligation to retreat if your life is in danger, presumably because Zimmerman said he didn't have the option of retreating at the time he pulled the trigger. The "Stand Your Ground" law would come back into play if the Martin family files a civil suit for wrongful death. Zimmerman can request a hearing and claim immunity because the killing was in self defense and justifiable under Florida law. The acquittal would provide strong support for the claim.

billldoesntgetit

Jul-15-13 11:42 AM

I find it rather funny that namexxx cannot undewrstand what happened.. Martin was NOT gunned down in the streets.. Martin was on top of a man beating his head into the cement when he was shot.. He was not gunned down. He was killed by a man who could not get away from the beating he was being given.

I guess one should just get use to the left changing the story to make themselves feel good.

billldoesntgetit

Jul-15-13 11:38 AM

The guy on the stand also said they don't teach Stand Your Ground!! They teach self defense and he doesnt have it any where in the books the words "Stand you Ground" law.. Just a slang..

AndreaJohnson

Jul-15-13 9:32 AM

--Continued--

None of this means that I think Zimmerman did all the right things that particular night. There are also reportedly some things in his past that cast a real shadow over his character, though he was very young when they happened and I don't think they had any real bearing on this case. I hope he has a chance to try to put his life back together and do something good for society.

AndreaJohnson

Jul-15-13 9:29 AM

I don't know much about the Alexander case, but it certainly sounds like she received far too harsh a sentence. I hope someone will look into it.

I think this was the only decision the jury in the Zimmerman case could arrive at, given the law. I find it rather dismaying that the feds are considering charging Zimmerman with civil rights violations. Looking at the federal hate crime law that could apply, I don't think they're likely to succeed, but it's more piling on. A civil suit is likely to fail in Florida as well because of the Stand Your Ground law that grants immunity against civil action for a justifiable homicide. Zimmerman's lawyers have said they'll seek immunity if anyone does file a civil suit.

angeR69

Jul-14-13 12:48 PM

Yeah, I think I first heard about the Marissa Alexander case for the first time on MSNBC last night AFTER the Zimmerman verdict was handed down.

Certainly sounds like it could have been a huge miscarriage of justice for Mrs Alexander. Of course, I don't know any of the facts of the case, aside from the few that you and MSNBC have presented, so I'm not prepared to comment on it any further.

So what does it have to do with Zimmerman's case. Absolutely nothing. So why bring it up? The race-baiting continues. Mrs. Alexander was a black woman, and of course Zimmerman was "white".

Well, understand one thing: the justice system may have indeed failed Mrs. Alexander. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the outcome of the Zimmerman trial.

By the way, I don't seem to recall you championing Mrs. Alexander's case at any time in the past year. Why so silent, if this was such a travesty of justice?

angeR69

Jul-13-13 11:46 PM

Justice.

AndreaJohnson

Jul-11-13 4:28 PM

I'll add that a good bit has come out about the background of George Zimmerman over the past year that makes me think he is not a terribly good guy. I am rather glad there is little to no chance he will ever become a police officer. But that still doesn't add up to second degree murder.

AndreaJohnson

Jul-11-13 11:54 AM

If you have been watching the trial, you would have seen Zimmerman's Peruvian-born mother and uncle and his white American father testify and it would have been clear that Zimmerman is half white and half Hispanic. I believe the family has said that one of Zimmerman's maternal grandparents was a black Hispanic. Zimmerman also appears to be friendly with black and Hispanic neighbors, teachers, and others in the neighborhood. The prosecution hasn't done a terribly good job of proving he is racist, if that was their intent.

AndreaJohnson

Jul-11-13 11:48 AM

I don't think anyone here said there is anything funny about racism or bigotry. However, it isn't necessarily illegal to be racist or bigoted. Zimmerman was not breaking a law by following Martin; he wasn't breaking a law by "profiling" a young black man as a suspicious person after there had been break-ins by young black men in the months prior in that neighborhood. Under the Florida statute, what matters is whether a reasonable man would have feared for his life or safety at the time he pulled the trigger. Zimmerman claims that Martin was on top of him, banging his head into the ground, at the time he shot Martin. Zimmerman had up to six head injuries -- two lacerations on the back of his skull, a broken nose, and other facial injuries, according to testimony at the trial. Martin had no such injuries, aside from a laceration on his left hand, and the fatal gunshot wound.

namexxx

Jul-11-13 11:23 AM

There's nothing funny about racism and bigotry.

Nothing.

JackAaah

Jul-11-13 9:02 AM

Andrea...was my comment asking about MDN policy THAT bad that it had to be removed? I received a "black mark" on my "record" for asking a question? In the "blogs" section, which I haven't commented in up to this point, I am now 2 "good" comments and 1 "bad" (removed) comment. Sorry for being out of line.....

angeR69

Jul-10-13 11:29 PM

An Innocent man? Innocence is in the eye of the beholder, my friend. And so far, Zimmerman is the one with the EVIDENCE on his side.

angeR69

Jul-10-13 11:18 PM

Jb, I listened to it many times. There is absolutely no evidence Zimmerman started any confrontation, or even that Martin was in the immediate vicinity when Zimmerman got out of his car.

Like it or not, your assumptions are not fact. And the mere act of following someone to watch where they are going is not an aggressive act, nor is it against the law in ANY jurisdiction.

If you think you can justify Martin throwing a punch at Zimmerman for doing this, I see a jail cell in your future, because sooner or later, you're going going to apply that logic in your own life (if you haven't already).

jbillings

Jul-10-13 6:10 PM

angeR69, listen to the phone call made by Zimmerman. It is very clear that Zimmerman was the one who forced the confrontation even after being told to stop following him.

angeR69 and AndreaJohnson, Martin had the right to throw the first punch if he did. He was clearly worried for his life. The Stand Your Ground law should only be a defense for Martin in this case and NOT Zimmerman as he was the one who was acting like a wannabe cop and killed an innocent man.

AndreaJohnson

Jul-08-13 8:16 PM

Namexxx, you keep bringing that up. Juries do not and should not decide whether a guy should go to prison based on how they would feel if it were their kid or, in my case, my nephews. Of course I feel bad for the family of Trayvon Martin and that a kid lost his life. But the state has the burden of proof and it doesn't appear to have proven its case. I don't think there was ever enough evidence for them to bring charges under the Florida statute. They haven't proven that Trayvon Martin did not throw the first punch or that George Zimmerman was not in reasonable fear for his life. The second is what he needed to be able to legally pull the trigger.

namexxx

Jul-08-13 6:32 PM

I wonder if this would all be so funny if it was your kid gunned down on the street because he or she went to the store for some Skittles.

angeR69

Jul-07-13 10:37 PM

Andrea, I'm going to caution you right now on your application of reason and logic. I know you're just a lowly MDN reporter and blogger, but a case like this calls more for bigotry and wild speculation, like the professionals we see on MSNBC. Your liberal credentials are at risk.

 
 

Post a Comment

You must first login before you can comment.

*Your email address:
*Password:
Remember my email address.
or
 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web