Tuesday, March 27, 2012

False Equivalence

By Carl
Unwittingly, George Zimmerman's lawyer may have done his client more harm than good here:

It has come out that the unarmed teenager was suspended from school, and is accused of beating up the man who then shot him dead.

Martin's parents claim authorities are now trying to sully their son's reputation, after his tragic shooting.

There were several protests Monday in Sanford, where Martin, 17, was shot by George Zimmerman.

State and federal investigators were to be back at it Tuesday, reviewing the original controversial police investigation that's sparked a firestorm.

The central questions remains: Was the decision not to arrest Zimmerman the right one, and should he be arrested now?

First, by linking his apparent suspension from school-- Martin's parents don't seem to deny it, correctly pointing out that it's irrelevant to his murder-- Zimmerman has decided to try to paint an innocent child as some sort of wild-eyed hoodlum.

With a marijuana bust? Really? Not even the most stoned meth-head in Clearwater is going to buy that one, Zim!

Second, the claim that Martin turned around and beat upon Zimmerman-- keep in mind that Martin weighed only 140 pounds, while Zimmerman is a beast of 250-- is only going to feed the impression that Trayvon felt his own life was in danger and rather than running, he turned and decided to "Stand Your Ground," which is precisely what that law allows for: the use of force, even deadly force, if one feels one is in harm's way or in mortal danger. After all, who picks a fight with someone twice as big as he is unless he feels its the only way to safety?

And that is the only conclusion that can legally be drawn from Zimmerman's own words and the 911 call tapes.

See, the "Stand Your Ground" law is very specific: it doesn't matter what the intent of the apparent attacker is, what matters is the intent perceived by the defendant. In fact, the law is so loosely drawn that the authorities are not permitted to even question that perception the moment the defendant claims he acted out of fear for his safety.

Zimmerman had followed Martin for quite a while if the 911 tapes are accurate, long enough that the dispatcher asked him to stop following Martin.

If someone twice my size started following me down a street, I know I would feel threatened, and while my first instinct would be to run away, under Florida law, Martin was not required to: he merely had to turn and use deadly force against Zimmerman.

So under Florida law, it is Zimmerman who is guilty of assault, and it is Zimmerman who rightly should be lying dead from the use of deadly force under "Stand Your Ground." Martin was not armed, however, so Zimmerman should thank his lucky stars he'll live to see trial.

By Zimmerman's own testimony, he should be arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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  • Under syg, your fear must be reasonable. It's not reasonable to deck another guy just because he approaches and asks why you're there.

    By Anonymous jpe, at 7:13 PM  

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