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Old 03-24-2012, 07:13   #1
steveksux
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Florida LEO's: What's the real deal with Trayvon Martin?

Given the circumstances, don't blame lay people for jumping to conclusions, on the surface it can look pretty bad.

My impression is that FL "stand your ground" law was written to bend over backwards to protect the self defense shooter. Essentially there is a presumption that the shoot is legal and there has to be evidence to prove otherwise before charges can be filed. Sort of the opposite of many places, where there has to be evidence of self defense to avoid arrest. This case may be "unintended consequences" of their desire to provide maximum protection from overzealous justice system?

Not a lawyer, not a cop, so I'm sure I bungled the explanation.

1) Am I in the ballpark?
2) If so, can you explain it better?
3) If not, can you explain it correctly?
4) Or are Sanford cops really are a bunch of crackers? (just kidding, I'm expecting there is a logical explanation).

Does jeopardy come into play here? Something like they don't want to risk getting charges thrown out with/without predjudice (forget which one doesn't allow refiling charges later) and letting the guy walk permanently?

Have you ever seen a Chief step aside temporarily in a case like this? Seems unheard of to me, maybe just never noticed before... But unless the people being investigated are personally related/friends of the chief... He probably does serve at the pleasure of some public official feeling some serious heat over this, so maybe its a good way to get out of the line of fire...

Obviously without access to the facts (which may never be known), figuring out exactly who's really at fault may well be impossible. With no video, only good (surviving) witness to the encounter is the shooter, unless he accidentally says something that hangs him, all you can tell is there was a fight. Not who started it, who escalated it. At least the known facts could support a whole range of theories.

I think if he was the aggressor, he might lose the self defense angle, and he did likely start the encounter. If he backed off, teen followed and attacked, I think it could be credible self-defense. If he was the instigator, but the teen got the better of him and he shot at that point, probably can't claim self defense. Even assuming I'm right, proving which scenario occurred will be difficult.

Thanks...

People calling for his head are probably the common case of judging with hindsight, the kid was unarmed. Not judging based on what was known at the time, the actual legal issues.

Randy

Last edited by steveksux; 03-24-2012 at 07:20..
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:34   #2
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Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 776
JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
(5) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2005-27.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:46   #3
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I'm interested to see how it plays out.

Methinks there be (much) more to the story.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:10   #4
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Meant to add the self defense statute before F.S.S. 776.013, which is F.S.S. 776.012-

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:06   #5
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I'm probably going to be in the minority on the LE forum on this one;

I think that the shooter is the absolute aggressor in this case.

He had no right to be following anyone, and the whole incident stemmed from his actions.

Might be overly simplistic, but that is my opinion from what I have seen at this point, and yes, I am ignoring the blatant attempts at racially blowing it out of proportion. My litmus test is take the exact same fact pattern and make both participants white.

It stinks to high heavens both ways.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:07   #6
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The problem with the way some are viewing the case is there are no real eye witnesses to the actual shooting incident, only 911 calls.

Yes, Zimmerman should not have followed Martin. That could have escalated the situation, which would mean he is NOT covered by Florida Law.

While Zimmerman may have had some marks on his face and body from claiming he was attacked and on his back, we really don't know if that is the case. For all we know Martin may have thought he was being stalked or followed by a mugger, etc. If Zimmerman went up and got close to Martin, Martin could have though he was about to be attacked and was merely defending himself, which he would be allowed to do by law.

All we really have is Zimmerman's side of the story, and his side could be the truth. Just because the other person didn't have a weapon, doesn't mean Martin couldn't have been beating the crap out of Zimmerman. But again, Zimmerman's following of Martin would seem to prevent him from claiming Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law covers him.

Unless there is evidence that proves otherwise, the police have to take what Zimmerman says as the way it went down. The SYG law is NOT the problem. The problem is people like Zimmerman not knowing the law and how it is meant to be applied.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:15   #7
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I think the media got too involved with this case, WE do not know the actual happenings, people start dreaming up scenarios and get the public upset and look where it is.
The Black Panthers have a Dead or Alive out for Zimmerman, is that right? NO.
I say let the investigators do their job and we may find out the truth... step back MEDIA!
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:21   #8
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Originally Posted by G33Fla View Post
I think the media got too involved with this case, WE do not know the actual happenings, people start dreaming up scenarios and get the public upset and look where it is.
The Black Panthers have a Dead or Alive out for Zimmerman, is that right? NO.
I say let the investigators do their job and we may find out the truth... step back MEDIA!
There's no truth in the news, and no news in the truth.

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Old 03-24-2012, 09:23   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmac45 View Post
...........He had no right to be following anyone, ..........
In reality he did have the "right" to follow someone just as you or I have a "right" to follow anyone of our choosing. At least until it reaches into the realm of stalking. It is not against the law to "follow" someone, at least not initially.

I am not an LEO and have no idea about who is right or wrong in this case. I just felt that that one point should be addressed.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmac45 View Post
I'm probably going to be in the minority on the LE forum on this one;

I think that the shooter is the absolute aggressor in this case.

He had no right to be following anyone, and the whole incident stemmed from his actions.

Might be overly simplistic, but that is my opinion from what I have seen at this point, and yes, I am ignoring the blatant attempts at racially blowing it out of proportion. My litmus test is take the exact same fact pattern and make both participants white.

It stinks to high heavens both ways.
This one's really hard to tell. You may be right, or you may be wrong. And yes, the incident does, "stink to high heavens both ways".

I only have read the initial preliminary police report on this-

http://www.sanfordfl.gov/investigati...l%20Report.pdf
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:42   #11
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I've only heard of ONE statement from any eye witness so far:

Quote:
[O]ne man's testimony could be key for the police.

"The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: 'help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911," he said.

Trayvon Martin was in a hoodie; Zimmerman was in red.

The witness only wanted to be identified as "John," and didn't not want to be shown on camera.

His statements to police were instrumental, because police backed up Zimmerman's claims, saying those screams on the 911 call are those of Zimmerman.
http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/new...erman-03232012

Also:
Quote:
Witnesses told ABC News a fist fight broke out and at one point Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds, was on the ground and that Martin was on top.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/neighborhoo...6#.T23plzEgdp8


Now, whether Zimmerman should have been following or not is not settled. Martin may have been beating the crap out of him, but it MIGHT have been because he was in fear of his OWN life. But at the point Zimmerman is on the ground getting pummeled (assuming the witness account is accurate), does that change anything?
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:47   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmac45 View Post
I'm probably going to be in the minority on the LE forum on this one;

I think that the shooter is the absolute aggressor in this case.

He had no right to be following anyone, and the whole incident stemmed from his actions.

Might be overly simplistic, but that is my opinion from what I have seen at this point, and yes, I am ignoring the blatant attempts at racially blowing it out of proportion. My litmus test is take the exact same fact pattern and make both participants white.

It stinks to high heavens both ways.

I lean the same way. From what Zimmerman said on the phone, it wouldn't even raise to the level of an investigatory stop for police. What crime was there reasonable suspicion he was breaking? If I received this call assigned from dispatch I would have to approach it as more of a consensual contact.

I also don't think it's unusual for Martin to begin running towards his home when he suspects an adult male, non-police, to be following him.


This isn't brought up a lot in these conversations - but what led to Zimmermans fear or death or great bodily harm. If I shot everyone who fights with me as the police, I would be in the hundreds of officer involved shootings.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:03   #13
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I'm willing to state a little more strongly that I believe in the inevitable civil lawsuit that Zimmerman will be toast (just an opinion, I have no direct knowledge of FL).
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:30   #14
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Based on the report and the witness statement, it's obvious that Zimmerman was on the ground with Martin on the top in a fight. The question would be what Zimmerman thought was great bodily harm, which would justify the use of deadly force.

Should Zimmerman have been following Martin? Not in the least in my opinion. And even if he was following him, why did he not stay far enough away to just keep him in sight and direct the police to him?

I read in another article that Martin's facebook page showed the typical thug life attributes. The page has since been deleted or "fixed."
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheeBadOne View Post
I'm willing to state a little more strongly that I believe in the inevitable civil lawsuit that Zimmerman will be toast (just an opinion, I have no direct knowledge of FL).
If I'm not mistaken, part of Florida's(and most states) Stand Your Ground laws, is civil immunity if you are not charged/no billed/acquitted. If that is not the case, you're absolutely right, he is toast in a civil suit.

Frankly, I think his bigger concern (if FL does not pursue this) is the Feds picking up the case and pursuing a Federal case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarCry View Post
Now, whether Zimmerman should have been following or not is not settled. Martin may have been beating the crap out of him, but it MIGHT have been because he was in fear of his OWN life. But at the point Zimmerman is on the ground getting pummeled (assuming the witness account is accurate), does that change anything?
See... this is my whole issue with this thus far. Should Zimmerman have followed? Absolutely not. I read one article that said Zimmerman asked Martin "Where he was going", and that's when Martin allegedly assaulted him. Since Zimmerman was known as this "block captain" of the crime watch, the kid likely knew who Zimmerman was. It seems strange he would have responded by assaulting him. A more appropriate response would have been "none of your business" and to keep on walking.

From the witness accounts, it does appear that at the very least, Martin had the upper hand in a physical fight. The real question of course, is how it escalated to a fight.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:45   #16
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I read in another article that Martin's facebook page showed the typical thug life attributes. The page has since been deleted or "fixed."
That is incorrect. Are you referencing Mas Ayoob's article? That has been corrected. George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin: What We Don't Know.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:09   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatman View Post
In reality he did have the "right" to follow someone just as you or I have a "right" to follow anyone of our choosing. At least until it reaches into the realm of stalking. It is not against the law to "follow" someone, at least not initially.

I am not an LEO and have no idea about who is right or wrong in this case. I just felt that that one point should be addressed.

In NY state following someone in public is an offense.

Florida law might be different.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:55   #18
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The only thing that will come from this is more stupid statements made by politicians (including the president), more racial divides and more money flowing into the coffers of Rev. Sharpton's and Jackson's pockets.

And the increase of gun sales and ammunition.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:16   #19
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In NY state following someone in public is an offense.

Florida law might be different.
Thank you. That is very interesting.

Not sure what Fl. law states in that regard.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:30   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmac45 View Post
In NY state following someone in public is an offense.

Florida law might be different.

In Florida, following someone repeatedly and without a legitimate purpose can be elements to Criminal Stalking. However, Zimmerman being part of the neighborhood crime watch (albeit self appointed) made the following part legitimate. The FOLLOWING part...at a safe distance...NOT the CONFRONTING part.

I have no problems with crime watch people following...at a safe distance. But they're really not entitled (and it really isn't wise) for them to confront a suspicious person.

It's anybody's right to use deadly force (if necessary) to defend themselves from somebody attacking them, be it somebody anywhere breaking into your home, or your vehicle.

But when you go out armed and follow somebody just because they appear suspicious and when they retaliate...you're in a different ball park. Like you mentioned, it now makes Zimmerman appear to be the aggressor.
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