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Thread: Will Trayvon Martin's death change anything.

  1. #1
    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Default Will Trayvon Martin's death change anything.

    For those not following this case, Trayvon Martin was walking through a suburb in Florida when he was followed by a neighbourhood watch volunteer called George Zimmerman. There was a confrontation between them and Travyon was shot dead with George claiming self defence.

    If only it was that simple.

    Florida has a "stand your ground law" which allows force, including deadly force, to be used if the person feels threatened. This was the defense given by George to the police on the night, who made no arrest as there was no other witness to confirm or deny what happened.

    But it now appears that all Trayvon had done was buy some groceries at a store and walk out of the neightbourhood while talking on the phone to his girlfriend. George had followed the youth despite being told not to by a police dispatch officer and confronted him.

    Should George Zimmerman be prosecuted and what for?
    Could he reasonably use the "stand your ground law" as a defence?

    Also will this change anything? Will Florida look at its laws and amend them or is this a case of the law being fine, but that the interpretation is faulty?
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  2. #2
    Oliphaunt Rube E. Tewesday's avatar
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    The dead guy's name was Trayvon? And he was shot by a guy named George Zimmerman while walking through Zimmerman's neighbourhood?

    The problem I'm seeing here has very little to do with stand your ground laws.

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    Zimmerman should be prosecuted for murder.

    The "stand your ground" law sounds ridiculous. Of course, this is all in Florida so I doubt much will change.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rube E. Tewesday View post
    The dead guy's name was Trayvon? And he was shot by a guy named George Zimmerman while walking through Zimmerman's neighbourhood?

    The problem I'm seeing here has very little to do with stand your ground laws.
    Yes, that aspect has been brought up quite a bit. The defense against it is that Zimmerman is Hispanic, and thus...it couldn't have been fueled by racism? Now, I have some family members with my (very Dutch) last name who are Hispanic and some other family members with a very Irish last name who are Hispanic, so I'm not going to question him having a German name. If his family identifies him as Hispanic, then I'm sure he is. That doesn't negate the fact that he's also a white guy who chased down and shot a black kid who wasn't breaking the law. Being Hispanic doesn't make a person immune to bigotry.

    If things were enforced entirely equally, Martin would have been the one that the "Stand Your Ground" law applied to. He was walking down the street with a bag of Skittles when a man who'd been told not to get involved by the 911 operator chased him down.

    I don't see Florida taking it in that direction, though. This probably isn't going to have any real impact on the law and will just lead to a lot of vilification of the kid to try to justify things.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    A Groupie Marsilia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    Quote Originally posted by Rube E. Tewesday View post
    The dead guy's name was Trayvon? And he was shot by a guy named George Zimmerman while walking through Zimmerman's neighbourhood?

    The problem I'm seeing here has very little to do with stand your ground laws.
    Yes, that aspect has been brought up quite a bit. The defense against it is that Zimmerman is Hispanic, and thus...it couldn't have been fueled by racism? (....) Being Hispanic doesn't make a person immune to bigotry.
    Shoot, being black doesn't make a person immune to bigotry against black people. The fact of the matter is that, whether you consider light skinned/white Hispanics to be racially different from Anglo whites or not, Zimmerman's reaction was racially motivated. He saw a young black man in his neighborhood and decided that "black kid+this neighborhood=crime in progress," and is now using some kind of self-defense excuse.

    Then again, I suppose that in the right hands, Skittles are deadly.
    So, I'll whisper in the dark, hoping you'll hear me.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Here's Jeffrey Toobin's (as usual) calm, sensible and well-informed take on it: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/20/opinio...html?hpt=hp_c2

    Doesn't make his conclusions any more palatable, alas.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    That's incredibly depressing. Thanks, Elendil's Heir.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Oliphaunt
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    Quote Originally posted by Elendil's Heir View post
    Here's Jeffrey Toobin's (as usual) calm, sensible and well-informed take on it: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/20/opinio...html?hpt=hp_c2
    Well, there goes any lingering feeling I might have had that the NRA isn't a repulsive lunatic organization.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    The Guardian newspaper in the UK had advertisements in it a few years back saying not to visit Florida because of that particular law. It said, for example, if you were in a road traffic accident while visiting and got in an argument with the other driver, they could plausibly use the law as a defence having gunned you down. I don't know if that was inaccurate but this case seems an exemplar of what's wrong with such a law in the first place.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Oliphaunt Rube E. Tewesday's avatar
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    I'm still not sure if the stand your ground laws are such a big part of this. I can believe that more homicides have been ruled justifiable since the Florida law was passed: presumably that was the purpose of the law. The overall number of justifiable homicides, though, remains pretty small.

    I just keep thinking that if Trayvon had been left alive, and George dead, it's not that likely that no arrest would have been made, whether or not he was standing his ground. And equally, I wonder if George would have been arrested for shooting Trayvon, no matter what the law said. (And whether he was arrested or not, good luck convicting him, again regardless of what the law said.)

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Because nothing says reasoned argument like a $10,000 bounty

    One act of vigilantism leads to another.

    Also, supporters of George Zimmerman are now coming out with their version of events. If Trayvon Martin did attack George Zimmerman, even if he was followed, then the "Stand Your ground" could reasonably apply to both parties.

    This one is gong to get worse.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    It got worse. Zimmerman's side of the story has him attacked by Trayvon with a witness to back it up. One side or the other is going to be bitterly outraged and disappointed form this point on.

    I really hope they manage to keep race out of the issue, although I fear that may no longer be possible.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    Race hasn't been out of the issue since day one.

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    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    I really hope they manage to keep race out of the issue, although I fear that may no longer be possible.
    Race was intrinsicly part of the issue the moment the police didn't arrest Zimmerman. If you try to tell me that Martin would not have been arrested in the identical situation, I wll laugh for DAYS.
    Last edited by Orual; 27 Mar 2012 at 01:46 PM.

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    Oliphaunt Rube E. Tewesday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    I really hope they manage to keep race out of the issue, although I fear that may no longer be possible.
    Race was intrinsicly part of the issue the moment the police didn't arrest Zimmerman. If you try to tell me that Martin would not have been arrested in the identical situation, I wll laugh for DAYS.
    Yes. Imagine the dead guy is named Trayvon and the shooter is named Antwan. Is there an international news story about stand your ground laws?

    Similarly if the dead guy is named Hans and the shooter is named George.

    Race cannot be disconnected from a story like this.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rube E. Tewesday View post
    Yes. Imagine the dead guy is named Trayvon and the shooter is named Antwan. Is there an international news story about stand your ground laws?

    Similarly if the dead guy is named Hans and the shooter is named George.

    Race cannot be disconnected from a story like this.
    It doesn't help that it does sound lot like Zimmerman is saying "fucking coons" on the 911 call. Whether or not that's really what he said would be difficult to prove, but the idea is out there now.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Aged Turtle Wizard Clothahump's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    Zimmerman should be prosecuted for murder.

    The "stand your ground" law sounds ridiculous. Of course, this is all in Florida so I doubt much will change.
    What is your basis for demanding prosecution for murder? From all reports, including witnesses, Zimmerman was defending himself.

    The "stand your ground" law is actually a breath of sanity in the area of self-defense. It acknowledges that someone has the right to defend themself without having to retreat first. "Retreat first" made the victim into a perpetrator; "stand your ground" removes that idiocy.
    Political correctness will be the death of our country.

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    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    Pursuing someone on foot after being instructed not to is not "defending yourself". Chasing down a man you deem suspicious because of his clothing or the color of his skin, forcing an altercation, and shooting him is murder.

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    A Groupie Marsilia's avatar
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    How is following a child (whose only crime is "keeping warm while black") down the street (after being told by authorities not to do so), brandishing a weapon (at a child armed only with Skittles and tea), and killing this child in the street (as he begs for someone to help him, according to witness statements) standing your ground?
    So, I'll whisper in the dark, hoping you'll hear me.

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    As described above, although George Zimmerman claimed "Stand you ground" as his reason for the shooting, it remains to see whether it could be claimed as a vaible defence. The police took it as such, but given the outcry, that may change.

    There is nothing wrong with the law, in and of itself, but it was never passed to be used in a situation like this.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    There is nothing wrong with the law, in and of itself, but it was never passed to be used in a situation like this.
    There's plenty wrong with it.

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Original An Gadaí View post
    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    There is nothing wrong with the law, in and of itself, but it was never passed to be used in a situation like this.
    There's plenty wrong with it.
    Ok, what's wrong with the law? It is there to remove the necessity of people to have to retreat when they are attacked and legalises them to use whatever force, including lethal force, that they consider necessary to stop the attack. Why should people be forced to retreat when attacked? They aren't the ones in the wrong?

    Chasing people down afterwards and acting as a vigilante would be a different matter.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    Well mainly because of this:

    Roman, who has written about stand-your-ground laws, believes that the rise in SYG is likely to lead to more miscarriages of justice.

    "It changes where the burden of proof lies. In a state without a SYG law, in a shooting, the police arrest you and then the burden is on the prosecutor to prove it is not self-defence."

    "When stand your ground comes into it, the police cannot arrest you before a probable cause finding. The place where the fact finding occurs is moved from the court to the street.

    "When you undertake an investigation in a chaotic setting like a shooting you are more likely to make mistakes than in a setting like a trial. It is bad law because it moves the fact finding to the street. It provides a barrier to a prosecution without providing any benefits."
    Taken from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...?newsfeed=true

    I'm not against lethal self defence, just SYP-type laws as framed in Florida.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Yeah, I think there are certainly times when lethal self-defense is called for, but whether or not it was justified should be decided in a court of law, not based on whether or not the cops want to risk being fined.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    By SYP I of course meant SYG.

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Hmm, I wasn't aware that if someone claims SYG in the street they cannot be arrested unless the police find probably cause on the scene, which does seem like a bit of a flaw. The burden of proof should still come from a court of law, but the prosecution should be proving that it was still justified.

    I'm not really happy with the stats provided by both sides, but then stats can be made to do all sorts of things.
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    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    Just read a thing that said charges are going to be brought against Zimmerman.

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    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    ...The burden of proof should still come from a court of law, but the prosecution should be proving that it was still justified.
    I'm not sure what you mean. I assume you mean "in" and not "from" a court of law? And the prosecution would attempt to prove that the killing was not justified.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    That seems fitting. There's certainly probable cause for a homicide charge. Take it to a jury, twelve Floridians good and true, rather than indefinitely batting it back and forth over the airwaves.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Out of curiosity, would the SYG law essentially make it impossible to convict on manslaughter in cases like this? It seems as though simply claiming fear would be enough to get off.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    Out of curiosity, would the SYG law essentially make it impossible to convict on manslaughter in cases like this? It seems as though simply claiming fear would be enough to get off.
    Manslaughter is accidental death, so I don't think the SYG laws really cover the same area as it is a deliberate action on the part of one person. But I can see a lot more people claming fear in these situations as justification.

    I wonder what the amount of cases are of people who would have stood their ground, but could not until the law was changed? And I would be curious to know the number and type of people who have been killed in cases where SYG has been claimed?
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    Manslaughter is accidental death, so I don't think the SYG laws really cover the same area as it is a deliberate action on the part of one person.
    But that's the thing. Manslaughter is a convictable crime. Purposefully killing someone because you felt threatened and didn't walk away is, under this law, potentially legal. So rather than saying, "It was an accident", the defendant could say, "It was on purpose, but I was afraid."

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    I can see your point. It some circumstances, it is going to be easier to say, they were afraid. But I doubt all circumstances will allow such recourse.

    Regardless, it should still involve the police having to investigate what happened and make a call on it.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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