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Has Zimmerman Waived His Right to a Pre-Trial "Stand-Your-Ground" Hearing?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Law of Self Defense, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    I realize the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case is in Florida, and this (obviously) is a Northwest forum, but I've seen a tsunami of headlines by the mainstream media this past week about how George Zimmerman has allegedly waived his right to a pre-trial "Stand-Your-Ground" hearing, and speculation on their part that this is yet "another" sign of how desperately week his self defense case is.


    As usual, the mainstream media have it completely wrong, on every count.


    First, Zimmerman didn't waive anything, he simply let a tentatively assigned date for the hearing go, so the court knew it could use that date for other purposes. He's still free to make a motion for the pre-trial hearing at a later date (subject, as always, to the judge's discretion, but Judge Nelson in the video I've seen certainly seems favorably inclined to such a motion). The actual trial isn't scheduled to begin until June 10. (In the same video one case see the prosecution flailing desperately to have the record reflect some kind of "waiver" by Zimmerman on the issue, but the judge clearly shuts that down.)


    Second, the prosecution doesn't seem to really know what it's talking about. Although they refer to the pre-trial hearing as a "Stand-Your-Ground" hearing, there is no such thing under Florida law. Instead, the pre-trial hearing is to ascertain whether Zimmerman qualifies under Florida's self-defense immunity statute. If he does, the charges against him would be immediately dismissed (and, incidentally, he would be immunized against civil claims, as well). When the prosecution can't keep its statutes and pre-trial hearings straight, it doesn't exactly make me think they've got the upper hand on the defense.


    Third, there are good strategic reasons why the defense might wish to delay the pre-trial hearing or even to wait until the actual trial to make a motion for self defense immunity, so any such delay or even a "waiver" of the pre-trial hearing does not mean the defense is necessarily weak. For example, it's pretty common knowledge that the prosecution has been "slow-rolling" the defense on discovery matters, and when that's the case it's usually in the best interests of the defense to delay as long as possible, so that they can collect as much discovery as possible, before the "shooting" part of the legal battle begins.


    Anyway, I was just completely astonished at how badly the mainstream media had read this thing (although I know I shouldn't have been, it's not like they get much else right, and they want Zimmerman to be found guilty so bad they can taste it), and I thought it might be worthwhile to throw in some informed two-cents, for those who are interested.


    For those interested in the legal details backing up everything I've stated above, feel free to take a look at my blog entry on it, which includes all relevant cases and statutes, and even some video of the judge smacking down the prosecution. The blog post can be found here: FL: Has Zimmerman Waived His Right to a Pre-Trial ?Stand-Your-Ground? Hearing? Learn the Truth.


    Andrew
     
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  2. HahnsXD

    HahnsXD Battle Ground WA Active Member

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    If TM was on top of GZ as he says he was, I don't see how "stand your ground" has anything to do with it, you can't "stand your ground" when you have no ability to retreat.
     
  3. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Indeed, it's hard to imagine a case that is less of a "stand your ground" case than the Zimmerman-Martin matter, given the evidence to date. And I think it's safe to say that if the state had any evidence that Zimmerman could have retreated, or that Zimmerman initiated the physical conflict, or that Zimmerman had conducted himself in such a way as to provoke, from a reasonable person, a brutally violent physical reaction (say, if Zimmerman had displayed a weapon before physical conflict had begun), we would have been reading about it in the headlines of every major newspaper in the country.

    But, we haven't read about it. Interesting, that.
     
  4. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    You're right that stand your ground laws most likely don't apply. But mentioning them drums up emotional responses. It's how everything else in this case has been presented.
     
  5. Black Dog

    Black Dog Eagle Creek Or Active Member

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    I'm probably going to be called a RACIST here. BUT do you really think that the LAW was not going to charge GZ with a crime. The Blacks were all up in arms protesting and raising hell about the poor Black boy was murdered by a White guy in Florida. Remember the RIOTS every time the Blacks think the Law didn't protect them because they are Black they destroy a whole city with fire and looting. Florida didn't want to go through that again. The Law and Courts are not going to make it easy for GZ and there going to drag this out as long as they can. Hoping that most people will forget about it. Florida is coping out on what is right to protect the State from another RIOT.
     
  6. BigStick

    BigStick Sherwood, OR Well-Known Member

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    First, do you really find it astonishing as to how bad the media coverage is on this? I certainly don't.

    And another point I hear the defense make is that while GZ may be deemed innocent by a judge, he would still be massacred by the media and therefore much of public opinion if there was no trial. It is sad that a lawyer and defendant in a personal self-defense case need to be worried about politics, but it is a real concern here. If a jury of his peers finds him innocent, GZ will be more able to return to a normal life.
     
  7. Norm0931

    Norm0931 Hillsboro, OR Sgt. Sheep Silver Vendor 2016 Volunteer

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    They honestly could be waiting to file a claim that because of the prosecution and the media any jury they could produce in Florida or the rest of the US for that matter is tainted. They would be hard pressed to find a US citizen that could go in to the courtroom without a pre-disposion of the case.
     
  8. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Not to nit pick, but a jury in the US never finds anyone "innocent". Either the prosecution has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, "guilty", or they have not proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, "not guilty".

    The jury could be utterly convinced that it's far more likely than not that the defendant committed the charged offense, but if they have a reasonable doubt they are still supposed to find "not guilty". But never "innocent". (Although, interestingly, I believe the British system does have a provision for finding "innocence".)

    And GZ will never have a normal life. The arguments against him now are not based on reason, and that will not change, regardless of the verdict.
     
  9. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    That's not going to happen. I'm sure one of the reasons the defense didn't push on Zimmerman's right for a speedy trial, and let things drag out, is to let some of the emotional firestorm of the moment (e.g., marches, etc.) die down before the trial.

    The to serve on a jury, though, it isn't really necessary that you walk in with no pre-conceptions. Most all of us have a variety of pre-conceptions on all sorts of issues. The legal standard is whether you believe you'll be able to be fair, and not apply your pre-conceptions to the facts of this specific trial and defendant. And they usually leave that decision up to the juror (at least, that's how it's done here).

    Of course, the lawyers will have what's valled voir dire, where they get to question prospective jurors and dig for potentially damaging unfairness or prejudice. Usually, each side can toss out a certain number of jury candidates for (almost) any reason, and another certain number only for a reason that satisfies the judge. But once you run out of those toss-outs, the jury is selected and impanelled.

    No one is ever guaranteed an absolutely pure and impartial jury--it's just not feasible, when you're dealing with human beings.
     
  10. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    George Zimmerman fired the shot that killed Trayvon Martin at 7:17PM, Sunday, February 26, 2012.


    Just over four hours later, at 11:36PM, Zimmerman signed his first written statement recounting the events of the shooting to Investigator Singleton of the Sanford Police Department.


    If you've ever been interested in seeing that written statement first-hand, instead of just hearing the evidence misinterpreted through a disinformation campaign fully supported by the mainstream media, now's your chance. Ever wonder how much, if at all, Zimmerman's later recounting of events might have changed from his original statement to police? Don't rely on any one else's opinion (not even mine)--come take a look at the evidence yourself.


    I've obtained a copy of Zimmerman's original 4-page hand-written statement to the police, and uploaded both a typed transcript (a bit easier to read) and a PDF scan of the original documents to the Law of Self Defense blog.


    You can access that blog post directly here: Zimmerman's 1st Written Statement to Police the Night of the Shooting.


    Once at the blog you can also, of course, access the many other blog postings on both the Zimmerman case and other self-defense issues from around the country--it's all totally free, of course.


    Be sure to register if you'd like to be alerted directly whenever we post up a new self-defense related blog, which usually happens two or three times a week. Although I post here in this forum as much as I can, a lot of longer pieces of legal analysis just isn't well suited to a forum post.


    Enjoy.


    Andrew
    @LawSelfDefense
    Facebook: Law of Self Defense
     
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  11. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    I for one do not trust or believe the account provided by Zimmerman. If he knew the suspect was in the area why was he not more vigil. There are pieces that I question - at what distance was Treyvon looking into the windows, if it was from the sidewalk Treyvon did nothing wrong, if he was two feet from the window thats much different. The problem is, does the hard evidence add up and support what Zimmerman is saying occurred?
    I guess that is what the legal system is going to try and find out.

    James Ruby
     
  12. Law of Self Defense

    Law of Self Defense Boston, MA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Hey folks,

    Today marks the fifth day of the trial proper, with the State continuing to present it's case and witnesses.

    We will be covering the trial all day, with live-coverage, streaming video, and an embedded Twitter feed of selected contributors.

    We will also have a brief mid-day update during the lunch recess or immediately thereafter. (and not just a list of tweets, this time!)

    For links to our live video coverage today, for access to our analysis and video of yesterday's testimony, and archives of all our prior posts both here at the Law of Self Defense and at Legal Insurrection, click here:

    Zimmerman Trial Day 5: Video, Analysis of State’s Case & Witnesses

    Also, don't forget to "follow" my Twitter feed--most of my minute-by-minute observations and analysis over the course of the day are published on my Twitter feed: @LawSelfDefense (no "of" in there).

    Enjoy,

    Andrew
    @LawSelfDefense
    Facebook: Law of Self Defense