Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Twist in Trayvon Martin Case: What the Media is NOT telling You About the Law

Read PART 1

Yesterday, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, said that he will not be using the much-debated “stand-your-ground” defense after all. O'Mara said that they will instead likely try to use a traditional self-defense argument to have the second-degree murder charge against his client dismissed.

How it works is, if a defense team uses the stand-your-ground defense, the judge will determine whether or not the law applies. Zimmerman would have to take the witness stand and be cross-examined by the prosecution. If the judge were to apply the stand-your-ground law, the case will be dismissed and never even make trial. Using a traditional self-defense argument, however, the jury must decide whether or not self-defense applies to the case.

Zimmerman’s attorney would have you believe that he is abandoning the stand-your-ground defense because he believes the judge to be bias against his client. In fact, O'Mara filed a motion today asking a Florida appeals court to reconsider a ruling by Judge Kenneth Lester refusing to step down from the case. In a motion filed last month, O’Mara claimed Lester made “gratuitous” and “disparaging remarks” about Zimmerman and showed bias in a July 5 ruling that raised Zimmerman's bond from $150,000 to $1 million. The bond increase came after prosecutors presented evidence Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the judge about their finances. Shellie Zimmerman was later charged with perjury.

Nonetheless, a closer look at the actual Florida Statute might paint a better picture of why O'Mara has likely abandoned the stand-your-ground defense.

Chapter 776 of the Florida Senate Statute— JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE—(776.012) states, “A person is justified in using force…to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force…[and if] He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” However, later in chapter 776, as described in code 776.041(2), “The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who: (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself.”

The reason why this lawful wording is important to point out is because Zimmerman is the one who was stalking Martin in his car. Zimmerman described the situation to the 911 operator, that he witnessed the “suspicious looking” Trayvon Martin start to run away. The 911 operator urges Zimmerman not to follow him, as he (Zimmerman) is not lawfully allowed to do so; yet, Zimmerman exits his car and chases Martin on foot. At this point, Zimmerman becomes the “aggressor,” and therefore stand-your-ground status is in question, and as the law reads, does not apply to Zimmerman as a suitable defense.

Consider the situation, one that no one is really breaking down to its simplest form. You are walking down the street. You see a man in a car driving slowly near you and starring at you. This person then begins stalking you and intensely starring at you while on the phone. You start to run, scared that this person is going to possibly harm you. As you are running away, you notice that this person is running after you. Now, you have two options: you can continue running or “stand your ground” and fight. Note: because Trayvon Martin is dead, we do not get to hear his story. Was he attacked first by Zimmerman? Maybe he was attacked by Zimmerman and overpowered him. Should a person being attacked then be lawfully killed because he or she actually fights off their attacker? In any event, Zimmerman was clearly the aggressor, bottom line. Zimmerman had no right to chase down Martin, just like no one has the right to chase you down on the street at nighttime while you are walking alone. On what planet does George Zimmerman have the right to claim self-defense, let alone stand-your-ground???

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