George Zimmerman found not guilty

George Zimmerman was found not guilty yesterday. (I would give a link, but who isn’t aware of this case?) I’m actually quite happy with this verdict. Though it initially seemed as if he was motivated by racial animus – and maybe he did profile Martin – what apparently transpired was grounds for reasonable doubt. That is, witnesses testified they saw Martin pummeling Zimmerman. If that’s the case, then there’s just no way a jury should come back with a guilty verdict.

Ultimately, this is a victory for us all. I’m sure plenty of people won’t see it that way, but it really is. The system is heavily skewed in favor of the government; there’s just no way police, detectives, and prosecutors are something like 90% accurate in terms of their arrests, investigations, and charges. Yet that’s the conviction rate as wrought through plea deals. It’s bull. So when someone beats a charge, that should usually be cause for celebration, at least of the principles of our legal system.

6 Responses

  1. I dunno. Zimmerman’s premeditated stalking, pursuit, and assault, followed by pulling a gun during the scuffle, still strikes me as pretty excessive no matter how ‘threatened’ he felt if/when Martin finally fought back. The fact remains that Martin had done nothing wrong when Zimmerman initiated the entirely, 100%-avoidable confrontation.

  2. Yeah, on a theoretical level, and on the legal level, the verdict is probably the only one possible given the evidence. Am I happy about it? No. Would I have been happy with a guilty verdict? Also No.

    That said, if Florida is a contributory negligence state, a suit for wrongful death would likely succeed, IMO, although IANAL.

    Were there a statute against felony stupidity, I’m sure there would’ve been a guilty verdict.

  3. I’m not so sure, Copyleft. Based on what we have, it really seems like they were both stupid. Zimmerman doesn’t appear to have broken any laws, and neither does Martin. At least until the fight itself, and there we have no clue who started it.

    If Martin started it, then he was fully justified in shooting him. If Zimmerman started it, then he would never be justified, even if Martin loudly expressed his intent to kill him. Cause cannot usually arise from a wrong action.

    The evidence doesn’t tell us who did what, only what the result was. You have no evidence to suggest that person X was the initiator of physical aggression toward person Y, or the other way around.

    My position is they are both idiots and they both contributed, which seems to be perfectly consistent with the evidence. That is assuming we discard the issue of whether or not Martin attacked Zimmerman because he thought he was a child molester, or a rapist, or gay… words to that effect. I think that is nonsense, and adhere to my mutual stupidity position, but the Jental girl (whatever her name is, I can’t be bothered to check) suggested at trial, and now to Piers Morgan, that Zimmerman made him nervous because he/she/they thought he was a “sexual deviant” of whatever type.

    Lurker, as far as I know, Florida is a “comparative fault” state, but I doubt they will file suit. I see the evidence being pretty 50/50. I’m not sure if Florida allows it, but it isn’t unheard of to sue the estate of a deceased person to recover damages they caused in life. I’m sure Martin, being 17, has nothing, but if allowed, and if he succeeded, he might be awarded whatever the boy has left. Again, I don’t know if that is possible in Florida, maybe not, but it would give me pause if I were the family.

    I agree that he would have been found guilty of felony stupidity, but I think Martin would be in the same boat. Zimmerman should have stayed in his truck, Martin should have stayed on the sidewalk. If one hadn’t gone to peruse the area and if the other hadn’t been trespassing, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  4. If one person, carrying a gun, goes in pursuit of another person who’s unarmed, specifically against the advice of the 911 operator he’s talking to, and a scuffle ensues in which that gun is fired and kills Person #2 (who had been doing NOTHING WRONG), then in my view Person #1 is murderer. Period.

  5. Well thankfully the law and your views are not one and the same.

    When person #1 (who has a legally carried gun) is doing nothing wrong and person #2 is doing nothing wrong, we don’t know who started the physical altercation, person #1 ends up with injuries consistent with a struggle and person #2 ends up with a gun shot wound consistent with being on top in said scuffle, with that situation being corroborated by the witness with the best view…

    In my view, and that of the law, that means we don’t have enough evidence to say there was a murder at all. That’s not even enough evidence to determine there was negligence enough for manslaughter.

    So a question, if things were flipped around, for example:

    Zimmerman, for whatever reason, took a harder hit to the back of his head, went unconscious and subsequently died from a bleed in his brain, what should the outcome be?

    In my mind, the same. Trayvon Martin not guilty. Zimmerman dead. Not because there wasn’t a murder, not because there wasn’t negligence enough for manslaughter, but because we would have much the same evidence, not enough to say with any amount of certainty “who dun it.”

  6. Your argument works well, as long as you ignore the preconditions I spelled out: Zimmerman actively pursued Martin, armed with a gun, and against the advice of the 911 operator. That puts a different spin on things, don’t you think?

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