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RussK

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  1. Maybe my statement wasn't clear. Yes, I do think that manslaughter is most applicable to Zimmerman, hence: "I think that, from everything that I know about the case, manslaughter would be a minimum charge that could be applied to Zimmerman." Additionally, I also support the charge of second degree murder if the evidence available to the prosecution warrants it: "If the prosecutors have evidence to warrant a second degree murder charge, which assume they have enough, then I have no problem with the charge."
  2. Yes, I did some research on assault and felony assault, which I kind of alluded to a few times, especially in the short paragraph on justifiable homicide. From what I remember, assault becomes a felony when either a) great bodily harm is done, or a deadly weapon was involved. Of course, what constitutes "great bodily harm" will be debated, I'm sure, in court; but that's why I mentioned Zimmerman's nose and head, as I didn't think those injuries consisted of great bodily harm. Also, another factor I think is important: Zimmerman himself said that he didn't shoot Martin because he was getting a beat down, Zimmerman said he decided to shoot Martin when Martin was going for his gun; so that could be a troubling defense for Zimmerman. I don't actually think we disagree with the spirit of ordinary caution as it is applied to excusable homicide, etc..., but I don't think that Zimmerman used ordinary caution, and the person affected was Martin. When you say that asking someone who they are and what they are doing doesn't violate the spirit of ordinary caution, I think you are making some assumptions about the evidence and treating the actual event a little too simply. Sure, we have Zimmerman saying that that's all he wanted to do, but other evidence, including statements, reenactments, etc.., could easily contradict that idea when the trial starts. Additionally, it wasn't as simple as Zimmerman approaching Martin; there is the whole context and environment leading up to the point of Martin's death. Lastly, while it may be true that Zimmerman thought Martin was going to commit a crime--and I don't have reason to just toss that possibility out--the fact of the matter is that Martin committed no crime, so I don't think the statement about cowardice in the face of a potential crime applies very well. In fact, I'd suggest that if Zimmerman's defense goes along the lines that it is perfectly normal for civilians to case people, then pursue them while armed, to ask them questions, them Zimmerman has no hope.
  3. No. I think that, from everything that I know about the case, manslaughter would be a minimum charge that could be applied to Zimmerman. If the prosecutors have evidence to warrant a second degree murder charge, which assume they have enough, then I have no problem with the charge.
  4. Yes, I did. It was my opinion, and still is. The point of giving that opinion, which should be quite obvious, is that I think that manslaughter is the charge most applicable to Zimmerman. And, by the way, as I made clear, second degree murder includes all "lesser included offenses," one of which is a manslaughter charge.
  5. I think Craig Biddle is spot on, especially as it pertains to this election, concerning the reality of the election and our realistic choices in preventing a great deal of future destruction to our country. I have never voted for a member of the GOP or Democratic Party for federal office, but Biddle's commentary has persuaded me a great deal. As for voting for Gary Johnson, I'll just quote my response to Biddle's reply to one of my comments on the TOS blog: "One argument I usually make in regards to not voting, is that, if one continues to vote (Republican), the only candidates that will be elected in the future will be the same old rights violating politicians. Unfortunately, the stakes may be too high to abstain or register a protest vote in this election."
  6. **It has obviously been more than a few days, the amount of time I said I would respond back. Unfortunately, all my free time of recent was taken doing other things, mostly fun; this is the time of year in Minnesota that everyone is in a mad rush with festivals and sporting events to close out the last days of summer. I hope that is excuse enough. As far as I know, the only thing noteworthy to have occurred between the last time I posted and now, is that Zimmerman’s lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out on stand your ground, but, in fact, they are gearing up for a defense that doesn’t use that statute.** Manslaughter, as it applies to this case, is the act of killing someone without justification under chapter 776 and when the killing is not deemed excusable homicide under chapter 782—these statutes can be found in URLs provided above, in prior posts. There is no doubt that Zimmerman killed Martin, but many believe that the killing was justified. The point here, with this post, is to show how the killing of Martin may not be excusable under Florida statute, and how that would leave Zimmerman culpable for, at the minimum, a manslaughter charge. Justifiable Homicide Zimmerman’s killing may be considered justifiable homicide (782.02) if it can be shown that Martin was either a) going to murder Zimmerman or was going to assault him to the point that the act of the assault would be considered not a misdemeanor, but, instead, a felony. Excusable Homicide Zimmerman’s killing of Martin can be argued to be not excusable under 782.03. His means might have been lawful, but it can be presented that he did not act with “usual ordinary caution,” a position that I hold. The next two types of excusable homicide found within this section, heat of passion and sudden combat, do not apply to Zimmerman; there wasn’t heat of passion for Zimmerman—however, it could be argued that this could apply to Martin—and sudden combat only applies when a deadly weapon was not used. Unnecessary Killing to Prevent an Unlawful Act Any unnecessary killing of another person while resisting a felony committed by that person, or any other unlawful act—even if a criminal act has failed—“shall be deemed guilty of manslaughter” (782.11). Of course, that is the crux here, the prosecutors will argue that it was unjustified and unnecessary for Zimmerman to kill Martin, and the defense will argue in opposition. My opinion, without having the full evidence, is that the killing was unnecessary, partly for reasons outlined above, that Zimmerman did not use ordinary caution and placed himself in the situation; and also because a broken nose and busted head isn’t enough for me to categorize it as felony assault. In fact, if I remember correctly, Zimmerman acknowledged this point implicitly when he said that he had to dispatch Martin when Martin started going for Zimmerman’s gun. Use of Force in Defense of a Person Use of force in defense of a person, including use of deadly force (776.012) very well may apply to Zimmerman if it is shown he thought his life was in imminent jeopardy, or great bodily harm was going to be inflicted upon him. However, while this may apply to Zimmerman, the homicide statutes of justifiable use of deadly force and excusable homicide are used in conjunction with those included in chapter 776. Furthermore, 776.041 states that the preceding sections of the chapter do not apply if the person “initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself” and then describes when that doesn’t apply: a) when death or great bodily harm is thought to be imminent, and all “reasonable means of escape” have been exhausted, or when the person who provoked the use of force withdraws from the altercation but the “assailant continues or resumes the use of force.” Now, it has been pointed out that Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder, and it was suggested that talk of manslaughter charges were beside the point. However, that is not the case. Even if Zimmerman is found not guilty of second degree murder, he can still be convicted of what is called “lesser included offenses,” such as manslaughter. In the end, Zimmerman very well may defend himself against the prosecution’s attempt to prove that he did not act lawfully. I’ve read that the defense is going to defend Zimmerman on the grounds covered under 776.041, which makes sense. However, the main point I’m trying to make with this post is that the case is not as cut and dry as many have presented, and there are many avenues of approach for the State of Florida to come to the conclusion that there should even be a trial, and that they can convict him of a crime. In the court proceedings, the prosecution will have to try and prove their case; they will use testimony from Zimmerman, and they will try to exploit any holes they find with the facts. In light of the fact that someone was killed, doing nothing wrong—possibly up to the point of altercation—and the State of Florida thinks it has a case, I think a trial is the least thing we can ask for.
  7. Condoleezza Rice as vice president would be unacceptable. She is the most responsible for the destructive 'spreading democracy' foreign policy of the Bush administration, the effects of which will be damaging to our national security for years to come.

  8. Thai curry catfish over white rice turned out good

  9. Thanks for the PDF; it shed some light on the context of just exactly what is manslaughter in the state of Florida. In fact, I should have probably gone out and sought some source material for manslaughter before I started throwing around the charge, instead I was just relying on some general information I had. That said, however, I think you are misinterpreting the statute, or in the case of the PDF, the revisions of the statute. Where I believe your error occurs is in interpreting culpable manslaughter as being a necessary characteristic of an act of manslaughter. From my understanding of the statute, culpable manslaughter is not the necessary quality, but just one of three qualities that must be present for the charge to hold merit. For example, the statute states in defining manslaughter, "The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter... ." There are three possible means of committing manslaughter according to the statute, as presents in a list: by act, procurement, or culpable negligence. Additionally, on page four of the PDF, there is the same information in a bulleted format. As an addition to the report you provided, I went ahead and looked for further resources, which led me to a website containing the 2012 statutes. What is presented is similar to what has already been discussed, but now there is a reference to chapter 776 (justifiable use of force) and easy access to the whole homicide chapter, which includes justifiable use of force and excusable homicide. With all of these new resources, I'm going to take a few days and read and mull over as much as I can, and then try to figure out if I'm wrong about a manslaughter charge for Zimmerman. I will say, however, in reading the statute on excusable homicide (782.03), which feeds into manslaughter, the statute provides some insight into my position, in that I don't think Zimmerman used "usual oridinary caution."
  10. Altruism, if it is the dominant theory of ethics in a society, generally leads to individuals being sacrificed by and to that society. A main principle behind the welfare state is that an individual has no right to exist for his own sake, and he must sacrifice himself to others; so there is nothing wrong with identifying a society that installs a welfare state as an altruistic society. In fact, this is stated in many of Ayn Rand's works, and those of other Objectivist intellectuals.
  11. That is a good point; it does sound like either he slowed down or stopped his pursuit. I only brought up the dispatch primarily to show, as fact, that Zimmerman was pursuing Martin. Indeed, it is not proven that Zimmerman continued with his pursuit after the dispatch warned him; it is a stretch for me to say that he neglected the warning, no matter my opinion on the probability of what Zimmerman might have done. However, I will not take Zimmerman's, "Okay" statement as an indication that he stopped his pursuit, but since that cannot be proven or disproven, that doesn't matter much. On whether or not this was an emergency situation, maybe I misunderstood you. I took your statement as if you were invoking the ethics of emergencies, which I maintain does not apply to this case. If you were not talking about that, then we simply misunderstood each other. But, yes, I do agree that a prowler does present a threat, and there is nothing wrong with identifying a threat and acting to eliminate it. However, I don't see how you can suggest that Martin can be identified as a prowler. As far as I know, Martin was doing nothing wrong, had every right to be in that neighborhood--as well as anyone else, but his father actually lived near there--and he was on his way back to his father's place; it's not as if Martin was found somewhere he shouldn't have been. If that isn't the case, then what I know is deficient, and I'd like to know more. Before I continue on with the subject of manslaughter, I'd first like to address your tone, towards me. The tone of a few of your statements is fairly condemning of me, and I don't think I've said anything in my prior posts for it to be warranted. The case at hand, however, has been publically divisive, particularly due to how much of the media has handled it; so I can understand how you may have accidentally mischaracterized me. That said, from what I know about manslaughter, which isn't a whole lot--I'm not a lawyer--your definition of it as only applicable "in concert with other criminal activity," is wrong. There is voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, and I don't think any of those cases must fit your description, and I'm even more certain that the latter case does not. Therefore, the burden of proof isn't as high as you are making out. Additionally, I'm not saying that "Zimmerman is to be held culpable for our lack of knowledge." I expect the prosecution to lay down the facts to the jury, and those facts can lead to a guilty verdict of manslaughter--and I think the facts, as presented here, should lead to such a verdict. In closing, I'd like to point out that I don't think Zimmerman is some sort of monster. I actually sympathize with him, yet I think he committed a mistake that he should be punished for. Accidents, misunderstandings, mistakes, and the unexpected happen; however, that doesn't make anyone less responsible for an outcome into which they committed and set into motion.
  12. Probably after noticing the rushing air in the cellphone mic, and the heavier breathing by Zimmerman the dispatch asks, "Are you following him?" Zimmerman: "Yeah." Dispatch: "Ok sir. We don't need you to do that." I'm not even going to entertain that last question.
  13. Emergency situation? The only time this became an emergency situation is when Zimmerman put himself in a position to get injured in a fight with Martin. Zimmerman chose to neglect the dispatch and pursue Martin, and then he shot Martin after an altercation; those are the only facts that I care about as they are hard facts. Zimmerman can give any account he wants, and I also have no evidence that he is lying, but, for that matter, I have no evidence that he is telling the truth. It all begins and ends with Zimmerman, and I think that leaves him culpable to a manslaughter charge.
  14. Florida v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Svcs has been overturned; the individual mandate stands. Romney bears much responsibility.

  15. I am a firm supporter of both castle and stand your ground laws, and was especially so when I lived in the state of Florida. However, from what I've seen in the media, quite a few months ago when all the coverage was non-stop, those laws do not apply to George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had every opportunity not to approach Treyvon Martin, and was even told not to pursue by police dispatch; he chose to do so at his own peril. If Trayvon was an adult, or an older man, Zimmerman would have probably gotten injured more than he did; or, if the person in Trayvon's position was an adult with a gun and proper license, he may have shot Zimmerman and probably could have used stand your ground as defense.
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