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I think you make a great point-- the degree of certainty, which I spoke, is a bit unfair. I think it was more of an emotional response to the fact that the evidence points to one direction (Martin initiated the force), but the majority of the media and opinion are pointing to a direction that has no evidence (Zimmerman initiated the force). But I agree, I should not be stating (or implying) that Trayvon definitely initiated the force.

Well, there's also the fact that the competent authorities in charge of this case deemed it justifiable self defense, and it took an intervention from notorious race baiters for charges to ever be filed, through Soviet style political directives.

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Apparently, at the very end of everything, the prosecution tried to introduce manslaughter and child abuse (?!) as possible charges.

 

"Is he guilty?"

"Well, surely he's done something to warrant a hanging."

-Exerpt from Sweeny Todd

 

Unbelievable.

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It's common practice to overcharge someone in the hopes that they admit to a lesser charge. It also seems to be this prosecution's goal to present the jury with as many severe charges as possible so they convict on the lesser manslaughter charge as a "compromise." I'd be interested to hear a principled argument defending these practices.

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It's common practice to overcharge someone in the hopes that they admit to a lesser charge. It also seems to be this prosecution's goal to present the jury with as many severe charges as possible so they convict on the lesser manslaughter charge as a "compromise." I'd be interested to hear a principled argument defending these practices.

I suppose that, during the course of a trial, it might become clear -- that the defendant is guilty of a lesser crime. In that situation, it would make sense for the prosecution to ask for a lesser charge. Yet, it is a common "bias" (read: oft-made human mistake) to peg expectations around one thing, and then to judge the subsequent thing in that light. So, asking for the moon can bias a jury toward opting for something less.

I understand that the judge has discretion on whether to allow it, because CNN reported that the judge did not allow a lesser charge of 3rd-degree murder.

if the judge disallows it, can the government charge a person again for the lesser crime and have another court-case? I assume that's an option, at least in principle.

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Interestingly enough, there is a whole psychological theory behind their strategy: the theory of reciprocity, which says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. Part of that theory is "reciprocal concessions", which is the feeling of obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us. So you start with the murder charge and then say, "Oh, if you can't find him guilty of this, surely you can find him guilty of at least manslaughter." It makes the person want to respond to the state's concession with a concession of their own.

 

However, I know the jury members are given strict rules, so I don't know how effective this strategy would be in this context.

Edited by thenelli01

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As expected, Trayvon Martin's race (or the 'white man's' view of his race) is being blamed for the verdict by some.  2nd comment after the article:

The verdict was a foregone conclusion: the race of the victim almost always determines the outcome. Thus, it was Trayvon, the victim, who was actually on trial. He received the death penalty for walking while Black. As I recall, an African American woman was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot. Justice in Florida? Not if you're African American.

 

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The amount of evasion necessary to believe something like that having read the facts of the case... It's hard to believe that someone could evade reality that much.

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A different point of view...

 

So a kid is just walking home when a stranger with a gun stalks him and kills him?  You guys think that is okay? 

 

 I know Zimmerman said that there were a few break-ins in his neighborhood and that he thought the perpetrators of those break-ins "always got away" but Zimmerman never should've followed Trayvon in the first place.  If he hadn't then none of this would've happened.

 

I don't know that much about the legal system and I don't think Zimmerman should've been convicted of 2nd degree murder but I don't think he should've been let go scot-free either.  Zimmerman essentially provoked a fight and when he realized he was getting bested, pulled out a gun and killed Trayvon.

Edited by dadmonson

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So a kid is just walking home when a stranger with a gun stalks him and kills him?  You guys think that is okay?

Who is going to be okay with that?

Zimmerman essentially provoked a fight and when he realized he was getting bested, pulled out a gun and killed Trayvon.

Well, all the facts will never be known, so the starting point is to ask what you think the facts were: my best guess is that Trayvon was angry at being followed -- justifiably angry. He decided to accost Zimmerman and he did, but not just verbally, but physically. Now, it is possible that Zimmerman was the one who also started the physical fight, but I don't think there was evidence of this. So, I assume you agree that it is possible that Trayvon started the fight.

I assume most people would sympathize with Trayvon being angry at being followed. At his age, I sort of understand that he got physical about it, without thinking things through. However, when one initiates a physical fight, one steps outside the law. It's really that simple.

Added: Also, if he had pushed Zimmerman around a bit, he would likely be alive today. So, it is not just that he started using force, but the degree to which he used it, that killed him.

Edited by softwareNerd

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So a kid is just walking home when a stranger with a gun stalks him and kills him?  You guys think that is okay? 

 STRAWMAN.  Like, straw-ubermensch.

 

 

Zimmerman never should've followed Trayvon in the first place.  If he hadn't then none of this would've happened.

 Alright; and we should imprison the leaders of the NRA (they sell guns which kill people), throw Hitler's mother into a shallow grave (her actions slaughtered millions of Jews) and lynch Al Sharpton for the violence he's incited (give me a minute and I'll give you examples).

 

By that logic then anyone whose actions contribute, in any way at all, to a crime should be held as responsible for it.  The question is: how do YOU know that any of your OWN actions won't end up similarly?

Why, because you stay out of bad neighborhoods at night?  So logically, taking risks is a crime because it leads to the murder of innocent 17-year-old children.

 

And that's what you're saying; isn't it?  That Trayvon was innocent, i.e. that it's alright to rearrange other people's faces if you feel like it?

Or are you opposed to violence, any violence, under any circumstances; as an out-of-context absolute?

 

 

Zimmerman essentially provoked a fight and when he realized he was getting bested, pulled out a gun and killed Trayvon.

 

?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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The previous two posts really cover it all, but I do want to just emphasize this point:

Following someone is not a crime.

It might not be a smart idea. It might be a good way to make someone angry or paranoid. That could lead to getting questioned by police or having a verbal confrontation. It could also lead to, as George Zimmerman learned, a physical confrontation. But that does not make it a crime, or an initiation of force.

One important thing to take away from this is that these publicized trials ensure that people like George Zimmerman will struggle to ever get their lives back. This is one of the reasons why I normally frown on the sensationalization of criminal justice and why I tried to ignore Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias. I also believe that it distracts from real issues of national importance by over-emphasizing local issues. And, as ultra-liberal (but sometimes still insightful) screenwriter Aaron Sorkin said in The Newsroom, a lot of the Casey Anthony trial was turning a real criminal case into a reality television show (off-topic: I think Sorkin is a great example of someone with a terrible explicit philosophy but a fairly benevolent sense of life).

The reason I got invested in this case, unlike the Casey Anthony one, is because it was highly exaggerated and politicized by race-baiters. It just shocked me when I learned about this case how overblown the media bias was against GZ in this case, which really shouldn't have even made it into an American courtroom and certainly not with words like "second degree murder" being thrown around. And yeah, I hate seeing people unjustly go to jail, so I got a little emotionally invested in it, but really for me this has been mostly about ridiculous media bias and trial by public opinion.

On that note: CNN is making me sick with its out-and-out bias. They're acting like it's an established fact that GZ racially profiled TM and pursued him. And they just put up an NAACP statement basically calling for racial discrimination to be outlawed, without even for a minute discussing whether it would be a good idea to scrap the first amendment and make it a crime to think certain things.

Edit: CNN is now showing Piers Morgan's interview with George Zimmerman's brother. Piers is pushing the whole narrative I described above, in his uniquely irritating style (he keeps mentioning the Skittles). And the brother is just handling it so well. He's clearly sad about the fact that Martin died but is being ferociously rational in his defense of his brother, by pointing out the facts of the case and citing law regarding self-defense. Piers is basically trying to use emotional appeals to try to get him to "admit" that GZ isn't innocent, but the brother is just not taking any of it. I don't know much about GZ, certainly not enough to judge him, but if he's anything like his brother, I don't think I could help but to like certain things about him.

Edited by 425

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The previous two posts really cover it all, but I do want to just emphasize this point:

Following someone is not a crime.

It might not be a smart idea. It might be a good way to make someone angry or paranoid. That could lead to getting questioned by police or having a verbal confrontation. It could also lead to, as George Zimmerman learned, a physical confrontation. But that does not make it a crime, or an initiation of force.

 

I agree with you, and I think it's definitely something to think about on an individual level (ie: "should I follow this suspicious individual?" "if I do, what might happen?") This might not be the best example, but you know when little kids get in your face and say "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you"? They do this to annoy you and make you angry without actually getting physical, and without technically breaking any rules. But even though they're within the law, so to speak, the response is always the same- people get 1. uncomfortable, 2. annoyed, 3. angry, and may even retaliate themselves. In this example the annoying kid is Zimmerman (technically within the law, but unnecessarily continuing to pursue Martin.)

Edited by mdegges

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I agree with you, and I think it's definitely something to think about on an individual level (ie: "should I follow this suspicious individual?" "if I do, what might happen?") This might not be the best example, but you know when little kids get in your face and say "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you"?

Oh yeah, I did that. Never once did I get my head bashed into the concrete for it though.

Why do you think that is?

In this example the annoying kid is Zimmerman (technically within the law, but unnecessarily continuing to pursue Martin.)

George Zimmerman was the neighborhood watchman. He had a purpose for his actions, and it was something other than to annoy Trayvon Martin.

Do you understand what purpose neighborhood watchmen have? Or do you consider them unnecessary, and serving only the purpose to annoy people by following them?

Edited by Nicky

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I keep reading that the DOJ is now going to go after Zimmerman in some kind of civil rights case, hate crimes, I believe. Is it possible that this isn't a violation of the double jeopardy provisions of the 5th Amendment? I mean, the guy has already been acquitted for murder and manslaughter. A jury has already determined that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that Zimmerman committed a crime. But now the executive branch of the FEDERAL government can go after him for what amounts to the same offense when you take away the rhetoric?

Luckily, it sounds like there is even less of a chance of conviction there. They would have to prove that Zimmerman acted out of racially motivated ill-will toward Martin, and there's no way to even come close to proving that since, well, he didn't, and he's the only person who can provide testimony to what he was thinking.

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I keep reading that the DOJ is now going to go after Zimmerman in some kind of civil rights case, hate crimes, I believe. Is it possible that this isn't a violation of the double jeopardy provisions of the 5th Amendment?

The Feds did that in the Rodney King case. Technically, the charge would be a different, but it sure violates the spirit of the 5th amendment, even if our courts have rationalized that it does not. Even in the King case, the judge acknowledged as much.

 

I think it depends on the degree of political pressure. I doubt this case will create the same type of pressure, even though this one is far more tragic.

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Do you understand what purpose neighborhood watchmen have? Or do you consider them unnecessary, and serving only the purpose to annoy people by following them?

 

Neighborhood watch members are not supposed to pursue suspicious suspects, and they are not supposed to carry carry concealed weapons. The purpose of neighborhood watch is not to detain or even apprehend suspects- all they are supposed to do is look around, listen, and report suspicious activity to authorities who are trained to react appropriately in these situations.

 

So what exactly was Zimmerman's purpose for continuing to pursue Martin, first by car, then on foot? He was not acting within the neighborhood watch rules- I think his intention was made crystal clear when he said on the 9/11 call, "These assholes, they always get away."

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"If TM were defending himself against GZ, then all he had to do was pin GZ down and call the police. Instead, he was seen beating the c*** out of GZ. It was at this point that he forfeited his life. A rational man would have reacted like the Houston man who last week caught a man breaking into his house, hog tied him, called the police and the left for work, leaving the crook on his lawn in the custody of his wife. I have witnessed people holding crooks for police. No rational man would beat the crook while detaining him.

GZ was within his rights to police his own neighborhood. No, we do not cede our right to self defense to the police. It is not even possible to cede ones rights--they are inalienable. To assume otherwise is to adopt the irrational principle of original sin. GZ had the right not only to self defense, but to police his neighborhood. The role of police is not our defense but the enforcement of law. If you think the police are there to defend you, try living in the "hood" sometime. The police are there to clean the blood off of the streets--well, at least supervise someone else doing so.

We have the right to defend our property, just as we have the right to defend our lives. Indeed,it is ultimately our own responsibility--even in a civilized society. We cannot cede our inalienable rights. The police enforce the law. We exercise our rights. So shall it ever be so long as the teo do not conflict. In such cases, our rights morally prevail.

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