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View Diary: Black Kos, Tuesday's Chile (235 comments)

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  •  no state criminal retrial, and not likely to help (3+ / 0-)

    with federal criminal civil rights action, but it might help gather support to address stand your ground laws.

    Zimmerman did not invoke SYG law, and in fact waived a SYG immunity hearing before trial.

    YET, SYG was included in jury instructions, and, according to the speaking juror, was the reason jury voted not guilty, which meant flipping 3 jurors who believed him guilty to not guilty.

    •  It's Really Muddy to Me (5+ / 0-)

      Because the language that mimics SYG was contained in a jury instruction. I don't know what the criminal form instructions are in Florida, but it is quite possible that the language is contained in all cases where self-defense is alleged, and not just SYG.  I would have to defer to a Florida criminal lawyer on that. But I wouldn't assume that the instruction was because SYG was intended to be asserted. A lot of common law self-defense overlaps SYG, after all. That's what is so bloody insidious about it to me: it's common law self-defense on steroids, because it eliminates the reasonableness element of the regular defense.

      •  when SYG passed, SYG was added to self-defense (6+ / 0-)

        instruction and changed self-defense requirements. (link to blog by former florida lawmaker).

        While in the Florida legislature I strongly opposed the Stand Your Ground law because I believed it would provide defenses to people who had created the scenarios they sought protection from.  Or it would leave juries without the proper rules of engagement that ought govern predictable human interactions.
        so, if self-defense raised in case, as here, apparently this instruction is read to jury even when, as here, SYG was not raised at trial. This may be why Z waived SYG hearing before trial because he would have to testify at that hearing to get immunity but he did not have to testify at trial to use SYG because in the self-defense instruction.  Kinda like SYG coming in thru the back door.

        BUT, in this case, the jury decided case based on SYG.

        COOPER:  Because of the only, the two options you had, second degree murder or manslaughter, you felt neither applied?

        JUROR:  Right.  Well, because of the heat of the moment and the stand your ground.  He had a right to defend himself.  If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.

        COOPER:  Even though it's he who had gotten out of the car, followed Trayvon Martin, that didn't matter in the deliberations.  What mattered was those final seconds, minutes, when there was an altercation, and whether or not in your mind the most important thing was whether or not George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger?

        JUROR:  That's how we read the law.  That's how we got to the point of everybody being not guilty.

        Very odd situation. usually, jury restricted to evidence presented at trial for the defenses raised etc. Here, media kept reporting SYG not at issue at trial. SYG only mentioned once in trial.

        Yet, because it is incorporated into self-defense law, the instruction is presented with SYG. and the jury decided based on SYG, an issue many believed was not an issue in the trial. very strange system.

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