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View Diary: How many more Trayvon Martins? (45 comments)

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  •  I don't think Dunn has a valid SYG defense (7+ / 0-)

    and think he will be convicted of murder. The same prosecutor, State Attorney Angela Corey, is in charge of this case. As is her MO she has overcharged this case by filing First Degree Murder. Overcharging was one of the fatal mistakes in her prosecution of George Zimmerman. She should have charged Zimmerman with manslaughter. It would have helped her chances for a conviction. Manslaughter in Florida when using a handgun can result in sentences of more than 15 years.

    There are very few similarities between the Zimmerman case and the Dunn case. The Dunn defense didn't ask for a SYG hearing but can offer that defense at trial. I don't think the defense is going to be able to convince the jury that Dunn was in such fear of his life that the use of deadly force was justified. Unlike the Zimmerman case the facts in the Dunn case are well known and the evidence fits the prosecution's theory of the crime.

    Just to remind people that the Zimmerman legal team had contemplated using a SYG defense but decided not to, and used a standard self defense claim. I am not sure why the Zimmerman case is the common reference for SYG when it was an option the defense never used.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:28:28 PM PST

    •  Here we go again. (11+ / 0-)

      Lord help us!

      There are very few similarities between the Zimmerman case and the Dunn case.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:39:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's one of many pieces about how (10+ / 0-)

      SYG did actually play a significant role in the Trayvon Martin case:
      http://www.motherjones.com/...

    •  Come on now (8+ / 0-)

      You know that the jury was given instructions which directly linked to SYG, and the one jurist who spoke publicly directly referenced it.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:07:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In Florida, the self-defense law and (5+ / 0-)

        the stand your ground statement are in the same law.  

        The statute is Florida law 776.012.  It says this:

        776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
        (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
        (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
        History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27.
        The relevant part of 776.013 (which includes discussion of home invasion, police officers, etc.) is this:
        (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
        When judges give jury instructions in Florida, the standard jury instructions -- which is what the judge used -- is to but the two concepts (SYG and self defense) together.  Legally, the only parts of those statute that are SYG are the parts I bolded.  The rest of the statutes pretty much follow traditional self-defense (if you took the bold words our, the statute would be only traditional self-defense).  Some people use the terms interchangeably (because they are in the same statutes) but the defend yourself part is self defense, and the "no duty to retreat" part is the SYG part.  Legally, the only time there is a SYG issue is if, at the moment a person is being attached physically, he has two viable options:  (1) retreat to a safe place; or (2) respond to the physical attack with his own physical attack.   In a non-SYG state, he HAS to take option 1.  In a SYG state, he can do either.  

        What the jury said is more self-defense than SYG:

        "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."
        That bold part is standard self-defense, the law in every state.  
        •  Oh dear Lord (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, coquiero

          the instructions to the jury explicitly talked about duty to retreat and necessity of force at the time of attack. You know what I find offensive after all this time? You will not acknowledge that the jurist who publicly spoke literally believed that that they were told that SYG was to be used because the wording is deliberately framed that way.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:18:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  From means link because I'm sick of that misdirect (11+ / 0-)
      The jury instructions—and a reason for their verdict: Just because Zimmerman's defense team didn't bring up Stand Your Ground in the trial (more on that below), that doesn't mean the law was irrelevant to the jury's decision. To the contrary, Judge Debra Nelson made clear in the jury instructions (PDF) that they should consider the law:
      If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
      And consider it they did. According to the most outspoken juror, known only as Juror B-37, Stand Your Ground was key to reaching their verdict. She told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview that neither second-degree murder nor manslaughter applied in Zimmerman's case "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."

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:19:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you disagree with that jury instruction? (4+ / 0-)

        IF a person is not doing anything illegal, is in a place where he has the right to be, is attacked by another person and fears death or great bodily harm, is lethal force justifiable?

        Forget about whether or not you believe Zimmerman's story. Do you have a problem with that jury instruction?

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:27:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's the law. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Pi Li, Victor Ward

        The only caveat is that if there was evidence that Zimmerman was the first to threaten or use actual violence, the instruction would have been different, THEN he would have had the duty to retreat if Martin responded to his force with force.  

        During the jury charges conference (where the judge decides what instructions will be given) they discussed that, but the prosecution had no evidence that Zimmerman was the first to use or threaten actual force sufficient to warrant that instruction.  Courts won't give instructions on the basis of "this could have happened."  they do the charge conference after all the evidence is in, so the lawyers have to point the judge to evidence in the record of the case that warrants it.  

        •  You're a lawyer, right? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight, coquiero

          Is it possible to view jury instructions from pre-SYG murder trials where the defendant claimed self defense?  It would be interesting to see the language used and how it compares.

          •  Yes, I'm a lawyer. (4+ / 0-)

            And I may look for that.  But if you compare other states that don't have the SYG concept, it's very clear that the rest -- the not bold part -- is traditional self defense.  

            See wiki's definition of SYG:  

            A stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.
            Here's wiki on traditional self-defense:  
            In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use reasonable force in his or her own defense or the defense of others (see the theoretical background for why this is allowed).
            While the definitions vary from state to state, the general rule makes an important distinction between the use of non-deadly and deadly force. A person may use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury; however, a person may not use deadly force unless that person is in reasonable fear of serious injury or death. Some states also include a duty to retreat, when deadly force may only be used if the person is unable to safely retreat. A person is generally not obligated to retreat if in one's own home in what has been called the castle exception (from the expression "A man's home is his castle").
            See the part about a duty to retreat?  In the absence of a SYG law, if you are faced with a dangerous situation threatening life or great bodily harm, you can't use deadly force UNLESS you have no opportunity to retreat.  SYG laws make clear that, if you are faced it a dangerous situation threatening life or great bodily harm, even if you have an opportunity to retreat, you don't have to, and you can meet that danger with deadly force.

            Stand your ground laws were written because you might once in a long while have a situation where an attacker comes upon victim with a gun, victim shoots and kills attacker, and victim is charged with a crime, because he had an opportunity to run away (simplistic example) rather than shoot, and because he didn't run away (retreat) he was charged with murder or manslaughter for killing his attacker.  SYG was supposed to prevent that kind of situation -- so that if you are faced with an attacker threatening death or great bodily harm, you can respond with deadly force without looking around to see if you can retreat first.  

    •  I think its pretty disrespectful... (0+ / 0-)

      to the family of Mr. Davis to say the two are similar.

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