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Old July 8, 2013, 09:38 PM   #126
gc70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdogs
I am saying that once it became an altercation, in this case, Zimmerman is the Aggressor for initiating contact ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
But that's not valid (and we don't need to capitalize "Aggressor," it's not a professional title like Doctor or Reverend). If I walk up to you on the street and ask you what time it is, I have "initiated contact." If your response to "Excuse me, can you tell me what time it is?" is to sucker punch me and try to slam my head through a concrete sidewalk, YOU are the aggressor, regardless of who initiated the contact.
I have seen a lot of discussion of who was the "aggressor" or "initially provoked" the ""difficulty" (as Florida court decisions quaintly term such situations). I suspect those differing views reflect personal perceptions more than the law. In that regard, here is an article, Legally, Who Was the First Aggressor, written by a Flordia criminal defense attorney, that discusses the relevant factors in Florida law.
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Old July 8, 2013, 09:52 PM   #127
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Martin's attack was the main cause of the physical aspect of this conflict and the main cause of his own death.
We don't know that.

What we have is testimony delivered by the defendant and witnesses who did not see the initial interaction. We have forensic evidence. Those things can be manipulated by both sides of a criminal proceeding to prove a conclusion.

What we do not have, and may never have, is the truth of what happened. As such, we're down to speculation.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:04 PM   #128
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Speculation; evidence...

I agree that many aspects of the GZ case are open to opinion or general speculation but to me, evidence does not lie.
The case evidence like GZ's broken nose, cuts, grass on his jacket(back), the ME report of Martin, the PF9 9x19mm, the date/time stamped 911 calls etc are not faked or an "opinion".
The truth doesn't take sides or show bias.
The jury can decide what to take & what they feel isn't a part of their verdict.

If GZ gets any conviction in this case, he'll have a strong chance at appeal.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:05 PM   #129
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Dakota - let me be blunt, I'm using my analytic powers. If you think I have some vendetta, you are so wrong and you lose my respect. I am trained to analyze and not jump to the feel good answer.

Then you say:

Quote:
Swallow your mistake while somebody beats you to death?
So if you make a mistake and provoke someone. They see you have a gun. Should that person not fight for his life? If you got into a fight, started by someone else and you see they have a gun - do you fight for your life?

We don't know how it started physically and when the gun was flashed. But reasonable doubt makes us think Zim will walk.

Some moral philosophers and legal experts feel that if you start the lethal interaction and you are losing - you have no right to respond lethally. In fact, you do swallow it. Or you don't and go to jail.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:05 PM   #130
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I'm waiting for the decision of the jury. All else is conjecture or, perhaps, wishful thinking.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:06 PM   #131
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Not a lawyer, but they will chime in. You can only appeal on some kind of misconduct or legal mistake - not that you were convicted.

There has to be reversible error.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:08 PM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayster
It turned criminal when the physical assault began and all the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony shows who threw punches and who received punches.
The only evidence of when the situation turned criminal is the defendant's statement.

In post #45, Glenn asked us to consider if Zimmerman had flashed the gun at Martin. As I read Florida law, flashing a gun at someone might well constitute felony aggravated assault, which would be a criminal act before any blows were exchanged.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:12 PM   #133
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If GZ is cleared, it will show the jury agreed it was a self-defense shooting.
Not exactly.

It will show that the state did not prove otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:16 PM   #134
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gc70, the link you provided in post #126 is an excellent explanation of the "First Aggressor" concept.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:16 PM   #135
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Glenn, perhaps vendetta was too strong a word. You just seemed oddly focused on your viewpoint and less, shall we say, flexible than I've seen you be in previous interactions.

I didn't mean any offense, I was really trying to root out the reason for this rigidness. I think the problem is you and I are both very firmly rooted in our beliefs, which is fine given that the evidence has been presented in a logical fashion and we're then allowed to form our own opinion.

I do apologize for any insinuations I may have made about your reasoning ability, it really was a poor choice of words. You have an almost drastically different interpretation of the events that I do and it is frustrating to wrap my head about that. I am not trained although I do think I analyze things as well as I can and I've gone on record here opposing several "feel good" stances since I've joined so I hope that much does speak for itself.

As far as defending yourself once you've been attacked, I just don't see how anything paints Zimmerman as the aggressor. The one who initiated conversation, yes, but in my mind, that does not equal aggressor. This is what I mean. If Zimmerman had taken a swing at Martin and missed, I would agree with your viewpoint. But when he gets tackled and he realizes "I shouldn't have left the truck/I should have said something different" (If words were exchanged), what is a person to do at that point?

Frankly I see no evidence supporting nothing criminal or inflammatory regarding Zimmerman's actions. I would however, be open to evidence that I missed. I've changed my mind already on this case due to a lot of new information coming out.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:18 PM   #136
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The coroners report stated no marks to Martin's body consistent with landed blows.

Only one person had any injuries consistent with blows to their person and that was Zimmerman. Only one person had injuries to their hands consistent with punches being thrown and landed and that was Martin.

Eye witness testimony places Martin on top of Zimmerman throwing punches. Notice I did not say landing because the witness said he could not see punches being landed but that is obvious by all the physical and medical evidence.

Not one shred of evidence exists that proves Zimmerman began any physical confrontation or assault. There are no marks, cuts, or bruises to Martin's face or body showing any evidence of blows struck by Zimmerman.

All marks, cuts, and bruises showing evidence of blows landed are on Zimmerman.

Manipulation or not that and the rest of the testimony and evidence is what is left for the jury to go by and for justice to be done it is all they should go by.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:24 PM   #137
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Judge rules today that GZ defense will be allowed to show that TM had been using marijuana.
The article linked to only mentions THC was found in Martin's system. If found in the blood, it indicates usage within the last few hours and potentially intoxicating. Marijuana is also known to cause anxiety and feelings of paranoia, all of which might be relevant to judge Martin's state of mind and, by inference, actions he may have taken as a result.

If the metabolites of THC were found in liver or fat cells or in urine, it could have been introduced in the system days or even weeks earlier. It would not normally be indicative of marijuana intoxication.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:41 PM   #138
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I agree with those who say "Evidence doesn't lie". But most (all?) jury trials aren't very objective. Again, I'm not following the case except to see it on TV with the sound off while on the treadmill at the gym. Did I read one of you saying the jury was all women? That seems like it would tend to stack in favor of the dead guy. "Oh that poor young kid" "Maybe he smoked a little pot or whatever but he got hooked in with the wrong crowd. No need for the big, mean adult guy to kill him".

I think juries tend to go with their gut a lot more than their head. OJ (his first trial) for example.

As many have said, we can't get in the heads of those jurors. But I'd bet that there's going to at least be a very long deliberation. There's going to be a lot of "I know the evidence all points to XXX, but I still don't think it's right that the kid had to die. It's just not right. I wouldn't want my kid killed" etc. I hope, for Mr Zim's sake that that line of emotional juror thinking isn't unanimous.

And, as many are probably sick of hearing me say, Zim will be in his own mental and emotional prison for the rest of his life, no matter what happens when the judge reads the verdict.


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Old July 8, 2013, 10:42 PM   #139
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I'm waiting for the decision of the jury. All else is conjecture or, perhaps, wishful thinking.
The verdict is simply the jury's decision based on the evidence presented. It is not a pronouncement of truth or accuracy.

As Old Marksman said, the state is trying to prove that a person committed a crime. It is up to the jury to decide if the state has made their case beyond a reasonable doubt. A conviction doesn't mean the defendant did it; plenty of wrongful convictions have been reversed. Likewise, an acquittal doesn't indicate innocence; it simply means the state did not adequately prove their case to those six people on the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

The concept of truth is a malleable thing in a courtroom.
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Old July 8, 2013, 10:43 PM   #140
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Not a lawyer, but they will chime in. You can only appeal on some kind of misconduct or legal mistake - not that you were convicted.

There has to be reversible error.
I do not know Florida law. Under federal law, a case should be dismissed for lack of evidence only if no reasonable jury could convict. In weighing this, a judge must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the government. Credibility issues, except in very rare cases, are exclusively for the jury to consider.

No trial is perfect so an appellate court determines if an error is harmless. There are different standards for determining harmless error depending upon whether the error was one of constitutional law or non-constitutional law (a purely evidentiary ruling, for example). If the claim of error is not preserved (by an objection or motion), an appellate court reviews only for clear error which has an even higher standard.

Again, this is not Florida specific. This is the standard used in the federal court system and many state systems.
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:14 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gc70
In post #45, Glenn asked us to consider if Zimmerman had flashed the gun at Martin. As I read Florida law, flashing a gun at someone might well constitute felony aggravated assault, which would be a criminal act before any blows were exchanged.
But why should we consider the implications of Zimmerman "flashing" his gun at Martin when there is zero evidence to suggest that he did so?
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Old July 8, 2013, 11:29 PM   #142
gc70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
But why should we consider the implications of Zimmerman "flashing" his gun at Martin when there is zero evidence to suggest that he did so?
You raise the question of evidence, of the lack thereof ... which is my point. Is the theory that Zimmerman flashed his gun as plausible as the theory that Martin jumped Zimmerman? There is no hard evidence of who was legally the aggressor - who first committed an illegal act. There is only the defendant's statement about how the altercation started. Once the altercation was underway, there is a variety of evidence of what transpired and how it ended.

I am glad I am not a juror in the Zimmerman trial.
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Old July 9, 2013, 09:17 AM   #143
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This case, and this discussion, should make some things very clear to anyone who has not reflected realistically on things:
  • The triers of fact must piece together fragmentary evidents with gaps and sometimes with contradictons;
  • the testimony of the defendant is going to be self-serving, by definition;
  • the same may apply to the testimony of wtnesses who knew the victim;
  • any contadictions in statements and testimony, and any discrepant facts, may serve to damage the credibility of any wintess, or of the dfendant, if he or she does not testify; and
  • relevant evidence regarding state of mind can be critical.

This whole thing should drive a nail through the heart of that ol' "a good shoot is a good shoot" idea.

There is no such thing as a "good shoot" if it can possibly be avoided.
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Old July 9, 2013, 11:54 AM   #144
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Glenn, sorry, but you do seem to have an anti-Zimmerman bias in this thread. It's fine to say you are trained at analysis; you should not think you are the only one, even if you may be the only PhD in psychology. Others here (LEO, military, etc) may have you trumped in fields such as threat identification, hand to hand fighting, etc, and we may be able to analyze factors you may not take into account.

Additionally, you have commented several times on Zimmerman's honesty, or lack thereof, and personality issues. Considering that you have never interviewed Zimmerman, that seems a bit of a reach... but if you have objective facts to back your opinions and claims, you might offer those, rather than saying you have lost respect for those such as dakota.potts who dare to disagree with you.

Since you are a PhD in psychology, and since you do have a lot of background in analyzing court proceedings, perhaps you'd like to comment on the following areas:

1) The reliability of eyewitness testimony, as compared to forensic evidence. (Last I studied this area, eyewitnesses are very unreliable at identifying perpetrators, unless they know the people they are looking at; they also tend to miss details most of us would find obvious, from our armchairs.)

2) The reliability of any victim of a traumatic incident to have 100% accurate recall of major details, let alone minor details; related to:
a) the tendency of the brain to provide "details" the eye misses, in real time (see "blind spot" and other physiological factors that affect, among other professions, pilots - we have to study aviation physiology for myriad reasons, including blind spots);
b) the tendency of the brain to fill in blank spots in memory of traumatic events.

3) The tendency of ANY accused, or for that matter of most people engaged in any debate, to shade arguments in their favor, consciously or unconsciously.

You are the PhD, Glenn, so you of all people should not expect perfect, 100% accurate or honest testimony of anybody in the real world, nor expect it to be the yardstick by which all are judged.

If that were the yardstick, we'd all be doomed.
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Old July 9, 2013, 11:59 AM   #145
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To those who keep saying, "he should never have left his vehicle," I agree with you, as far as tactics go. It was unwise.

But part of me keeps reminding myself how many times I've lamented that people don't do anything, and how many others I've heard make the same lament.

"Why didn't anybody say something? Why didn't anybody help that person?"

It seems to me that it's unreasonable to hope that neighbors will act like neighbors, and help, intervene, or even call the authorities if we are going to say that it's criminally wrong to follow a person far enough to ascertain a destination.
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Old July 9, 2013, 12:04 PM   #146
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Quote:
To those who keep saying, "he should never have left his vehicle," I agree with you, as far as tactics go. It was unwise . . .
If Zimmerman's story is to be believed, and I think it is, this is pure blaming the victim.

Is a rape victim wise for having worn a short skirt and exposing a little cleavage in a bad neighborhood? No. Was it illegal, or did she not have a right to dress as she wished? Of course not. Was she to blame for the rape? Definitely not.

Quote:
It seems to me that it's unreasonable to hope that neighbors will act like neighbors, and help, intervene, or even call the authorities if we are going to say that it's criminally wrong to follow a person far enough to ascertain a destination.
I agree completely.
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Old July 9, 2013, 12:27 PM   #147
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Posted by maestro pistolero, in response to "he should never have left his vehicle... It was unwise": If Zimmerman's story is to be believed, and I think it is, this is pure blaming the victim.
Not at all.

Zimmerman reportedly got out of his vehicle to better see someone whom he considered suspicious and believed to be high on drugs. In so doing, he put himself at risk. His injuries attest to that.

By the way, in the murder trial, Zimmerman is not the victim.
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Old July 9, 2013, 12:33 PM   #148
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You are the PhD, Glenn, so you of all people should not expect perfect, 100% accurate or honest testimony of anybody in the real world, nor expect it to be the yardstick by which all are judged.
You're right, but this isn't about ferreting out the truth. A prosecution is about presenting a certain set of facts in a certain way to sway the opinion of a jury.

In this case, they're going to be expected to dig up and color as much of Zimmerman's history as they feel appropriate to that end. He was a vigilante because he volunteered for neighborhood watch. He was waiting to shoot someone because he took classes on Florida law. He was spoiling for a fight because he took some MMA classes. It goes on.

By that yardstick, any of us could be in the same position if we were involved in a shooting in which there's room for doubt. It all brings us back around to Old Marksman's point:

Quote:
There is no such thing as a "good shoot" if it can possibly be avoided.
Things are different today than they were when I started carrying. Back then, we had it drilled into our heads that drawing a gun at all was going to change our lives for the worse. Nowadays, the laws have loosened, and we keep hearing more people (with little or no real training) claim that a "good shoot" is whenever they feel justified.

I can't articulate what a dangerous mindset that is.
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Old July 9, 2013, 01:09 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by MLeake
To those who keep saying, "he should never have left his vehicle," I agree with you, as far as tactics go. It was unwise.
IMHO, leaving his vehicle and trying to follow a person he considered to be suspicious was unwise only in retrospect, in consideration of the way the incident ultimately played out.

I grew up in the country. Across the street from my parents house were several hundred acres of my grandfather's farm -- partially fields, and partially woodlands. It was not uncommon, despite the fact we kept the land posted against trespassing, to have people drive into the fields and roar around making tire tracks through the crops, or to have people just decide that a nice open tract like that was a good place to hunt.

Typical police response time was between 30 and 45 minutes, so by the time I hit early to mid- teens I usually went across the street myself to see what was going on. If it was joy-riders, I would "confront" them and inform them that they were trespassing on private property and that the police had been called. That usually was enough (although I did have one punk start after me with a tire iron when he saw me writing down his license plate number. Good thing my "little" brother arrived on the scene).

I was a bit more circumspect about hunters, because ... well, hunters carry boomsticks. With them I would approach with caution, and take down a truck description and license plate number from as far away as I could, after verifying that the truck was unoccupied.

But ... by the logic being applied to Zimmerman, I should have just stayed in my own front yard and waited for the police to arrive. Which would generally have been long after the miscreants had vacated the theater of operations. Given the history of unsolved break-ins in Zimmerman's community, I can fully appreciate why he would decide to follow a perceived suspicious person. His only mistake, IMHO, was in failing to anticipate that the "suspicious person" might not react like a civilized person.
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Old July 9, 2013, 01:41 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by MLeake
Glenn, sorry, but you do seem to have an anti-Zimmerman bias in this thread. It's fine to say you are trained at analysis; you should not think you are the only one, even if you may be the only PhD in psychology. Others here (LEO, military, etc) may have you trumped in fields such as threat identification, hand to hand fighting, etc, and we may be able to analyze factors you may not take into account....
Except Dr. Meyer was not opining on those other matters. He opining on matters within his field of expertise.
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