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Old July 13, 2013, 09:13 PM   #1
ClydeFrog
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Zimmermann verdict in. Case for civil suits?

George Zimmerman was found not guilty.
The news just came out. See www.wftv.com www.myfoxorlando.com www.wesh.com www.orlandosentinel.com .
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Not Guilty

The jury has decided. Enough said!
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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Good news. Watching coverage now.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:20 PM   #4
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I was wrong. I predicted a hung jury. For once, I am happy to be wrong.

I believe this is a just and correct verdict. Zimmerman had to fight not only the unethical prosecution, but also the media and the judge. That he ultimately prevailed IMHO demonstrates that there is still hope for our court system.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:22 PM   #5
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Zimmerman -- Law (if any) precluding civil lawsuit

Is there any law on Florida books that will now preclude the ambulance chasers from
destroying Zimmerman (and his family) with wrongful death civil lawsuits?
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:26 PM   #6
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Threads merged.

OK... Listen up.

I am against any thread discussing the verdict. It is what it is. However...

Mehavey above, has raised a valid question/concern to the aftermath of such criminal trials.

Therefore, while not first in the announcement of the verdict, it is the only basis for further discussion.

Be warned, ranting or raving over the verdict or the trial in general will get you suspended from TFL.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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Being in Florida and watching the State Attorney appointed by the Gov. to pursue this case, I think that the State has wasted our tax money to sastify others. The families lawyer cost the state millions in Bay County years ago over a sickle cell anema case that no one could have avoided.

There should be a punishment for wasting our tax money.

To be clear, I am not discussing the verdict.

I am refering to the broadcast by the S.A. stating that she did not accept the verdict. Once the jury has spoken, it is over. "She" is stirring the pot on tv right now, which is wrong.

Sorry for any confusion.
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Last edited by pcb911; July 13, 2013 at 09:41 PM.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Is there any law on Florida books that will now preclude the ambulance chasers from
destroying Zimmerman (and his family) with wrongful death civil lawsuits?
I could be wrong but I think Zimmerman could ask for immunity from civil suit based upon self-defense. In the criminal trial, the government essentially had to prove beyond a reasonable Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. In a civil proceeding, Zimmerman would have the burden to prove self-defense in a claim for immunity. This would stop the civil proceeding at an early stage. Martin's family would still have to ultimately prove the wrongful death case.

BTW, I saw a crawl on one of the networks saying the NAACP was going to press the federal DOJ to prosecute a civil rights criminal violation.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:48 PM   #9
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The Home Owner's Association settled with the "family" before the court case started.

As a lawyer told me in a damage case, a dead one cost less than a injured live one. In these "cases", a dead one cost more. Depends on the "lawyer".

Sorry, but true.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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I could be wrong but I think Zimmerman could ask for immunity from civil suit based upon self-defense.
That's going to be difficult if not impossible to secure. The time to invoke the SYG immunity is through a hearing, not a jury trial. A civil suit is a very real, if not inevitable, possibility.

There are several other possibilities, none of them encouraging. As KyJim points out, the federal government can bring a civil-rights case. They can also charge him with a hate crime.

He will need to retain legal counsel for the forseeable future.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:52 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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Now that he has been charged, tried, and formally acquitted, doesn't Florida law automatically protect Zimmerman from civil lawsuit? Or does he now have to seek a stand-your-ground determination in order to invoke that protection?
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:53 PM   #12
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From what I can tell, it's the latter. Precedent suggests that the hearing is supposed to take case before a trial, not after, so this could be tricky.
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Old July 13, 2013, 09:53 PM   #13
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Thank you, pcp911 for that clarification.

Be warned... I meant what I said. The Verdict Is Not Up For Discussion. Violators will have their post deleted and will be banned for 7 days. Not Trial. No Notice. No Second Chances.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:19 PM   #14
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Is immunity from civil suit irrevocably and solely tied to a stand your ground defense? If anyone has the applicable statutes, I'd like to read them.

But I don't think that's Zimmerman's chief worry at this point anyway. I think DoJ is coming after him and their prosecutors will make the Florida prosecution team seem like puppy dogs by comparison. I look for a Monday announcement of DoJ's intentions - more than likely a hate crime charge. It would not surprise me to see an arrest and indictment before the end of the week.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:37 PM   #15
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One thing to consider, also, with respect to civil suits - not only is the burden of proof different, but so are the evidentiary standards. It's likely that at least some evidence which was ruled out of the criminal trial would be admissible in civil suit.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:40 PM   #16
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I am not a lawyer. So, the following thought could be totally off base. I noticed it was stated after the verdict Mr. Zimmerman was now free to leave the State of Florida. I suspect he is departing as quickly as he can. If nothing else but for he and his families safety.

I think it will be more difficult for him to be served with a Civil Suit originated in Florida if he is out of the State.

I too, have thought from the beginning of the trial a Violation of Travon Martin's Civil Rights Federal charge might be pursued in case of a Not Guilty Verdict. Also noted was a statement by the NAACP to pursued with the DOJ the legality of "Stand Your Ground."

Last edited by lamarw; July 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:46 PM   #17
Tom Servo
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not only is the burden of proof different, but so are the evidentiary standards.
That's what worries me. In a civil suit, the plaintiff does not have to overcome reasonable doubt. He simply has to win on a preponderance of evidence. The actual burden is much lower.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:46 PM   #18
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I think it will be more difficult for him to be served with a Civil Suit originated in Florida if he is out of the State.
No, not really. Once the suit is filed, the litigant just hires a process server in the jurisdiction the defendant is in and service is identical.

If the defendant chooses not to return to the jurisdiction in which the suit is filed, then the judge will almost certainly enter a summary judgement for the plaintiff - so you can pretty much count on Zimmerman attending any civil suits in which he's named as the defendant.
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:47 PM   #19
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Well, this is interesting. One of the IT specialists who was processing the case for the prosecution has been fired. Apparently the DA's office didn't like him fessing up to the defense that they weren't getting all of the discovery they were entitled to:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/13/justic...html?hpt=hp_t2
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Old July 13, 2013, 10:57 PM   #20
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Chapter 776: JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:04 PM   #21
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(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
But he wasn't immune from prosecution (the whole trial thing), so that law doesn't seem to apply. If charges had never been brought, he'd have a chance to stop a civil suit. But the state decided to prosecute, and he didn't get a hearing to invoke Stand Your Ground, so he's open to civil suits.
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:06 PM   #22
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Yeah, based on overhead's excerpt and Florida self-defense statute 776.012, it appears that Zimmerman cannot be sued personally. Doesn't seem to require a stand your ground defense.

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statute...Chapter776/All
Quote:
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.
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:10 PM   #23
csmsss
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But he wasn't immune from prosecution (the whole trial thing), so that law doesn't seem to apply. If charges had never been brought, he'd have a chance to stop a civil suit. But the state decided to prosecute, and he didn't get a hearing to invoke Stand Your Ground, so he's open to civil suits.
The statute doesn't make it clear that this has to be done preemptively, not to my reading anyway. Your reading of it implies that it is up to the prosecutor to make this determination.
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:15 PM   #24
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Tom Servo, while the standard of proof is lower for a civil suit, I would think the not guilty verdict, plus the hoard of evidence that would most likely be allowed in the civil suit that was not allowed in the trial (Trayvon's behavioral history, use of drugs, problems at school, etc) would make a civil suit an ultimate loser.

OTOH, I have to wonder if there would not be a big money case to be made against msnbc for its character assassinating re-edit of the 911 call.

Recall, "He looks guilty.... he looks black,"?

Leaving out all the queries from the dispatcher, and responses from Zimmerman that occurred in between those two statements completely changed the tone of what was reported. msnbc claimed they were going for brevity, and not a change of substance, but we all know that was crap.

I suspect that a jury might feel the same way.
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:15 PM   #25
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I too, have thought from the beginning of the trial a Violation of Travon Martin's Civil Rights Federal charge might be pursued in case of a Not Guilty Verdict. Also noted was a statement by the NAACP to pursued with the DOJ the legality of "Stand Your Ground."
I have no doubt they will try it, but I'm not at all sure that would fly, the self defense aspect is just as powerful in a civil rights case.

I'm not an attorney either, but I can't seem reconcile the perception that they could never have won a conviction based on the actual evidence, to me (a non lawyer) is seems to the point of unethical or maybe misconduct on the part of the prosecutor office. Which would also explain why there was no arrest until 44 days later, when we know the police did a very thorough investigation, it almost seems like they were forced to arrest him.
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