Did you watch the trial? I did. I work at home and had the trial going on as I worked. I’m sure I saw at least 3/4 of the trial live and heard playbacks of anything important that I missed. If I had been in the jury, I would have voted to acquit him as well.

Do I think George Zimmerman is a racist? Well, yes and no. He’s not your classic Ku Klux Klanner. The state never turned up any blatantly racial statements he had ever made. He did lament to a police operator once that “The assholes always get away.” Some people are reading those words as implicitly racial, but there is no supporting evidence for that assumption.

He had even volunteered in programs that mainly benefited black youth!

At the same time, I think there is little doubt that he profiled the victim, Trayvon Martin. I’m not sure he profiled him because he was black. I think perhaps he would have profiled any male teen walking along in Zimmerman’s neighborhood who had the hood of his hoodie up.

I think the initial mistake was in charging Zimmerman in the first place. The local police decided there was no case and decided not to prosecute. It was only after a clamor orchestrated by Trayvon’s family attorney that the state Attorney General stepped in and forced a prosecution that Zimmerman was charged.

The problem the prosecution faced was that the only eye-witness to the fight between Martin and Zimmerman supported Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon was on top, pounding Zimmerman’s head on the concrete sidewalk. And Zimmerman did have a broken nose. All Martin had was a bullet through the heart, which is allowed in Florida (and in most states, even ones without specific Stand Your Ground laws) if Zimmerman had reason to feel his life was in danger.

In final summations, where generally it is the prosecution explaining the letter of the law and how to apply it, while the defense often appeals to the jury’s feelings rather than their intellect, it was reversed. It was the defense explaining in detail how to apply the law while it was the prosecutors shouting and foaming at the mouth about the injustice of Trayvon Martin’s death. That alone signaled that the prosecution really didn’t trust their own case.

In retrospect, it appears that the local police were right. And, in fact, during cross examination, the lead local investigator admitted that he personally believed Zimmerman’s story based on the facts he discovered. While the judge ordered the jury not to consider that opinion (because it’s an opinion and not a fact), “You can’t un-ring a bell.”

This case should have all of us thinking about assumptions we make regarding young people and especially young black males. Perhaps Florida will reconsider it’s “Stand Your Ground” law which makes it easier to defend oneself with lethal force based merely on a belief that one is in danger of death or severe bodily harm.

I don’t know what actually happened leading up to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Only George Zimmerman knows that. Did he profile Trayvon? I think he did. Did he profile him racially? The evidence doesn’t support that. Trayvon was probably profiled more as a young male than as a black male. Under his hoodie, his race may not have been evident.

Profiling may be a bad thing but it isn’t an illegal thing. And Zimmerman wasn’t on trial for profiling, but for murder. The state had to prove that Zimmerman had hate in his heart, and that they didn’t do.

The verdict, as dissatisfying as it may be, was the right one based on the facts.

Tags: George, Martin, Trayvon, Zimmerman, profiling, race

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Apparently, Mr Zimmerman believes that it was "all part of God's plan" that he kill the young man.  Crazy.

That's a fallback position for all Christians. But the fact remains that whatever he did that was wrong—and I believe there was—there's no law against it. Lacking that, you don't just go ahead and convict him because you wish you could and despite the facts presented in court.

But the fact remains that whatever he did that was wrong—and I believe there was—there's no law against it. Lacking that, you don't just go ahead and convict him because you wish you could and despite the facts presented in court.

As a juror, I would have voted to convict Zimmerman, not despite the facts presented in court, but because of the facts, and because of my jury nullification power.

Zimmerman pursued Martin, a child, against the wishes of the police. Martin fled in fear, then turned to confront and engage his pursuer. Then Zimmerman killed him. If the laws of Florida say Zimmerman committed no crime, then I say the laws of Florida are unjust, and that's exactly why I'd have voted to convict him.

I found it particularly chilling that Zimmerman placed his gun against Martin's chest-- an act a firearms expert described as ("a contact shot")-- and fired a bullet into Martin's heart.

The autopsy found that Martin had no gunshot residue on his hands. Martin was not even touching the gun when Zimmerman shot him, contrary to Zimmerman's account that he and Martin were struggling for the weapon at the time. That's a lie and a critical one on Zimmerman's part.

Zimmerman controlled the weapon. He could have put the gun to Martin's hip or shoulder and shot him. But, no. He put the gun against Trayvon's chest and fired a bullet into his heart. Certain death. 

I believe "jury nullification" usually refers to refusing to convict someone of charges because you think they law they are being charged under is bullshit.  E.g., refusing to convict an accused drug user.

Zimmerman was being charged with second degree murder and you wanted to convict him because you don't like the exceptions to that law.

Jury nullification doesn't apply to convicting someone because you don't like the law he used to justify his action.  That conviction would simply get tossed on appeal since it would either be unjustified by the facts or the law.  A jury nullification acquittal, on the other hand, could not be appealed.

I believe "jury nullification" usually refers to refusing to convict someone of charges because you think they law they are being charged under is bullshit. E.g., refusing to convict an accused drug user.

No, that's just the most common application. In general it means a jury disregards evidence or instructions of the judge to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. From the legal dictionary:

"The most widely accepted understanding of jury nullification by the courts is one that acknowledges the power but not the right of a juror or jury to nullify the law."

Zimmerman was being charged with second degree murder and you wanted to convict him because you don't like the exceptions to that law.

No, I wanted to convict Zimmerman because I would find acquitting him for the murder of a child to be unjust and unethical, even if the law said otherwise.

Jury nullification doesn't apply to convicting someone because you don't like the law he used to justify his action. That conviction would simply get tossed on appeal since it would either be unjustified by the facts or the law. A jury nullification acquittal, on the other hand, could not be appealed.

Of course the nullification would apply. It's within my power as a juror. But you are right that the nullification is only final in the case of an acquittal (see below). If Zimmerman is convicted he could appeal, but he would be in prison in the meantime.

More likely, the jury would be hung, since I likely would be the only juror refusing to acquit him. Then there would be a new trial. Meanwhile, Zimmerman goes back to his cell to wait. If that's the best justice I can offer his family with my power as a jury member, so be it.

A judge didn't like that "In God we Trust" violates the First Amendment, so he ignored a just law and invented ceremonial deism whereby God is secular. Bush and then Obama didn't like the Fourth Amendment, a just law, so they ignored it and wiretapped the Internet. These men had the power, but not the right to do these things.

I don't like that Zimmerman stalked and murdered a child. As a juror I would have the power, but not the right to put him in prison for doing it. That is just, so I would do it.

"In criminal cases, however, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes final a jury trial that results in an acquittal, and it guarantees freedom from Double Jeopardy. This gives juries an inherent power to follow their own consciences in reaching a verdict, notwithstanding jury instructions or charges to the contrary."

Juries can nullify. Judges can set verdicts aside if they conflict with the facts of the case. Bad decisions can be reversed on appeal. 

Juries can nullify. Judges can set verdicts aside if they conflict with the facts of the case. Bad decisions can be reversed on appeal.

Absolutely Unseen, verdicts can be set aside or appealed. But as I pointed out, that means a new trial. And the wheels of justice turn slowly. Meanwhile, Zimmerman sits in jail, or pays a million dollar bond payment only to live in hiding with a transponder locked to his ankle, and can't have a passport or a bank account.

Zimmerman's first trial may have cost him a million dollars. His appeal or retrial may well cost him yet another million. Keeping Zimmerman roasting over a slow legal fire doesn't cost Martin's family a penny.

It's by no means as satisfactory as my first choice: giving Zimmerman at least 25 years for murdering a child, but it's better than an acquittal, and the best I can do with the power I have as a juror.

There was no murder. There was assault and battery. Zimmerman has a broken nose and lacerations on his head. Trayvon Martin has a bullet hole. Are you asserting that Trayvon was shot through the heart and THEN broke Zimmerman's nose and beat his head on the sidewalk?

There was no murder.

I'm convinced there was.

murder is 'the unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse'.

Justifiable homicide is not murder, but what is justified (and thus what is murder) is for the jury to decide. In reality, the jury decided Martin's homicide was justifiable, so you are correct that in the eyes of the law in Florida, Zimmerman is not a murderer.

That is grotesque, but that isn't what I've been referring to.

I've been referring to myself as a hypothetical juror in the court of Zimmerman's trial and here in the court of public opinion.

I'm convinced Zimmerman's use of force against Martin was not justified, so he is a murderer. That's why I'd put him in prison, no matter what the law or a judge said.

There was assault and battery. Zimmerman has a broken nose and lacerations on his head. Trayvon Martin has a bullet hole. Are you asserting that Trayvon was shot through the heart and THEN broke Zimmerman's nose and beat his head on the sidewalk?

Don't be fatuous, Unseen.

Zimmerman's claim that Martin was punching him in the face is consistent with the evidence of his injuries. Zimmerman's claim that Martin was beating his head against the sidewalk is not consistent with the evidence of his injuries at all.

That's not just my conclusion, it's also the conclusion of Investigator Dale Gilbreath, who testified under oath that Zimmerman's claim of a sidewalk head-beating was "not consistent with the evidence we found."

I agree with Investigator Gilbreath. Those are cuts and abrasions, suggesting Zimmerman's head was scraped against the sidewalk, not slammed against it again and again. If that had happened he would've had injuries consistent with multiple forceful impacts: severe bruising and swelling. But Zimmerman did not.

This is a key inconsistency between Zimmerman's testimony and the physical evidence. Zimmerman claimed it was this deadly sidewalk head-bashing that put his life in danger. This was his justification to kill Martin. That's when Zimmerman put his gun against Martin's chest and fired a bullet directly into his heart.

It's my judgement based on the facts presented that the sidewalk head-bashing never took place: Zimmerman lied. As such, a bullet in the heart is not a justifiable response to getting punched in the face. So Zimmerman is a murderer.

@Gallups Mirror - Your attitude differs with that of the facts. I get it. Duly noted. 

Zimmerman's claim that Martin was punching him in the face is consistent with the evidence of his injuries. Zimmerman's claim that Martin was beating his head against the sidewalk is not consistent with the evidence of his injuries at all.

That's not just my conclusion, it's also the conclusion of Investigator Dale Gilbreath, who testified under oath that Zimmerman's claim of a sidewalk head-beating was "not consistent with the evidence we found."

I agree with Investigator Gilbreath. Those are cuts and abrasions, suggesting Zimmerman's head was scraped against the sidewalk, not slammed against it again and again. If that had happened he would've had injuries consistent with multiple forceful impacts: severe bruising and swelling. But Zimmerman did not.

Galbreath is an "investigator." Dr. Vincent Di Maio is a world-famous pathologist. He supports Zimmerman's account: 

Evidence supports George Zimmerman's claim that Trayvon Martin was on top of him when Zimmerman fired the shot that claimed Trayvon's life, a forensic pathologist testified Tuesday at Zimmerman's murder trial.

"The medical evidence is consistent with Mr. Zimmerman's statement," said Vincent Di Maio, an expert witness for the defense. The pathologist also found that Trayvon lived no more than three minutes after the shooting and probably was conscious for at least 10 to15 seconds.

Di Maio also testified that Zimmerman's head injuries could have been caused by coming into contact with concrete and that such injuries can be very dangerous. That testimony supported Zimmerman's claim that Trayvon was slamming his head into a sidewalk.

Di Maio said Zimmerman had at least six injuries from the struggle: two head lacerations, two wounds to his temples and wounds on his nose and forehead. Those injuries were consistent with having his head banged into a sidewalk, Di Maio said.

@Gallups Mirror - I get it. Duly noted.

I get that you're firmly refusing to get it-- ("Trayvon was shot through the heart and THEN broke Zimmerman's nose and beat his head on the sidewalk!!!!")-- because you don't want to get it.

Your attitude differs with that of the facts.

My attitude certainly differs from "facts" like "wounds to his temples" and "wounds to his forehead" being caused by being slammed against concrete. The image below was taken at the police station 45 minutes after the shooting. Look at his temple and forehead. Those injuries are the result of being slammed into concrete? Yeah, right.

Di Maio also testified that Zimmerman's head injuries could have been caused by coming into contact with concrete and that such injuries can be very dangerous.

I've agreed that the injuries on the back of Zimmerman's head could have been caused by "coming into contact with concrete". I didn't dispute that.

Di Maio said Zimmerman had at least six injuries from the struggle: two head lacerations, two wounds to his temples and wounds on his nose and forehead. 

Di Maio's testimony was that Zimmerman's six injuries came "from the struggle". I didn't dispute that either.

Those injuries were consistent with having his head banged into a sidewalk, Di Maio said.

The words "come into contact with", "slamming against" and "banged into" have all been used to describe the nature of the impact between Zimmerman's head and the concrete.

Zimmerman himself applied the words "slamming against", which conveys the greatest possible force of impact. This is what Investigator Gilbreath was testifying that Zimmerman's injuries did not support: a great force of impact.

Di Maio's words "come into contact with" or "banged against" could convey either no impact or possibly a lighter impact relative to "slamming against" which could only mean a great impact.

The former two descriptors certainly could leave Zimmerman with two cuts on the back of his head. I didn't dispute that so Di Maio's testimony and my conclusion are not in conflict.

I didn't say Zimmerman's head never made contact with the sidewalk or that this was not the cause of the two cuts on the back of his head. (I said that it was.) I said the nature and force of that contact did not add up to the kind of violence Zimmerman claims he was facing in light of his relatively light injuries.

I simply don't find it credible that this "slamming against" concrete-- a repeated and violent impact-- occurred and left Zimmerman WITHOUT more serious lacerations, WITHOUT any bruises, WITHOUT any swelling, WITHOUT any concussion, WITHOUT dizziness, WITHOUT blurry vision, WITHOUT loss of consciousness, etc. Injuries like these absolutely would result from a violent impact of a head against concrete, and the more impacts, the more injuries. That the prosecution failed to pursue this with Di Maio on cross-examination (or perhaps they did but the unattributed article you posted failed to mention it) does not eliminate them as facts or from consideration.

My conclusion is that a struggle ensued (which we don't know who started). During that struggle, Martin took Zimmerman down and punched his face-- an MMA ground-and-pound-- and the back of his head got two cuts because he was lying on the sidewalk. I think if Martin-- a 5'11" 160-pound teenager-- had been "slamming" Zimmerman's head murderously into the concrete, he would've sustained severe injuries to show for it. He did not. That's why I think Zimmerman is lying.

That's perfectly reasonable and in keeping with Di Maio's testimony regarding the nature of Zimmerman's injuries.

Zimmerman's impressions are those of someone in a state of fear to which something is happening. He is not an impartial observer, nor is he a medical examiner or forensic scientist. The point is how he perceived the situation. Dr. Di Maio showed photos showing multiple lumps and said the lacerations could have happened if Zimmerman's head was slammed with a pushing motion, scraping the head along the pavement. 

The point you still haven't refuted, GM, is that Zimmerman was being assaulted. That is all that is needed to establish self-defense.

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