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George Zimmerman's Bond Revoked in Trayvon Martin Case
June 1, 2012 11:55 AM   Subscribe

"The judge in the George Zimmerman [who is accused of killing teenager Trayvon Martin] second-degree murder trial revoked his bond today and ordered him to surrender himself in 48 hours. Prosecutors had filed a motion today seeking to revoke his bond and accusing Zimmerman of 'deceiving' the court about his finances and his possession of a second passport, which he apparently acquired two weeks after the shooting....In conversations Zimmerman and his wife speak in code -- reducing the amounts in their financial accounts by a factor of 1,000. Prosecutors said the couple knew that their jailhouse conversations were likely being recorded. The new documents show that Zimmerman had $135,000 in his bank account the day before his bail hearing -- in which he declared himself financially indigent." Zimmerman has 48 hours to turn himself in.
posted by ericb (640 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought he was still in jail to begin with. I need to follow this closer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:58 AM on June 1, 2012


Trayvon Martin and George Zimmmerman -- previous FPPs: 1 | 2 | 3.
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, the BALLS.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:00 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, the BALLS PSYCHOPATHY.
posted by cmoj at 12:01 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is this revocation of bond for misleading the judge and having the 2nd passport something the prosecution can bring to bear against him? I.e., can they use it to paint a picture of him as untrustworthy during the trial?
posted by lord_wolf at 12:02 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the conversations Zimmerman and his wife speak in code -- reducing the amounts in their financial accounts by a factor of 1,000.

This is my favorite part - like referring to $100,000 as "100" is so clever and rare that all the cops were like, "Oh, I feel so sorry for that poor woman who only has $100 to live on while her husband is in jail!" However did they crack that inpenetrable code?
posted by muddgirl at 12:02 PM on June 1, 2012 [44 favorites]


Decimal points really don't count as a "code," no.
posted by xingcat at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is this revocation of bond for misleading the judge and having the 2nd passport something the prosecution can bring to bear against him? I.e., can they use it to paint a picture of him as untrustworthy during the trial?

If he testifies, he can be impeached on the stand for misleading the court.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


>However did they crack that inpenetrable code?

See, this is where shared-key cryptography comes in handy. He might as well keep a confessional document in ROT-13. GEEZ
posted by circular at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2012


Well - it's more feasible than "Honey - did you take out the bluebird dollars?"
posted by symbioid at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy is up to no good.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


How does a person get a second passport, anyway? Declare the first one "lost" so you can get a replacement?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Code, eh? His private key apparently consisted of a scrap of paper with the words "Don't say thousand!" crudely written in purple crayon on it.
posted by surazal at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


Although one of his passports was due to expire in May, prosecutors said today, Zimmerman applied for a second passport, informing the State Department that the original had been lost lost or stolen.

By "informing" I assume the report means "lying to." Isn't deceiving the State Department a federal crime?
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, riiiiight!
"Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara tells the press that its all just an innocent misunderstanding, and that it is partially his fault for not disclosing the second passport nor the raised money."
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


its [sic].
posted by ericb at 12:08 PM on June 1, 2012


If we go "by the book", like Lt. Saavik, hours would seem like days.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:09 PM on June 1, 2012 [44 favorites]


I'm wondering if this is why his first attorneys fired him.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amateur. He should've just started a numbers station like the rest of us.
posted by mykescipark at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


Totally aside from any other facts relating to this case... what an AMAZINGLY boneheaded move. It doesn't matter if he hunted Martin down like a dog or if Martin straight-up attacked him and he was just defending himself- how did he not realize that this makes him LOOK 100% guilty?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wow--I haven't been following this as closely either over the past month, and am really surprised by this. I mean, I have definitely felt that Zimmerman is entirely full of shit the entire time, it's just unexpected that he'd do something like this and, well, confirm he's a liar.

On preview: Interesting point, empath. Considering he also set up that sophisticated website without their knowledge in the hopes of securing donations--he sounds more and more like a scammer. Not to mention a murderer.
posted by nonmerci at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to see how Fox News is going to spin this.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


"I urshay otshay atthay egronay, eyhay eetiesway?!?" *wink wink*
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012


Well - it's more feasible than "Honey - did you take out the bluebird dollars?"

As it turns out, there was money in the banana stand.
posted by The Bellman at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [78 favorites]


May 23, 2012: George Zimmerman's 'Cozy' Relationship With Sanford Police Questioned
"Neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman had a relationship with members of the police department in Sanford, Fla., long before he shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin to death in February, newly released information suggests.

... A police station video taken three days after the shooting, released by the State Attorney’s Office with a trove of other evidence, shows Zimmerman walking unescorted through the police station. That suggests a 'cozy' and 'comfortable' relationship with the police, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family. 'This video of Zimmerman just walking through the police department so casually underscores that people in that department have a familiarity with him,' Crump told HuffPost. 'It means that he had a relationship with the Sanford police department. And it’s just unusual that all along they would say they didn’t. But he went on several ride-alongs with them and he was comfortable enough to walk unescorted through their department.'"

... According to the Herald report, city records show that in March 2010, Zimmerman’s application to ride along with the police was approved despite a background check revealing a criminal history that included resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. (The charges were later dropped.) Zimmerman wrote on the application that he hoped the ride-along would 'solidify my interest in a career in law enforcement.'"
posted by ericb at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I can't wait to see how Fox News is going to spin this.

My guess? The outrage of the government spying on private conversations between husbands and wives.
posted by Trurl at 12:19 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's no crime in being a wannabe cop, but if local police enabled and encouraged his vigilante behavior and sense of entitlement, then there should be more people than just George Zimmerman on the hook for this death.
posted by Scram at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crystal Ball Sez: Saturday Zimmerman is arrested in Houston trying to board a plane to Costa Rica.

PLEASE OH PLEASE
posted by localroger at 12:22 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This guy's behavior has been nothing short of bizarre; setting up a website proclaiming his innocence and begging for money, dodging telephone calls from his own lawyers, and now this stuff. He is not helping himself.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:23 PM on June 1, 2012


Crystal Ball Sez: Saturday Zimmerman is arrested in Houston trying to board a plane to Costa Rica.

Magic 8-Ball sez: "Cannot predict now."
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, very strange.
posted by OmieWise at 12:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


By which I mean, even if he's a shitheel, and guilty as hell, he should be smarter than to do this sort of stuff.
posted by OmieWise at 12:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


#facepalm
posted by desjardins at 12:27 PM on June 1, 2012


Rushed in here, control+f-ed for "banana stand," got beat.
posted by weinbot at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2012 [33 favorites]


When I got my first job as an auditor, I was trained about conflicts of interest.

I was also trained about the appearance of conflict of interest. In most cases, even the appearance of a conflict can be bad.

I find there to be an interesting analogy to Mr. Zimmerman's situation.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


infinitywaltz:This guy's behavior has been nothing short of bizarre

As painted by the MSM who make their filthy $$$ by flaming the public. You really know nothing about what happened... save for TM is dead. Best to keep an open mind, imo.. it could be you that the press is cashing in on..
posted by snaparapans at 12:29 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy is up to no good.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:06 PM on June 1


I figured that out when he shot an unarmed guy.
posted by goethean at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2012 [38 favorites]


How does a person get a second passport, anyway? Declare the first one "lost" so you can get a replacement?

That would be a felony -- you are not allowed to make a fraudulent declaration when applying for a replacement passport. If he applied for a second passport this way, the discovery that the first passport was still available (or held by law enforcement to prevent flight) would quickly bring more charges.

However, the US State Department will issue you with a second passport (called a second fee passport,) good for two years, for a few reasons -- and in some cases, will issue many.

1) Frequent international travel with visa issuing countries. Some countries will require the submission of your passport before travel so a visa can be attached, but while they have your passport, you can't travel out of the US. A 2nd passport fixes that -- you send the second off for a couple of months to get your bezerkistan visa, and use your normal one for other travel while it's gone.

2) Countries that will not admit visitors to other countries. There are a number of countries that won't admit you if your passport shows that you have visited a particular country -- forex, if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you will not be admitted to Iran. The State Department will issue a second passport for these circumstances, and I know a number of people who travel often who have their "Israel Clean" passports for the Mideast, and use their regular passports for entry into Israel.

One class that tends to have a small stack of passports are journalists covering the US President or Secretary of State, who require working visas to the countries they visit while covering the President or Secretary of State abroad. Since these often take time, and they are traveling frequently, they often have 5-6 second fee passports, along with their usual 10 year passport -- and many of them are often as some other country's consulate getting visa approval.

There are other ways to have two passports, though they're not considered second fee passports. If you are a USG official or diplomat, in addition to your regular passport (Blue Cover) which you use when traveling on personal business or pleasure you will have an official USG (Maroon Cover) or a US Diplomatic (Black cover) passport for travel on official business.

Since I've mentioned cover colors, there's another one. Blue-Green is a special case -- a passport for someone who is not a US citizen, but allowed to enter the US. These are usually Refugee Travel Documents. The other blue-green is a Reentry Permit, which is issued to permanent non-citizen residents of the US when they are traveling outside the US for extended periods of time.
posted by eriko at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [174 favorites]


How does a person get a second passport, anyway? Declare the first one "lost" so you can get a replacement?

Depends on your country, but certain countries allow you to have a second passport to allow to you travel whilst the other one is off for visas. I have 2 passports, neither of which say James Bond unfortunately.

I'd think lying about losing his passport will get him into hot water with the State Department.
posted by arcticseal at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


it could be you that the press is cashing in on..

I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm considering shooting a teenager.
posted by lunasol at 12:39 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thanks, eriko, that's really interesting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:40 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bezerkistan

Appears on none of my maps. Cannot wait to pin travel photos from there.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


From second link aboveProsecutors also said Zimmerman had failed to surrender a second passport, but Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver's license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver's license.
posted by snaparapans at 12:45 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy's behavior has been nothing short of bizarre; setting up a website proclaiming his innocence and begging for money, dodging telephone calls from his own lawyers, and now this stuff.
Also, shooting a random kid.
posted by Flunkie at 12:51 PM on June 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Apparently eriko is to passports what Brockles is to cars; if I see either one has commented in an AskMe on those respective topics, I will keep my lame answer to myself.
posted by TedW at 12:51 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bezerkistan

Appears on none of my maps. Cannot wait to pin travel photos from there.


I think that's just what they call Astana on a Saturday night.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:52 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The issue of Zimmerman’s passport came up, with De la Rionda arguing that Zimmerman misled the court on the existence of a second passport. (He turned in his original passport at his bond hearing.) Zimmerman said he did not have a second one, believing it was lost; it tuned out to still in his possession."*
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2012


I'm beginning to question my decision to make my passport more "moody" by coloring the color black with a sharpie.
posted by maxwelton at 1:01 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


So did he get a second passport just to turn in?
posted by empath at 1:05 PM on June 1, 2012


This passport issue is confusing. When did he get the second passport? Why was he discussing it in coded language with his wife? He surrendered his first one (set to expire), but had a second one squirreled away in a safety deposit box?
"Additionally, the motion stated that Zimmerman, who was required to surrender his passport as a condition of bail, had a second one that could make him a flight risk.

In phone conversations recorded by prison authorities, de la Rionda alleged, the couple discussed a second, valid US passport hidden in a safe deposit box. Zimmerman, he said, had earlier handed authorities a passport due to expire in May, claiming it was his only one."*
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that's just what they call Astana on a Saturday night.

That's it. From now on, I'm calling Astana "Team Berzerkistan".
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"In a simple tweet, Trayvon’s mom wrote 'Praise God,' while his brother Jahvaris Martin tweeted: 'Zimmerman has been locked back up. I hope he stays in jail. Children will be much safer.'"*
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, it clearly isn't a wise move, but I don't really find it all that surprising. I can pretty easily see that if a person was in the situation that Zimmerman is in, they are going to be making defensive emotional decisions based on fear. This would include picking what he says based on how beneficial he believes it will be for him, not on what's true. I don't know why people find his actions surprising. Yeah, they probably aren't what a coolly rational person who has some experience with legal proceedings would do. But there isn't much doubt in anybody's mind that Zimmerman did shoot Trevon. The whole issue is what the circumstances that preceded the shooting were. What kinds of decisions got made there that led to someone getting shot and killed?

TL:DR - Zimmerman never struck me as a person who makes good decisions.
posted by SomeOneElse at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Lawyers for the state believe that Zimmerman's wife [Shellie] is guilty of contempt of court for lying and asked for Zimmerman's bond to be revoked, raised and for him to be sent back to jail.

Contempt of court usually results in a maximum of 6 months in jail.

The judge declared that Zimmerman’s wife had lied ..."*
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this story needs now- is a revelation that he recently bought a white Ford Bronco.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the glove fit?
posted by desjardins at 1:16 PM on June 1, 2012


I don't know why people find his actions surprising.
"Upon hearing that Zimmerman’s bond had been revoked, [Trayvon Martin's parents' attorney] Benjamin Crump said:

'This is such an important ruling today because once again George Zimmerman's credibility is the issue… he should remain in custody until there is a trial....Judge Lester’s ruling in this matter is so important because it causes everyone to focus on Zimmermant’s credibility.

This is crucial when it is only Zimmerman’s testimony that Trayvon attacked him and all the objective evidence says he perused, confronted, and shot Trayvon.'"*
posted by ericb at 1:16 PM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


This guy's behavior has been nothing short of bizarre; setting up a website proclaiming his innocence and begging for money,

Is there another country in the world where random people will donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to you to do with as you will, simply because you've been accused of stalking and shooting somebody from a racial minority?

You expect stuff like that to happen in Ian Smith's Rhodesia and Botha's South Africa, but the USA in 2012? Is this because you've got a black man in the White House and the loonies are feeling twitchy? Would something like this happen when Bush or Clinton were president?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:25 PM on June 1, 2012 [22 favorites]


This passport issue is confusing. When did he get the second passport? Why was he discussing it in coded language with his wife? He surrendered his first one (set to expire), but had a second one squirreled away in a safety deposit box?

The kind of guy who would do this whole vigilante business seems like the perfect candidate for other types of behaviour like saving canned food, having a "go bag", always carrying some paracord, and having a second passport "just in case".
posted by odinsdream at 1:29 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I agree, he's not even slightly credible, but this isn't surprising to me, is what I'm saying. And I would be surprised to learn that he isn't scared he'll be imprisoned, or that he might doubt his own recollection at this point even if he believed it at first.

Another thing I'd react to is this idea that his actions are psychotic. (IANA Psychiatrist). Doesn't this seem too easy to anybody else? I mean, maybe he's mentally ill, but that makes him more sympathetic to me after a fashion were it to be true.

I get the feeling that when I see psychotic/sociopathic bandied about online it tends to be in an attempt to other-ify a person, and make their actions seem incomprehensible, and outside what's possible for us Good People. I just don't think that's true. Given an affinity for violence and guns, a heavy dose of prejudice, and a lot of fear channeled into confrontational anger I think it is possible that a relatively mentally healthy person could do what Zimmerman did. And make no mistake, I think he should go to prison for it, but let's not assume a mental health diagnosis that we're even less capable of making than we are of knowing exactly what happened.

I don't want to sympathize with him more than I sympathize with Trevon's family. I think we're all a little safer now that a vigilante with a murderous record is going to be behind bars. But I think we let our societal systems and ingrained prejudices off a little too easily if we just say "oh he's just a freak psycho, there's nothing systemic wrong here".
posted by SomeOneElse at 1:36 PM on June 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Rushed in here, control+f-ed for "banana stand," got beat.

I feel your pain. When I read about the "divided by 1000" code, I instantly thought of about three Wrath of Khan jokes, but I was too late.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:49 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this because you've got a black man in the White House and the loonies are feeling twitchy? Would something like this happen when Bush or Clinton were president?

Speaking anecdotally, the right-wing nutjob racist types that I'm familiar with (sadly, including my father) are not especially more angry about Obama being in charge than they seem to be about any Democrat being in charge. That said, they're always VERY angry about any Democrat being in charge of anything.

Regarding other racism in general, such as racists donating money to murderers: Holy shit the USA is a racist place. It's crazy. I think the melting-pot-land-of-the-free stuff and our vocal and reasonably legally successful civil rights movement might cause the international community to view the US as a nicer place than it is, but take it firsthand from a real live American that the actual people in this place can be extremely hateful at the drop of a hat. Shit is terrible down here on the ground. (Disclosure: I've lived most of my life within a very short distance of Detroit, and I'm not sure if that means I've had more exposure to racism than others.)
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:53 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


IAmUnaware, I was born and bred in Portland, Oregon and the surrounding suburbs, and can say that it is an incredibly racist place--I chalk this up to not only historical eventuality (there's a ton of reasons why our relatively small Black community are segregated in the way they are), but because the population is so small that it is subtle, insidious racism which is far more pervasive than many other liberal residents I know are willing to acknowledge. /end derail
posted by nonmerci at 2:00 PM on June 1, 2012


For what it's worth, there're also plenty of racists in Duluth, MN. In fact, a hundred years ago, minority ethnic groups were strongly prejudiced against in general. The Finnish were considered especially vile, all lumberjacks, drunks, longshoremen and whores. Or so it was said.
posted by mr. digits at 2:05 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have nothing to add to eriko's excellent post, but I do love my maroon passport for official business. I guess I'm still 12 at heart, and it seems kind of James Bond to have this special passport with a note inside that the bearer is abroad conducting official government business.
posted by wintermind at 2:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wasn't this known as quickly as about a day after the trial? I remember reading that he stated that he had not reported the 200,000 dollars because he did not realize he could access it quickly - that he thought there was a waiting period or somesuch.

Is there another country in the world where random people will donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to you to do with as you will, simply because you've been accused of stalking and shooting somebody from a racial minority?

I think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Zimmerman supporters. Many simply feel that his profiling of Martin was based on previous neighborhood crimes rather than direct racism, and that if he was in fact losing a fight with Martin (as physical evidence seems to show), that he was entitled to fire his weapon in self-defense to preserve his life. These people are willing to donate money to Zimmerman for his defense, because they feel that he's essentially being the target of mob justice rather than a rational look at the situation.

This is obviously a highly disputed situation, but I'm saying that it's not as simple as "lol Americans are racist, yo."
posted by corb at 2:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


I think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Zimmerman supporters. Many simply feel that his profiling of Martin was based on previous neighborhood crimes rather than direct racism, and that if he was in fact losing a fight with Martin (as physical evidence seems to show), that he was entitled to fire his weapon in self-defense to preserve his life. These people are willing to donate money to Zimmerman for his defense, because they feel that he's essentially being the target of mob justice rather than a rational look at the situation.

I agree it's not a simple situation, but, seriously, how many Zimmerman supporters would donate if he were black and Trayvon Martin were white or hispanic?
posted by MegoSteve at 2:21 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


He surrendered his first one (set to expire), but had a second one squirreled away in a safety deposit box?

As part of bail, he turned in his "only" passport, which is to prevent you from leaving the country. However, he either (apparently) lied to the State Department, said he'd lost his current passport, and applied (and received) a new one, or he applied for (possibly lying, possibly not) for a second fee passport and received that.

As a condition of being released on bond, you're required to turn in your passports, he didn't. The coded conversation with the wife in court was part of another lie, which was that he had very little money. In fact, he apparently had a good deal of cash, and a valid passport, which turned him from a near destitute undocumented low flight risk to a person with substantial cash assets and a passport, which is a *definite* flight risk.

So, they basically revoked his bail, because he both lied in applying for it (by not declaring his true cash holdings) and by failing to comply with the terms of bail (by not telling the court about, and turning in, the second passport.)
posted by eriko at 2:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


These people are willing to donate money to Zimmerman for his defense, because they feel that he's essentially being the target of mob justice rather than a rational look at the situation.

This is a whole lot of invention and projection. You have no way of knowing this.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sorry, corb, but I'm not buying it. Your reasoning simply sounds like the cover a very racist yet not necessarily slack-jawed person would use in defending their outright racist motivations. Maybe there are a few among those that donated to him that truly feel this poor, poor man has been unfairly targeted, but I would highly doubt they make up a serious contingent of his donors. On preview: What MegoSteve said.
posted by nonmerci at 2:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


eriko: However, he either (apparently) lied to the State Department, said he'd lost his current passport, and applied (and received) a new one, or he applied for (possibly lying, possibly not) for a second fee passport and received that.

You may believe that he lied, but the passport double apparently had nothing to do with why the Judge revoked his bond.

[Judge] Lester dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver's license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver's license.
posted by snaparapans at 2:40 PM on June 1, 2012


I'm bothered by the apparent misunderstanding of the passport issue by the judge:
Prosecutors also said Zimmerman had failed to surrender a second passport, but Lester [the judge] dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver's license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver's license.
Form DS-64 (PDF), the form you use to report a lost or stolen passport, has you sign a statement saying that if the lost passport turns up, you will turn it in. Admittedly, everywhere else on the State Department website says you 'should' mail it to them, not that you must. Of course, this assumes Zimmerman reported his passport as lost. He clearly didn't renew it--you hand your old one in to do that. It is possible he had two for proper reasons, as eriko outlines above, but then surely he's bound to hand them both in.
posted by hoyland at 2:45 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree it's not a simple situation, but, seriously, how many Zimmerman supporters would donate if he were black and Trayvon Martin were white or hispanic?

406.
posted by michaelh at 2:50 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your reasoning simply sounds like the cover a very racist yet not necessarily slack-jawed person would use in defending their outright racist motivations. Maybe there are a few among those that donated to him that truly feel this poor, poor man has been unfairly targeted, but I would highly doubt they make up a serious contingent of his donors.

I think one of the reasons this is a hard and polarized situation is because there's not a lot of empathy going on. What makes you think that the vast majority are donating simply because he's racist? Do you know anyone who's a Zimmerman supporter? Have you spoken with them, in a sincere, curious way, about why they support him and would support him financially?

The filter effect tends to prevent us from seeing opposing sides and viewpoints. For example, there's a lot of Second Amendment supporters who support Zimmerman, because they support the concealed carry and the use of deadly force in self-defense. There's an enormous body of people who support being able to use deadly force, whether or not the assailant is using deadly force. There's also libertarians who believe that citizens should be able to protect themselves to the same standards that police do, because police should have no special powers - and let's face it, if this had been a police shooting, there would have also been a very different response. Then there's individuals who believe that a lot of leeway should be granted in defense of property.

These are opinions that it's obviously, again, possible to argue, but I think it's reductionist to try to say that all of these people are "just racists."
posted by corb at 2:52 PM on June 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Or most, sorry, I note that you acknowledge a "few" may be genuine.
posted by corb at 2:53 PM on June 1, 2012


"... how many Zimmerman supporters would donate if he were black and Trayvon Martin were white or hispanic?"

"406"
407. You forgot Clayton Bigsby.
posted by mph at 2:54 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


losing a fight with Martin (as physical evidence seems to show)

No, all the physical evidence the public has seen so far indicates that Zimmerman has injuries, that's it. Maybe evidence yet to be revealed can tell us more, but right now I would argue that those injuries reveal nothing about who was losing or winning. I'm an avid follower of MMA, and I've seen guys who completely dominated their opponents in their fights emerge looking like they had just run headfirst into a brick wall...several times.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:58 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


hoyland: I'm bothered by the apparent misunderstanding of the passport issue by the judge

Maybe I missed some information as your concern seems odd to me.

Why would you assume that the Judge misunderstood? Isn't it more likely that you are misunderstanding something, or making assumptions based on what you have read?
posted by snaparapans at 2:59 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Zimmerman supporters. Many simply feel that his profiling of Martin was based on previous neighborhood crimes rather than direct racism

I don't understand the reasoning here. Does it go something like this: a young black man may have committed crimes in the neighbourhood. There's a young black man. He's obviously a criminal.

How is that anything other than direct racism?

and that if he was in fact losing a fight with Martin (as physical evidence seems to show), that he was entitled to fire his weapon in self-defense to preserve his life.

If I'd just shot somebody in cold blood, I'd be looking to find ways to make it look as though I'd been attacked by them as well. From what I recall of the phone call to the police, he didn't sound like someone who was being attacked. It sounded as though the police were telling him to stay put, and he was hot-foot in pursuit with his gun at the ready.

Am I mis-remembering something here?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


Why would you assume that the Judge misunderstood? Isn't it more likely that you are misunderstanding something, or making assumptions based on what you have read?

Because I have a reasonably good understanding of how passports work? I read forms before signing them? And then I went and double-checked that I hadn't misremembered?

It's entirely possible, and probably even likely, that there's additional information we don't have that makes Zimmerman's withheld duplicate passport not a concern. We probably don't even need additional information--when you report a passport as lost, it gets flagged, which would theoretically prevent one from leaving the country using it. But that doesn't make the driver's license analogy not weird.

To be honest, I was assuming that Zimmerman was either a dual citizen or had a second passport to go to Israel and that this was being treated as suspicious because clearly upstanding citizens would never have two passports. (That last clause was sarcasm, if that wasn't apparent.)
posted by hoyland at 3:29 PM on June 1, 2012


corb: Do you really and earnestly believe those people would donate such large amounts of money to a civilian who shot and killed an unarmed teenager if they weren't motivated by their own racism, however ingrained or seemingly innocuous? I would love to see how many donors there were, what average contributions were, and a geographic breakdown of where donations came in from--it'd also be fascinating to see a racial break-down of donors, because it would help us get at the answer to the question you are posing.

I have a lot of empathy, but I reserve little for racism apologists, and your argument, unfortunately, smacks of that. I'm happy to give you the benefit of the doubt but I'm curious how you can be so sure that these people have nothing in mind but the noble pursuit of their second amendment rights? I've talked sincerely with a lot of racist people, including members of my own family, but I'm not sure specifically seeking out racist Zimmerman supporters and engaging them in a serious discussion of Zimmerman and US gun laws would be particularly fruitful for me, personally, or a good use of my time. I think engaging in dialogue with people who have ill-conceived notions about these things is very powerful and I am completely for it, but I am not going to seek these people out and try to understand why they are so unabashedly racist. Because as far as I can tell, that is exactly what is going on here. Read the comments on any news site that treats this article for some samples.

By all means, if you have a wealth of anecdata of the various people you know personally who are both totally not racist but huge Zimmerman supporters, feel free to share with the rest of us what you have learned which contradicts any of the notions above.
posted by nonmerci at 3:31 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Many simply feel that his profiling of Martin was based on previous neighborhood crimes rather than direct racism, and that if he was in fact losing a fight with Martin (as physical evidence seems to show), that he was entitled to fire his weapon in self-defense to preserve his life. These people are willing to donate money to Zimmerman for his defense, because they feel that he's essentially being the target of mob justice rather than a rational look at the situation.

I know Zimmerman supporters and corb is completely correct that this is their justification for their support. However, the same people also believe that Zimmerman was totally justified in profiling a young black man as a criminal ("Black men commit most crimes!"), Martin was a hooligan ("He was smoking pot!") and all of them are white men who in general feel put-upon by affirmative action, feel racism no longer exists (and they certainly aren't racist), that black people yell "racism" too often, and white guys are the most discriminated against group in the United States. They're the kind of guys who will say they're not racist and they have black friends, but that it's OK to skip paying city taxes because that's what all the black people in the city do, and the "yos" have destroyed the neighborhood.

So corb's explanation is what they'll say, but there is some serious ugliness motivating it.
posted by schroedinger at 3:39 PM on June 1, 2012 [35 favorites]


Peter McDermott: From what I recall of the phone call to the police, he didn't sound like someone who was being attacked. It sounded as though the police were telling him to stay put, and he was hot-foot in pursuit with his gun at the ready.

From what we've been able to assemble, and keeping in mind that much of the reporting has been exceptionally biased, it appears that Zimmerman spotted Martin in his car, and followed him for awhile, with Martin getting increasingly nervous, talking with his girlfriend on the phone. Zimmerman called the police, and the operator set up a meeting point with the police. But Zimmerman opted not to go to that meeting, staying in pursuit of Martin, even after direct instructions to the contrary from the police operator/dispatcher.

After that, we don't know what happened exactly, but we do know that Zimmerman, armed, got out of the car and initiated a confrontation with Martin, and Martin ended up dead. Had Zimmerman simply stayed in his car, it's unlikely that anyone would have been shot.

The REAL crime here, the REAL problem that needs to be addressed, is the ridiculous police mishandling of a dead black kid. They couldn't possibly have cared less, and in fact seem to have actively gone out of their way to protect Zimmerman, possibly due to his connection to law enforcement.... he's related to some kind of district-level judge.

Zimmerman will skate because of that mishandling, but I'm not worried about Zimmerman, I'm worried about making sure that kind of shit doesn't happen anymore. It's the POLICE that are the big problem here, not Zimmerman.
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on June 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


hoyland: Oh, I see.. I think that the Judge was basically saying that the passport issue did not worry him, and used the driver's license analogy to make it clear. Also, keep in mind that most of the press is coming from Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda so it is biased toward the State's POV, not the defense. The Judge supposedly is impartial.

Here is the la Ronda's Motion to Revoke Bond. It lays out his argument regarding the weight of the passport issue.. looks like the Judge was not impressed by that issue.
posted by snaparapans at 3:41 PM on June 1, 2012


schroedinger articulated what I was trying to say much better than I did, I think.
posted by nonmerci at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2012


More on the passports:
"According to the conditions of Zimmerman's release, he was to be monitored by GPS and surrender his passport.

During Friday's motion hearing, prosecutors said that Zimmerman also failed to disclose or turn over a second passport in his possession. According to the motion, Zimmerman acquired a second passport in 2004 after filing a claim with the State Department that his original passport was lost or stolen.

But, according to prosecutors, while Zimmerman was in custody at the Seminole County jail on April 17, he had a conversation with his wife in which the couple discussed the second passport. The conversation was recorded by jail officials:
Defendant: Do you know what? I think my passport is in that bag.

Shelly Zimmerman: I have one for you in safety deposit box...

Defendant: Ok, you hold on to that.
posted by ericb at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2012


So, he obviously turned one passport over to the Court, knowing full well that he had another one.
posted by ericb at 3:58 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You do not 'hand in' your old passport when you renew it. They punch a hole in it and return it to you as a souvineer. I have two passports, one valid and current one and one invalid expired one.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 4:00 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Confess, Fletch: Mine was definitely not returned to me. It was a passport for minors, if that makes a difference, though I distinctly remember my mother complaining about how hers was not returned to her the last time she renewed it.
posted by nonmerci at 4:06 PM on June 1, 2012


possibly due to his connection to law enforcement.... he's related to some kind of district-level judge.

Not just related - he's the goddamn son of one.
posted by item at 4:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


One class that tends to have a small stack of passports are journalists covering the US President or Secretary of State, who require working visas to the countries they visit while covering the President or Secretary of State abroad. Since these often take time, and they are traveling frequently, they often have 5-6 second fee passports, along with their usual 10 year passport -- and many of them are often as some other country's consulate getting visa approval.

I travel a lot in the Middle East, Africa, and CIS countries and I have three passports. I know my dad used to have four for the same reason. If I ever wanted to visit Israel or the West Bank I'd probably get another passport just for that.

There's a whole art to spreading the visas around so that you don't contaminate any of your passports and cause trouble elsewhere. Iran makes Bahrain more difficult but isn't a problem in India, Yemen is no problem in Jordan or Lebanon but if a white guy like me flies into Pakistan with a passport that has only Yemeni, Jordanian and Lebanese stamps in it they'll suspect that I'm a CIA spy. Not to mention that I have several multiple entry visas stamped in passports. If the passport with the India multiple is with the Ghanaian consulate, I can't fly to India because the Indian consulate won't issue me a new single entry visa while I have a valid multiple.
posted by atrazine at 4:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


You do not 'hand in' your old passport when you renew it. They punch a hole in it and return it to you as a souvineer. I have two passports, one valid and current one and one invalid expired one.

Did you have still valid residency or multiple entry visas in the old one? I'd guess it depends on that. I always got mine back with a triangle clipped out but I'm not American so the procedure is probably different.
posted by atrazine at 4:18 PM on June 1, 2012


I think that the Judge was basically saying that the passport issue did not worry him, and used the driver's license analogy to make it clear.

Aha. That makes more sense.

Did you have still valid residency or multiple entry visas in the old one? I'd guess it depends on that. I always got mine back with a triangle clipped out but I'm not American so the procedure is probably different.

I think the only circumstance where you don't get a US passport back by default (with two holes punched in the cover) is if you returned a passport that was already reported as lost (you apparently have to request that it be returned to you). Possibly also in the case of a damaged passport (my last passport was damaged and I got it back, but I replaced it in person with a same-day passport, which is an odd circumstance). The passport that got damaged was my last under-16 passport. I just replaced its replacement and got the old one back. I'm pretty sure my mother has all my old passports going back to when I was an infant.
posted by hoyland at 4:30 PM on June 1, 2012


corb For example, there's a lot of Second Amendment supporters who support Zimmerman, because they support the concealed carry and the use of deadly force in self-defense. There's an enormous body of people who support being able to use deadly force, whether or not the assailant is using deadly force. There's also libertarians who believe that citizens should be able to protect themselves to the same standards that police do, because police should have no special powers - and let's face it, if this had been a police shooting, there would have also been a very different response. Then there's individuals who believe that a lot of leeway should be granted in defense of property.

These are opinions that it's obviously, again, possible to argue, but I think it's reductionist to try to say that all of these people are "just racists."


Reductionist as it may be, each of these opinions in its own way leads to just as bad a set of social consequences as racism does, and whether they are sincerely held or just figleafs for racism, or some hybrid position (for example that only persons of an overwhelming-majority white class should have the right of concealed carry), doesn't matter a lot. I'm not particularly interested in ranking the badness of the reasons why supporters of Zimmerman might hold that opinion. I just don't see any good reason whatsoever to support him.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:31 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


You do not 'hand in' your old passport when you renew it. They punch a hole in it and return it to you as a souvineer. I have two passports, one valid and current one and one invalid expired one.

The one he gave the police in April had not expired. It would have done so in May 2012.
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on June 1, 2012


corb: Do you really and earnestly believe those people would donate such large amounts of money to a civilian who shot and killed an unarmed teenager if they weren't motivated by their own racism, however ingrained or seemingly innocuous?


Genuinely and completely, I one hundred percent do. Mind you, I think that there's a lot of classism going on, which also can intersect with racism, but does not always.

By all means, if you have a wealth of anecdata of the various people you know personally who are both totally not racist but huge Zimmerman supporters, feel free to share with the rest of us what you have learned which contradicts any of the notions above.

The largest percentage of people I personally know who are genuinely not racist but also huge Zimmerman supporters are actually neighborhood watch volunteers. Interestingly, largely minority neighborhood watch volunteers who began or continue to participate in their groups because they believed that the police were less likely to respond to crimes in their neighborhood. I've provided some support for a local neighborhood watch, and so have a lot of friends in that community. Support tends to vary from "He made a bad tactical decision, but shouldn't be charged with murder" to "It was legitimate self-defense." A lot of that support I think comes from having been assaulted in the course of performing neighborhood watch duties by everything from the mentally ill to legitimate criminals. I want to stress: that support is not monolithic, it's being hugely disputed even within those communities, but it's a lot more fifty-fifty I think there than it is outside of it.

The other large selection of people I personally know who are not racist but strongly support Zimmerman are military types, who have broadly ranging arguments - from really obscure gun arguments about what the position of the magazine and the slide on Zimmerman's gun say, to arguments about second-guessing tactical decisions, the argument that in the "heat of battle," it's difficult to correctly assess the situation, or arguments about what degree of force is an appropriate response to assault.

I also know people who come from outside an urban environment, (what I would call rural) who argue that in their area of the country, trespassing on someone else's land, even if it's their equivalent of the "front yard," is clear evidence of criminal intent. This is something that, coming from an urban area, I have a hard time really understanding, because everyone's "properties" overlap so much here, but I am told it is a thing.

There's also a lot of libertarians who argue both that Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin, /and/ that Martin would have been justified in shooting Zimmerman. I'm not sure if you would classify that as "support", exactly, but they don't think he should be convicted, so maybe.

Let me stress: I also think there are some racists who would support Zimmerman no matter what he did. I seem to remember, for example, some neo-nazis sending people down to Florida to counter the "bounty" placed by some members of the "New Black Panther Party." I don't think those guys are just genuinely interested in personal liberty and second amendment defense. I just don't think that it's the broad majority.

The one he gave the police in April had not expired. It would have done so in May 2012.


So it only would have been valid for a month? I could see where he might not have turned that in...however, that wouldn't necessarily explain the way that him and his wife were discussing it. So, I don't think he necessarily had illegitimate intent in gaining the second passport and keeping the other one when he found it, but I do think that he was certainly aware that he could use it if he needed to. Though really, I'm not sure there exists a border agent who hasn't heard of this guy, so I think this dubious plan may not have been the brightest one in the room.


I travel a lot in the Middle East, Africa, and CIS countries and I have three passports. I know my dad used to have four for the same reason. If I ever wanted to visit Israel or the West Bank I'd probably get another passport just for that.


This is completely valid, I don't think the existence of multiple passports is automatically illegal. At the same time, I also don't think that Zimmerman was exactly the sort of jet-setting world traveller that this was actually valid for.
posted by corb at 4:50 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is completely valid, I don't think the existence of multiple passports is automatically illegal. At the same time, I also don't think that Zimmerman was exactly the sort of jet-setting world traveller that this was actually valid for.

The State Department is the arbiter of whether it's 'actually valid' for Zimmerman to possess multiple US passports, not some imagined idea of how much travel he does or doesn't do. Assuming the motion to revoke bond linked to above is accurate, the State Department most likely frowns on his second passport. (It's conceivable, I suppose, that you could report passport 1 lost, get passport 2, find passport 1 and convince them to acknowledge both.)

And this is the one place where I will defend George Zimmerman. Having seventeen passports is not automatically sketchy, even if you're some random dude in Florida. (Well, seventeen might be pushing it.) Not handing in a passport reported lost gets disapproval from me. Having two lying around is not automatic grounds for suspicion.
posted by hoyland at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2012


Since I've mentioned cover colors, there's another one. Blue-Green is a special case

Finally got around to googling for "green cover U.S. passport". I never understood why the one I carried in the '90s was green when everyone else's was blue; I felt very singled out. Turns out they issued in green from April 1993 to March 1994 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Consular Service.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:11 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


George_Spiggott, you have just answered a mystery of my life. My brother had a green passport and we never knew why.
posted by hoyland at 5:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


You have not convinced me that those people are not also racist, corb, nor that they have particularly good arguments in favor of supporting Zimmerman and/or disagreeing with the justice in a possible conviction.

Let me stress: I also think there are some racists who would support Zimmerman no matter what he did. I seem to remember, for example, some neo-nazis sending people down to Florida to counter the "bounty" placed by some members of the "New Black Panther Party." I don't think those guys are just genuinely interested in personal liberty and second amendment defense. I just don't think that it's the broad majority. [emphasis mine]

The line I've bolded above really stuck out to me. You are implying that racism is synonymous with extremism, and that is not at all the case. Apart from the institutional racism of our society which sets the whole wheel in motion, it's the subdued and often silent racism that is the worst. I would say that in my life I have definitely encountered more of these kinds of racists than direct ones, let alone neo-nazis. My point however is that the two are not mutually exclusive by any means, and I think your implying as such is a bit disingenuous.

As regards the passport, ericb was referring to the passport he turned in, not the passport he kept.
posted by nonmerci at 6:11 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As painted by the MSM who make their filthy $$$ by flaming the public. You really know nothing about what happened... save for TM is dead. Best to keep an open mind, imo.. it could be you that the press is cashing in on..

While I appreciate the "wake up sheeple" call for an open mind, I think it's misdirected. I agree that I don't know what happened when Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, but I was actually commenting on Zimmerman's easily verifiable public behavior in the days, weeks and months after the shooting itself.

Setting up a website? He did that; that's not something the mainstream media did, it's something he did himself.

Dodging his own lawyers and appearing on Hannity? He did that, too; that's why his original defense team quit.

Those aren't things the media made up; those were things that were immediately apparent to anyone with a website or a cable TV subscription, and I maintain that they were bizarre at best, and contrary to his own best interests.
posted by infinitywaltz at 6:24 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having between 1 and 704 valid passports is between Zimmerman and the State Department*. Where it becomes automatically sketchy is having n passports and handing in fewer than n passports to the police when asked to give up your passport, at which point IMO you are deliberately lying and avoiding your bail conditions. The point of the request to surrender his passport was not 'so that the police have a valid passport for you', it was 'so that you do not have a valid passport'. That is why, unless the missing information is that his second passport was not valid, I really fail to understand why the judge was not concerned by it, regardless of whatever analogy he used.

(I think most people have not read the Motion to Dismiss Bond, which clearly states that the passport he reported as lost is the passport he then handed in to the police, so the presumption is that he would have been able to travel on the passport he kept).

*705 or more is illegal, last I heard
posted by jacalata at 6:29 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


to do a lazy almost quote: Page 2

7. In 2002 Zimmerman acquired passport x, expiring May 2012. This passport was submitted to the police for bail.
8. In 2004 Zimmerman reported passport x as lost or stolen and applied for a new one
9. In 2004 he acquired passport y, which is currently valid until 2014.
posted by jacalata at 6:34 PM on June 1, 2012


I don't think those guys are just genuinely interested in personal liberty and second amendment defense.

How about the folks who bought the Trayvon Martin-themed gun range targets? Racists, or perfectly innocent personal liberty and second amendment enthusiasts?
posted by infinitywaltz at 6:36 PM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


If I'd just shot somebody in cold blood, I'd be looking to find ways to make it look as though I'd been attacked by them as well. From what I recall of the phone call to the police, he didn't sound like someone who was being attacked. It sounded as though the police were telling him to stay put, and he was hot-foot in pursuit with his gun at the ready.

Am I mis-remembering something here?


A couple weeks after the initial media attention, photos were released showing that George Zimmerman did have injuries from that night, supporting his claim that he was being attacked by Trayvon.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:38 PM on June 1, 2012


^This is a very unfortunate intersection of username and discussion topic.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:48 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Where it becomes automatically sketchy is having n passports and handing in fewer than n passports to the police when asked to give up your passport, at which point IMO you are deliberately lying and avoiding your bail conditions.

Not only that but the Motion to Revoke Bond also says that Zimmerman originally swore in his motion for bond that he had no passport.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:49 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


A couple weeks after the initial media attention, photos were released showing that George Zimmerman did have injuries from that night, supporting his claim that he was being attacked by Trayvon.

That could be rewritten as George Zimmerman having sustained injuries from Trayvon Martin defending himself from Zimmerman.

We don't know. What we do know as fact, is that Zimmerman pursued and shot to death an unarmed, innocent teenager.
posted by raztaj at 6:52 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


What makes you think that the vast majority are donating simply because he's racist? Do you know anyone who's a Zimmerman supporter? Have you spoken with them, in a sincere, curious way, about why they support him and would support him financially?

My boss is, or perhaps just a sympathizer, I don't know that he's actually sent Zimmerman any money. But from the beginning he's been more inclined to take Zimmerman's side, even though the whole getting-out-of-the-car thing makes things look bad for the guy's case. But as we discussed it, he revealed that he didn't know a) that Martin's father lived there, so he wasn't just 'wandering around" and b) that Zimmerman had a record of calling in whenever black people were in his neighborhood. And when I told him these things, all easily verifiable, he seemed almost upset and conflicted and inclined to disbelieve me...they didn't fit his narrative, and it's not reaching far to guess that his narrative is Black Kid Where He Doesn't Belong Attacks White Dude and Gets Shot. The more bad stuff that comes out about Zimmerman, the less he wants to talk about the case. When the marijuana thing came up, he seemed to think it meant something, even though he and I had joked at least once that people on pot are much less dangerous than drinkers. But that apparently isn't true when it's a teenage black kid.

Racism is real, and let me tell you, I know it when I see it. These days it doesn't say "Nigger deserved it" nearly as often as "thug/delinquent/troublemaker deserved it," but given how the same metric is never used on white kids who get shot, it's not hard to suss out what the real problem is.

The guy who made targets shaped like Martin, and sold out of them, wasn't doing it for his pure disinterested love of the 2nd amendment. I don't believe for a single second that more than a tiny fraction, if that, of Zimmerman supporters aren't secretly moved by fear and distrust of black teenagers, and a desire to see them put down. Because you don't have to scratch very deep to find that fear in lots and lots of average looking white people.
posted by emjaybee at 7:00 PM on June 1, 2012 [29 favorites]


infinitywaltz: I do agree that GZ does not appear to be helping himself, particularly in the latest round. But bizarre behavior? I do not see his behavior as being particularly bizarre.

Also, I see this latest round more huffing and puffing by the Prosecutor who has been feeding the press than anything that will amount to much. His credibility with the judge has certainly been compromised, but not enough, imo, that he will be considered a flight risk and held until trial.

My guess is he will be granted a new bond but it will be increased, and he will be back to where he was before this news.

De la Rionda has been hyping his case to the press throughout. This seems more of the same to me.
posted by snaparapans at 7:02 PM on June 1, 2012


This MF right here. Shady. He'll probably still get off, but maybe he will continue being himself enough to do some time because he is a dumb ass and a screw up.


A couple weeks after the initial media attention, photos were released showing that George Zimmerman did have injuries from that night, supporting his claim that he was being attacked by Trayvon.


It was pretty evident from the police reports that were almost instantly available that he had been treated at the scene for injuries. But if you read that, the officer did not note a bunch of horrific injuries. We knew the pictures would come out, and had to figure that some would be all up in arms about them. But as said in the other thread, if you've played sports at all, you've had injuries that are just as routine.

And yeah Zimmerman got hit, because he followed this kid and (in my opinion) provoked the fight or flight response that most people in here are familiar with. Trayvon had already tried to get away from the guy.

I think msalt in the other thread identified multiple ways George had already lied on the stand. George Zimmerman is shady. Trayvon wasn't cute enough or white enough that Zimmerman will face time for his murder. But maybe this dummy will find a way to get himself some jail time.
posted by cashman at 7:15 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is why, unless the missing information is that his second passport was not valid, I really fail to understand why the judge was not concerned by it, regardless of whatever analogy he used.

So, I think (from reading the State Department website earlier) that once you report a passport lost/stolen, it officially gets registered as invalid. In theory, this somehow prevents the guy who stole your passport running around using it to pretend to be you. However, while Zimmerman's second passport may be technically not valid, what I really don't understand is how it's functionally not valid. On the other hand, Canada manages to check US criminal records at the border, so perhaps they have access to a list of valid passport numbers too (or, simpler, passports reported lost/stolen).

Really, we need to hear the judge's reasoning. We know he didn't agree with everything that was in that motion.
posted by hoyland at 7:23 PM on June 1, 2012


As I mentioned, Zimmerman handed in the passport that was reported lost, so even if they are 'invalidated' in the system somehow, that's not relevant to whether he had a valid passport left with him.
posted by jacalata at 7:34 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I mentioned, Zimmerman handed in the passport that was reported lost, so even if they are 'invalidated' in the system somehow, that's not relevant to whether he had a valid passport left with him.

Yeah, this is true. There are unfortunately two values of 'second passport' in this conversation and it's all very ambiguous if you're not paying close attention.
posted by hoyland at 7:39 PM on June 1, 2012


So, wait... Are we back to the 'judge is a bit daft' theory?
posted by hoyland at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2012


The whole "lost passport" thing is exactly what you'd do if you were a kind of shady character who might not know (or care) if the whole keeping the original thing was illegal. Handing in the original was definitely illegal; even if he'd somehow lost the "replacement," he should have been known the one he was "handing in" was no longer valid. On the street this is called "keeping your options open." Z probably thought it was crack smart as hell to get that second passport Just In Case. He is now probably trying to figure out whether that insurance policy will work at an actual airport or border crossing. Magic 8-ball says NO.
posted by localroger at 7:48 PM on June 1, 2012


That could be rewritten as George Zimmerman having sustained injuries from Trayvon Martin defending himself from Zimmerman.

We don't know. What we do know as fact, is that Zimmerman pursued and shot to death an unarmed, innocent teenager.

It was pretty evident from the police reports that were almost instantly available that he had been treated at the scene for injuries. But if you read that, the officer did not note a bunch of horrific injuries. We knew the pictures would come out, and had to figure that some would be all up in arms about them. But as said in the other thread, if you've played sports at all, you've had injuries that are just as routine.

And yeah Zimmerman got hit, because he followed this kid and (in my opinion) provoked the fight or flight response that most people in here are familiar with. Trayvon had already tried to get away from the guy.


FYI, I am WELL on the record as believing that George Zimmerman racially profiled and stalked Trayvon against the explicit instructions from 911 and then murdered him. I do not believe he was acting in self defense. I think he should go to prison for murder and I believe that stand your ground laws are bullshit.

I was responding to Peter McDermott's statement as it wasn't clear to me if he was aware of the injuries that George Zimmerman had as the photos weren't released until a few weeks after the initial story, iirc. I know he said he had injuries and that Trayvon was attacking him but I (for one) didn't believe him because the police did such shoddy police work there wasn't really any real evidence at the time apart from what he said happened, which I didn't really give much credence to (and still don't).
posted by triggerfinger at 7:55 PM on June 1, 2012


It is difficult to do and I don't really want to but I will until proven guilty assume he is innocent.
posted by pianomover at 8:01 PM on June 1, 2012


On the street this is called "keeping your options open." Z probably thought it was crack smart as hell to get that second passport Just In Case.

This! Having surrendered a passport, as required and stipulated, to the Court, why was he later talking to his wife about the location of the other? He knew two existed ... and that he had given one up.

Shady?
posted by ericb at 8:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that birtherism is alive and well, frankly thriving in conservative circles, shows that racism against black people is mainstream.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:48 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is difficult to do and I don't really want to but I will until proven guilty assume he is innocent.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a foundational concept for a legal system, not (necessarily) a constraint on your ability to come to reasonable extra-legal conclusions on the basis of evidence.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:37 AM on June 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


I was responding to Peter McDermott's statement as it wasn't clear to me if he was aware of the injuries that George Zimmerman had as the photos weren't released until a few weeks after the initial story, iirc.

You're right, I wasn't. The UK media isn't covering this story with the enthusiasm that the US media has for it. We tend to see this stuff, scratch our heads and think 'oh, wacky Americans playing with guns again' -- in much the same way Americans respond to say, a Japanese game show.

(Not seeking to trivialize it here, but the whole gun enthusiasm thing is so wide of our experience and interest it really is hard for us to get a handle on.)

And while we have racism here in the UK, it's more the kind of 'damn pakistani shop keepers, always short changing us. why do they never make a mistake in the customers favour?' or 'fucking poles, coming over here, taking all the min-wage jobs we dont want to do. fuck them!' We don't really have the thing of 'We need to be armed to the teeth because it's only massive firepower that stands between us and the black savages taking our 48 inch LED TV's and our women.'

So yeah, thanks for the clarification -- to all of you. This is the kind of discussion that I'm really curious to read aout in the USA
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:27 AM on June 2, 2012


How would having a second passport even help him? When you apply for a new passport under the guise of the previous one being lost, the previous one is cancelled. There's no customs border that I can think of that doesn't actually scan the barcodes on passports in order to check validity, so regardless of whether Zimmerman thought it was a clever move, it just appears stupid.
posted by modernnomad at 6:46 AM on June 2, 2012


It is difficult to do and I don't really want to but I will until proven guilty assume he is innocent.

"Innocent until proven guilty" is a foundational concept for a legal system, not (necessarily) a constraint on your ability to come to reasonable extra-legal conclusions on the basis of evidence.


But it is a foundational concept of legal systems precisely because people will tend to make bad decisions based on limited information.

That doesn't preclude people from forming opinions, but such opinions are by definition ignorant, because they don't have access to all the facts.
posted by gjc at 6:56 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


How would having a second passport even help him? When you apply for a new passport under the guise of the previous one being lost, the previous one is cancelled. There's no customs border that I can think of that doesn't actually scan the barcodes on passports in order to check validity, so regardless of whether Zimmerman thought it was a clever move, it just appears stupid.

You turn in the "lost" passport to the cops, and hope you can skip using the good one before they realize the one they have is invalid.
posted by gjc at 6:58 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gjc has it. If you read the reports, he handed in the "lost, now found" passport and kept the replacement passport. GZ is shady because he originally claimed he had no passport, then subsequently handed in the wrong one when he suddenly recalled that "oh yes, I do have one after all".
posted by arcticseal at 7:55 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if this is why his first attorneys fired him

By the way, those two were idiots. You do not go on tv and attack your former client like that. There was a veritable explosion of discussions regarding that amongst the bar.

I guess they thought they were covering their asses. They can't inform the court so in order to make it clear they were not involved they gave that presser.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 AM on June 2, 2012


They can't inform the court so in order to make it clear they were not involved

That's exactly the impression I had; that Z wasn't cooperating with any of their instructions and they had a moment of clarity when they realized he was lying his ass off to them as well as everyone else, and they didn't know how much Z had been lying to them and whether that might have made them culpable for something. Like, you know, a second passport or a hundred thousand dollars in a PayPal account.

Has Z actually surrendered yet?
posted by localroger at 8:48 AM on June 2, 2012


But it is a foundational concept of legal systems precisely because people will tend to make bad decisions based on limited information.

No, it's more the idea that the state should be biased in favor of letting the guilty go free than convicting an innocent person, so we begin with the assumption of innocence. We, who have no need for such a bias (because we don't have the power to punish) can come to our own conclusions. That's not to say we shouldn't be mindful of lack of knowledge, but being humble about what we know and don't know is necessary in any context, not just with respect to innocence or guilt.

If you're just trying to evaluate evidence for someone's guilt or innocence and you aren't part of the legal system, there's no special need to assume innocence (beyond, say, statistical information about how many innocent people are arrested).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:19 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


....and you aren't part of the legal system, there's no special need to assume innocence

Well for some of us, there is a special need but not a requirement. It is a need based on empathy. The tremendous power and resources of the State is daunting, pitted against someone accused of a crime. The act of imagining myself in GZ shoes (difficult for me, to say the least) makes me feel the need to err on the side of him being innocent, not guilty.
posted by snaparapans at 10:56 AM on June 2, 2012


makes me feel the need to err on the side of him being innocent, not guilty.

I don't know what this means. Do you mean that if I said, "someone has been accused of and charged with murder in Dulwich", and gave you no further information about it, you would believe that person to be innocent, because you are committed to presuming innocence? If not, what does it mean? That you will interpret all data given in the manner most favourable to any person accused of any crime?

There is a real logical problem in what you're saying. How can you imagine yourself in Zimmerman's shoes if you don't know if he is innocent or guilty? On the other hand, if you presume him to be innocent, what is the basis for your purported empathy beyond a projection of your own assumptions?

It is wholly possible to believe that someone is guilty and that they should be acquitted at trial.
posted by howfar at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2012


howfar: Yes I am sure that there is a logical problem with my statement. Empathy is not often so logical.

Do you mean that if I said, "someone has been accused of and charged with murder in Dulwich", and gave you no further information about it, you would believe that person to be innocent, because you are committed to presuming innocence?

Yes, I would.

How can you imagine yourself in Zimmerman's shoes if you don't know if he is innocent or guilty?

Not sure how my lack of knowledge about whether he is innocent or guilty stops me from imagining myself in his shoes. But perhaps you are assuming that the metaphor, imagining myself in his shoes, means that I can imagine myself as an exact clone of GZ complete with all his memories and knowledge. If that is the case, I think you are being too literal here. I am imagining being in a similar position to GZ, namely being accused of committing a crime and having to defend myself against the state.

It is wholly possible to believe that someone is guilty and that they should be acquitted at trial.

Sure, I do not see a problem with that.
posted by snaparapans at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2012


My experience of empathy doesn't require me to think that Zimmerman is unlikely to be a murderer, it requires me to understand that I could be one too. I would feel pity, compassion and sorrow for Zimmerman no matter what I believed about his guilt. Would discovering Zimmerman to be guilty prevent you from feeling empathy for him?

It seems to me that pretending that people are better than they are is no more empathetic than pretending they are worse than they are. Empathy surely lies in seeing people how they are and understanding why, not in deceiving oneself about how they are in order to feel sympathy for them.
posted by howfar at 11:39 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well maybe we are getting stuck in details about the nature of empathy here which are not pertinent to the question about the need for some to err on the side of innocence when someone gets accused of a crime.

Thinking about the notion that I could be a murderer, while interesting the context of empathy and what we as humans are capable of, seems minor to me compared to the matter at hand.

I am not assuming that GZ is likely or unlikely to be a murderer, considering that I do not know what happened at the crime scene, save that TM is dead and GZ has admitted to killing him in self defense. What I do know is that GZ is accused of second degree murder and I believe that he is being tried in the press by a overreaching prosecutor.

I am putting myself in someone's shoes as someone that killed a person in self defense as GZ claims.

Other's may feel it more interesting to imagine GZ is guilty, which is by far the more popular sentiment amongst people I know. That most reflexively think he guilty is alarming to me, because that judgement is be based on very little evidence, and lots of statements generated by a Prosecutor feeding his argument to the press.
posted by snaparapans at 12:23 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I do know is that GZ is accused of second degree murder and I believe that he is being tried in the press by a overreaching prosecutor.

I'm not in the US and it's hard for me to comment on that, but if you're right, the injustice is just as great whether Zimmerman is guilty or innocent. Guilty people have just as much right to a fair trial as anyone else.
posted by howfar at 12:34 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


the injustice is just as great whether Zimmerman is guilty or innocent. Guilty people have just as much right to a fair trial as anyone else.

Yes, I agree.

GZ has become a symbol for many victims and victimizers, who use this case to project their agenda and raw emotion on; he is both hero and villain. And of course the press has done its best to turn the flame on high, as this kind of stuff sells soap big time.
posted by snaparapans at 1:01 PM on June 2, 2012


There's no customs border that I can think of that doesn't actually scan the barcodes on passports in order to check validity, so regardless of whether Zimmerman thought it was a clever move, it just appears stupid.

I have (accidentally) successfully entered the US on a passport reported as stolen overseas over a month prior. I can't really imagine this happening post-911, though.

posted by elizardbits at 1:27 PM on June 2, 2012


7. In 2002 Zimmerman acquired passport x, expiring May 2012. This passport was submitted to the police for bail.
8. In 2004 Zimmerman reported passport x as lost or stolen and applied for a new one
9. In 2004 he acquired passport y, which is currently valid until 2014.


This means that while there may be some question about whether or not he should have kept both, this whole passport-reported-as-lost thing had nothing to do with the current situation. It's not like he shot Martin, and THEN applied for a second passport.

In terms of surrendering one passport and not both being evidence of some criminal intent, I'm not sure I buy that. For example, I have two legal drivers licenses. They're issued by different countries, but both make me validly able to drive in the United States. If a cop asked me to give him his drivers license, I'd give him one of them, and I wouldn't necessarily think to give him both of them, unless he asked "Give me all of your drivers licenses." Even if the cop's intent was, "I don't want you driving," I just wouldn't think to do it. I was asked for one.

It's the same thing with passports. I used to have an official passport and a personal passport - and at one time, I had the ability to fly from country to country with no passport at all, but an identification card and a piece of paper. If someone asked me to give them my passport at that time, I'd probably give them my personal passport. I might ask them which one they wanted and eventually surrender both. Under no circumstances would I even think to surrender that identification card that let me fly from country to country without a passport, even though the intention of giving in passports is to prevent your travel.

Setting up a website? He did that; that's not something the mainstream media did, it's something he did himself.

I'm confused: why is this evidence of bad behavior? It seems to be quite logical behavior so he could get money to pay his lawyer.

What we do know as fact, is that Zimmerman pursued and shot to death an unarmed, innocent teenager.

Actually, this is one thing we don't know. Innocent of what? Innocent of assault? We don't know that. That's exactly what's disputed. Innocent as in walking normally in a place he had a right to be? Statements place Martin as walking off the sidewalk, close to the houses - therefore on other people's property, which I understand is considered trespassing in non-urban areas. Innocent of being on drugs, which is what Zimmerman called in to the police? Apparently not, the autopsy reveals that Martin did actually have drugs in his system. So what, precisely, are you saying Martin was innocent of?

Racism is real, and let me tell you, I know it when I see it. These days it doesn't say "Nigger deserved it" nearly as often as "thug/delinquent/troublemaker deserved it," but given how the same metric is never used on white kids who get shot, it's not hard to suss out what the real problem is.

See, I think those are actually very different things, and that the metric not being applied to white kids who get shot not actually valid. The thing is, when a white teenager gets shot, they don't usually include the race in the story, or the race of the police officers in the story, so it is difficult to find. We hear more about the race of teenagers shot when it's a black teenager, because the individual is usually accused of racism. If it's a young white "delinquent" who gets shot, it's simply reported as "underage criminal shot."

I also think you may simply not be familiar with the mindset of people who say things like "thug/delinquent/troublemaker" got shot, because it seems something you have no sympathy with. There is a high percentage of "law and order" types who think that a certain type of criminals (petty theft, drugs, assault, etc) /should/ be shot, whether they are armed or not, whatever their race, and whatever the actual sentence for their crime. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with them, but I can understand where their point is. They don't believe that the jail sentences are enough, and they frequently complain bitterly about the "revolving door" jail system that "lets criminals out into the streets." When they see a criminal of some kind shot dead, they think, yes, the streets are safer now.

I mean, I would challenge you to show me an incident of a white teenager who was shot for suspicious behavior where people were more upset than they were over the Martin shooting. I just don't think these incidents exist.
posted by corb at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2012


Once again. Ask anybody if racism exists in America, almost everyone will say yes. Try to point it out, and you get the most tortured reasons why sure it exists, just never anywhere you try to point it out.

Anyway, George apparently has the next 2 hours to turn himself in, and is already in Sanford, about to do so. I hope that his shadiness reduces the chances of him using the SYG defense and avoiding trial in that manner.
posted by cashman at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not like he shot Martin, and THEN applied for a second passport.

No, it's like he found the other passport at some point in the last 8 years, or never lost it at all, and had some reason to think it would be useful to have two passports. And none of the legal reasons for having two passports apply to him, and he broke the law by not turning in or at least reporting the spare when he found it.

So he obviously knew he had two passports when he was asked; the recorded conversation with his wife suggests that they didn't just by happenstance find it between the shooting and that conversation. He knew he had a passport he wasn't telling the judge about and he knew he was turning in the one that expired sooner. And he was prepared to do that, had probably planned it in fact, before he shot Trayvon. Now what sort of person lays a plan like that?

I'm confused: why is this [setting up a website] evidence of bad behavior?

It isn't. Not telling the judge at the bond hearing about it was illegal. Even if he hadn't made any money, or didn't know if he had made any money, he was still obligated to spell out all *possible* income sources. Whether he thought it would work or not the website was an attempt to make money, and if he didn't expect it to work at all he probably wouldn't have gone to the effort. And it seems likely that by the time of the bond hearing he already knew it was working quite well. This seemed to bother the judge a lot more than the passport thing.

Actually, this is one thing we don't know. Innocent of what? Innocent of assault? We don't know that.

Well since Z is walking around and Trayvon isn't, we can certainly say Trayvon is innocent of murder. We also have Z's admission that he fired the bullet into Trayvon. In states with non-insane SYG laws (and possibly, in this situation, even in Florida; the court will decide) it is up to Z to *prove* his affirmative defense of self-defense. And even the people who wrote the SYG law say it doesn't apply here -- if they're right, the murkiness of that night works against Z, not for him.

I mean, I would challenge you to show me an incident of a white teenager who was shot for suspicious behavior where people were more upset than they were over the Martin shooting. I just don't think these incidents exist.

Will a Japanese student do? I guess Hattori wasn't exactly white but he certainly wasn't black.

Also, as a resident of New Orleans which currently has the highest per-capita murder rate in the Solar System, I can assure you that whenever a white person is either shot or suspected of being the shooter, it's mentioned prominently because that is news. See, fuckwits like Z just don't seem as compelled to pump lead into white people who might not be where said fuckwit doesn't think they belong. Peairs was an unusual exception to that trend.
posted by localroger at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Trayvon Martin has traces of THC, possibly from marijuana use, according to the toxicology report. So saying he was "on drugs" exaggerates the seriousness of that finding; we have absolutely no reason to believe that Trayvon was aggressive or looking for a fight that evening. We have more evidence that he had the munchies (bag of Skittles!).

We DO know that George Zimmerman went out on his Crimewatch with a gun. We know that he followed Trayvon. We know that the police told him not to, but he followed him anyway, and would not agree to meet them at the mailboxes because he wanted to follow Trayvon some more.

We know the two met up. They may either have struggled or they didn't, but Trayvon ended up dead, shot through the heart from a distance of less than 18 inches by George Zimmerman's gun.

Now, I don't know anything about Trayvon's history except that he was thrown out of school for getting in trouble three times.

But George Zimmerman didn't even know that much.

The whole time GZ is on the phone, he never once said on the phone that Trayvon had attempted to break into someone's house or do anything illegal. He's on the phone to police, I think that would have come up.

Maybe Trayvon was planning to murder 57.358 people in cold blood that very evening with a bag of poisoned Skittles. Maybe he was going to save an entire orphanage's population from fire, using his hoodie as protection from the searing flames. But Trayvon Martin didn't get the chance to do either, because he was shot in the heart.

Why assume the former and not the latter? If you really believe in the concept of innocent before proven guilty, why look so critically at Trayvon Martin's actions on that evening, which we know only through the police reports anyway (police who never even arrested Zimmerman until public outcry forced them into it), while assuming the best of GZ when he lied to the police about his funds, hid a passport from them against direct orders from the judge to surrender it, and killed an unarmed man?
posted by misha at 10:28 AM on June 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Zimmerman turned one passport into the Court ... and in jail discussed with his wife the other passport in his safety deposit box. As stated above by others, he KNEW he had two passports. No innocent forgetfulness involved. Fishy? Yes. Shaky behavior? Yes.
posted by ericb at 10:36 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


When they see a criminal of some kind shot dead, they think, yes, the streets are safer now.

You can see the point of those who believe in the summary execution of those they perceive to be criminals? Those who don't believe we need to have trials if we have a good hunch that someone is up to no good. I'm not sure how one doesn't "necessarily agree" with that sort of position. Either you believe in the rule of law or you don't. What's your position?

The things you're saying about these people, and implying about yourself, makes me wonder if your argument wouldn't work better if you just admitted that they're nearly all massive racists.
posted by howfar at 10:36 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


L.A. Times:
"George Zimmerman is back in jail.

... With a cluster of photographers and reporters positioned outside, Zimmerman arrived Saturday evening and was taken into custody, according to TKTK."
posted by ericb at 10:39 AM on June 3, 2012


Once again. Ask anybody if racism exists in America, almost everyone will say yes. Try to point it out, and you get the most tortured reasons why sure it exists, just never anywhere you try to point it out.

In related news --

Trump: I’m Not Racist, Arsenio Hall Won ‘The Apprentice’
Donald Trump would like you to know that he has a black friend.

Speaking to the North Carolina Republican Convention on Friday, Trump fired back at critics who’ve called his birther crusade race-baiting by noting that black actor Arsenio Hall won the last season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

“How can I be a racist, I just picked Arsenio Hall,” Trump said.
Shut up, you bloviating ignoramus.
posted by ericb at 10:44 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


George Zimmerman is back in jail....Zimmerman arrived Saturday evening and was taken into custody

The L.A. Times seems to be the only (?) source that seems to be reporting this,
posted by ericb at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2012


Central Florida News 13: George Zimmerman Turns Self In (w/ photo) --
According to Zimmerman's attorney, Zimmerman arrived at the Seminole County Jail just around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

In the same fashion as when he left the jail in the middle of the night back in April, Zimmerman was back at the jail just 42 days later.

According to Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, he returned to Sanford Saturday night.
posted by ericb at 10:50 AM on June 3, 2012


LIVE VIDEO — "The attorney for George Zimmerman holds a news conference after his client turned himself in."
posted by ericb at 10:54 AM on June 3, 2012


Another thing judges don't like -- and Rep. "Dollar" Bill Jefferson did the same thing when he was ordered to the hoosegow -- is when they say "within 48 hours," while presenting yourself 47 hours and 59 minutes later technically complies, it's kind of pushing where you really don't need to.
posted by localroger at 11:05 AM on June 3, 2012


Defense attorney Mark O'Mara: "George Zimmerman owes the judge an apology."
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2012


I'm confused: why is this evidence of bad behavior? It seems to be quite logical behavior so he could get money to pay his lawyer.
"Before the revelation [that George Zimmerman had raised $204,000 through a website he set up] O’Mara, who charges $400 an hour, had offered to represent Zimmerman pro bono, a rarity in a case that could exceed $1 million.

... Zimmerman, whose wife testified was penniless, is not the first high-profile defendant to land a high-priced attorney. Criminal defense lawyers seek these cases because they bring fame and notoriety — free advertising in a field where most clients have no money.*
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2012


You can see the point of those who believe in the summary execution of those they perceive to be criminals? Those who don't believe we need to have trials if we have a good hunch that someone is up to no good. I'm not sure how one doesn't "necessarily agree" with that sort of position. Either you believe in the rule of law or you don't. What's your position?

There's no such "either you believe in the rule of law or you don't." Because if that were the case, everyone would not be complaining about "Stand Your Ground" law being "insane." They would be accepting the rule of law in Florida, and not pushing for further arrests, or hate crimes charges that don't even begin to fit.

Many people, throughout the nation, think "Stand Your Ground" law as crazy. Many others think that locales that /don't/ have "Stand Your Ground" laws are crazy.

I don't believe in the summary execution of people I think might be going to commit a crime. But I do believe in using deadly force against anyone who is attempting to hurt myself or my family, or who is breaking into my home. I don't possess a firearm, but if I did, I would believe in shooting to kill in those circumstances.

My father used to tell me that "It's better to be tried by twelve than carried by six," and I tend to agree with his point of view.

This doesn't have anything to do with racism. It might be possible that this attitude comes from people who are used to the rule of law not working effectively. My family, for example, had negative experiences in country-of-origin. We had family members in the act of being kidnapped, who were only stopped by my grandfather shooting to kill. The police could not be counted on. Everyone went armed, because if you waited until you could bribe the police to help you, it would already be way too late.

I know that people in America love to think that the police are all you need, but that just isn't true for a lot of people in many areas. While I might not have anything culturally in common with certain people, I can completely understand why people in communities with ineffective or corrupt police might want to take the law into their own hands.
posted by corb at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The June 1 hearing was set to examine whether certain items in the discovery should be sealed, nothing to do with GZ's bond was supposed to be part of that hearing.

It was not fair of the State to bring up the problems with GZ's bond application without having let the defense know in advance. A separate hearing should have been called with GZ present to answer questions.

Here is an audio of the June 1 hearing. More on the motion to revoke bond from a defense attorney POV here
posted by snaparapans at 1:56 PM on June 3, 2012


So saying he was "on drugs" exaggerates the seriousness of that finding

Saying he was "on drugs" at the time of the encounter is a bald-faced lie. THC, being fat soluble, hangs around in your body for weeks or even months. Had the amount of THC in Trayvon's blood been sufficient to be pharmacologically effective at the time of his death, you can be quite sure the toxicology report would have said so.

This leaving aside the riidiculousness of the idea that marijuana might make someone paranoid or aggressive; it nearly always has the opposite effect, unless you are a cartoon character being played by an actor in Reefer Madness.
posted by localroger at 2:01 PM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's no such "either you believe in the rule of law or you don't." Because if that were the case, everyone would not be complaining about "Stand Your Ground" law being "insane."

That's not what "rule of law" means. You can believe in the rule of law and also believe the law to be unjust. I was unwise to express myself in absolutes, but the position you're expressing your sympathy with is one that demonstrates nothing but contempt for the rule of law. People who hold such positions are surely as dangerous as racists.
posted by howfar at 2:19 PM on June 3, 2012


More on the motion to revoke bond from a defense attorney POV here

IIRC, lying on your bond paperwork is a felony one step below the one you're charged with, so I think Zimmerman should be concerned whether he FORFEITED the bond, too...
posted by mikelieman at 2:19 PM on June 3, 2012


mikelieman: I think that GZ has a lot on his mind at this point... after listening to the audio of what O'Mara said in defense of GZ's misrepresentation of asserts, I do not think that this will amount to much more than a resetting of bond at a higher level. He will have a hearing to request bond again.

For De la Ronda to argue that GZ be denied bond at a new hearing, and sit in jail until the trial is pretty egregious because his condition of bond has to do with the murder charges only, and nothing to do with lying on a bond application. That, as you point out, is a separate charge that the State can choose to pursue, not likely, imo.
posted by snaparapans at 2:42 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


snaparapans, I suspect what DlR is trying to achieve is use the bond hearing lies to emphasize that, since we know Z shot Trayvon and the only exculpatory evidence we have is Z's own word about what happened, Z having been shown to be a liar under oath this should color the whole proceeding, perhaps especially that whole "standing his ground" thing.

That said, the fact that the judge doesn't seem too concerned with the passport (which I find pretty damning) makes it seem this tactic will not work.
posted by localroger at 2:57 PM on June 3, 2012


localroger: It turns out that the extra passport was discovered while packing, when GZ moved, as a security measure, to a new location. He immediately sent it to O'Mara, who put in a motion but forgot to follow through with it more than a month ago. DlR knew that this was a big zero, but tried to make hay out of it, possibly for the reasons you state. IMO, it showed bad faith on the part of the State; the Judge saw through DlR's tactic immediately and dismissed it as having any importance.

The Judge was pissed about the money, though.. but, I think that O'Mara made a good defensive argument.. we'll see..
posted by snaparapans at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2012


Ah, well snaparapans that does make sense. I really have to say Z has done just about everything possible to paint himself as a moustache-twirling villain short of growing a moustache, waxing it, and twirling.
posted by localroger at 3:52 PM on June 3, 2012


Even, as I intended to imply, if he really is innocent. An innocent man twirling his moustache shouldn't complain when people start looking around for Bullwinkle.
posted by localroger at 3:55 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hmmm... I do not see him as a boris badanoff, or snidely whiplash type.. .more than anything else a perverse version of dudley doright. The Judge likened him to a potted plant....

"Does your client get to sit there like a potted plant and lead the court down the primrose path?"

Which referred to the fact that his wife was lying to the court about having no money, while he just sat there "like a potted plant".
posted by snaparapans at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2012


So his wife is twirling her moustache? OK the metaphor don't work. I still looks all fishy as hell to me. And I'm a 48 year old white guy from the South. The time I was actually shot at it happened because another white guy picked a fight and then, when he realized he was being followed, decided to visit me instead of leading the bad guys back to his family. Then the cops decided I must have been doing *something* and started investigating me instead of the shooting.

So I have a generally negative opinion of racists and cops who enable them.

(One bullet passed about a foot from my head. I still have the media cabinet with the hole as a souvenir. The other hole, which established the trajectory line, was repaired by my ex-landlord.)
posted by localroger at 4:57 PM on June 3, 2012


If someone asked me to give them my passport at that time, I'd probably give them my personal passport. I might ask them which one they wanted and eventually surrender both.

It really wouldn't occur to you that a judge setting bail and demanding your passport would want both? An awful lot of American don't even have passports. That means judges are going to ask if you've got one. To that, the natural response would surely be, "I've got two." (All this assumes you know you've got two. It sounds like Zimmerman may not have realised the lost one had turned up.)

And none of the legal reasons for having two passports apply to him, and he broke the law by not turning in or at least reporting the spare when he found it.

It's worth noting that there aren't 'legal reasons' for having two US passports. Either the State Department agrees to give you a second, or they don't. It's not clear to me whether not handing in a passport that's been reported lost is against the law. Willfully not doing so would entail perjuring yourself. (DS-64 has you affirm that you will hand in the lost passport if it is found.) But not noticing that the one in front of you is the lost one and not the replacement seems to be okay.
posted by hoyland at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2012


It's worth noting that there aren't 'legal reasons' for having two US passports.

To be clear, I'm saying there isn't a fixed list of permissible reasons. They're issued on a case-by-case basis. (See here, for instance.)
posted by hoyland at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2012


This leaving aside the riidiculousness of the idea that marijuana might make someone paranoid or aggressive; it nearly always has the opposite effect, unless you are a cartoon character being played by an actor in Reefer Madness.

I actually would say the idea of marijuana making someone paranoid is not far-fetched at all. I have seen this effect. Admittedly, this was marijuana impact on people with high levels of post-traumatic stress, in an unfamiliar environment. I don't think it's the usual effect with young middle-class kids hanging out in someone's basement, but that doesn't mean it's unusual for consumption overall.

That said, I think ascertaining what the specific effect of drugs someone may be on is incredibly hard if not impossible. Ascertaining that someone is acting oddly is fairly easy.

It really wouldn't occur to you that a judge setting bail and demanding your passport would want both? An awful lot of American don't even have passports. That means judges are going to ask if you've got one. To that, the natural response would surely be, "I've got two." (All this assumes you know you've got two. It sounds like Zimmerman may not have realised the lost one had turned up.)


It would probably depend on the bail process. Maybe? I don't know if it would occur to me unless they explicitly said, "I am taking your passports so that you are not legally able to leave the country." It's totally possible that I would think, "They asked me for a passport, I gave them a passport." Then again, it might not. I mean, aren't you still able to leave even without one? Do Canada and Mexico require them now? The last time I was in either place was about ten years ago, but you didn't need one at the time to leave the country. I definitely don't think it would have occurred to me that a lot of Americans wouldn't have even one passport. I got mine shortly after my eighteenth birthday, and my daughters' when she was about three or four, just in case we needed or wanted to travel.

Although the recent update makes it seem like this wasn't intended and they didn't find the other passport until recently, so this may all be a moot point.
posted by corb at 7:20 PM on June 3, 2012


I mean, aren't you still able to leave even without one? Do Canada and Mexico require them now? The last time I was in either place was about ten years ago, but you didn't need one at the time to leave the country. I definitely don't think it would have occurred to me that a lot of Americans wouldn't have even one passport. I got mine shortly after my eighteenth birthday, and my daughters' when she was about three or four, just in case we needed or wanted to travel.

You do now need a passport to go to Canada and Mexico. I'm not sure how long it has been this way. Since 2007, apparently.

Apparently, 30% of Americans have a passport, which is apparently roughly double what it was in 2000 (there was a spike after the rules changes for Canada and Mexico). Canada is probably a fairly reasonable point of comparison, where it's 60%. (That article I linked says 75% for the UK, but it's not exactly taxing to travel to several other countries from the UK and they're not in the Schengen Zone. It's probably lower for continental Europe due to Schengen.) This does seem mind-boggling if you're someone who has a passport. I just renewed my passport and I was surprised how much it bothered me to not have it. It was like I didn't officially exist. (I suppose this was partly related to this being the first time I've renewed it as an adult. When I was a kid, I never thought about where my passport was, my mother just produced it from wherever the passports lived, but I've spent the last eight years or so always knowing where it is.)
posted by hoyland at 7:38 PM on June 3, 2012


It was not fair of the State to bring up the problems with GZ's bond application without having let the defense know in advance. A separate hearing should have been called with GZ present to answer questions.

Your knowledge of criminal procedure is lacking.

Plus, this issue had been pointed out in the press weeks ago.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:03 AM on June 4, 2012


Ironmouth: Your knowledge of criminal procedure is lacking.

I am not a lawyer so that is a completely true statement. My understanding is that the June 1 hearing was set in order to determine what if anything should be sealed in discovery. At 8:30 am, two hours before the hearing, O'Mara was notified that bond revocation was on the table. He did not have time to prepare, listen to all tapes etc... He objected, the Judge said that he had to do present a defense on the fly.

It does not matter what was in the press, what matters is that O'Mara was not allowed time to prepare as he could not have expected that Bond was going to be subject matter during this hearing. Also, revoking bond without GZ there was poor as well.

What would have been fair, imo, at the June 1 hearing, is for the Judge to order a hearing for Monday (today) about the bond misrepresentation, giving both O'Mara a chance to prepare, and GZ a chance to be at the hearing.

Clearly GZ is not a flight risk, and O,Mara had the control of the money and passport for over a month. The Judge got pissed off and made a poor ruling, imo.

A new bond hearing will commence shortly, and I expect bond will be set at a higher rate, end of story.
posted by snaparapans at 6:54 AM on June 4, 2012


snaparapans (and everybody else defending GZ yet again), if everything is on the up and up and above board and no big deal, why would Zimmerman and his wife speak of both the passport and the money in their lame code as the link at the beginning of the FPP alleges?

When I do things that are perfectly legit in the eyes of the law, I don't switch over to some personal argot to talk about them.

Then again, I'm the kind of person who looks like he's probably up to no good if I walk around in the rain in a hoodie, so I guess it behooves me to try to make sure I always stay within the bounds of propriety.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


snaparapans (and everybody else defending GZ yet again)

I am not so much defending GZ as keeping an open mind. I have no idea about what actually happened. What I am hoping for is that he get a fair trial.

why would Zimmerman and his wife speak of both the passport and the money in their lame code...


The prosector has decided that this so called code has bearing on GZ's guilt. To characterize it as a code meant to fool the police who GZ knew were listening to his conversation is lame, imo. If anything, I think that the prosecutor is grasping at straws here, making hay out of nothing... basically flaming and pumping up his case in the press. The prosecutor has an agenda, and from my POV it has less to do with justice, than promoting his own career.

When I do things that are perfectly legit in the eyes of the law, I don't switch over to some personal argot to talk about them.


Do you have experience being in a jail cell, under pretty much total surveillance?

For someone who claims to look like he is up to no good when simply walking around in a hoodie, you seem to be pretty cool with the State's bias in painting GZ as a criminal. Doesn't make sense to me why you would do such a thing, seeing that you obviously have an deep understanding about how unfair the system can be.
posted by snaparapans at 8:13 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If only the amount of concern and effort put into ensuring that Zimmerman gets a fair trial were put into everyone arrested by the police! The world would look a lot different today.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: If only the amount of concern and effort put into ensuring that Zimmerman gets a fair trial were put into everyone arrested by the police! The world would look a lot different today.

Not so sure that those concerned about fair trials are any greater for GZ than anyone else.. Maybe you are conflating those who want GZ to go scott free with those who want him to get a fair trial.

IOW, I think that the number of people supporting positions of groups like the ACLU are pretty consistent, and a minority. Most people in the US seem to be vengeance oriented, without much concern about whether the punished party is actually guilty. We have one of the largest prison populations per capita in the world, which speaks volumes.
posted by snaparapans at 8:52 AM on June 4, 2012


the young rope-rider: Yes, the world would look much different. Our justice system is grossly unfair to minorities and the poor. But the fact that it so often sucks is not a reason to penalize Zimmerman. Like every other defendant, he deserves a fair trial. And I'm quite unsure whether he's going to get one.

The REAL crime here is the police mishandling of his case, and I'm worried they're going to railroad the poor guy to cover up their ineptitude. I suspect he's guilty, but it looks to me that the evidence has been too badly tainted to convict him in a fair trial..... which may be considered sufficiently unacceptable to give him an unfair one.

If that happens, then all that's doing is papering over the egregious police misconduct here, and wrongly imprisoning someone. I'm not willing to say that it would be jailing the innocent, because I don't think he's innocent, but I don't think the state should be able to lock up anyone unless they can provide an airtight case for doing so.

I think it's very unlikely that we can ever be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is guilty, and the underlying problem that caused this appears to be corrupt police work. THAT is where our eyes should be focused. Not the perp, the police.
posted by Malor at 9:51 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The prosector has decided that this so called code has bearing on GZ's guilt.

Where is there evidence that the prosecutor believes this code has bearing on GZ's guilt?

The family's lawyer has suggested that this has bearing on GZ's guilt, but from what I've seen of prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda's statements, the prosecutor only cares about this code and the money vis-a-vis the bond hearing and the fact that GZ "mislead" the state about his finances. I am very open to seeing evidence that the prosecutor believes this means GZ is automatically guilty of 2nd degree murder.

To characterize it as a code meant to fool the police who GZ knew were listening to his conversation is lame, imo.

Then who was it meant to fool?

If you theorize that he's using code for things that are perfectly legitimate *just* because he's under surveillance, do you suppose he's also using code for other things in his life that are perfectly fine but that he's concerned about the police discovering? "Honey, while I'm in the hoosegow, make sure you feed the atcay his eowmay ixmay wink wink nudge nudge and place some of the liquid form of H2O on the green stuff that's in front of that place where people who share our names and personal information reside, knowwhatimean?"

I'm trying hard to understand why one would use a code and, seemingly, lie by omission about some very important things if one has a squeaky clean record, but it's very difficult for me to see a non-lame excuse for Mr. Zimmerman's actions and speech.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:02 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is there evidence that the prosecutor believes this code has bearing on GZ's guilt?

The prosecutor characterized this a code used to fool the police who were listening in to his conversation. That he was speaking in code is DlR's construction, and really stretching it, imo.. but if you want to believe it was a code meant to hide and deceive the police, that is fair.

DlR's characterization of it being a code, was made in order to convince the Judge that GZ is dishonest implying that there is a lot more that he is hiding. Lying on a bond application could be a new charge (crime) against GZ, but I doubt that DlR will charge him as it will be weak.

As others have mentioned, DIR's only intent may have been to harm his credibility. Both the passport and funds had long been in the control of O'Mara. There is no possibility that any argument could be made that this showed that GZ was about to violate the terms of his bail and flee.

I'm trying hard to understand why one would use a code....

If you were talking to your partner about your money and there were people around who you did not trust you also may use 10 to mean 10,000... many people speak this way about money even when they could be overheard... shorthand.

Which, to me is much more plausible than DlR concocting a story about a secret code that GZ and his wife use which implies a cloak and dagger narrative of deceit.
posted by snaparapans at 10:35 AM on June 4, 2012


but if you want to believe it was a code meant to hide and deceive the police, that is fair.


Are you serious?

I'm trying hard to understand

And bless your heart for doing so. Because these threads keep turning into the same thing - most people getting it, and then a few people with blind spots. Good on you for having the patience to interact the way you do.
posted by cashman at 11:40 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"but if you want to believe it was a code meant to hide and deceive the police, that is fair. Are you serious?"

Well, not 100%... I did not want to call anyone a moron so instead, I said: that is fair

I find it amazing that because of the particulars of this case, normally intelligent people now believe that the whatever the DA says has to be true. Why even bother with trials. Just set up a local gallows because most people know who is guilty and who is innocent.

It certainly makes makes for great entertainment on the teevee..
posted by snaparapans at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


By the same token you seem to be taking Zimmerman's behaviors and statements as if he is inspector gadget, just bumbling through, trying to solve crime and here comes the big bad society trying to come down on him.

But by all means, please list all of Zimmerman's behavior that most would agree is questionable (including shooting a 17-year-old), and explain why it's all a big misunderstanding. Make your case. I'm assuming you've read all the threads and seen all the information and you have a pretty good grasp on all the things that have happened, and you won't mysteriously forget to include relevant material. You certainly post like you know better than everyone on this case, so I'd love to be convinced.
posted by cashman at 2:14 PM on June 4, 2012


I do not particularly like what I have read about GZ. Am not a person that likes the idea of neighborhood watch, or people with guns, or Stand YOur Ground Laws, and particularly not people who profess to profile criminals and feel a need to do something about it.

Given that I abhor a public lynching, and believe everyone has a right to a fair trial. From all I have read, it appears that the State has a lousy case against GZ due to Florida Laws. But, they are leaking constantly to the press and the MSM are loving the circus of it all.

Nor am I apt to give a knee-jerk reaction because a teenager was killed, as sorry as I am for his family, and assume that GZ is lying. I really have no idea what happened that night, and given my powers of imagination, GZ may be telling the truth even if he is a creep. That is for the court to decide.
posted by snaparapans at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2012


Lynching? Do you really want to go there with this perfectly legal trial of a man who has a shit ton of money, a judge in his family, and more than adequate representation? Really? In a country where people go to death row while their underpaid public defenders nap? You have got to be fucking kidding me right now.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:45 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


normally intelligent people now believe that the whatever the DA says has to be true

One wonders whether Judge Lester would also qualify as a normally intelligent person who now believes whatever the prosecution "says has to be true" since he's the one made the determination to revoke bond based on the evidence put forth by Mr. de la Rionda.

Evidence like this:
Court papers provided a partial transcript of a phone call allegedly showing the code used by Zimmerman and his wife on April 16:

Zimmerman: "In my account do I have at least $100?"

His wife: "No."

Zimmerman: "How close am I?"

His wife: "$8. $8.60."

Zimmerman: "Really. So total everything how much are we looking at?"

His wife: "Like $155." (source)
That's code. It's lame, but it's still meant to be cryptic. I would love to see the full transcript, but that's apparently unavailable at the moment.

If you were talking to your partner about your money and there were people around who you did not trust you also may use 10 to mean 10,000... many people speak this way about money even when they could be overheard... shorthand.

You're arguing two things that seem to be at odds with each other: 1) He used this code because he was around people he didn't trust (who? and why didn't he trust them?) and 2) It's not a code meant to deceive anyway, it's just harmless shorthand that many people use.

If (1) is true, again, whom doesn't he trust? And why not? The authorities already know about the money, right? So, what, is he afraid one of the other prisoners is going to shank him or put out a hit on his wife if they know he's got over a 100K in an account?

I suppose (2) could be true, but I've never observed it. I've seen people say "eight sixty" rather than "eight dollars and sixty cents" but never "eight dollars and sixty cents" for "eighty six thousand dollars." "Eight sixty" for "eighty six thousand dollars" is right out. I've just never seen anyone base "shorthand" for large sums of money on arithmetic like that, unless they were routinely dealing with such large sums. That seems like more trouble than it's worth and something prone to confusing exchanges.

Also, I've never been at a bond hearing, but I would wager they don't ask "How much money do you have that you're willing to tell us about right now? If you discover you had some extra cash later on, no worries. Just tell us about that when you get around to it. Or better yet, on our own, we'll discover you had access to it, despite your lawyers claims that you didn't, and let it slide. Cool?"

It's worth noting that Judge Lester is angry about this turn of events. If the prosecutor is so silver-tongued that he made a judge get angry over a supposedly cockamamie story, GZ should be released immediately --otherwise, since, apparently, the prosecutor has Saruman of Many Colors-like powers to persuade people, there's a chance that not only will GZ be convicted of killing Trayvon Martin but he'll also get every unsolved murder case in Florida pinned to him when all is said and done.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:00 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would also point out that while we are all being neutral here, while the Z team's account of the passport thing -- they found it when preparing to move and promptly gave it to their lawyer, who forgot to turn it over -- is at least more plausible than the money-code thing, it is also plausible that Z kept the passport and only got around to letting the lawyer know the second one existed recently, whereupon the lawyer ripped him a new one explaining how much trouble he was about to be in and to get it to him RIGHT NOW. This take has the advantage of explaining how he came to turn in the passport he originally reported as lost, while conveniently finding at the last moment the replacement passport he never reported lost.
posted by localroger at 3:46 PM on June 4, 2012


lord_wolf, is there any word on whether it is, as you say, "eight sixty" or "eight dollars and sixty cents"? Because the first does in fact seem reasonable, while the second seems sketchy.
posted by corb at 4:58 PM on June 4, 2012


Given that I abhor a public lynching

That's a pretty despicable way to characterize this legal proceeding, freighted with an awful lot of racial overtones that don't strengthen your argument at all, and make me feel like maybe your personal investments here are not simply in truth and justice.
posted by OmieWise at 5:19 PM on June 4, 2012


From all I have read, it appears that the State has a lousy case against GZ due to Florida Laws. But, they are leaking constantly to the press and the MSM are loving the circus of it all

In Florida the public and media have access to all discovery documents/data/records presented to/from the defense and prosecution.

No one is 'leaking.'

Part of the hearing on Friday was both parties (i.e. defense AND prosecution) banding together to get all future discovering sealed from the media ... and, thus 'the public.'

Media Fights Efforts to Seal Zimmerman Records
A consortium of 13 media companies, including The Associated Press, is challenging efforts to seal certain documents in the second-degree murder case of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin.

The list includes most of Florida's major media organizations. The motions filed Tuesday challenged efforts by both prosecutors and George Zimmerman's attorney to prevent the release of witness names and statements that he made to police officers.

A hearing is set for Friday.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman's statements are inconsistent, and Zimmerman's attorney believes his emails and text messages could prejudice potential jurors.

Both sides also say they worry that witnesses will be harassed if their names are released.

The media's motions say the attorneys' requests are too broad.
posted by ericb at 5:52 PM on June 4, 2012


*all future discovery*
posted by ericb at 5:53 PM on June 4, 2012


Zimmerman's lawyer: Hidden money 'has undermined his credibility'.
posted by ericb at 6:00 PM on June 4, 2012


George Zimmerman Lawyer Requests New Bond Hearing After Return To Jail -- "Zimmerman likely to remain in jail at for at least a week after judge found he had 'deceived' the court about his finances."
posted by ericb at 6:03 PM on June 4, 2012


Looks like snaparapans forgot to speak in code.
posted by futz at 6:14 PM on June 4, 2012


Given that I abhor a public lynching

That's a pretty despicable way to characterize this legal proceeding, freighted with an awful lot of racial overtones that don't strengthen your argument at all, and make me feel like maybe your personal investments here are not simply in truth and justice.


I acknowledge the racial overtones coincide primarily with lynchings in the South, of blacks. However, I want to pop in and be the annoying etymology/history geek who reminds people that lynchings did not begin or end with blacks in the South.

Lynching actually comes from the 1700s, and refers specifically to taking action outside the law. It doesn't refer to violence, it doesn't refer to the hangings we've all come to associate with it. It refers to taking action outside the law - which a lot of people could argue has applied to the Zimmerman case. Even when it did come to embody violence, it was not primarily black - white and black alike were lynched.

However, in this century, it is primarily black Americans who were lynched, which is where most of the racial overtones come from.

So what I'm saying is: there are good reasons for racial overtones, but using the original use of the word without the racial overtones doesn't necessarily mean acting in bad faith. It's kind of like using the word niggardly.
posted by corb at 6:28 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding the 'coded' conversation, there are those (I, amongst them) who think that Zimmerman was hoping that prison authorities and others monitoring his jailhouse calls would think he was talking about his prison commissary account balance.

April 12, 2012:
"Zimmerman was booked at the slammer Wednesday night, following his arrest and was ordered to be held there without bail Thursday.

He immediately went on a shopping spree in the jail commissary, spending $79.84 of the $121 placed in his account. Among his purchases were contact lens solution, Balsam shampoo, three bars of soap, socks and underwear.

He’ll be fed three meals a day, but he bought plenty of junk food in the commissary — including Tostitos tortilla chips, beef sticks, white cheddar popcorn, chocolate creme cookies, Jolly Ranchers, root beer and fruit punch."
June 3, 2012:
"After being booked, Zimmerman will be given an opportunity to purchase items at the commissary. His balance in the commissary account, posted on the sheriff's web site, was $500."
He and his wife, Shellie, thought they could 'pull the wool over the eyes (ears?) of those monitoring them.

Shady? Yes. Deceitful? Yes. Caught red-handed? ABSOLUTELY!
posted by ericb at 6:29 PM on June 4, 2012


using the original use of the word without the racial overtones doesn't necessarily mean acting in bad faith. It's kind of like using the word niggardly.

I don't think that is right. "Niggardly" just happens to sound a bit like "nigger", it has no cultural or historical significance relating to the murder of black people. A better comparison might be use of the word "holocaust" in relation to the punishment of someone who killed a Jewish person. Holocaust has legitimate meanings that don't relate to the Shoah, but one has to be pretty careful about using them. I'm personally confident that snaparapans' use of "lynching" doesn't indicate bad faith, but it is somewhat ill-considered and in slightly bad taste, given the context.

But if I had a dollar for every time I've used an ill-chosen word...
posted by howfar at 6:47 PM on June 4, 2012


It refers to taking action outside the law - which a lot of people could argue has applied to the Zimmerman case.

I presume you're referring to when he shot that kid, yes?
posted by howfar at 6:49 PM on June 4, 2012


I presume you're referring to when he shot that kid, yes?

Hah. No, because there was no legal process for him to do so, and he was only one person, thus not constituting a group of people getting together to take such action.

I mean, I understand why people were upset about Zimmerman not being arrested, but I do find valid reasons for concern with the idea that people who the legal system has cleared can be arrested because a lot of people are clamoring outside the jail and signing a bunch of petitions. Down that road does not lie good things, or the protections a lot of us might wish.

Holocaust has legitimate meanings that don't relate to the Shoah, but one has to be pretty careful about using them. I'm personally confident that snaparapans' use of "lynching" doesn't indicate bad faith, but it is somewhat ill-considered and in slightly bad taste, given the context.


Oh, sure, I just don't think it /means/ anything.
posted by corb at 7:00 PM on June 4, 2012


I do find valid reasons for concern with the idea that people who the legal system has cleared can be arrested because a lot of people are clamoring outside the jail and signing a bunch of petitions.

It seems to me that the legal system had failed to clear Zimmerman of anything, and that he will have the chance to clear himself at trial. People weren't upset about due process, they were upset by its absence. I'm not an American, but I am a lawyer, and while the Florida "stand your ground" statute is an unworkable mess, it also seems fairly clear that the police initially failed to use the "standard procedures for investigating the use of force" that would have enabled them to establish probable cause.
posted by howfar at 7:22 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe, but I think people seemed more upset that he wasn't "in jail" than upset that the incident wasn't being investigated. Just like when he was freed on bail, people were upset that Zimmerman wasn't "in jail," and even in this thread, people are upset that he's not "in jail." People want punishment, not due process. Due process does not require that a suspect be incarcerated while police or attorneys are figuring out whether to charge them or with what to charge them, or before evidence is gathered.
posted by corb at 7:27 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


is there any word on whether it is, as you say, "eight sixty" or "eight dollars and sixty cents"?

The transcript represents it just as "$8.60" -- there are several different ways English speakers could say that out loud. We may not be able to know what Mrs. Z actually said until we hear the recording, but regardless, I think the conversation as a whole (paired with the transactions Mr. Z is alleged to have coordinated) still suggests an intent to deceive.

Zimmerman's lawyer: Hidden money 'has undermined his credibility'.

Oh noes, Mr. O'Mara has also fallen under Mr. De la Rionda's diabolical spell!
posted by lord_wolf at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2012


Z had a history with the Sanford police. He was buds with some of them. Went along on "ride alongs." Was a well known wanna-be cop. Apparently, from the evidence, in what the actual cops thought was a good way.

Cops let him go on the night of the killing. Buds and understanding and all that. What happens in Sanford stays in Sanford, right?

How else to explain standard police procedure not being followed? That has nothing to do with anything in Z's case. Somewhere in Sanford there's a police department that needs to be fired.

Now that the outcry has gone viral and the so, so unfair attention has been placed on this poor neighborhood watch volunteer, WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN? Oh wait, wrong cue card. The lies, the shady shit, the fact that he followed this total stranger while the total stranger was complaining on the phone to his girlfriend about this weird fuck following him and then pop kapow the total stranger is dead with only Z's word (except, oops, he didn't know about the GF on the phone) that he hadn't, actually, you know just targeted this schmuck because he was a n**** and taken the measure necessary to make sure he "won't get away again."

So now that the shit has well hit the fan he has two passports, he lied about the money. WHEN DO WE GET TO ADMIT THE GUY IS A FUCKING LIAR AND SLEAZE AND ALMOST CERTAINLY GUILTY AND CELEBRATE EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS TO HIM? This is NOT a lynching, this is NOT some kind of noir film where it turns out the "bad" guy is the hero. The guy is a narcissistic loser who thinks he's smarter than everyone else except he isn't, and that quality bit him in the ass in serious fashion and only his state's incredibly stupid SYG law provides even a hair on which he can hang a possible claim of innocence.

Bottom line, he stalked and killed a total stranger. Colors don't matter to me. I'm a middle aged white guy myself.

Give the motherfucker a fair trial. By all means.
posted by localroger at 7:59 PM on June 4, 2012


So what I'm saying is: there are good reasons for racial overtones, but using the original use of the word without the racial overtones doesn't necessarily mean acting in bad faith. It's kind of like using the word niggardly.

You're wrong, and although you may understand some of the history of the word lynching, you don't appear to understand how meanings occur to words and the affect that has for their subsequent use. However, your contortions in this thread to defend Zimmerman in the name of empathy are themselves illustrative.
posted by OmieWise at 3:04 AM on June 5, 2012


*meanings accrete*
posted by OmieWise at 3:05 AM on June 5, 2012


OmieWise: Zimmerman is being tried by the public, and fearful of his life, with good cause. Using the term lynch mob to describe the mentality of many who are rallying to either literally or figuratively hang the guy in lieu of a trial, is deeply ironic. For one, were GZ alive during the height of lynching in US, he would by law be considered a black man (one-drop rule), which made him about 3x more likely to be lynched than if he were white. The fact that he is being used as a symbol for racial injustice in the US for killing a unarmed black teen, is also ironic as it is the reason many give for wanting him dead. Ironic because killing without a trial in the name of justice was the rational for lynchings.

Also ironic is the notion that Stand Your Ground Law is seen by some as a racial equalizer which helps to balance out the systematic racism rampant in the US arrest and conviction rates.

• Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants — a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black.

"Let's be clear,'' said Alfreda Coward, a black Fort Lauderdale lawyer whose clients are mostly black men. "This law was not designed for the protection of young black males, but it's benefiting them in certain cases.''


Not all agree:

Adora Obi Nweze, state president of the NAACP, said she was not surprised that people claiming "stand your ground'' escaped penalty more often when the victim was black. But she sharply questioned whether "stand your ground'' really helps black defendants.

Personally I think that the Stand Your Ground Laws are horrible, and should be revoked, but I am unfortunately in the minority regarding that view.
posted by snaparapans at 8:08 AM on June 5, 2012


Zimmerman lawyers postpone bail hearing request
George Zimmerman’s legal defense team said Tuesday it would hold off for “a couple of weeks” filing a motion for a second bond motion for its defendant in the Trayvon Martin shooting case.
posted by ericb at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2012


Records Show Zimmerman Hasn't Always Been Truthful
- The night he shot Trayvon Martin to death, police say Zimmerman told them his record was squeaky-clean. In fact, he had been charged in 2005 with resisting arrest without violence during an altercation with a state alcohol officer. Zimmerman wound up in a pretrial-diversion program, a scaled-down version of probation offered to nonviolent first-time offenders.

- When he was booked into the Seminole County Jail on April 23, he told the booking officer that he never had been in a pretrial-diversion program before, documents show.

- At his April 20 bond hearing, while making a surprise apology to Martin's family, Zimmerman said he didn't realize Trayvon was so young. In his call to police moments before the shooting, however, he described Martin - who was 17 - as in his "late teens."

- At that same hearing, Zimmerman sat silently and did not correct his wife, Shellie, when she, testifying under oath by telephone, said the couple had no savings. At that moment, the couple had at least $135,000 that she had transferred into her credit-union account a few days earlier from a PayPal account that Zimmerman had set up to collect donations.
posted by ericb at 10:44 AM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


many who are rallying to either literally or figuratively hang the guy in lieu of a trial

With the exception of your comments, I've not heard of anyone rallying for that. Perhaps you have some youtube video of the burning effigies or some such?
posted by mikelieman at 12:28 PM on June 5, 2012


- The night he shot Trayvon Martin to death, police say Zimmerman told them his record was squeaky-clean.

It seems like this could be a technicality and one that we'd need to know the workings of Florida pre-trial diversion programs to understand. Or that we'd need to know what shows up when you pull someone's record (and that this is consistent). All arrests? Convictions?

I don't see any ambiguity in the other three points.
posted by hoyland at 7:17 AM on June 6, 2012


Dershowitz Says Angela Corey Threatened to Sue Harvard for Zimmerman Criticism

Harvard Law Professor writes that States Attorney Angela Corey called Harvard Law School and went on a 40 minute rant, threatening to sue the University for Dershowitz having expressed his opinion that she misled the court by leaving exculpatory evidence out of the arrest warrant affidavit.

Pass the popcorn.. They deserve each other.
posted by snaparapans at 7:21 AM on June 6, 2012


Pass the popcorn.. They deserve each other.

On this, my friend, you and I are in full agreement.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:30 AM on June 6, 2012


New Bond Hearing Set For George Zimmerman.
posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on June 7, 2012


A couple more weeks in jail? Tugboat can do that standing on his head.
posted by cashman at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2012


Shellie Zimmerman, wife of Trayvon Martin killer, arrested on perjury charge.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2012


Nice mug shot. Dummies. Man, you really have to avoid the comment sections of some outlets that pick up these stories. You'd think Travyon was the one that killed George.
posted by cashman at 3:09 PM on June 12, 2012


That comments section was scary.
posted by arcticseal at 6:00 PM on June 12, 2012


At the hearing to revoke bond on June 1, 2012, Judge Kenneth Lester said he would issue a written order. Yesterday, he issued his order, which you can read here.

Jeralyn at TalkLeft gives a great analysis of the new implications of the document regarding future bail for GZ here.

The short of it is that in felony cases where life imprisonment is on the table, bond is automatically granted unless the State can show that it has a preponderance of evidence that points to guilt. This is called an Arthur hearing. If the threshold of probable guilt is met the Judge has the discretion to grant bail. In the bond hearing on June 1, Lester said that the defense request for bail was "well taken", meaning that the State had not presented evidence that met the threshold of probable guilt, and granting bail was not discretionary, but required. Of course setting the amount of bail was up to the Judge.

Judge Lester has changed his tune and now says that the State's evidence was strong and that the bail granted was discretionary.

Unless the State had evidence that was sealed, it does not seem possible that Judge Lester's revisionist take on the June 1 hearing will stand up to an appeal.
posted by snaparapans at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2012


snaparapans, there is wide agreement that Judge Lester was visibly angry when he was informed about the deception. All legal niceties aside, judges do not like to be lied to and they can fuck up your shit if you piss them off. It may, be, as Jeralyn suggests, excessive and unfair to punish Z by making him wait in jail for the appeal to go through; but Judge Lester probably believes Z is just as culpable as his wife and that Z very much does deserve to spend some time contemplating whether he really is smarter than everyone else.

Unless there is some negative consequence to Judge Lester for this (I'd be very surprised if there is) then this is entirely within his authority and when he is reversed he'll just go "oh sorry, my bad," having made his point about the wisdom of fucking with a judge.
posted by localroger at 10:04 AM on June 13, 2012


The defense case depends on believing what George says happened, right? There is forensic evidence, but key elements, order of events, statements said and other unknowable things all depend on believing George Zimmerman. And now George Zimmerman is said to have lied to the court, in the short time he was on the stand. That adds context to that event. But the fact that you're diving into this to prove just how sinister everyone else is except the grown man that shot an unarmed 17-year-old to death, well that's what's interesting here. It's been almost 10 days since I challenged you to make your case, and you have yet to do so.

Seriously, if it is so clear that Zimmerman is the real victim here, go through in detail and explain away all his actions, the things he has said and done, and everything that has happened. You post as if everyone just is blind to the truth. Help me see whatever it is you're seeing. In detail. Paint this picture, man, I want to see what you're seeing.
posted by cashman at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


And please, include everything. I feel like with the surety you post with, that you have seen and digested all the material that has been presented in these threads. Your vision of who the bad people are in this case and who the focus should be on is so different that I have to believe you have taken all this information in, and you just have explanations for why seemingly reasonable interpretations of it are off.
posted by cashman at 10:11 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


cashman: GZ did not lie to the Judge, his wife did. He remained silent, as was his right. He is not being accused of perjury or lying, only accused of sitting there like a potted palm, which is his right..

As far as my vision of who the bad people are: I have no idea who the bad people are, if by bad you mean guilty.

My point all along is that there is tremendous misinformation spread by the MSM, to boost ratings, and misinformation by the Prosecutor who is feeding the press.

Unless the State has a smoking gun that we do not know about, it is not likely they will be able to prove their case, based on what I have read. Personally, what I have read about GZ and his wife, do not seem in the least bit appealing to me. Of course, I have never met the man, but I have been led to believe that he is disgusting. That is, of course, based on nothing but hearsay, but even if I knew the guy and found him despicable, I would argue that he is due a fair trial.
posted by snaparapans at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2012


localroger: I disagree with your assessment here. Judge Lester cannot rule on GZ's bond arbitrarily.
The fact that was angered by GZ's silence, seems to be true, but because of that, he cannot legally not grant GZ bail.

It "is actually a greater degree of proof than that which is required to establish guilt merely to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt." ... Even when the prosecution's evidence is sufficient to convict on a capital or life offense, but there is some doubt arising from other evidence, contradictions, or discrepancies, this exacting standard is not met and the accused is entitled to reasonable bail.

This threshold is based on the Florida case State v. Arthur and Judge Lester cannot go back and revise his ruling when he initially granted bail, because he got angry at GZ.

But even if there is overwhelming evidence by the State, the Judge can use discretion and grant bond. On June 1, when Judge Lester granted bond to GZ it was because GZ's request was well taken, meaning that the State did not have a preponderance of evidence to convict GZ.
posted by snaparapans at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if it is so clear that Zimmerman is the real victim here, go through in detail and explain away all his actions, the things he has said and done, and everything that has happened. You post as if everyone just is blind to the truth. Help me see whatever it is you're seeing. In detail. Paint this picture, man, I want to see what you're seeing

I don't know about snaparapans, but here's mine.

I do think that Zimmerman has been treated very badly. I think it's completely likely that Martin punched Zimmerman, and I think it's really likely that Zimmerman was, as he says, injured by Martin banging his head on the pavement. I do believe that Martin outmatched Zimmerman physically, regardless of their weight difference.

And I do believe that if that was the case, and if Zimmerman was losing the fight, that he was entitled to draw and shoot.

I think a lot of people make too much of "why Zimmerman found Martin suspicious" or "why was he following him." But that stuff really isn't relevant to the matter of self-defense. That stuff is great for people to talk racism about, but it has nothing to do with the decision to shoot, which is what this case is supposed to be about.

And yeah, I have a problem with the hue and cry being raised because the man who voluntarily confessed his actions, gave the police his address, went home, and could be recovered at any time, wasn't arrested fast enough, or wasn't kept in jail long enough, or was able to raise bail through a donation page.
posted by corb at 11:13 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: I don't think that he was wrong for not disclosing the money in the account: because that money was, as we say in the nonprofit biz, "restricted funding," money that had been acquired for a specific purpose and needed to be spent on that purpose. It had nothing to do with the Zimmerman's actual wealth.
posted by corb at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article provides a brief summary of the timeline of the Zimmermans' actions:
4/15 3:29 p.m. - George and Shellie discuss their finances and transferring money in a recorded jail phone call.
4/16 2:26 p.m. - George and Shellie discuss transferring money in a recorded jail phone call
4/16 2:32 p.m. - George and Shellie discuss paying the bond in a recorded jail phone call
4/16 - Credit union records show Shellie had two withdrawals from her account at $9,000 each
4/16-17 - Credit union records show more than $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s
4/19 9:36 a.m. - George and Shellie discuss taking money from a safety deposit box
4/16-4/19 - Credit union records show Shellie made four different transfers of $9,990, two transfers of $9,999, and two transfers of $7,500 to George Zimmerman’s account
4/20 - Shellie Zimmerman testified at the bond hearing of George.
4/23 - George Zimmerman bonds out of the Seminole County Jail shortly after midnight
4/24 - Shellie Zimmerman transferred $85,500 from her account to George’s
(emphasis on the 4/20 item added by source)

Note the careful attempts to stay below the $10,000 mark on a few occasions: supposedly that automatically raises some sort of flag on financial transactions?

So he wasn't just sitting there like a potted plant. He actively conspired with his wife to deceive the court about his finances, then turned around and claimed dire financial straits at his bond hearing. This is breathtakingly stupid on his and his wife's part. I mean, just jaw-dropping. What on earth made them think they could get away with this?
posted by lord_wolf at 11:23 AM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's really likely that Zimmerman was, as he says, injured by Martin banging his head on the pavement.

One of the prosecution's investigators said that while there is nothing to disprove GZ's claim that he was confronted by Martin as he was walking back to his truck, "Zimmerman's claim that Martin was slamming his head against the sidewalk just before he shot the teenager was 'not consistent with the evidence [they] found.'"
posted by lord_wolf at 11:33 AM on June 13, 2012


I don't think that he was wrong for not disclosing the money in the account: because that money was, as we say in the nonprofit biz, "restricted funding," money that had been acquired for a specific purpose and needed to be spent on that purpose. It had nothing to do with the Zimmerman's actual wealth.

This is ludicrous, and this kind of specious reasoning is the reason that it's hard to take at face value the protests of those who decry the poor treatment of Zimmerman. What you're essentially saying is that Zimmerman is so honest that he doesn't have to make an honest accounting of the money to which he has access because he's too honest to use that money except for the honest purposes for which it was meant. Honestly. If Zimmerman is so innocent of conspiring to hide the money, why would he not disclose it and make arrangements for it to be held in escrow or something (I'm sure something could have been worked out). You appear to be suggesting that the credibility issues that he suffers from (and he does suffer from credibility issues) are actually mitigated by his credibility issues. "We know he's a good guy because he didn't reveal the money that he had in his account, and controlled, but which an honest person would not use to flee." My mind boggles.
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


if Zimmerman was losing the fight, that he was entitled to draw and shoot.

So if it's all about the decision to shoot, if I mug someone and lose the fight, I am entitled to shoot them?

It's not all about the decision to shoot. It never can be. That's one reason why "stand your ground" laws are a bad idea.

We don't know yet know who the aggressor was here, and we probably won't, what that means that that Mr Zimmerman will probably go free. It's surely not a good law that allows me to stalk and threaten and then claim the protection of the law when I use excessive force in the conflict that emerges from that.
posted by howfar at 12:03 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


localroger: I disagree with your assessment here. Judge Lester cannot rule on GZ's bond arbitrarily.

If he decides to even though he knows it's wrong, who's going to stop him?

What he can do and what he should do are not necessarily the same thing. I think Judge Lester felt he had been disrespected and decided to teach Z who was who. Even if he knows he will be overruled he also knows Z will rot in jail while the gears grind him back out, and that's probably exactly what the judge intends.
posted by localroger at 12:09 PM on June 13, 2012


4/16-4/19 - Credit union records show Shellie made four different transfers of $9,990, two transfers of $9,999, and two transfers of $7,500 to George Zimmerman’s account

That's structuring, and is illegal as hell. Federal law, too. The Zimmermans sure love working that shovel.
posted by localroger at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf: One of the prosecution's investigators said that while there is nothing to disprove GZ's claim that he was confronted by Martin as he was walking back to his truck, "Zimmerman's claim that Martin was slamming his head against the sidewalk just before he shot the teenager was 'not consistent with the evidence [they] found.'"

Well either Gilbreath was lying, or forgot, that he had either not seen GZ medical report or Sanford PD lead investigator Serino's report, when he said that.

It is a bit confusing, (cough cough) because Gilbreath was one of the affiants for the arrest warrant affidavit which was before he made the statement you quoted.
posted by snaparapans at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2012


localroger: If he decides to even though he knows it's wrong, who's going to stop him?

Well unless the State has something new which was previously sealed, O'Mara will appeal the refusal of bond, and prevail based on the Arthur Hearing standard.
posted by snaparapans at 12:19 PM on June 13, 2012


One of the prosecution's investigators said that while there is nothing to disprove GZ's claim that he was confronted by Martin as he was walking back to his truck, "Zimmerman's claim that Martin was slamming his head against the sidewalk just before he shot the teenager was 'not consistent with the evidence [they] found.'"

Yes, I'm sure the prosecutor's investigator said that. What I'm not sure is what makes the prosecutor's contentions any more reliable than the defense contentions.

What you're essentially saying is that Zimmerman is so honest that he doesn't have to make an honest accounting of the money to which he has access because he's too honest to use that money except for the honest purposes for which it was meant.

Um, no, I'm saying he doesn't have to disclose it as his personal finances any more than I need to disclose fundraising money that's being used for my business expenses as my personal cash.

That's structuring, and is illegal as hell. Federal law, too. The Zimmermans sure love working that shovel

Considering that I myself had no idea of the existence of this law until you talked about it and I googled it, I don't think this is necessarily evidence of bad faith on the part of the Zimmermans.
posted by corb at 12:20 PM on June 13, 2012


What's keeping the Judge from setting a 10 million dollar bond?

That's in agreement with his earlier decision that there's no reason to deny bail, but also considers the likelihood of Zimmerman having resources he hasn't disclosed, given his lack of candor with the court?
posted by mikelieman at 12:25 PM on June 13, 2012


howfar: We don't know yet know who the aggressor was here, and we probably won't, what that means that that Mr Zimmerman will probably go free. It's surely not a good law that allows me to stalk and threaten and then claim the protection of the law when I use excessive force in the conflict that emerges from that.

I am not in favor of SYG laws for reasons you stated, but there is a big logical problem with your statement above. You state that that we do not know who the aggressor was here and probably won't.. that is 100% true.

But then you state that somehow you know who the aggressor was and now he is likely to go free.

Do you have some special knowledge that the rest of us do not have regarding the GZ case? If not, you are making up a scenario based on what you heard on the teevee, or elsewhere. That is a problem, in fact the problem with this case.
posted by snaparapans at 12:26 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Considering that I myself had no idea of the existence of this law until you talked about it and I googled it, I don't think this is necessarily evidence of bad faith on the part of the Zimmermans.

It's all the rage in banking circles. "Know Your Customer" and all that.

I'd be surprised if the bank clerks hadn't filed a "Suspicious Activity Report" based on the several < 10k transactions...
posted by mikelieman at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, no, I'm saying he doesn't have to disclose it as his personal finances any more than I need to disclose fundraising money that's being used for my business expenses as my personal cash.

Yes, I understand what your bad faith argument is. It is unpersuasive and is based on a false analogy. Bond hearings are, at least in part, a chance to determine the credibility of the accused. A central question is the degree to which the accused is a flight risk. It's ridiculous to seriously argue that money under Zimmerman's control is not germane to that question. Your insistence that it is not, and that Zimmerman did nothing wrong here, makes it really hard to not assume the worst when you argue that you think Zimmerman, you know, that guy who shot an unarmed young black kid, is getting a raw deal. This is especially true when many folks who feel like a young unarmed black kid getting shot every once in a while is pretty ok are smart enough to realize that saying so out loud is likely to getting them roundly condemned. Those folks are also making disingenuous arguments about how much of a raw deal Zimmerman is getting.
posted by OmieWise at 12:29 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Considering that I myself had no idea of the existence of this law until you talked about it and I googled it, I don't think this is necessarily evidence of bad faith on the part of the Zimmermans.

On the contrary, even if the structuring law didn't exist the structuring itself is proof of bad faith. They were trying to evade the cash transaction reporting laws, which they most certainly knew about because otherwise they wouldn't have broken the transactions up into sub $10K chunks. They wanted to have a box of liquid cash at their disposal and they didn't want anybody to know about it. Under the circumstances there's no positive way to spin that. If they needed $50K to go into hiding (which itself is a dubious proposition) they could have withdrawn the $50K, let the bank file the CTR, and all would be well.
posted by localroger at 12:29 PM on June 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well unless the State has something new which was previously sealed, O'Mara will appeal the refusal of bond, and prevail based on the Arthur Hearing standard.

...during which period Z sits in jail. Point to Hizzoner.
posted by localroger at 12:31 PM on June 13, 2012


mikelieman: What's keeping the Judge from setting a 10 million dollar bond?

There are two separate issues here. One, the threshold to grant or deny bond based on the Arthur Hearing. This is pretty specific and I do not believe that Judge Lester can deny bond based on that standard.

I am not a Lawyer, but bond can not be used as retribution or punishment, it is only to insure that the defendant shows up at trial. GZ is not a flight risk and there is nothing to show that he would be one to request such a high bond. The Prosecutor asked for $1mil and it was shot down. Given that he has a fund, the new bond may be higher, but given that there are two lawyers working 10 hours a day @$400/hr... the $200K defense fund is relatively minor.
posted by snaparapans at 12:38 PM on June 13, 2012


...during which period Z sits in jail. Point to Hizzoner. yup, although a month or so is quite different to more than a year, considering that GZ has waived his right to a speedy trial. It is much more difficult to prepare for a case when the defendant is in jail up to the case. It skews the case to the prosecution.
posted by snaparapans at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the contrary, even if the structuring law didn't exist the structuring itself is proof of bad faith. They were trying to evade the cash transaction reporting laws, which they most certainly knew about because otherwise they wouldn't have broken the transactions up into sub $10K chunks. They wanted to have a box of liquid cash at their disposal and they didn't want anybody to know about it.

I don't take that as evidence of bad faith. I'm a little creeped out by discovering this exists as a law - is it part of the Patriot Act? What business is it of the federal government if someone wants to make large money transactions with their own money? If I had just found out about the CFA, and it /weren't/ illegal to structure, I would probably start doing that myself, just because I find it really offensive that the federal government wants to be all into my business.

It's that kind of thing that makes my grandparents hide cash under mattresses. And as time goes by, I blame them less and less.

Your insistence that it is not, and that Zimmerman did nothing wrong here, makes it really hard to not assume the worst when you argue that you think Zimmerman, you know, that guy who shot an unarmed young black kid, is getting a raw deal. This is especially true when many folks who feel like a young unarmed black kid getting shot every once in a while is pretty ok are smart enough to realize that saying so out loud is likely to getting them roundly condemned. Those folks are also making disingenuous arguments about how much of a raw deal Zimmerman is getting.

And how do you feel about folks who feel it's totally okay for Hispanics to be locked up in jail unfairly once in a while? People who are okay with a mob of people causing Hispanics to be locked up in jail on bogus charges or otherwise treated badly? Because there's an awful lot of people in this thread that seem to be really happy when Zimmerman's in jail, whether or not he's actually been found guilty of any crimes. But of course, it's not like mobs have ever targeted Hispanics. What would you say if I pointed out that some of those folks might be making disingenuous arguments about how Zimmerman needs to be locked up in jail?

There's arguments about Zimmerman, and then there are arguments about racism. And it's not cool to use the one to dog whistle for the other - especially when it involves an actual human being who may face unjust jail time as a result of mob justice.
posted by corb at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a little creeped out by discovering this exists as a law - is it part of the Patriot Act?

Oh no, this goes back to the early 1990's thanks to the Insane War on Some Drugs. If you don't like the structuring law I advise you not to investigate asset forfeiture because that's likely to cause a dangerous spike in your blood pressure.
posted by localroger at 12:51 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


...misinformation by the Prosecutor who is feeding the press.

Well, as of now, all discovery is open and available to the press. For example, the first set of evidence was released May 17. Many news outlets posted online the entire 183 pages, such as MSNBC [PDF] and the New York Times [PDF].

Part of the recent May 31 hearing was attorneys seeking to seal the future release of remaining evidence.
"Normally adversaries, the state and defense in the George Zimmerman case agree on at least one point: Media coverage is a huge problem, and key evidence should be kept from the public.

However, lawyers representing more than a dozen newspapers and television stations across the state and elsewhere argue the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is a matter of great interest and concern, and the public has a right to information.

The two sides will square off in court in Sanford this afternoon. At issue is evidence that includes the statements Zimmerman gave investigators, phone records and crime-scene photos."
The judge has yet to rule on this request.

Can you please show examples of where the Prosecution has been "feeding the press" misinformation?
posted by ericb at 12:54 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


What business is it of the federal government if someone wants to make large money transactions with their own money?

There is this thing called "money laundering". Have you heard of it?

"Structuring often appears in federal indictments related to money laundering, fraud, and other financial crimes."

"In the United States, the Bank Secrecy Act* requires the filing of a currency transaction report (CTR) for transactions of more than $10,000 in currency (US or foreign). Financial institutions suspecting deposit structuring with intent to avoid the law are required to file a suspicious activity report."

*Bank Secrecy Act was passed in 1970.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:56 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


there are two lawyers working 10 hours a day @$400/hr

Which two lawyers? Uhrig and Sonner (the ones who held a press conference to "fire" GZ as their client) claimed to have been working pro bono (source) and CNN reported that O'Mara is working pro bono as well (source).


I don't take that as evidence of bad faith.

Why is that it is always the laws, the justice system, or us commenters on the Internet who must be impugned and never George Zimmerman, no matter what he does. Why?

I try to look at anyone but those accused of the most horrific of crimes with a "there but for the grace of God go I" lens, and I know I've made some very bad decisions that could have led to me sitting in a jailhouse before, so I try hard -- harder some days than others -- to see GZ in as fair a light as possible, but I cannot conceive of going to the lengths I've seen in this thread of late to defend him and to always paint him as the seat and soul of innocence and forthrightness.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:59 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


4/16-4/19 - Credit union records show Shellie made four different transfers of $9,990, two transfers of $9,999, and two transfers of $7,500 to George Zimmerman’s account That's structuring, and is illegal as hell. Federal law, too. The Zimmermans sure love working that shovel.

I recently served on the jury of a Federal trial here in Boston where we found the defendant guilty of multiple examples of trying to be clever and thwart the $10,000 required reporting laws. He did it multiple times to hide the extortion of an elderly man who lost all of his money, his house, etc. That fucker is going to jail for a long time.
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just last week another Federal jury here in Boston found a lawyer guilty of "structuring."

Attorney Robert A. George Found Guilty In Money Laundering Case.
posted by ericb at 1:03 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


lord_wolf: Which two lawyers? Mark O'Mara and Donald R. West.
posted by snaparapans at 1:04 PM on June 13, 2012


This is the case on which he recently served as a juror: Federal Jury Convicts Dartmouth Man In Bilking Of Elderly Widower.
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on June 13, 2012


ericb: Can you please show examples of where the Prosecution has been "feeding the press" misinformation?

Not sure as it is worth the effort but this for example. But I guess you missed it, or think it is not true because it does not seem possible for you to believe that misinformation ever come from a Prosecutor's office.
posted by snaparapans at 1:10 PM on June 13, 2012


BTW, yesterday -- Trayvon Martin's Parents Call For Change In Stand-Your-Ground Law -- "Martin's parents spoke to Florida panel reviewing self-defence law used by George Zimmerman."
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on June 13, 2012


There's arguments about Zimmerman, and then there are arguments about racism. And it's not cool to use the one to dog whistle for the other - especially when it involves an actual human being who may face unjust jail time as a result of mob justice.

Mob justice? You don't seem to understand the difference between lawyers and judges you disagree with and a mob.

If you don't want to share arguments made by racists you should rethink your strident and tortuous defenses of Zimmerman. At a certain point the "pauvre Zimmerman, I just want to make sure he gets a fair shake" arguments sound like you're protesting too much. Zimmerman essentially summarily executed a young unarmed Black kid. It's hard to see why someone would spend as much time and disingenuous effort defending that executioner as you're doing here. (And snaparapans, too.)
posted by OmieWise at 1:12 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


*Bank Secrecy Act was passed in 1970.

Yeah, some of these laws have been on the books forever. I got aware of them when the casino industry was finally forced to start filing CTR's, which put a crimp in the activities of some acquaintances of mine who were doing quite well at card counting in those days. That was also the period when forfeiture procedures became thoroughly ridiculous.
posted by localroger at 1:17 PM on June 13, 2012


Considering that I myself had no idea of the existence of this law until you talked about it and I googled it, I don't think this is necessarily evidence of bad faith on the part of the Zimmermans.

In the Federal case in which I was a juror the defendant was aware of the limit ... and went to different branches of the same bank over a two-hour period making sub-$10,000 loans. None of the various tellers he saw that day was required to file a currency transaction report (CTR) since the amounts didn't reach the $10,000 threshold. The thing our crook got stung on was the fact that banks have systems in place to flag multiple sub-$10,000 deposits or withdrawals in a given 24-hour time period by aggregating all activity in a given account. The guy thought he could beat the system. He was wrong. It's likely he would have gotten away with it, if he had withdrawn sub-$10,000 amounts once each day, or, every-other day.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


making sub-$10,000 loans.

*sub-$10,000 withdrawals.*
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on June 13, 2012


But then you state that somehow you know who the aggressor was and now he is likely to go free.

Where did I do that? I think I can see the problem in communication.

I don't know if George Zimmerman stalked or harassed Trayvon Martin. I do not know if he was the aggressor. "Go free" is not intended to connote anything. Mr Zimmerman is likely to go free because a jury of his peers will probably judge him not guilty on the law as it stands. Legally, that is fine; I leave the moral question to you.

What I am opposed to is corb's contention that what occurred directly before the shooting doesn't matter. "Reasonable" in law is not a special subset of the term. What one did before any act is vital to any sensible understanding of whether that act is reasonable. corb's position appears to be that whatever happened before isn't that important, because shooting people is basically fine if you're scared of them.

The reason we have the bloody laws in the first place is to stop us shooting other people because we're scared of them.
posted by howfar at 1:37 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


OmnieWise: It's hard to see why someone would spend as much time and disingenuous effort defending that executioner as you're doing here. (And snaparapans, too.)

It is clear that your sentiment is the prevailing one here, good thing that we still have trials in the US and that you are not in charge. It would appear from your comment that based solely on what you have heard about this case, you have decide that GZ has committed a summary execution. Do you think that GZ now deserves a summary execution?

If you do not like SYG laws, fight to have them revoked. If you do not think self-defense is a legitimate defense, write to your politicians and garner support to have the defense revoked.

I have said nothing disingenuous here about this case, and am quite horrified about eager everyone here is ready to convict GZ based on so little information.
posted by snaparapans at 1:38 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh no, this goes back to the early 1990's thanks to the Insane War on Some Drugs. If you don't like the structuring law I advise you not to investigate asset forfeiture because that's likely to cause a dangerous spike in your blood pressure.

OH JESUS FUCK I CAN'T UNSEE IT. What in the holy what HOW IS THIS ALLOWED what. (Though you did warn me.)

There is this thing called "money laundering". Have you heard of it?

Yes, but I don't think it should be a valid crime. If someone obtains money as a result of a crime, the crime itself should be what they're charged with, not the act of depositing their money into a bank account. I do not understand what the purpose of criminalizing the transfer of money is.

Mob justice? You don't seem to understand the difference between lawyers and judges you disagree with and a mob.

Yes, I do. I'm not talking about the lawyers and judges - I'm talking about the two million people who signed a petition to try to subvert the course of justice. I'm talking about famous celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers tweeting what they thought was the address to Zimmerman's house, and then other celebrities tweeting the address to his parents house. I'm talking about people placing a bounty on his head and calling for twenty thousand people to come search for him.

Can you legitimately say that's not a mob?

If you don't want to share arguments made by racists you should rethink your strident and tortuous defenses of Zimmerman.

So you're essentially saying, "Stop defending Zimmerman, or you'll sound like a racist." Do you think this sounds fair? What if I said, "Stop accusing Zimmerman, or you'll sound like a racist." Would you find that fair?

Zimmerman essentially summarily executed a young unarmed Black kid.

I genuinely hope you never have to see summary executions, or know people who've witnessed them. But I think that your language is hugely overblown. I know what summary executions are, and this ain't it.
posted by corb at 1:46 PM on June 13, 2012


I have said nothing disingenuous here about this case, and am quite horrified about eager everyone here is ready to convict GZ based on so little information.

Alright, we're being trolled.
posted by cashman at 1:50 PM on June 13, 2012


howfar: Well corn can say whatever he wants to. The fact is that the events leading up to a SYG defense are relevant, just as the facts leading up to a self-defense claim are relevant.

In a Florida case the SYG defense was disallowed because of what happened before the killing. The factual merit of his claim is what has to be presented. In the case, Wyche/Berry the judge examines all the events that led up to the killing in order to determine that the SYG defense was not valid.

I think that the SYG law is not good, but I think that everyone deserves a fair trial, and quite frankly I do not see how anyone can, based on the facts of the GZ case, determine that they know what actually happened which led to GZ killing of TM.
posted by snaparapans at 1:51 PM on June 13, 2012


the two million people who signed a petition to try to subvert the course of justice.

"Please join us in calling on Angela Corey, Florida's 4th District State's Attorney, to investigate my son's murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin."

The monsters! How can they sleep at night after they called on a state official to do her job?

I genuinely hope you never have to see summary executions, or know people who've witnessed them. But I think that your language is hugely overblown. I know what summary executions are, and this ain't it.

Yes. This being shot to death is a walk in the park to the getting shot to deaths you know about, huh?

There are lots of people here with lots of experiences. I wouldn't presume that yours are worse that ours,
posted by howfar at 1:55 PM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Judge Orders Release of George Zimmerman's Statements to Police
posted by snaparapans at 1:56 PM on June 13, 2012


Judge Orders Release of George Zimmerman's Statements to Police

Shorter summary:
In roughly two weeks, the mystery surrounding Trayvon Martin’s death will finally be uncovered. Florida Judge Kenneth Lester has ordered that an autopsy report and crime scene photos be released within 15 days for use in court. Judge Lester also requested tests conducted on George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who is charged with second-degree murder in Trayvon’s death. Other materials to be used in court include Zimmerman’s statements to police, transcripts of his jailhouse calls, and comments by “Witness Nine.” Photos of the Trayvon’s body and names of witnesses will not be released."
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2012


"Please join us in calling on Angela Corey, Florida's 4th District State's Attorney, to investigate my son's murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin."

The monsters! How can they sleep at night after they called on a state official to do her job?


Except that many of us don't believe that it was her job. Many believe that George Zimmerman should not in fact have been prosecuted. So in those circumstances, it becomes.... "How can they sleep at night after they asked a state official to ignore her duty and instead yield to the needs of the mob?"

Try to imagine this, for example, in something you don't agree with. Let's suppose that two-million strong petition was arguing that someone, say, be prosecuted for allowing an inter-racial couple to marry. Or that a doctor should be prosecuted for giving an abortion. Or providing contraceptive advice.

How would you feel about it then?

If your answer is not exactly the same as it is for Zimmerman, than you're thinking with your heart, and not judging impartially.
posted by corb at 2:02 PM on June 13, 2012


Witness #9 Files: Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman Case
"This anonymous caller to the Sanford Police Department says that she knows George Zimmerman, and he would start something that could lead to a confrontation. She claims that he is a very confrontational person. She doesn’t talk to him because of things he has done in the past, and she knows all of his family. She urges the police to check into his background and try to get people to come forward and admit the type of person George Zimmerman is."
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on June 13, 2012


I think that the SYG law is not good, but I think that everyone deserves a fair trial, and quite frankly I do not see how anyone can, based on the facts of the GZ case, determine that they know what actually happened which led to GZ killing of TM.

Here's the thing. I think Zimmerman made a fundamentally bad decision when he decided to patrol his neighbourhood armed. To be frank, I would be very hard pressed to agree that Zimmerman acted reasonably in killing Martin even if Martin was beating the shit out of him unless I could be persuaded Zimmerman genuinely thought Martin was armed and about to use the weapon. (IIRC 'thought he was armed' has been advanced.) So, never in a thousand years would I end up on this jury. However, I'm completely confident in my hypothetical ability to be a good juror in this case, even if that means I have to suck it up and vote to acquit due to SYG. I'd have an obligation as a juror to do so.* I don't have that obligation on the internet. It's totally reasonable for my working hypothesis to be that Zimmerman is responsible for Martin's death (in a moral sense, not just a factual sense).

*On the flip side, I think I have an obligation to refuse to vote in favour of the death penalty. Yes, this is a little contradictory. But in any case, I sure as hell have an obligation not to send people to prison because I think they're a dick.
posted by hoyland at 2:08 PM on June 13, 2012


Try to imagine this, for example, in something you don't agree with. Let's suppose that two-million strong petition was arguing that someone, say, be prosecuted for allowing an inter-racial couple to marry. Or that a doctor should be prosecuted for giving an abortion. Or providing contraceptive advice.

How would you feel about it then?

If your answer is not exactly the same as it is for Zimmerman, than you're thinking with your heart, and not judging impartially.


There's a judgement call involved in declining to prosecute due to SYG. There is no judgement call in any of your other examples--they're calls for prosecution of unambiguously legal actions.
posted by hoyland at 2:10 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Try to imagine this, for example, in something you don't agree with. Let's suppose that two-million strong petition was arguing that someone, say, be prosecuted for allowing an inter-racial couple to marry. Or that a doctor should be prosecuted for giving an abortion. Or providing contraceptive advice.

How would you feel about it then?


That it isn't a mob. It's democracy. Those people are wrong. Those people are allowed to say wrong things, and I will defend their right to be wrong until I've nothing left to defend it with.

If they incited a crime, as it appears that Spike Lee may have done, I would call for them to be dealt with by due process of law. I think Spike Lee is a twat, but I hope and believe that I would apply the same standards to someone I respect.

This really isn't hard. Maybe you need to look at your own cognitive biases, rather than mine.
posted by howfar at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2012


Yes, I do. I'm not talking about the lawyers and judges

Uh, no you don't. You gave some examples of possible mob justice. Zimmerman being indicted is not one.

Your positions here, and snaparapans, are indistinguishable from those of racist concern trolls on this issue. Your continued attempts to deflect questions about that only reinforce this impression. I have no idea if you are a racist concern troll, but you seem to be getting closer to admitting that as far as your concerned GZ shooting an unarmed Black kid is not something that you're even the least concerned about. I'm not sure why you keep trying to draw false equivalences with hypotheticals.

I genuinely hope you never have to see summary executions, or know people who've witnessed them. But I think that your language is hugely overblown. I know what summary executions are, and this ain't it.

Bullshit. Your family tragedy does not trump what happened here just because you happen to agree with what happened here. Despicable.
posted by OmieWise at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


That it isn't a mob. It's democracy. Those people are wrong. Those people are allowed to say wrong things, and I will defend their right to be wrong until I've nothing left to defend it with.

Please give me your exact differentiation between democracy and a mob. I am genuinely curious.

Those people are allowed to say wrong things, and I will /also/ defend their right to be wrong. But when state officials and federal officials yield to those things, I am allowed to be absolutely furious. Because those in the business of justice are supposed to be above the clamor of the mob.

Your positions here, and snaparapans, are indistinguishable from those of racist concern trolls on this issue. Your continued attempts to deflect questions about that only reinforce this impression. I have no idea if you are a racist concern troll, but you seem to be getting closer to admitting that as far as your concerned GZ shooting an unarmed Black kid is not something that you're even the least concerned about.

I've been very clear about my position. I think that if Martin attacked Zimmerman, Zimmerman had the right to defend himself, up to and including lethal force. I also believe if Zimmerman attacked Martin, Martin had the right to defend himself, up to and including lethal force. I believe in the right of people, no matter what their race, to defend themselves from assault with lethal force. You may disagree with this - you obviously do - and that's cool. But to be all "You're obviously a racist concern troll" because I have a different opinion on lethal violence from you is kind of jackassery.

Bullshit. Your family tragedy does not trump what happened here just because you happen to agree with what happened here. Despicable.

Yes, how dare I go and get half my family killed just so I could call you on your hyperbole in an internet argument. How fucking dare I.

There's something despicable here, but it isn't my statement.
posted by corb at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's despicable here, OmieWise, is your guilt-by-association ad hominems. Nobody needs that kind of contemptible rhetoric here.
posted by Jestocost at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing. I think Zimmerman made a fundamentally bad decision when he decided to patrol his neighbourhood armed.


People keep repeating this but there are numerous news stories that Z was on his way to his local Target store and not on patrol.

Robert Zimmerman, a retired Virginia magistrate, said the family is in hiding and can’t go to the doctor or do anything that requires using their own names.

He said his son had just made dinner for his wife and was heading to Target the night of the NBA All Star game when he spotted Trayvon, who he didn’t recognize as a resident. He thought Trayvon looked suspicious, because there had been a rash of break-ins, and instead of walking on a main sidewalk, Trayvon was walking in a paved path that goes behind two sets of townhouses.


He said his brother didn’t chase anyone. He had been on his way to Target. He thought Trayvon looked suspicious as he walked around the gated community, but not because of race but because of what had been happening in the community. There had recently been several break-ins.


Zimmerman, a former altar boy whose dream was to become a police officer, was in his SUV on his way to Target when he spotted Trayvon, a high-school junior, in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated Sanford community.
posted by futz at 2:43 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please give me your exact differentiation between democracy and a mob. I am genuinely curious.

A democracy is a way of organising a group of people that is supposed to reflect 'majority wishes'. In a democratic state, people often sign petitions and send them to their elected officials, or discuss popular and controversial events and laws in open media. In a mob, people gather together (usually understood to mean in person) to threaten and potentially carry out violent acts. Sometimes, a mob forms in a state that is otherwise a democracy. I haven't heard of that happening here (except possibly the Spike Lee incident).

Let's suppose that two-million strong petition was arguing .... that a doctor should be prosecuted for giving an abortion.

I would look at the laws that allowed this prosecution, and if in fact they did allow prosecution for something I believed should not be illegal, I would either leave, or work towards changing them. If it looked like the prosecutor was bringing a case against someone that was not only innocent, but was never even conceivably guilty of the crime in question, I would question their judgment and work to have them removed from office. Neither of those reactions fit this scenario, where I think he is conceivably guilty of something that I do think should be a crime. The prosecutor must still judge whether there is any chance of a conviction, of course, and I don't know either way.

Any further questions?
posted by jacalata at 2:44 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, and hoyland, that wasn't meant to besmirch you at all!
posted by futz at 2:51 PM on June 13, 2012


ok that's hyperbole, I would probably not leave and not do significant work towards changing them. I'd complain on mefi.
posted by jacalata at 2:51 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I'd complain on mefi.
posted by howfar at 3:00 PM on June 13, 2012


Oh, and hoyland, that wasn't meant to besmirch you at all!

I'm not sure whether going to Target armed deserves more or less scorn that patrolling the neighbourhood.

:%s/patrolling the neighbourhood/going to Target, in any case.
posted by hoyland at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2012


Yes, how dare I go and get half my family killed just so I could call you on your hyperbole in an internet argument. How fucking dare I.

You may not understand what I wrote, or you may understand it and be trying to imply that I suggested what you claim I did, which, if true, is a horrible way to deploy your family's tragedy.
posted by OmieWise at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Asking for a trial is not mob justice. It is asking for justice.

My take on this starts with the fact that Zimmerman shot and killed a person. That is an undisputed fact, and in most of the civilized world that would be an automatic ticket to jail, the only question being for how long. Society has a strong interest in discouraging murder, and I concur with this purpose wholeheartedly.

Z has offered up a defense which, fortunately for him, might let him off the hook in Florida; but it's a defense that requires us to believe his story, since the cops' incompetence (or was it covering for their little follow-along pal?) combined with the fact that Z killed the other witness don't leave us with much but his story. So the question of how trustworthy Z is becomes rather important.

And Z has set off my skeevy person detector in a major way with just about every public action since the shooting. I'm sure he's very regretful that he's landed himself in a shitstorm even his cop friends can't cover for him. His wife has now comitted two felonies, one of which she's already been arrested and will be indicted for, and the publicly available evidence suggests Z conspired with her on both.

This is the person whose word we are supposed to take as sufficient to excuse what would normally be a pretty heinous crime. And while I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not in possession of all the facts, and I don't what procedural niceties might work in his favor, I'm utterly unconvinced.

All the cops who failed to investigate should be fired, and Z should have to explain himself at trial. Maybe he could convince a jury, given the rules of the procedure. If so good on him.

But he absolutely should not just get to walk the way he was looking to before all this blew up. That sends an extremely bad message to other sociopathic nutbags who might find it tempting to perforate some random stranger whose looks they don't like. The public outcry certainly isn't the best way to make sure Z is forced to try his story before people who will hear it critically, but when the cops don't do their job and the prosecutor's office shrugs it's better than nothing.
posted by localroger at 3:27 PM on June 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Very well put.
posted by OmieWise at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2012


localroger: ...the fact that Zimmerman shot and killed a person. That is an undisputed fact, and in most of the civilized world that would be an automatic ticket to jail, the only question being for how long.

That is not quite correct localroger, particularly given the defense claim in this case. If SYG, is not accepted GZ, and GZ is not granted immunity from prosecution, he will claim self-defense in his trial.

"A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable."

Similar clauses are found in the legislation throughout the western world. They derive historically from article 6 of the French Penal Code of 1791, which ruled that "manslaughter is legitimate if it is indispensably dictated by the present necessity of legitimate defense of oneself or others".[

posted by snaparapans at 3:41 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a mob, people gather together (usually understood to mean in person) to threaten and potentially carry out violent acts.

I think my definitions differ from yours. To me, a mob is a group of people who gather together to attempt to do or cause violence to another person. It doesn't have to be on the internet, and violence can include the deprivation of liberty (ie. imprisonment.)

I'm not sure whether going to Target armed deserves more or less scorn that patrolling the neighbourhood.

Some people carry guns everywhere when they go outside. I don't, but I know quite a few people who do. So, they carry guns to Target, they carry guns to the park, they just...don't leave home without it. The idea is that the day they forget it is the day they'll need it. I think he'd have been fine either way, but I believe the mention of Target is to suggest that he wasn't intending to patrol, and came upon Martin in the context of being Joe Average Citizen - in which case the idea of what he should have done on patrol would be moot.

You may not understand what I wrote, or you may understand it and be trying to imply that I suggested what you claim I did, which, if true, is a horrible way to deploy your family's tragedy.

OmieWise: If it clarifies, I think that you bringing my family's history, a thing that MeFites only know about because of an intensely personal AskMe, onto the blue and into this thread at all is monstrous. I said, "Summary executions are not what you think they are, and I hope you never have to learn that firsthand." I didn't bring up my family at all. You did, and I think it's a really shitty thing of you to do, honestly. Aside from any implications I may have potentially misread, or not.

My take on this starts with the fact that Zimmerman shot and killed a person. That is an undisputed fact, and in most of the civilized world that would be an automatic ticket to jail, the only question being for how long. Society has a strong interest in discouraging murder, and I concur with this purpose wholeheartedly.

That's a completely legitimate stance - but I think some people do not think that shooting and killing someone should be an automatic ticket to jail. Many people, myself included, think that if the person is not likely to run, that pre-trial confinement is completely wrong. It skews a person's likelihood of being convicted, regardless of the facts of the case or their possible innocence. Some people also don't consider this a murder. I recognize that you do, and understand how you feel: I'm just pointing out that others disagree.

Z has offered up a defense which, fortunately for him, might let him off the hook in Florida; but it's a defense that requires us to believe his story, since the cops' incompetence (or was it covering for their little follow-along pal?) combined with the fact that Z killed the other witness don't leave us with much but his story. So the question of how trustworthy Z is becomes rather important.


It's true that Zimmerman's defense will rest on how trustworthy he is - but not solely. There was also a witness who saw the fight, and said that Zimmerman was underneath Martin. There's also the physical evidence of Zimmerman's injuries - which, given how swiftly the police arrived and the fact that there were witnesses to the point after the shooting, would have been difficult to self-inflict.

So I think that there are some things we can definitively say - like that there was a fight, and that at least at some point, despite being unarmed, Martin was able to deliver serious physical injuries to Zimmerman, while judging from the autopsy, Zimmerman was not able to deliver equal or greater serious physical injuries with his own fists prior to the gunshot.

The interpretation of those facts, those are up for grabs, though.
posted by corb at 3:44 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I said, "Summary executions are not what you think they are, and I hope you never have to learn that firsthand." I didn't bring up my family at all. You did, and I think it's a really shitty thing of you to do, honestly. Aside from any implications I may have potentially misread, or not.

That isn't all you said, and the rest of the quote seems to me to distinctly imply that your personal experience is germane here in a way that brooks no argument. The full quote is "I genuinely hope you never have to see summary executions, or know people who've witnessed them. But I think that your language is hugely overblown. I know what summary executions are, and this ain't it." [emphasis added] I quoted it above when I responded to it, as well, when I said that your personal tragedy does not entitle you to dismiss others personal tragedies. I apologize for causing you pain in this way, I really do. I don't think it was a "shitty" thing to do because, contrary to your assertion here, you raised the issue of your personal familiarity with summary execution. I'm not sure how one could respond to your comment without responding to your appeal to personal experience. So, I'm torn. I certainly don't want to cause you pain by referring to your intensely personal experience, but I do believe you raised that experience here in the thread.
posted by OmieWise at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I apologize for causing you pain in this way, I really do. I don't think it was a "shitty" thing to do because, contrary to your assertion here, you raised the issue of your personal familiarity with summary execution. I'm not sure how one could respond to your comment without responding to your appeal to personal experience.

I accept your apology. I honestly did not attempt to refer back to that - which is why I phrased it so obliquely, you know, that I just "knew people." My language probably could have been chosen better - it's harder when you're operating on stuff and parameters you're trying not to bring up. Sometimes I forget that just because only 50 people respond to a question, it doesn't mean everyone on MeFi hasn't seen it.

I do think that a disputed self-defense claim is not a summary execution - for me, the definition of summary execution is when people are lined against a wall and shot, or pulled out of cars and shot, or some other thing where there's not really any ambiguity. But it wasn't my intention to say, "Because of what happened to me, you should listen to me." I meant more, "I don't think you've experienced this, and are maybe being insensitive by using this word outside of its proper context."
posted by corb at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2012


Many people, myself included, think that if the person is not likely to run, that pre-trial confinement is completely wrong.

Turning in the about to expire passport while keeping the newer spiffier dupe and structuring transactions to hide all the cash money he had available nearly blew up my skeevy person detector. And while the judge seems inclined to let him slide on the passport he is obviously quite pissed about the money; Z may have had the right to sit there like a plant while his wife perjured herself for him, but it is unwise to piss off a judge. He now gets to spend a month in jail and while "you can't use denial of bond to punish someone" hello, Judge Lester just did exactly that. Whatchoo gonna do about it?

I think at this point the only reason Z hasn't run is that he is too infamous to get away with it. He does not have enough money or connections to set up in a place that genuinely won't extradite him, and he is now too well known to hope to fade into the background in a place like Mexico or Costa Rica. But he has certainly followed every bit of jailhouse advice on how to keep his options open. Check it, Z is absolutely not acting like an innocent person.
posted by localroger at 4:12 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think that a disputed self-defense claim is not a summary execution - for me, the definition of summary execution is when people are lined against a wall and shot, or pulled out of cars and shot, or some other thing where there's not really any ambiguity. But it wasn't my intention to say, "Because of what happened to me, you should listen to me." I meant more, "I don't think you've experienced this, and are maybe being insensitive by using this word outside of its proper context."

Fair enough. Had I read it that way I certainly would not have referred to your personal history as I did.

I think that while your definition of summary executions is a good one, our radically different views of what happened in this case will lead us to disagree about how acceptable it is to apply the term here. In my view, from what I understand of what happened, GZ targeted Martin because of his race, and provoked an altercation that then allowed him to shoot Martin. To me, especially when the history of young Black men being gunned down in the South is factored in, this gets close enough that the phrase "summary execution" is close enough to correct. The "summary" part refers to the, now ironic, fact that GZ acted as the entire judicial system in Martin's case. (Ironic since so many people are outraged that GZ might be required to actually submit to the justice system himself.) That there is a law that may allow him to get away with it does not obviate that for me. I understand that we differ in this, but I think whether or not I am insensitive to use the phrase turns in large part on our different interpretations of the event.
posted by OmieWise at 4:19 PM on June 13, 2012


There was also a witness who saw the fight, and said that Zimmerman was underneath Martin. There's also the physical evidence of Zimmerman's injuries

Well there's also the testimony of Trayvon's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him nearly up to the moment of the altercation. I think the witness testimony is going to wash. It's going to come down to Z explaining himself; if the jury buys his story he will get a pass, and if they don't he gets manslaughter (and should be glad he's not looking at life).

Don't forget that Mrs. Z is now probably going to jail for nearly as long as Z will on a manslaughter charge. It's unusual to indict for pure perjury, which indicates -- did I mention this yet? -- somebody is pissed.

Judges see and must excuse a lot to be impartial in the course of their duties, but I get the impression that mine isn't the only skeevy person detector that is going off big time.

For me this isn't about race, it isn't about guns, it isn't about the Second Amendment, and it isn't about Stand Your Ground (which the legislators who introduced it say doesn't apply to Z anyway). It's about taking the word of an obviously untrustworthy person that his not completely consistent story about why he had to shoot this random guy should excuse him for what he did. And considering that he killed a guy, he's not meeting my admittedly arbitrary personal standard in that regard.
posted by localroger at 4:20 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]



"A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable."


Does the dead black kid get the benefit of this rationale, or only moron liars you sympathize with ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"When they see a criminal of some kind shot dead, they think, yes, the streets are safer now."

It wasn't anyone else who introduced the concept of extra-judicial execution, corb.
posted by howfar at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that while your definition of summary executions is a good one, our radically different views of what happened in this case will lead us to disagree about how acceptable it is to apply the term here. In my view, from what I understand of what happened, GZ targeted Martin because of his race, and provoked an altercation that then allowed him to shoot Martin. To me, especially when the history of young Black men being gunned down in the South is factored in, this gets close enough that the phrase "summary execution" is close enough to correct....I understand that we differ in this, but I think whether or not I am insensitive to use the phrase turns in large part on our different interpretations of the event.

I think you're very correct - and honestly, if I believed the facts as you believe them, I could see myself not necessarily using the words, but being okay with the words being used. It'd certainly be a lot closer. I think where we differ is that I don't think Zimmerman was out looking to kill someone, or that he was actively racist, or even that he hoped for the encounter.

I think that Zimmerman acted on instinct, not really on a conscious level, when something said to him: "Something Is Wrong Here." I think that a lot of things may have added together to produce that instinct. Some of them may have been economic/class related: "Here's a teenager who looks poor, unlike the usual residents of this neighborhood." Some of them may have been behaviorally related: "Here's someone who's sticking close to the houses, rather than using the sidewalk." Some of it could have been culturally related: "Here's a kid wearing a hoodie covering his face. Only hoodlums wear hoodies. Nice boys wear suits and ties, or khakis." (Or whatever Nice Boys wear. I have no idea. I'm making stuff up here.) Some of them may have been racially related in terms of it being sometimes difficult for people of one race to accurately assess the age of another. Some of it may have been media-related, "He looks like criminals I see on TV." And some of it may have been profiling related, "A black teenager has been seen robbing houses. I don't see a lot of black teenagers here. This black teenager might have been one that robbed the houses."

I don't disagree that a lot of those are problematic. But I suppose that I think that Zimmerman's choice to find Martin "suspicious" was probably based on a combination of all or most of those factors, and to single out only one of him, and then to make the further jump to "Zimmerman Is A Racist" is...not well done. It's reductionist. And I think in many ways it lets everyone off the hook. Because if we think that Zimmerman was just a racist who was looking to shoot a black teen, then we ignore the other questions that are raised by this incident. It's...morally easy.

Don't forget that Mrs. Z is now probably going to jail for nearly as long as Z will on a manslaughter charge. It's unusual to indict for pure perjury, which indicates -- did I mention this yet? -- somebody is pissed.

Yeah. This also bothers me. I am just not comfortable with people unevenly enforcing the law just to punish people they are pissed off at. And I think in my mind, it certainly lessens my faith in the judge.
posted by corb at 4:37 PM on June 13, 2012


"A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable."

Most places have a much stricter version of "reasonable" than the states of the southern US tend to. Quite a few states require you to attempt retreat before using lethal force, and since self defense is an affirmative defense the burden of proof is on you -- so in a nearly evidence-free situation such as Z faces, you'd be screwed. That is really much more common than the wild-west SYG and Shoot the Burglar situation in places like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

And let's not forget Britain, from whence most of our laws originally came, which has no sense of humor about the use of deadly force at all.

I am just not comfortable with people unevenly enforcing the law just to punish people they are pissed off at.

It is clear that the judge went from being not pissed off to being pissed off at a certain point, and that point is the point where he realized that Z's claim to be destitute left out a couple of hundred thousand exceptions. Judges are human and Z has pretty much done everything possible to piss the guy off, even including waiting 47 hours and 50 minutes of his 48 hour notice to turn himself in. He consistently acts like a complete dick who thinks he is smarter than everyone else and can game the system. The system doesn't like the idea that you are trying to game it. I think the people who started out covering for Z are getting tired of his ingratitude and utter lack of caution or humility.
posted by localroger at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that Zimmerman acted on instinct, not really on a conscious level, when something said to him: "Something Is Wrong Here."

Amphetamine Psychosis? Zimmerman does have a 'script for Adderall IIRC. Whether it's medically necessary, or he went "Doctor Shopping" for his preferred brand of uppers is something I'm still a little hazy about. And stimulant drugs + a CCW permit? Something wrong about that too...
posted by mikelieman at 5:44 PM on June 13, 2012


Don't forget that Mrs. Z is now probably going to jail for nearly as long as Z will on a manslaughter charge.

Manslaughter of a minor carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years, IIRC. Thus no real motive for negotiating any plea deals, and the assertion that he's serving the same amount of time pre-trial is just hyperbole.
posted by mikelieman at 5:45 PM on June 13, 2012


and then to make the further jump to "Zimmerman Is A Racist"

If you've read the other threads you've seen the discussion around this. It's about his actions, and Trayvon's race clearly played a part. I don't think there is still some strong desire to say George was a bona fide racist. I think the point is if it would have been a cute white kid with a hoodie on, George would have kept it moving. This is absolutely not a case of Zimmerman being Mr. Rogers and just headed out to get a replacement button for his sweater, when he innocently saw Trayvon and walked up on him to ask if he need an umbrella escort home.

There is a case I just saw today. A 13-year old kid shot to death in the chest by a 75-year old man who accused him of theft. The guy shot the 13-year-old to death as he went to bring in the empty garbage cans after pickup. Police show up. Guy admits he did it, is arrested. The police then keep the dead child's mother in a squad car for 2 hours, search her house for the guy's property, and arrest her other son (I think) for a year-old truancy issue. This is in Milwaukee. I think the incident was in early June. The police chief has defended the actions of the department. The family had been living there a month.

I'm not sure about cognitive impairments for the guy, John Spooner or something, and that's about as far as I got with opening links and doing searches because shit, man.
posted by cashman at 6:53 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Manslaughter of a minor carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years

Oh dear, I forgot that Trayvon was a minor. I had this mental image of him as Mr. T, about 35 years old and pummeling the crap out of 135 lb Zimmerman. My bad.

So I guess the wife will get out before Z even if she does consecutive time for her perjury AND the money laundering.
posted by localroger at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2012


Damn, cashman. I haven't been keeping up with the local news. That was a couple of miles from my house. Here are some links to save other people some time (do NOT read the comments*!!!):

75 year old man charged with fatally shooting 13 year old boy
Police defend procedures
Not guilty plea

*seriously, don't read the comments
posted by desjardins at 7:19 PM on June 13, 2012


There were two rounds still in the gun, including one in the chamber with strike mark, suggesting the gun had misfired on an attempted third shot.

Jesus wept.
posted by localroger at 7:35 PM on June 13, 2012


Some people carry guns everywhere when they go outside. I don't, but I know quite a few people who do. So, they carry guns to Target, they carry guns to the park, they just...don't leave home without it.

My point is that I do not accept this as reasonable, acceptable behaviour for someone living in Florida, even if people do it. I don't doubt there aren't parts of the world where it's reasonable, but the likelihood you'll find yourself in mortal danger where a firearm would be the only reasonable means of defense is just not that high in the US. You're way more likely to end up in a situation where someone is unnecessarily dead. Like, say, the situation Zimmerman finds himself in.
posted by hoyland at 8:15 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most places have a much stricter version of "reasonable" than the states of the southern US tend to. Quite a few states require you to attempt retreat before using lethal force, and since self defense is an affirmative defense the burden of proof is on you -- so in a nearly evidence-free situation such as Z faces, you'd be screwed. That is really much more common than the wild-west SYG and Shoot the Burglar situation in places like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

I recognize this - but can you also accept that this means there's an enormous cultural difference between individuals who accept that this is acceptable and individuals who do not? It's not simply a "who's right, who's wrong" issue. It's an enormous cultural issue with points on both sides.

My point is that I do not accept this as reasonable, acceptable behaviour for someone living in Florida, even if people do it. I don't doubt there aren't parts of the world where it's reasonable, but the likelihood you'll find yourself in mortal danger where a firearm would be the only reasonable means of defense is just not that high in the US.

And the same here. I just want to point out - it seems like you're making a judgment about a cultural decision that people from a culture you may not be a part of make on a regular basis. This is just as problematic as when people from that culture attempt to judge our cultural decisions. It's not about the likelihood of mortal danger happening. It's essentially more like life insurance. You see a lot of young people carrying life insurance (myself included, I think I'm relatively young at least for the carrying-life-insurance-coverage range) even though they do not think they're going to die from a tragic accident. Even though the odds are staggeringly low that they/we will be killed, they/we carry life insurance, because the consequences if we do not are so catastrophic.

Is there anyone else who's fairly gun-oriented in this thread? I'm trying to find that piece about the sheriff who left his gun home to go to church and his wife was killed there. He wrote a really excellent blog on the subject that I think might shed some light, but I can't remember enough keywords to effectively google it.

If you've read the other threads you've seen the discussion around this. It's about his actions, and Trayvon's race clearly played a part. I don't think there is still some strong desire to say George was a bona fide racist. I think the point is if it would have been a cute white kid with a hoodie on, George would have kept it moving.

I don't know. I think that the blood is still running hot on this one, and there are a lot of accusations of racism all around - including about MeFites who just happen to defend the guy, y'know? I think this is something where people's passions are leading them to say things that they might not even genuinely think when they take a moment to breathe.

I think you're right - if it had been a cute white kid with a hoodie on, George might not have been suspicious - but I think that you can't separate that from discussions of the intersection of race and class as it applies to gated communities specifically designed to keep the hoi polloi out. (Also, to say kid at all is somewhat disingenuous. We're talking about a seventeen-year old, which is old enough to be tried as an adult in most states. To fend off the immediate accusation, no, I'm not saying he committed a crime - just that I find it troubling to have flexibility on what age means for different purposes. What if it had been, not a "cute white kid", but a white teenager who looked (to George's eye) like a poor meth-head? Or a white guy with a bunch of tattoos that looked like prison tattoos to him? I think that a similar response would have happened. Or what if it had been a black teenager wearing khakis and a sweatervest? I think, again, George's response would have been very, very different - which means it really should be viewed more about class than about race.
posted by corb at 9:44 PM on June 13, 2012


We're talking about a seventeen-year old, which is old enough to be tried as an adult in most states.

He was 16 the month before. "Stop it."

including about MeFites who just happen to defend the guy, y'know?

Which part was untrue? You're conflating two different things here - George, vs people who say things in defense of George (and rarely mention the dead kid or defend things from his point of view). In stating your case earlier, you neglected to mention George putting up the picture on his website of the African American cultural center (or whatever) that had been spray painted with some pro-Zimmerman slogan. So while I don't really care about trying to formally label George, his behavior right there is fucked up, period. George has yet to apologize for that, from what I have seen, if he ever even will. I'm sure your inclination is to go right into defense mode and start positing all sorts of Mr. Rogers-esque things that explain why George put that picture on his website, because he couldn't possibly have race issues because of course you have to be a Klan member to have those.

To fend off the immediate accusation, no, I'm not saying he committed a crime

Yeah you are! Sheesh, you realize your comments are still in this thread, right? Scroll up and read some of the things you've said - this isn't the first time - you already tried to say that Trayvon was trespassing. Because he was walking home from the store and went through yards. Something virtually everybody in here did as a kid. FOH. D

I think that a similar response would have happened.

And I know you're wrong on this one. It's so hard for some people to really accept that this happens in this society. That having dark skin could really be that much of an issue for some people. Yes, yes it is. And looking around at American society systematically to analyze these things will help you understand. Sometimes they don't even have to see your dark skin. Just an identifier that lets them know you might have it.

Also, Sanford Florida is not South Central. Anybody can experience violence and be shattered and superiorly overreact. But that doesn't excuse your actions. The people there are not all walking around with uzis and glocks, facing down criminal hordes on the nightly. But whatever. It looks like it's talk past each other time. Because you seem ignorant or dismissive of not only the relevant portions of the behaviors of the person at the center of this situation and the boy he shot to death, but also of some of your own statements.
posted by cashman at 10:47 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In stating your case earlier, you neglected to mention George putting up the picture on his website of the African American cultural center (or whatever) that had been spray painted with some pro-Zimmerman slogan.

Yeah, it's downright sneaky the way I neglect to mention things I have no knowledge of. Link?

Yeah you are! Sheesh, you realize your comments are still in this thread, right? Scroll up and read some of the things you've said - this isn't the first time - you already tried to say that Trayvon was trespassing. Because he was walking home from the store and went through yards. Something virtually everybody in here did as a kid. FOH. D

Um, no. If you will actually read, my statement was:

corb: I also know people who come from outside an urban environment, (what I would call rural) who argue that in their area of the country, trespassing on someone else's land, even if it's their equivalent of the "front yard," is clear evidence of criminal intent. This is something that, coming from an urban area, I have a hard time really understanding, because everyone's "properties" overlap so much here, but I am told it is a thing.

What I said is that someone could take his actions as evidence of criminal intent, not that I actually personally thought Martin was a criminal. There's a huge difference. I did not grow up in a rural area. I grew up where you sit on other people's stoops all the damn time. But unlike you, I'm actually trying to put myself into a place I'm not from in order to understand, not to condemn.

I also tried to put myself in Martin's position - and can even understand why he might have physically challenged a dude who seemed to be sketchy who was following him. I think this whole situation was a tragedy. I just don't think anyone needs to go to jail over it.
posted by corb at 10:57 PM on June 13, 2012


someone could take his actions as evidence of criminal intent

Someone COULD. But not a rational, reasonable and prudent person. Maybe someone not in their right mind from a combination of prescription amphetamines, stress, lack of training and inexperience. But not anyone reasonable.
posted by mikelieman at 3:55 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even though the odds are staggeringly low that they/we will be killed, they/we carry life insurance, because the consequences if we do not are so catastrophic.

Is there anyone else who's fairly gun-oriented in this thread?


The odds a gun genuinely saves you from harm are vanishingly small. The odds someone ends up hurt or dead are way higher. If it's a life insurance policy, it's a life insurance policy that runs round hurting other people.

I've handled guns. I've shot guns. I might do so for sport if a) I had money, b) I wanted to hang around with people who own guns and c) I didn't think it would be a bit hypocritical. Wandering around armed runs counter to every gun safety lecture I've sat through.

Moreover, I think it's hard to argue I should yield my position on cultural relativity grounds if I'm living somewhere where the 'carry guns in public is totally reasonable' subculture (if we want to call it that) is arguably creating danger in my day to day life.
posted by hoyland at 6:36 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone else who's fairly gun-oriented in this thread?

I am. I own several shotguns and rifles for hunting. I bought my wife a Browning Cynergy featherlight 20 gauge as an anniversary present.

I've handled and owned and used guns all my life.

I just don't think anyone needs to go to jail over it.

George Zimmerman accosted someone he had no business to accost and then shot that person when they rightfully defended themselves.

Gross stupidity of this sort should result in jail time. Especially in light of the fact that his failure of judgement that night seems to be characteristic of his overall capabilities.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:17 AM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Texas man convicted in stand-your-ground case.
posted by snaparapans at 7:18 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's downright sneaky the way I neglect to mention things I have no knowledge of. Link?

George Zimmerman Website Praises Vandalism Of Black Cultural Center
George Zimmerman, the man who claims he shot 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense, has launched a website to raise money for his legal defense, and for “living expenses.”

While even attorneys for Trayvon Martin’s family support Zimmerman’s right to raise money for his defense, the site contains praise for “supporters” who vandalized a black cultural center at Ohio State University, and even seems to encourage more of the same.

The Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center at Ohio State University was vandalized Thursday morning, according to The Associated Press:
The graffiti painted early Thursday said “Long Live Zimmerman.”

…Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee says university police are “vigorously investigating.”

“I was really outraged by this on a university that takes great pride in civility and respect,” Gee told WBNS. The graffiti has been removed.

It was discovered the same day a campus rally was held for Martin and Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi woman who was fatally beaten last month in her El Cajon, Calif., home
Zimmerman’s site contains an “Album” page that contains two photos. One is of someone holding a magic-marker “Justice For Zimmerman” sign. The other is a shot of the vandalized Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center. The “Album” page contains this heading:
“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed” – Henrik, Ibsen

This page is dedicated to persons whom have displayed their support of Justice for All.
Thank you,

George Zimmerman
The clear intent of the page is to show appreciation for, at the very least, the sentiment expressed by the vandals. Intentionally or not, though, that Ibsen quote (I guess the couldn’t find one that said “A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one click on my PayPal link.”) is an encouragement to more “deeds.”

Of the many outrages in the Trayvon Martin story, this one is relatively minor, but it raises some interesting questions. Zimmerman’s supporters insist that this case is not about race, so why were Zimmerman’s supporters moved to vandalize a black cultural center, and why is Zimmerman endorsing this? What other “deeds” are Zimmerman’s supporters encouraged to commit in order to leave a “deep impression?”
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed” – Henrik, Ibsen

Hmmm, I've never head of this Ibsen Henrik fellow. Zimmerman sure knows some obscure lit.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:15 AM on June 14, 2012


He wrote Peer, Gynt.
posted by Jestocost at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2012


April 5, 2012:
A white supremacist hacker also claimed last week to have broken into Martin's email and social networking accounts and posted online what he said were Martin's private messages.

The political blog Little Green Footballs recently published the comments posted under an article on Fox News' website. Charles Johnson, who runs the blog, wrote that the comments were “packed with whiny right wing victimhood and overt racism.”

To whit, here’s a sampling from the post:
What a shame—a tragedy, really— because the dead lil’ gangsta could’ve used “‘A-FIRM-TIV AK-SHUN” to go to kollige an play footballz and make lotsa cash munny!”
[...]

Why should anyone care about this kid? Because he is of color? People don’t value kids period. They are property. BTW, I am a conservative that cares a great deal about kids. We follow hundreds of cases each year, many white babies and children, none of them get attention. But he does??

[...]

Zimmerman felt threatened by Martin’s gang’s actions…this could have possibly lead to these terrible circumstances. Gang violence MUST BE STOPPED OBAMA!

[...]

Blacks can do no wrong, period! That is the DOJ’s excuse for becoming involved. 50+ years of being told they are special and entitled and the gov’t’s only focus is to make it so!!
No racism here. Nope. None.
posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Democrats in congress to push for federal repeal of 'Stand Your Ground' laws.
posted by ericb at 10:57 AM on June 14, 2012


ericb No racism here. Nope. None.

Why isn't the State Prosecutor prosecuting this as a hate crime? I would imagine that if all you have posted about GZ's apparently virulent history of racism is verifiably true, a slam dunk case can be made that GZ was/is on a mission to rid the world of black people.
posted by snaparapans at 11:02 AM on June 14, 2012


Court Filing: George Zimmerman Said ‘Hell No’ To Using Paypal Cash For Bond
When asked by his wife whether the more than $135,000 collected from supporters through his website should be used for his bond, George Zimmerman answered “hell no.”

That’s among the revelations in the court filing by prosecutors who requested that bond be revoked for the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin to death in February.

.... The credit union records also showed that more than $47,000 from the PayPal account was transferred to a bank account belonging to George Zimmerman’s sister. The phone transcripts also reveal that George Zimmerman instructed his wife to use the money, which was donated by supporters, to “pay off all the bills,” including accounts with American Express and Sam’s Club.

The day after Zimmerman bonded out of jail, Shellie Zimmerman transferred more than $85,500 from her credit union account to her husband’s, bank records show.So, it looks like he intended to use some, or all, of the raised funds to pay for existing bills/obligations and not for bond, living expenses while in hiding or attorney fees (as Mark O'Mara took Zimmerman on as a client pro bono).
posted by ericb at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The State isn't pursuing this as a hate crime, but as was reported on May 15, the FBI might.

REPORT: FBI May Charge George Zimmerman With Hate Crime, Could Face Death Penalty.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on June 14, 2012


So, it looks like he intended to use some, or all, of the raised funds to pay for existing bills/obligations and not for bond, living expenses while in hiding or attorney fees (as Mark O'Mara took Zimmerman on as a client pro bono).

Those are my words and not from the article. HTML-fail for a proper blockquote.
posted by ericb at 11:20 AM on June 14, 2012


snaparapans -- you really seem to be confused on or not aware of many facts involved in this case. Let me suggest that you might want to consider reading the 3 prior threads (linked to above) and/or The Trayvon Martin Case section of the Huffington Post to get a fuller picture.
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, why isn't Florida prosecuting this as a hate crime? Do you think that Angela Corey is hiding something?

Certainly there is tremendous racism in the US, much of which has reared its ugly head with the election of Obama, and many virulent racists are coming out to support GZ, which is quite disgusting. But, given the solid evidence I have seen so far, I do not see GZ as the poster boy for racism. What does seem apparent to me, is that GZ is being used by all sorts of people, activists, politicians, racists, and regular people sickened by the fact that walking while black is a crime often punishable by death.

The fact that GZ's grandfather is black, means little, but it does mean something. Also, what has been reported is that several black residents in GZ's community speak well of him. I have seen this repeated many times, but have not read any specific comments attributed to these neighbors. Perhaps they fear for their life, or reputation, if they make their comments public.
posted by snaparapans at 11:38 AM on June 14, 2012


The fact that GZ's grandfather is black ...

There you go again.

George Zimmerman's father is white. His mother is Peruvian.

It helps knowing facts.
posted by ericb at 11:47 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


But, given the solid evidence I have seen so far, I do not see GZ as the poster boy for racism.

I would agree with this. I see GZ as the poster child for arrogant belligerent stupidity.
posted by localroger at 11:47 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


ericb: snaparapans -- you really seem to be confused on or not aware of many facts involved in this case. Let me suggest that you might want to consider reading the 3 prior threads (linked to above) and/or The Trayvon Martin Case section of the Huffington Post to get a fuller picture.

I have read them. There is quite a lot of misinformation there, as well as lots of heated talk. Also there some comments reflecting a cooler perspective which discuss presumption of innocence and fair trial, some of those commenters are also willing to suspend judgement about the case. Mostly, imo, people seem to want to use GZ as a symbol for racism, or wingnuttery in america, some seem to champion GZ as a hero.

Personally, I prefer reading cooler material coning from a legal defense standpoint, rather than speculation fueled from the State's biased perspective, the hungry MSM whose interests are purely financial aka selling soap, or the police, who have their own agenda.

Jeralyn at talkleft or bmaz who writes at emptywheel, and organizations like the ACLU
posted by snaparapans at 12:03 PM on June 14, 2012


Zimmerman's original attorneys pointed out that the family claims one of his maternal great-grandfathers was of Afro-Peruvian background.*

Still doesn't make Zimmerman immune from racism.
posted by ericb at 12:04 PM on June 14, 2012


Yeah -- I find the coverage by TalkLeft and the ACLU to also be great resources to 'keep current.'
posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on June 14, 2012


ericb: George Zimmerman's father is white. His mother is Peruvian.

Maybe you misread my comment. I did not mention his mother or father but his grandfather. Here is a family picture.
posted by snaparapans at 12:07 PM on June 14, 2012


ericb: Zimmerman's original attorneys pointed out that the family claims one of his maternal great-grandfathers was of Afro-Peruvian background.*

Still doesn't make Zimmerman immune from racism.


Yeah, no question about that. Occasionally diversity in ones background, creates great enmity not empathy. I have not seen it so far with GZ, but I am open to the possibility that he could be a racist at best and a sociopath at worst.
posted by snaparapans at 12:14 PM on June 14, 2012


I am open to the possibility that he could be a racist at best and a sociopath at worst.
[Among the evidence to be released is] the full statement by “witness 9,” a woman who called police after the shooting and alluded to Zimmerman and his family “hating black people” and to issues of character that she said included something Zimmerman “did to her.” The woman, who sounded shaken and did not want the officer who took her statement to use her name, will not be named in the release. (source)
I have read elsewhere that this witness additionally advised the police to interview other people in the neighborhood in order to get corroborating stories to her charges of racism.

I suspect GZ may be like some people I actually count among my friends: able to make exceptions for individual black people, but antagonistic towards blacks as a group, particularly those who are "acting black" with regard to clothing, speech, appearance, and conduct.

I would not consider him to be a sociopath based on anything I have read about him so far. As I said in one of the earlier Trayvon Martin threads, I think he is basically a decent chap who was trying hard to figure life out before that fateful rainy night.

He can be belligerent and he holds a higher opinion of himself than his accomplishments warrant. And he makes some shockingly boneheaded decisions. I want to see him vigorously and fairly prosecuted, but even if Witness 9 is accurate in her review of his character, I still do not think he's some sort of irredeemable monster.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


the full statement by “witness 9

Not all the witnesses are without agenda, from what I understand.

Witness #9's uncorroborated accusation of some past act of Zimmerman's that she believes shows his racial animus will be provided. Her identity will not be provided. That doesn't seem fair. The state says it was unable to corroborate her information. She clearly has some agenda (she called in on Feb. 28, 2 days after the shooting, and spoke with Inv. Perkins. While the call is not date-stamped, Inv. Serino provides the date on page 6 of his 13 page report dated 3/13/12.) It's obvious from listening to the call who she is. If she's not going to be a witness and she's smearing the defendant, I don't see why her identity is being withheld.[emphasis mine]
posted by snaparapans at 1:36 PM on June 14, 2012


sanaparapans, have you contradicted yourself? I think (but may have lost track) that you were essentially arguing we must let the legal system take its course, but the bit you've just quoted is counter to that position, arguing that the court's decision is incorrect (and thus shouldn't be respected, I guess).

In any case, I've got a problem with the bit you've just quoted, namely:
It's obvious from listening to the call who she is. If she's not going to be a witness and she's smearing the defendant, I don't see why her identity is being withheld.
Because if she were named, I assume this very blogger would be busy digging up details of this woman's life and dragging her name through the mud? And that that consequently discourages people who may have information useful to the police from coming forward in the future? That last bit was precisely the court's rationale. The possibility also exists that she both doesn't get on with Zimmerman and is telling the truth. In this case, she'd presumably be useless as a witness at the trial unless the state can find someone else as corroboration. But the absence of that corroboration doesn't make her a liar.
posted by hoyland at 2:36 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'mon, hoyland, the rule here is that if any feat of mental gymnastics might allow us to think well (or just not poorly) of Zimmerman, we must engage in it. If we do not we are sheeple being lead by a nefarious MSM and the prosecutors, members of a mob who want the worst for the world. Conversely, anything that might call Zimmerman's motives or Martin's threatening presence into question is obviously not to be countenanced. Those things are obvious propaganda from those who don't value truth, justice, and the American way. Suggesting that this kind of reasoning doesn't really hold up to scrutiny, and is in the service of an obvious agenda, is strictly not allowed. Try and keep up!
posted by OmieWise at 3:04 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone else who's fairly gun-oriented in this thread?

Yes. I grew up around 12 bore shotguns and .22 rifles. We used these guns for their purpose, hunting vermin. We were never foolish enough to imagine that our familiarity with the weapons gave us the right to kill people with them.
posted by howfar at 4:04 PM on June 14, 2012


hoyland: not following your logic. Witness #9 is more than likely GZ's ex. IMO, she will most definitely not be called as a witness in the trial. She will not help the State's case as she obviously has an ax to grind as a jilted lover, and the Defense will not call on her either.

Because if she were named, I assume this very blogger would be busy digging up details of this woman's life and dragging her name through the mud?

Not likely. You are clearly not familiar with talkleft. It is quite civil over there, dragging people through the mud is not something Jeralyn does. Arguing that a witness who is smearing a defendant should be named, is quite different from an ethical POV than mud slinging.
posted by snaparapans at 7:25 PM on June 14, 2012


howfar: Yes. I grew up around 12 bore shotguns and .22 rifles. We used these guns for their purpose, hunting vermin.

Pogo_fuzzybutt: I am. I own several shotguns and rifles for hunting. I bought my wife a Browning Cynergy featherlight 20 gauge as an anniversary present.


I really appreciate both of your input. Do either of you own or carry handguns for self-defense purposes?

Or, is there anyone else in this thread who either currently owns or carries handguns for self-defense purposes, or who has done so in the past?

I would really like to hear the reasoning that people who carry handguns for self defense and are prepared to defend themselves with lethal force, but who oppose Zimmerman and would like to see him jailed, have. I think it's really hard for me to understand why people have such virulent opinions on this, when a lot of people seem to be getting stuck on the point of him using or carrying a gun.

I suspect GZ may be like some people I actually count among my friends: able to make exceptions for individual black people, but antagonistic towards blacks as a group, particularly those who are "acting black" with regard to clothing, speech, appearance, and conduct.

I think this may be partially right - I think it's possible that he may be antagonistic towards lower-income blacks who act, dress, or speak in stereotypical ways that are perceived negatively by the general population. There are a lot of people who are. But I think it's hard to tell that from the current evidence. We don't really know what Martin's speech patterns were. His twitter feed is kind of problematic, but a lot of people write on twitter differently than they speak in person. We don't know what he was wearing (other than the hoodie) the day he died. We don't know how he acted in person, other than the suspensions for marijuana and possessing burglary tools and jewelry. So we can't really say Zimmerman had problems with these - even though it's certainly statistically possible - without knowing more.

But again, I think that's an intersection between race and class. I do not think in any stretch of the imagination that if Martin had been dressed like a prep, that the confrontation would have happened at all.

He can be belligerent and he holds a higher opinion of himself than his accomplishments warrant. And he makes some shockingly boneheaded decisions. I want to see him vigorously and fairly prosecuted, but even if Witness 9 is accurate in her review of his character, I still do not think he's some sort of irredeemable monster.

I see a common theme here: Zimmerman acted stupidly, and thus he should be prosecuted. I'm kind of curious about this. I understand the first point - Zimmerman did act stupidly. If he was not equipped for a physical, non-lethal confrontation, he should not have gotten within arms' reach of Martin. If he's on a neighborhood watch, he should have situational awareness, so even if Martin attempted to confront him on his way back to his car, as he says, he should have noticed that movement and been able to evade. He should not have been patrolling if he was not tactically ready for it.

But what I don't understand is where it moves from "He was an idiot" to "He needs to go to jail." There are a lot of people who are idiots in this world, but we don't send them to jail for being idiots. We send people to jail who intended to cause crimes, because we judge that they are not able to be rehabilitated through training or instruction alone. And in fact, if someone is less mentally capable, many of us argue that they should not in fact be held responsible for their crimes. (Look at the huge outcry over Texas executing retarded murderers.)

So why jail for Zimmerman? I mean, I could see punishments I would think would be on a level with his stupidity, but that's not one of them. Give the man probation and prohibit him from carrying a gun, if you feel that he's not able to be responsible with it, but locking him up for making a bad or dumb call seems excessive.

C'mon, hoyland, the rule here is that if any feat of mental gymnastics might allow us to think well (or just not poorly) of Zimmerman, we must engage in it.

Omiewise, isn't that what we're actually supposed to do, at least in the justice process? He must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - which means that people are supposed to try to come up with doubts, or reasons why he might not be guilty, and examine them.
posted by corb at 2:04 AM on June 15, 2012


Also, I want to respond to the stuff about Zimmerman and racism, but I'm too busy twitching after following a link off one of the links here, for my first experience with 4chan's /pol. It opened with some of the most offensive stuff I've ever seen in my life, and I couldn't even go on to try to find that supremacist guy's stuff or what have you.
posted by corb at 2:05 AM on June 15, 2012


But what I don't understand is where it moves from "He was an idiot" to "He needs to go to jail." There are a lot of people who are idiots in this world, but we don't send them to jail for being idiots.

His idiocy resulted in another person being dead. That is pretty close to the definition of manslaughter.

We send people to jail who intended to cause crimes, because we judge that they are not able to be rehabilitated through training or instruction alone.

We also send people to jail to deter others from being so stupid. If you are too busy texting on your phone to watch where you're driving and you cause a fatal accident, you will and should go to jail, not because you intended to kill someone but because you put yourself in a situation where your stupidity caused a death.

That is my problem with Zimmerman. He did multiple things which were either unwise or plain wrong, which added up to a dead stranger. He needs to work on that. The penalty for manslaughter is meant to get your attention. And Z fiercely needs his attention to be gotten, because so far all he has done is try (not very successfully) to cover his ass and whine.
posted by localroger at 5:07 AM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Almost everyone that goes to jail did it because they did something stupid.
posted by empath at 7:06 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


We send people to jail who intended to cause crimes, because we judge that they are not able to be rehabilitated through training or instruction alone.

Actually, we send people to jail who committed crimes. Or at least, that's the idea. For the most part, the idea that our criminal justice system is interested in rehabilitation is a false one. This is not desirable, but you'd essentially have be arguing that Zimmerman deserves special efforts at rehabilitation.

(Look at the huge outcry over Texas executing retarded murderers.)

Umm... the reason we object to executing the retarded (or, more precisely, those of intelligence significantly below average) and those who committed crimes as children is because the presumption is that they didn't have the capability to understand that by doing X, they were opening themselves up for the death penalty. (And some of us don't think the state should be executing anyone, so...) As far as I know, there's no suggestion Zimmerman has anything but typical intellectual capabilities. He's well capable of understanding that, as a rule, society draws a line from killing people to prison. I think he's an irresponsible idiot for wandering around armed, but that's the the sort of idiocy that would remove his criminal responsibility.
posted by hoyland at 7:07 AM on June 15, 2012


but that's the the sort of idiocy that would remove his criminal responsibility.

Argh... that's not the sort of idiocy...
posted by hoyland at 7:08 AM on June 15, 2012



I really appreciate both of your input. Do either of you own or carry handguns for self-defense purposes?

Or, is there anyone else in this thread who either currently owns or carries handguns for self-defense purposes, or who has done so in the past?


No, I don't carry.

If you carry, then every fight is a gun fight. Every interaction a potentially deadly one. It's far too much work and risk for not enough payoff and lots of unintended consequences.

I've been robbed. I've been stabbed. I've been mugged. This happened to people I knew. Outside of hunting or target practice I've never been in a situation where the presence of guns would have improved things.


I actually have more fear of knuckleheaded trigger happy morons like Zimmerman than I do other "criminals".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:08 AM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Do either of you own or carry handguns for self-defense purposes?

It's a fair question. I am glad to live in a country where doing such a thing would be a crime.

"Any person who without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, the proof whereof shall lie on him, has with him in any public place any offensive weapon shall be guilty of an offence" - s1(1) Prevention of Crime Act 1953.

The PoCA 1953 is a good piece of law, I would argue, because it criminalises any object that, in the opinion of the court, is carried as a weapon. I understand that we come from very different perspectives on this, and I take seriously the things you will dislike about such legislation. I believe that the court is the place where the legality of personal defence should be determined, which probably reflects my prejudice. You think differently, and I would argue that that opinion reflects yours.
posted by howfar at 8:19 AM on June 15, 2012


'Stand your ground' defense fails in Texas case. Lessons for George Zimmerman? -- "A conviction in Texas Wednesday shows that not all defenses built on stand-your-ground laws are successful. George Zimmerman has invoked the defense in the Trayvon Martin case."
posted by ericb at 8:56 AM on June 15, 2012


George Zimmerman: New discovery documents delivered to lawyer.
posted by ericb at 9:05 AM on June 15, 2012


ericb: Usually the CSM is quite good, if not great. In this case, I am scratching my head as to how the Texas case serves as Lessons for George Zimmerman. The two cases bear no resemblance, imo, save for the fact that they both pivot around SYG defense.

I guess the CSM is responding to popular cries that have made GZ a symbol for racism and particularly the crime, which is sometimes a death sentence, of walking while black. Oh well, I guess that they have to pander to their readers.
posted by snaparapans at 9:08 AM on June 15, 2012


Yeah ... anytime anyone in the MSM writes anything about George Zimmerman they are doing so to pander to their readers and just sell shit.
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on June 15, 2012


Zimmerman may be working to bond out of jail again
George Zimmerman is working to bond out of jail again.

... The judge revoked Zimmerman's bond and arrested his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, for allegedly lying about how much money they had.

The defense said it plans to call at least two witnesses at George Zimmerman's bond hearing later this month.

The witnesses are bond agents from Magic Bail Bonds, which posted Zimmerman's 150,000 bond the first time.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Shaeffer said that indicates to him that the defense is gearing up for a battle.

"Clearly, Mr. O'Mara wants to show that Zimmerman has abided by all conditions of release while he was on bond and that the bondsman is secure in writing yet another bond," Sheaffer said.
posted by ericb at 9:19 AM on June 15, 2012


ericb: Yeah ... anytime anyone in the MSM writes anything about George Zimmerman they are doing so to pander to their readers and just sell shit.

Anytime, anyone... ? OOOOkkay. got it.
posted by snaparapans at 10:03 AM on June 15, 2012


The case in Texas is much more egregious than Z's -- the guy photographed his own crime, and it's obvious that he believed the talismanic words "I am in fear of my life I am standing my ground" gave him carte blanche to shoot whoever he wanted. Maybe they do under the right circumstances, but I'd guess only if you say 'em with feeling.

The cops in Texas didn't buy it, and conducted a proper investigation, and the DA and ultimately the jury didn't buy it either.

What happened in Florida is considerably murkier, in large part due to the failure of the useless fucking Sanford cops to do their job. I think a lot is going to hinge on the testimony of the girlfriend, which provides a window on what Trayvon was actually doing and thinking that neither Z nor his cop buddies expected to exist.
posted by localroger at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2012


His idiocy resulted in another person being dead. That is pretty close to the definition of manslaughter.

Maybe - but definitely not Murder 2. Far less "hate crime, with possibility of the death penalty."


The PoCA 1953 is a good piece of law, I would argue, because it criminalises any object that, in the opinion of the court, is carried as a weapon. I understand that we come from very different perspectives on this, and I take seriously the things you will dislike about such legislation. I believe that the court is the place where the legality of personal defence should be determined, which probably reflects my prejudice. You think differently, and I would argue that that opinion reflects yours.

Yes, definitely. I find England's position on weapons to be deeply confusing at best, but accept that it comes from and has strengthened very different culture. I also understand a lot of people find American's gun culture as very disturbing.

Outside of hunting or target practice I've never been in a situation where the presence of guns would have improved things.

Fair enough - your opinion reflects your experience. In my own experience, the presence of guns has either directly saved the lives of my friends, or would have resulted in improved outcomes for others, so I have a very different opinion on it.


In other news, I haven't seen this posted on Metafilter yet, but it is a much less politicized position on how both Zimmerman and Martin could have been acting in good faith.
... Failing to understand how creepy his own slow-motion monitoring of the teen from his SUV seems, Zimmerman takes it as a further confirmation of his suspicions when Martin breaks into a run.

Stupidly disregarding the 911 dispatcher’s advice, Zimmerman gets out of his car to ensure he can point the boy out to police when they arrive. After all, he thinks, if this is the guy who’s been breaking into local houses, it would be crazy to let him slip away to strike again, and he only intends to get a closer look and maybe ask a few questions. This would be dumb, but not inherently criminal. He either approaches Martin, or Martin himself finally decides to confront this determined stranger to demand an explanation for why he’s being followed. Zimmerman, in turn, demands to know “what he’s doing in the neighborhood,” meaning “explain what I regard as suspicious behavior.” Martin seems visibly edgy—as you would be with a creepy stranger tailing you!—and maybe Zimmerman simultaneously exposes the holstered firearm, hoping it will deter the teen from trying anything.

But Martin isn’t connecting the question with the recent spate of break-ins, which he has no reason to know about: What he hears is a threat from an armed and menacing stranger who has been stalking him from his vehicle, and now sounds angry to see a black teenager in “his” neighborhood. And when Zimmerman exposes the gun, Martin reasonably concludes that he’s about to become the victim of a hate crime.He could run—but he won’t outrun a bullet, and risks being shot in the back. It seems like his only chance is to disable and disarm this nut before he can draw the weapon...
posted by corb at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2012


Zimmerman's voice on the tape rejects that idea. He is agitated. He is walking around with a loaded 9 with one in the chamber. You cant set yourself up in a foul mood and confrontational disposition, profile somebody and then be said to be acting in good faith.

You sound like Burke from Aliens. "It was a bad call, Ripley, it was a bad call"

And I say just what Ripley said. This kid is DEAD, Corb! Don't you have any idea what has happened here?
posted by cashman at 12:11 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


This would be dumb, but not inherently criminal.

A dumb thing which results in the death of another person is inherently criminal. Again, it's pretty much the definition of manslaughter.

I would agree that murder 2 is a stretch, but absolving him of manslaughter is just crazy. He set up the situation and it led directly to another person's death. The details really don't matter. Now, the details matter a great deal if you want to stretch it to murder or hate killing. I think there was certainly a racial component to Z's decision to engage Trayvon, but I'm not sure that bothers me as much as the simple fact that his stupidity led to a random minding his own business stranger's death.
posted by localroger at 12:34 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


FBI queried gun dealers in Zimmerman case

“Two FBI agents showed up here with a picture of Zimmerman asked me if I recognized him,” said gun dealer Khaled Akkawi, who was listed as a witness in the case. “They were pretty much asking along the lines of if he had made racial comments or anything. My employees told me it couldn’t be further from the truth. [snip]

Other witnesses who were named included Akkawi’s employees, two people from a tactical firearms facility in Central Florida, a private investigator and a range master at another gun club.

posted by snaparapans at 3:05 PM on June 15, 2012


New Evidence In Zimmerman Case Due Out Monday
The latest round of evidence in the murder case against George Zimmerman will be released beginning Monday, according to the State Attorney's Office.

... A judge ordered the release of the evidence by June 27. But State Attorney Angela Corey says some of the information will come out next week.

It initially included access to more than 150 jailhouse calls and transcripts, new crime scene photos except those that show Trayvon's body, and additional witness statements to police. But in a development late Friday afternoon, the State Attorney's Office said Zimmerman's attorney is filing a motion to block the release of some of Zimmerman's jailhouse calls. Therefore, only six of Zimmerman's calls will be released.
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on June 15, 2012


Some more detail on the evidence released to the defense:
The Sentinel said reports listed included witness interviews by FBI agents, an apparent incident report from paramedics, cellphone records from the father of the victim and a printout of Zimmerman's old MySpace page, which reportedly included disparaging remarks about Mexicans.
posted by ericb at 5:00 PM on June 15, 2012


Two FBI agents showed up here with a picture of Zimmerman asked me if I recognized him,” said gun dealer Khaled Akkawi, who was listed as a witness in the case.
"He bought the gun from us,"[Khaled] Akkawi said.

Earlier Friday, Akkawi — who stresses that he is a strong supporter of Florida's stand-your-ground law, which has come under fire since the Feb. 26 shooting — expressed surprise when told he was named as a witness in the case. But after thinking about it further, he said there were several possible reasons.

In addition to the gun sale, Akkawi said, Zimmerman visited Shoot Straight's Casselberry location [which is owned by Akkawi] on multiple occasions, had fired on the ranges and interacted with employees. The store also is a major National Rifle Association recruiter, he said, and his employees have testified in court as experts in the past.*
Sounds like the FBI have been doing their job investigating all avenues. Good for them.
posted by ericb at 5:10 PM on June 15, 2012


Earlier Friday, Akkawi — who stresses that he is a strong supporter of Florida's stand-your-ground law, which has come under fire since the Feb. 26 shooting — expressed surprise when told he was named as a witness in the case.

Surely the guy's on the witness list because he could be called to say 'Why yes, I have record of my shop selling Zimmerman the gun and all the paperwork was proper.' I believe you name everyone you might call and then some. Surely the guy who runs the gun shop is going to be one of the less random people on the list.
posted by hoyland at 5:17 PM on June 15, 2012


Thanks for those updates ericb!
posted by cashman at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2012


You sound like Burke from Aliens. "It was a bad call, Ripley, it was a bad call"
And I say just what Ripley said. This kid is DEAD, Corb! Don't you have any idea what has happened here?


Sadly, not having seen Aliens, your reference is wasted on me.

I would agree that murder 2 is a stretch, but absolving him of manslaughter is just crazy. He set up the situation and it led directly to another person's death. The details really don't matter. Now, the details matter a great deal if you want to stretch it to murder or hate killing. I think there was certainly a racial component to Z's decision to engage Trayvon, but I'm not sure that bothers me as much as the simple fact that his stupidity led to a random minding his own business stranger's death.

I'm trying to think about what my response would be to him being tried for manslaughter. I think I would probably be more okay with it - but murder 2 / hate crimes charges, I get angry because it seems so illegit.

The Sentinel said reports listed included witness interviews by FBI agents, an apparent incident report from paramedics, cellphone records from the father of the victim and a printout of Zimmerman's old MySpace page, which reportedly included disparaging remarks about Mexicans.


I wish that people would understand that Peruvians talking about Mexicans is less racist, and more like New Yorkers talking about New Jersey-ites. In fact, by definition, Hispanic - on - Hispanic hate really /can't/ be racist. It can be nationalist, but not racist. So I'm not sure how that's evidence.
posted by corb at 8:19 PM on June 15, 2012


Black people, believe it or not, can be racist against blacks, and women can be sexist against women, and gay people can be homophobic. It happens.
posted by empath at 8:25 PM on June 15, 2012


I think I would probably be more okay with it - but murder 2 / hate crimes charges, I get angry because it seems so illegit.

Well if the worthless fucking Sanford cops had done their job we might have a case here of Z being charged with manslaughter, as he very much deserves, and without the fucking circus of national attention including us.
posted by localroger at 8:37 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish that people would understand that Peruvians talking about Mexicans is less racist, and more like New Yorkers talking about New Jersey-ites. In fact, by definition, Hispanic - on - Hispanic hate really /can't/ be racist. It can be nationalist, but not racist. So I'm not sure how that's evidence.

I don't even know where to begin here. Funnily enough, I'm pretty sure we're all aware that Peru and Mexico don't share a border. So, bizarre analogy.

But also, making yourself the arbiter of Zimmerman's identity is fucked up. Our varying identities play different roles at different times. You can't declare Zimmerman Peruvian because it's rhetorically convenient for you. I'm weirdly reminded of when baseball had a storm in a teacup over whether Ted Williams should appear on a list of greatest Latino players. But this article about that is relevant here for a different reason, and it's the bit where Reggie Jackson is quoted at the end as saying "They have no right to pass judgment on what I claim about my Latin heritage." We're talking about the reverse situation, but you don't get to decide that Zimmerman is operating as a Peruvian (for god's sake, we don't even know if he would describe himself as 'a Peruvian' rather than being of Peruvian descent or even that his connection to Peru is all but irrelevant to him).

I think I would probably be more okay with it - but murder 2 / hate crimes charges, I get angry because it seems so illegit.

I realise you're responding to other mentions of manslaughter, but if you have nothing better to do with your time, you can read the relevant statutes. I'm certainly not a lawyer, never mind a Florida lawyer, but it reads to me like manslaughter covers the scenario of killing someone genuinely accidentally and second degree murder requires that you killed someone while intentionally doing something potentially lethal. Superficially, it seems pretty hard for intentionally shooting someone to fall under the manslaughter statute.
posted by hoyland at 9:09 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly, not having seen Aliens, your reference is wasted on me.

Nev...seen...say what. Aw man. Well, the idea is don't pooh-pooh away the horrible thing this guy did and make it seem like "aw shucks, just an honest mistake" when someone's kid is dead.
posted by cashman at 11:00 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


hoyland: but it reads to me like manslaughter covers the scenario of killing someone genuinely accidentally and second degree murder requires that you killed someone while intentionally doing something potentially lethal. Superficially, it seems pretty hard for intentionally shooting someone to fall under the manslaughter statute.

The line between manslaughter and 2nd degree murder is not intentionality but an act that demonstrates:

a depraved mind and was an act "done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent," indicative of an indifference to human life..
posted by snaparapans at 2:17 AM on June 16, 2012


We could settle this "does he consider himself Hispanic" question by looking at his Census form, but that's highly illegal. In any case, "Hispanic" is not a race.
posted by desjardins at 4:27 AM on June 16, 2012


Superficially, it seems pretty hard for intentionally shooting someone to fall under the manslaughter statute.

Either Z went into the altercation with a serious indifference to Trayvon's life ("He's not getting away even if I have to kill him") or it was an unintended consequence of a situation that spun unexpectedly out of control.

In the first case Z is guilty of murder, in the second manslaughter. Given the cooling body lying on the ground in the minutes afterward and the fact that Z set up the situation, thereby (even as the bill's authors say) taking SYG off the table, there is no interpretation which leaves Z innocent.
posted by localroger at 6:00 AM on June 16, 2012


The line between manslaughter and 2nd degree murder is not intentionality but an act that demonstrates:

a depraved mind and was an act "done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent," indicative of an indifference to human life..


That's a bizarre selective quotation of the statute (or not the statute--I'm not sure where the quoted bit is from), which says
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree...[stuff about punishment]
I certainly won't claim to know what the technical definition of 'depraved mind' actually is (that was the bit about not being a Florida lawyer), but it seems like intentionally shooting someone ticks the 'imminently dangerous' and 'regardless of human life' boxes pretty clearly. Now, you do need all three to not fall through to manslaughter. I assume the state thinks they can prove the 'depraved mind' part at trial. If they can't, I'm all for not convicting Zimmerman of murder. If they don't think they can prove it, then yes, we're in a seriously fucked up situation, but we don't have evidence of that, do we?

I'm also a little worried about how a person not of a 'depraved mind' runs round intentionally doing obviously potentially lethal things to other people. But, yes, it's true the statute does not mention intentionality. That was my paraphrasing and I pretty much stand by it.
posted by hoyland at 7:19 AM on June 16, 2012


hoyland: but it seems like intentionally shooting someone ticks the 'imminently dangerous' and 'regardless of human life' boxes pretty clearly.

I guess that the reasoning that 2nd degree murder, necessitates depraved mind to evil intent, and extends beyond the language of intentionally shooting someone, is that self defense has been a long and well established defense for intentionally shooting someone.

Unless the DA has a smoking gun, it will be very difficult for the State to make 2nd degree murder stick.
posted by snaparapans at 9:03 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But also, making yourself the arbiter of Zimmerman's identity is fucked up.

It's true, if I ever would do that - but I wasn't. I was going off his father's statement as to his ethnic identity, not my own choice.

We could settle this "does he consider himself Hispanic" question by looking at his Census form, but that's highly illegal. In any case, "Hispanic" is not a race.

Well, I'm sure Edward James Olmos would agree with you, but I'm not sure that's quite what you mean.

Either Z went into the altercation with a serious indifference to Trayvon's life...

But there's a difference between "serious indifference" and "depraved indifference." "Serious indifference" is what a soldier shows, or occasionally a police officer. "Depraved indifference" is far more specific and pointed, particularly under Florida law.
posted by corb at 9:17 AM on June 16, 2012


I guess that the reasoning that 2nd degree murder, necessitates depraved mind to evil intent, and extends beyond the language of intentionally shooting someone, is that self defense has been a long and well established defense for intentionally shooting someone.

Well, sure, but self-defense is a defense to manslaughter as well. I'm not entirely sure what we're talking about: whether Zimmerman can be reasonably tried for second degree murder rather than manslaughter or whether he'd be guilty of either?

To the first I'm saying 'I think so.', up to not knowing the precise definition of 'depraved mind'. To the second I'm saying 'I don't know.' I just skimmed the statute and it looks like there are three different ways Zimmerman could attempt to justify use of deadly force (it looks pretty clear that shooting someone is 'deadly force'), but they all have to do with what Zimmerman believed at the time, and I don't think we have coherent enough information to judge that at the moment.
posted by hoyland at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2012


What I do know is that GZ is accused of second degree murder and I believe that he is being tried in the press by a overreaching prosecutor.

And, if this goes to trial, it will be up to the jury to decide if he's guilty of second-degree murder or of manslaughter.
"If George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, wants to claim self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, he most certainly will have to testify, criminal defense attorneys in Florida told msnbc.com.

... “Zimmerman is the only person who can re-enact what took place that night,” [Palm Beach-area defense attorney Nellie] King said.

... Under the Stand Your Ground law, as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, a judge can grant Zimmerman immunity from prosecution in this type of hearing. Here is where Zimmerman is expected to tell why he feared for his life when he scuffled with Martin. Those hearings are like a “mini trials,” King said, in which experts on Zimmerman’s emotional state will also likely be called to testify, as well as any other witnesses in the case. If a judge decides there is enough evidence to show Zimmerman did act in self-defense based on the preponderance of the evidence, the judge can rule that Zimmerman can’t be prosecuted, essentially dismissing the criminal case.

... The defense will argue that Zimmerman acted in self-defense and feared for his life. The jury can decide if Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter."*
posted by ericb at 10:51 AM on June 16, 2012


Will jury, or judge, decide George Zimmerman's fate?
The nation's fixation on the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has led many to question whether an impartial jury could be found for the trial of his killer, George Zimmerman.

But it's possible a judge, not a jury, will decide Zimmerman's fate. He says he fired in self-defense, and many expect his lawyers will eventually ask for an immunity hearing under Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law.

Often described as a "minitrial" in which the burden of proof is on the defense and the judge serves as jury, such hearings are unlike other criminal-justice proceedings.

The lawyers' roles are reversed, the burden of proof is low, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

"If the judge dismisses the case, it's game over," says Eric Schwartzreich, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who has represented multiple "stand your ground" defendants since the law was passed in 2005.

... Even if immunity from prosecution isn't granted, the hearings can have value for defense lawyers, Schwartzreich said. They can test their theories, their witnesses — and often, their client — in a courtroom.

"You get to actually see in a courtroom how a witness will testify on the witness stand," he said.

... The law gives defense lawyers "two bites at the apple," Schwartzreich said. "You can ask the judge for immunity, and you can argue the 'stand your ground' law with the jury."

... When a defense lawyer files a motion for "stand your ground" immunity, a hearing is held that resembles a trial: Witnesses are called and cross-examined, evidence is introduced, lawyers make arguments and a ruling is made.

"You basically have a trial before the trial," Jacksonville attorney Kevin Cobbin said. "Some of these things can actually be very much like trials, just without the jury."

... If the burden is so low, why aren't more cases tossed? Attorneys say the law is unevenly applied, and some judges prefer to let a jury decide the case.

"There are some judges that don't want to stick their foot out there and say the buck stops here," Cobbin said.

... At least in theory, the defense doesn't have much to prove. In a criminal trial, the state must prove the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt." In an immunity hearing, defense lawyers need only "a preponderance of the evidence" to win the case.

The "preponderance" standard — the same used in civil cases — is a much lower bar.

"It's 50.1 percent," Schwartzreich said.

Robert Buonauro, an Orlando lawyer who recently won immunity for a client in a Seminole County case, said you only have to "tip the scale a little bit in your favor."

Still, motions for immunity are often defeated.

... If the burden is so low, why aren't more cases tossed? Attorneys say the law is unevenly applied, and some judges prefer to let a jury decide the case.

"There are some judges that don't want to stick their foot out there and say the buck stops here," Cobbin said.

... There are also risks to asking for immunity: The hearing gives the state a preview of the defense's trial strategy. And if a defendant testifies to something damaging, it's likely to reappear at trial.

The outcome rests on the judge, who typically has a much greater legal understanding than a typical juror. Buonauro said most self-defense cases aren't overly complex, but the judge's experience can play a factor.

"I think where the judge's perspective comes in is their experience in being able to weigh and determine credibility," Buonauro said. And the defendant's credibility, he said, is critical.

In Zimmerman's case, a "stand your ground" claim would rest in the hands of Judge Kenneth Lester, the same judge who just threw Zimmerman back in jail after determining he misled the court about his finances.

Lawyers agree it's likely that Zimmerman would testify if there's an immunity hearing. Whether the judge would believe him remains to be seen.

"If a jury is told to weigh the credibility of witnesses, then the judge should have that same duty," Cobbin said. "The judge should definitely weight the credibility of every witness that comes forward."
posted by ericb at 11:02 AM on June 16, 2012


To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

I think it would be quite a stretch to consider Zimmerman's behavior as "depraved indifference" by that definition.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on June 16, 2012


ericb: Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you wrote, because it appears to me to be fundamentally incorrect.

In the SYG hearing (a mini-trial) the burden rests on the defense to prove it's case, IOW the defense has to work harder than normal and the bar is higher for the defense, not lower, which is what they mean when they say the defense has to produce a preponderance of evidence. If GZ presents a preponderance of evidence he is granted immunity from prosecution.

If he loses the SYG mini trial, and the case goes to a regular trial, jury or not, the burden of proof rests on the State. GZ does not have to do or say anything.

Regarding the likelihood of his testifying in either trial on the stand, I do not think it is likely. He has provided lots of testimony already, and there will be witnesses, and others called to the stand.
posted by snaparapans at 12:21 PM on June 16, 2012


EVERY single thing that Zimmerman did created the risk which eventually ended Trayvon Martin's life, and Zimmerman didn't seem the least bit concerned about the risk he was creating.

Given the State's charging decision, I suspect they feel they can meet their burden here.
posted by mikelieman at 12:24 PM on June 16, 2012


ericb: Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you wrote, because it appears to me to be fundamentally incorrect.

I didn't write any of it. They are quotes from msnbc.com and the Orlando Sentinel. I'll listen to the experts they quote regarding the proceedings yet to come.
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on June 16, 2012


In the SYG hearing (a mini-trial) the burden rests on the defense to prove it's case ... If GZ presents a preponderance of evidence he is granted immunity from prosecution ... If he loses the SYG mini trial, and the case goes to a regular trial, jury or not, the burden of proof rests on the State.

I know. THAT IS WHAT IS STATED IN BOTH OF THE QUOTES!
posted by ericb at 12:38 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK...no need to shout...

as I suspected I misunderstood your post. Glad that you have a clear understanding of the process... sorry for thinking you might have gotten it wrong.
posted by snaparapans at 12:42 PM on June 16, 2012


No one got it wrong. Me, nor the reporters or the legal sources they quoted.

BTW -- I use 'block quotes' when quoting other sources ... as is standard online HTML convention. I also provide clickable links to the original sources ... that's what the highlighted yellow text (or, asterisk) is for.
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on June 16, 2012


Yes, again, I misunderstood, sorry that I imagined anyone got it wrong. In case you are interested, I was confused by these quotes: . If the burden is so low, why aren't more cases tossed? Attorneys say the law is unevenly applied, and some judges prefer to let a jury decide the case.

and this:

... At least in theory, the defense doesn't have much to prove. In a criminal trial, the state must prove the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt." In an immunity hearing, defense lawyers need only "a preponderance of the evidence" to win the case.

The "preponderance" standard — the same used in civil cases — is a much lower bar.

posted by snaparapans at 1:00 PM on June 16, 2012


But there's a difference between "serious indifference" and "depraved indifference."

Sorry, IANAL and was not using "serious" as a term of art, but rather as a modifier. I think one could make a strong case that Zimmerman's actions that night fit the Florida definition of depraved indifference which is quoted above. He doesn't seem to have had any situational awareness of how his actions would be perceived by the person he was stalking, and by acting that way with the gun on his person he greatly increased the likelihood that the confrontation he was provoking could turn lethal.
posted by localroger at 2:16 PM on June 16, 2012


I think the argument about the SYG hearing is moot though at this point...if it's the same judge that sent him back to jail in defiance of the normal procurement of bond and had his wife held, despite the usual way perjury is treated, there is no way that judge is going to dismiss the case.
posted by corb at 5:59 PM on June 16, 2012


I have no idea, but I have to imagine it would be a different judge. Zimmerman and O'Mara have been far too relaxed if that were known to be the case. That's his best chance at easy freedom, they would have been walking on eggshells and tap dancing. Or so you would think.
posted by cashman at 10:58 PM on June 16, 2012


Looks like it will, in fact, be Judge Lester at the helm if there is a SYG hearing:
But the decision at each step is in the hands of one person: Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester. The same judge Zimmerman and his wife lied to at the first bail hearing.
But the same blogger thinks Z might walk:
But if Trayvon threw the first punch due to verbal harassment from Zimmerman, Coffey said, then SYG would apply to Zimmerman.
...which is probably why Capehart consistently describes the SYG law as "insane."
posted by localroger at 4:57 AM on June 17, 2012


We've already covered how Zimmerman's actions in light of 776.013(3) wouldn't be considered 'reasonable', since the injuries sustained as Trayvon Martin defended his life were trivial.
posted by mikelieman at 6:45 AM on June 17, 2012


You're kidding me. You tell multiple lies to the judge who can set you free without a trial if you can come across as credible and believable to? This fool is trying to get locked up.
posted by cashman at 7:31 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Z actually gets two shots at SYG -- the hearing, which is optional, and at trial should he forego the hearing or not prevail at it.

There is some risk to the hearing, because Z will have to testify and whatever he says can be used at trial. Given his history the risk that Z will contradict himself seems high. If he waives the hearing Z has the option not to testify, which could work in his favor if they can gin up enough doubt that Trayvon threw the first punch, giving the SYG to Z.

OTOH the hearing can be a chance to see how your witnesses fare in court before putting them in front of a jury, which can be useful.

Some judges are also apparently very reluctant to let people off for SYG at the hearing, preferring to let it wash out in court.
posted by localroger at 7:45 AM on June 17, 2012


localroger: There is some risk to the hearing, because Z will have to testify

GZ does not have to testify at the hearing (as you put it), and more than likely will not, imo. He has already provided testimony, and there will be evidence produced and witnesses.
posted by snaparapans at 1:46 PM on June 17, 2012


Well snaparapans it may be technically true that he doesn't have to testify, but I think the consensus is that if he doesn't the hearing will be a waste of time. As Mr. Capehart at WaPo put it,
Coffey said that the risk for O’Mara and Zimmerman is that they would likely have to put Zimmerman on the stand at the SYG hearing, potentially exposing him to a difficult time in cross-examination that the prosecutors could use against him at the later trial if the case is not dismissed by the judge.
Kendall Coffey, the guy Caphart is quoting, is the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1993 to 1996. He is also, based on other quotes, no fan of SYG. But he probably has a better idea of how this will play out than either of us.
posted by localroger at 2:41 PM on June 17, 2012


localroger: Perhaps there is consensus among the news pundits, but other than that, I do not think that there is consensus about whether GZ will take the stand. Given that he has given plenty of testimony already, which is all on record, and there is evidence and plenty of witnesses to call, I do not believe that his going on the stand will accomplish anything for him.

But we'll see.
posted by snaparapans at 6:54 PM on June 17, 2012


Perhaps there is consensus among the news pundits, but other than that

From one of the previous threads, posted by ericb:
If George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, wants to claim self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, he most certainly will have to testify, criminal defense attorneys in Florida [said].
It would serve you well to look through those past threads so we're not having the same discussions again, and again.
There is no way around it,” Derek Byrd, incoming president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, told msnbc.com. “I personally believe he would have to testify. It’s not like a case where there were three other witnesses. Who else is going to say he was fearing for his safety when he shot Trayvon Martin?”
...
Nellie King, a Palm Beach-area defense attorney who is president of the association of defense lawyers, agreed.
Zimmerman can do what he wants, or what he thinks is most advantageous for himself. I do think if you shoot somebody's unarmed kid to death, I think the least you can do is get up on the stand and explain yourself.
posted by cashman at 8:41 PM on June 17, 2012


cashman: You might want to have look at the constitution. In the US a defendant has the right to remain silent.
posted by snaparapans at 8:45 PM on June 17, 2012


What on earth are you talking about? You said nobody but pundits were saying it. You were wrong.
posted by cashman at 9:07 PM on June 17, 2012


cashman: You said nobody but pundits were saying it.

That is not what I said, but I can see how it read that way... but that is besides the point. The fact is GZ does not have to testify, and more than likely he will not, imo..

The people quoted in the MSM seem to be arguing that GZ has to take the stand if he wants to prevail in his SYG immunity hearing. I do not think he will take the stand, and really can't imagine that he can say anything more than he has already said (testimony) to help his case.
posted by snaparapans at 9:31 PM on June 17, 2012


That is not what I said, but I can see how it read that way... but that is besides the point.

"other than that, I do not think that there is consensus about whether GZ will take the stand."

You've got three Florida law experts all saying the same thing, in different articles; saying you're wrong. Then you start weirdly talking about the constitution.
posted by cashman at 10:09 PM on June 17, 2012


I think it's a misunderstanding of 'has to'. As I understand it, sure nobody can compel him to (snararapan's version of 'has to') but he basically has no chance of winning if he doesn't (cashman's version of 'has to').

I understand it that they can't use his testimony without calling him as a witness, which is why he 'has to' take the stand.
posted by jacalata at 11:44 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the thing which would compel Zimmerman to take the stand would be his defense attorney's sense that without his testimony, all the other statements are going to end up cancelling themselves out and then there's still this "Explain to the court why you had to kill Trayvon Martin" aspect which can't be overcome without getting on the stand.

He doesn't HAVE to testify to make his case, but if he doesn't the likelihood of his sitting in prison the next 25 years is markedly increased.
posted by mikelieman at 5:25 AM on June 18, 2012



The jailhouse tapes are coming out.
“Isn’t it crazy how something like this just makes you put everything in perspective in life?” Shellie Zimmerman said. “It’s amazing how insignificant the things we stress out over are.”

“I agree,” he said.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:24 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]



Dunno how this got cut from my comment. Clearly, I suck at internets.
“That feels good … that there are people in America that care,” George Zimmerman said. “That is awesome. I need to talk to O’Mara about getting the word out because those people need to start vocalizing themselves.”

“After this is all over, you’re going to be able to just have a great life,” Shellie Zimmerman said.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:25 AM on June 18, 2012


The next line is kind of sickening:
“After this is all over, you’re going to be able to just have a great life,” Shellie Zimmerman said.

“We will,” George Zimmerman replied. “I’m excited.”
Who does that? Who shoots a fucking kid, gets money sent to him because of it and instead of thinking about the family of the kid he killed, or even that he can afford a proper defense, thinks about how he can live the high life with that money? "I'm excited." I don't know which call its from though. Listening to call 5, they both speak in mostly hushed tones, so maybe it is said more matter of factly.
posted by cashman at 9:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah it's at like 7 minutes into this call, and they both sound like they are hoping it more than actually believing it.

I remember that discussion of the code, so I'm interested to see how that part is said, if I can find it.
posted by cashman at 9:31 AM on June 18, 2012


This is crazily shitty transcription. Like for example, if you hear the audio, it's clear she's saying "they'd like a drivers license" but the transcript says "They didn't look at drivers license."

Though, the $10 shit /is/ actually "ten dollars," for those who don't want to listen through the entire thing. I think that's definitely sketch. I...actually haven't been in jail like that, does anyone know if you're in a bank with other prisoners, or if you get a private room? I could see wanting to keep it quiet from other prisoners, but if it's a private room it's definitely the shittiest code that ever coded.

Also, whoa, does anyone else find it inappropriate that they're releasing confidential medical details just because they happen to be mentioned in a call between husband and wife?

Also, WTF, Florida prison system? Do they not have hygiene?
ZIMMERMAN: I’m excited, tomorrow’s shower day.
Who does that? Who shoots a fucking kid, gets money sent to him because of it and instead of thinking about the family of the kid he killed, or even that he can afford a proper defense, thinks about how he can live the high life with that money? "I'm excited."

I think it's more in the nature of reassurance, like, "Yeah, baby, I'll be fine, we'll be fine."For those who don't want to listen, these are actually pretty tragic calls. Zimmerman really does sound subdued and just trying to make his wife feel better and make sure she's taken care of, even if he's not able to get out. The actual bit also seems a bit poorly taken down, but it is:

ZIMMERMAN: it makes me feel happy and to lay here and um be okay.
SHELLIE: I’m so happy to know that you’re gonna be okay.
ZIMMERMAN: Yeah. And we’re gonna be okay but, I’m happy to know that you won’t be.
SHELLIE: No. After this, we go over, you’re gonna be able to just, have a great life.
ZIMMERMAN: We will.
SHELLIE: Yeah, we will. You’re
ZIMMERMAN: I’m (inaudible) excited.
SHELLIE: Yeah, you should be. You should be excited
posted by corb at 9:33 AM on June 18, 2012


It sounds like they are in some sort of group prison area? Really weird.
ZIMMERMAN: Um, I’m probably not gonna get the phone back after this call so.
SHELLIE: Really honey?
ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, one of the other inmates is asking for it.
posted by corb at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2012


jacalata: I understand it that they can't use his testimony without calling him as a witness, which is why he 'has to' take the stand.

Not being a lawyer, I would assume that you are referring to the hearsay rules, no?

Good question!

While the rules of evidence are inapplicable or relaxed in certain proceedings, we have been unable to find -- and the parties have not cited -- any authority holding that hearsay evidence is admissible at a pretrial evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss based on immunity.

Definition of hearsay from Florida Rule of Evidence 90.801(1)(c):
"Hearsay" is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
posted by snaparapans at 9:44 AM on June 18, 2012


Also, whoa, does anyone else find it inappropriate that they're releasing confidential medical details just because they happen to be mentioned in a call between husband and wife?

Listen to the beginning of the calls - it says they are being recorded.

It sounds like they are in some sort of group prison area? Really weird.


I think you're assuming that another inmate walked up to him. Probably more like a CO walked up to him or he was otherwise notified that his time was up. At the end of call one, you hear him say "thank you sir", and it ends - sounds like a CO walked up and told him his time was up.

I don't think you can explain away his sketchiness with how he talks about money, chalking it up to him being around other people. For starters, that is just silly to me to think that someone in the Seminole County jail is going to set up some complex operation because Zimmerman has 10 thousand in the bank.

Furthermore you know it is bogus because Zimmerman's wife keeps the code. If it were merely on his end, she would translate it and say "Okay, so move $10,000 into the other account", to be clear. But listening to the interactions where they talk about money, they are clearly speaking in code together, under the misguided assumption nobody will notice.

Which actually goes right along with his "I can do some dumb shit and think I'll get away with it" mentality that he has exhibited on multiple occasions.
posted by cashman at 9:45 AM on June 18, 2012


does anyone else find it inappropriate that they're releasing confidential medical details

Who's "they"? The Zimmermans released the details by speaking about them on a phone they knew to be subject to recording and release.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:47 AM on June 18, 2012


Also, WTF, Florida prison system? Do they not have hygiene?

From what I've heard and read, showering every day is pretty rare in jails and prisons.
posted by desjardins at 9:48 AM on June 18, 2012


Listen to the beginning of the calls - it says they are being recorded.

Legit, but recorded isn't the same as "recorded and released on the internet." I don't think the Zimmermans had any idea they would be released to the public.

Furthermore you know it is bogus because Zimmerman's wife keeps the code. If it were merely on his end, she would translate it and say "Okay, so move $10,000 into the other account", to be clear.

That's a good point. It could be to help keep him on point, but most likely is, again, the most retarded code that has ever coded. They both...definitely don't seem too bright, listening to these calls.

Also, here's the talk about the bond (just because I know it was brought up previously on the thread, there's apparently some translation confusion.)
ZIMMERMAN: if the bond is 50, pay the 15. If it’s more than 15, just pay 10% to a bondsman.
SHELLIE: You don’t want me to pay $100?
ZIMMERMAN: I don't know (Hell no)
posted by corb at 9:52 AM on June 18, 2012


I...actually haven't been in jail like that, does anyone know if you're in a bank with other prisoners, or if you get a private room?

You lose privacy in addition to freedom when you're locked up. I don't know if all places have the same set up but the couple of times I rec'd calls from friends or family in jail or prison, the background noise suggested they were out in the open in a shared space, though it wasn't like the other people on lockup were standing right over their shoulders or anything.

These phone calls reinforce my belief that forethought and understanding of consequences simply aren't part of the toolkit GZ uses to make his way through the world.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:59 AM on June 18, 2012


I don't think the Zimmermans had any idea they would be released to the public.

The government is the public. By saying something on a recording being made by the government, you are releasing information to the public.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:59 AM on June 18, 2012


That is to say, the Zimmermans had no reasonable expectation of privacy during those conversations, thus they spoke in code.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:02 AM on June 18, 2012


The government is the public. By saying something on a recording being made by the government, you are releasing information to the public.

So by that standard, anyone can request a FOIA for my last ten years of pap smears, because they were done in a government hospital? No. That's not how medical privacy works.


On a sidenote, interesting empathy for other prisoners. (Also, more instances of shitty prison life.)
ZIMMERMAN: There’s one guy that um, puts his clothes in the laundry and
SHELLIE: Mm hmm
ZIMMERMAN: he never got it back.
SHELLIE: (Gasp) so, is he naked?
ZIMMERMAN: No, he’s got his like jumper on but, like he’s
SHELLIE: Oh
ZIMMERMAN: (Inaudible) so bad he’s so cold. I'm like
SHELLIE: Aww
ZIMMERMAN: even his shoes. He didn’t get his shoes back.
SHELLIE: How do you know this? You heard him yelling?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, no, he was just talking.
SHELLIE: To you?
ZIMMERMAN: No, to the guard.
SHELLIE: Oh. Oh, that’s sad.
ZIMMERMAN: I know. I wanna give him some of mine, but I don’t think they allow that
posted by corb at 10:07 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So by that standard, anyone can request a FOIA for my last ten years of pap smears, because they were done in a government hospital?

Did you knowingly talk about them on a public recording? If you did then you would have been waiving your expectation of privacy. That IS how privacy works.

Also, FOIA only applies to Federal Executive branches. The only hospitals I know that fall under that are Military and VA hospitals. As such, Military medical records and records from military and veterans' hospitals are archived and subject to release to some third parties.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:16 AM on June 18, 2012


Yes. Those would be the hospitals I was referring to, 10th Regiment. But strangely, every military or VA hospital I entered told me I was covered by medical privacy acts prohibiting the release of that information except under very specific circumstances, and only to very specific entities.
posted by corb at 10:26 AM on June 18, 2012


The 10th Regiment of Foot: The government is the public. By saying something on a recording being made by the government, you are releasing information to the public.

That is not the case regarding calls made from Florida jailhouse public phones:
The Fourth District Court of Appeals in Bent v State, 46 So.3d 1047 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). decided that the audio recordings of jail calls are not public records subject to release pursuant to Florida Statutes Chapter 119, commonly known as the Public Records Act.
The reason that the calls are being released are because they are part of the discovery, not because they are public records. O'Mara has submitted a motion, arguing that the constitutional ight to a fair trial precludes releasing all of the witness statements and jailhouse phone calls. Specifically those calls and statements that are inflammatory, have no direct bearing on the case, and will not be used by the State or Defense in the trial.
posted by snaparapans at 10:37 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


But strangely, every military or VA hospital I entered told me I was covered by medical privacy acts prohibiting the release of that information except under very specific circumstances, and only to very specific entities.

Without some sort of law enforcement or judicial necessity, you would definitely have to make a heck of a case in your FOIA request that the information was not an invasion of personal privacy, but that said, the information is still in the posession of the US government and archived as US government documents.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:47 AM on June 18, 2012


Both the defense and prosecutors have requested that all future discovery/evidence be sealed. That was one of the subjects of the June 1st. hearing. A number of media outlets are arguing that such should remain public.
posted by ericb at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2012


ericb: Both the defense and prosecutors have requested that all future discovery/evidence be sealed.

The Defense and State have not requested that all future discovery be sealed. They have both agreed that some things should be sealed, but are not in agreement as to which things they are. The June 1 hearing was held by Judge's Lester to hear the State's Motion for Protective Order. That is the hearing where the State brought up the Bond issue. Judge Lesters Ruling on the State's Motion (to seal evidence) is here.

O'Mara responded to that order today, asking the court to include several other items not included in his order.
posted by snaparapans at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2012


I think you're assuming that another inmate walked up to him. Probably more like a CO walked up to him or he was otherwise notified that his time was up.

Yep. The likely explanation. Other prisoners do not have access to Zimmerman. Before he was released on bail (and when these calls were recorded) he was "in protective custody — segregated from the general population." Now that he's back in jail he remains in protective custody.
posted by ericb at 11:31 AM on June 18, 2012


George Zimmerman Jail Calls Released, Jailbird Jokes About Hiding In Hoodie.

Christ, what an asshole!
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on June 18, 2012


Yeah I saw that in the trancript but didnt have a chance to listen to that section of the call. How does it sound on the call? Because it seems pretty horrible and beyond tasteless.
posted by cashman at 11:43 AM on June 18, 2012


How does it sound on the call? Because it seems pretty horrible and beyond tasteless.

It comes close to the end of Call 6. He kind of chuckles after he says it. I can't imagine Mr. O'Mara being happy with the experience of having GZ as a client at this point.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reprehensible. Just awful. He has no regard for the life he took. I cannot imagine what Trayvon Martin's parents will feel when they hear this news.
posted by cashman at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2012


O'Mara has submitted a motion, arguing that the constitutional ight to a fair trial precludes releasing all of the witness statements and jailhouse phone calls.

Interesting detail about Witness 9's second statement:
On the same day prosecutors released six phone calls made by George Zimmerman to his wife while he was in jail, his lawyer asked the judge in the case to keep dozens of other calls private.

Prosecutors had been set to release 145 additional calls on Monday, but delayed after learning of Mark O'Mara's objection. The motion filed by the defense lawyer, however, focused unexpectedly on another piece of evidence in the case; a second statement made by one of the witnesses.

The witness, identified as "Witness 9" in prosecution documents, has not been publicly identified. One of her two statements has been withheld from the public so far, and O'Mara argues it should stay that way.

In her first statement, Witness 9 says that she knows Zimmerman, as well as his family.

"I know George, and I know that he does not like black people," she said, speaking to a Sanford police investigator. "He would start something. He's a very confrontational person. It's in his blood. Let's just say that."

She went on to describe Zimmerman and his family as "just mean and open about it, and I don't know what he's capable of, but I do know things that he's done to me that I would never, I would never talk to him about ever again."

O'Mara writes in his motion that the not-yet-released second statement "is not relevant" to the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and "would not be admissible" at trial. O'Mara argues that its release would "serve to reignite and potentially enhance the widespread public hostility toward Mr. Zimmerman."

O'Mara doesn't specify what he finds objectionable about the statement. However, in an earlier motion by the state, prosecutors wrote that the witness made "an allegation... regarding an act committed by" Zimmerman, and "provided other information as to [Zimmerman's] bias against black persons."

As for the additional jail phone calls, O'Mara writes in his new motion that the court should reconsider allowing their release. Many have no relevance to the case, O'Mara writes, and should be kept private.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester is set to hear argument on both issues on June 29, the same day set for Zimmerman's second bond hearing.
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on June 18, 2012


George Zimmerman: Does it sound like an elaborate plot?
What to make of George Zimmerman’s jailhouse calls with his wife?

“Everything is in code,” WFTV-Channel 9’s Daralene Jones said at noon Monday. “What I’m hearing sounds like an elaborate plot. And I get the impression George and Shellie Zimmerman came up with this before he was booked into the jail after he was arrested.”

... WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said there might be enough in the jail calls to charge George Zimmerman with a federal crime for trying to skirt federal reporting requirements, Jones added.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on June 18, 2012


WTF?
The two appear confident that he will be exonerated—at one point Shellie calls him a "special and amazing role model."
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on June 18, 2012


First Supplemental Discovery (June 1, 2012) document [34 pages] with copies of financial transactions, etc. released today.
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on June 18, 2012


Jeralyn | TalkLeft:
When the state filed its list of items included in the second round of discovery turned over to O'Mara last week, the list included surveillance video of M&I Bank on Feb. 26, 2012.

Many assumed, including me, it was video of Shellie Zimmerman when she was transferring money. But, it can't be. It was taken on Feb. 26, 2012, the day of the Trayvon Martin shooting, which was a Sunday, and the bank was closed. All that would have been open was an ATM. So what is the significance of the camera surveillance? Some ideas below ...
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on June 18, 2012


Kinda sounds to me like Zimmerman and his wife knew all along that he had two passports.
ZIMMERMAN: Have you heard at all from O'Mara?
SHELLIE: I have not heard from O'Mara, but Ken did.
ZIMMERMAN: Oh, really?
SHELLIE: Mm hmm.
ZIMMERMAN: Why?
SHELLIE: Um, they were just, you know, working some stuff out.
ZIMMERMAN: Mm. Okay.
SHELLIE: But I can't, I don't wanna say.
ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, good idea. Okay.
SHELLIE: But just like logistical stuff.
ZIMMERMAN: I gotcha, I got it, I got it. And is it all worked out?
SHELLIE: Um, yeah, yeah, they seem to be positive and, like Ken was saying like I'm feeling much better about this whole thing today after talking to him, so
ZIMMERMAN: Really?
SHELLIE: Yeah.
ZIMMERMAN: Good. Yeah (Voices blended, inaudible)
SHELLIE: mm hmm
ZIMMERMAN: I don't know when I'm gonna get to see him again.
SHELLIE: Mm. I gotta get that bag from him.
ZIMMERMAN: Mm. You know what?
SHELLIE: Huh?
ZIMMERMAN: I said do you know what?
SHELLIE: What?
ZIMMERMAN: I think my passport's in that bag.
SHELLIE: Oh, really. Well, I have one in a safety deposit box.
ZIMMERMAN: Okay, you hold onto them.
SHELLIE: For you. Um, I'm thinking of going to the box because of what Susie and I think that we figured out.
ZIMMERMAN: Mm hmm
SHELLIE: I'm thinking of going to the box that has both of us on it
ZIMMERMAN: Mm hmm.
SHELLIE: over by somewhere else
ZIMMERMAN: Yeah.
SHELLIE: and getting it out.
ZIMMERMAN: Good idea.
SHELLIE: Because I think mine, I think the one that I have only has my name on it.
ZIMMERMAN: I think you're right. You should double check.
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2012


A VIBE magazine take on the calls:
Neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman‘s jail phone calls to his wife, Shellie Zimmerman have been released and they shine a light on just how sinister both the Zimmermans are. The most shocking part of the calls comes in during the fourth call when Zimmerman told Shellie they would have two rented cars and then joked about needing a disguise, saying, “Well, I have my hoodie.”

If you listen to these calls, you will hear a couple that is unfazed by Zimmerman’s murder charges. They are more concerned with living a life of luxury upon Zimmerman’s release. Check out all five calls below.

The first set of audio, the Zimmermans talk about the support they received from George’s website, how they will have a better life after all of this is over and Shellie even joked about watching him on TV right at that very moment.

George Zimmerman Phone Call To Shellie Zimmerman #1

The second call starts with the two speaking cryptically about changing the password and security questions of something very important. I’m thinking it’s their bank account information–since they spent some time splitting up all the money they received from supporters into separate accounts so that the government wouldn’t realize what the modern day Bonnie & Clyde was up to. Shellie mentioned she got the house and that it was under a man named “Jay’s” name. Oh it gets juicier–George then asked his wife to take out $10 and keep it with her, then asked if she had access to more than $10. Then he tried to explain to her to put another $10 into “her” (a separate account). Listen below.

George Zimmerman Phone Call To Shellie Zimmerman #2

The third set brings in an employee from an “institution–” more than likely the bank that the Zimmermans tried to split their money in different accounts. The woman from the “institution” was helping the Zimmermans reset their passwords. Susie, George’s sister, was then brought in to have an account set up in her name. Listen to the call below.

George Zimmerman Phone Call To Shellie Zimmerman #3

George reminded his wife, Shellie to set a reminder to “do it” everyday. He was referring to transferring money from hers to his account on a daily [basis]. George mentioned a “Ken” and “Peter Pan” that could also do transfers daily. Shellie also mentioned getting a lease agreement set up with a landlord–more than likely setting up housing for she and George after his expected release. George gave Shellie instructions to pay all the bills at home, except the two recent ones. If you’ve followed this case, you should know that the money that had been raised by his supporters was supposed to be for his defense, not his personal living expenses. There’s even mentions of bullet-proof vests. Check out the call below.

George Zimmerman Phone Call To Shellie Zimmerman #4

In this call, George receives a package, almost as if he’s at home, just chit chatting on the phone and answering the door for FedEx. This lackluster call is literally showing you how much privilege George Zimmerman is receiving in jail. Each call is over 10 minutes and this particular one has no real point. The Zimmermans are chatting casually–that is, of course until they get to the paying of his bond. Listen to the call below.

George Zimmerman Phone Call To Shellie Zimmerman #5
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This lackluster call is literally showing you how much privilege George Zimmerman is receiving in jail.

May 23, 2012: George Zimmerman's 'Cozy' Relationship With Sanford Police Questioned.
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on June 18, 2012


So -- George had claimed publicly that he set-up the website to raise money "only for living expenses and legal defense."
‘I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense,’ he posted on the website in April.
Well, once again (surprise) we know he lied.
Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman used money raised for his defence fund to pay off credit cards and other personal debts, recordings of prison conversations released by prosecutors Monday suggest.

Transcripts of the calls made by the accused murderer from Florida's Seminole County jail in April include instructions to his wife, Shellie, to "pay everything totally off", including credit cards from American Express and Sam's Club and some money owed to his mother.

... In one of the calls, on April 16, Zimmerman and his wife discuss changing passwords on his bank account, to allow her to access it, then he tells her: "When you get home, please pay off all the bills.

"You can go into mine [bank account] and make sure you pay the right American Express and everything.

"Pay everything totally off, the Sam's Club card, everything except for those two," referring to a car insurance bill and a water bill that could not be paid online.

In a call the following day, Shellie Zimmerman confirms she paid the credit cards. "I called all those companies to see the balances and I paid them all off," she said.

"I even paid, like, your mom, 'cause you knew you were paying her monthly. I, uh, I even paid my school."
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


just how sinister both the Zimmermans are

I don't think sinister is the right word.

Lacking in empathy, boneheaded, short-sighted, deluded, arrogant, and manipulative are among the many words I would use before I even got close to contemplating using sinister.

I don't even think the Sanford PD is sinister. In fact, I'd probably use the same words I used for the Zimmermans to describe those elements in the Sanford PD and court system who -- apparently -- fumbled the ball on this one.

I'll save sinister for the likes of the guy selling the Trayvon Martin gun range targets, the people who vandalized the social center building, people offering bounties on GZ, people publicizing the address of Zimmerman's family and all of the other folks who are doing their level best to greatly amplify the fucked-upedness of this whole thing.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:38 PM on June 18, 2012


"Heartlessly opportunistic."
posted by cashman at 3:49 PM on June 18, 2012



Lacking in empathy, boneheaded, short-sighted, deluded, arrogant, and manipulative are among the many words I would use before I even got close to contemplating using sinister.

There is a certain sinisterity in inconsiderate and stupid banality.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2012


The Absurd Things George Zimmerman And His Wife Did To Try To Keep Their Money Secret
The name “Peter Pan,” in this case, appears to have been code for the company PayPal. Zimmerman was using the online banking service to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters who believed he was either a hero of gun rights or a man being railroaded by a corrupt justice system.
posted by ericb at 5:49 PM on June 18, 2012


I just watched Piers Morgan's interview with George Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara on CNN. O'Mara stated that George and Shellie Zimmerman have not been 'completely truthful.' Thinking about it -- one is either telling the truth, or not (translation: 'lying'). There are no 'half truths,' as there are no 'half holes.' A hole is a hole.
posted by ericb at 6:55 PM on June 18, 2012


I read some quotes from him basically saying George's horrible credibility may not come into play, and he (O'Mara) tried to steer things towards "the forensic evidence". I like O'Mara and I do think the evidence at the scene compared with Zimmerman's original recreation of events and statements that night are the most interesting things, but come on. This whole thing hinges on what one person says happened. And it's pretty clear for anybody claiming to be anywhere near objective in this case that Zimmerman will lie and deceive in a hot second.

I imagine Crump is making statements in light of all this news.
posted by cashman at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2012


Shellie Zimmerman Had $57K In The Bank When She Lied.
posted by ericb at 2:41 PM on June 19, 2012


George Zimmerman 'Hoodie' Joke Sparks Outrage.
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on June 19, 2012


In Audio Of Police Call, Trayvon Martin's Father Worries About His Son
Before 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot in a gated community here, and before 28-year-old George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s death more than six weeks later – before the protests in between, and before the anguish – there was a confused father worried for his son’s whereabouts.

Tracy Martin is unaware of what’s happened and calls to ask if he can file a “missing persons report.”

“I’m from Miami. And my son’s up here with me,” Martin can be heard saying, adding, “He don’t know anybody up here.”

Father and son are from Miami Gardens – outside the city – but the two had traveled to Sanford to visit with Tracy Martin’s girlfriend.

“Do you know the address?” the dispatcher asks.

“What’s the address, baby?” Martin can be heard saying – presumably to his girlfriend.

Martin goes on to say he hasn’t seen his son since 8 or 8:30 the prior night.

The call to police was placed at 8:39 a.m. Feb. 27, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sanford Police Department called Martin back sometime later, asking for details about his son.

Does his son have a driver’s license?

“No, he don’t,” Mr. Martin says.

“Ok, does not have a DL,” the dispatcher says. “And is he white, black, or Hispanic?”

“He’s black,” Martin says.

Asked if Trayvon knows anyone in the area whose house he might have gone to, Martin says no.

“I have a nephew up here,” Martin says, “but he’s not at my nephew house. He hasn’t been over there, either.”
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like O'Mara and I do think the evidence at the scene compared with Zimmerman's original recreation of events and statements that night are the most interesting things, but come on.

Don't forget that as a high profile courtroom defense attorney, the ability to make you like and trust him is probably a more important job skill than actually knowing the law.
posted by localroger at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2012


Sanford Police Chief To Be Fired
Police Chief Bill Lee, who has been under fire for his department's handling of the Trayvon Martin case, has been fired, according to his spokesperson.
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on June 20, 2012


Wow, an actual positive development. Buh-bye, Chief Lee.
posted by localroger at 6:15 PM on June 20, 2012


"Lee will receive a three-month severance and a week's salary in addition to any earned time off."

So he's been on paid leave this entire time. He's likely got a job lined up already.
posted by cashman at 7:14 PM on June 20, 2012


Wait, didn't he resign, then they refused to accept his resignation and said everything was fine? And now they're firing him?

That said: I generally think it's shitty when someone loses a job purely because there's a firestorm around them. This time is no exception.
posted by corb at 8:01 PM on June 20, 2012


I generally think it's shitty when someone loses a job purely because there's a firestorm around them. This time is no exception.

Wow, there really is no way at all that you're willing to take someone shooting a young unarmed black man seriously. You get points for purity.
posted by OmieWise at 3:03 AM on June 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


OmieWise: In your mind, is there any way that you would be willing to accept the shooting of a "young unarmed black man" as justified? Because, please correct me if I'm wrong, you don't seem to accept potential assault as a reason. What about witnessed assault? What about attempted rape? Actual rape? I am just curious if there is any point at which you are willing to admit that an unarmed man can still be dangerous. Or even that an unarmed teenager can still be dangerous. Even people younger than Martin was at the time of death.
posted by corb at 4:07 AM on June 21, 2012


He didn't lose his job purely because of the firestorm. He lost his job because he very obviously failed to do his job, which is the reason there is a firestorm.
posted by localroger at 5:15 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


We aren't talking about other cases, we're talking about this case. You are simply unwilling for anyone to be held at all accountable for this, and in order to do that you keep minimizing the fact that Martin was shot dead. You live in a weird world where, although he shot an unarmed kid to death, Zimmerman's actions are completely justified, and anyone who substantially challenges that is acting in bad faith. Your position on this is so extreme, and so convoluted, that it's unclear to me how you can honestly (that is without racial malice) support it.
posted by OmieWise at 5:21 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


OmieWise: That's a dodge. You keep using the words "young unarmed black man" as though each of those words means that no matter what happened, it was not possibly justified to shoot Martin.

I believe that it is more likely that Martin had the upper hand in a physical fight, and that Zimmerman may have, in fact, felt in danger.

I feel that if someone assaults you and you feel in danger, whatever their age, sex, or race, you are justified in using force to defend yourself, up to and including lethal force.

You seem to be saying that even if Martin attacked Zimmerman, it's not reason enough. Even if Martin had the upper hand in the fight, it's not reason enough. Even if Zimmerman's head was split open in a way consistent with being banged against something, it's not reason enough.

So again, I ask you, what would have been reason enough?

It's not racist to defend yourself. It's not racist to support someone's right to defend themselves with lethal force.

What is racist? Is to suggest that this killing is automatically about race, with no indications suggesting that.
posted by corb at 5:42 AM on June 21, 2012


Also, to be honest, maybe it's unclear to you because you show no indication whatsoever of having any interest in possibly understanding opposing points of view.
posted by corb at 5:43 AM on June 21, 2012


I believe that it is more likely that Martin had the upper hand in a physical fight, and that Zimmerman may have, in fact, felt in danger.

In danger of what, though? At what point does being on the losing side of a fist fight* mean you get to pull a gun and shoot someone?

There's some burden for one's defensive violence to be proportional. And 'unarmed fight' to 'shooting' is a big jump.

*Before someone tells me they weren't having a boxing match or something, let's say I'm using 'fist fight' loosely. Because I don't think 'physical fight' works better and don't know of another alternative.
posted by hoyland at 5:51 AM on June 21, 2012


I believe that it is more likely that Martin had the upper hand in a physical fight, and that Zimmerman may have, in fact, felt in danger.

I feel that if someone assaults you and you feel in danger, whatever their age, sex, or race, you are justified in using force to defend yourself, up to and including lethal force.


This is exactly what I'm talking about. You write this while conveniently eliding Zimmerman's role in starting the confrontation, while armed and prepared to shoot someone. Which he then did. You aren't writing about one's right to self-defense, you're writing about one's right to provoke a fight, shoot someone, and then use the plea of self-defense to make it seem as if one were simply an innocent victim. That's a fucking dodge.

Also, to be honest, maybe it's unclear to you because you show no indication whatsoever of having any interest in possibly understanding opposing points of view.

I think I understand your position pretty well, and I've outlined that position here in several comments. I understand that you disagree, that your convoluted "reasoning" about this seems actually reasonable to you. That does not make it convincing. I'm not sure what else I could do to convince you that I understand your position, but still disagree with it.

I'll be honest with you. I think your position is racist. This is not because you support stand your ground laws, it's because of your convoluted attempts to deny anyone but Martin (and the legal system) any culpability in this situation. It's an open question for me whether you realize your position is racist. You may well think your position is defensible on other grounds. That's what you keep trying to argue, unconvincingly, here. That you do not recognize the problems with your position does not obviate them, however.
posted by OmieWise at 6:20 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hoyland: I've linked to a few instances of people being beaten to death above, and the recent "one punch kill" thing that's happened. Essentially, it's a really hard thing to judge at what point your beating is "just fun and games", and at what point it crosses the line into "fear for your life." I don't think that we can accurately judge that point unless we're the one actually being beaten. I think it's hard to judge that point when you actually are being beaten, and I don't think after-the-fact quarterbacking is fair.

OmieWise: And this is where I feel you are completely not open to any kind of understanding of other people's points of view. I think you may even not be taking apart pieces of your own points of view and examining them really closely. I think the Martin thing has got you so angry and upset that you aren't really thinking clearly.

In any other situation, would you really think that an acceptable response to a verbal confrontation is a physical one? That an acceptable response to someone asking, "What are you doing here?" (the most charitable-to-Martin question, given that it was stated by his girlfriend) is a punch? Try to strip out that it's Martin and Zimmerman for a moment, because it's hard to think clearly about either at this point. Think about two people. One is followed and questioned about their presence by another. Would it really be okay or justified for the first person to attack them?

I've said that I think the situation is tragic. I've said that I think that Martin and Zimmerman were probably both acting in the best faith they knew how to do, considering their impressions of the situation. Perceptions of race and class probably did enter into both of their responses.

Martin may have felt threatened, followed by someone he believed to be white and questioned about his presence, in a gated community in the South. He had no way of knowing that Zimmerman was acting as a concerned citizen worried about robberies in his neighborhood, or that he fit the description of the burglar. He had no way of knowing that people in a gated community have different perceptions of property rights and of walking close to houses than they did in his home. Martin may have felt that his only way out was to shove, push, or hit Zimmerman. He may have even been intending to run afterwards. But once the fight is joined, it's difficult to remember your good intentions when adrenaline is pumping.

At the same time, Zimmerman most likely didn't bring out his gun because he was looking for trouble, he likely brought it out because, as I've laboriously said upthread, he's someone who regularly carries his weapon. It is a part of his everyday attire. He probably was not even thinking aout it any more than usual when he noticed Martin ducking between buildings. Though the dispatcher said he didn't have to follow Martin, he was worried that Martin was the robber, and that he would get away, leaving his neighbors to suffer more robberies. So he did anyway. And it's quite possible (and I think probable) that Martin initiated some form of physical confrontation. At that time, he did not know what we know now - that Martin was not the robber. As far as he knew, this was a criminal he was facing off against - someone who'd already committed multiple crimes in the area, and was now attacking him, banging his head and bloodying his nose. And whatever occurred in that fight, he felt enough in danger from it that he drew his gun and fired.

Somewhere in there, you read racist.

I think that's more about you than it is about me.

And I wonder, why is it that having a different opinion than you can't just be a different opinion? Why do you feel so emotionally invested in this that someone who thinks the above situation must be /racist/?
posted by corb at 6:49 AM on June 21, 2012


I've said that I think the situation is tragic.

I bet you even have black friends.

I've said that I think that Martin and Zimmerman were probably both acting in the best faith they knew how to do, considering their impressions of the situation.

While you could be right about that -- maybe -- you have also sought to excuse the worthless police chief who decided not to do a proper investigation, the lack of which is in large measure the reason there is a shitstorm. This suggests that your true motives might be a bit more extreme than you are admitting.
posted by localroger at 7:02 AM on June 21, 2012


This morning "Zimmerman's defense team released a trove of information gathered in the initial days of the investigation that includes a never-heard police interview with Zimmerman himself."
"The one hour, 11-minute videotaped interview was conducted almost exactly 24 hours after the single gunshot fired by Zimmerman pierced Martin's chest. Police used the interview to perform a computerized voice stress analysis, which detects psychological stress based on voice patterns, on Zimmerman."
So, wait. Zimmerman had 24 hours to work out in his mind "his story?"
posted by ericb at 7:08 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, 24 hours gives you time to talk with you father, a retired judge, and your police buddies who understand the law. Let's remember that many of the first public statements when this all broke came from his Dad and brother (who did a television interview with Piers Morgan on CNN). Coordinated account and a convenient way to try and "shape the story" without putting George in any potential future jeopardy for making inconsistent statements.
posted by ericb at 7:20 AM on June 21, 2012


So, wait. Zimmerman had 24 hours to work out in his mind "his story?"

Meanwhile, other cops are exonerated for locking the mother of a dead kid in the back of a patrol car for hours under the guise of "separating witnesses to keep them from conspiring on a fabricated story"...
posted by mikelieman at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The re-enactment was done the next morning I thought. And I thought the initial interview was done that night and Zimmerman didn't get home until one or two or sometime in the a.m.? I want to see the re-enactment video.
posted by cashman at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2012


We do know that he was taken to the Sanford Police station for 4 - 5 hours for questioning and then released. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the taped interviews for inconsistencies, possible embellishments in the latter one, etc.

One question: With the defense previously saying that they did not want to "try the case in the press," why are they so actively releasing material -- which gets out anyway by virtue of the open public documents in Florida? Not to mention the website O'Mara has set-up and frequently posts updates.
posted by ericb at 7:28 AM on June 21, 2012


Reenactment video is here.
posted by ericb at 7:30 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


here's the entire reenactment video without the ABC news stuff.
posted by desjardins at 7:33 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that's more about you than it is about me.

And I wonder, why is it that having a different opinion than you can't just be a different opinion?


Because a kid is dead? This isn't about whether Rocky Road or Rum Raisin is the better ice cream flavor. You're free to think it's just about me, but I'd venture to guess, based on comments here, that there are other folks who agree with me.

Also: At the same time, Zimmerman most likely didn't bring out his gun because he was looking for trouble, he likely brought it out because, as I've laboriously said upthread, he's someone who regularly carries his weapon. It is a part of his everyday attire. He probably was not even thinking aout it any more than usual when he noticed Martin ducking between buildings.

Seriously? That's the level of your engagement here? You think that just because an asshole wears a gun around regularly 1) he's not thinking about it when he starts to think about confronting someone, and 2) it somehow makes it more ordinary when he ends up using it to shoot someone. Does the same thing apply to someone who habitually drives drunk? "You can't really say he was looking to cause trouble, he drives drunk every day. When he mowed those people down he wasn't even thinking about how drunk he was!"
posted by OmieWise at 7:37 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


While you could be right about that -- maybe -- you have also sought to excuse the worthless police chief who decided not to do a proper investigation, the lack of which is in large measure the reason there is a shitstorm.

He didn't decide not to do a proper investigation. He just didn't come to the same conclusion that a lot of people here have, that it was necessary to arrest Zimmerman that same night in order to do that investigation. And what has that lack of initial arrest cost the prosecution that eventually decided to charge Zimmerman? Absolutely nothing. They were still able to arrest him later. For that choice, which ultimately harmed nothing, other than making a lot of people angry, he was fired.

So, wait. Zimmerman had 24 hours to work out in his mind "his story?"

No, he was interviewed that night on the spot, they just didn't do a video interview that night.


Looking at the interview, it actually seems to make even more sense as to why each side might have acted as they did.
"I reached for my pocket, and I was looking for my phone, and he just punched me in the nose. And I fell backwards, to the side, somehow I ended up on my back. He ended up on top of me and he just kept punching my face and my head," Zimmerman said, adding that he was "screaming for help" as Martin allegedly pummeled him.
Actually, this explanation would enable all accounts to be accurate - both his and Martin's girlfriend, on the phone. Martin explains his concerns about the creepy "white" dude following him, in a gated enclave in the South. Martin starts ducking through corridors between and behind houses. Zimmerman follows and questions him, then goes for his pocket - which Martin could well think was going for a gun. It wouldn't even be an unreasonable mistake - police make it all the time. And Martin might well think his only chance was an assault on Zimmerman.
As they fought, Zimmerman said, his jacket and shirt rose up, revealing his gun. Martin sat up at that point and said, 'You're going to die tonight,'" according to Zimmerman.
Martin then allegedly slid his hand down Zimmerman's chest, so "I just pinched his arm and I grabbed my gun and I aimed it at him and fired one shot.
And this also seems reasonable - his gun became exposed - (this is easily checkable, also, by examining his holster and straps.) If he had a front holster with a jacket covering, I could see how this would happen, especially during a fight. Also why Martin might try to go for the gun - and why Zimmerman would have shot at that point. When you're struggling for a gun, the situation is even more clear than it is in a regular fight.

Seriously? That's the level of your engagement here? You think that just because an asshole wears a gun around regularly 1) he's not thinking about it when he starts to think about confronting someone, and 2) it somehow makes it more ordinary when he ends up using it to shoot someone. Does the same thing apply to someone who habitually drives drunk? "You can't really say he was looking to cause trouble, he drives drunk every day. When he mowed those people down he wasn't even thinking about how drunk he was!"

Those two are not comparable. Driving drunk is illegal and not socially acceptable. Carrying a gun with a concealed carry permit is legal and socially acceptable.
posted by corb at 7:39 AM on June 21, 2012


No, he was interviewed that night on the spot, they just didn't do a video interview that night.

Wrong.
"Zimmerman tells police he killed Martin in self defense. Zimmerman's head and nose are cleaned up at the scene by EMTs. He is then cuffed and driven in a police cruiser to the Sanfrod Police department. He is questioned, tapes a video statement and is released. Police do not arrest him, nor administer a drug or alcohol test. But the police report classifies this as a homicide under statute 782.11 for the 'Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act.'"
posted by ericb at 7:46 AM on June 21, 2012


And way before this story blew up internationally ...

Orlando Watch Shooting Probe Reveals Questionable Police Conduct
ABC News has uncovered questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white neighborhood watch captain in Florida, including the alleged "correction" of at least one eyewitness' account.

... But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective pepppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.

Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.

The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

The Sanford Police Department refused to release 911 calls by witnesses and neighbors.

Several of the calls, ABC News has learned, contain the sound of the single gunshot.

Lee publically admitted that officers accepted Zimmerman's word at the scene that he had no police record.

Two days later during a meeting with Trayvon's father Tracy Martin, an officer told the father that Zimmerman's record was "squeaky clean."

Yet public records showed that Zimmerman was charged with battery against on officer and resisting arrest in 2005, a charge which was later expunged.

Zimmerman has not responded to requests for a comment.

"I asked [the police] well did you check out my son's record?" Tracy Martin told ABC News in an interview Sunday. "What about his?...Trayvon was innocent."</blockquote<
posted by ericb at 8:01 AM on June 21, 2012


He didn't decide not to do a proper investigation. He just didn't come to the same conclusion that a lot of people here have, that it was necessary to arrest Zimmerman that same night in order to do that investigation.

He failed to follow what is standard police procedure everywhere, which is that when you have a cooling body with a bullet in it you record the scene, interview potential witnesses, and collect physical evidence immediately before the evidence can become tainted and the witnesses can coordinate their stories. You do this even if you are 100% sure it is self defense because, given the dead body, you need to justify that. You never, ever do what the Sanford cops did, which is leave the scene unrecorded, unguarded, and unexamined and do only an informal interview with the guy who admits he pulled the trigger.
posted by localroger at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


And let's not forget that George Zimmerman was close with a number of the police officers -- with whom he had taken 'ride alongs' in their squad cars. Zimmerman was also known enough that the police would let him roam around the police department building unattended.

George Zimmerman's 'Cozy' Relationship With Sanford Police Questioned (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 8:08 AM on June 21, 2012


Thanks for the links to the re-enactment video. The Orlando Sentinel link only shows the first 7:08, and stops when Zimmerman gets out of the car. It must be on another page or something, does anybody see it?
posted by cashman at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2012


He failed to follow what is standard police procedure everywhere, which is that when you have a cooling body with a bullet in it you record the scene, interview potential witnesses, and collect physical evidence immediately before the evidence can become tainted and the witnesses can coordinate their stories. You do this even if you are 100% sure it is self defense because, given the dead body, you need to justify that. You never, ever do what the Sanford cops did, which is leave the scene unrecorded, unguarded, and unexamined and do only an informal interview with the guy who admits he pulled the trigger.

Interesting. I'll freely admit that I know very little about "standard" police procedure. I have some friends who have gone into the force after serving, but they've generally gone to work in smaller cities, where things may not always be done by the books. I've heard a lot of stories where if the officers on the scene thought it was self-defense, they just tended to ask a few questions and clean up the scene, and that was considered normal - even in situations where I wouldn't necessarily consider it that clear cut. (The one I was most surprised by was where a guy inside his house shot through his door with a shotgun and killed the guy outside, and that was quickly judged self-defense, with the shooter not even having to go down to the police station.)
posted by corb at 8:11 AM on June 21, 2012


1:11:59 video: YouTube: Discovery: Zimmerman Interrogation by the Sanford PD, 27 Feb 2012 (FULL)
posted by cashman at 8:14 AM on June 21, 2012


he fit the description of the burglar.

I'm sorry, but the what the hell does this even mean?
posted by lord_wolf at 8:28 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Audio of Zimmerman the night of the shooting - 3:52 YouTube video.
posted by cashman at 8:32 AM on June 21, 2012


Middle to End of Zimmerman Reenactment Video. 4:22 YouTube video.
posted by cashman at 8:36 AM on June 21, 2012


Written statement from Zimmerman to police about what happened (PDF).
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on June 21, 2012


So Zimmerman shot Trayvon, says he didn't know if he hit him or not, then gets on top of him, spreads his arms out, and then gets on top of his back.

It's a trip - the neighbor comes out and says "I'm calling the police" and George says no, help me, and the neighbor is like no, I'm calling the police. George took the law into his own hands, and wanted to keep doing that. The neighbor rightly wanted to call the police and alert authorities.

I think George was in the wrong here. For provoking this whole situation. He took it upon himself to decide he was law enforcement, did indeed profile Trayvon, and kept following him because Trayvon was doing the unthinkable - standing outside. Seems Trayvon was talking to his girlfriend on the phone, but George just couldn't imagine how Trayvon could be doing anything normal.

Written statement from Zimmerman to police about what happened

Zimmerman writes of Trayvon - "The suspect disappeared behind....". Disgusting. He clearly profiled Trayvon. Trayvon was standing while black. Horrible.
posted by cashman at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cop Told Zimmerman That Trayvon Martin Was A 'Kid With A Future' In Post-Shooting Interview
... But police seem to have a different version of that night's events.

"This person was not doing anything bad," police said of Martin, calling him a "kid with a future."

While rebutting Zimmerman's claims Martin punched him 25 to 30 times, police questioned the disparity between the size of the two men, noting that Zimmerman was 5'8" and 194 pounds while Martin was 6' and 150 pounds

Police said Martin was "not quite your prime suspect type," noting the teen was wearing a grey hoodie and beige pants instead of the black-on-black typically found on suspicious characters.

The interview took a dramatic turn when investigators showed Zimmerman photos from the crime scene.

"That's him. That's the gunshot you put in him. It went right through his heart," cops told Zimmerman, warning him that the court of public opinion was going to rake him over the coals.

Sanford Police lead investigator Chris Serino reassured Zimmerman he had "no doubt" the neighborhood watchman was in fear.

Unfortunately, that doesn't change anything for police.

"Where the question comes into play is that what enraged him so badly besides the fact that maybe he felt that he was being profiled, he was from a bigger city," the investigator said.

"I don't know, he can't talk. I wish he would've ran away," Serino said.

During the course of the interview, the cop also warns Zimmerman that an anonymous phone call relates a completely different version of events, "more along the lines you tried to detain him."

The interview also reveals a friendly relationship between police and suspect where the investigator seems more concerned with Zimmerman's welfare than the shooting itself.

"How you feeling? Alright? Hows your head?" the investigator asked Zimmerman at the beginning of their Feb. 29 interview.

"Are you a man of faith?" the investigator asked Zimmerman. "I mean have you been, have you got any counseling? Have you talked to a priest or a pastor or anybody like that?"
posted by ericb at 9:02 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]



While rebutting Zimmerman's claims Martin punched him 25 to 30 times


This simply cannot be true.

I have seen many, many fist fights. Zimmerman isn't even swollen. No bruises. If not for the bandages, I doubt he'd even look injured.

Zimmerman looks like he fell out of bed. He wasn't hit more than once or twice.

I'd put large money on him getting hit in the face and hitting his head when he fell over backwards on the wet pavement. The he pulls out his equalizer and puts his victim to death.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:12 AM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


the cop also warns Zimmerman that an anonymous phone call relates a completely different version of events, "more along the lines you tried to detain him."

Very interesting.

Several years ago, I happened across a forum where medical personnel gathered to vent about the crap they have to put up with on a daily basis. I can't remember if they were EMTs or emergency room medical staff or what, and I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to find it again this morning. But one thing that I recall quite clearly from that discussion board was the amusement with which they spoke of young males who had been brought in for injuries sustained during a fight. Almost invariably, they said, these young men would claim to have been standing there minding their own business when "this one guy just walked up and punched" them.

GZ sounds like a fine heir to that tradition, and he took the extra step of giving Trayvon Martin lines that could have come straight out of Young Black Thug #2 from central casting's mouth.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:20 AM on June 21, 2012


It's a trip - the neighbor comes out and says "I'm calling the police" and George says no, help me, and the neighbor is like no, I'm calling the police. George took the law into his own hands, and wanted to keep doing that. The neighbor rightly wanted to call the police and alert authorities.

I don't think this accurately matches the statement. It says,
An onlooker arrived and asked me if I was OK. I said "no" he said "I am calling 911" I said "I don't need you to call 911 I already called them, I need you to help me restrain this guy
I left the lack of capitalization intact, before anyone jumps on me. But it seems less like he wanted to keep taking the law into his own hands, and more like he wanted to secure someone that he thought was still a threat before the police got there. That would also explain the "anonymous call that said you tried to detain him" stuff.

I am confused though why people keep bringing up the height/weight thing. It looks like the difference in weight wasn't very much, and Martin was actually taller than Zimmerman.

GZ sounds like a fine heir to that tradition, and he took the extra step of giving Trayvon Martin lines that could have come straight out of Young Black Thug #2 from central casting's mouth.

Did you read Martin's twitter account before it got shut down? These lines may seem cliched, but he seemed to use a lot of that kind of language himself.
posted by corb at 9:29 AM on June 21, 2012


Did you read Martin's twitter account before it got shut down? These lines may seem cliched, but he seemed to use a lot of that kind of language himself.

Unless Trayvon Martin tweeted about how he was going to rob houses in Sanford on February 26 of 2012, his twitter account, email, and Facebook postings have fuck all to do with the events of that night.

I and a number of black Americans I know occasionally use "that kind of language" in social media and in conversations with each other. It does not reflect how we typically conduct ourselves as law-abiding citizens. It's code switching.

It really seems like everybody other than GZ and his most ardent and tenacious supporters has no trouble acknowledging that Trayvon Martin was essentially a very good kid.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:08 AM on June 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Son of judge in Trayvon case went to school with Mrs. Zimmerman
No one has accused the judge of favoritism. But appearances play an outsize role in the case, a racially charged national spectacle from which two previous judges have disqualified themselves due to potential conflicts of interest.

... Lester may not know of the connection between his son, who went on to to become a champion collegiate wrestler at Arizona State University, and the wife of the most famous defendant in his court.

But experts said the connection raises new questions for the case.

“Did his kid know Zimmerman’s wife? Were they friends? Did she ever have any interaction with the judge?” said Ryan K. Stumphauzer, a former federal prosecutor in Florida. “Judges are very good at separating themselves from their emotions; that’s their job. It’s always the perception that turns out to be more important. Depending on how tenuous it is, the judge might not even be worried about perceptions yet.”

Andrew Tramont, chairman of the Florida Bar’s judicial administration and evaluation committee, said the judge should air those questions in court.

“If my daughter was close friends with the defendant’s wife, I would certainly bring it out,” Tramont said. “One could think there was a risk that the judge could rule more favorably toward the defendant.”

Motions for recusal in state court must be granted if they raise a reasonable question of the judge’s ability to preside fairly, Tramont said.

“If a party did raise this and said, ‘I understand the judge’s son is either currently or formerly a close friend of the defendant’s wife, the judge would probably say, ‘Okay, I recognize that; I’m going to grant your motion, and I will recuse myself,’” Tramont said. “I think that’s most likely what would happen.”
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on June 21, 2012


Corb no, you still dont get it. If I encounter someone holding someone else down after I hear a gunshot, I call police, period. If I see someone and decide to take action, again, call police. Thats most people, in regular neighborhoods, crime ridden, posh, poor, whatever.

George was a wannabe cop, clearly, from his actions. He decided to be neighborhood sheriff. He turned vigilante and wound up shooting someone's kid in the chest and killing him.
posted by cashman at 10:20 AM on June 21, 2012


George Zimmerman: I reached for my pocket, and I was looking for my phone

So Trayvon Martin *WAS* justified in resisting after Zimmerman made a threatening motion. That kind of furtive motion gets you shot by "New York's Finest", btw...
posted by mikelieman at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unless Trayvon Martin tweeted about how he was going to rob houses in Sanford on February 26 of 2012, his twitter account, email, and Facebook postings have fuck all to do with the events of that night.

I and a number of black Americans I know occasionally use "that kind of language" in social media and in conversations with each other. It does not reflect how we typically conduct ourselves as law-abiding citizens.


Let me be clear: I in no way whatsoever think that his twitter means that Martin was in any way, shape, or form, a criminal. I was responding specifically to a comment suggesting that Zimmerman was making up language that (presumably) Martin would not use.

“If a party did raise this and said, ‘I understand the judge’s son is either currently or formerly a close friend of the defendant’s wife, the judge would probably say, ‘Okay, I recognize that; I’m going to grant your motion, and I will recuse myself,’” Tramont said. “I think that’s most likely what would happen.”

Does anyone know what point is the last point someone can file for recusal? I'm wondering if this is something that might be brought up if Lester denies Stand Your Ground (as he seems likely to, given his existing treatment of Zimmerman and his wife) but before the actual trial starts, so that they can get a new judge, and possibly another chance to raise Stand Your Ground. I don't think anyone could think Lester favors the defendants, but now I'm wondering if this is a strategy. O'Mara seems pretty clever overall.
posted by corb at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2012


Could you please post a link to these twitter messages allegedly from Trayvon Martin please?

IIRC, those were all from a DIFFERENT Trayvon Martin, but the racist hackers couldn't tell them apart because, you know, they all look alike...

But if you're talking about some other event, I'd like to know about it.
posted by mikelieman at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2012


I think it would be another PR disaster for the Zimmermans if their team was observed asking the judge to recuse himself in a situation where they are the ones who theoretically benefit from his presence.
posted by localroger at 10:49 AM on June 21, 2012


Let me be clear: I in no way whatsoever think that his twitter means that Martin was in any way, shape, or form, a criminal. I was responding specifically to a comment suggesting that Zimmerman was making up language that (presumably) Martin would not use.

Okay, cool. Thank you very much for that clarification. When you put it that way, I understand what you were getting at.

My contention, however, is that *nobody* actually uses language that in real life, especially in a real life life-and-death struggle. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and I saw plenty of fights. No words like that came out during an altercation. There were grunts and yells of pain, but that's about it. That's the point I was trying to make: that's some straight-out-of-a-movie stuff GZ put in Trayvon Martin's mouth, and it's at odds with what Martin's girlfriend has him saying beforehand and how he conducted himself, according to her report.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2012


I'm wondering if this is something that might be brought up if Lester denies Stand Your Ground (as he seems likely to, given his existing treatment of Zimmerman and his wife) ...

Judge Lester had originally been lenient with Zimmerman. He granted a low-bail and allowed for all of O'Mara's requests.
"His attorney, Mark O'Mara, asked the judge to let him out of jail while he awaits trial. His attorney also asked the judge to allow Zimmerman to leave the state while wearing a GPS bracelet, and to keep his location confidential in order to help secure his safety."
But, when you lie to the court, you get what you're asking for -- hauled back to the slammer and taking a big hit on your credibility.
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


that's some straight-out-of-a-movie stuff GZ put in Trayvon Martin's mouth

As Bob Terwilliger once opined, albeit in a different context, "...it could have spewed from the PowerBook of the laziest Hollywood hack."
posted by mikelieman at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't find the articles right now about Martin's twitter feed (IIRC it was confirmed by the family) but here's some info on fake photos that were circulating at the same time.
posted by desjardins at 11:50 AM on June 21, 2012


This is the only story about Martin's alleged Twitter account that's not from some horrible right wing blog. It's not confirmed that it was him. (NSFW username)
posted by desjardins at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2012


Apparent Inconsistencies Emerge In George Zimmerman’s Written, Video Statements.
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2012


Thought I'd been following this case pretty closely, but a NYT article today provided me with info about something I hadn't previously known:
During one interview, Mr. Zimmerman told a police detective that he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was taking the medications Adderall and temazepam, which is used to treat insomnia. He said he was also taking a stomach medication.

In another interview, he told an investigator that he has been taking 20 milligrams of Adderall twice a day – and has a bad memory. It is not clear whether he had taken the medications on the evening of the shooting or if they may have affected him. (Source)
Side effects of Adderall (per Wikipedia) include insomnia, headaches, increased muscle tension, irritability, and anxiety.

Side effects of temazepam (per Wikipedia) include impairment of memory and learning, longer reaction time and impairment of motor functions (including coordination problems) slurred speech, decreased physical performance, numbed emotions, reduced alertness, muscle weakness, blurred vision (in higher doses), and inattention.

Early, early on when the story was first gaining national attention, I recall reading an article where an audio expert -- not one of those who said it was unlikely GZ was the one yelling for help on the tape -- opined that GZ sounded like he was drunk on the 911 call wherein he first reported Martin's presence.

Wonder if Mr. Zimmerman was under the influence of his meds when this all went down? We'll never know now. God, how I wish he had either stayed in his damn car or not had that damn gun with him that night.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:45 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trayvon Martin Shot: Was His Assailant Drunk?
... New reports also show that Zimmerman was not administered a Breathalyzer or toxicology screen, even though it is the protocol for shootings. Rod Wheeler, a law enforcement expert, told ABC News that Zimmerman sounded intoxicated in the 911 calls.

"When I listened to the 911 tape, the first thing that came to my mind is 'this guy sounds intoxicated.' Notice how he's slurring his words. We as trained law enforcement officers, we know how to listen for that right away, and I think that's going to be an important element of this entire investigation."
posted by ericb at 4:32 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rod Wheeler on ABC News | March 18, 2012 (w/video).
posted by ericb at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2012


Full reenactment on YouTube (15 mins).
posted by cashman at 4:42 PM on June 21, 2012


Anybody have a link to the Serino/zimmerman footage?
posted by cashman at 5:22 PM on June 21, 2012


Here's a map of the events.

How did he get jumped by his car and then kill the kid all the way over there?
posted by empath at 6:07 PM on June 21, 2012


Here's a map of the events.

The yellow "zimmerman's path" is wrong - Zimmerman went through toward the other side, like if you follow the black arrows past where George said Trayvon turned.
posted by cashman at 6:58 PM on June 21, 2012


Lord_wolf: Yeah, that's certainly legitimate in terms of what is actually said (though I know I've certainly witnessed some where "I'm going to kill you, MF'er" and the like have been said in the heat of the moment -though never intended.

The other thing that could be playing in is eyewitness bias. We don't actually remember things the way we think we do - and definitely not by exact words. I couldn't remember the wording of my own proposal - arguably one of the most important and emotional nights of my life - by the day after - or even probably the hour after. " We just don't remember exact wording. We remember the most important words, and our brain fills in the rest. So it's quite possible that some of the keywords were the same, but not the statement. Or Zimmerman misheard Martin, his brain filling in the missing words with what it thought would fit there.

Eyewitnesses are not nearly as reliable as people want to make them.

Ericb: on those inconsistencies, looks like they're reaching on one at least. They say that if Martin was on top of Zimmerman, he would have had time to deflect the bullet before it hit him. I think that's starkers. If he kept his pistol "locked, cocked, and ready to rock," it would have been a simple pull, twist, fire. Personally, I could do that in under three seconds. It would not have been enough time for Martin to somehow dodge a point blank shot. Or "deflect" it.

Also, what qualifications do you need to be a "law enforcement expert", anyway?
posted by corb at 11:09 PM on June 21, 2012


If he kept his pistol "locked, cocked, and ready to rock," it would have been a simple pull, twist, fire.

So as part of what you have asserted might have been his usual wardrobe, totally taken for granted and disconnected from the context of whatever else he might have been doing, George Zimmerman carried with him not only the machinery to kill another person but such machinery prepared to do so within three seconds? And you wonder why some of us would rather not be sharing the sidewalk with such people?
posted by localroger at 5:15 AM on June 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, like hundreds of thousands of other law-abiding concealed-carriers throughout the United States, Zimmerman possessed the ability to shoot within three seconds. It is, however, inaccurate to say that he could kill within three seconds. A single bullet generally does not kill that quickly unless it's a headshot, particularly at the calibres people are allowed to legally keep. Also, it's very unlikely that Martin himself was shot instantly dead.

That said: I understand why some people might not want to share the sidewalk with gun owners. I myself am often nervous when around people much more physically imposing than myself while unarmed, particularly in enclosed spaces. But can you understand why people might want to possess them? They are called the Great Equalizer - and enable someone weaker, or less able to defend themselves to do so successfully.
posted by corb at 8:31 AM on June 22, 2012


I don't know about gun owners in general, but based on the way you talk about it in this thread, I'm afraid to share a street with you.
posted by empath at 8:58 AM on June 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, what qualifications do you need to be a "law enforcement expert", anyway?

According to information on his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Wheeler worked as a Homicide Detective in Washington DC for 11 years.

I don't think that means we need to heed his opinions as though they were the Word of God from on high, but I would wager that he likely has more domain expertise than any of us in these Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman threads and many of the journalists following the story.

That said, I don't think his "expert opinion" that GZ sounded as though he was impaired on that night should be a factor in the trial(s), but it does add an extra level to my contempt for the way the Sanford PD handled their investigation since it appears they did not test Mr. Zimmerman for drugs and alcohol on the night of the shooting.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:24 AM on June 22, 2012


They are called the Great Equalizer - and enable someone weaker, or less able to defend themselves to do so successfully.

I bet that chickenshit Zimmerman would have kept his fat ass in the car if he had left his "equalizer" at home.

And one in the chamber is irresponsible and dangerous.

In my estimation, The primary of purpose of handguns seems to be to embolden shitheel morons to violence - whatever the intent of high minded responsible gun owners.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:27 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


A single bullet generally does not kill that quickly unless it's a headshot, particularly at the calibres people are allowed to legally keep. Also, it's very unlikely that Martin himself was shot instantly dead.

Actually, that is pretty much exactly what happened; Zimmerman shot him point blank in the heart. He was unconscious within twenty seconds and unsaveably dead within a few minutes. One shot, three seconds, D-E-A-D.

I don't have a problem with gun ownership, but I do have a problem with walking around with the thing ready to deploy on hair trigger notice. Citizen Corb, you are not a fucking Special Forces operative in a hostile hot zone, and you can fucking take a couple of steps before wielding your Great Equalizer to give yourself time to make sure you're not equalizing some innocent teenager.

Odds are, if you end up in a situation where you might need that kind of response time it's too late and it's much more likely that the gun will be taken from you and used against you. In fact, the fear that Trayvon might do that probably contributed to Z's trigger-happiness. In any situation where the gun might be more realistically useful, such as home defense or finding yourself in Luby's Cafeteria at the wrong time, you have the time to chamber a round so that you don't risk accidentally equalizing your own foot or the guy standing next to you on the subway.
posted by localroger at 9:37 AM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


The real issue is "Why was someone under psychiatric care, and prescribed powerful psychoactive medicine holding a carry permit in the first place?"

Did Zimmerman fail to disclose his mental health issues at application time, or did he neglect to inform the local issuing authority of his medical status?
posted by mikelieman at 9:51 AM on June 22, 2012


I don't think ADD disqualifies you from gun ownership.
posted by empath at 9:55 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm less concerned about the ADD than about the side-effects of the 3 different drugs Zimmerman was taking for treatment affecting his judgement.

He even mentioned the memory deficits to the police during his interview, and couldn't recall where his cellphone was. If he was doped up, that would explain quite a bit of the events.
posted by mikelieman at 9:59 AM on June 22, 2012


They are called the Great Equalizer - and enable someone weaker, or less able to defend themselves to do so successfully.

Yeah, if only ...

Just this week that moron Joe The Plumber in his run for Congress has aired an ad claiming that 'gun control is to blame for the Holocaust.'
“Ohio Congressional hopeful Samuel Wurzelbacher's latest campaign ad features a short narrative over footage of him shooting fruit and vegetables off a fence, while explaining how Germany's 1939 gun control laws paved the way for Germany's worst atrocities. Wurzelbacher starts the ad off innocently enough, loading a shotgun while saying ‘In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.’ Locked and loaded, Senator John McCain's former BFF turned his focus to Germany, while also focusing on some unlucky tomatoes and apples: ‘In 1939, Germany established gun control,’ Wurzelbacher says while unloading shot after shot, ‘from 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.’ The gun controls in Germany referred to by Wurzelbacher actually went into place in 1938 and forbade only Jewish people from owning guns.”
Facing criticism, Citizen Joe has doubled down.
"Wurzelbacher has defended the ad, telling Politico that those who are offended by it 'are probably serving a political agenda.'

The National Jewish Democratic Council called for its removal, arguing that 'using the memories of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust to make a political point is never appropriate, under any circumstances.'"
posted by ericb at 10:01 AM on June 22, 2012


Citizen Corb, you are not a fucking Special Forces operative in a hostile hot zone

No. But corb does not carry a weapon at all. Which seems odd to me, for someone so heavily invested in defending concealed carry.

I don't possess a firearm corb

I dunno. It seems to me this whole thing is getting a bit odd. corb, it seems from what you're saying that you used to carry a gun in civilian settings, but now you don't. So given that you choose not to be armed, there must be reasons for that. Are they personal or legal? If they're legal, don't you believe that living somewhere without concealed carry is taking a risk with your own life?

I just can't understand so spirited a defence of this practice from a non-gun owner. But there must be a reason.
posted by howfar at 10:13 AM on June 22, 2012


But can you understand why people might want to possess them?

Of course I can. And can you understand why I sometimes want to shove someone under a bus? I'm sure you can. Do you think it would ever be in any way ok for me to act on that impulse? Not in the slightest.

You keep trying to argue that people should be able to understand what Zimmerman was doing. I think I do - I just think it was wrong and unforgiveable and he should go to jail for it.
posted by jacalata at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


A single bullet generally does not kill that quickly unless it's a headshot, particularly at the calibres people are allowed to legally keep.

What caliber restrictions are you refering to? There are handguns made to drop a grizzly in a single shot that are sold on the open market. A .357 Magnum is quite enough to do amazing damage and is a fairly common choice. Sure, you can't buy a functioning modern artillery piece, but that's not exactly a personal defense weapon either!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:19 AM on June 22, 2012


A reminder that guns aren't just dangerous to other people:
A Southfield man is recovering after accidentally shooting himself in the penis as he adjusted his gun, according to police. [...] Although he had a permit to carry the gun, he may face charges of reckless discharge of a firearm.
posted by desjardins at 11:25 AM on June 22, 2012


I just can't understand so spirited a defence of this practice from a non-gun owner. But there must be a reason.

I despise fascism and racism, but I'd gladly fight for some nazi bigot's right to speak his opinion.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:26 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


In theory, I don't have any issue with concealed carry or gun ownership, and have thought about CC as a self-defense option myself. Debates about its effectiveness aside, my issue with CC comes from the people who tend to support and practice CC. I have a lot of friends who are pretty virulent about their gun rights* and CC, and overwhelmingly the type of person who tends to get up in arms about CC is the self-styled "urban warrior" who thinks at any moment a crowd of black teenagers is going to accost him and try to rape his girlfriend, or the government will collapse and he will need to lead the community out of the Apocalypse.


*FB feed regularly comes up with pictures of women covered in babies, holding a gun like they're about to shoot with the caption "911 can't come fast enough!" or some crap like that
posted by schroedinger at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Southfield man is recovering after accidentally shooting himself in the penis as he adjusted his gun...he may face charges

Wow, that seems like the definition of adding insult to injury. Can you imagine keeping a straight face in that courtroom?
posted by jacalata at 2:50 PM on June 22, 2012


And one in the chamber is irresponsible and dangerous.

In any situation where the gun might be more realistically useful, such as home defense or finding yourself in Luby's Cafeteria at the wrong time, you have the time to chamber a round so that you don't risk accidentally equalizing your own foot or the guy standing next to you on the subway.

Let me clarify. I in no way said that this was a smart way to carry your firearm, or something I would do. I was explaining how the shot could come so rapidly that Martin would have had no chance to react. I know a lot of people who insist that bullets be chambered in all firearms at all times. I think this is...weird, personally, but there's a significant enough percentage that I accept it as a personal preference thing.

Actually, that is pretty much exactly what happened; Zimmerman shot him point blank in the heart. He was unconscious within twenty seconds and unsaveably dead within a few minutes. One shot, three seconds, D-E-A-D.

The shot was fired in three seconds, but he wasn't dead in three seconds, is what I was saying.

I dunno. It seems to me this whole thing is getting a bit odd. corb, it seems from what you're saying that you used to carry a gun in civilian settings, but now you don't. So given that you choose not to be armed, there must be reasons for that. Are they personal or legal? If they're legal, don't you believe that living somewhere without concealed carry is taking a risk with your own life?

I used to regularly carry a gun in a non-civilian setting. I have never personally carried concealed in a civilian setting, though I have many friends who do. I have open carried in jurisdictions where it was legal to do so. I am currently working through the process to get a premises permit, as I live somewhere with very restrictive gun laws, but believe in going through the legal process even if it's functionally retarded. I may also go through the process to get a concealed carry permit, but more as a precautionary measure, because there may come a time when I want to carry one and don't have the time to take eighteen months waiting for the permit to come through. Also because due to absolutely retarded gun laws, if I want to travel with a gun, and stop anywhere along the way, like to get lunch, I pretty much need a carry permit.

The thing is, I may not personally need a gun in order to defend myself. I'm not necessarily in fighting trim these days, but I'm quite confident in my ability to defend myself physically if I need to from anything but a firearm. I've broken up armed fights without possessing a weapon myself. But that doesn't mean that I feel it's okay, because I personally can defend myself without a firearm on the city streets, for me to say that no one else gets to. I feel like all people deserve to be able to defend themselves, even if they're not particularly strong or fast or bold.

Of course I can. And can you understand why I sometimes want to shove someone under a bus? I'm sure you can. Do you think it would ever be in any way ok for me to act on that impulse? Not in the slightest.

See, this is the part where I'm absolutely mystified. Everyone thus far, when responding to Zimmerman legally carrying, has given comparisons to illegal activity - driving drunk, shoving someone under a bus. But those analogies simply don't hold. Zimmerman wasn't doing anything wrong by the laws of his state in carrying everywhere, even just to the grocery store. So I guess what I'm asking is - can anyone here understand why someone might want to carry concealed and it might not be automatically harmful or awful for them to do so?

*FB feed regularly comes up with pictures of women covered in babies, holding a gun like they're about to shoot with the caption "911 can't come fast enough!" or some crap like that

I mean, it is technically true that 911 can't come fast enough, but yes, I do know that the people who tend to post this a lot are often assholes. I struggle with this. Part of me wants to defend them under the grounds that they are correct, the other part wishes they would be just a bit less obnoxious about that correctness.
posted by corb at 4:17 PM on June 22, 2012


If Zimmerman wasn't carrying a gun, then it's unlikely that he would have pursued Martin. If he hadn't pursued Martin, then the kid would be alive today. The problem with guns is that they raise the stakes, especially in the hands of idiots.
posted by rdr at 4:28 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, it is technically true that 911 can't come fast enough, but yes, I do know that the people who tend to post this a lot are often assholes. I struggle with this. Part of me wants to defend them under the grounds that they are correct, the other part wishes they would be just a bit less obnoxious about that correctness.

The likelihood of a suburban mom returning to her development from picking her fifteen babies up from daycare needing to use a Magnum in the middle of the day is essentially non-existent. Most concealed carry people are living in a war-zone fantasyland in their heads, and because they see themselves as their own personal action heroes they get trigger-happy and emboldened during times when backing the fuck off--like not getting out of the car and pursuing Martin--would be more appropriate. They are "correct" if "correct" means "establishing a ludicrous hypothetical in which a gun would be appropriate for the purpose of blinding their opponents with an emotional plea and hysterics over actual facts and figures."
posted by schroedinger at 4:43 PM on June 22, 2012


You asked me if I understand the impulse to carry a gun, and I gave an example of a similar impulse that is not legal because it's violent and dangerous, which is how I feel we should treat the impulse to carry a gun.

In this case, however, the only actually illegal thing he appears to have done is provoke a fight that led to someone dying at his hands. If he hadn't been carrying a gun but had landed a lucky punch, Martin could still be dead and he would still be facing charges. Carrying a gun, regardless of how stupid or legal it is, simply increased the odds of his confrontation ending with a fatality.
posted by jacalata at 4:47 PM on June 22, 2012


The likelihood of a suburban mom returning to her development from picking her fifteen babies up from daycare needing to use a Magnum in the middle of the day is essentially non-existent. Most concealed carry people are living in a war-zone fantasyland in their heads, and because they see themselves as their own personal action heroes they get trigger-happy and emboldened during times when backing the fuck off--like not getting out of the car and pursuing Martin--would be more appropriate. They are "correct" if "correct" means "establishing a ludicrous hypothetical in which a gun would be appropriate for the purpose of blinding their opponents with an emotional plea and hysterics over actual facts and figures."

I think (and again, this is personal choice) that a concealed carry permit is a good thing to have for times when you need it, but it's a smarter choice to make a risk assessment about when it's more likely to be needed and when it's not. Other people believe that it's best to be prepared at all times. I don't know that I believe this is wrong, just...a different choice.

That said, there's an interesting thing about the suburban/urban divide. Suburban or rural areas are less likely to have situations where you'll need to use a firearm, but also have a longer response time from police and a smaller police force. Urban cities are more likely to have situations when you'll need a firearm, but also have a shorter response time from police and a larger police force. (unless you live in a poor neighborhood, in which case, good luck getting police to respond.)

You asked me if I understand the impulse to carry a gun, and I gave an example of a similar impulse that is not legal because it's violent and dangerous, which is how I feel we should treat the impulse to carry a gun.

Thanks, jacalata. I still disagree with you, but I appreciate you clarifying your position so that I can understand at least part of it.

Do you also, by the way, feel this way about police carrying weapons?
posted by corb at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2012


This thread is not about some hypothetical situation involving a gun. It's about George Zimmerman killing an unarmed kid.
posted by rdr at 5:13 PM on June 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Do you also, by the way, feel this way about police carrying weapons?

I feel uneasy about it and I think it causes unnecessary deaths.
posted by jacalata at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2012


I really can't understand the idea that I should be able to do whatever makes me feel comfortable in the interest of my perceived self-defence. If I can do that, I can booby trap my house, then claim self-defence when a policeman trying to enter to save my life dies from the electric shock off the door handle. The fact that something is intended to be used against aggressors does not necessarily legitimate the risk it runs to the innocent. Where we draw the line is a matter of proportionality and democratic debate, not basic human rights.

So get your gun corb, take it out to lunch, try not to kill any kids. But try to understand that from where a lot of people sit, it looks like you're happy for yourself and others to run that risk.
posted by howfar at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with how CC gets advocated is that almost every use of a gun becomes evidence, for the advocate, that concealed carry laws are a good idea. GZ's case is a great example. Here we have a guy who, given all the evidence, chose to pick a fight with an unarmed teenager. He likely did that, at least in part, because he knew he was carrying a gun, not an equalizer, and bully-maker, and so he didn't need to sweat either whether he was correct or whether he was wise. When he subsequently shoots the unarmed teenager, cc advocates use this as evidence that it was good that he was allowed to carry the gun! Still, we know even more about GZ since then. We know he's willing to lie to law enforcement, and to the judge, that he's willing to commit further crimes (shaping) in order to conceal money raised for one purpose but used for others (fraud). Still, each of these pieces of information become more evidence that GZ is only standing up for his rights. It's all so recursive, and divorced from the reality that he shot an unarmed kid, that it's hard to imagine how CC advocates could ever think that a shooter was in the wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 4:36 AM on June 23, 2012


There are two threads right now in MeTa about why we don't do some things well. And I can't help but think that some of the things discussed there are things that are happening here as well.

Because this is really important, on all sides, for everyone, and so I think people have in large part started talking past each other, because they can't concede anything, because if they concede anything, then somehow The Other Side Wins.

jacalata, I really appreciate you sharing your perspective. I think that's one of the things that confuses me about this case and others - how people are willing to accept state violence, but not private violence : state killing in self defense, but not private. I may disagree with you, but I can see the ideological consistency in your position.

I really can't understand the idea that I should be able to do whatever makes me feel comfortable in the interest of my perceived self-defence.

Are you interested in understanding the idea? Or are you so offended by it that you're unwilling to listen?

It's all so recursive, and divorced from the reality that he shot an unarmed kid, that it's hard to imagine how CC advocates could ever think that a shooter was in the wrong.

Omiewise, I asked you upthread under what circumstances you would consider it justified to kill someone who was unarmed, because I was trying to understand your position. You wouldn't answer or help to explain the details of your position. You say that it's hard to imagine how CC advocates could ever think a shooter was in the wrong, but you also seem unwilling to explain circumstances in which the shot might be in the wrong.

Genuine question: what are you interested in in this discussion? Is it understanding the opposing view? Is it reaching a shared position? Is it explaining why you feel the way you do? Is it to commiserate with people you think will agree with you completely? Or is it just to share and vent your anger here at people who disagree, because it's a safe way to do so without wading into the awful out in the world? Or are you just so angry about what you think the Martin/Zimmerman thing means that you don't care about any of those?
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2012


You say that it's hard to imagine how CC advocates could ever think a shooter was in the wrong, but you also seem unwilling to explain circumstances in which the shot might be in the wrong.

Why do you keep wanting this to be about some hypothetical situation instead of about this situation, the murder of Martin by Zimmerman? I'm not answering your question about what "might happen" because it's an attempt to distract from the issue at hand. It's disingenuous. We know what you think about Zimmerman, you've made that clear, and you've made clear that for you nothing will tarnish the guy's motives or actions. That's a despicable position, and you keep trying to generalize from it, which is even more problematic. But to the extent that you want to talk about hypotheticals in order to distract from it, I'm not interested.


Genuine question: what are you interested in in this discussion?


You keep trying to impugn my motives by suggesting through questions that I'm somehow inappropriately interested in this discussion. I get the sense that you want me to admit(?) that I'm not really interested in an honest(?) debate about this. Or something. I'm not really sure. I'm not just going to agree to disagree with you, because a kid is dead, and I think the stakes are a bit higher than that. I also don't find you an ingenuous interlocutor here, since your reading of Zimmerman's actions is so biased by your desire to excuse him that I cannot reconcile it with your otherwise apparent intelligence. (Which, by the way, makes them much worse than I might otherwise find them.)

Why don't we just let our comments speak for us. You've made your own investments here pretty clear, and from where I sit they aren't in justice or truth. If you think mine aren't either, I don't particularly care. I think I've been as forthright about my position as you have about yours.
posted by OmieWise at 10:50 AM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do you keep wanting this to be about some hypothetical situation instead of about this situation, the murder of Martin by Zimmerman? I'm not answering your question about what "might happen" because it's an attempt to distract from the issue at hand. It's disingenuous. We know what you think about Zimmerman, you've made that clear, and you've made clear that for you nothing will tarnish the guy's motives or actions. That's a despicable position, and you keep trying to generalize from it, which is even more problematic. But to the extent that you want to talk about hypotheticals in order to distract from it, I'm not interested.

I think you're acting in this conversation on some bad faith, and probably outside the guidelines for Metafilter. But I don't think you generally do. I've seen your commentary on the green, and you seem to genuinely work hard to try to understand situations and be helpful. But when it comes to Zimmerman, it's like you've got a bee in your bonnet - acting atypical. You don't seem to be trying to understand other views, or respect other viewpoints, or even think people who disagree with you are decent human beings. And so I'm not trying to distract you from the issue at hand, or talk purely about hypotheticals. I've been trying to challenge that really charged language and perspective you've been using.

I also do want to understand how someone who is so clearly intelligent and generally compassionate can get to that place - how we get to those places where we have blinders on. For a lot of reasons. Because I want us to have discussion around Zimmerman, but also because that kind of rigid partisanship is one of the things that's been driving the trainwreck that's been our country for the past several years. And I think that if it's possible to understand it at all, it's going to be with people who do have a lot in common - people who come from a community where they're at least supposed to try to think the best of each other. People who are striving for a better world, in their own ways. People who are trying to help people.

And if we can't try, then we're screwed. Not just us, not just about Zimmerman. But if people with so many starting points that suggest they should be decent to each other can't possibly come together, than what can we possibly do about the rest of the country?
posted by corb at 11:55 AM on June 23, 2012


I think you're acting in this conversation on some bad faith, and probably outside the guidelines for Metafilter.

I'm curious: and to which guidelines might those be?
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on June 23, 2012


Corb, for real ? You're dancing around pointing at everything except the dead kid on the ground. You're saying nobody will listen to your opposing view, but you continue to neglect to fully explain it so that it is rational.

It's like you're saying "women should not be able to vote". ..."Why won't anyone listen to my side of the discussion?"

I'm probably not the only one that sees you post and notices that you do not have a grasp of the pertinent facts of this case, but you latch on to things that have no bearing (i.e. the whole 'trespassing' thing) and want to examine that stuff. Multiple people in here keep telling you that you're straying way off the mark. People bring up things that you have no clue about, that you'd know if you just took some time out from posting and spent more time reading.

When you've got multiple people who have been here for years and years telling you that you're doing it wrong, you might want to take a step back and realize that there is a good chance that you are doing it wrong.
posted by cashman at 12:32 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you're acting in this conversation on some bad faith, and probably outside the guidelines for Metafilter.

If you think that's true, you should certainly contact the mods or take it to MetaTalk. I don't agree, obviously.

You don't seem to be trying to understand other views, or respect other viewpoints, or even think people who disagree with you are decent human beings.

Here is where we differ. I think I have a very good understanding of your position, because you have been pretty explicit about it. My read on this situation, and I could be wrong, is that you honestly don't understand how offensive your position is, and so you think that those (I am not the only one) who find it despicable are somehow misunderstanding you. But that is not what's going on here. If you really think all those things about other places I participate on this site (which I think are a generous reading, so thank you), you should maybe consider that my personal position is not that different here.

Because I want us to have discussion around Zimmerman, but also because that kind of rigid partisanship is one of the things that's been driving the trainwreck that's been our country for the past several years.

You know, that's bullshit. It sounds almost as if you're suggesting that the problem isn't whackjobs like Zimmerman shooting people, but the folks who object to that kind of wanton disregard for human decency.
posted by OmieWise at 12:45 PM on June 23, 2012


Metafilter: When you've got multiple people who have been here for years and years telling you that you're doing it wrong, you might want to take a step back and realize that there is a good chance that you are doing it wrong.
posted by localroger at 12:51 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm curious: and to which guidelines might those be?

Well, like the ones calling for a "healthy and respectful discussion," for one.

Corb, for real ? You're dancing around pointing at everything except the dead kid on the ground. You're saying nobody will listen to your opposing view, but you continue to neglect to fully explain it so that it is rational.

you latch on to things that have no bearing (i.e. the whole 'trespassing' thing) and want to examine that stuff.

If anyone wants to question aspects of my view that confuse them, without using hyperbolic rhetoric about how my ideas are despicable or racist, I'd be happy to explain them. But at the same time, I would appreciate equal consideration. Yeah, I want to examine the "trespassing" stuff - because it has a direct bearing on things that might have influenced Zimmerman's decision making. But you rule it irrelevant - why? Do you genuinely think that Martin's actions, and Zimmerman's perception of them, are completely irrelevant to the Zimmerman case? Or is it because saying that Martin's actions could have been perceived as trespassing seems like criticism of Martin, and anything that criticizes Martin or suggests that Zimmerman man not be evil is perceived to be irrelevant?

You know, that's bullshit. It sounds almost as if you're suggesting that the problem isn't whackjobs like Zimmerman shooting people, but the folks who object to that kind of wanton disregard for human decency.

You do realize you're complaining about a disregard for human decency while...disregarding human decency, right?

Metafilter: When you've got multiple people who have been here for years and years telling you that you're doing it wrong, you might want to take a step back and realize that there is a good chance that you are doing it wrong.

Metafilter: where dissent is okay, but only when it falls within a particular political spectrum.
posted by corb at 12:57 PM on June 23, 2012


You do realize you're complaining about a disregard for human decency while...disregarding human decency, right?

You're right, calling someone's position odious is almost exactly the same thing as shooting a young unarmed kid to death. I'm glad we can agree about what's important here.
posted by OmieWise at 1:29 PM on June 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


George Zimmerman Files New Motion for Bond.
posted by ericb at 11:44 AM on June 25, 2012


"The media has filed this motion [PDF] seeking the second recorded conversation of Witness 9, whom the Orlando Sentinel identifies (correctly in my view) as Zimmerman's ex-girlfriend (the one who filed the restraining order.) The prosecutor identfied her by name at the bond hearing, and submitted exhibits with her name on them. Both sides have said she won't be a witness and her statements are inadmissible. (She and Zimmerman broke up in 2005.)

The media also wants all the jail calls released."*
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on June 25, 2012


If her statements are inadmissable, will they really be able to obtain them? I thought they were only able to request release of records because they would have bearing on the case...

Also, I'm really curious why both sides don't want her testimony in there - I suspect maybe it was the sort of thing that wouldn't stand up under questioning.
posted by corb at 11:54 AM on June 25, 2012


Also, I'm really curious why both sides don't want her testimony in there - I suspect maybe it was the sort of thing that wouldn't stand up under questioning.

We've been over this ground before, upthread. I don't understand how the evidence is inadmissable, given that we don't know what it is, but the issue is that there's no one to corroborate this woman's statement, so the defense will say she has an axe to grind, meaning she's not the most useful witness to the prosecution, given that her evidence is apparently not that vital, but the defense sure as hell don't want her to testify. (But she's on the witness list because you name everyone and their dog as a potential witness.)
posted by hoyland at 7:58 PM on June 25, 2012


corb, if you want an example of why people think you're disingenuous:

Also, I'm really curious why both sides don't want her testimony in there - I suspect maybe it was the sort of thing that wouldn't stand up under questioning.

Here's an immediate jump to the conclusion that her testimony against Zimmerman is a load of crap. No consideration for its validity, or for the suggestion that the defense may too easily mischaracterize her, nope, it is "the sort of thing that wouldn't stand up under questioning", where I'm guessing the subtext is "jilted bitch."

This is the kind of jumps and leaps of logic you've been making throughout the thread--you say you're just trying to have a discussion, just trying to be objective, and yet none of the positions you've taken have been objective. All of them, to a T, end in suggestions that exonerate Zimmerman and implicate Martin. Martin looked like he was trespassing! Martin was threatening, Zimmerman was within his rights, don't get your government on my guns! Side conversation about concealed carry! The police did their job, I have a right to defend my family, Zimmerman just thought he only need to give them one passport, and I have an equivocation and explanation for each and every thing Zimmerman and his supporters do and say to demonstrate that they're good guys, really, and you have it all wrong.

corb, all this is disturbing in the context of the conversation because you offer no similar equivocation for Martin or his supporters--despite the fact that Martin is dead, and clearly the major victim in this case. In fact, you pretty much ignore them entirely, in favor of picking apart any attacks on Zimmerman and following tangents that you hope might bolster your case.

What you're doing comes off as equivalent to someone showing up in a thread about Jerry Sandusky and trying to start a discussion about the positive aspects of man-boy love in ancient Greco-Roman cultures, how age of consent is fluid, that sexual exploration is perfectly normal at that age, and by the way, what do you think about these statistics on false sexual abuse claims. All worthy conversations in their own right--but taken as a whole, within the context of the conversation, they send a message about the writer that is not entirely positive.
posted by schroedinger at 9:16 PM on June 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Or to put it more bluntly, the sum total of your comments carry this message:

(1) There exists a situation where it is OK that Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent kid.

(2) There exist ways to make all of the facts of this case fit that situation.

People are fundamentally disagreeing with you on (1). They are also not sure why you are so gung-ho about (2), as opposed to viewpoints like "Gosh that sure was shitty of Zimmerman" or the more moderate "What are all of these new facts telling us about this case and what it means?"
posted by schroedinger at 9:39 PM on June 25, 2012


Here's an immediate jump to the conclusion that her testimony against Zimmerman is a load of crap. No consideration for its validity, or for the suggestion that the defense may too easily mischaracterize her, nope, it is "the sort of thing that wouldn't stand up under questioning", where I'm guessing the subtext is "jilted bitch."


I think I'm not the only one to believe that maybe, ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends may have an axe to grind. But that wasn't what I said above. My curiousity is why both sides didn't want her to testify. I understand why the defense doesn't want her to testify, because it doesn't need more people talking about potential prejudice and influencing the jury's perception of the situation. But for the prosecution to rule her inadmissable means that they must believe her presence on the stand would do more harm than good, and I find that interesting as well. The most likely scenario there is they don't think her testimony will stand up in court - not even necessarily because it's not true - but possibly for a lot of reasons. She may not deal well on cross, they may know that O'Mara has his own evidence to discredit her, it could be a lot of things. But there's no reason not to have her on, unless they think it'd be bad for their team.

Or to put it more bluntly, the sum total of your comments carry this message:

(1) There exists a situation where it is OK that Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent kid.

(2) There exist ways to make all of the facts of this case fit that situation.


A better characterization would be that I do not believe your premises are a correct statement of facts.

My position would be, if boiled down,

(1) There exists a situation where it's OK that Zimmerman killed Martin.

(2) I believe that situation to be more likely than the situation where Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent kid because he was black. Not even "definitely true," but more likely.

(3) I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.
posted by corb at 4:55 AM on June 26, 2012


(3) I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.

As far as I know, we have zero reason to believe that Martin was doing nothing other than walking home when this mess with Zimmerman started. And Zimmerman didn't know him from Adam. So, yeah, even if he was a criminal mastermind, in context, he's an innocent kid whose only apparent crime was walking while black.

I'm mad enough at that comment to Godwin the thread. If Zimmerman had happened to kill a 17 year old Hitler walking home, he doesn't get a prize or even an excuse. Okay, he kills a 17 year old Hitler, humanity lucked out. Doesn't mean he didn't kill an innocent 17 year old.
posted by hoyland at 5:02 AM on June 26, 2012


(2) I believe that situation to be more likely than the situation where Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent kid because he was black. Not even "definitely true," but more likely.

Every time you've concocted a scenario in which Zimmerman was justified in killing Martin, it has boiled down to "It's okay to shoot people." Not, say, "Zimmerman's life was in imminent danger" or even that he had reason to believe it was. Funny how we disagree that it's okay to shoot people.

The only thing I will concede is that perhaps race was not the primary stereotype driving Zimmerman. But, realistically? It's pretty fucking likely.
posted by hoyland at 5:07 AM on June 26, 2012


I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.

Martin had done nothing wrong. Zimmerman had zero proof he did anything wrong. Zimmerman pursued him with a gun despite the advice of authorities to not do so. Martin was innocent, Zimmerman stalked him, Zimmerman killed him. Just because you don't like Martin as a person does not mean he wasn't innocent.
posted by schroedinger at 5:25 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


(3) I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.

What are you talking about? You realize how crazy this sounds, right? Maybe you should take a step back and really think about what you're saying before you say it.
posted by OmieWise at 5:27 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, I agree with you, Martin isn't innocent because he's dead. He was innocent because he didn't do anything, except, maybe, respond to Zimmerman's jackass armed provocation.
posted by OmieWise at 5:29 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


(3) I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.

The subtext here is that if you're black, you're not innocent, given that Trayvon Martin wasn't doing anything wrong in any place he shouldn't be.

From a legal viewpoint, the moment George Zimmerman made a furtive motion ( allegedly for his cellphone, but Martin had no reasonable belief -- after being pursued by this stranger -- that it wasn't a weapon ), Trayvon Martin's legal right to self defense began, and Zimmerman's ended.

See also: Amadou Diallo, where 4 NYPD officers were cleared of shooting to death a man who was reaching for his wallet...
posted by mikelieman at 5:35 AM on June 26, 2012


Boiling it down simply for those who may not have read context above:

(1) Zimmerman having a gun means nothing about his intent. It means he was a law abiding citizen who happened to have a concealed carry permit and be carrying his authorized pistol. It doesn't make anything he did more ominous. I think this is something people are unable to see because of their personal feelings about concealed carry laws.

(2) Martin was acting suspiciously by walking slowly, close to the buildings (cutting across the grass), and according to Zimmerman, peering into the windows. Not criminal, perhaps, but certainly a reason for suspicion. He wasn't followed because he was "Walking while black," he was followed because he was acting suspiciously.

(3) If Martin attacked Zimmerman before Zimmerman gave physical provocation, he was not innocent. It doesn't matter what Zimmerman said, unless what he said was, "I'm about to kill you." Even if Zimmerman said something awful, like, "You don't look like you belong here in my nice gated community," that would be evidence only that Zimmerman was a raging asshole, not that Martin was right to attack him.

(4) Physical evidence shows Martin's knuckles to be scraped up, consistent with damage taken while punching, while Zimmerman's head and nose are shown to be injured. Martin has no other damage besides the gunshot wound.

(5) I believe that if Zimmerman felt himself in danger, and particularly if he felt Martin going for his gun, he was justified in shooting Martin to protect his own life.

Many here disagree with those statements, and that's fine - but to say that their disagreements are universal truths that everyone should accept is certainly wrong.
posted by corb at 5:35 AM on June 26, 2012


(2) I believe that situation to be more likely than the situation where Zimmerman stalked and killed an innocent kid because he was black. Not even "definitely true," but more likely.

And my point is that rather than objectively analyzing the facts put in front of you, you are, again and again, finding ways to make them fit this premise rather than asking yourself if they actually do.

You repeatedly find ways to excuse Zimmerman for all of his actions, both during the shooting and after, and find ways to excuse or "explain" the nastiest of his supporters. You have not been giving the same benefit of the doubt to Martin.

With this pattern you have exited the realm of "exploring all possible options" and entered "approaching the situation with a set of biases and finding ways to reinforce them". It is worth asking yourself why you are taking the latter approach.
posted by schroedinger at 5:36 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


(2) Martin was acting suspiciously by walking slowly, close to the buildings (cutting across the grass), and according to Zimmerman, peering into the windows.

The only person making this claim is Zimmerman, has zero credibility at this point and was potentially under the influence of several mind-altering medications to treat his ADHD. The side effects of these medications on judgement and perception are significant and well-known.

I think we can discard the claim that Martin was acting suspiciously, don't you?
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 AM on June 26, 2012


(5) I believe that if Zimmerman felt himself in danger, and particularly if he felt Martin going for his gun, he was justified in shooting Martin to protect his own life.

AND there's the troublesome component. You discount Martin's feeling himself in danger from the very moment that Zimmerman began following him, and that if MARTIN felt ZIMMERMAN was going for his gun, then MARTIN was justified in fighting back to defend his own life, AND ZIMMERMAN WASN'T.
posted by mikelieman at 5:40 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boiling it down simply for those who may not have read context above: [...]
(2) Martin was acting suspiciously by walking slowly, close to the buildings (cutting across the grass), and according to Zimmerman, peering into the windows. Not criminal, perhaps, but certainly a reason for suspicion. He wasn't followed because he was "Walking while black," he was followed because he was acting suspiciously.
[...]


Oh for fuck's sake. I think I know what recipe you're using, and while it is simple, it's also pretty distasteful.
posted by OmieWise at 5:42 AM on June 26, 2012


From a legal viewpoint, the moment George Zimmerman made a furtive motion ( allegedly for his cellphone, but Martin had no reasonable belief -- after being pursued by this stranger -- that it wasn't a weapon ), Trayvon Martin's legal right to self defense began, and Zimmerman's ended.

Perhaps - I'm not sure on whether the legal system allows for a "dual self defense" sort of situation.
From my perspective, if Martin believed that Zimmerman was reaching for a weapon, he was within his rights to attack him - but that right does not reduce the right of Zimmerman, later in that same fight, to shoot Martin when he felt him reaching for his weapon.

Again: I think it possible that both people were acting in self defense, if in fact Martin thought Zimmerman was going for his weapon. Which means I would not support either of them being charged if the other was killed, no matter who won. Zimmerman happened to. But if Martin had, it would have equally been legitimate self defense and I wouldn't want (given those circumstances) him going to jail either.

You repeatedly find ways to excuse Zimmerman for all of his actions, both during the shooting and after, and find ways to excuse or "explain" the nastiest of his supporters. You have not been giving the same benefit of the doubt to Martin.

The same could be said of many Martin supporters - but I don't think that's actually true. See above.

The only person making this claim is Zimmerman, has zero credibility at this point and was potentially under the influence of several mind-altering medications to treat his ADHD. The side effects of these medications on judgement and perception are significant and well-known.

Sure. But it's important to remember that Zimmerman made these claims on the phone with police dispatch before the confrontation even began. So these are not claims made after the fact to justify the shooting - these are things that were said to police dispatch, as he hoped to get police to come out and check out the suspicious character. The most reasonable explanation is that he genuinely saw the thing he said he saw.

ADHD medications are stimulants. These amp up your adrenaline and make you more suspicious - but they don't make you perceive people as several feet away from where you are. So, yes, you may perceive someone curiously glancing into windows as sinister looking in for purposes of burglary - but you're not going to place someone on the grass when they're actually on the sidewalk.
posted by corb at 5:45 AM on June 26, 2012


Perhaps - I'm not sure on whether the legal system allows for a "dual self defense" sort of situation.

There is no such thing. The instigator (Zimmerman) has a duty to at least attempt to retreat ( under Florida Law ), which nothing in anyone's testimony indicates.


These amp up your adrenaline and make you more suspicious - but they don't make you perceive people as several feet away from where you are


Well, we all know that George Zimmerman has issues with being open, transparent, forthcoming, and truthful don't we? The obvious inference there is that he was all jacked up, which caused the incident, and then LIED about the particulars to avoid going to prison.
posted by mikelieman at 5:48 AM on June 26, 2012


Sure. But it's important to remember that Zimmerman made these claims on the phone with police dispatch before the confrontation even began.

No, he didn't. He said Martin was "walking around, looking about", which is something most people do when strolling home.

This is what I'm talking about--you are taking everything Zimmerman says at face value, while expressing extreme skepticism about defenses of Martin's behavior.

(1) Zimmerman has an invested self-interest in justifying his actions, both after and before the shooting. It is clear from the dispatcher transcript that Zimmerman wants to go after Martin.

(2) Zimmerman has proved that he is fully capable of lying to law enforcement to justify his position.

Literally the only suspicious thing Zimmerman described was that Martin was "peering into windows". Walking slowly through a development doesn't count, unless old people and children are also suspicious. Your defense of the claim that Martin was "peering into windows", and was therefore suspicious, rests on these assumptions:

(1) Zimmerman is not lying or exaggerating, and is a reliable witness

(2) Martin, having had no history of theft or any other significant criminal history, while temporarily visiting family, after getting a snack at a local 7-11, on a whim decided to start scoping out houses on the phone with his girlfriend, fully aware Zimmerman was watching him. Keep in mind there is a 99.9% chance Martin is hyper-aware that as a black male his actions are, in general, viewed with more suspicion than people of any other race or gender.


This is just one instance where your unerring defense of Zimmerman and assumption of his truthfulness is confusing. You repeat this across the thread with other events around the whole case.
posted by schroedinger at 6:32 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh yes--and we also can't forget that Zimmerman had a prior history of vigilantism, which had gotten him into trouble in the past and was perceived by others at significantly outside the norm. So you also need to make the assumption that that wasn't affecting his behavior in a negative way, either.
posted by schroedinger at 6:34 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is no such thing. The instigator (Zimmerman) has a duty to at least attempt to retreat ( under Florida Law ), which nothing in anyone's testimony indicates.

Does this apply under SYG? However, I'd argue it's kind of hard to retreat from the ground, and even harder to retreat from a bullet.

Literally the only suspicious thing Zimmerman described was that Martin was "peering into windows". Walking slowly through a development doesn't count, unless old people and children are also suspicious.

News reports have stated that Martin was in fact walking close to other people's houses - again, perhaps trying to cut through, perhaps trying to get out of the rain underneath people's eaves. I'm not saying that Martin was doing this with criminal intent - I'm saying that him doing this was outside the social norms of gated communities, where old people and children do not, in fact, cut across other people's property unless they know them and know it will be okay.

(2) Martin, having had no history of theft or any other significant criminal history, while temporarily visiting family, after getting a snack at a local 7-11, on a whim decided to start scoping out houses on the phone with his girlfriend, fully aware Zimmerman was watching him. Keep in mind there is a 99.9% chance Martin is hyper-aware that as a black male his actions are, in general, viewed with more suspicion than people of any other race or gender.

Well, Martin does have a history of theft and criminal history. He was found at his school with burglary tools and a lot of women's jewelry, which he was unable to explain, and he was only there visiting his father because he was suspended from school for illegal drugs for that time period.

I don't believe, even given that, that he was looking in windows for criminal purposes. I think he was probably just curious - "see how the other half lives" type of stuff. There's no reason he wouldn't or couldn't have done this while on the phone with his girlfriend. People do all kinds of things while on the phone with their partners - windowshopping is certainly one of them. And he wasn't initially aware Zimmerman was following him at the moment of Zimmerman's choice to follow him, because..that would violate the space-time continuum, if nothing else. He became aware of his actions afterwards, and engaged in reasonable-for-Martin, suspicious-for-Zimmerman behavior of ducking behind other people's houses while trying to get away.

It's worth noting, since police behavior has been used as an example above, that police are also often known to consider the fact of someone running away from them as evidence of criminal intent. I don't agree with "if they run, they're guilty," but Zimmerman would hardly be the first person to think so.

This is what I'm talking about--you are taking everything Zimmerman says at face value, while expressing extreme skepticism about defenses of Martin's behavior.

Again, even if true, which I don't believe it is - how is it different from people who take defenses of Martin or the statement of Martin's girlfriend at face value, while expressing extreme skepticism about defenses of Zimmerman's behavior?
posted by corb at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2012


News reports have stated that Martin was in fact walking close to other people's houses

BASED ON WHOSE TESTIMONY?

I think he was probably just curious - "see how the other half lives" type of stuff.

. . . Excuse me? So Martin is now the Little Match Boy, inspecting inside other people's houses? Seriously, do you have a better explanation other than "He's poor and irrationally curious" for why Martin would completely violate social norms and his own common sense to walk up people's front yards and driveways to look inside windows, house after house? You're trying to argue it is reasonable for him to do this without criminal intent. My point is, unless he was scoping people's places, this is not normal for anyone, no matter how poor, and especially a young black man aware of his "outsider" status. Occam's Razor says he was either looking in windows to scope, or he wasn't at all. And no evidence outside Zimmerman's testimony indicates the likelihood of the former.

Zimmerman would hardly be the first person to think so.

Why did he follow someone against the advice of the dispatcher? Was that self-defense? (Do you think he would he have done so if he didn't have a gun?)

corb--will you please address why you're making these mental leaps and convolutions to defend Zimmerman?

how is it different from people who take defenses of Martin or the statement of Martin's girlfriend at face value, while expressing extreme skepticism about defenses of Zimmerman's behavior?

- His girlfriend has not lied in court, repeatedly
- In general, the defenses of Martin here tend to be a hell of a lot more feasible than things like "Zimmerman thought 'Turn in your passports' means 'Give us one of them'" or "Martin thought it was totally OK to wander up the front yards of gated communities to look in front windows".

He was found at his school with burglary tools and a lot of women's jewelry, which he was unable to explain, and he was only there visiting his father because he was suspended from school for illegal drugs for that time period.

Here's an example of a "convoluted defense" of Martin's behavior:
- Doing marijuana does not mean you're a thief
- A flathead screwdriver is not "burglary tools" or a "burglary kit"
- The women's jewelry is confusing, but no proof was found he got it from illicit means
- Possession of a flathead screwdriver and jewelry with no other evidence of thievery does not equal "Mastermind Burglar".

i.e. these defenses of Martin are based in demonstrable fact rather than self-interested testimony of the perpetrator and a lot of "what ifs" created by Zimmerman's defender
posted by schroedinger at 7:19 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is no such thing. The instigator (Zimmerman) has a duty to at least attempt to retreat ( under Florida Law ), which nothing in anyone's testimony indicates.

Does this apply under SYG? However, I'd argue it's kind of hard to retreat from the ground, and even harder to retreat from a bullet.

For anyone who is interested in reading up on Florida law as it pertains to this case here is a good recap of the statutes and applicable laws:
posted by snaparapans at 7:25 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zimmerman special prosecutor: I'm releasing more evidence at 1 p.m.
posted by futz at 7:37 AM on June 26, 2012


. . . Excuse me? So Martin is now the Little Match Boy, inspecting inside other people's houses? Seriously, do you have a better explanation other than "He's poor and irrationally curious" for why Martin would completely violate social norms and his own common sense to walk up people's front yards and driveways to look inside windows, house after house?

First of all, I never said "He's poor and irrationally curious." I said, "He was probably curious."

Look, I live in a fairly nice (urban) neighborhood. And when I'm walking down the street, if someone has their blinds up and I can see into their living room, I peek. I don't go up to the window, but from the sidewalk, I glance in, because I'm curious. I'm curious how other people decorate and live. I don't usually get people noticing, because, well, urban area and nobody cares and the streets are crowded as hell and I'm not lingering. But I do this, which is one reason I can totally understand why Martin might want to - especially if he's from an urban area, is already cutting close to the houses, and people have left their blinds open.

I'm not suggesting that Martin walked up people's driveways to look in their house, then went back to the sidewalk. I'm saying he was reported (I believe one of the initial police leaks gave away this one) as walking close to the houses. He might have been cutting close to them for the awnings, if it was in fact raining. I know, again, if I'm in an urban area, I will sometimes dash from awning to awning when it's raining and I don't want to get wet.

I'm not saying Martin deliberately violated social norms - I'm saying that I don't think he was aware of the social norms in which the community he was present in operated under. I don't think he figured he was doing anything wrong by cutting across the grass.

- In general, the defenses of Martin here tend to be a hell of a lot more feasible than things like "Zimmerman thought 'Turn in your passports' means 'Give us one of them'" or "Martin thought it was totally OK to wander up the front yards of gated communities to look in front windows".

Given that many of the Martin supporters are simply arguing that Zimmerman was racist, and somehow wrong for travelling and acting while possessing a gun, I really don't see this.

Doing marijuana does not mean you're a thief
- A flathead screwdriver is not "burglary tools" or a "burglary kit"
- The women's jewelry is confusing, but no proof was found he got it from illicit means
- Possession of a flathead screwdriver and jewelry with no other evidence of thievery does not equal "Mastermind Burglar".


Doing marijuana doesn't mean you're a thief, but in Florida, it does mean you're a criminal. You seem to enjoy creating narratives in which I say something outrageous, but in fact, this is only created by you. I never claimed Martin was a mastermind burglar. I said that he had been found by his school to be in possession of burglary tools and women's jewelry, which is true. Yes, there's no proof that he acquired it illicitly - but what is your reasonable explanation for why he had it? I also noted that I don't think this is relevant to the situation, but it is relevant to people attempting to whitewash Martin.

For anyone who is interested in reading up on Florida law as it pertains to this case here is a good recap of the statutes and applicable laws:

Thanks, snaparapans, that's actually really handy (and has some fascinating stuff!)
Stinson v. State( 1971):

When the deceased swung at him, appellant was under no compulsion to wait around and see whether the second blow might find its mark as promised by the aggressor.
...In the circumstances reflected in this record, there was no evidence from which the jury could infer that the appellant acted in a manner evincing a depraved mind as defined by our Supreme Court in Ramsey v. State, 114 Fla. 766, 154 So. 855, when he instinctively neutralized his attacker with the only appropriate means at hand. That the attacker sustained a mortal wound is a matter that should have been considered by the deceased before he committed himself to the task he undertook.
posted by corb at 7:42 AM on June 26, 2012


I'm not trying to whitewash Martin, corb. I said he had no criminal history of thievery, which he does not. You are calling a flathead screwdrives "burglary tools." I would call that "casting aspersions." I have one of those in my bag right now. I guess I'm a thief!

Also--smoking marijuana may make you a criminal, but it does not make you a thief. You are taking disparate, unrelated aspects of Martin's life and attempting to apply them to this case to, well, what exactly? Prove that Martin was suspicious? Prove he had untoward motivations? What relevance are his marijuana usage and flathead screwdriver possession to this case?

Why do you focus on this about Martin? Why are these facts relevant--but Zimmerman's drug use, Zimmerman's past vigilante history, Zimmerman's documented adult criminal history, Zimmerman's perjury, not relevant to the validity of his claims?
posted by schroedinger at 7:59 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not attempting to apply Martin's history to this case. I'm attempting to apply Martin's history to your statements about his character and to what I view as a whitewashing of his character. It has no relevance to the case, nor should it. I'm simply referencing it to talk to you about one of your contentions.

Zimmerman's drug use? Are you referring to prescribed medications, or something else?

Zimmerman's history of attempting to protect his community is relevant to the validity of his actions, and I've never said that they aren't. I just don't interpret them the same way that you do. It's the same way that Zimmerman doesn't have an adult criminal history, because charges were dropped. An arrest is not a charge, nor should it be if you want to rely on the rule of law.

Here's the thing. I've never said Zimmerman isn't an asshole, or a low-life, or any sort of subjective judgments about his character. In fact, I have said I view it as kind of sleazy to pay off your bills with your legal defense fund.

But being a sleaze doesn't mean you don't get to defend yourself. Being a jerk doesn't mean you don't get to defend yourself.
posted by corb at 8:10 AM on June 26, 2012


But being a sleaze doesn't mean you don't get to defend yourself. Being a jerk doesn't mean you don't get to defend yourself.

And no one is suggesting otherwise. People are suggesting that your apparent willingness to admit that he might have acted sleazily never seems to affect your willingness not to give him the absolutely biggest benefit of the doubt you can. As I said earlier in this thread, it's as if shooting someone gave Zimmerman the presumption of having acted in the best possible faith to you. I would think that even an advocate of concealed carry and self-defense would recognize that the principles behind those positions do better when the presumption is that no one should get killed unless absolutely fucking necessary, which means that each case is rigorously examined and not simply dismissed as a justified self-defense from the outset.
posted by OmieWise at 8:24 AM on June 26, 2012


I object to the characterization of Martin as a "innocent kid," simply because he's 17 and dead, particularly when there's evidence that he was not as much of an angel as people would like to try to portray him.

Those of us who use the term "innocent" when describing Trayvon Martin are most certainly not saying he is the perfect angel of goodness whose feet don't even touch the ground because he is so holy. We mean he is innocent in that he was not doing anything that warranted him being pursued, detained, and shot by a "concerned citizen." So we mean he is innocent in the eyes of the law.

That said, we also mean that even when you examine the facts outside of that fateful night -- the marijuana, the suspension, the unexplained jewelry, etc -- Trayvon Martin is no worse than many of us who are now proper, upstanding citizens were in high school. Hell, he's better than some people I know who got into all kinds of ridiculous shit when they were in high school and college but are now doing just fine, living on the right side of the law.

Plus, whatever his faults, 17 is ridiculously young. He had a lifetime ahead of him to correct his character flaws. As one of the investigators told Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin had a future.

Zimmerman's drug use? Are you referring to prescribed medications, or something else?

Please don't be disingenuous. Zimmerman's use of prescription medications has been mentioned several times in this thread.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would think that even an advocate of concealed carry and self-defense would recognize that the principles behind those positions do better when the presumption is that no one should get killed unless absolutely fucking necessary, which means that each case is rigorously examined and not simply dismissed as a justified self-defense from the outset.

Actually, it's kind of the opposite. Advocates of lethal self-defense lose out when the presumption is that no one should get killed unless "absolutely fucking necessary." Under that presumption, a lot more second-guessing is not only allowed or encouraged, but expected - which does not benefit individuals who want to be able to defend themselves without having to spend precious seconds trying to consider how to nonviolently disable an attacker. It is really hard to disable someone without hurting them. Really, really hard. So putting that as the goal to reach for makes it harder for people who want the ability to defend themselves.

When you make the bar that each case is rigorously examined, it means that even individuals who are completely innocent are out the costs of their lawyer and trial - because it's not like the State pays you back for the expenses you suffer while you're going through the investigation.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I don't want that. I'd like a strong presumption of innocence in cases like this - just like the SYG law provides. I'd like people not to be arrested unless their guilt was certain, and not to hinge around peripherals like just what might have contributed to the situation. If I, say, go scream at a cheating boyfriend, and then he starts to beat me, I want to be able to defend myself without people saying that it's my fault for starting the whole thing.

That said, we also mean that even when you examine the facts outside of that fateful night -- the marijuana, the suspension, the unexplained jewelry, etc -- Trayvon Martin is no worse than many of us who are now proper, upstanding citizens were in high school.

I think this second part is the part that I disagree with. And it's even a separate argument than the "is Zimmerman guilty" argument. Again - if Martin thought Zimmerman was pulling a weapon (the cell phone), I really don't blame Martin for attacking Zimmerman. But I do think that behavior is beyond the norm for high school, and it confuses me to find people trying to excuse it. That's, again, a separate thing. Even if he was an awful teen, I don't think all awful teens deserve to be shot. But I do think that he sounds, from all accounts, like an awful teen, acting in ways that I would never excuse. And so I argue that point - as a separate thing, but since we're arguing in the thread, I can understand where it kind of seems all the same thing.

Please don't be disingenuous. Zimmerman's use of prescription medications has been mentioned several times in this thread.

Yes, of course. I'm aware of that - I just wasn't sure if schroedinger meant previous illegal drug use, because we were talking of personal history, and I hadn't heard of any. I absolutely think any prescriptions that Zimmerman was on at the time of the incident are relevant to the case.
posted by corb at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2012


Zimmerman on Drugs With Violent Side Effects When He Killed Trayvon Martin
While the mainstream media made sure to report with exclamations and gasps that marijuana was found in Trayvon Martin‘s system on the night that he was killed, many outlets failed to also report that the level was well below what medical studies show cause “performance impairment.” The same can not be said for George Zimmerman. According to the paramedic report, the vigilante neighborhood watch captain was on the prescription drug Temazepam, reports MSNBC.com.

Temazepam, also known as Restoril, is known to cause insomnia and anxiety, reports MSNBC. But there are more important side effects that were not mentioned.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the drug is also known to cause “aggressiveness” and “hallucinations,” among other problematic symptoms.
“You should know that some people who took medications for sleep got out of bed and drove their cars, prepared and ate food, had sex, made phone calls, or were involved in other activities while partially asleep. After they woke up, these people were usually unable to remember what they had done. Call your doctor right away if you find out that you have been driving or doing anything else while you were sleeping.

“You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways while you are taking this medication. It is hard to tell if these changes are caused by temazepam or if they are caused by physical or mental illnesses that you already have or suddenly develop. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: aggressiveness, strange or unusually outgoing behavior, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), feeling as if you are outside of your body, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, new or worsening depression, thinking about killing yourself, confusion, and any other changes in your usual thoughts, mood, or behavior. Be sure that your family knows which symptoms may be serious so that they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.”
posted by ericb at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2012


I'd like a strong presumption of innocence in cases like this - just like the SYG law provides. I'd like people not to be arrested unless their guilt was certain, and not to hinge around peripherals like just what might have contributed to the situation.

Yeah, I have nothing substantive to say to this because...well, because I think it's antithetical to how society should work. You're basically saying that as long as someone shoots someone and claims self-defense, the shooting shouldn't be examined too rigorously. That even though the other person has been shot, and is perhaps dead, we need to protect the shooter from inconvenience and unnecessary expense simply because they've told us that they were acting in self-defense. We can't know if that is even a warranted claim, because try to determine if it is warranted might cause the shooter inconvenience. I just can't understand this position. It's a position that explicitly says that the life of a person shot by someone claiming self-defense is worth less than the possible inconvenience of having to prove that claim. I actually think self-defense is a valuable concept, but its value lies in part in its mutually (i.e., societally) understood application. We determine that mutual understanding by rigorous examination of cases, not devauling people who are allegedly attackers.

Take a look at that video from Texas again. I'm sure that guy felt threatened, I'm sure he felt like he was in the right, he was also pretty clearly trying to manipulate the situation such that he could get away with shooting someone. I have no idea why he felt that was what he wanted to do, but it provides an object lesson for why the claim of self-defense should not be enough to satisfy an inquiry.
posted by OmieWise at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2012


I mean, just to be clear, when someone is shot dead by someone claiming self-defense, there is no chance to plead their case, there is no appeal, there is no second chance. I can't understand why the claim of self-defense on the part of a shooter is enough to allow them to abrogate all of those rights for whoever they shot.
posted by OmieWise at 9:11 AM on June 26, 2012


Zimmerman was also on the often abused prescription drug Adderall, which is known to cause “worsening mental or mood problems (eg, aggression, anxiety, delusions, depression, hallucination, hostility),” according to Drugs.com. *
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on June 26, 2012


But I do think that he sounds, from all accounts, like an awful teen, acting in ways that I would never excuse.

I ask in all sincerity: Where and when did you go to high school? Because I simply cannot imagine how Trayvon Martin could be deemed an awful teen by any reasonable standard that would be employed by anyone who attended high school in America anywhere from about 1977 to the present. Typical sounds like a much better word to apply to Trayvon Martin to me. Note that no one other than GZ's most problematic of supporters, and you, are using any sorts of negative words to describe Trayvon Martin.

I went to a Catholic high school in Ft Lauderdale, class of '91. I knew several people who'd done things at that age that were much worse than anything Trayvon Martin ever did. When I look at those former classmates of mine on Facebook today, they're all good ol' normal folks, raising kids, donating time and money to charity, etc.

So, given their respective pasts, why do you characterize Trayvon Martin as awful while, thus far, only characterizing Zimmerman's using his defense fund to pay his bills as "sleazy." Neither man has a criminal record. Trayvon Martin doesn't even appear to ever had any criminal charges against him, unlike GZ. And I think it's worth noting that several incidents from Zimmerman's past involve violence against other individuals.

And, finally, Trayvon Martin is dead. At 17. What does the world gain by having him described as "awful" anyway? I can see GZ benefiting from there being a perception that Trayvon Martin was "awful", but he's the only one.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:22 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW --
According to Steven J. Topazio, Attorney-at-Law, voluntary drug use does not excuse criminal acts.
“Defendants who commit crimes under the influence of drugs sometimes argue that their mental functioning was so impaired that they should not be held accountable for their conduct. Generally, however, voluntary impairment does not excuse criminal conduct, since people know or should know that drugs affect mental functioning, and they should therefore be held legally responsible if they commit crimes as a result of their voluntary use. An exception to this rule may exist in cases involving a crime that requires “specific intent,” in which the offender must have intended the precise result that occurred but arguably could not have formed that intent in his or her drugged state.”
The caveat pertaining to “specific intent” led me to clarify the definition of second-degree murder, which is what Zimmerman is charged with.

Arnold Law Firm, LLC, in Florida, says that to “convict a defendant in Florida of Second-degree murder, the State of Florida must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. The victim is dead;

2. The death was caused by the criminal act of the defendant;

3. There was an unlawful killing of the victim by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.

Understanding a second degree murder can be more confusing than the more serious first degree murder. The “criminal act” reference in the statute must be a single event or series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose of committing the murder or creating the dangerous condition that led to the death.
These facts are in keeping with Special Prosecutor Angela Corey‘s charge against Zimmerman.

After profiling Trayvon, Zimmerman exited his vehicle, followed him, then continued to follow him against 911 dispatch orders, stalked and menaced him, then killed him during an interaction that was “ultimately avoidable” by him:
“The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely, if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party’s concern,” the document by Sanford, Fla. Police said.

“There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.”
As stated above, Zimmerman’s voluntary use of the drugs Adderall and Temazepam do not justify killing a child in cold blood.
posted by ericb at 9:35 AM on June 26, 2012


The focus on Zimmerman's prescriptions is weird since millions of people take medication for ADHD and insomnia yet somehow manage not to shoot people. I don't see the relevance. Here are the side effects of a prescribed medication I take three times per day for arm pain caused by a pinched nerve in my neck (emphasis mine):
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); behavior changes; confusion; difficult or painful urination; fever; memory problems; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, depression, agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness, inability to sit still); new or worsening trouble sleeping; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe headache or dizziness; suicidal thoughts or actions; swelling of the hands, legs, or feet.
Stay away from me, I guess.
posted by desjardins at 9:35 AM on June 26, 2012


There is a possibility that Zimmerman could have expereinced some of this side effects. We'll never know for sure. And, more specifically, we'll never know what quantity of the prescribed drugs were in Zimmerman's system at the time, since he was, unlike Trayvon Martin, never tested for drugs or alcohol on the night -- or, even the day after -- he shot Martin to death.

I suspect that, if Zimmerman goes to trial, he prosecution may bring these issues up in court -- and let the jury decide what relevance they may play in their decision.
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins -- just because you don't experience those side effects, doesn't mean that others don't.
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here are the side effects of a prescribed medication I take three times per day for arm pain caused by a pinched nerve in my neck

As many drug users will tell you, setting and context are everything.

Smoke marijuana in the comfort of your own home, watching a cool movie or listening to music you like, and you're probably going to have a great experience. Smoke marijuana and then go somewhere with lots of cops, and you're likely to be jumpy and paranoid.

(One of the worst experiences with pot I ever had involved going into a church while stoned. I was absolutely convinced that JC was standing on a cloud looking at me and shaking his head, saying "lord_wolf, I'm not angry, just disappointed.")

So, do you take this medication, then arm yourself -- with one in the chamber -- then go on "patrol", convinced that you're all that stands between your community and "fucking assholes" who "always get away"? If so, yeah, we should stay away from you.

Do you take your medication and then lie down? Cool, let's hang out.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:46 AM on June 26, 2012


Look, I live in a fairly nice (urban) neighborhood. And when I'm walking down the street, if someone has their blinds up and I can see into their living room, I peek. I don't go up to the window, but from the sidewalk, I glance in, because I'm curious

So, you're saying that Martin's alleged actions aren't suspicious, since you yourself admit to the exact same acts without harboring Bad Intent.
posted by mikelieman at 10:00 AM on June 26, 2012


Like some other people it sounds to me that Zimmerman is slurring his words on the 911 call.

If I were on the jury, I could see myself pointing that out to other jurors: "So, what do you think? Sounds to me like he was intoxicated on something. Do you agree, or not? Should this observation play into our deliberations at all?"
posted by ericb at 10:11 AM on June 26, 2012


Police Say Zimmerman Had Chances To Defuse Situation Before Shooting Martin
Police released more documents, photos and audiovisual files on Tuesday afternoon from the case of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the second degree in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman told police that he saw Martin, followed him, passed him in his vehicle, called the police non-emergency line, then lost sight of Martin, and was confronted by Martin, who attacked him when Zimmerman reached into his pocket for his cell phone to call 911.

The report shows that police concluded that Zimmerman's actions were "inconsistent" with someone who was afraid of Martin, and that Zimmerman had several chances to end the encounter without violence.

"Investigative findings show that Zimmerman admitted avoiding a confrontation with Martin while Zimmerman was observing Martin from his vehicle, because, as he told investigators, was afraid of Martin," an officer wrote. "Later in the encounter, Zimmerman exited his vehicle, in spite of his earlier admission to investigators that he was afraid of Martin, and followed Martin in an effort to maintain surveillance of him while Zimmerman awaited the arrival of law enforcement officers. His actions are inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject.

"Investigative findings show that George Michael Zimmerman had at least two opportunities to speak with Trayvon Benjamin Martin in order to defuse the circumstances surrounding their encounter. On at least two occasions, George Martin Zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned resident or a neighborhood watch member to Trayvon Benjamin Martin. Investigative findings show the physical dimension of Trayvon Benjamin Martin, and that of George Michael Zimmerman, coupled with the absence of any specialized training in hand to hand combat between either combatant, did not place George Michael Zimmerman in an extraordinary or exceptional disadvantage of apparent physical ability or defensive capacity.

"Investigative findings show the physical injuries displayed by George Michael Zimmerman are marginally consistent with a life-threatening violent episode as described by him, during which neither a deadly weapon nor deadly force was deployed by Trayvon Martin."

"The following sequence of events were obtained by admissions made by Zimmerman and cannot be corroborated by independent witnesses, nor can be refuted by independent witnesses:

While Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle, he states he was attacked by Martin, but only after Martin inquires to Zimmerman, 'What's your problem?'

"Zimmerman, instead of attempting to inform Martin of the reason he was following him, stated to Martin, 'I don't have a problem.'

"As Zimmerman responds to Martin, by his own admission, Zimmerman reaches into his pocket attempting to locate his cell phone.

"As Zimmerman reaches for his cell phone, he stated Martin replies, 'You have one now,' and Martin punches Zimmerman in the face, knocking him to the ground.

"Zimmerman stated that he was battered by Martin to the point of almost losing consciousness. He stated he ultimately had no choice but to shoot Martin in self-defense."

The report continues:

"The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement, or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialog in an effort to dispel each party's concern. There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter. Zimmerman, by his statements made to the call taker and recorded for review, and his statements made to investigators following the shooting death of Martin, made it clear that he had already reached a faulty conclusion as to Martin's purpose for being in the neighborhood."

That report concludes with the investigator's recommendation that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter. He was ultimately charged with a more serious charge, homicide in the second degree.

Police also released a copy of Zimmerman's neighborhood watch handbook, including this warning: "Neighborhood Watch is NOT the Vigilante Police. Work with the police. Be our eyes and ears. Report suspicious activity."
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


PDF file containing 29 pages of investigative reports.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on June 26, 2012


"At one point in the new video shot the day after the killing, Sanford Det. Doris Singleton notes that the swelling of injuries to Zimmerman’s head had already died down after just a day.

Zimmerman said his nose was broken and he probably needed stitches for his head injuries, but that the wounds had already begun to heal so he did not get sutures. His hands showed no scrapes, although his head had bruising."*
posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on June 26, 2012


Lead Investigator In Trayvon Martin Case Transferred Out Of Investigative Unit
The lead investigator in the Trayvon Martin case is being transferred out of the investigative unit at the Sanford Police Department, WFTV learned on Tuesday.
This comes less than a week after city leaders fired Police Chief Bill Lee over the way he handled controversy following the Trayvon Martin shooting investigation.
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on June 26, 2012


Trayvon Ran! New Evidence Says Zimmerman Pursued Martin
Prosecutors have released more evidence in the George Zimmerman case today: video, audio recordings and written statements, including a police report that concludes Trayvon was running away from Zimmerman.

... The paperwork revealed that Sanford police concluded Trayvon was running toward the townhouse where he was staying when the two confronted each other.

And it shows that they believed Zimmerman was following Trayvon, something the second-degree murder defendant initially admitted, but later denied.
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


... the second-degree murder defendant initially admitted, but later denied.

This is my 'surprised face!'
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on June 26, 2012


George Zimmerman Said He Was On Top Of Trayvon Martin When Witnesses Came
George Zimmerman didn't recognize a police photo of Trayvon Martin just hours after he fatally shot the teenager, even though he said he was on top of Martin when witnesses came.

" ... I thought he had something in his hands, so I grabbed his hands when I was on top of him and I spread his hands away from his body cuz he was still talking and I was on top of him and that's when somebody came and they had a flashlight too and I thought it was a police officer so I got off of him."
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on June 26, 2012


More details:
"The lead Sanford police investigator in the Trayvon Martin shooting was transferred Tuesday from days to the night shift, the department confirmed.

Chris Serino is now a patrol officer, no longer assigned to major crimes, but the department would not say when that change came about."
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on June 26, 2012


We can't know if that is even a warranted claim, because try to determine if it is warranted might cause the shooter inconvenience.

I think my position is more that it's possible to do a full investigation without arresting the individual. Ask them to come in for interviews, sure, investigate the facts, sure...but arresting them doesn't seem to add anything to that mix.

I ask in all sincerity: Where and when did you go to high school? Because I simply cannot imagine how Trayvon Martin could be deemed an awful teen by any reasonable standard that would be employed by anyone who attended high school in America anywhere from about 1977 to the present.

I went to a specialized high school in the Northeast in the 1990s. Admittedly, a whole lot of geeks, not a whole lot of criminal activity. We did have a few "druggies," but those were a really small subset of the population - and meeting them again, they've all grown up to be kind of sad individuals.

So, do you take this medication, then arm yourself -- with one in the chamber -- then go on "patrol", convinced that you're all that stands between your community and "fucking assholes" who "always get away"? If so, yeah, we should stay away from you.

Well, the US Army certainly encourages it. I'm not saying I agree with that policy, but there's a history of people on potentially mind-altering medications being given guns and sent out into communities with the intent to use them. It's not like the act of going out in public with a weapon while medicated is some inconceivable and unconscionable act.
posted by corb at 1:15 PM on June 26, 2012


This seems like it needs to go to trial. There are so many questions and holes that I hope they dont let him off without a trial via syg.
posted by cashman at 1:21 PM on June 26, 2012


Looking at the PDF of the new releases, the most interesting new information seems to be:

1) His firearm was a Kel-Tec 9mm, for those who were curious/questioning.
2) Zimmerman admitted to police that he had PTSD - (which I can certainly see affecting your perception of danger)
3) Multiple witnesses saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, one saying Martin was punching "MMA style." Whatever the hell that means.
4) Zimmerman passed the voice stress test about whether he was in fear for his life and whether he sought to confront Martin. However, the voice stress test doesn't judge every detail, just the major questions asked.
5) Police believe that the voice calling for help was Zimmerman. (which I think we knew already, but can't remember)

Are these documents the ones Corey was going to release at 1?
posted by corb at 1:43 PM on June 26, 2012


"MMA style." -- Mixed Martial Arts.
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on June 26, 2012


If all of that is new to you, corb, you really shouldnt be jumping in here nearly as much as you do. I think if you read the prior threads, you might come to understand this situation better.
posted by cashman at 2:38 PM on June 26, 2012


So much weirdness surrounding this. There's that craziness with Wolfinger and the police chief, now we learn Serino -- who appeared to be the one most strongly advocating a charge of manslaughter and the one who intimated that he didn't believe GZ's account from the very beginning -- being moved to patrol duty?

Wow.

Are the feds still conducting their investigation of the Sanford PD? I haven't found any updates about that, and in some ways, I'm more interested in their findings than I am in GZ's trial(s).
posted by lord_wolf at 3:31 PM on June 26, 2012


Are the feds still conducting their investigation of the Sanford PD?

Yep. Started the investigation in March.
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on June 26, 2012


He wasn't followed because he was "Walking while black," he was followed because he was acting suspiciously. with no authority to do so and against the explicit instructions of law enforcement.

Fixed that for you and really, it doesn't really matter as much what happened after. Zimmerman was the instigator. I'm guessing that nowhere in any SYG law does it give a civilian the authority to go ahead and follow a person against explicit instructions from police dispatch. In the highly unlikely event (from what we KNOW from phone records) that Martin was sneaking around peering in windows (contradicted by his girlfriend), Zimmerman was in fact told not to follow him and has no authority to do so. I mean,

1) he started following a person who
2) had done nothing to him
3) against explicit instructions and
4) he had a gun. And
5) a history of vigilantism.

And you're still saying Zimmerman acted in self defense and Trayvon didn't? And saying everyone else in this thread is blinded by their opinions on concealed carry?

While I suppose it is theoretically possible that Zimmerman was in the right, the evidence against him is so overwhelming that to consistently find in his favor (with zero allowance for Trayvon Martin) requires an extremely generous (to Zimmerman) interpretation of everything involved and I have to believe at this point that you are being willfully ignorant.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:53 PM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, the US Army certainly encourages it. I'm not saying I agree with that policy, but there's a history of people on potentially mind-altering medications being given guns and sent out into communities with the intent to use them. It's not like the act of going out in public with a weapon while medicated is some inconceivable and unconscionable act.

I suspect many people would argue that sending soldiers out on patrol while under the influence of mind-altering substances is not the ideal policy. (And, in fact, aren't there periodic rows about, for example, the Air Force (who are admittedy not the army giving pilots amphetamines?)

But, in any case, I'll say what does the NRA think? Surely they're not down with the combination of mind-altering substances and firearms.

I don't think you can hold the US Army, or any military to be more precise, up as a platonic ideal of firearms usage, to be honest. Modern militaries do have an unfortunate tendency to kill civilians.

(There is a whole other problematic aspect to this, which is that, as a bunch of random presumably unqualified people, we've taken it as read that medication for mental health makes one in some way dangerous. Now, we have all the evidence we could want that Zimmerman is not someone we want running around with a firearm (and his mental health or lack thereof may well be a contributor to that), but we could probably all do with watching our generalisations.)
posted by hoyland at 5:03 PM on June 26, 2012


Miami Herald: "Sanford detective Chris Serino, who originally recommended that George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, has been moved to uniform patrol on the graveyard shift, but the department says it’s not a demotion of the 15-year veteran."
posted by ericb at 6:57 PM on June 26, 2012


George Zimmerman Evidence Shows Extent To Which Police Doubted Self-Defense Claim.
posted by ericb at 6:59 PM on June 26, 2012


Well, Serino knew that affidavit he filed to cover his OWN ass would have repercussions.
posted by mikelieman at 6:59 PM on June 26, 2012


Investigator: Zimmerman was not at a physical disadvantage to Trayvon Martin.
posted by ericb at 7:01 PM on June 26, 2012


Lead detective in George Zimmerman case asks to be reassigned.
posted by ericb at 7:05 PM on June 26, 2012


Looking at the PDF of the new releases, the most interesting new information seems to be:

What is even more interesting are the details you find most interesting--all supporting your defense of Zimmerman, with no mention of the additional details that cast further aspersions on Zimmerman's motives, state of mind, and self-defence claims.
posted by schroedinger at 8:26 PM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Investigator: Zimmerman was not at a physical disadvantage to Trayvon Martin.

A few days ago the comparison between this case and the Rodney King beating struck me. With King (R.I.P.), he was beaten and went down, and was beaten some more. There were what, 6 or 7 armed & trained police officers surrounding him, and yet the idea was that somehow this black man possessed so much power that all those officers could not restrain him on the ground to put handcuffs on him. And a jury ate it up.

With Trayvon (R.I.P.), now suddenly a 150 lb was-16-the-month-prior 6 foot tall kid (from the most recent report I saw) has super strength enough to hold down a grown man weighing something like 190 lbs. To the point where the shooter would have us believe that the only way to survive was to kill this black male, who has the black male super strength. Note how Zimmerman tells us Trayvon was hitting him so incredibly hard that he thought Trayvon was armed with something in his fists. That the blows and the slamming made him feel like his head was going to explode. It fits right in with the narrative that American society and media perpetuate, and that you'll notice if you pay attention. Black Men are super strong, dangerous, and extraordinarily brutal.
posted by cashman at 10:02 PM on June 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


To me, Zimmerman didn't seem impaired at all. He seems controlled and composed in the video the day after. To me his behavior is that of someone who has longed to be in this situation, explaining a crime scene, going over events to a police investigator. You can see in the "interrogation" video that he knows officers and they know him, and his behavior is very much that of someone who wants to be considered a familiar. I've worked in situations where I knew people like this. They hung around the police stations, learned the codes, bought police equipment and weapons, and the officers generally looked at them like chumps.

It is notable to me that Zimmerman goes through his account with such detached completeness. I remember he was said to be crying and crying. But watching his re-enactment, he never looks down, he never seems to have the understanding that he killed a kid the night before, and was screaming for help like a little kid with a skinned knee, purportedly for his life. Maybe he has extremes like that. We know he screamed that he didn't care, at a police officer during one of his priors. We know that he had domestic violence issues with an ex.

I just thought it was interesting, because his whole demeanor that we've seen has been sans emotions. The re-enactment, the "interrogation", the moments afterward, the walk through the police station, the court apology, the jailhouse phone calls - he continually seems the same. Little emotion, zero concern for the kid he shot to death, or the life he took. Maybe he's the kind of person that holds it all in and then something triggers him and it boils over into rage, defiance, crying, or screaming.

His lawyer (who I like) wants to continue to paint him as not a threat to the community. I heartily disagree. His actions and history say to me he does what he feels like doing, without much care about the punitive side of law enforcement, and has little care afterward.
posted by cashman at 10:18 PM on June 26, 2012


Regarding that stress test, that is depicted on that hour-long video I linked above. I watched it the day I posted it. I'm not familiar with the methodology behind that test as the investigator described it. It was so interesting the way the test was administered, and if you can, watch that portion (near the end) of the video where they do the stress test and see what you think. I may be in a unique position here because I'm familiar with a number of tests and techniques used on people to get information. This test is interesting in the apparent way it is said to work (described on the video to Zimmerman before administration) and in the way it was administered. I suspect there is more behind the scenes though, and this may be a valid tool that measures something benign, that is also used in a different manner, to get the test taker to behave in certain ways.

From what I recall, Zimmerman is pretty much tested on if he confronted Trayvon, if he was in fear for his life, and one other thing I can't remember. I definitely recommend watching the video if you have the time, just so you can get a sense of what happens. It's also a shame the test was done the day after, and not the night of, or at least at some time before he'd had a chance to leave, compose, think, talk to relatives, judge daddy and friends, then come back.
posted by cashman at 10:30 PM on June 26, 2012


A couple things would be great to have from Zimmerman's story at this point. The first is that Zimmerman's explanation for why he got out of the car, was that he went to get the address from the street he lived on, from the house closest to the open area.

What was that address? Did Zimmerman ever say? When Zimmerman does the re-enactment, the officers at the scene (who ask almost no questions at the end of the video) should have asked him what the address was. Unless I missed it, Zimmerman never came back with any address, which he should have had if he had gotten it and was headed back to his car.

Secondly, Zimmerman's account did not include Zimmerman ever saying the words "what are you doing here?", which an eyewitness (Trayvon's girlfriend) heard herself. Her interview with law enforcement after the fact is on YouTube and has been since mid-april, though I didn't hear it until recently. So how does Zimmerman explain that?

To me, that disparity demands a trial. No way you can let him off using Stand Your Ground if you have an earwitness having him say something confrontational like that. The way he so clinically goes over the night he shot a kid to death, there is no way he can somehow work that into the story after the fact. Or at least not believably after straight up lying to the court.

Zimmerman also can't explain how he was confronted on the top part of the T of the path, but shot Trayvon to death further down the stem of the T. During the reenactment he just kind of moseys over and says they somehow ended up over there, even though he says he got knocked to the ground, was pinned down, and then shot the fatal shot.

Another question I have - is Zimmerman ambidextrous or left-handed? In the police interrogation video (which I put in quotes earlier because it isn't really an interrogation at all), he seems to be left handed at first. He seems to sign the paperwork for the cheek swab with his left hand. I thought perhaps the video had been flipped by the police or the YouTube uploader, but later in the interrogation video, Zimmerman shows how he alleges his jacket came up, and he shows his right side. This mirrors the way he describes it at the scene, with his right arm and right side. But maybe he learned to shoot with his right hand or something, and so he carried his weapon on his right side.

But as far as the "You got me" thing, I totally believe that. Well I believe Trayvon tried to say "You shot me", but that's what came out after he took a bullet to the chest.
posted by cashman at 10:52 PM on June 26, 2012


"MMA style." -- Mixed Martial Arts.

Yeah, I was more questioning what a "MMA style punch" would be. I..don't really watch or have familiarity with it.

I don't think you can hold the US Army, or any military to be more precise, up as a platonic ideal of firearms usage, to be honest. Modern militaries do have an unfortunate tendency to kill civilians.

Oh, no, trust me, I have issues with some of what they do. I guess what I'm saying is that I have real problems with Zimmerman being blamed for things that police or military are allowed to do with no questions or repercussions. I completely understand folks who believe that no one should be allowed to do stuff in a certain category, but I think that the difference between citizens and police shouldn't be as great as some believe it to be. (Why you're able to make a "citizen's arrest," for example.)

And you're still saying Zimmerman acted in self defense and Trayvon didn't? And saying everyone else in this thread is blinded by their opinions on concealed carry?

Um, no. My opinions are stated above that I believe, given the new information, that both of them were most likely acting in self defense. I believe it highly likely that Martin believed Zimmerman was going for a gun, not his phone, when he went into his pocket, and so attacked him in self defense. I believe it highly likely that Zimmerman felt in danger because Martin was beating him up, had already tried to fight him and failed, and shot in self defense.

I just thought it was interesting, because his whole demeanor that we've seen has been sans emotions. The re-enactment, the "interrogation", the moments afterward, the walk through the police station, the court apology, the jailhouse phone calls - he continually seems the same. Little emotion, zero concern for the kid he shot to death, or the life he took. Maybe he's the kind of person that holds it all in and then something triggers him and it boils over into rage, defiance, crying, or screaming.

I haven't been able to see the videos, but have heard the audio. That's actually why I found his statement to the police of having PTSD so interesting - it can result in a flattened emotional aspect a lot of the time. Does anyone remember reading this elsewhere, or what it might be from? I'm really curious as to how much this plays into his actions. I think, depending on the type, it could certainly result in feeling in much more danger.

But maybe he learned to shoot with his right hand or something, and so he carried his weapon on his right side.

When you shoot, you often learn if you are left eye dominant or right eye dominant, and shoot and hold your weapon based on that. I'm personally right handed, but left eye dominant, so I shoot with my left eye, pull the trigger with my left hand, and position with the left half of my body forward. So it might be based on that. The other thing though is that it might be a faster draw to have the weapon on the opposite side of the body, and he may have optimized for that.
posted by corb at 4:06 AM on June 27, 2012


One of George Zimmerman's former colleagues at CarMax, where he worked in 2008, complained formally about the man who killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, alleging serial hazing that lasted for months and included pranks and ethnic jokes.
posted by futz at 5:57 AM on June 27, 2012


Prosecutors to release George Zimmerman voice samples
Special Prosecutor Angela Corey plans to release at 2 p.m. today two voice samples George Zimmerman gave authorities.

They were presumably meant for audio experts to try to determine whether the voice heard screaming for help in the background of a 911 call belonged to him or 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on June 27, 2012


It is notable to me that Zimmerman goes through his account with such detached completeness.

That seems in keeping with his affect and how his CarMax colleague describes his behavior.
When the salesman complained to management, Zimmerman denied the harassment.

"The guy was so convincing when he was confronted by management to the point where I doubted my own self. I would not be surprised if he got away with it [Martin murder accusation]."

"He's got, like you say, a good poker face. Great poker face," said the colleague. "That pretty much summarizes this guy's personality. Great poker face."
posted by ericb at 11:10 AM on June 27, 2012


George Zimmerman doesn't want to wear prison uniform in court
In a new motion filed Monday, defense attorney Mark O'Mara asked the judge to allow his client to wear civilian clothing instead of a prison uniform.

... O'Mara also asked that Zimmerman be allowed to appear without handcuffs or restraints. He noted his client was allowed to wear plain clothes to his first bond hearing in April.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on June 27, 2012


I think my position is more that it's possible to do a full investigation without arresting the individual. Ask them to come in for interviews, sure, investigate the facts, sure...but arresting them doesn't seem to add anything to that mix.


I'm not sure what you're talking about. Doesn't being arrested mean being charged with a crime? People aren't arrested prior to the investigation, even if the investigation continues after their arrest. It sounds like you really just don't like the idea of people being accountable for shooting someone as long as they claim self-defense.
posted by OmieWise at 2:07 PM on June 27, 2012


An interesting thing in one of the other police interviews (with Singleton) is that Zimmerman says he was in his car and called the police on Trayvon, and then Trayvon got out of Zimmerman's sight.

Then Zimmerman says Trayvon came back into view, and Zimmerman rolled up his windows as Trayvon approached. Well if Zimmerman had his windows down, it wasn't raining that hard, was it? One of the components of Zimmerman's rationale for profiling Trayvon was that it was raining, and Trayvon wasn't trying to get out of it. Well if Zimmerman had his windows down it wasn't raining so ridiculously hard that someone couldn't be out in the rain.

Zimmerman, from what I've heard, says Trayvon was walking around, looking around at the houses. We know that Trayvon was on the phone (and that Trayvon's girlfriend heard Zimmerman say something Zimmerman never said he spoke in his detailed accounts) talking to his girlfriend. Trayvon's behavior is completely consistent with a kid talking on the phone, especially to his girl, in a place where he could be away from his family.

George's whole calmness is undercut by his complete stupidity. If there was a burglar there, they aren't going to leave, come back, and just walk around after they have clearly noticed you following them.

And for people who are (objectively) wondering about the whole "trespassing" thing? That is complete nonsense. The path between the houses is not some sacrosanct place where nobody goes. The "lawns" are just small patches, and the trespassing thing is just a nonstarter. I mean I'm sure someone exists who lives in a situation like that who could think such a thing, but nobody in their right mind would call the police and report some kid walking over that patch of grass, even if they stopped there for a few minutes. I know this nonsense has been speculated at in this thread, but it is just that, nonsense. If Zimmerman were dead and Trayvon had shot him citing the same thing, I would say exactly what I am saying, that the general social convention is not that the patch of grass is something that walking across would be trespassing on.

Separately, at the time of the prosecution releasing the charges and saying Zimmerman profiled Trayvon, that was almost a borderline thing to say. During the hearing, O'Mara treated it like it was an explosive, untrue charge.

But listening to Zimmerman's accounts, without a doubt he profiled Trayvon as being a burglar. It isn't a question. He profiled Trayvon because he was young, black and male. Zimmerman makes it clear on the tapes.

I think for George to do any time, the jury or whomever will need to see George as a threat to the community because of the way he perceives things. From the prior incidents to this one, him walking around with a gun is not a good thing. It is too bad a kid had to die because George wanted to play profiler.

For years I have wished I could see a list of every time my plates were run. Every time someone called the police to report me as I walked up the street. I would love to see that, because I know it would be completely lopsided compared to my white friends and people I hang around with. I have lived in multiple states where the police drive through the parking lots of the basketball courts I was playing at, running people's plates. I've been at places where there are basketball courts with a bunch of black dudes playing, and then 50 feet away, other sports set up with a bunch of white people playing, and I've seen the cops go through looking to ticket the group of cars nearest the basketball court. Every time I run down the street and I'm not wearing athletic clothes, I know someone has that thought that I stole something. The stories are familiar if you pay attention to what black guys go through, so I'll stop there.

This whole situation started because a black kid got profiled, and George took it further and decided he was intent on making sure the kid didn't get away (his own words), and this shit needs to stop. I have a right to live here too. George will likely get off, but honestly, this has to stop.
posted by cashman at 9:36 PM on June 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Zimmerman Failed to Appear at a Deposition in a Prior Civil Case, Fined $10,000
posted by futz at 5:47 AM on June 28, 2012


Cashman, that is very well put. I'd like to add that for those wondering why the prosecution is going for murder 2 instead of manslaughter, bearing in mind that they've had all this evidence in their possession from the beginning, they may be planning to make this kind of case: For any young black man in his immediate vicinity Zimmerman is basically a land mine waiting to go off. Trayvon is just the random person who had the misfortune to be around when he went off, and that ongoing proclivity will be the "depravity" needed to satisfy the requirement for murder instead of manslaughter.
posted by localroger at 5:57 AM on June 28, 2012


Orlando Sentinel: Zimmerman Kept Changing His Story To Police.
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on June 28, 2012


Zimmerman Kept Changing His Story To Police.

I wonder whether he would have been better off saying things happened so fast that he can't clearly recall everything.

On the other hand, this is good to note:

Serino challenged him further: "How do you not know the three streets in your neighborhood (where) you’ve been living for three years?"

I'm glad Det. Serino, at least, asked about some of the same things the rest of us have been wondering about. So Sanford PD has at least one officer who wasn't willing to grant GZ an automatic free pass because he was a good friend of the department.

Would love to know why Serino transferred out of major crimes in the wake of all this. Wonder if he'll ever tell his side of the story.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:02 PM on June 28, 2012


"How do you not know the three streets in your neighborhood (where) you’ve been living for three years?"

And if you listen to the interviews, Zimmerman recites people's names, information and numbers from memory until they give him back his confiscated phone. The "I went to check a street sign" thing is looking more and more questionable, since he never says he got the address or what it was, and with the "three streets" thing Serino probed.

I give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt with a lot of this stuff. I don't expect him to have a photographic memory and remember exactly what happened and in what positions and exact distances, but there are some key things in his pretty detailed account that are fairly questionable.

The funny thing to me is that his behavior since this all happened is what is starting to do him in. Talking in code, lying to the court. Just huge no-no's that point to him just not really understanding what you are and aren't supposed to do. Maybe judge daddy has instilled in him a sense of being above the law. Because seriously, you get charged with the death of somebody, and your next move is for you and your wife to lie to the judge?

Back to his account, some more things are just questionable. The article mentions:
There were no defensive wounds on Zimmerman’s hands and just one small scrape on a finger of Martin’s left hand, Serino said - little evidence of life-and-death struggle.
The devil is in the details here. The way Zimmerman talks about their confrontation doesn't really make sense. Zimmerman says Trayvon was on top of him, but what was Zimmerman doing with his own hands? If somebody is over top of you with their hands on your face, aren't you going to swipe and rip at their hands and arms? Zimmerman isn't some tiny dude, he had 40 lbs on Trayvon, and I think their heights are like 4 inches apart or something. Just kind of odd that he never says he tried to hit trayvon or grab his hands, or do anything but apparently lay there.

But then in an instant, he turns into quick draw mcgraw. He feels Trayvon going for his gun, and now he can beat Trayvon to his gun, pull it out, put his finger on the trigger and shoot. This guy that is overpowering him so much he can't get up or do a single thing (again, he goes through his account in great detail and never has said one word that I've seen about hitting or doing anything to Trayvon until after he has shot him dead) - now all at once he is quicker, stronger, faster.

Just weird. It'll be interesting to see how Zimmerman's own behavior is going to affect his case going forward. It would be so appropriate if his own actions send it to trial where these inconsistencies get examined further. I don't think he should get out on bond. I think he would consider fleeing with that website money.
posted by cashman at 8:20 PM on June 28, 2012


http://www.wftv.com/s/watchlive/

I tune in and the first thing I hear is that Zimmerman had $80,000 in his account on April 17th or so, and Shellie had $50,000 in her account. Damn.

Still ongoing. I guess the person on the stand is a bank rep or something? Anybody know?
posted by cashman at 7:07 AM on June 29, 2012


They said he's a "Forensic Accountant". That is an awesome title.
posted by cashman at 7:09 AM on June 29, 2012


I tune in and the first thing I hear is that Zimmerman had $80,000 in his account on April 17th or so, and Shellie had $50,000 in her account. Damn.

Gotta imagine the judge is *not* pleased. Pissed off at the defendant, pissed off at defendant's legal team...Damn.

Regarding your post about the details, I wonder if GZ tripped himself up by trying so hard to tie up every conceivable loose end in the narrative. It's like he was trying to make sure every single fact of the story pointed to him being completely blameless. Writers quickly learn that you should leave a little to the reader's imagination, and maybe if he hadn't gone into so much detail, his story would be a little bit stronger.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:34 AM on June 29, 2012


No immediate decision on George Zimmerman’s bond; judge says he needs to weigh evidence.
posted by ericb at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2012


George Zimmerman was back in court today with a request that he again be granted bail in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The hearing, which lasted almost three hours, often better resembled a trial than a typical bond hearing. Judge Kenneth Lester didn't immediately issue a ruling.

Zimmerman's defense introduced a wide-array of evidence and testimony, including medical records and Zimmerman's own statements, in an apparent attempt to underscore weaknesses in the state's case.

Defense lawyer Mark O'Mara then began his argument, telling the judge that the evidence doesn't show a "grand conspiracy" to hide money in advance of Zimmerman's first bond hearing.

He said Zimmerman "should have done something" when his wife testified falsely about the couple's finances. However, he said his client has never missed a court date, isn't a danger to the community, and should be granted bond.

"I would ask that you let him out on the same $150,00 bond," O'Mara said. He went on to call the second-degree murder charge in the case "improper" and "very weak." Zimmerman, he said, has a "very strong argument of self defense."

Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda countered that, if anyone was acting in self-defense, it was Trayvon Martin. De La Rionda described the teen as an "innocent victim" who was profiled.

"What you have here is basically a defendant who perceives himself as the police out there," De La Rionda said.

Zimmerman's bond was revoked by the judge recently after prosecutors alleged that his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, misled the court about the couple's finances at her husband's first bond hearing.

During the hearing today, George Zimmerman's father took the stand to testify that the voice heard screaming for help in a 911 call moments before the shooting was his son's.

The prosecution pointed out that George Zimmerman has also said Trayvon Martin was suffocating him before the shooting. Robert Zimmerman said that's not inconsistent with his son being the one yelling for help.

"From the looks of my son's injuries, Trayvon Martin's hands were not just on his nose and mouth," Robert Zimmerman said.

O'Mara asked the court to allow George Zimmerman to testify without being cross-examined, but that request was denied. He did not take the stand.*
O'Mara actually thought a judge -- this judge -- would allow Zimmerman to testify without being cross examined?

I guess ya' gotta ask.
posted by ericb at 9:44 AM on June 29, 2012


O'Mara actually thought a judge -- this judge -- would allow Zimmerman to testify without being cross examined?

How did his request for a pony go?
posted by localroger at 11:24 AM on June 29, 2012


He's getting out I'm sure. Even if its a million dollar bond, tugboat is rollin in dough now, thanks to the donations he has gotten for killin a kid.
posted by cashman at 11:50 AM on June 29, 2012


He's getting out I'm sure

That'd be...wow. I'd wager it would do something epically bad to his ego. Holy shit, I can kill a kid, change my story several times, mislead a judge, and I'm back out on the streets? Damn, I truly am untouchable!
posted by lord_wolf at 12:19 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zimmerman's Own Witness Said His Money Was Funneled Through Four Accounts
The only reason people would refer to $9,900 as $9 is because they wanted to speak in code, a forensic accountant called by George Zimmerman's lawyers testified in court Friday.

... During his testimony for the defense, forensic accountant Adam MaGill described how money was often transferred out of Zimmerman's PayPal account in increments of less than $10,000 and placed in Zimmerman's personal bank account.

He created the PayPal account to receive donations from supporters.

From there, the money would be transferred to Shellie Zimmerman's accounts, then routed to a trust for attorney Mark O'Mara and finally transferred to George Zimmerman's Legal Defense fund.

... The prosecution attacked the Zimmermans for reportedly using $11,387.40 of the funds donated to the PayPal account to pay off credit card debts. They allegedly used additional donated funds to pay off other personal loans.
I wonder if Zimmerman already has a literary agent signed up for the inevitable book deal he'd like to get, so as to profit off of killing a kid.
posted by ericb at 1:37 PM on June 29, 2012


BTW -- that behavior sure is 'structuring!' And he thought he could get away with it.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on June 29, 2012


Trayvon Martin Case: How 5 Young Black Men See Race And Justice In US -- "The Christian Science Monitor approached, at random, five young black men in Boston, Los Angeles, Coral Springs, Fla., and Louisville, Ky., and asked them to talk about the Trayvon Martin case, race relations, hoodies, and, of course, their own life experiences. Here's what they had to say."
posted by ericb at 1:43 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


And he thought he could get away with it.

Can't say I blame him for thinking that considering the charmed life he's lived so far with regard to the police and the criminal justice system.

Has there been any talk of prosecuting him and his wife for structuring, or is this another instance where all he gets is a chuck on the chin, a finger wag, and an "Oh, you!"?
posted by lord_wolf at 2:07 PM on June 29, 2012


Zimmerman's dad testified today. FWIW, to me, his appearance is right out of central casting for a 'retired judge.'
posted by ericb at 3:09 PM on June 29, 2012


central casting for a 'retired judge'

To a certain extent a courtroom is a theatre, a performance staged for the public and the jury. Successful judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys are going to hew to certain types which we tend to perceive as trustworthy, serious, and honest. Central Casting goes for those types because they want the acted court to look like a real one.
posted by localroger at 5:33 PM on June 29, 2012


“Robert J. Zimmerman served as a full-time magistrate from 2000-2006. Please be advised that in Virginia magistrates are judicial officers, but they are not considered "judges" and do not possess trial jurisdiction."
posted by snaparapans at 5:37 PM on June 29, 2012


snaparapans, what matters is that Z is getting advice from someone who knows enough about the judicial system to help him game it. I suspect Dear Old Dad had a lot to do with the structure of the "official story" that so perfectly hits all the self-defense talking points. And frankly, I think that if certain people stick a finger in the air and feel a witchhunt or just plain bad tidings on their fingertip, Z might decide the weather is nicer in Costa Rica. He absolutely should not get bond considering that the court has no knowledge or control over the Paypal contribution thing.
posted by localroger at 7:09 PM on June 29, 2012


He absolutely should not get bond considering that the court has no knowledge or control over the Paypal contribution thing.

Seriously. I didn't get to see the entire hearing this morning but didn't O'Mara kind of imply that they had still been getting unsolicited donations? Money seems to still be pouring in. If O'Mara wants me to believe Zimmerman would be shot just walking down the street, then it is similarly believable that there are a whole lot of people who would aid him in his escape, off to live his wonderful life outside of the U.S.

Another interesting thing that happened during the hearing today is the prosecution getting all frothy about Zimmerman needing to get on the stand and explain his self-defense claim. Judging by today's proceedings, the defense does not want to have Zimmerman on the stand at all, if possible. But if it is indeed this judge that is going to decide the SYG merits, I think not having Zimmerman testify is an automatic fail for the defense.

Looks like the thread will close before the Judge decides if Zimmerman will go free on bond or not. I just hope this ends up going to trial. I think that's Zimmerman's voice in the background of that witness call, and there are just a lot of things that should be explained and examined. I think there is clearly a substantial amount of doubt about what actually happened, and I suspect somewhere along the way Zimmerman is going to have to offer up some major changes to the story he has been telling again and again. I have a lot of questions but the one on my mind this evening is the idea that Trayvon would be about to try to kill Zimmerman ("Zimmerman said Trayvon saw Zimmerman's gun and said 'you're going to die tonight, mf'") - the kid was part of a sports program, was in the middle of watching sports on tv, and went out to get candy and a drink and chat it up with his girlfriend. Then all of a sudden he turns into a cold hearted killer? I just don't buy it. I bought the "you got me" thing because I think Trayvon was trying to say "You shot me" or did. But Trayvon turning from walking home from 7/11 talking to his girl, headed to check out LeBron, Blake Griffin and the rest of the all-star game into instant murderer is too much of a stretch. Black teens like this kid don't just kill people on a whim, George, no matter what your television tells you.
posted by cashman at 7:48 PM on June 29, 2012


lord_wolf Has there been any talk of prosecuting him and his wife for structuring, or is this another instance where all he gets is a chuck on the chin, a finger wag, and an "Oh, you!"?
Forensic accountant Adam Magill testified that thousands of dollars in donated funds flowed into and out of Zimmerman's account in the days before the first bail hearing.
But Magill discounted allegations that Zimmerman and his wife were trying to avoid federal financial disclosures by moving less than $10,000 in funds at a time.
Instead, Magill said, those limits were imposed by PayPal, the online payments processor that Zimmerman chose to handle donations from the public. [emphasis mine]
CNN
posted by snaparapans at 8:16 PM on June 29, 2012




Instead, Magill said, those limits were imposed by PayPal, the online payments processor that Zimmerman chose to handle donations from the public. [emphasis mine]
He also said that transferring funds between accounts could have been done to make it appear that Zimmerman had less money available for bail than he
did.
Same Article, next sentence.

Emphasis mine.

Also :
But when de la Rionda had his turn, he noted those amounts made sense when the Zimmermans were transferring money out of the PayPal account, but it didn’t explain transfers of $9,999 between other bank accounts that had no transfer limits. He also said the timing of the transfers didn’t make sense.

“Wouldn’t you agree that the transfer of money to separate accounts and then the transfer of money back would be a way of misleading authorities?” de la Rionda asked.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s misleading,” Magill said. “But I would say it would be to make it look like you didn’t have the money.”

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:04 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt:

My response to lord_wolf was only meant to put to rest the speculation about impending Structuring charges against GZ or SZ. Nothing about the prosecutor's charge that GZ was trying to hide money for other reasons.

Besides the fact that PayPal rules allow for reasonable doubt that GZ or SZ were Structuring, the law only applies to cash transactions, not bank transfers, checks etc..

Believe me if there was a case for structuring the State would be piling on in a second.
posted by snaparapans at 9:14 AM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I need to review how they moved the money and from where to where (does anybody have a link to that?), but I think it is interesting that they may have tried to structure anyway.

Because although it says "currency", the Zimmerman's may not have realized that, and may have still been breaking the spirit of the law, but not the letter of it (because currency = cash from what is being said).
no person shall, for the purpose of evading the CTR or a geographic targeting order reporting requirement, or certain BSA recordkeeping requirements:

Cause or attempt to cause a bank to fail to file a CTR or a report required under a geographic targeting order or to maintain a record required under BSA regulations.
Cause or attempt to cause a bank to file a CTR or report required under a geographic targeting order, or to maintain a BSA record that contain a material omission or misstatement of fact.
Structure, as defined above, or attempt to structure or assist in structuring, any transaction with one or more banks.
How did George and Shellie explain their non-paypal transactions that were deliberately just under $10,000?

From irs.gov: "The definition of structuring is not the same as, and is separate from, any requirement to report suspicious transactions. However, attempts to structure need to be reported as suspicious transactions on the appropriate Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) form."

Unless they have some reasons why they were deliberately keeping the non-paypal transfers just under $10,000, those were suspicious transactions, and again though they broke no law, I think it is germane to this situation that they were trying to break the law. This is as he is awaiting bond, in jail for shooting a kid to death.

Is a person that behaves in this manner a danger to the community? Uh, yes. Sorry, O'Mara.
posted by cashman at 10:56 AM on June 30, 2012


"The bank records, from separate credit union accounts, show Zimmerman and his wife made dozens of transactions between April 11 and April 20 just under the $10,000 limit that triggers government scrutiny under federal anti-money laundering laws.

Some were overlapping, as George transferred a total of $74,000 to Shellie, and Shellie transferred more than $85,500 back to George. All were in amounts between $9,000 and $9,999.

Another $47,000 was transferred to an account held by Zimmerman's sister, who was not named by prosecutors.

Among the transactions were 16 deposits in amounts from $9,000 to $9,990 from a PayPal account opened by George Zimmerman. The account was linked to a now-defunct website set up by Zimmerman to raise donations from supporters.

Anti-money laundering laws prohibit "structuring," which is intentionally making multiple transactions just under the $10,000 limit to avoid federal scrutiny."*

posted by ericb at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2012


I think it is germane to this situation that they were trying to break the law.

Bingo. Spot on.
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on June 30, 2012


"A state attorney investigator met with credit union officials and learned that she had control of transfers to and from her husband's account.

Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said cash transactions in excess of $10,000 usually trigger a reporting requirement by the bank to multiple government agencies – including the IRS.

'If Mrs. Zimmerman intentionally structured the financial transactions in a manner to keep the offense under $10,000, not only may she have committed perjury in the state case, but she also may have run afoul of several federal statutes and could face serious federal criminal charges," Neiman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.'" *
posted by ericb at 11:05 AM on June 30, 2012


Structuring has to do with cash only.. none of these transactions were cash transactions.
posted by snaparapans at 11:14 AM on June 30, 2012


Seriously. I didn't get to see the entire hearing this morning but didn't O'Mara kind of imply that they had still been getting unsolicited donations? Money seems to still be pouring in. If O'Mara wants me to believe Zimmerman would be shot just walking down the street, then it is similarly believable that there are a whole lot of people who would aid him in his escape, off to live his wonderful life outside of the U.S.

Even for those who aren't fond of Zimmerman, I would hope that people could see the danger of allowing the fact that people are donating to an individual to mean that he should be denied bail. That would have a lot of applications to a lot of righteous causes that seems like it would set a dangerous precedent.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on July 1, 2012


I would hope that people could see the danger of allowing the fact that people are donating to an individual to mean that he should be denied bail.

It's actually a very big problem for the court, which wants to make sure the subject (who in this case has proven to be both scheming and medacious) will show up for trial. Bail is normally set to an amount which can be raised, but which would be crippling if the subject absconds in a case like this. If money is pouring in in unpredictable amounts, what is such an amount? If someone like Z who has probably never seen $10,000 cash in one place in his entire life is suddenly drowning in Benjamins, exactly what must be done to make the climate in Costa Rica look less congenial?

Had Z been forthright and honest about his fundraising I could see the court working around this, but Z actively tried to hide this income from the court. That makes a huge difference. If some rich person were to write Z a check for $500K would he hang around for his trial? This is a distinct possibility, and I think the answer is "no."
posted by localroger at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


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