Justice and Security: Neighborhood Watch Captain Attacks, Kills Unarmed Teenager

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Brief Notes

    Brief Notes

    When I opened this thread, I honestly didn't think this story would go anywhere; I had followed a link that made the typical joke about racism and perceptions of threat, I saw the incident date, I figured this would be something I updated in a couple weeks with an "official report" summary and link ....

    Anyway .....

    I do have a question regarding Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground, and other notions of self-defense:

    If you deliberately place yourself in harm's way, then can you properly claim self-defense?

    In Texas, the answer is, "Yes". Some might recall the case of Joe Horn, a man who defied a 911 dispatcher's instruction to stay inside during a suspected robbery of his neighbor's home, shot the robbery suspect, and then claimed self-defense after deliberately confronting the suspect. A jury acquitted Mr. Horn of any wrongdoing.

    George Zimmerman is heard on the 911 recording complaining that suspicious people (i.e., black people wearing sweatshirts) always get away; shortly after, he defies the 911 dispatcher's instructions to stay where he is, pursues Trayvon Martin with hostile intent, and then shoots him dead in "self-defense".

    Thus, what seems an obvious question. Is it self-defense if you deliberately pursue a confrontation?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Bells Staff Member

    It would have been self defense if Martin had shot him, since you know, he was the one being pursued by an armed gunman through dark streets..

    However, self defense and the castle doctrine stops applying when you are the aggressor and the stalker, and an armed one at that, especially when you factor in that he got out of his car on a dark evening and stalked, pursued and then confronted a minor while armed. The stand your ground rules and self defense laws does not apply when you deliberately, against police orders, go out of your way to stalk, chase after a minor for a couple of blocks and then confront and shoot said unarmed minor in the chest.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Balerion Banned Banned

    What I don't understand is how the police have come to the conclusion that there is no evidence Zimmerman did not act out of self-defense. It has been established that he chased after the minor, that he was armed, and that the minor was not.

    How does any of this speak to self-defense?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    than your one of the thugs that everyone else is going to kill them because of this law.
  8. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    This case baffles me as the person who would REALLY have justification for self defense is the dead child. He was the one stalked by a man in a car who then got out and confronted him, and then attacked him. How this nut job can claim self defense is a joke. Who was the aggressor?
  9. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

    No, that is what you say when you call the police to arrive at the scene...you never say I " killed them" what you need to say i had to " stop" them and let's face it when your possibly being attacked by man jacked up on PCP, crack or any other drug you're going to want to knock him down on his ass with a higher caliber round than some pussy 9mm, and it's a called a concealed weapons permit(CWP) smartass those are also legal in Florida and are just as provacative as the castle laws and self defense laws that they help enforce. My grandfather had a CWP my father has a CWP and i sure as hell have a CWP, so if i was a " thug" as you so labeled me then how the hell did i even get past the screeing process for it?:shrug: i suppose you would say " oh well...uhmm the Florida version isn't as strict or properly managed as ones in other states or on the national level" You know what i'm going to say to that?http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapons/index.html
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  10. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

    Use of Deadly Force for Lawful Self-Defense

    In receiving a license to carry a concealed weapon for lawful self-defense, you are undertaking a great responsibility. A license to carry a concealed weapon is not a license to use it. I am sure you share my hope that you will never find it necessary to use a weapon in self-defense. If you do, the law will protect you only if you have acted within the law. Those who are choosing to arm themselves with weapons should, therefore, be armed with the most indispensable weapon of all knowledge.

    We are providing this information to you as a service in pursuit of that goal. Only you can provide the wisdom, restraint, and good judgment that the law demands of those who possess the ability to take another human life.

    Adam H. Putnam

    A License to Carry a Concealed Weapon is not a License to use it.

    This information was prepared by the Division of Licensing in an attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the use of deadly force for lawful self-defense. Included are examples of real situations involving the legal consequences of the use of deadly force.

    Q. What kinds of weapons are included in the concealed weapons law?

    A. The Jack Hagler Self-defense Act defines concealed weapons or firearms as follows: handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives and billies. The information provided emphasizes handguns, because they are one of the most commonly used weapons for self-defense.

    Q. What if I am in my vehicle?

    A. A person has no duty to retreat in his lawfully occupied vehicle against a person who was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering or had unlawfully and forcefully entered an occupied vehicle or had unlawfully and forcefully removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the occupied vehicle.

    Q. When is a Handgun "Concealed?"

    A. The Florida Legislature defines a concealed firearm as any firearm “carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal it from the ordinary sight of another person.” A person carrying a concealed firearm without a license is guilty of a felony of the third degree. The penalty for this offense is a prison term of up to five years.

    Q. Are there special laws that apply to the use of Handguns?

    A. Yes, special laws apply anytime anyone uses deadly force, whether or not the weapon is concealed. Florida law defines deadly force as force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm. When you carry a handgun, you possess a weapon of deadly force. The law considers even an unloaded gun to be a deadly weapon when it is pointed at someone.

    Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

    A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:
    Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
    Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

    Using or displaying a handgun in any other circumstances could result in your conviction for crimes such as improper exhibition of a firearm, manslaughter, or worse.

    Example of the kind of attack that will not justify defending yourself with deadly force: Two neighbors got into a fight, and one of them tried to hit the other by swinging a garden hose. The neighbor who was being attacked with the hose shot the other in the chest. The court upheld his conviction for aggravated battery with a firearm, because an attack with a garden hose is not the kind of violent assault that justifies responding with deadly force.

    Q. What if someone uses threatening language to me so that I am afraid for my life or safety?

    A. Verbal threats are not enough to justify the use of deadly force. There must be an overt act by the person which indicates that he immediately intends to carry out the threat. The person threatened must reasonably believe that he will be killed or suffer serious bodily harm if he does not immediately take the life of his adversary.

    Q. What if someone is attacking me in my own home?

    A. The courts have created an exception to the duty to retreat called the “castle doctrine.” Under the castle doctrine, you need not retreat from your own home to avoid using deadly force against an assailant. The castle doctrine applies if you are attacked in your own home by an intruder.

    Q. What if I am in my place of business and someone comes in to rob me? Do I have to retreat before using deadly force?

    A. The castle doctrine also applies when you are in your place of business. If you are in danger of death or great bodily harm or you are trying to prevent a forcible felony, you do not have to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.

    Q. What if I point my handgun at someone but don't use it?

    A. Never display a handgun to gain "leverage" in an argument. Threatening someone verbally while possessing a handgun, even licensed, will land you in jail for three years. Even if the gun is broken or you don't have bullets, you will receive the mandatory three-year sentence if convicted. The law does not allow any possibility of getting out of jail early.

    Example: In a 1987 case, a woman refused to pay an automobile mechanic who she thought did a poor job repairing her car. They argued about it, and the mechanic removed the radiator hose from the car so she couldn't drive it away. She reached into her purse, pulled out an unloaded gun, and threatened to kill the mechanic if he touched her car again. The mechanic grabbed the gun and called the police.

    The woman was convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm and sentenced to serve a mandatory three-year prison term. The fact that the gun was not loaded was irrelevant. Even though she was the mother of three dependent children and had no prior criminal record, the statute does not allow for parole. Her only recourse was to seek clemency from the Governor.

    Q. When can I use deadly force in the defense of another person?

    A. If you see someone who is being attacked, you can use deadly force to defend him/her if the circumstances would justify that person's use of deadly force in his/her own defense. In other words, you "stand in the shoes" of the person being attacked.

    Q. What if I see a crime being committed?

    A. A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman. But, as stated earlier, deadly force is justified if you are trying to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. The use of deadly force must be absolutely necessary to prevent the crime. Also, if the criminal runs away, you cannot use deadly force to stop him, because you would no longer be "preventing" a crime. If use of deadly force is not necessary, or you use deadly force after the crime has stopped, you could be convicted of manslaughter.

    Q. If I get a license to carry a concealed weapon, can I carry it anywhere?

    A. No. To get a license you must sign an oath that you have read and understand the Jack Hagler Self-defense Act (Section 790.06, Florida Statutes). That statute lists several places where you may not carry a concealed weapon. You should read subsection 12 for a complete list, but some examples are football, baseball, and basketball games (college or professional) and bars.

    A cool head and even temper can keep handgun carriers out of trouble. You should never carry a gun into a situation where you might get angry.


    1. Never display a handgun to gain "leverage" in an argument, even if it isn't loaded or you never intend to use it.

    2. The amount of force that you use to defend yourself must not be excessive under the circumstances.
    Never use deadly force in self-defense unless you are afraid that if you don't, you will be killed or seriously injured;
    Verbal threats never justify your use of deadly force;
    If you think someone has a weapon and will use it unless you kill him, be sure you are right and are not overreacting to the situation.

    3. The law permits you to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense. Carrying a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman or a "good samaritan."

    4. Never carry your concealed weapon into any place where the statute prohibits carrying it.

    This is not a complete summary of all the statutes and court opinions on the use of deadly force. Because the concealed weapons statute specifies that concealed weapons are to be used for lawful self-defense, we have not attempted to summarize the body of law on lawful defense of property. This information is not intended as legal advice. Every self-defense case has its own unique set of facts, and it is unwise to try to predict how a particular case would be decided. It is clear, however, that the law protects people who keep their tempers under control and use deadly force only as a last resort.
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Now, please tell me how an unarmed minor, walking home in the evening with a can of iced tea and a packet of skittles, constitutes someone committing a felony?
  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    It is possible that Mr Zimmerman acted in self defense, but the facts don't seem to support that conclusion. In my opinion Mr Zimmerman should be charged and the incident fully investigated.

    Both Mr Zimmerman and Mr. Martin were on the phone until moments before their confrontation. There may be some recorded evidence right there. And what about the physical evidence? Does it substantiate or refute Mr Zimmerman's story?

    I don't see "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand Your Ground" laws as an issue. Standing your ground is not a license to murder, but to act in self defense.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Saturnine Pariah:

    Then why post in the Ethics, Morality and Justice forum? :shrug:

    How about if the victim was you, or your child? I wonder how keen you'd be on sucking it up then.

    The killer here was in no danger. He set out to stalk this kid with a gun. And why? Fear of hoodies? Or fear of black people?

    Or... fear of guns, perhaps? The killer said that he thought the kid was carrying a gun. And you know an interesting thing I read yesterday? It turns out that people who are carrying guns themselves are more likely to suspect others of carrying guns too. Go figure.

    Now, remind me why guns are such a great thing for everybody to have again, in light of incidents such as this one. Or - better - just get out of this thread. If you don't care about the issue, why are you even posting here?
  14. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Considering that this incident resulted in a fatality, the police investigation was extremely superficial and sloppy. From what I understand, Zimmerman's clothing and possessions were not examined/inventoried before he was released. This is highly unusual due to the possibility that such items may possess evidentiary value to either a prosecutor or a defense attorney. From a legal viewpoint, any such evidentiary material is now irretrievable/inadmissible.
  15. Bells Staff Member

    Along with what was stated in the OP:

    But this is where things get even stickier: A narcotics detective established the narrative by questioning Zimmerman instead of simply letting him tell his story.

    A police officer is said to have corrected a witness who said she heard Trayvon Martin call for help. ABC News spoke with the witness, a schoolteacher, who confirms that an officer tried to change her statement.

    Goes beyond merely sloppy and superficial.

    It borders on a coverup and issue of legality on the part of the officers who responded and supposedly 'investigated' the case. Not to mention incompetence:

  16. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    I thought the same thing bells, when have the police ever come out at the start of an investigation and said x had no case to answer? The closest I have ever herd is the police say that a fire or death DOESN'T APEAR TO BE SUSPICIOUS but that can change if new evidence arises. This police force seemed to be defending the shooting from the start and I can't understand why. The only time that would make sense is if it was something like an organised crime case and the cops were dirty and covering up or if the cop was a friend of the person of interest and covering up. Otherwise why put your own job on the line and make yourself a target of the public and therefore subject to political retribution
  17. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

  18. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

    I used to care...now all i care about are is how to deal with people like you. Shoot first ask questions never, it's very hard to ask a dead man questions. That’s my code and I’m sticking to it and furthermore why care about an incident that has nothing to do with you? That's the real question, why do any of us even care in the slightest over an "tragedy" that the media so called it, when there are bigger much more complex problems that are affecting the world, I try not to waste my time on such mundane little arguments similar to this one...regardless there is always one person that hits my button whom i just need to fight. I wasted my time writing this in response to your post and after this you won't have to deal with me in this particular thread anymore and furthermore...I don't give a fuck about your moral conundrums or your bleeding heart bullshit. Good Day.
  19. Bells Staff Member

    For someone who claims he does not care, you have certainly spent quite a bit of time posting in this thread.

    But that's good. It means we don't have to deal with or have to put up your blithering rubbish in this thread, as well as others. I mean this amounts to our not having to put up with you in this one.. The less threads you post in, the better it is for the majority.

    So why don't you take your 'shoot first and ask questions never' and shove it up your arse..

    Toodles now..

    I believe that is how we deal with people like you...
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  20. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Florida case law says that you need to have probable cause to suspect that a claim of justification is inapplicable before you arrest.

    Plus, the relevant statute forbids the arrest of anyone who uses lethal force as permitted by the stand your ground law: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes...ng=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.032.html
  21. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Um how about stalking someone, putting them in fear for there life and THEN committing assault and THEN shooting there VICTIM. This is nothing but a case of "walking while black". He shouldn't just be charged with murder but rather murder with special circumstances, hate crime
  22. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    That's an interpretation of it, but "stalking" isn't per se illegal when it amounts to "following," on a single occasion. Also, Zimmerman asserted that the victim assaulted him, then the police need "probable cause" to disbelieve Zimmeman before they arrest him. That means a mere suspicion that Zimmerman attacked the victim is not enough, they need evidence sufficient to meet the probable cause standard.

    Granted that this is a case where, by killing the witness Martin, Zimmerman made sure his was only version of events the police could consider, but the law says "probable cause" not "reasonable suspicion" that the justification defense won't fly. So the police are very likely correct that the law forbade them from arresting Zimmerman.
  23. Bells Staff Member

    Yes but as I understand it, in Florida at least, stand your ground laws would stop applying if you get out of your car (against the direct orders of the police) after the so called threat has passed and he is walking away from you (ie if someone is a threat to you and they then turn around and walk away for example, they would no longer pose a threat to you), and you then take to following and then deliberately engaging your threat a few blocks away. In short, stand your ground rules stop applying when you merely see someone you think is suspicious and that person walks past you and your property and keeps on walking away from you. The threat has passed. Following him a couple of blocks and then engaging him and shooting him is not 'stand your ground'. There is also the question of why he thought Martin was a 'threat'. The racist comments he apparently said on the phone to the 911 operator, as well as the sloppy handling of the investigation by police, police officers trying to get witnesses to change their testimony, not speaking to Martin's girlfriend who was on the phone with him at the time, not doing a drug test on Zimmerman, not even trying to identify Martin who remained in the morgue for days.. not having a homicide detective interview Zimmerman, police trying to hide the 911 tape where Zimmerman utters the racist comment.. the list goes on and on.. It speaks more of a cover-up..

    That someone was an unarmed minor walking home with a packet of skittles and a can of iced tea. Based on what is coming out about this case [witnesses], it is Martin who had the right to a 'stand your ground defense', as he was the one being pursued by an armed man who was also 100 pounds heavier than he was, on a dark street. He then turned around and asked why he was being followed, whereupon the scuffle broke out. In short, it was Martin who stood his ground and was shot in the process. Zimmerman's defense is akin to a robber claiming self defense when he gets clobbered while breaking into someone's house.

Share This Page