Zimmerman: Jury Instructions for Second Degree Murder and Self-defense

Here are some definitions for y’all to keep in mind.

All state and federal trial courts use sets of pattern instructions that are submitted to juries to follow during their deliberations. The instructions define legal terms, the elements of the crimes charged and the relevant defense claimed by the defendant. They also include a presumption of innocence, burden of proof, and definition of reasonable doubt instruction that is given in all criminal cases.

You are in an upper level graduate school course so you know this part by heart:

The defendant, George Zimmerman, is presumed innocent and remains innocent unless the jury unanimously finds him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant has no burden to produce any evidence or to testify in this case. He has a constitutional right to not testify and the jury may not assume anything regarding his silence.

The State has the burden of proving each element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

Since the defendant admits killing Trayvon Martin, but claims he was legally justified to do so in self-defense, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not kill Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

A reasonable doubt is a doubt for which a reason exists. It is such a doubt as would exist in the mind of a reasonable person after fully, fairly and carefully considering all of the evidence or lack of evidence.

Each side is entitled to the benefit or detriment of the evidence, regardless of which side introduced it.

Evidence may be either direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is perceived directly by the senses: vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Circumstantial evidence is inferred from a chain of circumstances which in ordinary common experience leads to a particular conclusion. One type of evidence is not necessarily better or worse than the other. It is for the jury to decide how much weight to give to the evidence.

Murder in the Second Degree

In Florida second degree murder is defined as 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.

Imminently dangerous conduct means conduct that creates what a reasonable person would realize as an immediate and extremely high degree of risk of death to another person.

A person evinces a depraved mind when he engages in imminently dangerous conduct with no regard for the life of another person.

The Florida jury instruction for second degree murder (Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 7.4) provides that an act is imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind if it is one that

1. A person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another

and

2. Is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent

and

3. Is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

Element number 2 will be the battleground and that is why I italicized it.

Self-Defense Instruction

This is the pattern jury instruction for self-defense that the State must disprove beyond a reasonable doubt.

An issue in this case is whether the defendant acted in self-defense. It is a defense to the charge of Murder in the Second Degree with which the defendant is charged if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force.

“Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

In deciding whether defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing the defendant need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.

A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another.

No duty to retreat..

There is no duty to retreat where the defendant was not engaged in any unlawful activity other than the crime for which the defendant asserts the justification.

If the defendant was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself.

An Aggressor Cannot Claim Self-Defense

The legal justification to use deadly force in self-defense is not available to a person who:

1. Initially provokes the use of force against himself, unless such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm

and

2. That he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant.

These instructions or ones that are substantially similar will be given, if this case goes to trial.

The lawyers on both sides will be preparing for trial with these instructions in mind and y’all should keep them in mind as we continue to evaluate and discuss the evidence.

Keep in mind that Trayvon Martin’s alleged use of force may have been legally justified as reasonable force in self-defense while standing his own ground. The State will have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in lawful self-defense in order to prove that GZ’s use of deadly force was not legally justified in self-defense.

Clear as mud you say?

That’s why we have a comments section, right?

Last one in the pool is a rotten egg.

36 Responses to Zimmerman: Jury Instructions for Second Degree Murder and Self-defense

  1. julia says:

    I think simply taking a gun on a run to Target suggests a depraved mind. Who does that unless they think they’ll need to shoot someone?

  2. Patricia says:

    While we cannot know the prosecution’s strategy, it is good to see that so many concerned citizens – experienced, like Professor Leatherman, as well as rank amateurs – just can’t believe GZ’s claim he unholstered his gun AT THE LAST MINUTE, “aimed” (GZ’s word, so it was not an impulsive decision) and plugged TM through the heart (with a hollow-point GZ knew would explode TM’s internal organs, with no possibility of survival even if GZ’s aim went wild).

    GZ stated in his first interview that he was out on an errand (I’ve seen reports he said at some point he was off to Home Depot, but can’t recall the source). He had a permit to “carry, concealed.”

    I am surprised investigator Chris Serino did not ask him, “Do you carry in the workplace?” Assuming the answer would be “No.” (not that we can assume much, with GZ), the next question would be “If you were going out on an errand — or, to Home Depot – why would you be packing heat?”

    From what I see of GZ’s desperate search for personal validation as a heroic crime-fighter, I expect he holstered up for the evening – an evening the weatherman predicted would be inclement and unpleasant – so GZ could hunt down any “suspects” he might find out on a “dark & stormy night” as Victorian novelists would describe it. Because to GZ, only a criminal would be out in the rain, on foot.

    He did not pack heat because he expected to be menaced by the terracotta pots in Home Depot’s Garden Center.

    Remember GZ’s call to 311: claims TM is “reaching in his waistband,” and “now he’s coming toward me” (NONE of which I believe, nor was an approach to GZ’s vehicle reported by “DeeDee,” on the phone with TM at the time).

    But designed to impress the 311 dispatcher that TM was sinister and a bona-fide criminal suspect.

    So, if that potential “threat” lay ahead of him, why would Chicken George dare to exit his vehicle unless he immediately UNholstered his weapon? Keeping it handy in his jacket pocket is an excellent observation, sir! Thank you. Much better access for GZ when he needed it, than trying a cross-draw, left arm to right waistband.

    Your consideration that he dropped his flashlight in order to grip the gun butt after spotting TM (perhaps right after the first exchange of words) is an excellent analysis.

    A flashlight itself would serve as a considerable weapon in hand-to-hand grappling. Hardly intimidating, though, compared to a show of arms.

    Do we see any GZ fear for GZ’s life here?
    When he’s literally so well-armed?

    Firing a hollow-point beats clubbing, when you are going for the kill.

    So .. do we see a depraved mind, anyone?

  3. One Op says:

    Trayvon’s girl, in the heat of the approaching physical, I recall her saying that Trayvon dropped his phone, or sounded like it. The implication that he could have tapped GZ on the head with it is very interesting because those marks appear to be that of a small item. I would think IF Trayvon had GZ down and POUNDING his head on the ground (cement?) the wounds would have been much more damaging. This is another reason for GZ to not want to go to ER for xray determination, he would have been questioned as to how he got the injury and probably not readily prepared to have his LIE in order that soon.

    Also “you are going to die” is not a phrase that Trayvon would have used in this situation because of the immediate surprise of GZ
    within close range. Using such a phrase ties in with the aggressor and his plan. Now maybe he said it to scare Trayvon , being a kid and all. GZ at that moment, the “mad dog” so to speak, snarling words of intimidation. Threatening.

    The witness who said she saw one on top of the other, GZ top,
    says a lot now that the phone could have been used by Trayvon to
    protect himself, also puts more thought on GZ surprising Trayvon and to use his phone was the only weapon to defend himself. It could be there was never a scuffle as GZ paints it. Could it be that they were both standing until GZ actually shot Trayvon then (as in another’s comment) GZ arranging Trayvon’s body, probably hoping to find a weapon that was Not there. This would throw GZ into a frenzie and he had to come up with reason mighty rapidly. I believe they were face to face as GZ fired his shot, with the picture in mind that after the immediate confrontation, Trayvon using his cell phone, tapping GZ on the head, GZ probably had his gun in his hand pointed it at Trayvon using the words “NOW YOU ARE GOING TO DIE”, later blaming them on Trayvon, because he knew if someone heard him he had to steer that threat away from himself. Just can not see how that bullet could have been so strait on if he was under Trayvon at the time he fired. The height of both should come in to consideration, how, if GZ did fire while Trayvon was standing, would he have the weapon at the proper height to account for the bullets path, how far away, and I think he must have been farther back than immediately underneath Trayvon. I still lean toward GZ having his gun out before he ever got so close to Trayvon, or at least more available than in his holster. The way he demonstrated crossing his left over to his right to pull out his gun, somehow just doesn’t register and have a straight on shot unless it was pressed immediately against Trayvon’s chest, that would be concluded by powder residue and haven’t heard much conclusive remarks about that. GZ had already “slightly” made mention of having a flashlight that didn’t work, could have actually been the gun so if anyone saw something in his hand the flashlight is an excuse.

    • Michael Stewart says:

      “Also “you are going to die” is not a phrase that Trayvon would have used in this situation because of the immediate surprise of GZwithin close range.”

      In Martin’s situation, only a bad scriptwriter would employ that phrase. The scene would be complete if Zimmerman had responded; “Go ahead, make my day.”

    • Wow!

      Great catch.

      That’s in your face litigating by the defense.

      Almost impossible to win a motion like that and it really angers judges.

      Not a very smart move, I think.

      • Patricia says:

        Interesting strategy for any case:

        Client lies in Court. Judge rules unfavorably toward client, cites reasons. Defense moves to disqualify judge.

        If granted, client lies to new judge. If new judge rules unfavorably and cites reasons, defense moves to disqualify new judge.

        This could go on ad infinitum – provided you have an inventive client that can come up with enough lies.

        That is, until the donated money runs out …

  4. I posted this comment in response to Concerned Citizen:

    Good catch on Mark Osterman.

    I cannot think of anyone who would throw a graduation party for a friend, unless he believed the friend had graduated, or at least completed the courses and was merely waiting to go through the ceremony.

    I doubt Osterman would have believed that GZ had graduated unless GZ told him, or told Osterman’s wife who passed it on to Osterman.

    Therefore, it looks like yet another lie and, more important, yet another unnecessary lie.

    I don’t believe we have enough evidence to conclude that GZ is a pathological liar, but I believe we have enough to reasonably ask the question.

    I’m beginning to see the vague outline of some serious mental health issues unrelated to ADHD and, for GZ’s sake, I hope his lawyers are exploring this issue.

    In death penalty work, we call this “searching for a hole in the brain,” by which we mean an organic disorder that impairs functioning, mitigates the severity of the acts committed and correspondingly reduces the power of an argument demanding accountability and severe punishment.

    A sociopathic personality disorder, such as narcissism, won’t garner any sympathy, obviously.

    We may be seeing in this case one of the many ways in which our criminal justice system, which is so focused on the guilt-innocence and punishment issues, if you’re not rich, needs to be redesigned to effectively deal with the needs of the offender instead of just throwing people away.

  5. Concerned citizen posted this comment at Firedoglake where I also posted my article.

    Zimmerman’s “buddy Mark” that he mentioned in the initial interrogation was a former Seminole county Sheriff’s deputy. He was there the night of the shooting and present at the police station during the first interrogation and the reenactment.
    Air marshal took Zimmerman in when the going got rough
    By Frances Robles
    frobles@MiamiHerald.com
    In the height of the national outrage over the shooting of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman hid out for over a month in nearby Lake Mary at the home of a federal law-enforcement agent — a former Seminole County Sheriff deputy who was pressured to quit after he was duped by a con artist and violated department policy.
    He was the friend who taught Zimmerman how to shoot, and whose wife presided over Zimmerman’s wedding. As lesser acquaintances granted television interview after television interview, U.S. Air Marshal Mark Osterman never showed his face, even as he offered shelter to a friend in need who at one point was one of the most controversial people in America.
    In the summary of the friend’s interview with the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released Thursday by the Duval County state attorney, the name is blacked out. But the interview provides enough detail about the relationship to confirm his identity.
    He told authorities that his wife presided over Zimmerman’s wedding. Zimmerman’s wedding certificate lists Sondra Osterman as the person who presided over the ceremony. Sondra Osterman’s Facebook profile shows she’s married to Mark, who says he travels for a living and works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Among his Facebook likes: “Support George Zimmerman.”
    Reached Friday morning by The Miami Herald, he declined to be interviewed. “No thanks,” he said, before hanging up.
    Osterman, 44, met Zimmerman around 2006, through his wife, Sondra, who worked with Zimmerman at a mortgage-services company. Zimmerman was a loan originator; Sondra Osterman a loan processor. They later worked together at a different company, Digital Risk.
    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/1…#storylink=cpy

    “Osterman described Zimmerman as frugal and organized. Osterman hosted a graduation party for Zimmerman when he completed his associate’s degree at Seminole State College. The report makes note that Osterman “did not see the diploma.”
    Zimmerman was actually just a course or two shy from graduating, and was expelled from the school when the shooting scandal exploded.”

    Did Zimmerman lie to his friends about graduating from the cc?

  6. Please bear with me. This is a long comment and I may develop it into a new article. Please be patient, read it and respond. I’d like to consider what y’all have to say.

    That said, I understand and accept the rationale for not revealing witness identities, addresses and phone numbers, but that does not stop me from muttering “damn-it,” in frustration as I read witness statements regarding what they heard and saw behind their townhouses that dark and drizzly Sunday evening.

    If only I knew which townhouses they lived in, I could make a hell of a lot more sense out of what was going on.

    Evidently there was a chase or at least a moving argument.

    We know where it ended because that is where item 6 is located on the chart. They found TM’s body there with the expended shell casing beneath it.

    The chart is approximately halfway through the discovery released yesterday, just after the FBI stuff.

    We know the police found him face down with his hands beneath his body and they rolled him over on his back to administer CPR. Therefore, they likely rolled his body over and on top of the casing.

    Incidentally, he certainly did not place his hands beneath his body after GZ separated his arms into a Y-position while sitting on top of him because he was already dead and dead people don’t move.

    That means GZ did not separate his arms and all of GZ’s talk about TM cussing and struggling to get up is yet another lie.

    I’m not saying GZ didn’t mount him after shooting him because a witness saw him do it and also saw him move his hands up and down TM’s back. That is consistent with GZ searching him for a weapon.

    Recall that GZ said several times that it felt like TM hit him with a brick.

    TM’s cell phone, which is Item 7, was found near the body as you can see on the chart.

    TM’s body was oriented at an angle to that central sidewalk between the two rows of townhouses with his head closer to the sidewalk and the T-intersection than his feet.

    I cannot determine how far his head is from the T-intersection, although I am approximating the distance to be around 65-70 feet. The cops measured distances from some sort of permanently positioned pillars located at the corners of buildings so that they could triangulate and later reconstruct exactly where each item of evidence was located.

    That’s the proper way to do it, but my math skills are limited and I’m having trouble converting those numbers into accurate distances from the T-intersection and the nearest sidewalk. These numbers are important because they appear to conflict with GZ’s claim that he was attacked at the T-intersection and his claim where he was lying on his back as TM was supposedly punching him in the head repeatedly and slamming the back of his head against the sidewalk.

    Where, for example, relative to the position of TM’s body, was GZ’s head banged against the concrete sidewalk, assuming it was banged against the sidewalk?

    What is the probability of such a scenario having occurred, given the location of TM’s body and its probable location before the police turned it over to administer CPR?

    Y’all see where I’m going with this, right?

    My theory is TM struck GZ twice on the back of the head with his cell phone in an attempt to get away from GZ and GZ is falsely claiming that TM had him down on the ground and was slamming his head into the sidewalk, a claim I never believed was credible, given the nature of the two small lacerations that bled copiously as scalp wounds tend to do and the absence of extensive bruising and abrasions to the back of his head that I would have expected given GZ’s claim of many repeated slams against concrete.

    Now I want to know how far and in what direction the gun ejected the spent shell casing so that I can determine approximately where the gun was when GZ fired the fatal shot, but I suppose that depends in part on how high off the ground it was when GZ fired it.

    Details, details, details.

    • Dave says:

      Here’s a youtube video that shows a guy shooting a Kel-Tec PF-9:

      It looks to me like the gun is throwing the spent cases about three feet to the right and slightly forward of the shooter’s feet.

      • Thanks.

        Great catch!

        FYI, I have a new article up on identifying the person screaming in the background of the 911 call.

      • Michael Stewart says:

        Dave, I think the camera angle in that video is deceiving. In a perfect world the ejection path would be up, and slightly to the right-rear at approximately 2 o’clock. However the trajectory is never consistent as even the smallest deviation in rotation, or in the angle of the barrel will alter the direction of the casing. Other variables include firm grip vs. loose grip and ammunition.

        You can hear the casings as they strike the interior of a wooden structure.

        Beginning around the 1:12 marker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hAIgb9NRjA

  7. Unabogie says:

    Frederick, can you please address the concept of an affirmative defense? I am unclear about whether or not a self-defense claim means that the burden of proof shifts at all?

    An explanation for us laymen would be very helpful!

    • Self-defense is an affirmative defense.

      An affirmative defense admit the act (killing another person in a murder case) but denies legal responsibility.

      Usually the defendant has the burdern of proving the affirmative defense, but in Florida, the prosecution has the burden of disproving the defendant’s claim of self-defense in the jury trial.

      The reason for the difference is the legislature defined it that way.

  8. Dave says:

    I don’t believe that GZ had to fumble at all.

  9. Michael Stewart says:

    “Is it plausible that anyone would take off in pursuit of an armed, drugged-up “goon” (local slang for a gangbanger) who was clearly “up to no good” unless he was prepared to use lethal force in a pointless and easily avoidable confrontation?”

    And if this angry ‘suspect’ suddenly emerges from the darkness, behind you, would you stand there in front of him and fumble for a cell phone? Do you really think this ‘bad guy’ would twiddle his thumbs while you report him to the authorities?

    You might fumble for your handgun however.

  10. Dave says:

    Before the confrontation, GZ referred to TM as an “asshole”, a “goon”, “on drugs” and “up to no good”. I think that this sort of language establishes “ill will”.

    In his nonapology to Trayvon’s parent’s he revealed that he had assumed that TM was armed. Is it plausible that anyone would take off in pursuit of an armed, drugged-up “goon” (local slang for a gangbanger) who was clearly “up to no good” unless he was prepared to use lethal force in a pointless and easily avoidable confrontation?

    • Good question and I’ve got a follow-up question for you.

      Does anyone believe he approached TM with his gun concealed in his holster tucked in his waistband?

      A jury might consider that ill will.

      • Dave says:

        Probably not. IIRC a couple of the witnesses said that one of the men was wearing a white t-shirt. GZ was wearing a tan shirt which is close enough, considering visiblity that night. If they were referring to GZ it means that his jacket was open (on a cold, rainy night) for ready access to his weapon. Given that an inside-the- pants holster is less than ideal for a fast draw, it is probable that GZ had the gun in his hand (possibly in his pocket) when the confrontation began.

        • IIRC, I think the reference to a white t-shirt was a reference to TM, not GZ, given the context of the rest of the witness’s statement.

          I don’t believe there is any evidence that GZ’s jacket was open. He never said it was, with the exception of the next sentence.

          I think he insisted that his gun was hidden from view until his shirt and jacket supposedly slid up his body as he was wiggling in the grass attempting to slide his upper body away from the concrete sidewalk.

          I do not believe TM was banging GZ’s head against the sidewalk and, of course, I do not believe the piggly-wiggly contortion story.

      • Dave says:

        TM was wearing a white t-shirt (as shown in photos) and several witnesses mentioned it. The witness who probably had the best view described the man who stood up after the shots as a Hispanic male in a short sleeved shirt. She also heard him say “I shot him.” If she is correct, GZ’s jacket came off at some point, not too far away as GZ had it on when he was handcuffed.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        Which of these colors is most likely to be mistaken for white or appeared to be a tee-shirt if seen in the darkness?

        Zimmerman in light gray shirt: http://www.trbimg.com/img-4fb57ef3/turbine/os-pictures-evidence-photos-released-in-the-sh-020/600

        Zimmerman with reg/gray patterned “free country” jacket zipped: http://www.trbimg.com/img-4fb63fc1/turbine/os-pictures-evidence-photos-released-in-the-sh-047/600

        Martin dark gray hoodie (pullover):

        • I don’t see anything that looks like a white tee-shirt, but I did notice that the bullet hole in TM’s sweatshirt hoodie does not align with the entry wound in his chest.

          The entry wound in his chest is 1 inch left of the midline and 1/2 inch below the left nipple. That is well below the left armpit, but the hole in the sweatshirt is above the armpit.

          That means the sweatshirt was being pulled down when the fatal shot was fired.

          One way that can happen is if GZ is gripping the lower part of the sweatshirt with one hand and holding his gun with the other hand as TM attempts to stand and back away.

          Also, IIRC, the muzzle of the gun was in contact with the sweatshirt and 2-4 inches away from the chest.

          That does not sound like self-defense to me.

  11. Michael Stewart says:

    Today’s discovery is dribbling in.

    http://axiomamnesia.com/2012/07/12/trayvon-martin-george-zimmerman-discovery-files-uploaded-review-7-12-2012/

    I Apologize if this has been posted elsewhere,

  12. crazy1946 says:

    >>proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in lawful self-defense<<
    Here is where I would run into a problem, I do not feel that a reasonable person would have been in the situtation that Zimmerman willingly placed him self into. What logic could a reasonable person use to justify following Martin after being advised not to by the police dispatcher? What reasonable person, that has lived in a small community and is functioning as a self apointed neighborhood watch commander, would by choice not follow the common rules of the neighborhood watch? What reasonable person after giving the name of the street to the dispatcher, would use the excuse of needing to get out of their vehicle to get the name of the street? Perhaps I need to go and read the definition of what a reasonable person is, because I seem to have a hard time seeing Zimmerman's actions as being reasonable! I learned at a very young age the best way to stay out of problems is to avoid putting myself in a position to get into the problem! Mr. Zimmerman evidently has not learned that yet, perhaps at the end of the trial he will be in a position to reflect on the errors of his actions?

    • Well, I think you know the answer. He was looking for trouble, not attempting to avoid it and that is not what a reasonable person does.

      Not only that, but it’s not standing your ground.

      Looks like aggression and an aggressor cannot claim self-defense.

  13. crazy1946 says:

    Professor Leatherman, Do you see any way that Zimmerman can fail to take the stand? Do you think that MOM will continue to fear the cross examantion of his client? If Zimmerman does not take the stand, what do you think the outcome will be? Is there any way that Zimmermans prior criminal history can be brought into the trial?

  14. One Op says:

    Sir, At what point can I assume GZ was acting with a depraved mind. Can it be at the beginning of his following TM or at the moment he shot him. How is Attorney O’Mara going to introduce self defense. Will this be at the moment of physical contact (hands on ) with Trayvon. Also is it considered that if someone has ADHD
    they can be in a depraved mind, say on and off, depending on how their medications, if any, are administered. I fear this whole scenario will be played out that GZ did not have the capability of
    illustrating good judgement, spontaneous action, will claim he is unable to recognize himself as the aggressor. If acquitted, (not my choice) under the mentality of his act, will there be any punishment ordered, like being institutionalized. A danger to society? I know that generally speaking ADHD is not to be associated with his act of killing someone, but medications, or mix of medications, on or off
    may be.

    • martingale says:

      I don’t think Zimmerman’s ADHD will be used as an excuse for anything. I also don’t think the prosecution can waste time speculating about what drugs Zimmerman may have taken and how they would effect his judgement because no drug test was given to Zimmerman.
      I too would like to know how the prosecution intends to show Zimmerman had a depraved mind. Based on the description in Fred’s blog post I would imagine that getting out of his car and running after Martin would be where this is introduced. By doing that while carrying a firearm *and* already thinking that Martin was dangerous, up to no good, and possibly a gang member(see today’s discovery) I would think that is strong enough to show that Zimmerman engaged in dangerous conduct with no regard for Martin’s life.
      Zimmerman claims he only reached for his gun when he thought Martin was reaching for it and allegedly verbalized a death threat. That is where self defense comes in to play, and not the point at which Zimmerman is attacked. I suppose that + Zimmerman claiming he thought his brain was going to explode from his head being smashed on the concrete would be where he is able to justify self defense. Of course, that brings up the question of why he immediately jumped to lethal force. If I have some dude on top of me pummeling me, smashing my head into pavement, and smothering my cries for help I don’t think I’d feel safe reaching for my gun considering the disadvantageous position I am in. I also don’t know how I would reach my gun, nor do I know how, if I could reach my weapon I would not attempt to use my fists even once.

      • martingale says:

        My post sounds incomplete. In my last paragraph I got off on a tangent, and in an attempt to get wordy I left out important thoughts. I’ll leave it as is for now.

      • I agree that the ADHD diagnosis and the medication he took for it probably will not play any role in this case. They are not debilitating medications that cause psychotic delusions.

        There’s a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions in his statements.

        Whether his conduct evinced a depraved mind is a critical issue in the case that we will be discussing in detail.

    • Self-defense will be introduced by GZ’s testimony.

      Of course, it will be subject to cross examination and that part of the trial should be for all the marbles and riveting to watch.

  15. bliss says:

    Don’t quite or care about all the do’s the don’t’s about the legal system.What I do understand is HZ profiled followed TM after he was told not to.He did it anyway with gun in his hand and shoot a child to death for no reason other than being black.

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