Friday, April 13, 2012

What exactly is the "Stand Your Ground" law???

Stand Your Ground explained, and  made ridiculously simple
copyright 2012 by jon gutmacher

OK . . .  it's come to this.  Even after spending a chapter in my book explaining it -- some of my readers still don't seem to understand it.  So . . .  to make it as simple as it can ever get:

"Stand Your Ground" is one subsection of F.S. 776.013(3) -- and I'll break it down into steps:

If you're not engaged in unlawful activity
If you are actually illegally attacked by another person
If you are in any place where you are allowed to be at the time
You may "stand your ground" -- and meet force with force in defending yourself or another - rather than retreating or trying to retreat.

However -- if you decide to use "deadly force" -- you still must have a reasonable belief of imminent death or great bodily harm -- or -- if the other person is committing or attempting to commit a forcible felony (actually engaged in such or imminent) (not just any felony -- but must be a "forcible felony") -- then,  you may use deadly force to stop that forcible felony if the use of deadly force is objectively reasonable.  If it's not -- then you've used "excessive force" -- and you could be prosecuted from anything from aggravated battery to manslaughter.

That's it.  Nothing more.  Nothing less

Hope that helps
jon gutmacher

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sure . . . she's not biased! BS!

Yesterday -- April 11th -- State Attorney Angela Corey held a press conference announcing that she had decided to by-pass the Grand Jury, and brought charges against George Zimmerman for second degree murder.  She also stated she was only interested in "justice" -- and had no bias in the case.


Because this is the FIRST TIME in forty years of practice that I've ever heard of a prosecutor having a prayer vigil with the family of an alleged victim in a hotly disputed case!   And . . . if that doesn't tell you that this is probably THE MOST BIASED PROSECUTOR you will ever come across -- then there's something wrong with your thinking!

If the Governor has any sense of justice  (and he won't -- because this is a political powder keg) -- he'd remove her immediately -- and assign a new prosecutor!   Quite frankly -- while this satisfies those calling for Zimmerman's blood -- regardless of guilt or innocence -- it has nothing to do with "justice" -- and everything to do with "politics".   The almost gleeful press conference was -- at least to me -- disgusting.  As is most everything else about this case.

That being said -- let me tell you what the issues really are going to be:

1.   Did Zimmerman approach and confront Trayvon Martin -- or was it the other way around?  The fact that Zimmerman followed him for a portion, or all of the situation is legally irrelevant -- whether from a distance, or not.

2.   Was Trayvon Martin the initial aggressor?  That is  -- was he the first to use physical violence?  Poorly chosen words are not unlawful -- just stupid.  But . . . the use of physical force against another is a crime unless done in lawful self defense.

3.    If Martin actually sucker punched Zimmerman -- was Zimmerman's nose actually broken?  If so,  Martin committed an aggravated battery -- which is a "forcible felony" -- and had he survived -- he would be the one being charged with a serious felony.

4.   Was Zimmerman actually getting his head pounded into the concrete -- or was it a grass surface?  Conflicting stories on that.  Getting your head pounded into concrete is normally a life or death situation (or a coma in the hospital) -- grass is grass.  It may give you a bad headache -- but it usually isn't life threatening.

5.  When did Zimmerman pull the gun?   Was it before he was on the ground -- or only after having his head pounded?   Very important issue!

6.   Were there any bruises on Trayvon Martin aside from where his hands were allegedly striking Zimmerman?   A heavy indicator who was the actual aggressor.

7.   Who was really yelling for help?   If it was Zimmerman -- it really helps his defense.  If it was Trayvon -- and it was before he was shot -- it would be a very heavy point for the prosecution.   Big question.

As to the Department of Justice's  ("Justice"????  Really???)  investigation on whether this might be a "hate" crime.  Please!!!  Have the guts to admit there is zero evidence to show that -- tell the public rather than continue to unfairly prejudice the state criminal proceedings -- and move on to something that isn't pure politics!  Of course -- Eric Holder isn't gonna do that -- and the fact that Obama still has him in that spot may be a prime reason to vote for somebody else in the next election.  Just a thought.  All the evidence that exists shows that Zimmerman was anything but a racist!   Whether he acted properly or improperly is another question yet to be resolved.  But a racist???  NO WAY!

So . . .  the circus plays on.   The media plays it for all it's worth -- I'm still seeing the photo of Martin when he was years younger.   Those who depend on racial strife for their livelihoods -- are playing it up big time.  The anti-gunners are having a field day on something they don't understand -- and don't want to.  And politicians are just playing it for the votes.  Trayvon's family -- well, that's just truly sad, because they seem to be terrific people -- and no matter what happened,  they lost a loving son.  So . . .  where the hell it will all wind-up is a total guess.   But "Justice"????

Nah . . . .
Has nothing to do with that!

Let's hope that changes -- and that everybody finally realizes that whatever the outcome -- as long as it's based on the facts -- real facts -- justice will be done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hear the other side! George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting

Hal Uhrig told it like it was today at a video'd press conference!   If you wanna know why the cops didn't arrest Zimmerman -- here's a real look at the other side from a guy who really knows how to tell it.  Masterful!

It's a bit long -- but well worth watching -- especially seeing how the media dogs try to manipulate and screw with him, and keep it on a racial, visceral track  -- yet fail every time.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

NBC Today Show -- Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman shooting

Well . . . in less than two weeks we should have some sort of answers on what really happened in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.  The Grand Jury will likely hear it -- and then all the clatter should begin to dissipate -- and real facts be revealed.  Some of the things that were evident to me from the beginning was that information was being slanted -- that's not unusual in these type cases.  You saw a photo of Trayvon that was obviously taken at a younger age.  We now know he was over six foot, and on TV they said he was on the varsity football team.  Facts that matter, if true.  We also have a witness report that Zimmerman was on the concrete being pounded.  Again -- I need to have that verified -- but a very important fact.  And again . . . there is some hint that Trayvon approached Zimmerman in the end -- not the other way around.  All things that need to be verified.  However,  I can tell you that if Zimmerman was getting his head pounded into the pavement -- I handled a second degree murder case just like that when I was a young prosecutor -- and the guy who I was prosecuting was the guy doing the pounding.  The other guy died from the head injuries.  So yeah -- if that's what happened -- it can be a life or death situation.

Last, but not least.   I don't know how you can try to defend someone you've never met -- but an interview on today's NBC Saturday "Today Show" with Zimmerman's attorneys establishes that all the contact with him has been by one of the attorneys -- totally by phone.  Not a great way to do things -- but possibly because Zimmerman waited too long to get an attorney involved -- and had fled the area?  Again -- I don't know.  What I do know is that getting Hal Uhrig involved in the case as part of the legal team was a smart move.  You could see the difference as soon as he came in.

So . . . the misinformation and second-guessing continues.  Still nothing of substance for the public to really know what happened.  Only emotions.

However -- let me clarify one thing -- if Trayvon Martin is approaching Zimmerman -- it's not "Stand Your Ground".   Why?   Because it appears Zimmerman did not pull out the firearm until he was on the ground.  Thus, if he used self defense -- it occurred at a point where there's no place to go,  anyway.  (of course -- that's also a pure guess on my part -- but a guess I think will play out).  A legal point missed on the TV interview with the lawyers,  this morning.

Can't anyone get this law right?