Despite outcry, stand-ground law repeals unlikely

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 26, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination is not being questioned. But what is often not understood is that a defendant who opts to take the stand waives that right and is then subject to cross examination. That's where prosecutors would try to undercut the self-defense case under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law which his attorneys downplayed to the point that the Judge felt compelled to explain it in her instructions to the jury.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    July 25, 2013 7:37 p.m.

    @Happy Valley Heretic,
    Zimmerman did not take the stand because he did not have to. It is his Constitutional right, and yours, NOT to testify. He is not required to testify. He reasons are only a matter for speculation. The fact is, he didn't testify, he didn't need to. The burden of proof is on the State, he is not required to justify his actions. The facts and evidence showed that the likely scenario justified self defense. Being flat on your back and having your head beat into the concrete creates the need. If you didn't already know, striking the head with an object or weapon is lethal force. Police have been taught that for many years, as I was taught that in my law enforcement career many years ago. When Zimmerman was being beaten, he was subject to lethal force and had to respond in kind. It's a tragedy that Martin was killed, and I am certain that Zimmerman wishes every day that it hadn't happened.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    July 25, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    Craig - you continue to support your position using only speculation and spin. What is "pursuit," and what evidence shows Zimmerman did anything more than follow and keep an eye on Martin? Why wouldn't a community watchman follow an unrecognized person walking around at night, close to the buildings, not on the sidewalk, in the rain, who isn't making a beeline to a residence? If that's not suspicious to you, you should never be in charge of security at any level.

    If Trayvon Martin had stood his ground, instead of encroaching on Zimmerman's ground, probably the worst that would have happened is an argument. Yes, I know that's conjecture, but evidence suggests only one person was beaten prior to the shooting.

    By the way, how do you "watch" a suspicious person on the move, without following and having a visual line of sight? How do you tell police where a suspicious person is, if you don't know where he is? How can any night watchman do his job without potentially "stalking" someone?

    This tragedy highlights the foolhardiness of a "kid with Skittles" throwing the first punch, especially without knowing the potential responding force.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 25, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    If Zimmerman wasn’t seeking a confrontation, he has some explaining to do as to why he was in pursuit of a kid minding his own business in a location where he had every right to be. If there was anyone with a right to “stand his ground” that night, it was the kid with the skittles walking home from the store, not the stalker who was packing a loaded gun.

    This tragedy highlights the foolhardiness of neighborhood watch programs which attempt more than than just ‘watching’ and notifying police of suspicious activity. Zimmerman was not a trained professional, had no police authority, and refused to heed the advice of the police dispatcher who cautioned him against going in. Now a kid is dead and Zimmerman will not fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer. For the later, we can be grateful.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    July 25, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    Craig - I don't accept Zimmerman's version as gospel truth. I merely accept known facts. You claims things "we know" that clearly aren't known at all. Your claim that Zimmerman was "looking for a confrontation," is pure speculation. Your claim that Zimmerman, as an approved night watchman, was "stalking" Martin, when he was merely performing his duty as any competent night watchman would do in the same situation, exposes your bias against Zimmerman and tendency to spin "gospel truth" to fit a nefarious narrative.

    What we "know" is that one man - Zimmerman - showed evidence of being assaulted, with no logical reason to believe the assault was delivered by anyone other than the person with Skittles. We also know that Martin's body showed no evidence of having been assaulted prior to his being shot. We know witnesses saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, delivering a beating or pretending to deliver a beating.

    Allow me to connect the dots that seem so elusive to you. Martin assaulted Zimmerman, and Zimmerman used deadly force in self defense. There is no EVIDENCE of anything else. Any claim that Zimmerman initiated the violent contact has no basis in available evidence.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 25, 2013 8:42 a.m.


    "....Does that obligate Zimmerman, once Martin starts beating him, to submit without defending himself until Martin is finished?...."

    It sounds like you accept Zimmerman’s version of what happened as gospel truth. Aren’t you the least bit curious as to how Trayvon Martin might have seen it? His side of the story will never be heard. All we know is that Trayvon was walking home from the store with some snacks he had bought. It was Zimmerman who went looking for a confrontation. George obviously got more than he bargained for.

  • DSB Cedar Hills, UT
    July 24, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    @Craig Clark - for the purpose of debate, let's say Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who followed an unrecognized person in his watch area, was actually guilty of "stalking," as you characterize it, and that he went too far in his "stalking" of Trayvon Martin. Does that obligate Zimmerman, once Martin starts beating him, to submit without defending himself until Martin is finished? Do you know when Martin may have finished? Should Zimmerman have known the extent of the beating he may have suffered, from a stranger whose violent reaction belied his true identity as a pure and innocent child armed only with Skittles?

    Whether you can buy the self-defense argument or not, in the exact same situation, on a rainy dark night being pummeled by an apparently grown stranger, I would have been scared out of my mind and felt self defense tactics were necessary. I'll admit neighborhood watchmen should be better trained to stop such situations without using deadly force, but once either of them escalated the situation to violence, the other was certainly within his legal rights to use deadly force as an option to a beating with an unknowable end.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 23, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    "....jurors were told in final instructions by Circuit Judge Debra Nelson that they should acquit Zimmerman if they found "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...."

    I can't buy the self-defense argument. Trayvon Martin didn't follow George Zimmerman. It was Zimmerman pursuing Trayvon. It was Zimmerman who had a gun. How is this self-defense?

    Didn't Trayvon have cause to believe he was being stalked by someone who might have intent to do him harm? That's probably what I would have thought had I been in Trayvon's shoes that night.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 22, 2013 3:25 p.m.

    let's change things a bit here.. let us say for argument sake that Zimmerman were black and Martin was white. Any guesses as to the presidents comments? How about the main stream media? Al Sharpton? We all know what would have happened. Suddenly Eric Holder would be praising "Stand your ground" because it saved an African American man who would have certainly been killed. Dito with Al Sharpton, Barack and the NAACP. What a farce this whole thing became and a shameful display of black racism. We live in a world where up is down and down is up... and hypocrisy rules the day.

    Just think back to the OJ trial a few years ago where a black murderer was let go just because he was black. This is what was expected from the Zimmerman/Treyvon trial. The white guy was supposed to go to prison just because he was white and the black kid declared innocent.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 22, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    @Go Big Blue!!
    "How did the stand your ground law impact the Zimmerman case?"

    It was mentioned in the jury instructions and juror B37 mentioned it in her interview.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    Go Big Blue!!! said:
    How did the stand your ground law impact the Zimmerman case? How was Zimmerman supposed to flee when his head was being pounded into the ground?

    Probably wouldn't have to run away if he did as he was told by the 911 operator who was familiar with this vigilante enriched paranoia. Sometimes you get what you want as Zimmerman did with his confrontation, little men emboldened with their sidearm looking for trouble, and finding it. Reminds me of the neighborhood "watchers" who shot each other here in Utah a year or so back.

    Zimmerman didn't even take the stand because he couldn't keep his stories straight.
    He is NOT a hero, and Trayvon was no saint, but one is now dead.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    I suspect 95% of those protesting are completely clueless as to how this law really works. Most of the protests are based on 95% emotion and 5% understanding and logic. I would ask people to set aside the emotion and trying to READ and understand the REAL law. Also understand the law in your state regarding self defense.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    holder says you have a duty to retreat.

    if I'm in my home and an intruder breaks in, where am I supposed to retreat to? Am I supposed to abandon my wife and children? Do these guys use a brain when they make statements like holder made?

  • MGB Saint George, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    From what I have heard (I may be wrong)the majority of the jusifiable homoside Stand Your Ground cases in Florida have been from black people protecting themselves. Getting rid of the law would impact the black community for the negative.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    July 22, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    Since gun control attempts failed in the federal legislature earlier this year, this incident has become the next opportunity for liberal gun control advocates to try again. Trying to get Stand Your Ground laws repealed is primarily an implicit attack on 2nd amendment rights and little else.

    Common sense dictates that whenever a person feels their life (not just their safety) is in imminent danger, they have a right to use lethal means (if necessary) in protecting their life and/or the lives of their family. That is at the heart of Stand Your Ground laws and the primary reason why those laws should not now be revoked.

    If gun control advocates were to ever succeed, law abiding citizens would primarily be defenseless, while criminals would be the only ones left having and using guns, which naturally would embolden them. That's the reason crimes rates sky-rocketed in England and Australia after gun control advocates succeeded in disarming citizens in those countries.
    Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the USA and also has one of the highest crime rates. Not a coincidence.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    July 22, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    If Trayvon would be alive he'd likely be facing assault and hate crime charges.

    He used a disgusting and despicable racist term in describing Zimmerman, shortly before assaulting him.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 22, 2013 6:54 a.m.

    Only a liberal Democrat opposed to victims defending themselves could be against the "Stand your ground" laws.

    However, it is impossible for anyone to take their rage against self defense seriously when SYG absolutely was NOT involved in this case at all, and not even mentioned during the trial. Zimmerman was on his back, being pummeled by Martin, and thus unable to "retreat" even if he had wanted to.

    Resist all attempts to mess with SYG. Such changes would only make the workplace safer for attackers, not innocent victims.

    All the evidence was presented, and the jury rendered a fair and impartial verdict. Zimmerman was acting in lawful self defense.

    If they want another law, make it double illegal for thugs to attack people, and remind them that doing so may be hazardous to their own health.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    July 22, 2013 5:38 a.m.

    As a former police officer, I can tell you that the police cannot protect you. The SCOTUS ruled that the police have no duty to specifically protect any person. What that means is: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. The police are primarily the clean up man. They clean up after the crime has occurred and hopefully, they will find a clue as to who committed the crime, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    If you don't, can't or won't protect yourself, don't expect anyone else to do it for you, including the police.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    July 21, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    How did the stand your ground law impact the Zimmerman case? How was Zimmerman supposed to flee when his head was being pounded into the ground?