Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Courts Crime

George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin 1737

theodp writes "Following nearly three weeks of testimony, a jury of six women in the George Zimmerman trial has found the former neighborhood watch volunteer not guilty of second-degree murder. He was also found not guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter, which the jury also weighed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Does anyone know (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neppy ( 673459 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:04PM (#44273265)
    Stand your ground was not used as a defense in this case so no relation at all.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:09PM (#44273305)

    Has Slashdot become a politics/crime board now?

    It's related to the earlier story where an IT guy was fired by the AG office because he called them on not revealing exculpatory evidence during the discovery process. They also photoshopped Zimmerman's image into black and white to make his nose look less severe than it was.

    Here's the story on the IT director who was fired from earlier today:
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/07/13/238229/whistleblowing-it-director-fired-by-fl-state-attorney [slashdot.org]

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:13PM (#44273335) Homepage Journal

    He who has the gun, is automatically guilty regardless of the facts.

    Fixed that for you.

    What the fuck facts are you referring to? The facts are that he was a neighborhood watch volunteer who ignored the 911 dispatcher and chased down a kid because he thought he "looked suspicious". He then killed a kid who was armed with only a bag of skittles. If he would have followed the dispatcher's advice and waited for actual law enforcement - rather than taking on the role himself - that kid would still be alive.

  • by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:38PM (#44273577) Homepage Journal

    It is on slashdot because it is a conservative victory, and this is a conservative web site. Any news that proclaims victory for conservatives - even if they are a loss for justice itself - automatically make the front page. Expect to see a front page story here when the Texas governor signs the latest anti-abortion bill as well.

    ROFLMAO. The political views expressed on slashdot are usually somewhat to the left of Karl Marx, Mao Tse Tung and Ho Che Mihn.

    Thanks. I haven't laughed this hard since I saw Jeff Dunham.


  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:51PM (#44273717)

    What are you talking about? LA burned from the Rodney King case, not OJ Simpson. I know, because I lived in LA at the time of the riots and the OJ trial.

    Try to get your facts straight.

  • Re:Does anyone know (Score:4, Informative)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @11:52PM (#44273727)

    That's a false dilemma.

    Killing people that don't actually represent a threat to your life doesn't make anybody safer. There's a reason why we have a list of situations under which lethal force is authorized and why there needs to be more than your own word that they were a threat.

  • by dugancent ( 2616577 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:07AM (#44273863)

    Double Jeopardy doesn't apply if they file a civil case. OJ won the murder case, and lost a wrongful death civil suit, costing him millions.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:13AM (#44273905) Journal

    Insurance companies wont let you hire him.

    The reason HR does background checks on you is for insurance purposes. You are guilty whether proved innocense or not to them and they will not insure our company unless everyone single person is 100% clean.

    I believe their should be some laws on this to not make this public unless you are found guilty. However, there is nothing to stop someone from googling someones name whether the insurance company mandates this or not.

    Worse, he has a death warrant on his head. People want to kill him. Trevons dad is rumored to have gang ties and I would not be surprised for a bounty on his head or a black guy beating the crap and trying to kill him whenever he goes out in public. He may have to move out of country to a 3rd world country picking bananas for $.50/hr seriously!

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:17AM (#44273931)

    1a) If Trayvon had a history of starting fights without provocation, it matters insofar the defense was attempting to paint a story of Trayvon throwing the 1st punch.

    2a) Legally? Virtually never. You would need to run up to someone and/or tackle them.

    3a) Stand your ground hearing was never invoked by either side, so it's irrelevant. Even if it was relevant, it can only be invoked by the defense. Had trayvon somehow killed Zimmerman while unarmed, and if he wanted to use SYG as a defense, he would have to show that Zimmerman initiated conflict. You lose the right to invoke SYG (and most claims to self defense) if you initiate a situation in which violence is likely to occur (e.g. street crime).

  • Re: I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:21AM (#44273955)

    I'm amazed how uninformed you are..... Both witnesses for the defence and the pathologist testified that GZ was on the bottom. CNN discussed this extensively as well. I have no axe to grind either way, but I do get annoyed at people who have no clue.

  • Re:Does anyone know (Score:4, Informative)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:23AM (#44273967) Homepage Journal

    His defense played both sides of "stand your ground". They claimed he was attacked and entitled to use it, even though he claimed he was not familiar with it (even though he took courses that covered it). They also tried to claim that it was somehow valid in a case where the person with the gun is pursuing the other person.

    No, the defense never brought up stand your ground at all. Per the defense theory of the events, Zimmerman was pinned on the ground and getting his head slammed into concrete. In that situation there is no possibility of retreat, so whether or not a person has a legal duty to retreat isn't relevant. If Florida was a duty-to-retreat state rather than a stand-your-ground state, the outcome would have been the same.

    Ultimately, this case was all about whether or not it was plausible that Zimmerman was pinned and getting his head pounded. If yes, then his decision to shoot was justifiable self-defense. If no, then it was an illegal homicide and the jury would have had to decide what kind based on whether or not the state was able to prove a depraved mindset beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Well, there is one other way it could have gone: The prosecution could have tried to prove that Zimmerman had intentionally provoked Martin into pounding his head into the pavement, in order to obtain legal justification for shooting him. In most states you can't claim self-defense if you provoked the situation with the intent of being able to claim self-defense, but that's hardly ever used because it's really, really hard to prove.

  • Re: I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:24AM (#44273975)

    Good example of the 'news' warping the views. GZ defense claims he did not continue following Martin and no witness offered any evidence that he did. Rhetorical claims were made in the opening and closing statements by the prosecution that he did but no evidence by any of the wittiness suggested he did. This is a good example of why he was guilty in public opinion but the Prosecution lost in the trial.

  • Re:Lost. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:38AM (#44274093)

    If you talk yourself into a bar brawl, even if you didn't throw the first punch, you're going to jail.

    Actually, you MIGHT get misdemeanor harassment at most. Seriously...I can talk crap in a bar all night long and you have no justification to physically attack me.

    If you follow someone when the police told you not to follow, and carry a gun when the neighborhood watch group -- that's supposedly the reason you're doing this -- told you not to, and then you get into an altercation with the person you're following and end up killing them, you should be going to prison for a significant length of time. Creating a dangerous situation and then claiming self-defense isn't valid.

    First - no police officer ever told him not to follow. Get that through your head. A 911 operator is not a cop. You're not legally obligated to do exactly what they tell you.

    The neighborhood watch is also not a law enforcement agency. They don't have the ability to remove your right to (legally) carry a firearm. They don't want you to, but again - there is what you should do, and what you can legally do. Concern yourself with the LEGAL part here.

    If you get into an altercation with the person and they initiated a physical attack...they are legally in the wrong. If they don't like that you're following them (which is legal) then they should probably tell you to back off. If you persist in following them when they've made it known they want you to stay back...then you're opening yourself up to harassment charges, or something along those lines. Following them is at no point a justification to start beating the crap out of them. Also...pinning them so they can't escape is pretty stupid, because if they were armed and they were getting physically beaten, and they had no real means of escape, you've got a recipe for getting shot.

    Both did stupid things, but as far as anyone can tell - one of them was operating within the law, no matter how much some people might dislike that.

    Thankfully, at least Zimmerman will end up an even poorer version of O.J. He might get some money from Fox News or another conservative outfit for a little while, but everyone knows who he is and what he did.

    Doubtful on all counts. He has a pretty solid case against NBC and might be able to get a healthy settlement there. Seriously...the doctoring NBC did on some of the audio to make him sound guilty was pretty appalling. (Well...that and showing pictures of the kid as a 12 year old, so everyone thinks he cold-blooded killed a small child, etc.)

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:43AM (#44274155)

    George Zimmerman:

    - police record, including being accused of domestic violence, resisting arrest, and battery of law-enforcement officer

    You mean: battery of a plain-clothed person who started a bar fight and only identified himself as a law-enforcement officer after the fight and you mean resisting a fight that was reclassified as an arrest attempt only after the instigator later identified himself as an officer?

    A more reasonable person would call that a history of self-defense. "Accused of ... Accused of ... Accused of ... " is bullshiat intimidation tactics.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:44AM (#44274173)

    1. Evidence about Martin's background would help the jury assess his character and might speak to his motivation. It looks like they were barely able to get in the results of the toxicology report that showed Martin still had traces of marijuana in his blood.
    2. Zimmerman wasn't aggressive in getting out of his car. If he had closed the distance and attacked Martin, that would be aggression, assault. Martin was the one that attacked Zimmerman. He was on top of him throwing MMA style punches when he was shot.
    3. "Stand your ground" was never a part of the case, ever. It was part of inflamed commentary. Zimmerman didn't attack Martin.

    Race had nothing to do with the case. It was simple self-defense. Martin attacked Zimmerman by surprise, started beating his head against the curb, and was on top of his throwing MMA type punches. Zimmerman's life was in immediate peril, but he was able to pull his gun and shoot Martin. To the extent that race played a part, it was generally working against Zimmerman in that many commentators soft pedaled, concealed, or ignored derogatory information about Martin, as well as exculpatory information about Zimmerman. NBC doctored audio to make Zimmerman appear racist. The media kept referring to Zimmerman as white, when he is Hispanic with a black grandfather (or maybe great-grandfather). Despite the fact that pictures of the grown Martin were available, including ones showing some more troubling aspects of his life, the media kept showing pictures of him when he was much younger and innocent appearing. The media downplayed Martin's troubled history, and participation in fight club type activity, and his interest in martial arts. It goes on, and on, and on. Probably because of Zimmerman's name, the media was out for a lynching of what they thought was a white guy that had killed a young black man. They often got things wrong, and stirred the pot. Even the US Justice department engaged in some troubling behavior.

    In Audio Recording, Department of Justice Official Urges Protesters to Seek ‘Justice’ for Trayvon Martin [pjmedia.com]

    Based on your flavor of your questions I have the sense that you may have gotten most of the commentary on this case from a particular slice of the web that hasn't always provided good information on this. My suggestion is that you do some reading at this site Legal Insurrection [legalinsurrection.com]. It has some interesting and informed commentary, by actual lawyers, on the case. Fair warning - you may not like what you read, but it is likely to be much more legally accurate and closer to the truth than what it sounds like you have been reading. The truth doesn't always taste good when it doesn't fit our expectations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:46AM (#44274185)

    That jury was fully of closet racist middle class women.

    I'd make a statement here wondering how on earth you could possibly know the possible racist leanings of a bunch of people whose names you don't know and have never even seen, but I have to admit, I suppose we've finally found an area in which a basement dweller staring at screen all day and night reading internet posts has the best experience in that sort of judgement.

  • Also (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:58AM (#44274261)

    Civilians don't get to do "warning" shots. The deal with the use of deadly force is that it either is or is not justified. There isn't a situation where it is justified to "just try and scare them" with a gun.

    In the case of something like this, the justification would be that you feared for your life. In most places that allow lethal force for self defense, that is a valid reason. The thing is, just firing a warning shots could show that you really DIDN'T have an imminent fear for your life. You weren't so afraid you felt the need to shoot your attacker, just "warn" them. Thus you weren't really in fear for your life, so no justification.

    I am not aware of jurisdictions that allow you to use guns to just try and scare people for various reasons. You can use them to defend yourself and sometimes others, but only in grave cases. If the case isn't grave enough for that, then you aren't justified in using it in any way.

    Basically as a civilian in a self defense situation don't draw your gun unless to shoot and don't shoot except to kill. If the situation isn't serious enough to warrant that, then a gun isn't the answer.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:02AM (#44274289)

    So the black woman on the jury was a closet racist? How did that help Zimmerman?

    There was no black woman on the jury. The six person jury was made up of five white women and one Hispanic woman.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:09AM (#44274333) Journal
    Are you actually interested in facts? If so, watch this video [youtube.com]. Otherwise, just keep trolling.
  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <gar37bicNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:16AM (#44274367)

    Suggestion: before deciding, read the court transcript and review the evidence. That will give you a better, but still insufficient understanding of the case as presented to the jury - which has very little to do with the case as presented to us, the great unwashed.

    Having said that, and IANAL, but much of the relevant facts (the details) haven't really made it into the media. Apparently, according to his statement to police, at the time of the actual conflict, Zimmerman was no longer following Martin (had he lost him?) and was returning to his car. Martin jumped out of some bushes (apparently he circled back?), and the fight started. The fact that Z was initially following M is only somewhat relevant - it goes to Z's state of mind. AFAIK, unless there's a court order or something, it's not illegal to follow someone around.

    The 'Stand your ground' law was never part of this except in the media. It was not applicable to either party.

    Martin was being portrayed as an innocent young naive boy who happened to be out shopping. His background and recent history (showing apparent pot smoking, racist remarks and some other things I forget) could have helped show that he was actually capable of attacking Zimmerman. Since that was never brought into court, it can't be used as a political tool to argue that Zimmerman got off - the prosecution was given every opportunity to railroad Zimmerman (regardless of one's opinion of the cast, had Zimmerman been convicted the case would have been tossed on appeal due to the judge's and prosecutor's actions). So Zimmerman was acquitted even despite having every possible weapon thrown at him.

    WRT reporting, NBC actually cut Zimmerman's 911 call to make it seem like he was making racist remarks - I am fully expecting ZImmerman to sue NBC, and settle for something in 7 figures. Martin was shown on TV multiple times as a cute 9- or 10-year old. The race thing was amplified over and over again - Zimmerman was repeatedly described as a 'white hispanic' - whatever that is. As the old adage says, "if it bleeds it leads" - the media are in the business of selling eyes to the advertisers, and sometimes they go to far. Also, if you've ever had the media report on something that you are personally familiar with, I'll be willing to bet that you said they got it all wrong. Extrapolate, and you'll note that they get it all wrong most of the time. Most media people these days are undereducated journalism majors, who can only be described as 'the naive man on the street, expressing ignorant amazement at the goings on around them." IMHO, of course. :D

  • Re:Does anyone know (Score:5, Informative)

    by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @02:02AM (#44274625)

    Your premise is wrong. Forensics showed that Zimmerman was on the ground and Martin was bending over him when Martin was shot.

    Who instigated the confrontation isn't relevant to the question of self-defense. You can start a fight and still claim self-defense when the other person turns the conflict into a lethal conflict.

    Furthermore, Martin might well have been able to claim self-defense as well if he had shot Zimmerman; claims of self-defense aren't mutually exclusive.

  • by geekster99 ( 2983071 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:50AM (#44275163)

    Zimmerman has a record. No, he's never been convicted, but he's not the borderline-superhero you're trying to paint him as. He also disobeyed police by following TM -- which would have prevented this killing -- and carried a gun when the neighborhood watch told him not to carry one -- which would have prevented this killing. At very least, you must admit that Zimmerman created the situation leading to this killing.

    He did NOT disobey police. Despite the misinformation in the news, there was NEVER, an order not to follow. Secondly, it was not the police, it was the emergency dispatch which had been called on the non-emergency number. He was asked if he was following, and when he replied he was told "We don't need you to do that." CLEARLY NOT AN ORDER! In fact, the dispatcher himself testified he was not legally authorized to give an order. His suggestion was to protect himself from liability. This was his testimony.

    Finally, the media, most of the media "commentators", and probably you are terribly misinformed on the timing of the so-called order. He was already out of his truck when the emergency dispatch made the statement. You could hear his the door chimes on the "911" tape when he exited his truck.

    The "facts" that many people have used to make up their minds are erroneous. The media has spread this misinformation and is in a large way responsible for the "polarization" of arm chair quarterbacks calling for Zimmerman's head despite the fact what he did is clearly not illegal. After all, he was acquitted by a jury who actually LISTENED to all the arguments and evidence without filtering it through the media hysteria machines.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:2, Informative)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @04:38AM (#44275353)

    In order to be accorded the full privileges and protections of the Geneva Convention you must wage war in a lawful manner. That is part of the treaty enforcement mechanism. Al Qaida and its associates do not do so and are therefore not entitled to the full privileges and protections. The US does act in accordance with the treaty, you just seem unfamiliar with its terms, or perhaps have listened to advocates that wish the treaty was other than it is.

  • Re:Does anyone know (Score:4, Informative)

    by Splab ( 574204 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @04:57AM (#44275445)

    Where I live guns are illegal, carrying knifes are illegal, only the criminals and police get to carry weapons.

    And you know what? For 32 years, I have yet to be robbed blind.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:4, Informative)

    by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:08AM (#44276647) Homepage Journal

    I'm not going to look them up, but there are statistics to show that black people who kill white people are more likely to get the death penalty than vice versa.

    Here's a case where a black man who thought his family's life was in danger killed a white teenager who was threatening him -- and got convicted.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/30/nyregion/30white.html [nytimes.com]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/nyregion/23trial.html [nytimes.com]

    Florida was a slave state.

    In 2000, they falsely identified about 10,000 black people as felons and prevented them from voting.

    There were 6 white jurors in the Zimmerman trial. What are the odds of getting 6 white jurors? What are the odds of getting heads 6 times in a row?

  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:09AM (#44276661) Homepage

    After the audio of the call was released, reports by CNN[346] and other news outlets alleged that Zimmerman had said "fucking coons" two minutes and twenty-one seconds (2:21) into the call. Two weeks later on April 4, 2012, CNN claimed that enhanced audio revealed that Zimmerman had said "fucking cold."[347] The following day, April 5, 2012, CNN's Martin Savidge reported that forensic audio expert Tom Owen claimed it was "fucking punks."[348] It is said to be "fucking punks" in the affidavit of probable cause, dated April 11, 2012.[31] Other reviewers of the call have offered alternate interpretations of what was said, some labeling it "unintelligible."

    But hey, if a dude is smashing your head into the pavement, you have no right to protect yourself. Because... racism! or something!

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:24AM (#44276761) Homepage

    What are the odds of getting six white people on a jury?

    For a state with 16% black population, there is a 35% chance of getting six non-black people on a jury.

    What are the odds of tossing heads six times in a row?

    Not sure of the relevance. The probability is of course 1/64 (1.6%). Perhaps when you finish high school you will have learned some basic probability so you won't be amazed at such events.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:31AM (#44276841) Homepage

    Actual statistics [fbi.gov]

    If you read the numbers, it must be pretty close to equal: 49% of murder victims are white, 49% of murder victims are black, and the remaining 2% are of other racial backgrounds. Among murderers, 51% are black, 46% are white, and the remaining 3% are of other racial backgrounds.There were about 13,500 murders the year that was collected, so some quick math suggests that there were about 250 more white people killed by black people than the other way around.

    That's not to say that murder is OK, but it's hardly a situation in which black people are murdering white people left and right while white people are just innocent victims. In addition, in a very large percentage of murders the victim is a member of the murderer's family, and another significant number are at least acquainted with each other. Another important fact is that for women, the person most likely to kill them is their boyfriend or husband.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:35AM (#44276863) Homepage

    The majority of murders are carried out with hands and feet.

    Not even close: FBI stats on weapons used in murders [fbi.gov]

    For those too lazy to follow the link, in an average year about 14000 people are killed, about 9750 with firearms and 4250 with anything else.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @11:24AM (#44277263) Homepage

    Here, let's make it simple shall we? [disqus.com] And now you know the chain of events, and can understand why it *was* self defense, and why you're wrong.

  • Re:I'm amazed... (Score:4, Informative)

    by t4ng* ( 1092951 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @12:29PM (#44277689)
    You mean kind of like this case [cbsnews.com] where a black woman, in the same state as Zimmerman, fires two warning shots in the air when an ex-husband she had a restraining order on because he had a history of violence, gets 20 years in prison and no one was hurt! And to add insult to injury the judge refused to let her use the Stand Your Ground law as her defense!
  • Re: I'm amazed... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:11PM (#44278865)

    That was because she went to HIS house, and actually left the house to go get the gun....

APL hackers do it in the quad.