Stand Your Ground

 August 13th : pursuing traditional self-defense??

O'Mara held a press conference during which he mentioned options for SQG v. Self Defence.
Huffington Post and others covered it

This is a video of part of the event
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhnV-w_T5TQ



My reading is that O'Mara is still going for a SYG hearing, but.......

In this hearing, he would say that even though the law allows someone to decide to stand their ground and use deadly force, this decision aspect does not come into play.
The story would be that Zimmerman was pinned down, so there was no question of him making any decision to stand his ground. The decision was already made for him by the circumstances.
It's not so much that he is saying that Zimmerman does not have a case that can stand up under SYG. He's saying that the the decision part of the formula is missing. He's irritated that his client's best defence - which he is obliged to present - carries the SYG label.


Zimmerman didn't, in fact, consciously go for his gun.  As he said on the Hannity show, he had completely forgotten that he had a gun.
He suddenly felt Martin's hand going for his waistband. He thought
 "What is it with this guy and waistbands? He must a waistband fetish or something. First he's got his hand in his waistband as he passes my truck. Now he's putting his hand in my waistband?? No wait! OMG! I have a gun there!"

O'Mara would say that if a SYG hearing would grant Zimmerman immunity under SYG if he had made a decision to not retreat, then it must logically grant immunity in the situation where he wasn't even in a position to make such a decision - and didn't even think about guns until after Martin tried to take it from the concealed holster.
His hope would be to get a pure self-defence argument in a SYG hearing.
He will do anything he can to avoid Zimmerman being put on the stand to face detailed cross-examination on all of the inconsistencies in his story.


The problem with SYG is that the moment one begins to consider if people had options, then that starts to draw in consideration of the events that led up to the event.

This is a big problem for Zimmerman. Going just by his NEN call, the timing of that and the first 911, he:
  • Went into that dark central path saying "These a**holes, they always get away" and "F**king ****s"
  • Spent 2 minutes and 30 seconds in that area between his NEN call ending and the first 911 call connecting.

In this latest statement, O'Mara repeats something that he's said a number of times before
"I've said from Day 1 we need to wait until all the evidence comes out."

Evidence is useful to have

"I think the evidence in this case suggests that my client was reacting to having his nose broken and reacted to that by screaming out for help."
"I think that it is probably undisputed that he had a broken nose now. "
He says this at 1:42 in the video above.
He asserts a broken nose, and backs up this assertion by saying that he thinks that it is probably undisputed.
For some reason, he didn't mention the diagnosis of "likely broken" by Zimmerman's family doctor the day after the shooting.

Broken nose?

There is no evidence that Zimmerman's nose was broken. It was simply suggested that he might have a closed fracture.
Zimmerman refused to be checked out in ENT - both on the night and on the next day when his doctor suggested that he go to ENT. One source of that medical report , amongst other sources. Extract:
"We discussed that it is likely broken, but does not appear to have septial deviation.The swelling and black eyes are typical of this injury. I recommended that he be evaluated by ENT but he refused"
I've run that "likely broken" diagnosis past any number of Zimmerman fans, but they refuse to see it. They point to a standard summary code at the top of the report
"802.c Nasal bones, closed fracture"
They claim that the doctor's diagnosis of "likely broken" is overridden by the summary bureaucratic analysis code selected by the doctor as the closest available to describing her diagnosis of "likely broken".

How did this suspected closed fracture come about?

There is no witness evidence that Zimmerman was punched.
Witness 6 initially reported straddling and MMA-style punches, but when faced with detailed questioning realised that it was so dark that all he could swear to was that two figures were wrestling, one lying on top of the other. "Wrestling" was in fact the description that he used in his 911 call on the night. He could not see their hands or their faces. He just assumed that the one underneath was shouting. That seemed logical to him.
There is no damage to Martin's hands other than a small abrasion on one finger.

How else could Zimmerman receive an impact to the nose (apart from falling on his face)?
His gun was a Kel Tec PF-9. It's a very small and light 18 ounce gun firing 9mm rounds. Even when held in a normal firing position on a range, the recoil and muzzle flip are significant.
Zimmerman has managed to get his hand on the gun. Martin is on top of him. In order to shoot Martin in the chest, his hand will have to be... right in front of his own face. His grip will be weakened - both by the overall circumstances and by the fact that he would have to twist his wrist to the right to line it up.
That gun - or more likely the back of his own hand is going to whack him right on the nose. See: The Struggle

Here is a video of that gun - Kel-Tec PF-9 - in action. Note that the shooters will be holding it firmly in a proper two-handed, straight-armed stance.
Even then , you can see it kicking. "Yup. It's a jumper" they say.

 It is! It is shown real-time and slow-mo at the start.
At 1:40 , you see it kicking from a side view. That's with a proper grip and stance.
At 2:40, look at what the kick does to their hands after a few shots.

Zimmerman would have it in the worst possible grip. One handed, elbow bent back, wrist twisted to get it lined up to get the resulting front-to-back trajectory through Martin's body.
You just know this gun hand is going to whack his hand back.

Try this at home kids: Lie on your back. Hold your hand like it is pointing that gun at the upper chest of someone who is sitting on your stomach and leaning in over you. He is leaning in at the moment of the shot as in the Walk-Through, Zimmerman says "I didn't think I hit him because he sat up and said, 'OK, you got me. You got it. You got me. You got it,' something like that,"
 
Look at how the gun muzzle projects beyond the hand in the video above.
Allow for 2 inches minimum between the muzzle and the person's chest. That's the minimum indicated by the stippling (shot from intermediate range  1 to 18 inches).
You need more than just the distance from the chest. The shot went straight in back to front, neither left or right or up or down. You'll really have to bend that wrist down.
Right in front of your face is the nice hard bone at the base of your thumb. Your bent elbow makes a nice swivel point for your lower arm and hand to swing back at you.

It's very simple. For each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The bullet goes one way. The gun goes the opposite way
The lighter the gun, the more it will act like a bullet. The Kel Tec PF-9 is a very light gun.

This next video is of a heavier weapon, but firing heavier bullets, so the order of recoil is similar.
Her elbow, although bent. is straighter that Zimmerman's could possibly have been to get that shot off.  His was one-handed. You'll get the idea.The main point is simply to illustrate the kind of thing that can happen if a gun is not held in a correct firing grip and stance.
Zimmerman's grip would be such that the recoil would push his hand back into his face.
http://www.break.com/usercontent/2010/12/2/recoil-1962066

Looking at those videos above, and thinking about how Zimmerman could only have been holding it in his panic, the real dispute might be about what exactly hit him on the nose and when.

The ejected cartridge case would also be heading his way fast. He's not getting that shot off into Martin's chest from a normal shooting grip and position. Not unless he's upright and further back in the "intermediate range" scope than 2 inches..




Breaking:
Evidence (of exotic standard) that the nose was indeed broken....
In the press conference - http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/raw-video-zimmermans-attorney-holds-news/vdM6X/ at about 5 minutes in..
O'Mara says
"My client…reacting to having his nose broken. I think that it is probably undisputed that he had a broken nose now. "
This seems a very half-hearted sort of assertion. You might think that if there were any actual evidence of a broken nose that O'Mara would say so - rather than "think" and "probably".


OK. So maybe his nose wasn't broken, and maybe the likely but unproven closed fracture was due to the gun recoil.. but .....

What about his head? ZOMG! Did you see the photo of the blood!

The defence made a huge deal out of a color photograph of the back of Zimmermans head.

This was taken by a resident at 7:19 - about 2 minutes after the shot.
It was taken before he was handcuffed and taken to the squad car.
It would be another 20 minutes before he would be cleaned up by an EMT.
This is Zimmerman's head before any attempt was made to clean him up.

The defence released this in a blaze of publicity. Shock effect. ZOMG BLOOD!!
But ..... it's way more interesting than that.
He's got two clean cuts.
There is blood flow from the cuts.
It's running downwards.
Well of course it is. He is upright.
So where is the blood that flowed while he was on his back? It would have pooled and then been smeared as his head was "pounded and pounded into the concrete". No?
This pounding would have continued over at least one minute and even up to two.
That's 44 seconds of 911 call up to the shot plus a delay from the fight starting, the noise intruding over the sound of a TV indoors, the TV being muted, a listening and then a dialling, and then a ringing before an answering. 16 seconds would be very fast for all of that, so we're really talking of pounding for maybe up to1 minute 30 seconds.
Has this head been pounded for so long? Has this head been on the ground while the pair moved from the T-junction and 40 feet South to where Witness.6 saw them wrestling on the grass directly opposite his porch window? That's what Zimmerman claims.
Yes. That head in the photo.

That head was walking and talking around the scene immediately after the shot
That head is on CCTV at Sanford PD as he arrives (7:52) handcupped and walking unaided without a hint of stagger.
Here's that head at SPD a while later:

It had apparently been been punched and pounded for 1 minute at the absolute least and probably 1 minute 30 seconds or so.
Does this seem like a reasonable proposition? It's what Zimmerman says happened.

He refused to get checked out.
What does his doctor's report from the following morning say about his head?
Extract:
Scalp Lacerations: No sutures needed given well-approximated skin margins. Continue to clean with soap and water daily.
We discussed the red flag symptoms that would warrant imaging given the type of assault he sustained. Given the type of trauma, we discussed that it is imperative that he be seen with his Psychologist for evaluation.
For the nose:
"We discussed that it is likely broken, but does not appear to have septial deviation.The swelling and black eyes are typical of this injury. I recommended that he be evaluated by ENT but he refused"

Ok, we get it. Minor cuts. Absolutely no recommendation that he be checked for any physical damage (apart from a likely closed fracture of the nose). No red flag indications that he needed imaging. He just needed his thinking sorted out. Imperative! More 'imagining' than 'imaging'.

The EMT on the night had noted  "Pt has abrasions to his forehead + bleeding/tenderness to his nose and a small laceration to the back of his head. All injuries have minor bleeding." Zimmerman's doctor makes no mention of abrasions to the forehead - indicating that they are insignificant.


How did he receive these superficial cuts on the back of his head?

There is no witness evidence that Martin pounded Zimmerman's head on the ground -or punched him.Witness.6 changed his original account.

The photograph above, taken before any cleanup, together with the doctor's report  would appear to discount pounding as a cause. Witness 6 saw two people wrestling on the ground. He said that the one underneath was trying to sit up, but falling back.
So yes, the back of his head would be coming into contact with the ground intermittently - during the short time that Witness 6 observed them before he went for the phone. This would explain the minor cuts and an absence of any deeper damage.
The fact that any blood flow is running downwards would indicate that whenever he got those cuts, he was definitely upright immediately afterwards - and remained so.


O'Mara "He wasn't in position where I think there was any suggestion where he could retreat, which he is allowed to do under the statute."
This supposes that he was pinned to the ground from the outset - and moved on his back with Martin on top of him for a distance of 40 feet. Given the relatively clean state of the back of his head and his jacket, this seems hightly unlikely to impossible.

Evidence so far:

 Zimmerman went into the dark after Martin saying  "These a**holes, they always get away" and "F**king ****s"
Right at the end of his NEN call, he suddenly  changed from an agreement to meet at the truck, to one of them calling him. He had clearly decided to be somewhere unknown as yet.


Over 2 minutes later, he is observed wrestling with Martin on the ground.
The altercation would have continued for no longer than 60 seconds.
With himself appearing to be underneath during the short time for which they were observed wrestling, this is a plausible explanation for the minor abrasions on the back of his head.
He also suffered black eyes and swelling - which indicated that a closed fracture of the nose was likely.
No measures for physical injuries were suggested by his doctor - other than ENT check if had a fracture. Zimmerman refused to attend ENT.
The impact to the nose could well have been caused by gun recoil, given Zimmerman's description of how the shot was fired.

  • Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him.
    There is no witness evidence to support this.
  • Zimmerman claims that Martin punched him - first on the nose and then repeatedly about the face.
    There is no witness evidence of any punching.
    Zimmerman does not show injuries consistent with the repeated punching that he describes.
    Martin's hands do not show injuries consistent with delivering such a beating. He had one small abrasion on one finger.
    The swelling and black eyes would be due to impact by something. This could have been a punch, his gun recoiling in his hand or hitting the ground.
  • Zimmerman claims that Martin pounded his head onto the concrete repeatedly.
    There is no witness evidence to support this.
    The injury to the back of his head amounted to two abrasions that needed no more treatment than a cleaning.
    He did not exhibit any symptoms of any further damage and refused to be checked in a hospital.
  • The 'bloody head' photograph that surfaced later is not part of a managed scene evidence chain. Assuming that it is genuine, why is the blood running downwards in clear rivulets? If he were on his back and had that head continually pounded into concrete, we should expect at least a smearing/spreading of the blood
  • There are no defensive injuries on Zimmerman. He had both arms and hands free. Would he have exhibited some marks on bruising on arms and hands?
  • There are no signs of him fighting back with hands/fist - no injuries to Martin apart from a small abrasion on one finger.
  • The only signs of defensive/resistance measures by Zimmerman are
    - Witness 6 observing the person underneath seeming to raise his shoulders off he ground
    - The shooting

  1. He was involved in a wrestling match and was not doing well in it.
  2. He had suffered a bump or two to the back of the head. The minor cuts to the back of his head, if caused by a bump on the concrete edge, can only have come from such a bump immediately before the shot. He had to be vertical immediately on the onset of bleeding.
  3. He might have been punched on the nose, might have fallen face first in the course of a struggle, or might have been struck by own hand via gun recoil or by the ejected cartridge - depending on the position of the gun when fired..
  4. He was aware that neighbours had called 911. He was aware from his own NEN call that a patrol car was already on the way and had been dispatched over 5 minutes ago.
  • He had breached Neighbourhood rules in carrying a weapon while involved in activity related to NW.
  • He had breached NW rules in not ensuring that he was able to "observe from a safe distance"  

  • His friend and mentor, Osterman had advised him that in any encounter, his gun was not *his* gun. It was *the* gun. Zimmerman mentions this concept in the Hannity interview.
  • Zimmerman brought *the* gun into a situation in which there was potential for conflict. The potential for conflict arose solely because he got out of his truck and "went in the same direction" as "the suspect".
  • Any reasonable person would have realised that going into that area was potentially dangerous.
  • Even if Zimmerman did not see the danger when he started in there, he clearly realised it once he did get in there. In his NEN call, when out on foot in the pathway area, after giving his home address to the dispatcher, he suddenly says "Oh crap I don't want to give it all out, I don't know where this kid is."
  • Zimmerman is saying there is clear potential danger that "the suspect" could be close enough in the dark to have overhead him giving his address and phone number. The danger is real. It was as real before he went in as it is after he he in there. Any reasonable person would have seen that in advance.


So under these circumstances he can pull a gun and kill someone?
Great!


A point about Martin :

  • If Martin became aware that this stranger was carrying a gun - this stranger who:
    - certainly from his own reasonable point of view,  had followed him into the dark
    - certainly by Zimmerman's own account, had not explained his purpose
     Then, if Martin had reached for that gun, securing that gun (The Gun) was Martin's self-defence.





August 9th : Zimmerman's defence say they are going for a Stand Your Ground hearing


This should be interesting.
I doubt it it will be "Plan/B" (below) - but the ways of lawyers are mysterious Grasshopper

There Will Be A "Stand Your Ground" Hearing in the George Zimmerman Case



















Since the beginning, there has been a rush to judgement in the case against George Zimmerman. Since the first day of his involvement, Mr. O’Mara has emphasized that people should be patient and wait for the evidence to be released before forming opinions about the case.
Now that the State has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense. Consistent with this claim of self-defense, there will be a “Stand Your Ground” hearing.
In the case against George Zimmerman, a “Stand Your Ground” hearing will essentially be a mini-trial. Most of the arguments, witnesses, experts, and evidence that the defense would muster in a criminal trial will be presented in the “Stand Your Ground” hearing.
There are significant differences between a “Stand Your Ground” hearing and a trial. In a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, there is no jury; the decision is made by the judge alone. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, the burden is on the defense to prove that the evidence fits the conditions of the “Stand Your Ground” law. If the Court rules in favor of the defendant in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, not only are criminal charges dismissed, the defendant is also immune from civil actions related to the shooting. The primary focus of a “Stand Your Ground” hearing is whether George Zimmerman reasonably believed that his use of his weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself at the hands of Trayvon Martin.
Preparing for the “Stand Your Ground” hearing will require the same time and resources that would be necessary to prepare for a trial. It will take time to collect and submit reciprocal discovery, depose witnesses and experts, and identify evidence to be submitted during the hearing. We anticipate this will still take several months. Mr. O’Mara, again, urges everyone to be patient during this process and to reserve judgment until the evidence is presented in the “Stand Your Ground” hearing.


Two bits from the above
  1. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, the burden is on the defense to prove that the evidence fits the conditions of the “Stand Your Ground” law.
  2. The primary focus of a “Stand Your Ground” hearing is whether George Zimmerman reasonably believed that his use of his weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself at the hands of Trayvon Martin.

This is really kewl.
You can kill someone if you can put up some sort of story that you believed that person was going to cause you great injury or death. No questions asked. No comeback.
Even if your own actions caused the conflict, you can kill them and walk free.

It can't really be that simple. Can it?

Maybe not.

A WFTV.COM piece covering the story included:

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said even if Zimmerman was the initial aggressor, the former neighborhood watch commander could argue that he walked away from the first confrontation and Martin went after him.

 

Hey! That sounds like a plan.B!

All Zimmerman has to do is say:

Yes, I know that any reasonable person would deduce from the evidence that
  • I followed Martin
  • I wanted to make sure that this particular "f**cking Goon" did not "always get away"
  • I kept looking for him for over 2 minutes after I finished my call.
  • Medical evidence on my injuries and Martin's hands do not indicate the type and duration of attack that I described
  • Other stuff
They would deduce this because that is what actually happened.
My previous accounts were not lies, however. I simply couldn't remember exactly, so what I said was more "not going in the same direction as the truth".

But now I remember clearly what happened.
  • I tracked him down, about 40 to 50  feet South of the T-junction, near where he had obviously been hiding from me.
  • He asked me "Why are you following me?"
  • I answered "What are you doing around here?"
  • I noticed that he then dropped his phone.
  • He then said "None of your business"
  • I said "OK" and started back to my truck.
  • I had gotten as far as the EW pathway when he ran up behind me.
  • He said "You get a problem Homie?"
  • I said "No. I don't have a problem"
  • I reached for my phone to call 911 and say "Hey, this real suspicious guy that I followed and confronted, but stopped following and confronting after he said "None of your business" and I said "OK" - well now he's confronted me"
    ( Say what? - See Note.1 below )
  • He said "Now you do" and I think he punched me.
  • Unfortunately, when my hand came up from my right hip it was holding a gun. I realised this as soon as I tried to dial. I had completely forgotten that I had a gun. I was as surprised by this as he was.
  • He grabbed my arm and we struggled, wrestling, and ended up 40 feet South, near where he had dropped his phone.
  •  He did hit me a few times, but mostly we were wrestling for the gun. This explains the absence of a level of injury that would reasonably be expected from my earlier "not going in the same direction as the truth" account.
  • I reasonably believed that use of my weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to myself, so I shot him
  • My nose got hurt at some point.


So the judge says: "Yeah. That sounds reasonable" - and Zimmerman goes free.



It can't really be that simple. Can it?


Maybe not.





Note.1

I know. You're thinking "Hey nobody would talk like that."
But they do.
On the Piers Morgan TV show, March 30th, Zimmerman's brother said:
"My brother drew back to grab his phone in retreat to call again 911 and say, 'Well, this person who I lost sight of and was not pursuing has now confronted me.' That's what he did. He never got to make that call because he was attacked by Mr. Martin,"

Right from the shot, Zimmerman knew that following  Martin would mean trouble for any self-defence claims.
So even though he told the dispatcher that he was following, he wasn't actually following . OK?
That's how people get to talk like that. Proof by repetition. Not following. Not following. Not following.











3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info, again.
    But in fact, Zimmerman admitted to "following this guy in good faith" and to "following the guy" and "trying to maintain visual on this guy" three, maybe even four times, before he suddenly realized that he needed to say he was NOT FOLLOWING. Three of his statements -- recorded -- and maybe four (I have lost count, sorry) before he changed his story show him not having any objection to being described as following "the suspect." Only AFTER he learns that Trayvon Martin was not a criminal, not a "punk," does he find that his real purpose in getting out of the truck was either to report dutifully to the dispatcher on the street name or to come up with the exact address where he had seen "the suspect" before "the a55hole" got away. Hmm.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is getting confusing isn't? They will go for SYG hearing but won't plea for a SYG. They go for SD instead.

    I read one of your comment Mr. Trebuchet reminding that MOM said that SYG is not applying since GZ didn't have the option to retreat. This is true, but it may be also because a plea for SYG will require to prove that GZ didn't confront Trayvon Martin which of course would be difficult to prove.

    On a other subject, i was quite surprise to learn that Trayvon Martin survived for few minutes and even was maybe conscious for half a minute. I wonder if he could still speak despite his collapsed lungs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Points of information.

      Those were not MOM's words. That was my interpretation of his words.

      I really don't want to speculate on Martin's condition. Nobody other than Zimmerman was close enough to know if he made any sound.

      Every time you refer to me as "Mr.", I blink. Please do not make me blink :)

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