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The shooting in Florida


Off-Topic Discussions

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Well then we disagree. A law that basically says "yeah, shoot the prick, he deserves it for looking at you funny" is a BAD MOTHERF%&@ING LAW.

Shadow Lodge

meatrace wrote:
Well then we disagree. A law that basically says "yeah, shoot the prick, he deserves it for looking at you funny" is a BAD MOTHERF%$+ING LAW.

I would agree that a law that says "yeah, shoot the prick, he deserves it for looking at you funny" is a bad law.

I disagree that stand your ground is such a law.

Can you point me tot he language in the law that translates into "yeah, shoot the prick, he deserves it for looking at you funny" ?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The subjective language about 'feeling threatened'.
It basically gives anyone leeway to kill someone. I mean, the courts could still contend that he was wrongheaded and prosecute, but this is FLORIDA in this instance. I mean come on.

The castle doctrine has the same sort of subjective language. If you think that your house is being robbed, or your neighbors in many instances, you have the absolute right to punish with lethal force. Kill first, ask questions later. It happens all the time, it's becoming more frequent, and it's a disgrace.

Shadow Lodge

meatrace wrote:

The subjective language about 'feeling threatened'.

It basically gives anyone leeway to kill someone. I mean, the courts could still contend that he was wrongheaded and prosecute, but this is FLORIDA in this instance. I mean come on.

The belief has to be reasonable according to the statute. Just because a term is malleable does not mean that it is infinitely malleable. As with anything dealing with reality there has to be some subjectivity in order to cover the gray areas.

This is really just a codification of how the justice system works in most places anyway. Few juries expect you to put yourself in danger by turning your back on a potential assailant or require that you leave because someone else is being an ass.

Quote:
The castle doctrine has the same sort of subjective language. If you think that your house is being robbed, or your neighbors in many instances, you have the absolute right to punish with lethal force. Kill first, ask questions later. It happens all the time, it's becoming more frequent, and it's a disgrace.

Its simply the response to a high number of armed criminals. If someone breaks into my house in the dark and I can't see if they're armed or not I shouldn't have to wait till i hear the bullet whizzing towards my head before defending my home and my family. If someone doesn't want to get killed they shouldn't break into people's houses.


If someone ENTERS your house in the dark, I'd hope your first response wouldn't be to blindly shoot at the stranger until he's dead. Because that would make you a lunatic.

Ok, look at it this way. Step 1 is enact a SYG law/castle doctrine. In a conservative state, chances are even a particularly dubious case with dubious reasonableness won't be prosecuted or even investigated. See George Zimmerman et al. Once it has become known that the conservatives sitting the bench and those deciding which cases to pursue...won't pursue, it makes people THAT much more brazen.

It has already reached critical mass in this regard.

You can't just say "yep, that sounds good, don't break into my house if you don't wanna be killed to death!" and nod your head without thinking a few steps down the road as to consequences of that legislation.

Remember also that, as I've pointed out, in some states these laws allow you to "protect" much more than your house. It's your house, your yard, your neighbor's (in any direction) house, his yard, your family members, their family members. We're coming to the point where you can just sit on your porch and blow away anyone who accidentally stumbles onto your grass with impunity.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

meatrace wrote:
If someone ENTERS your house in the dark, I'd hope your first response wouldn't be to blindly shoot at the stranger until he's dead. Because that would make you a lunatic.

I don't own a gun, but if someone enters my house in the dark without my permission, then I will feel threatened and there will be consequences. Knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell is so much safer.

Shadow Lodge

meatrace wrote:
If someone ENTERS your house in the dark, I'd hope your first response wouldn't be to blindly shoot at the stranger until he's dead. Because that would make you a lunatic.

Depends on the neighborhood. For many areas that would be the sanest response.

I don't like guns so that's not an issue.

Which side of the ax I'm going to use on them, on the other hand, probably depends on whether they see me coming or not. Someone does not just accidentally stumble through my locked doors and past my rather large dog.

Quote:

Ok, look at it this way. Step 1 is enact a SYG law/castle doctrine. In a conservative state, chances are even a particularly dubious case with dubious reasonableness won't be prosecuted or even investigated. See George Zimmerman et al. Once it has become known that the conservatives sitting the bench and those deciding which cases to pursue...won't pursue, it makes people THAT much more brazen.]

It has already reached critical mass in this regard.

The slippery slope goes in the other direction too. Without SYG/Castle laws you have burglars suing people for shooting them and mugging victims getting sued for fighting back.

Either case has benefits and drawbacks, but the ability for a burglar to use the power of the state against their victim is far more direct and tangible than a reasonable but not certain connection between castle doctrines and any particular case.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
meatrace wrote:

FWIW I have no recollection of anyone saying or implying that George Zimmerman was anything other than Latino. That fact came out pretty quickly in the news coverage. Doesn't mean it CAN'T be racially motivated, though I think that's just one factor among many.

Personally I think the SYG law, castle doctrine, etc. just need to go, or be seriously revised. There's just a huge gulf between a man defending his house and hunting someone down that passed by it.

Contrary to what many white people believe, anyone can be racist against anyone else. It's not solely a white-black/black-white thing.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
meatrace wrote:

The subjective language about 'feeling threatened'.

It basically gives anyone leeway to kill someone. I mean, the courts could still contend that he was wrongheaded and prosecute, but this is FLORIDA in this instance. I mean come on.

The belief has to be reasonable according to the statute. Just because a term is malleable does not mean that it is infinitely malleable. As with anything dealing with reality there has to be some subjectivity in order to cover the gray areas.

This is really just a codification of how the justice system works in most places anyway. Few juries expect you to put yourself in danger by turning your back on a potential assailant or require that you leave because someone else is being an ass.

Quote:
The castle doctrine has the same sort of subjective language. If you think that your house is being robbed, or your neighbors in many instances, you have the absolute right to punish with lethal force. Kill first, ask questions later. It happens all the time, it's becoming more frequent, and it's a disgrace.

Its simply the response to a high number of armed criminals. If someone breaks into my house in the dark and I can't see if they're armed or not I shouldn't have to wait till i hear the bullet whizzing towards my head before defending my home and my family. If someone doesn't want to get killed they shouldn't break into people's houses.

I have to disagree re: infinitely malleable. Since someone is probably not walking away, all one has to do is call 911 and give them some cock and bull story before or immediately after shooting them. This IS pretty infinitely malleable, provided you are the only one who walks away. Yes, there may be some evidence that draws a second look, but in many of the states that seem to have this law, the state won't care.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
meatrace wrote:
If someone ENTERS your house in the dark, I'd hope your first response wouldn't be to blindly shoot at the stranger until he's dead. Because that would make you a lunatic.

Depends on the neighborhood. For many areas that would be the sanest response.

I don't like guns so that's not an issue.

Which side of the ax I'm going to use on them, on the other hand, probably depends on whether they see me coming or not. Someone does not just accidentally stumble through my locked doors and past my rather large dog.

Oh come now, BNW. We both know your axe is double headed. BTW is your dog a mauler or a licker?

BigNorseWolf wrote:


The slippery slope goes in the other direction too. Without SYG/Castle laws you have burglars suing people for shooting them and mugging victims getting sued for fighting back.

Either case has benefits and drawbacks, but the ability for a burglar to use the power of the state against their victim is far more direct and tangible than a reasonable but not certain connection between castle doctrines and any particular case.

Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?


Freehold DM wrote:
Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?

I am not entirely certain, but I believe that most SYG laws say something to the extent of if you were committing a crime and that was the source of the conflict, then you can't claim SYG protection. This is part of the reason you keep hearing people say, "Zimmerman said he was following Martin, which isn't strictly against the law." If Zimmerman had been breaking the law, then he couldn't claim protect from the SYG.


Darkjoy wrote:
meatrace wrote:
If someone ENTERS your house in the dark, I'd hope your first response wouldn't be to blindly shoot at the stranger until he's dead. Because that would make you a lunatic.
I don't own a gun, but if someone enters my house in the dark without my permission, then I will feel threatened and there will be consequences. Knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell is so much safer.

Hope it's not your teenage kid trying to sneak back in without getting in trouble for being out.

Or a drunken neighbor thinking it's his house.

I believe both have happened.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Freehold DM wrote:
Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?

Florida's law at least has an explicit exception for someone engaged in a crime. They can't claim self-defense. Of course, if they've just killed the only person who knew they were engaged in a crime...

Shadow Lodge

Freehold DM wrote:


Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?

No, you have to be somewhere and doing something that you're legally entitled to.

Quote:
Oh come now, BNW. We both know your axe is double headed.

Some of them are...

Quote:
BTW is your dog a mauler or a licker?

Dunno. So far all of the people coming into the yard without notifying us have been smart enough to stand up against the wall and not move like the dog told them.


pres man wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?
I am not entirely certain, but I believe that most SYG laws say something to the extent of if you were committing a crime and that was the source of the conflict, then you can't claim SYG protection. This is part of the reason you keep hearing people say, "Zimmerman said he was following Martin, which isn't strictly against the law." If Zimmerman had been breaking the law, then he couldn't claim protect from the SYG.

Small nitpick, they can totally CLAIM protection from the SYG. It's still up to law enforcement and the DA (AFAIK) to decide whether that claim is legitimate or not.

Ok so it's a BIG nitpick, because that's my entire argument.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

SYG is a response to the general principle in common law that self defense could not be claimed if there was a reasonable avenue of escape. Most states still have laws that the use of force has to be reasonable and related to the force used by the attacker. In general you can't claim self defense if you are the initial aggressor unless the other party escalates the force involved. (That last bit gets really hairy from state to state).

Don't rely on anything I said as personal advice do your own research, i'm not your lawyer etc.


meatrace wrote:
pres man wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?
I am not entirely certain, but I believe that most SYG laws say something to the extent of if you were committing a crime and that was the source of the conflict, then you can't claim SYG protection. This is part of the reason you keep hearing people say, "Zimmerman said he was following Martin, which isn't strictly against the law." If Zimmerman had been breaking the law, then he couldn't claim protect from the SYG.

Small nitpick, they can totally CLAIM protection from the SYG. It's still up to law enforcement and the DA (AFAIK) to decide whether that claim is legitimate or not.

Ok so it's a BIG nitpick, because that's my entire argument.

The issue with stand your ground isn't that it allows a claim of self defense, anyone can claim that in any state. SYG changes the criteria of justified self defense from "I felt threatened and did everything possible to escape harm before taking violent action," to "I felt threatened and took violent action." From the little I've heard said in defense of Zimmerman's action, SYG is only pertinent to his case because he had every right to be where he was when he shot Martin.

Edit: If, for instance, Zimmerman had broken into Martin's house, felt threatened by Martin's justified reaction and shot Martin because he felt threatened rather than because he was feeling homicidial (that's nitpicking, meat /wink), SYG wouldn't apply even though Zimmerman "felt equally threatened" in both circumstances.

As always, IANAL.


Waitwait, there's an actual lawyer present? Glad to be ninja'd :)

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:
"I felt threatened and took violent action."

The feeling has to be reasonable, not merely heartfelt. He was black and wearing a hoodie and walking away from me is not reasonable grounds for the conclusion that he was going to attack someone.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
"I felt threatened and took violent action."

The feeling has to be reasonable, not merely heartfelt. He was black and wearing a hoodie and walking away from me is not reasonable grounds for the conclusion that he was going to attack someone.

BWN, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Zimmerman was right, just talking about legal distinctions.

Personally (liberal warning) I think anyone who's been charged with assault shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm, but I'm a hippy.

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:
BWN, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Zimmerman was right, just talking about legal distinctions.

And I'm giving you a legal distinction because you're misrepresenting what the law says. It does not say "i felt threatened and took violent action" it says "i felt threatened, my feelings were reasonable, so i took violent action" and it has a higher threshold for lethal vs non lethal responses.

Quote:


Personally (liberal warning) I think anyone who's been charged with assault shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm, but I'm a hippy.

Since when do hippies trust the police that much?

Absolutely not. You do not loose your rights and property at the mere accusation of a crime.


firstly, "my feelings were reasonable" is a completely subjective standard.

Secondly, I said "charged with", not "accused of"; those are two different things, at least in Rhode Island.

Thirdly, I've had more than one beer this evening and wouldn't want to embarrass my self on the interwebz, so good night sir :)


Hitdice wrote:
firstly, "my feelings were reasonable" is a completely subjective standard.

Actually it is more like, "I felt like my life was in danger." DA, "Well, given the situation, that seemed reasonable. No charge."

It is still subjective, but you can't make the claim and have nobody be able to challenge it. But the standard is a theoretical rational person of average ability. A 3-degree black belt might have a different idea about what they feel is dangerous, but you don't want them to be setting the standard for everyone, just as you don't want a paranoid schizophrenic doing it either.

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:
firstly, "my feelings were reasonable" is a completely subjective standard.

Most legal standards are. Just because it is subjective does not make it meaningless. It is an incredibly important check on SYG's power.

Quote:
Secondly, I said "charged with", not "accused of"; those are two different things, at least in Rhode Island.

A charge is a formal accusation by police. You're innocent until proven guilty and cannot have your rights violated before you're proven guilty, much less after you've been proven innocent.

Quote:


Thirdly, I've had more than one beer this evening and wouldn't want to embarrass my self on the interwebz, so good night sir :)

But thats what its for!


The problem with even "I felt like my life was in danger", so I killed him, is that it's often hard to dispute. The other witness is dead.

Especially when the law, as Florida's does, doesn't just make it a defense you can use in a trial, but makes it much harder and riskier to get to the trial stage.

Also I hadn't noticed this section before:

Quote:

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) 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 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;

So, if you provoke the fight, you have to try to escape, but if you can't you can still use deadly force.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Isn't one of the nightmare scenarios that someone who attempts to rob someone and then the victim fights back and makes the attempted footpad fear for their lives can then be killed by the ladron who could claim SYG?
Florida's law at least has an explicit exception for someone engaged in a crime. They can't claim self-defense. Of course, if they've just killed the only person who knew they were engaged in a crime...

But if there are no witnesses, how would the police know that it began with a robbery. If I the robber simply lied and said that the now dead guy tried to rob me who can say otherwise?


Asphere wrote:
But if there are no witnesses, how would the police know that it began with a robbery. If I the robber simply lied and said that the now dead guy tried to rob me who can say otherwise?

I would wonder why a person who just wanted to rob someone would stick around after the victim was killed just in order to claim self defense, instead of attempting to steal the belongings and try to get away? Seems a pretty strange event to happen. Especially if there were no one else around to see (no other witnesses apparently).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hitdice wrote:
Waitwait, there's an actual lawyer present? Glad to be ninja'd :)

A cop, too!

Florida's law regarding SYG is fine, but the burden of proof to disprove self-defense (which in Texas, we would refer to as an exception rather than an affirmative defense) and immunity from prosecution if you can't is ridiculous. Self-defense claims should rest in the hands of a jury.

Shadow Lodge

pres man wrote:
Asphere wrote:
But if there are no witnesses, how would the police know that it began with a robbery. If I the robber simply lied and said that the now dead guy tried to rob me who can say otherwise?
I would wonder why a person who just wanted to rob someone would stick around after the victim was killed just in order to claim self defense, instead of attempting to steal the belongings and try to get away? Seems a pretty strange event to happen. Especially if there were no one else around to see (no other witnesses apparently).

The robber wasn't planning on shooting his victim. Jail time for robbery < jail time for murder. The probability of getting caught might be high and he knows that he can claim self defense and get away with it.

On another note, couldn't I plan a murder around the SYG law? If I am allowed to shoot someone over a beating, couldn't I claim that my victim was beating me, or coax him into beating me just so that I could kill him and claim self defense. If Zimmerman gets away with it over a 1 minute fist fight from a person not trained in fighting (as far as I know), then what would stop me from staging the whole thing just to get rid of an enemy?


So it seems this will not go to a grand jury after all. Not sure how I feel about this yet, although it's not a positive feeling.


What does it mean when they say it won't go to a grand jury?


I'm not sure. I'm not a lawyer at all. I need someone with more knowledge on this.


Then again, maybe the ball really is rolling


Also, idiots abound


As much as I hate to give them undeserved publicity, google Legal Boom. Basically a bunch of "gun enthusiasts" who are pooling money for a George Zimmerman defense fund should he end up in court.

That gun nuts have his back says more about gun nuts than about Mr. Zimmerman.


Freehold DM wrote:
I'm not sure. I'm not a lawyer at all. I need someone with more knowledge on this.

As I understand it, and I'm not a lawyer either: The special prosecutor has chosen not to convene a grand jury, but has not yet decide what charges if any to pursue. In Florida, a grand jury is required to indite on 1st degree murder charges, so those appear to be out. The prosecutor could still bring 2nd degree or manslaughter charges. Or some lesser charge. Or elect to not prosecute at all.


First degree murder would be a rather shaky case, unless they could prove he really wanted to kill Trayvon specifically. Then again, to take up the refrain, IANAL


Freehold DM wrote:
First degree murder would be a rather shaky case, unless they could prove he really wanted to kill Trayvon specifically. Then again, to take up the refrain, IANAL

I just thought it had to be premeditated.

Getting your gun out, loading it, getting dressed, and following a guy down for a couple blocks (or however far) seems like premeditation to me.


Freehold DM wrote:
First degree murder would be a rather shaky case, unless they could prove he really wanted to kill Trayvon specifically. Then again, to take up the refrain, IANAL

It depends. If it could be established that he initially attacked Martin, that Martin was the one screaming for help while Zimmerman held him at gunpoint, then after listening to him scream for 30 seconds or so, shot him dead, there would be a pretty good case.

Especially if you could also show that he misled the 911 dispatcher about his actions or intentions. In that context, I do find his wanting the policeman to call when he reached the area suspicious. It could be read as him not planning to return to the car, but to follow/attack Martin.

Premeditation does not have to be days of elaborate planning. It would not require specific intent to kill Trayvon. Following him with intent to kill for whatever reason would be sufficient.

Mind you, I'm not claiming that's what happened.


I'm not sure suing the homeowners association is the right move


Freehold DM wrote:
I'm not sure suing the homeowners association is the right move

Why not?


I dunno. It just rubs me wrong. I'm not sure that Zimmerman was on patrol when this happened- I had heard that he was on his way someplace else and then decided to follow Martin.


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I don't think he was on patrol either, nor is it even clear he was part of an official neighborhood watch, but the homeowner's association did treat him that way. They apparently directed queries to him, listed him as the contact for security issues etc.

If he didn't have an official role, he wasn't officially on patrol, but then he never was. He wasn't officially off patrol either.

The homeowner's association shouldn't be able to use him for that role, then deny any responsibility when it goes wrong.

But then, I've never been fond of homeowner's associations anyway. They're often pseudo-governments that we let dictate things the government couldn't get away with and without any of the transparency and accountability we try to ensure government has.


Other botched police investigations in the same area? Young white guy who is the son of a police supervisor gets into a fight with a homeless black man and is released without charges?


thejeff wrote:

I don't think he was on patrol either, nor is it even clear he was part of an official neighborhood watch, but the homeowner's association did treat him that way. They apparently directed queries to him, listed him as the contact for security issues etc.

If he didn't have an official role, he wasn't officially on patrol, but then he never was. He wasn't officially off patrol either.

The homeowner's association shouldn't be able to use him for that role, then deny any responsibility when it goes wrong.

But then, I've never been fond of homeowner's associations anyway. They're often pseudo-governments that we let dictate things the government couldn't get away with and without any of the transparency and accountability we try to ensure government has.

I live in Brooklyn in an apartment, I know very little about homeowners associations. Are they really that powerful?


Freehold DM wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I don't think he was on patrol either, nor is it even clear he was part of an official neighborhood watch, but the homeowner's association did treat him that way. They apparently directed queries to him, listed him as the contact for security issues etc.

If he didn't have an official role, he wasn't officially on patrol, but then he never was. He wasn't officially off patrol either.

The homeowner's association shouldn't be able to use him for that role, then deny any responsibility when it goes wrong.

But then, I've never been fond of homeowner's associations anyway. They're often pseudo-governments that we let dictate things the government couldn't get away with and without any of the transparency and accountability we try to ensure government has.

I live in Brooklyn in an apartment, I know very little about homeowners associations. Are they really that powerful?

The most new york appropriate (no insult) analog I can think of is a condo board; no criminal legal powers, but civil court is their playground. Think mean teenage girls with a contract.

As for Zimmerman's official status, NPR is pretty good with their fact checking and I've heard them call him "the self-appointed head of neighborhood watch." In other threads I've talked about how much I appreciate the rights granted to me by the Constitution. That's all still true, but I gotta say, the idea of a guy arming himself with a handgun and just deciding to patrol my neighborhood sorta terrifies me.


Freehold DM wrote:
Other botched police investigations in the same area? Young white guy who is the son of a police supervisor gets into a fight with a homeless black man and is released without charges?

I believe my communist propaganda, which is just as reliable as NPR, mentioned this and a few other central Florida incidents.

You heard it here, first, on Comrade Anklebiter's Pirate Radio Frequency.


It's no fun putting out traps for Freehold if the thread is just going to die!

Shadow Lodge

They are charging Zimmerman.

Link

Shadow Lodge

He is in custody and charged with 2nd degree murder.

Link

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