Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dig Me My Grave

Matt Gutman, an ABC Reporter, has been on this Travyon Martin case like white on rice, and he is part of the media problem I spoke about two or three posts ago. He's chosen a side, though he won't admit it. At first he posted that video saying Zimmerman had no bruises or blood. The Daily Caller exposed his mistake and enhanced the video to show the lacerations and abrasions on the back of his head. His nose is harder to tell. Then Matt Gutman did the right thing and showed the enhanced video on his show...or so we thought. He brought on a doctor to say that the injuries on the back of his head were not life threatening. This doctor who based his opinion on a video and not on actual examination. So of course, members of the "new media", called him out and he got REALLY hypocritical and tweeted this:
"injuries on GZ are immaterial: law protects him if he can prove feared for his life. Full stop. ABC has taken no side."
The law protects him if he can "prove" he feared for his life? Last time I checked, the burden of proof was always on the state. Let's look at this controversial Florida law.
776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
776.013 deals with a dwelling place, residence, or vehicle, so we're not going to go threre right now. Gutman says his injuries are immaterial, yet he had a doctor come on and say how the injuries weren't that serious. So which is it, Matt? He got caught being an idiot journalist and he can't stop digging his grave. In this particular statute, no where does it say he has to prove he's scared. Let's break down the key points here. Let's say for arguments sake that Zimmerman is telling the truth and Trayvon did beat him.
  1. Imminent death - Could Trayvon have killed him? Yes! If you honestly think bashing someone's skull into the sidewalk can't kill someone, then you need to have yourself examined. He could have killed him with that "one punch".  All you need is a doctor to say, "Yes, he could have died."
  2. Prevent great Bodily Harm - Zimmerman's lawyer, friend, and family memebers report he broke his nose and then the injuries to his head. How worse could it have gotten if he didn't shoot Trayvon or if a neighbor had come to help him? There's no need to discuss all the things that can go wrong with a head injury.
  3. Imminent Commission of a forcible felony - Had Trayvon lived he would have been charged with aggravated assault or battery, maybe even attempted murder or murder if it had gone too far. Under Florida law those are felonies (776.08).
The statute uses the word "or," which means they need one not all three. That third point is enough to set George Zimmerman free. If a court asks him to prove he was scared, all he has to do is describe what happened and then his injuries are proof of his statement. The only way to answer that question is to say "look what he did to me." Or have a doctor of some kind say what could have happened or describe the injuries in question. Of course him screaming "HELP, HELP" is probably enough to say he feared for his life.  But I don't think a judge or reasonable prosecutor is going to ask him to prove an emotion. His injuries are material because without them, he's lying.

776.013-3 is the "stand your ground" part of the law that has people in an uproar:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

This "stand your ground" law is not unique to Florida. I believe 31 states have some kind of "stand your ground" or "castle doctrine" law. And all states have some kind of self-defense law. Many people argue, "Trayvon was standing his ground too." Possibly true, but if the evidence says that Trayvon was the aggressor, then, according to 776.041, the above laws I mentioned do not apply to him.

Legalese can be complicated, but it is not rocket science. Sorry, Matt. You lose again.

2 comments:

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