Friday, April 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin: George Zimmerman Is "Sorry"; Says He Did Not Know Martin Was Unarmed


George Zimmerman is quite chatty.  During his bail hearing, Zimmerman said that he is "sorry" for killing Trayvon Martin. He also said he did not know whether Martin possessed a weapon.

With respect to the apology -- Martin's family respectfully declined an earlier invitation to meet Zimmerman face-to-face for an apology. So, he took advantage of their presence at his bail hearing to make the apology. The judge required Zimmerman to post a $150,000 bond.

Zimmerman Potentially Weakened His Own Defense
Concerning Zimmerman's statement that he did not know whether Martin was armed -- this is a bizarre comment for a murder defendant to make. Under Florida law, a person can only use lethal force if he or she reasonably believes that the victim will cause serious bodily injury or use lethal force against the person. Zimmerman's statement that he did not know whether Trayvon carried a weapon goes against a reasonable fear of lethal force. A jury might find that it was unreasonable for Zimmerman to fear lethal force because he did not even know that the victim is armed.

Odd That He Is Still Talking
As a lawyer, I find it odd that Zimmerman continues to talk. Perhaps he is a difficult client. A few weeks ago, he called the prosecutor against the instruction of his attorneys. He also set up a personal webpage soliciting funds.

Zimmerman also made dozens of phone calls to the police prior to shooting Martin. He called primarily to report mundane matters.  If Zimmerman's attorney has authorized his latest comments, then perhaps they want to commence plea negotiations. Also, the lawyer might have devised a strategy to sway the judge who has to determine whether the prosecutor has established sufficient probable cause to defeat Zimmerman's self-defense argument. Regardless, if the lawyer wishes to go to trial, he needs to muzzle his client.

Picture Shows Zimmerman Bleeding
Finally, several media released a picture that purportedly shows Zimmerman bleeding from two cuts on his head the night of Martin's death. If the picture is accurate, it would show that Zimmerman sustained an injury during the attack. The injury, however, does not appear very serious.

Furthermore, even if Zimmerman sustained an injury, this would not prove that he properly acted in self-defense. As the initial aggressor (which the facts seem to show), Zimmerman had the duty to retreat from the scene and to give up using violence.

Moreover, Zimmerman could only use lethal force to prevent serious bodily injury or the use of lethal force against him. Because Zimmerman followed and confronted Martin, Florida law allowed Martin to use force against Zimmerman. So, at this point in the case, it is not unreasonable to assume that Zimmerman was wounded because he attacked Martin.

1 comment:

Dav said...

'Sorry' yes... for the fact that he profiled the wrong young African American male before living out his 'take down a thug fantasy', and now he's likely going to jail for a very, very long time.

All that matters is that Zimmenrman was armed, though such action is in clear violation the instructions he was given before volunteering for neighborhood watch, and he did pursue Martin, even though he was explicitly told not to by the 991 operator/law enforcement.

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