The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

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Ninja
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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:17 pm

I'm also very disappointed that the prosecution didn't make use of that forcible felony language to turn the tables on the defense in the Zimmerman case. It would have been a tough row to hoe, because they'd have to try to argue the subjective experience of a dead person in purely objective terms, but when a adult stranger confronts a juvenile who's walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood in the dark, that kid has a perfectly reasonable fear of a forcible felony. Especially when we find out that that adult stranger who started the confrontation had a gun, and he killed the kid. Could there be any more reasonable apprehension of a forcible felony? As it turned out, the forcible felony actually happened.

That would have ended all the bullshit about Zimmerman's state of mind and degree of injury and all that. Martin was privileged to do whatever the hell he wanted to Zimmerman, up to and including killing him, because he had a reasonable apprehension that he was about to be subject to a forcible felony. And Zimmerman probably couldn't claim self defense then, because he was the initial aggressor, though there would be issues with the details and timing of his reported retreat.

They should have tried it but as far as I know that was never even considered. I think the prosecution half-assed it on that case.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Dangerousman » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:40 pm

Hopefully we can avoid a complete rehash of the Martin-Zimmerman case, but I'm curious as to what you believe would have provided Martin a reasonable basis to conclude that he was about to become the victim of a forcible felony? Because someone followed him? That's weak.

If the police or prosecutor asks me why I opened fire on someone, or punched them square in the face, I certainly would hope I'd have a lot more to say beyond "he was following me." If that's my response to their question, I would expect to go to jail and spend some more time there after a conviction. And rightfully so.

rabble
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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby rabble » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:04 pm

I know I shouldn't even touch this one but I can't help but point out that Trayvon didn't open fire on anybody "just for following him" and only the killer knows how that fight started.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:19 am

rabble wrote:I know I shouldn't even touch this one but I can't help but point out that Trayvon didn't open fire on anybody "just for following him" and only the killer knows how that fight started.


You have a curious compulsion.

Trayvon didn't have a gun with him, so it wasn't within his power to "open fire." I can't help but point out that he didn't have a blender either, and he didn't make margaritas.

Only Zimmerman knows how that fight started. And only 8 men alive "know" what it is like to walk on the moon. From that, the rest of us conclude that we are incapable of knowing anything about the surface of the moon?

Help us out. I'm trying to understand why you think these are worth mentioning.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby snoqueen » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:01 pm

I think the idea is that it's quite possible Trayvon had a reasonable (to him) sense of being in danger so anything he did after that (including trying to throw a punch) was acceptable under SYG. He could have felt being followed put him in danger. Many of us would feel endangered if a man was following us.

Of course it's too late now and yes, it's all conjecture. I agree with the person who thought he got his representation in court -- the prosecution -- in a pretty inferior manner. I also agree there is no point in rehashing this.

It's interesting from a legalistic point of view how a person's being covered under SYG can be seen as kicking in at a certain point and how the determination of those points in time can be endlessly debated and can apply to both sides in an incident.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:48 pm

snoqueen wrote:I think the idea is that it's quite possible Trayvon had a reasonable (to him) sense of being in danger so anything he did after that (including trying to throw a punch) was acceptable under SYG. He could have felt being followed put him in danger. Many of us would feel endangered if a man was following us.


But you should understand that "reasonable to him" is not the view of "reasonable" that the law takes. The jury doesn't consider whether you felt your belief and actions were reasonable, they consider whether, THEY would have believed the same things and done the same things under those circumstances.

And in the context of self-defense, two things will be examined: under the same circumstances, would they have also viewed the threat the same way, and was the response to that threat a reasonable response? So if you believe that it is reasonable to physically go after someone who had been merely following you (but who was apparently now in the act of returning to their car) then you're a far more violent person than I am.

I'm not saying you should have no concern about a person following you. You should take note of that person, and avoid them if possible. If you saw a group of seedy looking guys sizing you up as you came down the street, yes you would be concerned. But is it reasonable to attack them?

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby rabble » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:47 pm

Well, there's the thing. The only thing we know is that his killer claims Trayvon was the attacker.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:34 pm

rabble wrote:Well, there's the thing. The only thing we know is that his killer claims Trayvon was the attacker.


Well we know quite a bit more than just that. We know what the witnesses reported seeing and hearing. We have a basic timeline in which to work and to analyze the events that occurred within that timeline. We know the injuries that were suffered by both parties along with other physical evidence. We know what Zimmerman said on the phone because it was recorded, and have a second-hand account of what Martin said on the phone. We know certain things about each man's history that even the jury was not given to consider. Or, don't we know these things?

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby rabble » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:49 pm

Dangerousman wrote:
rabble wrote:Well, there's the thing. The only thing we know is that his killer claims Trayvon was the attacker.


Well we know quite a bit more than just that. We know what the witnesses reported seeing and hearing. We have a basic timeline in which to work and to analyze the events that occurred within that timeline. We know the injuries that were suffered by both parties along with other physical evidence. We know what Zimmerman said on the phone because it was recorded, and have a second-hand account of what Martin said on the phone. We know certain things about each man's history that even the jury was not given to consider. Or, don't we know these things?

We don't know how the fight started.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:01 pm

Stand your ground laws only depend on jury believing the shooter's testimony, as dead people can't talk. Being a good (or lucky) shot counts. So does smoothly lying on the stand. For some jurors (I'm looking at you, Florida), race also counts.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby jonnygothispen » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:17 pm

Ninja wrote:Again I think you're absolutely right, the media has trivialized public policy, celebrated anti-heroes, and encouraged horrible, horrible behavior by its audience in the name of "the cause," but I consider The Daily Show to be just as toxic as anything on FOX News, so I don't understand why you would single that network out.

This political entertainment product that Jon Stewart and Rupert Murdoch peddle does dumb down and trivilalize public policy, but it also turns it into a contest in which winning an argument is more important than adopting the best possible law. That doesn't result in very good law. ...

I just don't understand why people allow themselves to be played like that, or how an entertainment product can be so important to us that we're willing to ignore all the horrible consequences of consuming it. It's getting worse every day, so we'll see where the bottom is eventually. In fact, I think we're getting real close right now.
I still blame most of it on FOX. Here's why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WIEMyjDhOI

Even though it's only one example, that's what FOX is.

Ninja
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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:13 am

Dangerousman wrote:Hopefully we can avoid a complete rehash of the Martin-Zimmerman case, but I'm curious as to what you believe would have provided Martin a reasonable basis to conclude that he was about to become the victim of a forcible felony? Because someone followed him? That's weak.

If the police or prosecutor asks me why I opened fire on someone, or punched them square in the face, I certainly would hope I'd have a lot more to say beyond "he was following me." If that's my response to their question, I would expect to go to jail and spend some more time there after a conviction. And rightfully so.


Because it's completely subjective and if I was a teenager confrtonted by a stranger in a strange neighborhood in the middle of the night I'd probably start fucking him up too. Why would he even step to me and start something if he wasn't at least arguably going to commit a forcible felony on me? Who the fuck is this guy?

That's the point of these laws. To remove any question from your right to defend yourself against anything that scares you. We've departed from hundreds of years of legal tradition to make this happen. I suspect that real goal of these laws was to insulate certain people from teenagers in hoodies, but the law is the law, and teenagers in hoodies can avail themselves of it as well.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:47 am

Dangerousman wrote:But you should understand that "reasonable to him" is not the view of "reasonable" that the law takes. The jury doesn't consider whether you felt your belief and actions were reasonable, they consider whether, THEY would have believed the same things and done the same things under those circumstances.


This is where I think you're wrong about the evolution of self-defense law. We had a pretty acceptable standard in place for a very long time but for some reason it needed to change. It was based, in a roundabout way, on the reasonable person standard that we use in civil law, rather than the putative victim's feelings or sensitivities or issues.

But it did change. This wasn't just a matter of codifying case law or setting the status quo to paper, this was a new development.

How did this dude get off on a motion hearing rather than a jury trial when the facts were at issue?
http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florid ... k/24587960

How did the Michael Dunn jury not understand that a hypothetical gun was not reason enough to murder a teenager? How could that same hypothetical fear not warrant Trayvon Martin putting George Zimmerman on the ground (much less killing him with his fists, if he felt like it)?

There seems to be a double standard going on, and I hate those. But that's the way it has to be under the current law. There's a good argument that can be made under our present self defense philosophy that allows cowards to kill in self defense just because they're cowards. I don't have to like it, but its coherent and it makes sense given the way things have changed.

Goetz* cannot be punished for the killing alone, since he killed only because he believed he was about to be killed, and but for the reasonable-belief rule, the law permits him to kill under those circumstances. Nor can he be punished for forming the belief that he was about to be killed. He had no control over that. Nor can he be punished for being a racist, or for choosing to become or remain one. Liberal states do not punish people for who they are, nor do they punish them for choosing to become or remain who they are.

http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/ ... ext=facpub

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby Dangerousman » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:37 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Stand your ground laws only depend on jury believing the shooter's testimony, as dead people can't talk. Being a good (or lucky) shot counts. So does smoothly lying on the stand. For some jurors (I'm looking at you, Florida), race also counts.


Wrong on pretty much every level.

Foremost, you're statement relies on the unfounded, and untrue, assumption that "a shooter's testimony" will be the only evidence there is a "stand your ground" case. There are never other witnesses? There is no forensic evidence? Do you understand how insulting you are to police investigators? Even though Zimmerman's was not a "stand your ground" case, it dragged on day after day. Hmmm... could that mean there was a lot more evidence to be considered by the jury besides "only... believing the shooter's testimony?"

Secondly, "smoothly lying on the stand" would be an issue or problem for any sort of criminal or civil case. There's nothing about a stand your ground case that makes "smooth lying" more relevant than any other type of court case.

Sure, you might as well throw your unsupported racism accusations out there. Why not? Sooner or later, you will.

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Re: The Dunn Mistrial, Self Defense Law, and Reasonableness

Postby minicat » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:55 pm

Jesus Christ.

Zimmerman and Dunn KILLED. UNARMED. TEENAGERS. Everyone can bloviate from now until the end of time about "who started it," or whatever else involved in these cases. Does anyone really want to live in a world where a law exists that excuses what Zimmerman and Dunn did? Or Adam Kind in Slinger?

Seriously, people. Come the fuck on here.


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