Sunday, July 14, 2013


Mike Lupica: Legal Genius

Like many lefty true believers, sports writer and anti-gun fanatic, Mike Lupica, is unhappy with the George Zimmerman verdict. He thinks it was unjust. Why? He really doesn't make a coherent argument. I'm not sure Mike would know justice if it bit him on the ass.

Here are two or three things I, a former prosecutor, would like to point out for the people who seem to be woefully ignorant of the law like Mike Lupica.

Lupica writes:

Zimmerman walks now, leaves court a free man, does that in a state with its stand-your-ground laws where you thought the prosecution was fighting a losing game from the start. It no longer matters that Trayvon Martin, unarmed teenager, was supposed to have the same stand-your-ground rights that Zimmerman did. Only it never mattered once they were on the ground and Zimmerman got his gun out and shot him. If you think justice was really served in that courtroom on this night, you were watching the wrong movie.

Stand your ground is a statutory offshoot of the castle doctrine. It boils down to this: In some states, in order to claim self defense, that is, that your use of deadly force was justified because you had a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm or death, you have to retreat first, if possible, from the threat. Most states don't require it, the retreat. In the Zimmerman case, it doesn't matter because after Trayvon Martin punched George Zimmerman in the nose (the first blow of the fight) and then jumped on him to "ground and pound" MMA style, retreat by Zimmerman was no longer an option.

For Trayvon to have the right to use deadly force against Zimmerman (without retreating) he had to have a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm, etc. He had none. He was annoyed with Zimmerman, whom he called a creepy ass cracker. He wanted to confront him and fight him, but there is no evidence of any subjective fear on Trayvon's part of imminent bodily injury, and just as complete a lack of evidence that such a fear would have been objectively reasonable. What did Zimmerman do before the punch? He followed, for a while, Trayvon. Zimmerman thought Trayvon's actions were strange and suspicious. Zimmerman profiled the young man. None of that justified a fear of eminent bodily harm. None of that was illegal on Zimmerman's part.

None of that would be sufficient to justify homicide. If we could kill people without consequence merely because someone annoyed us, the world would soon be inhabited by a few thousand very prickly hermits spread exceedingly thin across the globe. So, no, lefties, sorry. Stand your ground did not apply here and Trayvon, as the only aggressor, would not have been able to claim self defense for his ill advised assault on CCL-holder George Zimmerman.

Mike then seems to recall that OJ was dinged by a civil trial for wrongful deaths. He apparently takes solace in that thought. He writes:

The Martin family, of course, does not have to accept it, can go forward now with a civil suit against George Zimmerman, one at which Zimmerman will be compelled to testify, something he certainly did not do in this trial. It turns out he didn’t need to. But at least a civil suit may mean that Zimmerman, shooter, is only in the clear for now.

Sorry, Mike, and other sad lefties with less than a clear idea of what the evidence at trial showed, no solace there. Let me introduce you to Florida Statue, Title XLVI, Section 776.032.

In plain English, valid self defense (which Zimmerman has shown in spades (wrong metaphor?)) immunizes the defender-of-the-self and awards attorney fees (and even lost wages--I like that detail) to anyone sued civilly under these circumstances. No civil trial for you!

But I end on an uncertain note. Mike Lupica is too ignorant of the law to bring up the possibility of a federal action against George Zimmerman, but the MSNBC types and the NAACP seems to have pinned some hopes on that happening, just as the feds retried the cops who beat up Rodney King (RIP) and then beat the state assault rap. The feds had a 50% conviction rate. Not great but better than zero. But the cops there were state government employees and an 1983 action was available for punishing them. No such civil rights prosecution is available here for ordinary citizen George Zimmerman, but there is the possibility of a federal prosecution for deprivation of Trayvon's civil rights. The state prosecutors, overcharging Zimmerman with 2nd Degree Murder, were obliged therefor to prove ill will, depraved mind, etc.--any sort of hatred for Trayvon by Zimmerman as the mens rea for the murder charge. They failed utterly. The feds, if they are foolish enough to try, will have the same absolute dearth of evidence for one of the elements for what they could charge.

I'm uncertain, however, that the feds will not act foolishly because under Eric Holder, the entire DOJ has become politicized and corrupt. So it could happen.

I wouldn't be betting the mortgage payment that it does happen, though.

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