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Author Topic: The Case of Trayvon Martin  (Read 3351 times)

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Offline SakamotoHDTopic starter

The Case of Trayvon Martin
« on: July 14, 2013, 12:17:59 AM »
I have a severe distaste for discussing most of the issues of today. As a rule I watch the news everyday, but I never talk about it with others. It's simply too depressing. I suppose I reached a boiling point with the case of Trayvon Martin though.

Allow me to set a few disclaimers so that the reason of my agitation can be made clear. I'm not leaning towards one side or the other. I think the situation was bad, and the outcome was another life has been lost, and a loss of one life is a loss to us all. My issue, isn't with the case itself. Even the words spoken, or the evidence admitted. No that's not the issue.

My issue is with how the case was handled.

The biggest, and most infuriating thing I have had, listening to this, was the freaking play-by-play cameras where we portray any criminal trial like it was the Roman Colosseum. Why on earth were there cameras allowed in a court room. For what reason do we put these people on public display like a bad reality TV show, just so we can publicly lynch them. The trial of Casey Anthony, and OJ Simpson, though I was a little young for OJ, would have also had bile in my throat at the thought of this. Like an Emperor from on high, we either have a thumb stuck up, or stuck down, condemning literally anyone, when we have these public lynchings. This isn't about justice, this isn't about racism, this is about people wanting to get their "thrills". The media doesn't seem to really be going into wanting to report news anymore. They just want to put people on display, and let the masses sate their bloodlust on seeing people get announced guilty.

You know at the federal level, that kid who let those bombs off in the boston, they don't allow cameras. Why? Because it's to preserve the dignity of the accused, and the accuser. You may say "But Saka, that kid was evil, he deserves to be put on display, for all of us to despise what he did." It's just not our place to do that. We become nothing less then animals staring at a prime rib steak that's just hanging, waiting. I really dislike how the media handles these cases that get alot of popularity. None of us are satisfied unless someone gets declared guilty.

Again, it's sad what happened, where lives were lost because of reckless actions, and it sucks what has happened to both sides, regardless of whatever outcome was served. But I sit here, and after reading a news report, I see all these comments with people and their self-entitled opinons, their "predictions" and their justifications. "Oh millions of americans believe Zimmerman is guilty! Justice must be served!"

These people just don't even know what Justice is.

I welcome anything anyone might have to say about this. This really was just for me, cause I wanted to rant about this.


Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 12:29:35 AM »
The public pressure and outrage is the reason it came to trial at all; the Sanford PD originally tried to sweep it under the rug. And one has to admit that when someone gets fatally shot, a trial is usually in order. So while I get your misgivings about the role of the public arena, its functions are not all negative.

But let's be real. There would have been no need for a public outcry to get the case into a courtroom had the roles been reversed, and Martin had stalked, confronted and shot Zimmerman. There would have been no question of the "self-defense" rationalization saving Martin in a scenario where that happened. Had Martin hunted some poor bastard down and seen fit to blow him away for having the temerity to defend himself, the people who have defended Zimmerman's actions would have pilloried him, and an all-white jury would have buried him deep in a hole for life with the same facility with which it saw fit to acquit Zimmerman.

Anyone who tells me they are in doubt about any of the above points? I do not believe them, point blank. If the Martin case performs any function at all, it should be to lay to rest the "post-racial America" myth.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 12:30:56 AM by Cyrano Johnson »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 01:07:17 AM »
Words fail me on how this could have happened. I am disgusted with the fact that it came down to 'poor Zimmerman' got beat up by the big black kid. Ridiculous. He shot the kid, stalked the boy after being TOLD to back off. He had past actions that showed he was a gun happy jumping at shadows type of guy.

He should have never been allowed to have a gun and what is worse now.. if anything happens to him it's going to be because of the trial.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 01:16:10 AM »
When I had cable, I watched the court channel.  A lot.  I know that not all the media handles it as well as Vinnie and the gang, but there's something a lot of people don't realize:

Trials are public. 

On any given day, you can go down to your local courthouse, sit in line (maybe) and watch the US Justice System in action.  Every juror, whether they are dealing with the guy who busted up the local Seven-Eleven, or someone who killed 37 women and stashed their bodies in the walls of his townhouse, is told not to read, listen to, or discuss anything about the trial, but you - The Celebrated Man In The Street - can sit and watch with your own eyes and listen with your own ears .  And yes, as long as you're not talking with a juror, you can discuss what you've seen and heard, and reach your own conclusions.

It used to be that depictions of what went on in a courtroom were limited to journalists' notes and the flying fingers of the sketch artists.  Journalists could put their own spin on what they saw, and yes - sway public opinion.  With the advent of cameras, the public actually have the opportunity to be less swayed, as they can see what's actually being presented and said.

Frankly, I'd be more concerned if trials were not able to be viewed by the public.

Offline SakamotoHDTopic starter

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 01:24:41 AM »
I'm aware you can go to a courthouse to watch some trials if you so choose. What gets me is how no one would seem satisfied if there wasn't a guilty sentence. If someone wasn't condemned. And the media just makes it worse. I'm not opposed to people knowing the facts, and reporting back with the findings. But as I was flipping the channels there were two channels that had "Martin Watch" in the headlines.

If this trial was so bloody important, what happened to the other brutal murders? The daily Chicago shootings. Why aren't these being publicized? It's cause those don't sell. They don't bring in the viewers. They aren't hot topics.

I'm not against talking about a case, and I'm certainly not trying to say there shouldn't be any form of news on trials that are nationally publicized. The attitude behind it, that bloodlust I feel from the people in these comments, on the media, or the protesters. That's what I dislike. And I think the cameras are too much. When they do the drawings for federal cases, I'm alright with that. But these cameras that are just staring at you in the face while you're being put on trial for murder. It goes back to my previous points.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 01:26:18 AM by SakamotoHD »

Offline vtboy

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2013, 07:42:10 AM »
Frankly, I'd be more concerned if trials were not able to be viewed by the public.

Amen.

Quote
I'm aware you can go to a courthouse to watch some trials if you so choose. What gets me is how no one would seem satisfied if there wasn't a guilty sentence. If someone wasn't condemned. And the media just makes it worse. I'm not opposed to people knowing the facts, and reporting back with the findings. But as I was flipping the channels there were two channels that had "Martin Watch" in the headlines.

If this trial was so bloody important, what happened to the other brutal murders? The daily Chicago shootings. Why aren't these being publicized? It's cause those don't sell. They don't bring in the viewers. They aren't hot topics.

Yeah, the media prefers the sensational, as do most readers and viewers. What else is new under the Sun?

Quote
Words fail me on how this could have happened. I am disgusted with the fact that it came down to 'poor Zimmerman' got beat up by the big black kid. Ridiculous. He shot the kid, stalked the boy after being TOLD to back off. He had past actions that showed he was a gun happy jumping at shadows type of guy.

He should have never been allowed to have a gun and what is worse now.. if anything happens to him it's going to be because of the trial.

I was outraged by the initial determination of the authorities not to charge Zimmerman. Like you, I believe Zimmerman was likely the aggressor, and shot Martin without justification.

BUT, the burden of proof in a criminal trial is on the prosecution, and that burden requires that it establish every element of the crime charged (including elimination of self-defense) by proof which leaves no reasonable doubt as to guilt. It is a daunting standard, and one which no jury should ever diminish. Though I think the evidence could have supported a guilty verdict, I can't say it was unreasonable for the jury to find doubt. In the end, the system functioned as it should, and I hope those disappointed with the verdict won't assume racism or other improper consideration entered into the jury's calculus. 

Offline meikle

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2013, 08:10:03 AM »
This was a pretty frustrating case because it kind of came down to, "Zimmerman was acting in self defense."

But how do we know for sure that he was not the aggressor?

He killed the only other person who could know the answer to the question, "Who initiated the hostilities?"

I don't like that killing witnesses is a way to avoid going to jail, but I'm not sure there's anything that can be done about it.  We certainly can't put the guy in jail because it looks bad if there's no evidence either way about who started things (no matter how much I am convinced that the whole thing where he stalked a kid through his neighborhood makes it clear that it was his initiative.)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 08:11:36 AM by meikle »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2013, 09:02:10 AM »
This is why women should not be on a jury without men, sorry but men think differently and that can bring various perspectives IMHO.

As I see this if Zimmerman stayed in his car as he was told to and do nothing this all would not have happened and how can it be self-defense if your going to the trouble willingly and armed better than the other party?

Could they try to nail him with a Federal charge and add hate crime standards to it, it couldn't be manslaughter or murder but what about some set of lesser charges?

Offline Vekseid

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2013, 09:43:44 AM »
This was a pretty frustrating case because it kind of came down to, "Zimmerman was acting in self defense."

But how do we know for sure that he was not the aggressor?

He killed the only other person who could know the answer to the question, "Who initiated the hostilities?"

I don't like that killing witnesses is a way to avoid going to jail, but I'm not sure there's anything that can be done about it.  We certainly can't put the guy in jail because it looks bad if there's no evidence either way about who started things (no matter how much I am convinced that the whole thing where he stalked a kid through his neighborhood makes it clear that it was his initiative.)

Criminal charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only other witness - Martin's girlfriend - could not keep her story straight.

Expert testimony said Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he was shot. This also matched Zimmerman's testimony. He did keep his story straight.

Zimmerman may have been an idiot. That, unfortunately, is not a crime in this country.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 09:45:39 AM »
This whole case has been blown so out of proportion.  14,000 people are murdered per year in the US, and the media decides to obsess over this case because race-issues always get people interested.  Everything from describing Zimmerman as a "white hispanic" to releasing innocent looking pictures of Trayvon make this entire case seem biased along racial lines.

Zimmerman made a bad choice, but he did not violate Florida law.  I applaud the jury for making a decision based on laws, and not emotion.

EDIT:  Oops, 14,000 per year, not day :P
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 09:49:50 AM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2013, 10:03:13 AM »
Yeah, the media prefers the sensational, as do most readers and viewers. What else is new under the Sun?

Also, not all jurisdictions currently allow cameras in the courtroom, and in some, the decision is left up to the individual judges.  Ohio and Florida are two that I recall are have fairly 'open access.' 

Offline vtboy

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2013, 10:04:12 AM »
Criminal charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only other witness - Martin's girlfriend - could not keep her story straight.

Expert testimony said Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he was shot. This also matched Zimmerman's testimony. He did keep his story straight.

Zimmerman may have been an idiot. That, unfortunately, is not a crime in this country.

It's not even a disqualification from responsible public office.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2013, 10:32:46 AM »
how can it be self-defense if your going to the trouble willingly and armed better than the other party?

This is what really tears it for me. It's pretty hard -- in fact it should not be possible -- to claim "self-defense" when the other party was unarmed and you created the confrontation.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2013, 10:39:58 AM »
Criminal charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only other witness - Martin's girlfriend - could not keep her story straight.

Expert testimony said Martin was on top of Zimmerman when he was shot. This also matched Zimmerman's testimony. He did keep his story straight.

Zimmerman may have been an idiot. That, unfortunately, is not a crime in this country.

Aren't the jails crowded enough without adding idiocy to the law books? :P

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2013, 10:51:22 AM »
Okay THIS is why that damn stupid law needs to go away. Zimmerman goes free while a woman here in Jacksonville faces 20 years for NOT shooting her ex who was violating a protective order. If she had shot him dead, she'd have qualified for the 'Stand your Ground' protections but instead she fire in the air.  So, she gets twenty YEARS for exercising restrain while Zimmerman who didn't obey the 9/11 operators directive incited an incident that resulted in death.

Ridiculous.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-firing-warning-shots/

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2013, 10:58:35 AM »
Okay THIS is why that damn stupid law needs to go away. Zimmerman goes free while a woman here in Jacksonville faces 20 years for NOT shooting her ex who was violating a protective order. If she had shot him dead, she'd have qualified for the 'Stand your Ground' protections but instead she fire in the air.  So, she gets twenty YEARS for exercising restrain while Zimmerman who didn't obey the 9/11 operators directive incited an incident that resulted in death.

Ridiculous.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-firing-warning-shots/


It is very possible to claim self-defense when the other party is unarmed.  If the unarmed individual commits a violent act (such as punching you), you have a right to use force with the stand-your-ground law.  With regard to this particular law, "confrontation" refers to who initiated physical force, which in this example, would be the unarmed person.

The reason why Marissa Alexander was found guilty, is because she is the one who initiated that particular "confrontation."  Regardless of whether or not her husband was abusive in the past, unless he initiated physical force in that particular instant, she was the one who initiated the "physical confrontation" - which in that particular incident, was unprovoked.

Unfortunately, people in the media have already begun turning Marissa Alexander's guilty verdict as an example of racial bias - without fully understanding the legal basis of the ruling.

This article explains the events in more detail:
http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-05-16/story/marissa-alexanders-husband-says-it-was-her-violent-nature-led-shooting
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 11:00:28 AM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Slywyn

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2013, 11:08:10 AM »
According to the laws of Florida and the way a trial works, Zimmerman did nothing wrong.

Morally? He probably should have left the kid alone.

But as far as the law's concerned he's innocent, and that's all that really matters in a case like this.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2013, 11:30:17 AM »
Still she showed restraint.. and at the TIME she didn't have a record. Whereas Zimmerman did and had shown lack of judgement in his actions that night. We will never really know what happened between Zimmerman and Martin. Do I think she should have gotten off? No, there was a need to put out something to show her that more consideration was merited but the man who violated her protective order should have been considered. Honestly, seeing the segments locally (I live in Jax) the husband comes across as a bit.. shifty in the segments and interviews.  I think loss of her firearm license and probation would have been more in tune with the actions, with counseling for BOTH. My outrage is more towards the out of proportion action of the DA.

If I wanted to really froth on the thing it would be something like the Micheal Dunn case, where he put 8 shots into a nearby SUV of kids and fled the scene..THEN tried to claim SYG.

My basic outrage is this.. Stand Your Ground is a flawed law. It needs to go. When it is the foundation for people like Dunn trying to get out of the consequences of his actions and muddying the waters in the Martin and Alexander cases. I think that Marissa Alexander would be better served by probation and counseling than sitting in a cell for the next two decades.

Honestly.. I think there is a definite disconnect in how some DAs judge how to prosecute. There is very little accountability in their actions by and large. The Duke Lacross team case a few years ago is another example. Had it not been shown that the DA, Mike Nifong, had committed multiple instances of violating the rights of the accused.. he would have walked away with basically committing perjury and jury tampering.

My brother, who is a lawyer, was there for the disbarment hearing (I don't recall if he was there to vote or not) and as a former Assistance DA.. he was very firm in his outlook that he believed there needed to be more accountability and control.

That is my issue with these sort of things. Too often politics comes into play (on both sides) and justice takes a backseat to the rules/poltics/agenda.

I wish I could hear how things were going with the Dunn case.. but I haven't seen anything new in a while.  I don't think the instances he and Zimmerman evoked should be protected. Zimmerman might have wound up in a fight for his life, but had he obeyed the 9/11 operator Martin would possibly still be alive and nothing would have come out of this. I doubt the cops who would have responded would have had the confrontation that occurred between the two.



Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2013, 11:37:00 AM »
It is very possible to claim self-defense when the other party is unarmed.

Not if it's you who attacks them and creates the situation, you can't.  Which very, very clearly applies to Zimmerman.

Quote from: Slywyn
But as far as the law's concerned he's innocent, and that's all that really matters in a case like this.

No, it's actually not all that matters, since it's a legal precedent that is effectively legitimizing reckless vigilantism, assault, and then committing murder when your assault turns around on you. The case hasn't generated the level of public interest it has for nothing.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 11:40:05 AM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2013, 11:42:31 AM »
Not if it's you who attacks them and creates the situation, you can't.  Which very, very clearly applies to Zimmerman.

Like I said, 'confrontation' refers to physical confrontation.  Why are you so confident that Zimmerman attacked first?  Zimmerman's defense was that Trayvon had attacked him first.  The prosecution failed to demonstrate to the contrary.

Stand your ground is a law that is meant to protect us.  If someone is assaulting you, you want a law that allows you to use deadly force without having to worry about going to jail.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 11:45:22 AM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2013, 11:50:33 AM »
Why are you so confident that Zimmerman attacked first?

Zimmerman got out of his car and initiated the physical confrontation voluntarily. That part of the timeline is clear. At that point whether Martin punched him first or not is not relevant. He deliberately created a situation that he knew perfectly well could end lethally. He did so without justification or excuse, and for basically the sole reason of his regarding black people with automatic suspicion.

Again: if Martin had stalked and confronted him, and then shot him, I can guarantee you that very few of those now defending Zimmerman would be trying to slice and dice the timeline to make excuses for Martin.

Quote
If someone is assaulting you, you want a law that allows you to use deadly force without having to worry about going to jail.

A law which provides the perfect cover for would-be vigilantes to deliberately create circumstances in which they'll have the excuse to lethally "defend themselves." It' amazing that people actually crafted and implemented a law like that without having any sense of how it could be abused... but this case demonstrates it perfectly.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 11:56:40 AM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Slywyn

Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2013, 12:02:42 PM »
He's the neighborhood watch captain(or was). By getting out of his car and confronting the person walking in his neighborhood who he didn't know, he was fulfilling the station that he held.

It's equivalent to seeing someone walking onto a military base as a guard and getting out of your patrol vehicle to go see what they're up to. Zimmerman was taking on the role of the guard. Martin was the 'unknown' person.

Or would you just rather we tell all the guards that they can no longer confront people.

Martin punching him first is extremely relevant.

It doesn't matter if martin was black or white or a rainbow spaghetti monster. If he punched first and Zimmerman defended himself, then Zimmerman did nothing wrong.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2013, 12:06:29 PM »
He's the neighborhood watch captain(or was). By getting out of his car and confronting the person walking in his neighborhood who he didn't know, he was fulfilling the station that he held.

No, he wasn't. He was actually explicitly instructed by law enforcement not to do it (the Sanford PD already knew him as something of a nut). Neighbourhood watches function in collaboration with law enforcement; random "volunteer" vigilantes are not in fact entitled to just walk randomly up to people, whether they're from the neighbourhood or not, and demand their papers.

And it does matter that Martin was black, quite obviously it matters, as that is the reason he was targeted as being supposedly foreign to the neighbourhood. Again: imagine a case where a black self-appointed vigilante had stalked, confronted and murdered Zimmerman for being in the wrong neighbourhood. Would you be defending them as "fulfilling their function as guards"?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 12:10:20 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2013, 12:08:47 PM »
Zimmerman got out of his car and initiated the physical confrontation voluntarily. That part of the timeline is clear. At that point whether Martin punched him first or not is not relevant. He deliberately created a situation that he knew perfectly well could end lethally. He did so without justification or excuse, and for basically the sole reason of his regarding black people with automatic suspicion.

Again: if Martin had stalked and confronted him, and then shot him, I can guarantee you that very few of those now defending Zimmerman would be trying to slice and dice the timeline to make excuses for Martin.

A law which provides the perfect cover for would-be vigilantes to deliberately create circumstances in which they'll have the excuse to lethally "defend themselves." It' amazing that people actually crafted and implemented a law like that without having any sense of how it could be abused... but this case demonstrates it perfectly.

Like I said earlier, you are defining the term 'confrontation' incorrectly.  Just because Zimmerman went up to Trayvon and had some words with him does not mean he initiated a physical confrontation (as far as the law goes).   So whether Martin punched him first or not is very much relevant - and as the court ruling has revealed, the prosecution was unable to prove Zimmerman wrong in his statement.

Also, would-be vigilantes would need to be first physically assaulted by an individual, to use the Stand-Your-Ground law as a defense.  This law has been around since 2005, and the only reason this case received so much media attention is because it involved a black 'innocent' boy and a 'white' hispanic.

I am not talking about the morality of this, but purely the legal basis as it stands today.  We can all have our ideas of what the moral thing to do would have been.

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Re: The Case of Trayvon Martin
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2013, 12:12:42 PM »
We can also all have ideas about whether Stand Your Ground is an insane and immoral law that empowers reckless vigilantism and needs to be stricken from the books. Which, obviously, it is.