Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zimmerman Trial: Finally the Critical Issue Addressed

--Richard E. Vatz

[Update: July 14: George Zimmerman found not guilty; evidentiary issue below seems critical.]

     Repeatedly, I have wondered, as the issue of whether George Zimmerman acted in self defense has been debated, if Trayvon Martin didn't initiate physical contact but engaged in it as a reaction to physical aggression by Zimmerman, would Zimmerman be legally protected by reacting in fear for his safety by shooting Martin.

     On Fox -- my favorite source -- criminal defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean directly addressed this issue, saying that if it were the case that a physical or clear threat were presented by Zimmerman and Martin reacted to it in fear of his safety that Zimmerman would not have legally had the right to defend himself and/or shoot Martin.

      Glad to finally hear this issue addressed.  Of course, the complication is that with only one of the disputants alive, how does the jury determine who was the initial aggressor?

Professor Vatz teaches Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University and is the author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013)


dwb said...

its called aggravated assault. Zimmerman should have been charged with it based on the facts in this case. Under FL law, he would have gotten 10 years mandatory min, and there is a decent chance he would have been convicted.

The prosecutor bowed to political pressure and overcharged Zimmerman because the NAACP and Sharpton cried "murder!" Its a risky strategy, the prosecution gambled and lost.

More than likely, there was no opportunity for a plea either due to the high profile.

but you know, so it goes. people blame race, republicans, drugs, guns - on and on - everyone but the person in the mirror for their own bad choices.

Paul Zummo said...

Zimmerman should have been charged with it based on the facts in this case.

No. The facts in the case really should have lead to no charges being filed whatsoever.

streiff said...

Correct. Unless you are advocating elimination of self defense as an option there was never a chargeable crime. Self defense works with aggravated assault just as well as it does with murder and the elements of proof were beyond the ability of the prosecution to prove.