5/16/2012

New piece at Fox News: What Zimmerman, Martin medical reports tell us and the media didn't

UPDATE: Photos from George Zimmerman investigation


My new Fox News piece starts this way:
The new medical reports on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case tell us a lot. And it is not just for what they find, but also what they don’t find.
First, the reports provide striking evidence that Zimmerman did not start the fight with Martin, and that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense. Martin’s injuries were two-fold: broken skin on his knuckles and the fatal gunshot wound.
Zimmerman’s injuries involved: a fractured nose, a pair of black eyes, two lacerations to the back of his head and a minor back injury.
It takes considerable force to break the skin on multiple knuckles. The large range of injuries on Zimmerman indicates that the Martin’s attack was prolonged. . . . .

The South Florida Criminal Lawyers' Blog has this very useful discussion (the whole post is definitely worth reading).  Note also that this post is from April 13, 2012 and my guess that the new evidence would 

. . . the "provocation" theory is shaky, at best. F.S. 776.041 provides that the "Stand Your Ground" law is not available to a person who: "Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself." . . .. . . First, even if Zimmerman "provoked" the incident, he may still justifiably use deadly force, if: "Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant." According to Zimmerman and at least one witness, Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman. What is more, Zimmerman claims that Martin bashed his head on the concrete, which caused Zimmerman to fear death or great bodily harm. If the State cannot contradict this version of events, Zimmerman likely can establish that he "exhausted every reasonable means to escape," (he claims he was pinned to the ground), and he reasonably feared Martin's use of force would "likely cause death or great bodily harm."
Second, it is far from clear that following Trayvon Martin while speaking with the police constitutes "provocation." The second exception to "provocation" states that if the provocateur "In good faith...withdraws from physical contact" and communicates his desire to "withdraw from physical contact," but the other party "continues or resumes the use of force," then the provocateur may rely on the "Stand Your Ground" law. What is important to note, is that F.S. 776.041(2)(b) presumes that the "provocation" includes "physical contact." However, based on the evidence that is public thus far, there is no evidence that Zimmerman initiated "physical contact." What is more, there is no precedent in Florida law indicating that conduct short of "physical contact" provides justification for the use of force, or amounts to "provocation."
Make no mistake: George Zimmerman has a real chance of avoiding a jury. All he has to do is convince a judge, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he acted in justifiable self-defense.

The medical reports strengthen the argument that Zimmerman did not initiate physical contact and Zimmerman's yelling for help surely falls under the heading that he "communicates his desire to 'withdraw from physical contact.'" See also this post entitled "Probable Cause Affidavit in George Zimmerman Case Woefully Inadequate" on the same blog.

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10 Comments:

Blogger An Ordinary American said...

John,

You're dealing in facts and that is precisely the mainstream media and agenda-driven politicians are running from as fast as their hypocritical feet can carry them.

However, from day one, I've been concerned over this shooting because of Zimmerman's proactively leaving the safety of his vehicle in spite of the fact that law enforcement was notified and en route.

Legally, he had a right to exit his vehicle and be on the same street as Martin, and legally he had a right to inquire as to where Martin was going and what he was up to.

But at the end of the day, it is still my assertion that he exercised poor judgment in this situation. I also have no doubt that he feels tremendous remorse.

The murder charges are nothing more than political pandering and showboating. The prosecution will have to prove intent, motive and premeditation. I can see a manslaughter charge, but given facts and evidence as it is being released, I can't see a conviction.

What I CAN see, though, is a whole lot of trouble in middle-Florida if/when a jury returns a "not guilty" righteous verdict.

The feds have no case whatsoever in a "hate crime" charge. I was in federal law enforcement and the criteria for us to have enough of a case to take to the USA was pretty steep. Granted, that was some years ago, but fact is it was a minority on minority incident between two (ostensibly) non-homosexual males within ten years of each other in age. To even think about calling this a "hate crime" is a tremendous stretch.

Best regards,

J.D. Kinman

5/16/2012 7:36 PM  
Blogger Billy Blackshirt said...

I'm stunned. I wonder why we're not seeing these reports on the evening news? (sarcasm)

I'm so disappointed with the handling of the Zimmerman/Martin case and everything that followed. People were so quick to jump to conclusions and now we're seeing the truth as the story unravels. If the attorney's don't handle this appropriately, we're going to see cities burn, riots, more beatings...

5/17/2012 8:07 AM  
Blogger A. Fox said...

My understanding of the Florida statute, is that it contains a provision where a person initiates an altercation, but then can still use great bodily harm when they fear death (see below). The statute is not available if you provoke the use of force, unless 2a or 2b. Even if Zimmerman provoked or started the attack, he may still be found not guilty.

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. -The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, UNLESS:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

5/17/2012 8:20 AM  
Blogger Concerned1 said...

Where are you getting your facts John Lott? According to the AP report, "the Volusia County, Fla., found that the 17-year-old Martin had one other fresh injury – a small abrasion, no more than a quarter-inch in size – on his left ring finger below the knuckle." so where are you getting information that there were "multiple" cuts on Trayvon Martin's nuckles. Also, where did you find the definition of "immediate range" means "1" to 18"?. The AP report I read says the the autopsy report did not define the term "immediate range". Sounds to me like you are making up stuff because you know that FOX-news patrons don't read for themselves.

5/17/2012 2:18 PM  
Blogger James Crawford said...

John, this is an excellent and unbiased summary on very critical evidence. We must keep in mind that neither Martin nor Zimmerman had any ownership of any particular space on that street or sidewalk, but Zimmerman as a member of his neighborhood watch group does have the right or even the obligation to seek information from an unknown person roaming a private community. In this case, whether inside or outside of his vehicle, Zimmerman has no anticipated responsibility to not approach or to not monitor Martin's activities. Zimmerman has no right to physically restrain Martin's ability to come or go, whether a known resident or not. The way it adds up to me is that Martin should have been charged (had he survived) with an acute level of assault. Zimmerman should not be charged with anything, whether Martin lives or dies. All of the confrontation rests at the hands of Martin, the sole aggressor.

Again, you've really written a gem of an article here...and I'm not just commenting on content. Your style, clarity, economy of prose, and structure are perfect...A+.

Regards,

James Crawford
central Florida

5/17/2012 8:22 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

What I find disturbing is the lack of viewpoint from a Sociological perspective.

Cultural Anger is pervasive within the black community due to the long history of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, bigotry, lynchings, etc. As an example, look at Mr. Blackshirt's comment about cities burning, riots, and more beatings. White Americans do not engage in this type of behavior normally.

We have stories of whites being attacked by blacks who refered to Trayvon during said attacks. Has it ever occured to anyone that perhaps Mr. Zimmerman carried out the request to return to his vehicle and Trayvon acted out on this cultural anger and attacked Zimmerman as he was walking back to his vehicle? This is a very distinct possibility, yet no one in the media dares to even contemplate the possibility...

5/18/2012 1:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would like to know the exact time Zimmerman's injuries were photographed and inspected, examined by HIS doctor and or other medical examiners and how evidence was obtained. Did his brother or other friend help him by slugging him a few times and beating him to "provide" evidence for the "self-defense" claim?
I am very suspicious of this as his actions were completely opposite of a person in fear of his life. You don't persue someone you are afraid of...

5/19/2012 9:28 PM  
Blogger terri said...

John,

Thank you for your well written piece.

It is a shame the media....knowingly caused this mania by leaving out large chunks of evidence.

There is one poster here (schaltz) who refers to "slave" days. Sir, Mr. Martin nor Mr. Martin's parents (who are younger than me) have experienced anything like what you described. In my world, people of all cultures live to gether peacefully and without prejudice. Most of us in the real world embraced MLK's dream of long ago....oh yeah there is a minortiy of people of both races like yourself who want to take us back to the dark ages...and at times do....but only for a short time...

Thank you again for your explanation...

Peace!

5/20/2012 12:18 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Unknown:
All that information is available in the links. The pictures were done that evening by the police as soon as they got Zimmerman back to the police station. The Police Report was written at the scene and it has the officers saying that they believe that Zimmerman's nose was broken. The EMT makes a similar note. The Police Report describes the blood on Zimmerman's face and back of head. They also note that his hands do not appear to have been used to strike M, but you have the picture above to show that.

5/20/2012 12:48 PM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

terri: Cultural History is passed down from one generation to the next. In this case, I am refering to a long list of historical grievences that form a pervasive and simmering anger and distrust of white folks. Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson both use the aforementioned to further their own twisted agenda.

I did my best to point out one facet that drives some folks to do what they do. This has nothing at all to do with attempting to take anyone back to the dark ages.

I always do my best to look at the entire context of a problem when trying to understand it. After all, those who forget history, will repeat it.

5/21/2012 2:08 PM  

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