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