George Zimmerman waives "stand your ground" hearing
Story here. I don't know anything about such hearings, except that they are a method to try to gain pretrial dismissal. My guess would be that the defense attorneys judged the probability of a win was insufficient to offset the dangers of a loss -- i.e., that the prosecution would get a a free shot at questioning him and using that to prepare for trial.
"Stand Your ground" was never a real part of this.
If you are knocked to the ground and are being hit about the head there is no retreat possible.
This is a straight self-defense trial.
What happened before Martin struck Zimmerman doesn't matter unless it justifies Martin striking Zimmerman. Nothing I have heard comes close to justiying that.
Even if the original hit was justified the attack while Zimmerman was on the groung cannot be justified. And has nothing to do with what happened before.
Posted by: Dan Hamilton at March 5, 2013 02:12 PM
I back up Dan. The defense is not claiming a "stand your ground" defense...they are saying that it was straight up self defense and stand your ground has nothing to do with it.
And the defense web site has a post up saying that they're simply moving the self-defense determination part to be included in the main trial, versus a stand alone hearing.
At any rate, I simply think this was because they weren't granted a continuance by the court and they feel they're being slow-rolled on discovery by the prosecution.
Basically, they're buying time.
They don't want to go into a self-defense hearing without all the pertinent information, and as you said, if they lose that, it would look bad at the trial.
There's still some significant information that they're missing and the prosecution has been reluctant to reveal...for instance, data was recovered from Martin's phone by an un-named "expert" but the data from the day he was killed is missing. The prosecution has, so far, refused to give up the name of the "expert" who cracked the phone for the defense to determine what was on it and why the crucial data is missing.
There's more, but that's a big one in my mind.
From my reading of the defense's motions and such (and I'm no lawyer so I could be wildly misreading things), getting discovery out of the prosecution has been like pulling teeth. I would think that if they're cased is solid, they wouldn't have a problem with providing the defense with the information they need...especially because not doing so seems to me to be excellent grounds for appeal.
Anyway, I just don't think this is anything more than strategy on their part.
Posted by: Sailorcurt at March 5, 2013 02:49 PM
I'm a Florida defense attorney.
Stand your ground hearing is just a nickname for a general immunity hearing related to self defense. It doesn't require that the case be a "stand your ground" type self defense case.
It's usually better to leave the SYG hearing until the trial is over (ie, after closing, but before the jury has deliberated). This gives you a second chance for acquittal, preserves it for appeal (the judge has to make a bunch of factual determinations along with the ruling) while preventing the state from getting a chance to hear your guy's entire testimony before they put on their case.
Posted by: Jim W at March 6, 2013 01:33 AM
Oh yeah, and every defense attorney and prosecutor I've talked with about this case (including a whole host of black attorneys) in the past year thinks the whole thing is a joke (ie, Zimmerman obviously justified, lack of prosecution by county office not motivated by racism).
Besides the pile of money the family's attorney hopes to make off the HOA, I can't really comprehend a possible motivation for this shitpile of a case is still moving forward. It's just another Casey Anthony style embarrassment for the state attorneys involved. And of course, everyone (except crim law attorneys) will gnash their teeth and proclaim how obviously guilty Zimmerman is... up until the jury comes back and they look stupid.
Posted by: Jim W at March 6, 2013 12:53 PM
IIRC, the people who ginned up this "case" (it was several months after the actual shooting that the breathless stories appeared simultaneously in two or three liberal rags) had, or plausibly threatened to have, busloads of "protesters" parked at the Sanford city limits ready to "demonstrate" if Mr. Zimmerman wasn't immediately executed for killing the little choir boy shown in the 5-year old photo that accompanied the stories. I.e., lock that sucker up or we'll burn your town down.
Nobody in Sanford or Tallahassee wanted a race riot on the national news for weeks, so my take is that the powers that be decided long ago to drag the proceedings on as long as they can. Years of legal maneuvers let things cool off, and in the meantime people can get used to the idea that this was a good shoot. Someone recently emailed me a photo of Trayvon Martin as he looked at about the time of his shooting and a description (6'2" 175 pounds, looks to be well muscled, tats on face, neck and hands, with a record of run-ins with authorities including assaulting a bus driver 2 days before he was shot) which apparently is circulating on the net now. If THAT image and information can get some national circulation it will be even harder for "demonstrators" to claim that some (half) white racist shot a choir boy when the case finally is dismissed as justified self defense.
OTOH, I did tax law, not criminal work, so I may be way off base. ;-)
Posted by: wrangler5 at March 7, 2013 10:14 AM