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George Zimmermans trial has been set to start in a few months. The defense fun is running low. It is estimated his defense wil

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  • #16
    Whatever the outcome at the trial court level, there could be lengthy and expensive appeals. But if the courts ultimately find that Zimmerman had no duty to retreat, he could be deemed immune from arrest and prosecution. He might also be eligible for reimbursement from the state for all of his expenses.

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    • #17
      I think the more important point is he had no duty to pursue and confront. That will almost certainly outweigh any arguments based on "no duty to retreat." In fact, given the precedence of events, I cannot see "no duty to retreat" arguments ever seeing the light of day.

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      • #18
        Great points, Mike0714. Zimmerman re-engaged Trayvon when the police dispatcher specifically told him not to. At that point, I think it stopped being self defense.

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        • #19
          He killed an unarmed boy after being told to stay put by dispatch. It certainly did not need to happen and I hope he goes to jail for it for a long time.

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          • #20
            This all turns on the findings of fact. I believe that if it is found that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor, the non-retreat rule would not be applicable.

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            • #21
              I stopped having an opinion when early on the major news outlet was found to have doctored the 911 tape and had to admit it had done so and had to play the full tape. The problem is he has been tried in the media to such a degree, how can he get a fair trial. I don't know even if the trial was moved to Duluth if he can get a fair trial.

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              • #22
                jhjimbo - You got that right. People on this forum who have opinions about Zimmerman's guilt or innocence have reached their verdict based on news reports.
                Before this is over, Zimmerman may prefer to be carried by six.

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                • #23
                  99explorer, I agree that it will all turn on the findings of fact, and the jury will have to be very specific. In Florida, (and possibly other states) one can be the initial aggressor and still make a legitimate claim of self defense, depending on the reaction. Say for instance, I start a fist fight with you - I am the initial aggressor and cannot claim self defense for punching you. If during the fight, however, you get the upper hand and I try to retreat, but you pursue me, I am no longer the initial aggressor and could be justified in pulling my gun.

                  A just verdict will turn on the exact details of the fight, and I can't even begin to imagine how those will come out with only one witness alive to testify.

                  I have no idea if the man deserves to be punished or not, and sure wouldn't want to be on that jury.

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                  • #24
                    Greenhead - Exactly so.
                    If the Self-Defense Immunity Hearing determines that Zimmerman's use of deadly force was justified under the ordinary laws governing self defense, there will be no trial on the issue of murder or homicide because of his immunity.
                    But I don't know whether this hearing will be before a judge or a jury. This case might be a first.

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                    • #25
                      All good posts but one thing has not been mentioned. Even if Zimmerman is found innocent he still will be hit with a Civil Suit. The difference between winning and loosing can be one vote. Mr. Zimmerman in years to come before this has ended might think it was better to take the beating or not get out of the car.

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                      • #26
                        Carl - If the claim of immunity prevails, it also covers civil suits as well, and the plaintiff would be liable for all of Zimmerman's expenses when the case is dismissed.
                        I just checked, and the immunity hearing will be a non-jury proceeding. I think it would take a very courageous judge to rule in Zimmerman's favor because that would end the criminal prosecution on the spot.

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                        • #27
                          The object of a civil suit is to recover damages. The guy doesn't have a pot to pee in so what would be the point of initiating a civil suit if he doesn't have the ability to pay damages anyway? OJ Simpson he ain't.

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                          • #28
                            99 I'm not familiar with a claim of immunity. True if Zimmerman wins a civil case his expenses will be paid by the Plaintiffs. All I can think of is the OJ trial and was judged criminally innocent. But later had to pay a civil penalty.

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                            • #29
                              The Castle Doctrine creates an absolute presumption that a person who breaks into someone's home is up to no damned good, and provides the occupant with immunity from prosecution (and civil actions)for blowing him away, without his having to prove that he was actually in reasonable fear of imminent grievous bodily harm, etc. So far, so good.
                              Then the statute goes on to give that same protection to anyone else, wherever they have "a right to be," provided they CAN AND DO prove that they were in reasonable fear, etc.
                              That part of the law may be a step too far, because it also gives the street shooter a second bite at the apple in defending his actions.
                              First, the state has to prove that he did not act in self defense (the burden of proof is on the state).
                              Then, the state has to prove the murder charge in a separate jury trial.
                              If the shooter prevails in the first hearing, it's all over, and he cannot be sued in a civil action either.
                              These laws were not in effect at the time of the O.J. Simpson murders.

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                              • #30
                                99 I looked into it further and you are correct. If Zimmerman is found innocent he is immune to a civil suit. The Twin Lake Homeowners Association might not be so lucky. Since Zimmerman held himself out as as their representative they in turn will carry the weight.

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