The Zimmerman saga seems never-ending. Because of the political/racial overlay forced on what was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill self-defense case, the trial and subsequent events have taken on something of a life of their own. I’ve no doubt we’ll be hearing about every stub of George Zimmerman’s toe into perpetuity. And so, somewhat reluctantly, I update you, gentle and long-suffering readers, on the latest lunacy.
But first, what to make of George Zimmerman post-trial? One might think that after being acquitted, he, like some people, would simply fade back into living a life without the threat of decades in prison hanging over his head. If so, one would reckon without The Narrative, which never dies or loses interest in publicizing every Zimmerman misstep, real or manufactured. What’s wrong with him? He gets stopped for traffic violations! He breaks up with his wife! She suggests he committed an act of domestic violence! He breaks up with his girlfriend who accuses him of pointing a shotgun at her, and it’s back to jail again, until…
Who among us, when stopped for a traffic violation, can expect that event to make national news, whose talking heads insinuate that this somehow reflects character flaws and/or culpability for murder or racism? Who among us can expect international news coverage for the breakup of our marriage and any spat associated with it? Who among us can expect a girlfriend to shop her “story” to news organizations, and failing that, accuse us of felonies, only to retract her story after we’ve had a lovely and edifying stay in the local jail?
Who among us, under the age of 30, would have the strength of character and the maturity to remain serene and untouched by a year of the most obscene vilification, followed by a trial that branded us as the embodiment of all of America’s racial ills, followed by living in a media fishbowl, exploited by those closest to us?
I’d really rather not live that particular life. You?
Trayvon Martin’s Mother Takes Her Show On The Road:
In late October, Sybrina Fulton appeared before a Congressional committee, the better to carry on The Narrative. Fox News has the story:
Trayvon Martin’s mother testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill that so-called ‘stand-your-ground’ laws do not work and should be changed.
The testimony by Sybrina Fulton revived the controversy over both her son’s death and state gun laws. Martin’s mother told the panel that she attended the hearing so senators can ‘at least put a face with what has happened with this tragedy.’
‘I just wanted to come here to…let you know how important it is that we amend this stand your ground because it certainly did not work in my case,’ Fulton said, speaking without consulting prepared remarks. ‘The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today. This law does not work.
Fox did live up to its “fair and balanced” motto:
Florida’s ‘stand-your-ground’ law, however, was not raised by the defense during the trial of shooter George Zimmerman, who claimed he acted in self-defense and was being attacked at the time.
Stand-your-ground laws typically allow those who feel threatened to use deadly force even if they have the option to run away.
Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said the matter, though, should be left to the states that passed the laws.
‘The states are doing quite well…without our interference,’ Rep. Louie Gohmert testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Said Cruz: ‘This is not about politicking. This is not about inflaming racial tensions. This is about the right of everyone to protect themselves and protect their families.’ Cruz made reference to statistics he said which show that blacks cite stand your ground laws at least as often as whites.
Zimmerman’s self-defense “claim” was supported by the evidence, and was a substantial factor in his acquittal. So while it was at one point a claim, it has long since passed into the realm of fact.
The invaluable Andrew Branca at the equally invaluable Legal Insurrection comments:
My first general observation is that the anti-SYG folks were, as experience would suggest, big on emotion and small on actual facts, law, or data.
One of the anti-SYG witnesses, Professor Sullivan from Harvard Law School, did raise some actual data–but when these were utterly destroyed by the later testimony of Dr. John Lott and Elliot Shapiro of CATA, Professor Sullivan was swift to discount the use of data (which he himself had introduced into the testimony) and instead focus on the ‘real people’ behind the data. In sharp contrast, the testimony of the pro-SYG speakers was focused and direct.
Second, the anti-SYG folks persistently conflated the legal concept of Stand Your Ground with utterly discrete legal concepts, such as presumptions of reasonableness and civil/criminal immunity.
When this is done by people without legal training or experience, such as Sabrina Fulton, one can of course accept it as an unknowing error. When it is persistently done by a Harvard Law Professor and a head of an (allegedly) leading association of State Prosecutors, one can only wonder at either their actual intent or their underlying intelligence.
Indeed, their misstatements of the law were so egregious that at one point Dr. Lott was obliged to read aloud from the actual Florida statute they had badly mischaracterized, to which they naturally had no substantive response. In that case they were claiming that even criminal aggressors could claim Stand Your Ground privilege under Florida law, a claim that the plain language of the statute read by Dr. Lott clearly destroys.
In any case, it is clear that their effort is intended to be a broad attack on all three fronts — likely with immunity being the true target, as it represents the largest pot of gold for their supporters — rather than any focused concern on Stand Your Ground, per se.
Finally, the bottom line is I expect this hearing, and any similar subsequent efforts, to be little more than political theater, with no substantive changes resulting to the law of self-defense.
And so it has been. All efforts, most notably in Florida, to strip citizens of their right to self-defense, have thus far been turned back. It would seem that the emotional power of The Narrative has been substantially diminished. By all means, take the link and read the rest of Branca’s excellent explication. The attempt to do away with Stand Your Ground laws has nothing to do with concern for public safety and individual liberty.
Disarm The Neighborhood Watch!
Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection provides a fine summary:
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 8:44: Although it had been widely reported (including right here at Legal Insurrection) that the Sanford, FL police department had banned Neighborhood Watch volunteers from being lawfully armed, Police Chief Cecil Smith now says that this policy was miscommunicated to the public.
It remains true that volunteers in a more thoroughly organized form of neighborhood watch–called ‘Citizens on Patrol’–will be prohibited from being armed.
Readers may recall ‘Citizens on Patrol’ from early in the Zimmerman trial. One of the first of the Prosecution’s witnesses was Wendy Dorival, a civilian employee of the Sanford PD who acted as their liaison with local neighborhood watch programs. She testified about her interactions with George Zimmerman in that context, describing him in glowing terms. Indeed, so impressed was she with Zimmerman that she tried to recruit him for the more substantive “Citizens on Patrol” program. In that program Zimmerman would have been provided with a patrol car, a uniform of sorts, and generally been as close to being a ‘real’ policeman as he had ever hoped to become.
Zimmerman declined the opportunity — one might speculate because even then the position would have required that Zimmerman disarm himself.
So, if it was always the policy that ‘Citizens on Patrol’ were required to be unarmed, but that the ‘standard’ Neighborhood Watch volunteers could lawfully arm themselves, why the past few days news about these issues?
Branca gets to the heart of the issue, the real reason the Left and its supporters want such policies:
I expect that the only real ‘miscommunication’ from the Sanford Police Department has been in misunderstanding how severely negative the response would be to the notion that Neighborhood Watch volunteers would be required to leave themselves fatally vulnerable to criminal aggressors preying on their neighborhood.
Indeed. George Zimmerman should have been severely beaten, crippled, maimed or dead rather than defend himself against criminal assault. This is the fate the Left would demand of us all. The invaluable Dr. John Lott provides the facts:
When lives are on the line, what saves lives — not politics – should guide policy.
Gun control advocates used to warn about blood in the streets if we didn’t tighten gun laws, but as concealed handgun permits in the U.S. have doubled from 2007 to now, murder rates have fallen by 18 percent.
Enter a new strategy: playing the race card, along with claims that allowing people to defend themselves means that whites will hurt blacks. But this strategy ignores the crucial fact that blacks kill over 91 percent of blacks and that whites kill 84 percent of whites.
Unfortunately, many politicians – from Sanford, Florida to the U.S. Senate – are following a divisive race based strategy.
Rules, such as the ones being adopted in Sanford, Florida, hurt poor areas the most.
So much for the much-vaunted caring of the Left for “the poor.” As I’ve often written, the Left professes to care very much for “the poor” and other carefully, politically chosen victim groups, but this “caring” is an abstraction. Individuals mean nothing to the Left, particularly when their unimportant individual circumstances don’t well fit leftist policies supposedly beneficial to those victim groups. Lott continues:
The change in carrying rules can’t be justified by a general concern over safety. Permit holders in Florida have a truly remarkable safety record.
Since January 2008, only 4 permit holders have had their permits revoked for any type of firearms related violation. With an average of about 850,000 permit holders over that period, the revocation rate was an annual rate of less than one ten thousandth of one percent.
Ah, but don’t Stand Your Ground laws discriminate against blacks? They must! It’s socially just!
The Tampa Bay Tribune collected data on all the Stand Your Ground cases in Florida since the law changed in 2006 and showed that blacks make up 16.6 percent of Florida’s population but account for 31 percent of the state’s defendants invoking the Stand Your Ground defense. Black defendants who invoke this statute to justify their actions are actually acquitted 8 percentage points more frequently than whites who use this very same defense.
Even the Urban Institute study, often cited by Democrats to prove discrimination shows, to the extent it shows anything, that the opposite is true. It shows that Stand Your Ground laws increase black on white justifiable homicides relative to those involving whites killing blacks.
NOTE: The source in the previous quotation actually appears to be the Tampa Bay Times.
Angela Corey: The Plague That Keeps On Giving:
Attorneys for a woman fired from the State Attorney’s Office say Angela Corey and her top aides deleted emails involving their client.
In a motion filed in federal court, Julie Lyncker’s attorneys are asking U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan to sanction Corey and fine her office about $23,000 in fees and costs. But attorneys for Corey shot back Friday and said the claims were baseless and Lyncker deserved to be fired for inappropriate behavior.
More of the same sort of alleged corruption from the woman that brought you the George Zimmerman prosecution. Take the link and read the whole thing if you have a strong stomach.
Just Desserts Department:
Regular readers may remember that early in the Zimmerman case, film director Spike Lee—who is, coincidentally, black–contributed to racial harmony by publicizing the address of George Zimmerman, in the racially-healing hope that Zimmerman might be murdered. Unfortunately Lee was wrong. Not about his purposeful, murderous, racist intentions, but about the address he threw to the winds. The Guardian has the story:
Legal action is being taken against the director by an elderly couple whose address Lee wrongly tweeted as being the home of Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Elaine McClain and David McClain say Lee’s post on Twitter led to ongoing hate mail, threatening phone calls and an unwanted media presence at their Florida home. While the McClains initially agreed an out of court settlement with the director of Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever, they were subsequently targeted all over again in the wake of Zimmerman’s trial and acquittal when Lee’s post to his 240,000 followers began to be widely retweeted.
The director initially wrote: ‘I don’t give a fuck what you think kill that Bitch. HERE GO HIS ADDRESS, LET THE HUNGER GAMES BEGIN.’
‘While defendant intended to post the home address of George Zimmerman, he actually posted the address of plaintiffs Elaine McClain and David McClain,’ the suit reads.
If Mr. Obama had a son, would he look–and sound–like Spike Lee?
The Never-Ending Prosecution:
The FBI has proved, conclusively, that George Zimmerman is not a racist. The finest legal minds have reviewed federal law and concluded that none apply to George Zimmerman; he has broken none of them in the Trayvon Martin case. But where there might be political gain, the Obama Administration stands ready to manipulate or ignore law to its advantage. Hot Air has the story:
Holder, during an April speech to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, pledged to ‘take appropriate action’ if the agency finds evidence of a potential federal civil rights crime in the Zimmerman case.
So the DoJ is still mulling action against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin – even though a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of the charges that had been brought against him. But Holder, apparently, has a special constituency he answers too and it isn’t the citizens of the United States. For most of them, the case is closed. For the Al Sharptons of the world, however, such a case is never closed. And Holder is their man:
Holder said the agency’s investigation is under way.
‘I’m not sure exactly how much longer that will take, but we will get to a point where we are able to make a determination,’ he told reporters at an unrelated news conference at the agency’s headquarters.
As I’ve previously written, as long as the Obama Administration is in office, federal prosecution will be hanging over Zimmerman’s head. I expect the greatest peril for Zimmerman to be the 2014 and 2016 elections, when Democrats are likely to find themselves in deep trouble over Obamacare and desperately in need of energizing their base and giving the lap dog press the opportunity to write about one of their favorite narratives.
Zimmerman Did It Again; Except He Didn’t:
George Zimmerman’s girlfriend says he pointed long-barreled shotgun at her,” among them. This story is representative: George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, now faces a felony charge of aggravated assault following his arrest at the home where he lives with his girlfriend in Apopka.
Channel 9 learned Zimmerman’s girlfriend told authorities he broke a table and pointed a long-barreled shotgun at her during a verbal dispute at her home on Topfield Court.
On top of the felony assault charge, Zimmerman also faces battery and criminal mischief charges, according Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
During a news conference Monday, Lemma wouldn’t say what sparked the argument at the home, but they confirmed no one was injured.
When deputies arrived, Zimmerman appeared to have barricaded himself in the home after pushing the woman outside, officials said.
However, officials said Zimmerman removed the barricade and showed no aggression toward deputies during their investigation.
He’s currently being held in the Seminole County Jail and will appear before a judge on Tuesday to determine whether bond is merited.
Well. That’s certainly damning. It looks like the media Narrative was right after all. Zimmerman is violent, racist, murderous, etc., etc.
George Zimmerman had five guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition with him when deputies arrested him earlier this month on domestic violence charges, according to court documents released Tuesday.
A search warrant made public by the Seminole County court clerk shows that Zimmerman had a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns when he was arrested Nov. 18 at his girlfriend’s house. The girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, told deputies that Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her during an argument and also used it to smash her coffee table.
Of course, the five guns in Zimmerman’s “arsenal” are neither unusual nor an arsenal. Considering the never-ending death threats, including a substantial cash bounty by the New Black Panthers, never rescinded or addressed by AG Holder, a reasonable man might consider Zimmerman’s armament merely prudent.
Fox, unlike most, added context:
The search warrant says Zimmerman told deputies a different version of events. He said that Scheibe and he had agreed to separate and that he was planning to move to Texas. But as he gathered his belongings, Zimmerman said Scheibe became upset and threw a handgun and the shotgun on the floor.
The weapons were locked in a soft-sided case with a combination lock when deputies arrived, according to the warrant. In addition to the shotgun and AR-15 rifle, the warrant says Zimmerman had three handguns: a Glock 19, a Taurus 9mm and an Interarms .380-caliber.
The Narrative continued, but some news sources eventually reported that Scheibe had been shopping her “story” around to media sources, apparently unsuccessfully, prior to calling the police on Zimmerman. I’ve waited until now to report on this latest development because I suspected there was more to the story, and so there is. It must have sorely vexed The Orlando Sentinel, which worked very hard to support The Narrative before and during the Zimmerman murder trial, to report this:
George Zimmerman’s girlfriend — who authorities said accused him of pointing a shotgun at her — no longer wants him to be prosecuted, and wants to resume their relationship, according a new motion.
A sworn statement attributed to the girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, was attached to a motion by Zimmerman’s lawyer seeking to modify the conditions of Zimmerman’s bond in his domestic violence case.
In the statement, Scheibe says she felt ‘intimidated’ when police questioned her about the Nov. 18 incident that led to Zimmerman’s arrest. She adds that she ‘may have misspoken.’
‘I want to be with George,’ Scheibe says in the statement, adding later: ‘I do not want George Zimmerman charged. I make this decision freely, knowingly and voluntarily,’ and without coercion, she says.
She says that she and Zimmerman had an ‘argument,’ but Zimmerman ‘never pointed a gun at or toward my face in a threatening manner.’
The Scheibe statement also says that she was more intimidated by the law enforcement officers who investigated the case than Zimmerman.
‘I was not allowed to call an attorney nor was I allowed to eat or drink anything for a very long time,’ she says, adding that police ‘misinterpreted’ her Zimmerman’s arrest report.
‘Further, I request that the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office not be allowed to harass me because I do not with to take part in any prosecution of this case on behalf of the State,’ the statement concludes.
Zimmerman is fortunate indeed that Angela Corey was no longer involved in prosecuting him. The prosecutor involved quickly dismissed all charges against Zimmerman and he is now a free man—to whatever degree he can hope to exercise that freedom (Legal Insurrection has that story here). This is, of course, the only rational, legally correct move the prosecutor could make. He is, however, faced with an interesting dilemma.
His only witness has completely recanted her testimony and expressed the fear that he might harass her for so doing. If he pursued the case, he would be relying on a woman the defense could easily and correctly portray as a liar. In addition, she would likely be a hostile witness. Notice that her recantation painted the police as intimidating her and essentially putting words in her mouth. This is because if they did not, she filed a false report, which is a crime. Should he prosecute her? Of course. Her actions put a man in jail, facing serious prison time. That’s why we have false reporting laws, to deter such frivolous, transient charges.
In this case, we can’t blame the prosecutor who was, as all prosecutors must, acting on the best information he had available. That he was willing to dismiss the case when it became obvious he could not fulfill the elements of the offenses—and his complaining witness may have lied—speaks well of him. However, I think it unlikely he’ll charge her. This is, after all, George Zimmerman, and he is still politically radioactive.
Beyond what I’ve already done, I’ll not engage in neophyte psychoanalysis of George Zimmerman. Suffice it to say that his behavior—to whatever degree it can be accurately assessed through a media lens–is pretty much unremarkable for someone that has been though his trials and that continues to be under the microscope of people looking for the slightest misstep. I’ve seen people in similar situations behave better–and much worse.
What does seem clear is that his most recently past girlfriend is not a friend, and Zimmerman would be wise to cut his losses and flee as if from a pestilence. He would be equally wise to bring along the police if he must have the slightest contact with her to retrieve property, etc. Failing that, two or three witnesses and a rolling video camera would be a reasonable armament. Do I need to actually say she can’t be trusted?
Moving out of Florida would be a very good idea as well. And while Zimmerman has every right to live his life as normally as possible, it would also be a very good idea to keep as low a profile as possible. If that means driving like a little old lady and avoiding female company for awhile, so be it. Again, his choice.
The entire matter remains an unremarkable self-defense case that should never have been brought. I continue to hope that NBC—and perhaps others—end up making George Zimmerman a reasonably rich young man. I also hope in that process, Mark O’Mara and Donald West, who did extraordinary work in the cause of justice, are eventually fairly compensated.
I’ll continue, as always, to report on this seemingly never-ending tale as appropriate. Thanks, gentle readers, for your faithful support.