TrayDay 2016: Only Fools Attack Armed Men

Today is the four year anniversary of the lawfully justified self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman would ultimately be acquitted after a mere hours of deliberations following 14 months of investigation and trial.

Personally and professionally I’ve never seen a cleaner self-defense shoot brought to trial. There was no hope for a conviction based on any reasonable application of the law to the facts, but they dragged Zimmerman to court anyway.

That’s what happens, I guess, when the lead prosecutor finds herself doing poorly with a critical racial demographic while running for re-election.

The myths and lies around the killing of vicious aggressor Martin continue, of course, as I’ve noted in my earlier post today: “Lies About Zimmerman Trial Just Keep Coming.”

Of course, such myths aren lies are not new. For a refresher on the worst of these, and their debunking, you might be interested in my post from TrayDay 2015: “Zimmerman Trial Redux: Busting the Myths Again”

I expect we’ll be doing the same again next year, and every year. Eternal vigilance, and all that. 🙂

(And h/t to Jay Hafemeister over at Facebook for reminding me of my anniversary post from last year.)

LI: Florida Removes Aggravated Assault from “10-20-Life”

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the fateful day on which Trayvon Martin made the imprudent and quickly fatal decision to viciously beat (as testified to by eye witnesses) an armed George Zimmerman.

Presumably coincidentally timed with anniversary, Florida has made or is making a couple of substantive changes in its laws covering some key facets of self-defense.

The first change actually made this week is that Florida has removed the crime of aggravated assault from among the gun crimes that fall subject to the state’s infamous “10-20-Life” mandatory minimum sentencing requirement. We’ll cover that change in this post. (We’ve previously written on proposals for this change, here: Changes Proposed to Florida’s Infamous “10-20-Life” Sentencing Law.)

The second change has not yet taken effect, but is advancing through the legislature. That is the Florida senate approval of a change to the state’s self-defense immunity law that would require state prosecutors to disprove self-defense by clear and convincing evidence in order to deny a defendant immunity from prosecution (and civil suit). We’ll cover that prospective change in a subsequent post.

For now, let’s take a look at the changes to “10-20-Life” signed into law this week.

Read the whole thing by clicking here.

LI: Lies About Zimmerman Trial Just Keep Coming

From my post over at Legal Insurrection:

Today the South Florida Times posted on their web site a piece entitled “FILM USES VIRTUAL REALITY TO REENACT TRAYVON’S MURDER.”

In that piece they describe a piece of fabricated (“virtual reality”) cinema that purports to tell the “true story” about the interaction between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin that resulted in Martin’s death.

The article notes that:

The promotional material for One Dark Night indicates, “By anchoring the piece in accurate and unassailable elements, the user becomes transported inside a reliable, albeit virtual, version of the story as an eyewitness. One Dark Night breaks new ground on multiple levels, including through audio carefully cleaned by forensic specialists Sourcesound and Primeau Productions, with the latter asserting that the reconstructed audio indicates George Zimmerman cocked his gun just before he gave chase.”

(emphasis added)

Except there’s one little problem with that narrative:

Do go read the whole thing by clicking here.

The Zimmerman Files: Aggregated day-by-day live coverage & analysis

Hey folks,

A year after the trial in which George Zimmerman was unanimously acquitted by a jury in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, misinformation continues to abound. Whether the misinformation is being spread inadvertently or — as is too often the case — as a result of intentional disinformation campaigns, the only antidote is the truth.

Many of you will recall that I was graciously invited by the well-respected legal blog Legal Insurrection (LI) to live-cover the Zimmerman trial. Over the course of the next several weeks I literally watched every available minute of the trial, providing blogging and legal analysis every day, and often several times a day. I also did the occasional post on the trial right here at Law of Self Defense (LOSD).

The result was over 75 posts and more than 120,000 words (no, that’s not a typo) of detailed coverage of the case, beginning from the pre-trial Frye hearings and continuing up to and past the verdict.

It was a blast!

Within that huge body of work lies the facts in evidence of the case, as contained within the discovery file shared by the prosecution and the defense and as developed over the course of direct and cross-examination of witnesses during the pre-trial hearings and throughout the trial proper.

In other words, the truth as it can best be known to us, and the best antidote to misinformation and disinformation.

Accessibility, however has been a continuing issue. With more than 75 posts spread over a two month period and two different blogs, finding the particular post most relevant to an issue has continued to be a bit of a pain. To facilitate such efforts, I’ve now pulled together a comprehensive Table of Contents for these posts in aggregate.

Enjoy!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

May 14, 2013 LOSD: Can the Prosecution Keep Trayvon’s History of Violence and Drug Use from the Jury? Yes . . . and no.

June 5, 2013 LI: Getting to Murder 2: Finding George Zimmerman’s “Depraved Mind”

June 6, 2013 LI: Out of the Frye-ing pan, into the spectrograph

June 7, 2013 LI: Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone, FBI, and the low-quality 3-second audio file

June 8, 2003 LI: Prosecution’s Voice Expert admits: “This is not really good evidence”

June 9, 2013 LI: Experts Call State’s Scream Claims “Absurd” “Ridiculous” and “Imaginary Stuff”

June 9, 2013 LI: The Five Principles of the Law of Self Defense

June 10, 2013 LI: Jury Selection June 10th

June 10, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day One Wrap-Up

June 11, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Two Wrap-Up

June 12, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Three Wrap-Up

June 12, 2013 LI: Prospective Juror E7: “no conclusions,” but posted on pro-Trayvon, anti-Zimmerman site containing threat against Zimmerman

June 13, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Four Wrap-Up

June 14, 2013 LOSD: EVIDENTIARY FLASHBACK: Zimmerman Recalls Fatal Fight to Police

June 14, 2013 LI: Dismissed juror escorted from courthouse after trespassing

June 14, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Five Wrap-Up

June 15, 2013 LOSD: Evidentiary Flashback: Zimmerman’s 1st Written Statement to Police the Night of the Shooting

June 16, 2013 LOSD: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman disobey police orders to stay in car?

June 16, 2013 LI: Jury Selection, Week One Recap

June 16, 2013 LOSD: Evidentiary Flashback: Affidavit for Probable Cause–Count the untruths

June 17, 2013 LOSD: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really “racially profile” Martin?

June 17, 2013 LI: Frye Hearing Continues with Prof. James L. Wayman

June 17, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Six Wrap-Up

June 18, 2013 LOSD: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “Chase Down” a Fleeing Martin?

June 18, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Seven Wrap-Up

June 19, 2013 LOSD: Never seen a juror questionnaire before? Here you go . . .

June 19, 2013 LOSD: FDLE Forensic Report: Zimmerman’s Gun & Fatal Bullet

June 19, 2013 LI: Jury Selection Profiles – “Top 40″ Advanced to Next Round

June 19, 2013 LI: Jury Selection — Day Eight Wrap-Up

June 20, 2013 LI: Final Jury Wrap-Up: Insights on Trial Strategy

June 21, 2013 LI: Final pre-trial motions and proceedings

June 21, 2013 LI: Pre-Game Day Analysis

June 22, 2013 LI: State Experts’ Audio Findings Not Admissible

June 23, 2013 LI: Meet the Jurors

June 24, 2013 LI: Day 1 – Opening Statements

June 24, 2013 LI: Day One – Analysis of Opening Statements

June 24, 2013 LI: Day One – Analysis of State’s First Four Witnesses

June 25, 2013 LI: Day 2 – Analysis of State’s Witnesses

June 26, 2013 LI: Witnesses: Trayvon on ground when shot, Zimmerman on top in fight

June 26, 2013 LI: Day 3 – End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State’s Witnesses

June 27, 2013 LI: Mid-Day 4 — West’s Cross-Examination of Rachel Jeantel

June 27, 2013 LI: End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State’s Witnesses

June 28, 2013 LI: BLOCKBUSTER — TRANSCRIPT — Eyewitness Good: Black guy in black hoodie on top punching down Mixed Martial Arts style

June 28, 2013 LI: Has State Opened Door to Defense Introducing Martin Fight Video?

June 28, 2013 LI: Day 5 – Analysis & Video – State’s own witnesses undercut theory of guilt

June 29, 2013 LOSD: If State can’t get murder 2, can they get manslaughter? Yes . . . and no

June 30, 2013 LOSD: Evidentiary Flashback: AUTOPSY REPORT: Clinical cause of death of Trayvon Martin

June 30, 3013 LOSD: Why Can Martin’s Parents Stay in Courtroom, But Zimmerman’s Family Can’t? FL Law Explained

June 30, 2013 LI: How Much Injury Is Required Before Self-Defense is Justified?

July 1, 2013 LOSD: Evidentiary Flashback: Investigator Serino Tells FBI He Was Pressured to Bring Charges

July 1, 2013 LI: Mid-Day 6 — Zimmerman recounts fight for his life (recording)

July 1, 2013 LI: Day 6 – Analysis & Video – State’s witness Chris Serino seriously undermines charge

July 2, 2013 LOSD: Investigator Chris Serino Demoted to Patrolman by Superiors

July 2, 2013 LI: Mid-Day 7 — Serino more ambivalent, Osterman supports self-defense

July 2, 2013 LI: Day 7 Wrap Up: Prosecution recovers a little, prepared to introduce college records

July 3, 2013 LI: BLOCKBUSTER: State witness says Zimmerman wanted to be Prosecutor!

July 3, 2013 LI: Mid-Day 8 — State Wins Evidentiary Battle, Loses Testimony War

July 3, 2013 LI: Day 8: Live Video, Analysis & Reader Poll: DNA Inconclusive & Judge Nelson Terse

July 4, 2013 LI: How We Got Here, And Where We’re Going

July 5, 2013 LI: Trayvon Martin’s Brother: Originally not sure if it was Trayvon screaming on 911 call

July 5, 2013 LI: Day 9 — Families Feud Over Scream Identification

July 7, 2013 LI: Why Zimmerman’s Motion for Acquittal Should Have Been Granted

July 8, 2013 LI: Day 10 — Mid-day — Vietnam Combat Medic Identifies Zimmerman as Screamer

July 8, 2013 LI: Implosion: Police Testify Trayvon’s Father Originally Denied Son Was Screaming

July 9, 2013 LOSD: What is the “Daubert standard” for admissibility of scientific evidence?

July 9, 2013 LI: Noted Forensic Pathologist Says Zimmerman Story “Consistent” with Evidence, As Defense Case Nears End

July 10, 2013 LI: Breaking – Jury will not get to see Trayvon fighting texts

July 10, 2013 LI: Defense Rests, Closing Statements Start Tomorrow

July 11, 2013 LI: The Jury Instructions

July 11, 2013 LI: State’s Closing Argument: Two Hours of Raising Doubt

July 12, 2013 LI: Defense Gives Evidence-Rich Closing, State Appeals to “Heart”

July 12, 2013 LI: Closing Analysis – O’Mara: No Evidence of Guilt; Guy: Martin Deserves the Truth

July 13, 2013 LI: Jury Asks for Clarification on Manslaughter

July 13, 2013 LI: Verdict Reached: NOT GUILTY

July 14, 2013 LOSD: Angela Corey’s “Downfall”– LMAO Funny!

July 16, 2013 LI: Post-Zimmerman Acquittal: Civil Rights, Immunity, and Perjury

July 16, 2013 LI: Attorney Andrew Branca Participates on NPR Zimmerman Panel

July 25, 2013 LI: When Is Evidence of Your Attacker’s Character Admissible In Court?

July 26, 2013 LI: Why Judge Nelson Was Wrong to Exclude Martin’s Cell Phone Evidence

August 11, 2013 LI: True Story: GA Sex Offender Seeks Re-Trial of Zimmerman

August 19, 2013 LI: Deceptive Trayvon Martin Shooting Reenactment Video Released

 

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is a Massachusetts lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), the NRA Store, Gun Digest, and many other re-sellers.

Andrew also gives live, in-person, ~5 hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars all over the country, with upcoming seminars covering the self-defense laws of California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. (If you don’t see a seminar scheduled for your state, contact us at: seminar “at” lawofselfdefense “dot” com.)

Andrew also produces many 4-5 hour online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense training courses.These online classes are enriched versions of the live, in-person state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars Andrew gives all around the country. Right now Colorado,Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia are online and immediately available, followed by many additional states.  These online classes are priced at $99/HOUSEHOLD. You can learn more details and view the first section of the training class for free (about 30 minutes worth of self-defense law training) by clicking here.

Andrew also produces free online self-defense law video lectures and podcasts through the Law of Self Defense Institute. You can be automatically informed of new video lectures by subscribing the Law of Self Defense Youtube channel. You can be automatically informed of new podcasts by subscribing through iTunes, Stitcher, RSS feed, or you can simply direct download podcasts to your preferred device.

Zimmerman Libel Suit Against NBC Thrown Out

Hey folks,

How can we miss her, when she won’t go away?

Judge Debra Nelson, who presided over the murder trial of George Zimmerman, today issued a ruling dismissing his libel suit against NBC (a copy of that ruling can be found at the bottom of this post).

Those of us who followed the Zimmerman murder trial closely will recall Judge Nelson as ruling so consistently in favor of the Prosecution, fairly bending over backwards in her deference to prosecution arguments.

In contrast, her rulings in favor of the defense were few and far between. It was surely a similar perception by the defense that inhibited them from ever seeking self-defense immunity for Zimmerman, as provided for under Florida statute 776.032 “Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.”

That the same judge who so consistently ruled against Zimmerman at his murder trial would be the one chosen to also preside over his libel suit against NBC is eye brow raising, to say the least.

To read my full post on this travesty of justice, as well as the full-length opinion, click over to Legal Insurrection:

Zimmerman Libel Suit Against NBC Thrown Out

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He holds many state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and produces a series of Law of Self Defense Videocasts and Podcasts available on iTunes, Stitcher, and RSS).

VIDEO: US Senate Stand-Your Ground Hearings, Senator Cruz, Follow-Up (10/29/13)

Hey folks,

More Ted Cruz goodness–these are follow-up comments, after the various witnesses brought to testify in the hearing had completed their prepared remarks:

In particular he notes that then-Senator Obama voted for self-defense immunity laws in Illinois before he was elected to higher office. Cruz also jabs at Sen. Durbin’s efforts to target ALEC and chill free speech. Durbin’s hissy-fit in response can be seen at about the 8:20 mark, telling the audience “don’t take my word for it, take the word of the NAACP.” Haha. “Racism!!11!”, the ultimate refuge of the coward. 🙂

Also, don’t forget that I did an overview of the entire hearing at Legal Insurrection: “Stand Your Ground” opponents mangle law and Trayvon facts at Senate Hearing

-–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, Facebook: LOSD


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country, with upcoming seminars scheduled for Atlanta GA (11/16), and Epping NH (11/24, at the SigSauer Academy, where Andrew is a Guest Instructor). Click here for reviews of recently completed seminars in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, and elsewhere.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

VIDEO: Law of Self Defense and Cornell Law School Finally Meet

Well, today I finally got to meet Professor William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection in meat space–and neither of us recognized each other. Apparently we both look markedly different than our pictures.  I also had the opportunity to meet his lovely wife, Wendy (please, God, let me have gotten that name right–I have a cognitive defect when it comes to just-learned names).

The purpose of our meeting was for both of us to speak at Cornell Law School on the subject of the Zimmerman Trial–“Did the jury get it right?”–at the invitation of the Cornell Law Second Amendment Club, led by 3L student Jon Underwood.  If his name sounds British, just wait until you hear his accent–a decided (but very pleasant) surprise in the position of Second Amendment Club president.  Jon also mentioned during our talk that he possessed a Florida CCW.  Good for him.

Jon Underwood, Andrew Branca, Professor William Jacobson (l-to-r)
Jon Underwood, Andrew Branca, Professor William Jacobson (l-to-r)

The Professor spoke with great clarity and insight on some of the political issues around the Zimmerman trial.  It was my job to speak to some of the more technical legal issues in the context of the actual facts in evidence.  Unfortunately, I only pulled my own presentation together yesterday, and it showed.  I stumbled a bit around some of the slides, starting to talk on issues I’d intended to cover in detail later in the deck, that kind of thing. The slides themselves are awesome–and presented below–but my execution of them was lacking.

On the other hand, the Q&A session after the formal session went wonderfully, I thought, and the attending students seemed to agree.  It’s so much easier to answer direct questions and engage in a dialogue than to present into a “vacuum”.  That’s why I build so many Q&A pauses into my LOSD seminars.

Cornell Law School was kind enough to send me a link to the video of the talk, available here.

Andrew Branca, Law of Self Defense, Speaks at Cornell Law School

The first two minutes of the video is introductions by Jon Underwood, after which Professor Jacobson speaks. I start right about the :31 mark, and continue until just after the 1:00 mark. The Professor and I then spend about another 40 minutes answering questions (with me conveniently sitting just off screen to the left–oh well.) 🙂

In addition, below you can find the actual slides I used in the presentations (I had to cut them into Part 1 and Part 2 to get them uploaded here).

[gview file=”http://lawofselfdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LOSD-Presentation-Cornell-9-12-13-PDF-PART-1.pdf”]

[gview file=”http://lawofselfdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LOSD-Presentation-Cornell-9-12-13-PDF-PART-2.pdf”]

Tomorrow I have 8 or 9 hours of riding from Ithaca, NY to Toledo, OH, and Saturday morning I present the LOSD Seminar in Toledo, hosted by  RE/MAX Masters, and then Saturday evening I do a repeat performance at Gun Envy in Columbus, OH.  Sunday I ride from Columbus to West Elkton (Cincinnati/Dayton area), where I give a third LOSD Seminar Sunday evening, hosted by Mad Duck Training (I’ve provided a link, but that one’s sold out).

By then I should have the lengthier LOSD seminar down pat.  🙂

I hope to see a bunch of you there!

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


LOSD2 SEMINAR ALERT

Andrew is currently in the process of planning his Fall 2013 Seminars. Please see Law of Self Defense Seminars/Webinars to get more information.

STATE-SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENTS NOW AVAILABLE AT PRE-PUBLICATION DISCOUNT (38% OFF)

“The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” covers the current state of self-defense law in all 50 states. We’ve heard from many of you, however, that you’d like to dive even deeper into the self-defense law of your particular state–to have on hand the full-text of every self-defense statute, jury instruction, and even the full-text of the most important and controlling self-defense court decisions. Fitting 50-states worth of level of comprehensive detail would result in a book that weighs 500 lbs, which is why we didn’t take that approach in “The Law of Self Defense.” Due to the great demand for this further detail, however, we have begun rolling out a series of State-Specific Supplements that do provide exactly such  comprehensive coverage of each particular state’s self-defense law. Right now these are available on a pre-publication basis at a 38% discount, with delivery of each to occur over the next 2-3 months–pre-publication customers will, as always, receive their books first, with shipment to the general public not beginning until all pre-publication customers have first been sent their books.  To see the five states we are starting with, vote for other states to be covered, or to place your pre-publication order, click here:  State-Specific Supplements.

About Andrew F. Branca

Andrew is an Massachusetts lawyer in his third decade of practice and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,, 2nd Edition” now available at www.lawofselfdefense.com and also at Amazon.com as either a hardcopy or in Kindle version.

He is also an attorney-member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, a Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-member and Certified NRA Instructor, and an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13) and Master-class IDPA competitor in CDP and SSP.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blogThe Law of Self Defense.

AUDIO: CNN Continues to Lie About Zimmerman/Martin Case

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 1.40.41 PM

Hey Folks,

While gathering some reference materials on the Zimmerman case I happened to come across a piece by CNN entitled “Trayvon Martin Shooting Fast Facts” (I’m not giving them a link, Google it if you want to see the actual piece). It should instead have been entitled “Playing Fast and Loose with the Facts”. In this piece, which is indicated as having been updated only days ago–August 29, 2013, 10:36PM EDT–CNN writes the following:

Timeline: February 26, 2012 – George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida, calls 911 to report “a suspicious person” in the neighborhood. He is instructed not to get out of his SUV or approach the person. Zimmerman disregards the instructions. Moments later, neighbors report hearing gunfire. Zimmerman acknowledges that he shot Martin, claiming it was in self-defense. In a police report, Officer Timothy Smith writes that Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and back of the head. (emphasis added)

Anyone who has followed the case knows that, in fact, Zimmerman was never instructed not to get out of his vehicle, and so of course could not have disregarded such an instruction. It is also known that when asked by the dispatcher if he was following Martin–in direct response to the dispatcher asking for information about Martin’s direction of flight–Zimmerman acknowledge that he was, to which the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that.” This can hardly be be termed an “instruction”, and in any case the dispatcher testified in court that he would not give commands remotely to a person on the scene. In any case, Zimmerman immediately assented to the suggestion.

Indeed, here is the relevant transcript of that non-emergency call:

Zimmerman:  Shit, he’s running.

Dispatcher:  He’s running?  Which way is he running?

[Sound of car door opening.]

Zimmerman:  [Grunts.]  Down towards the other entrance of the neighborhood.

[Sound of car door closing.]

Dispatcher:  OK, and which entrance is that he’s heading towards.

Zimmerman:  The back entrance. . . .  [mutters] Fucking punks [puddles?].

[Wind/breathing noise.]

Dispatcher:  Are you following him?

Zimmerman:  Yeah.

Dispatcher:  OK, we don’t need you to do that.

Zimmerman:  OK.

And if you’d like to link to the actual recording of that portion of Zimmerman’s non-emergency call to police, February 26, 2012:

 

Shameless, CNN–but then, it’s what we’ve long grown to expect. Is it any wonder that you have roughly one-third the total viewers as Fox in 2Q2013 (673,000 to 1.984 million, respectively, accordingly to the Huffington Post)?

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


LOSD2 SEMINAR ALERT

Andrew is currently in the process of planning his Fall 2013 Seminars. Please see Law of Self Defense Seminars/Webinars to get more information.

STATE-SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENTS NOW AVAILABLE AT PRE-PUBLICATION DISCOUNT (38% OFF)

“The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” covers the current state of self-defense law in all 50 states. We’ve heard from many of you, however, that you’d like to dive even deeper into the self-defense law of your particular state–to have on hand the full-text of every self-defense statute, jury instruction, and even the full-text of the most important and controlling self-defense court decisions. Fitting 50-states worth of level of comprehensive detail would result in a book that weighs 500 lbs, which is why we didn’t take that approach in “The Law of Self Defense.” Due to the great demand for this further detail, however, we have begun rolling out a series of State-Specific Supplements that do provide exactly such  comprehensive coverage of each particular state’s self-defense law. Right now these are available on a pre-publication basis at a 38% discount, with delivery of each to occur over the next 2-3 months–pre-publication customers will, as always, receive their books first, with shipment to the general public not beginning until all pre-publication customers have first been sent their books.  To see the five states we are starting with, vote for other states to be covered, or to place your pre-publication order, click here:  State-Specific Supplements.

About Andrew F. Branca

Andrew is an Massachusetts lawyer in his third decade of practice and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,, 2nd Edition” now available at www.lawofselfdefense.com and also at Amazon.com as either a hardcopy or in Kindle version.

He is also an attorney-member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, a Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-member and Certified NRA Instructor, and an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13) and Master-class IDPA competitor in CDP and SSP.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blogThe Law of Self Defense.

WSJ: Legal Insights on the Zimmerman Verdict

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 12.17.46 PM
July 14, 2013, 12:02 PM ET

Legal Insights on the Zimmerman Verdict

By Joe Palazzolo

George Zimmerman leaves court with his family after Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict was read in court.
George Zimmerman leaves court with his family after Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict was read in court.

We asked a panel of self-defense experts for reactions to a jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Joshua Dressler, a professor at The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law, said the acquittal came as no surprise. In an email to Law Blog, he wrote:

Given the presumption of innocence and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which places an even greater burden of proof on the prosecutor, the acquittal was no surprise in light of the conflicting evidence.  One could see that the prosecutor knew he was in trouble when he asked to include a manslaughter count, and even tried the outrageous felony-murder count (that the judge rejected).  Race was never expressly raised, but it was still there lurking.  The question that the criminal trial didn’t answer, and probably couldn’t is whether, had Trayvon Martin had been white, Zimmerman would have grown suspicion and confronted the person so aggressively.

The state’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law removed a person’s duty to try to run away in the face of danger before using deadly force, created a presumption that such force is lawful and immunized those who kills in self-defense from prosecution and private lawsuits.

The law provides that a person who claims to have killed in self-defense can seek a court ruling, before any trial, that they acted legally, but Mr. Zimmerman and his lawyer decided against that option and presented his case directly to a jury.

Still, according to Mr. Dressler, the law played a role in the trial.

The statute itself places the burden of persuasion regarding self-defense on the prosecutor  — to prove that the defendant did NOT act in self-defense.  In the past, in most states, if a defendant claimed self-defense, it was up to the defendant to prove he DID act in self-defense.  So the SYG law in this case had an important legal impact.

Stephen P. Garvey, a professor at Cornell Law School, said he thinks the jury “got it right.”

Unless you think Zimmerman “provoked” the use of force against himself it was pretty easy to find self defense. If you think he did “provoke” the use of force you have a pretty expansive view of provocation. Think about it. Even if Zimmerman did follow Martin, should that mean he loses the right to defend himself when thereafter faced with an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm?  Following someone when maybe you shouldn’t make you guilty of murder, or even manslaughter.

Andrew Branca, a Massachusetts lawyer and author of “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” went even further. The Zimmerman case, he said, “would make a very nice case study of the justifiable use of deadly force in self-defense for a law school criminal law text book.”

Mr. Branca explained why the most recognizable aspect of the “Stand Your Ground” law didn’t apply in Mr. Zimmerman’s case.

“Stand your ground” is a legal release from the traditional duty to retreat, if safely possible, before using force in self-defense.  When safe retreat is not possible, however, the duty does not apply.  If the duty does not apply, “stand your ground” is not needed to release you from that duty. In this case, at the moment George Zimmerman used deadly force in self-defense his attacker was pinning him to the ground and reaching for his gun. [This is Mr. Zimmerman’s version of events.] Under such circumstances no reasonable avenue of self-defense exists, so there is no duty to retreat even absent “stand your ground.”

The next legal issue will likely center on Florida’s self-defense immunity statute, 776.032, he said. (The immunity provision was passed as part of the “Stand Your Ground” law.)

While Mr. Zimmerman’s defense lawyers elected against seeking immunity before trial, they have said they will do so should he face a private lawsuit related to Trayvon Martin’s death, Mr. Branca noted.

Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Angela Corey's "Downfall"– LMAO Funny!

Hey folks,

Just learned that Evi L. Bloggerlady (@MsEBL on Twitter) put together a “Downfall” video for the Zimmerman verdict.

It is fall-off-your-chair funny. If you are eating or drinking, stop before watching the video, or be prepared to do an extensive cleaning of your computer.

Hey @MsEBL, there’s a nicely autographed book on its way you to you! Thanks!

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense