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strappinglad

Whodathunkit - Little Old Provo

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On 7/19/2020 at 2:20 AM, Rajah Manchou said:

In my view there's no such thing as an open-and-shut case when a minor - who is not allowed to legally carry a gun - is shot and killed by a person who is allowed to carry a gun. Even if the claim is that it was done in self defence, there should be some serious questioning and introspection on why and how it happened. I think most people could agree that if a 17 year old son, brother or friend was walking home one night and ended up shot dead by a neighbor, we'd be asking a lot of questions. Isn't that the normal thing to do when a teenager gets shot? 

You are acting as if none of this was done though. It was. And at the end of the day there simply wasn't enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman for anything. 

Technically, the police recommended that he be charged with negligent manslaughter, but that was really just so the state attorney's office could continue the investigation if they wanted (which is sort of the police department's way of covering themselves / passing the buck). The state attorney's office, however, advised them both that first night and in the following days that there wasn't enough evidence to warrant an arrest (even for manslaughter). 

That was, of course, until the political pressure became too great and the state attorney who originally handled the case suddenly decided to recuse himself, making way for the governor to appoint a special prosecutor to the case who was then magically able to concoct sufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman, not merely with manslaughter but with second degree murder. 

Which, if you were to have watched the trial, you would know was a complete joke. The evidence simply wasn't there. Even to the lay observer it was painfully obvious that the state had no case whatsoever. It should have never been brought to trial, yet the government acquiesced to public pressure and decided to put him on trial anyway - that is what I find to be troubling.

 

12 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Perhaps he believed calling the police would increase his chance of dying? 

Why? Because police just can't help themselves from shooting black teenagers - especially those who call for assistance? 

 

12 hours ago, Calm said:

Or even just he would be the one arrested.

Well, he did have trace amounts of marijuana in his system that night, but he didn't have anything illegal on him; all he had was the famously reported bag of Skittles and can of Arizona Iced Tea. 

With that being the case, I honestly don't know how rational it would have been for him to believe that the police would show up and arrest him if he were to have called 911 and reported that a suspicious person was following him. 

I think pride and machismo were far bigger factors than any sort of fear of the police. 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

... That's true, but the crime rate in those outlying areas is remarkably low. ...

Yes, it is ... until ... it isn't.  (That is to say, overall, the rate may be low, and even a relatively major incident every now and again isn't likely to change the overall rate much, but that won't make much difference to those whose lives are most affected by those "rare" events.)

P.S. Frankly, I worry about him for that very reason.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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On 7/18/2020 at 9:05 PM, Amulek said:

While I don't believe it discredits what has become the larger Black Lives Matter movement, I can't help but regret that two of the touchstone cases which sparked it were heavily steeped in misinformation and/or outright lies.

Add to these the Eric Garner “chokehold” death and there’s a clear pattern of these things being misrepresented in the media. Lies and misrepresentation undermine the cause for those who have legitimate concerns. 

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

Your credibility just took a dive for me. There has never been a great fruitcake! ;) 

Childhood memories.  Vera made a great fruitcake, and I'm sorry you never had a chance to taste it.

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19 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Childhood memories.  Vera made a great fruitcake, and I'm sorry you never had a chance to taste it.

So am I. They make me cringe. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Amulek said:

You are acting as if none of this was done though. It was. And at the end of the day there simply wasn't enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman for anything. 

Technically, the police recommended that he be charged with negligent manslaughter, but that was really just so the state attorney's office could continue the investigation if they wanted (which is sort of the police department's way of covering themselves / passing the buck). The state attorney's office, however, advised them both that first night and in the following days that there wasn't enough evidence to warrant an arrest (even for manslaughter). 

That was, of course, until the political pressure became too great and the state attorney who originally handled the case suddenly decided to recuse himself, making way for the governor to appoint a special prosecutor to the case who was then magically able to concoct sufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman, not merely with manslaughter but with second degree murder. 

Which, if you were to have watched the trial, you would know was a complete joke. The evidence simply wasn't there. Even to the lay observer it was painfully obvious that the state had no case whatsoever. It should have never been brought to trial, yet the government acquiesced to public pressure and decided to put him on trial anyway - that is what I find to be troubling.

You vastly underestimate the political nature of such incidents, which can make a public trial essential.  You seem to be working on the assumption that your version of the events makes any further discussion completely unnecessary.  That is what we should find troubling. 

Quote

Why? Because police just can't help themselves from shooting black teenagers - especially those who call for assistance? 

Why would Trayvon trust the police, even if he thought of calling?  Black men do not believe generally that they are safe when police respond -- even if they are the ones seeking assistance.

Quote

Well, he did have trace amounts of marijuana in his system that night, but he didn't have anything illegal on him; all he had was the famously reported bag of Skittles and can of Arizona Iced Tea. 

With that being the case, I honestly don't know how rational it would have been for him to believe that the police would show up and arrest him if he were to have called 911 and reported that a suspicious person was following him. 

I think pride and machismo were far bigger factors than any sort of fear of the police.

I think that blaming the victim is unconscionable.  We see a similar attitude among those who justify the three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

Personally, if I were black I would never hazard jogging through a white neighborhood.  In any contact with a white police officer, I would say "yes, sir," and agree to a search immediately.  I would realize that rights on paper are meaningless.

It is likewise foolish for any woman to go walking or running on her own, but women often assume that nothing could possibly go wrong.  Ignorance is bliss, at least for awhile.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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12 hours ago, Amulek said:

You are acting as if none of this was done though. 

No, I'm responding to your frequent comments that there should have never been a trial. When it is one man's word versus a dead man's word, prove that it was self-defence, without any negligence. At the very least prove that it wasn't imperfect self-defence which in some states is a form of manslaughter.

10 hours ago, JarMan said:

Lies and misrepresentation undermine the cause for those who have legitimate concerns. 

 What in Garner's case is the legitimate concern?

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6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

You vastly underestimate the political nature of such incidents, which can make a public trial essential. 

Personally, I tend to favor Chief Justice John Marshall's observation in Marbury v. Madison that the United States has "a government of laws and not of men."

Our legal system ought to be politically neutral - one that dispenses justice evenhandedly, without regard to partisan concerns or the identities of the parties. 

That impartiality is undermined when our legal system acquiesces to the will of the mob. 

 

Quote

You seem to be working on the assumption that your version of the events makes any further discussion completely unnecessary.  That is what we should find troubling. 

We aren't talking about "[my] version of the events" though. We are talking about the actual facts and evidence associated with the case. 

When it comes to what can be proven in court, there wasn't nearly enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of second degree murder (or even manslaughter), yet he was put on trial for those crimes anyway.

That is not how our justice system is supposed to work. 

 

Quote

I think that blaming the victim is unconscionable. 

I think the two of us have come to different conclusions about who was the victim of an actual crime that night. 

Probably best to just let it go at this point. 

 

Edited by Amulek
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3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

No, I'm responding to your frequent comments that there should have never been a trial. When it is one man's word versus a dead man's word, prove that it was self-defence, without any negligence. At the very least prove that it wasn't imperfect self-defence which in some states is a form of manslaughter.

Perhaps you aren't from America (I honestly don't know / recall), but that's not how our criminal justice system works. 

You are presumed innocent. The burden is on the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Perhaps you aren't from America (I honestly don't know / recall), but that's not how our criminal justice system works. 

You are presumed innocent. The burden is on the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. 

I am well aware of that. But this is different from saying as you are that "it should have never been brought to trial". Let's not confuse lack of enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt with the process required to reach that conclusion.

According to a jury member, in an initial vote, three of the jurors had voted to find Zimmerman not guilty, two had voted to find him guilty of manslaughter and one had voted to find him guilty of second-degree murder. "there was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something and after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law, and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there's just no way, other place to go." Jurors cried when they submitted their final vote to the court officer. 

This was far from the open and shut case that you make it out to be.

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41 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Personally, I tend to favor Chief Justice John Marshall's observation in Marbury v. Madison that the United States has "a government of laws and not of men."

Our legal system ought to be politically neutral - one that dispenses justice evenhandedly, without regard to partisan concerns or the identities of the parties. 

That impartiality is undermined when our legal system acquiesces to the will of the mob

We aren't talking about "[my] version of the events" though. We are talking about the actual facts and evidence associated with the case. 

When it comes to what can be proven in court, there wasn't nearly enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of second degree murder (or even manslaughter), yet he was put on trial for those crimes anyway.

That is not how our justice system is supposed to work

There is the pretend world in which govt systems work the way they are supposed to (whatever that is), and then there is the real world.  I live in the real world, even though I would prefer the better world you are talking about here. It does have a dreamlike quality, and the Constitution is kind of like Scripture in positing high ideals.  As an undergrad, I briefed Marbury v Madison, and got a perfect score.  John Marshall is my hero.  Unfortunately, Plato was right to fear mobocracy.  And politics plays a central role in all our institutions.  Together we negotiate our future, and those of us who don't want to go along with it get jostled willy nilly on the road to oblivion with all the rest.

41 minutes ago, Amulek said:

I think the two of us have come to different conclusions about who was the victim of an actual crime that night. 

Probably best to just let it go at this point.

Such disagreements are inevitable, and we solve them with an imperfect judicial system.  The notion that one side or the other in a dispute is right is completely irrelevant.  The only purpose of our courts is to resolve the disputes, not to find right answers.

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I am well aware of that. But this is different from saying as you are that "it should have never been brought to trial". Let's not confuse lack of enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt with the process required to reach that conclusion.

According to a jury member, in an initial vote, three of the jurors had voted to find Zimmerman not guilty, two had voted to find him guilty of manslaughter and one had voted to find him guilty of second-degree murder. "there was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something and after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law, and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there's just no way, other place to go." Jurors cried when they submitted their final vote to the court officer. 

This was far from the open and shut case that you make it out to be.

Not really. If you look at competent legal analysis from ABC, the Washington Post, etc., you'll find that they all pretty much agreed that there was no case. 

For a sample, scroll down to the end of the Wiki page you just quoted from and read the "Notable Responses" section where you will find Christopher Darden, trial prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case, saying, "[J]ust about everything the prosecution has asserted in this case has been addressed by the defense and refuted. ... [Y]ou have to wonder if you're a juror sitting on this case, why was this prosecution brought in the first place? ... I mean, there are just huge, huge holes in the prosecution's case."

For a longer treatise, you can read ABC's analysis here. A snippet: "Now that the prosecution's case against Zimmerman is in, as a legal matter, I just don't see how a jury convicts him of second degree murder or even manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin."

Heck, even Slate was saying as much (link): "Barring any unforeseen complications, George Zimmerman’s defense team is expected to rest its case this afternoon. While the trial’s not over yet, many observers have already made up their minds: Zimmerman will be found not guilty. [...] I think they’re right."

 

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Imagine all the bandwidth and newsprint saved had Zimmerman not had a gun but had allowed his skull to be cracked open by Martin. End of story.

Meanwhile , rioters are burning police stations in Portland. Sorry , I should have said peaceful protesters. 

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1 hour ago, strappinglad said:

Imagine all the bandwidth and newsprint saved had Zimmerman not had a gun but had allowed his skull to be cracked open by Martin. 

Or better had chosen not to follow him at all but stayed in his car.  No one would have been hurt. 

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2 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Imagine all the bandwidth and newsprint saved had Zimmerman not had a gun but had allowed his skull to be cracked open by Martin. End of story.

Meanwhile , rioters are burning police stations in Portland. Sorry , I should have said peaceful protesters. 

A long time ago, deep in snowy midwinter in Missouri, I showed up for court.  The officer who issued me my traffic ticket was there ready to testify against me, if necessary.  The clerk read off the list of the cases by name.  When he got to my name I pleaded "Guilty, your honor."  Then waited my turn.  A lot of people hadn't bothered to show up and bench warrants were issued for each.  Finally, it got to me, and I came up to the bar and stood there.  The judge asked if I had gotten the new license.  I said yes, and he then asked me to show it to the city attorney.  When the atty nodded to the judge, the judged quickly gavelled a "directed verdict of not guilty."  I was stunned, and as I walked off asked the officer what happened.  He simply said "leniency."  Leniency is the hallmark of American jurisprudence.  It would be nice if we could extend that to life in general.

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20 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

What in Garner's case is the legitimate concern?

Mostly what I mentioned earlier. The officers need better training to understand there are potentially serious health risks to keep certain people face down in handcuffs for a prolonged period. And their grappling needs to be improved. In this video two highly experienced grapplers that train police officers break down the situation pretty well. Around the 28 minute mark they start to show some better techniques that could have been used. Cops need to have regular mat time where they regularly work on techniques in a live grappling environment. I've trained with several police officers over the years but there are not nearly enough who are receiving additional training.

Also, it's hard to fault the officers for arresting a man they believe has committed a crime. The officers didn't make the law. If we're looking for blame here, maybe we ought to look at the state legislature that put high taxes on cigarettes and created a black market. One of the side effects is that now you have to enforce laws against bootleg cigarettes.

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21 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

A long time ago, deep in snowy midwinter in Missouri, I showed up for court.  The officer who issued me my traffic ticket was there ready to testify against me, if necessary.  The clerk read off the list of the cases by name.  When he got to my name I pleaded "Guilty, your honor."  Then waited my turn.  A lot of people hadn't bothered to show up and bench warrants were issued for each.  Finally, it got to me, and I came up to the bar and stood there.  The judge asked if I had gotten the new license.  I said yes, and he then asked me to show it to the city attorney.  When the atty nodded to the judge, the judged quickly gavelled a "directed verdict of not guilty."  I was stunned, and as I walked off asked the officer what happened.  He simply said "leniency."  Leniency is the hallmark of American jurisprudence.  It would be nice if we could extend that to life in general.

I totally agree with the sentiment, but your story got me curious, why did you have to go to court if you were not disputing the citation? 

 

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8 minutes ago, pogi said:

I totally agree with the sentiment, but your story got me curious, why did you have to go to court if you were not disputing the citation?

Under Missouri law then, I had to post a $50 bond for not having a current Missouri DL, but it turned out to be something like a fix-it ticket, and I had a court date to show up and demonstrate that I had complied.  In California, I could have shown the new license to a clerk and been on my way.  Every state has its own way.  Much later, when I went to work for law enforcement, my background officer told me that Missouri had already destroyed all those records.  Now that we have digital records, nothing gets destroyed.

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

I totally agree with the sentiment, but your story got me curious, why did you have to go to court if you were not disputing the citation? 

 

There's a body of traffic related offenses for which there is issued a "fix it" ticket. This is one of those 

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On 7/21/2020 at 2:42 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

A long time ago, deep in snowy midwinter in Missouri, I showed up for court.  The officer who issued me my traffic ticket was there ready to testify against me, if necessary.  The clerk read off the list of the cases by name.  When he got to my name I pleaded "Guilty, your honor."  Then waited my turn.  A lot of people hadn't bothered to show up and bench warrants were issued for each.  Finally, it got to me, and I came up to the bar and stood there.  The judge asked if I had gotten the new license.  I said yes, and he then asked me to show it to the city attorney.  When the atty nodded to the judge, the judged quickly gavelled a "directed verdict of not guilty."  I was stunned, and as I walked off asked the officer what happened.  He simply said "leniency."  Leniency is the hallmark of American jurisprudence.  It would be nice if we could extend that to life in general.

I notice there was apparently no leniency shown to those who failed to show up and for whom bench warrants were issued. 
 

Leniency is appropriate only for those who are properly remorseful and who show willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. 

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38 minutes ago, USU78 said:

There's a body of traffic related offenses for which there is issued a "fix it" ticket. This is one of those 

Right, I was just surprised he had to go to court over a simple fix it ticket traffic violation.

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2 hours ago, pogi said:

Right, I was just surprised he had to go to court over a simple fix it ticket traffic violation.

Some of these things require actual appearance before the court.

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On 7/20/2020 at 5:18 PM, Amulek said:

Why? Because police just can't help themselves from shooting black teenagers - especially those who call for assistance? 

For far too many.....unironically yes.

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On 7/20/2020 at 5:18 PM, Amulek said:

You are acting as if none of this was done though. It was. And at the end of the day there simply wasn't enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman for anything. 

I would have decided the same way as the jury. There was reasonable doubt. That being said I would find him morally culpable for the death even if I could not legally.

On 7/20/2020 at 5:18 PM, Amulek said:

Well, he did have trace amounts of marijuana in his system that night, but he didn't have anything illegal on him; all he had was the famously reported bag of Skittles and can of Arizona Iced Tea. 

With that being the case, I honestly don't know how rational it would have been for him to believe that the police would show up and arrest him if he were to have called 911 and reported that a suspicious person was following him. 

I think pride and machismo were far bigger factors than any sort of fear of the police. 

When I read over the trial I laughed at the testimony that there was enough marijuana to be "impaired". I work in drug testing. No.

The idea that you have to be doing something wrong or have something illegal on you to get harassed by the police is a fairy tale especially when you are a minority.

 

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

For far too many.....unironically yes.

Even one is too many. But all by itself it doesn’t establish universality — or even a trend. 

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