T. Goodwin: Evidence resulted in fair verdict

The Bangor Daily News article, “Polls show racial divide,” printed in the Sun Journal July 23, contains at least two flat-out factual errors, that a responsible publication ought to correct.

The first states that people gathered to “call for an end to the so-called stand-your-ground laws that the teenager’s shooter used in his defense.” The fact is that stand-your-ground, so-called or not, played no part — none — in George Zimmerman’s defense. The defense he pursued was standard self-defense, a concept that is valid not only in Florida but also in every other state, including Maine.

The second misstatement in the article is: “Zimmerman was found not guilty in the case, in part because of Florida’s stand-your-ground law ...” Again, that would be correct only if stand-your-ground had been in the case — which it was not.

Zimmerman was found not guilty because the jury found that his use of deadly force was justified under the facts and circumstances of the case. Stated more precisely, the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his use of deadly force was not justified.

There may or may not be a good case against stand-your-ground laws, but the Trayvon Martin case has nothing to do with that issue — except in the minds of people who have an agenda to advance, and who are willing to distort the truth to advance it.

Thomas L. Goodwin, Lewiston

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

I have a little different view of things............

I look at this case in the only way I can, I was not present in the courtroom, and I only know what I read.
I'm also looking at this through the eyes of my former self, a bouncer in numerous clubs. I know that every single confrontation I ever had with anyone, was at risk of producing a law suit. We were trained how to properly engage the trouble makers with out fear of retribution. In other words "Legally".
Having said that, I look at the numerous mistakes Mr. Zimmerman made, and how Mr. Martin could have handled things differently had common sense prevailed.
First mistake made, George Zimmerman was armed. Then he exited his vehicle. He now has placed himself as the aggressor. He followed Mr. Martin, convincing himself he is a crime fighter stalking a criminal. All this time, Mr. Martin , despite his background or record, hasn't done anything wrong. He is being followed by an armed vigilante, for committing no crime.
At some point Mr. Martin concludes he is being followed,
Mr. Martins first mistake, he decided to confront his aggressor. As apposed to knocking on a door, or finding a crowded, or well lit area to protect himself.
As I see it George Zimmerman forced Trevon Martin into a defensive mode. I probably would have reacted the same way, in that sort of area. Had this been a fair fight, Mr. Zimmerman would have gotten what he deserved, but this was never a fair fight. Trevon Martin was stalked unfairly, forced to defend himself from a stranger, and was subsequently shot and killed supposedly in self defense.
Mr. Zimmerman was cleared by a jury of intentionally confused people. They have already come out and said they felt he was guilty, but due to the judges instructions had no choice but to acquit.
Another aspect of this case is the out pouring of ridicule for the acquittal. Just why is that? Could it be that a whole lot of people outside of Florida, saw the injustice. I think by the numbers alone. Trevon Martin is dead, for no other reason than Mr. Zimmerman's twisted thinking and the fact that he consciously decided to exit that car...............

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

No way was it ever a fair

No way was it ever a fair fight. Martin at 6' 2" and 175 pounds was beating the crap out of Zimmerman. When you're on top of a guy, pounding his head into the pavement, when does THAT cease being self defense? Had Zimmerman not been carrying a gun, he could easily be on life assist in a Florida hospital in a comatose state. Yes; many bad decisions were made that night.

Betty Davies's picture

Thoise were lies about Trayvon Martin

The REAL Trayvon Martin (the one in question, not a man with the same name whose Facebook photo & stats were swiped) was 5 foot 11 and weighed 158 pounds. The real Trayvon Martin is also not the rapper Jayceon Terrell Taylor, whose photo is also often claimed to be one of Zimmerman's victim. Please review--http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/martin.asp

Zimmerman (Trayvon's assailant) was shorter (5'8") but weighed about 200 pounds.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The truth always lies

The truth always lies somewhere in the middle but Trayvon Martin was not the angelic altar boy some are attempting to make him out to have been any more than George Zimmerman is the aggressive gun toting monster he is being portrayed as.
However, if I'm going to fight someone, I'll take 5'11" and 158 pounds over 5'8" and 200 pounds any day. Remember, it was Martin who broke Zimmerman's nose and was on top of him pounding his head into the pavement.

Wrongful death

What many defending the verdict are missing is that if this had been in any state that did not have Stand Your Ground as a self-defense law, he would have been guilty because the prosecution would have clearly shown that Zimmerman willfully put himself into a position where he could be attacked*. Juror B29 (or 26 or whatever vitamins she is) made that point very clear, and I agree with her: there really was no choice but to clear him given the circumstances of the law (which is my basis for defending the law, not that Zimmerman did nothing wrong). But he still killed someone when he could have avoided it. Which is why I really hope his parents bring that wrongful death lawsuit and take him for everything he is going to be worth for the rest of his life. What happened may have been legal (in Florida), but that does not make it morally correct.

(* No, Mark, Eric, and Mike, Stand Your Ground was not specifically invoked, but you are ignoring three points every time you make that claim: 1) he was initially released because he claimed stand your ground -- Against the advice of the arresting officer, BTW -- because the law does not allow prosecution of a defendant making this claim. 2) the defense considered using Stand Your Ground as a defense, but it would have required a pretrial hearing which the defense declined to have, because they didn't want to give away their defense in case the judge disagreed that Stand Your Ground applied. 3) even when Stand Your Ground is not invoked in a trial, judge is still required to issue instructions that use the language of the law, specifically telling the jury to ignore any opportunity that Zimmerman may have had to avoid or escape the confrontation. Hence, Stand Your Ground, while not front and center, was in the background and influenced the entire process. THAT is why it is still a part of the conversation.)

RONALD RIML's picture

No question to it

The actions of Zimmerman led to Martin's death. The 'Stalker' will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.

His defenders can best help him by contributing to a "Re-Location and Re-Identification" Fund.

Pony up Guys. Put your money where your mouths are.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Not necessarily so. He merely

Not necessarily so. He merely has to change his name to Ben Gahzi and he will be all but guaranteed total anonymity by the media.

RONALD RIML's picture

Negatory, Big Ben......

Faux Noise will give him 24/7 ad Nauseum.....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Maybe, but the truth has to

Maybe, but the truth has to come from somewhere, doesn't it? Might as well be them.

Noel Foss's picture

To be fair, Ron,

The actions of Trayvon Martin also led to his death.
He chose to assault someone who was following him, and it resulted directly in his death.
While I certainly don't support George Zimmerman's decision to follow Trayvon Martin in the first place, more inexcusable was Trayvon's decision to opt for Assault and Battery.

Betty Davies's picture

If only Trayvon had stood his ground--while armed

Trayvon Martin was being followed by a suspicious-looking character while he was headed to the home of his father's friend, with whom he was staying. He tried to evade the creep, but Zimmerman kept getting closer. He might have been able to make it to the door of his abide--but only with this character still on his heels, possibly planning to follow him inside and hurt eveyone. Instead, Martin stood his ground and faced down the sketchy stalker. I'm surprised the NRA hasn't argued that, if only Martin had been armed, he could shot Zimmerman, involved Stand Your Ground, and been alive today. A hero.

Noel Foss's picture

Trayvon Martin was 17.

Florida law requires that a person be 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit. If he'd been carrying a gun, it would have been illegal.

Additionally, George Zimmerman was following Martin from a well-lit street, not skulking behind him in the shadows. If Martin was really that concerned about being followed by a "suspicious character" then he should have called the police, not opted for assault.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I just can't follow the logic

People are still defending George Zimmerman, People keep saying he was just following Trevon Martin, like there was some sort of unwritten law that allows you to follow someone for no reason. I suppose in downtown Auburn you might get away with it to a point, but in other places it could be a suicidal act. We're I grew up in the Boston area, even back when I was a kid, it was just something no sane person did. Later when I worked in the Roxbury section of Boston, I carried a gun and still wouldn't follow someone, day or night. As for simply calling the police and waiting for them to arrive. Good luck, George Zimmerman was on the phone with the police, and he was still alone. If you think that if your being followed at night in an urban area, lighted or not, you are just going to call for help and assume the individual following you will also wait for help to arrive, you going to die waiting. At a time like that you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands.
Years later working for our beloved bakery in downtown Lewiston, I worked in New York City. We would deliver all night, in all areas of the city, we delivered in southern New Jersey cities and towns. One thing you had to do to stay safe was be aware of your surroundings. You have to know what or who is in your general vicinity. Something else I was taught to do was act like I owned the street, whenever I got out of my truck. Done properly even the panhandlers stayed away.
There are a whole different set of rules sometimes. In some areas the old rules everyone is aware of aren't very effective. One night we had our windshield smashed in Orange New Jersey at two in the morning. We called police, they wouldn't even respond unless an ambulance was also needed. That my friends is a neighborhood you don't go following someone at night.
You can blame who you want. Personally, I don't think either one of them should have been out like that. In this case however I feel Trevon Martin had just as much right to defend himself from possible attack as George Zimmerman had for being stupid..

Noel Foss's picture

I agree that Zimmerman should not have been following.

I've already stated it directly, in fact.
However, I'm not defending George Zimmerman and his series of foolish decisions; I'm defending the court's verdict of not guilty on a count of second degree murder.
The charges leveled against George Zimmerman revolved around his profiling and confronting Trayvon Martin while Martin was not committing any crimes. The evidence presented showed instead that Martin had assaulted Zimmerman, and that Zimmerman was then justified in his self-defense. Hence the innocent verdict that everybody is so fired up about, from a case that realistically should not have gone to court in the first place, based on the laws in place in Florida.
Zimmerman was found not guilty in a court of law. Unfortunately, that court operates completely independently from the Court of Public Opinion, which is much more vindictive and typically much less well-informed.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Point taken................

However, I still feel the court wasn't properly educated in the ways of the street. A fair trial would have given evidence that someone being followed in that manor. At that time of night, must assume the person following him, is preparing to commit a crime. Calling the police won't help, I never did hear exactly what the response time was for the police. That would be a critical piece of evidence. It's not like around here where you call the police and their here in like three minutes. As noted in an earlier post of mine, I had a brick thrown thru my windshield at two in the morning in Orange, New Jersey. I called the police, they don't even respond to the particular area I was in, unless an ambulance is required.
It's a crazy world, there is no one set of rules that work for everyone. If everyone would just mind their own business, we all might just make it through another day. I enjoy hibernating in my little house in the woods, The most danger I expect is if I forget to put the drain plug in my boat when I launch it. That's enough for me............................

RONALD RIML's picture

To be found guilty in a criminal trial - the standard of proof

is "Guilt beyond a Reasonable Doubt" - say, 90/10 - Obviously there was reasonable doubt placed in the mind of the jurors.

In a Civil Case - as there most likely will be, the standard of proof is "By a preponderance of the evidence" i.e. 51/49

Zimmerman's going to have a much tougher row to hoe.

RONALD RIML's picture

Thomas - About those 'People who distort the truth?'

The Bangor Daily News article, “Polls show racial divide” - was printed in the Lewiston Sun Journal - but came from the Bangor Daily News.

What did they tell you when you contacted them?? Or did you?

I ran a search on their site by your name to see if they published a letter to the editor from you complaining about the veracity of their article as you did here - but nothing.

So are you really complaining about the "People who distort the truth" - or those who reprint an article?

You tell us.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Speaking about distorting the

Speaking about distorting the truth, are you gazing in the mirror?

Are you the type scanning the newspapers daily looking for the death of George Zimmerman? Are you that sick?

 's picture

Since you agree with the OP ...

... and the rest of us, why don't you write the letter? First time for everything.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

People’s willingness to

People’s willingness to distort the truth goes way beyond stand-our-ground aspects of the trail.

Even seemly intelligent, adult people that post on this web-site vehemently claim that George Zimmerman use racial slurs, a claim that did not surface on the 911 taps, nor in trial testimony, nor in trial evidence.

It is amazing to the length people will go to ignore the facts of this case – amazing. I really wonder what motivates these people to lie.

RONALD RIML's picture

Mark writes:

"People’s willingness to distort the truth goes way beyond stand-our-ground aspects of the trail."

Zimmerman's defense team did not invoke "Stand your Ground" Defense. The issue is moot.

 's picture

Don't preach to the choir.

Tell it to the dopes who insist the defense used SYG every 30 seconds or so. Try Al and Jesse - good luck.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Persuasively why the truth

Persuasively why the truth goes way beyond it, beyond the empty set.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Darn auto-correct -

Darn auto-correct - Persuasively --> precisely

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Confucius say, "One learn

Confucius say, "One learn nothing from auto-correct; one learn much from pay attention to what fingers do". 0O:-)


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