You can find links to the first three installments here.
Here are the rest;
Few elements of this case have been more widely misunderstood than the “stand your ground” (SYG) element. Quite simply, Florida’s SYG law, statute 776.012, simply rescinded a previous requirement that one had to retreat if possible before using deadly force in self-defense. This did not particularly change the rules of engagement. The previous law had demanded retreat only if it could be accomplished in complete safety to oneself and other innocent people present. It is hard to imagine a situation in which one WOULD kill another person if they could have simply walked away unscathed.
The firearms and ballistics evidence in this case was very important, one reason why the Kel-Tec PF9 9mm death weapon was first and foremost in the minds of journalists reporting on Eric Holder’s recent decision to have all evidence in this case held pending Federal investigation (again). One of the area newspapers reported in March that the death weapon was found with a spent casing still in the chamber. This would have been consistent with someone’s hand grabbing the gun and retarding the slide mechanism at the moment of the shot, and I surmised as much in the one blog entry I made on it at that time, prior to being contacted by the then-defense team and confidentiality issues kicking in from then on.
Much of this case came down to speculation versus fact. We saw it in the trial, we saw it in the prosecution’s case, we see it even in comments on this blog. In the spring of 2012, in the question/answer session that followed the CATO Institute “Stand Your Ground Symposium”, a sincere young man who happened to be African-American asked me if SYG protection would have been in effect for Trayvon Martin if he had been violently attacked by George Zimmerman, and had killed Zimmerman in self-defense. My answer was “Yes, of course.” And I would give the same answer now.
The discovery materials which the defense finally received from the prosecution after a long and arduous fight revealed Trayvon Martin to be deeply into drugs, and a young man who reveled in street fighting, and more. (Didn’t seem to have much respect for women, either.) None of that was allowed in.
Professionals in the justice system knew that the prosecution was desperately scraping the bottom of the barrel when they tried to make it look as if George Zimmerman wasn’t justified in shooting Trayvon Martin because Martin hadn’t hurt him badly enough yet.Part 9
Can someone spoon-feed BS to the media and sucker them into believing it?Part 10
Anyone who has trained with me in the last few years has heard me talk about what I call “combat semantics.” Smart debaters know that many words in our language have multiple shades of meaning, and they’ll often try to tell people that one of those words meant “B” when you used it, when in fact you really meant “A”. We saw this in more ways than one in the Zimmerman case.Part 11
Watching the Zimmerman trial in 2013 was like watching the OJ Simpson trial in 1995: while the general public got a hell of an education on how these things work thanks to live TV trial coverage, those “in the business” were assessing the skills and strategies of the key players.Part 12
The face of the defense was that of a two-man team, Mark O’Mara and Don West. The general consensus was that they did a helluva good job, and that O’Mara was the best lawyer in the courtroom during that trial
While there were two lawyers at the defense table, there were three at the State’s: Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, and Richard Mantei. With about a hundred lawyers to pick from, knowing her office would be in the spotlight, State’s Attorney Angela Corey wouldn’t have put anyone on the team she thought would make her look bad.
In the last installment, I said that it was the coach who sent the prosecution team in to try to win a game that never should have been played. The police had determined they didn’t have probable cause. The highly respected state’s attorney who had responsibility for the case, Norman Wolfinger, apparently agreed. When the plaintiff-orchestrated cause celebre created public outcry, Wolfinger scheduled the matter for the grand jury. But Florida Governor Rick Scott turned it over to Angela Corey, the state’s attorney for the Jacksonville area, to act as special prosecutor.Part 14
Of all the key figures in the courtroom during the Zimmerman trial, I found Judge Debra Nelson the most enigmatic'Part 15
Many advise people involved in shootings to say nothing to the police. I’m not among them. I've seen too many cases where declining to speak is heard as “I ain’t sayin’ nuttin’ ‘til my mouthpiece gets here,” and only the bad guy’s side of the story gets told or assumed. I do recommend that people caught up in these things tell the responding officers the nature of the attack on them which forced them to fire, and indicate that they’ll sign a complaint on the perpetrator. I also recommend pointing out evidence and witnesses, because both tend to disappear otherwise. From there on, I strongly suggest that they advise the police that they’ll fully cooperate after they've spoken with counsel.Read them all. By the time I did, I felt that he did a great job of explaining things.