Evidence and “ultimately avoidable” legal irrelevancy released in Trayvon Martin case
A trove of documents (embedded in viewer at bottom of post) was released tonight in the Trayvon Martin case. The big headline is that the police report prepared a month after the incident said it was “ultimately avoidable” if George Zimmerman never got out of the car. That’s legally irrelevant, as I’ll explain later.
First, the autopsy and other findings, summarized by The Orlando Sentinel:
The evidence — released by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey’s office late Thursday — includes a photocopy of a picture taken of George Zimmerman at the scene of the shooting. In it, he has a bloody nose.
Sanford Officer Michael Wagner pulled out his personal iPhone, he wrote in his report, and shot a photo of Zimmerman’s bloody nose. It appeared to him, Wagner wrote in his report, that Zimmerman’s nose was broken.
“I also saw that the back of Zimmerman’s head was also bloodied,” Wagner wrote.
Wagner downloaded the photo to his computer but never forwarded it to anyone else, he wrote, not until March 18, when he got word that the agency could find no photos of Zimmerman taken at the scene
Trayvon’s autopsy report is included in the released documents. In it, there is a diagram that shows the gunshot wound was approximately 3/8 inches across, and the “stippling,” powder burns that come as a result of a gunshot, was approximately 2 inches in diameter.
The burns are important because they prove the gun was fired from a very close range.
FDLE firearms expert Amy Siewert examined Trayvon’s gray sweatshirt and gray hoodie and wrote this about the gunpowder burns: “Both holes displayed residues and physical effects consistent with a contact shot.”
Translation: The gun was touching Trayvon’s clothing when Zimmerman pulled the trigger.
The bullet went through his heart, according to the report. The Volusia County medical examiner’s office pulled from Trayvon’s body one lead bullet core and two fragments, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab report. The report also showed a small “abrasion” on one finger on the other hand.
The autopsy report says there was THC — the active chemical found in marijuana — in Trayvon’s blood and urine.
Based on this description it doesn’t appear that Zimmerman “executed” Martin as some of the inflammatory rhetoric claims, unless there are details as to bullet trajectory which would indicate the shot was from above (indicating Zimmerman no longer was on the ground).
It’s legally irrelevant that the encounter could have been avoided if Zimmerman stayed in his car. The Stand Your Ground law talks about initiating physical contact in a very specific way (emphasis mine):
776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
Getting out of the car, in itself, is not provoking the use of force. The prosecution would have to show Zimmerman started the fight, not merely that he was in a place he has a right to be.
Even so, Zimmerman would have had legal protection even if he initiated contact if the counter-force were deadly or threatened serious bodily harm and there was no way to escape. There would be a fact issue if, as some reports say, Zimmerman were on the ground being beaten.
These nuances will be lost in the media blitz, and you will hear how Zimmerman must be guilty because he got out of the car.
Again the caution, we know some more facts, but not all the facts.
(added) Tom Maguire breaks down some of tne new evidence.
(added) Evidence file released — may take time to load, click at link to view directly and faster:
Florida v. George Zimmerman – Evidence Released to Public May 17_ 2012
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Doesn’t matter the liberal ship the U.S.S. Self Righteous will go down with this stench ridden corpse to the last man
I remember going up to a guy who pulled up in his car in front of my house and just sat there staring at my house, and I went outside and walked up to his car and I said, “Is there something I can do for you? What’s up?”
I guess if the guy pummeled me for asking that, I’d probably have shot him.
And I would be called a racist for defending myself. Insanity.
Yeah, I think a lot of people are missing the point of how a neighborhood watch is supposed to work. If people are snooping around the neighborhood an you go up and ask them who they are, they will most likely just leave. It gives the police time to deal with real issues instead of snatch and run burglaries.
Last week I went for a walk, and saw what looked like an alley that I’d never noticed before, so I decided to go up it and see where it led. Some kids were coming out of it, so I wondered whether there was a park or playground at the other end. Someone asked me what I was doing there, I asked him whether it was private property, and when he said it was I apologised, turned around, and left. That’s how it’s supposed to work. I guess I should have hit him instead.
One time, riding shotgun on neighborhood watch rounds, I got out of the car with my camera, went around and took lots of pictures of folks and stuff just so I could take pix of some kids who had allegedly been burglarizing and vandalizing. They didn’t want their pix taken, but I still asked, and, in passing got some shots of them that storekeepers could use to inform if they were they suspects. Never laid a hand on them, but Zimmerman was within his right as NW to stop and question. Isn’t it the constitutional right of the American citizen to make an arrest if he sees something off? How do we make a citizen’s arrest without stopping and asking a question. What’s at risk here is not just Zimmerman’s freedom, but also the constitutional right of the citizen’s arrest.
You have the right to ask.
I have the right to ignore you.
Or I could channel my father, and give the answer of if anyone asks you what I’m doing, tell them you don’t know.
But you haven’t the right to assault him for talking to you. That is what got Martin killed.
[…] UPDATE: Further thoughts from Prof. Jacobson. […]
I read an ABC article that now describes Zimmerman as a ‘multi racial Hispanic ‘ man.
The ‘did not have to get out of the car’ makes the car the central figure. I like it . It reminds me of all the classic car TV shows when cars were the main characters & drove the drama.
I am thinking :
Car 54 Where Are You
The Knight Rider.
Now that they are ditching the racial angle it as got to be about the car.
I agree–Martin’s death was ultimately avoidable. If only…
…Martin had killed George instead, or
…George had lived in a different neighborhood, or
…Martin had not been suspended form school and was visiting his Orlando relatives, or
…we had waited until 12/22/12 when the world is going to end anyway, or…
A lot of the “Zimmerman murdered poor sweet Trayvon” people are making a lot out of the ME’s statement that the gunshot was from “intermediate range”…
Unfortunately, such a determination is, in the end, made by the ballistics people.
On the stand, on that issue – which the prosecution clearly is hoping to hang it’s hat on – the ME will be made to look like a complete moron.
Defense: “In your report, you state that the gunshot was inflicted from ‘intermediate range’, correct?”
ME: “That is correct.”
Defense: “And are you an expert in gunshot residue and ballistics?”
ME: “No I am not…”
Anyone making a big deal about intermediate range doesn’t really know what it means. That’s the most likely range for self defense. It’s from about 1 inch to 18 inches… closer might indicate that he was close but not in the middle of a scuffle, further would might indicate that he was approaching or trying to escape. On the other hand 1 to 18 inches is about right for shooting someone in the chest that is on top of you moving around quite a bit as he throws punches.
You know, that whole Pearl Harbor thing was ultimately avoidable if the Navy had just stayed in California. I mean, being in Hawaii was practically begging to be attacked. But no, those white people had to profile the Japanese and stick their nose where it wasn’t wanted. If you think about it, we really sort of had it coming. You know, ’cause of racism.
Justice for Hirohito!
(In case its lost on anyone, that’s sarcasm)
The death of Harold II was ultimately avoidable if William had just stayed in Normandy.
But Prof would not be called William. All of Harold’s brothers were killed & their names left the land’s top 100 as the normans took over the lingo.
It is a shame for e are missing Tostig, Sweyn , Gyrth & Leofwine . His sister Ealdgyth survived & her name -pronounced Edith -is actually making a big comeback in the UK. Popstarlet Lilly Allen recently named her daughter Edith which will propel it up higher.
I guess we got The Magna Carta but at what price ?
Professor Williamson simply would have been named after one of his “Viet”-namese forebears.
Personally, I’m okay with the Norman conquest. All my folks were north of the wall.
I have no idea why I wrote Williamson in that post. I blame it on the meth and the booze, but mostly the meth. But ultimately, its the Professor’s fault for not offering an edit option in the comments. Which, I’m pretty sure, is racist.
Omaha Beach was ultimately avoidable if the Americans had just stayed in America.
Actually Pearl Harbor would have been completely avoided if Roosevelt had not left Japan with no other choice. If he hadn’t strangled Japan with his embargo, supplied China with war materiel under the “lend-lease” program, and sent “volunteer” pilots to China to fight them, they wouldn’t have needed to go to war with the USA, and wouldn’t have been stupid enough to do so. Going to war with the USA was a desperate move; they knew they couldn’t win, but hoped to drag it out long enough that the USA would get tired of it and make peace, and agree to stop interfering with their empire-building in Asia.
I’m inclined to think, with or without Pearl Harbor, we’d of come to blows sooner rather than later over the Philippines. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere didn’t have any room for Americans in Manilla. Even if that was avoided, I’m not sure we’d of been able to keep out of the inevitable conflict between Japan and Australia (re: Britain, assuming it survived a WWII where Germany didn’t declare war on the US after Pearl Harbor), be it in 1943 or 1953.
President Lindbergh, like President Ron Paul, would have told the Japanese they could do whatever they liked in Asia so long as they left the Philippines alone. I’m not sure what you mean by “re: Britain”, or why you think Japan would have taken Australia on. Once they’d digested China and Indochina, and probably HK, Malaya, and Singapore, they’d be more likely to take on the USSR, assuming that Germany had bloodied it first. But it would be no skin of Lindbergh’s nose either way.
Almost all of Australia’s forces were in Europe & Nth Africa or trapped in Singapore Burma etc . Realizing an attack was imminent Australia asked for their Euro/African corps back but Churchill refused.
Hence Australia began its ANZUS Treaty with the USA & they rallied new forces & fought alongside Americans in Papua Timor Indonesia & The Sth Pacific.
That was the end of Britain as Australia’s foremost ally- it has been the USA since militarily.
But yes Milhouse australia was expecting an attack after the fall of Singapore.
Interesting; that’s not how Churchill related it in his history of WWII. From memory, when Australia asked for their troops back (might have been a new government), he complied, despite it using desperately needed shipping, let alone the troops, which he judged were more than Australia needed.
(Yeah, the Japanese were threatening, but they didn’t have the logistics for that serious a thrust that far.)
Seriously? That’s your comment? Why did Roosevelt impose an embargo? Because he wanted to be a big meanie? I think Japanese aggression in Asia might have been the original provocation. Perhaps you can explain why it wasn’t. “The Rape of Nanking” detailed atrocity after atrocity that the Japanese committed after invading China in the 30s and you’re going to lay try and lay the blame for Pearl Harbor at the feet of Roosevelt? Hoo boy.
Unfortunately everything Milhouse says is correct. It was our decision to help China, ultimately with an oil embargo that would rendered the Japanese military impotent in less than a year and perhaps also have resulted in starvation at home, that forced their hand, since their system of government at the time ensured war with us was the only acceptable answer.
Our war with Japan was entirely avoidable, just like Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was entirely avoidable if he’d ignored him and continued on his way to Target. And then eventually the string of burglaries and robberies in his community would have likely resulted in serious injury or the death of one of its members; one of them appears to have come all to close to that threshold.
The massacre at Fort Mims was ultimately avoidable if….eh, I could do this all night, but my vicious attack doggy needs to go out.
The whole national campaign against Zimmerman was also ultimately avoidable.
Given what we think we know now [until trial, not all evidence will be revealed] Zimmerman should walk eventually. I am guessing that there will be pressure put on the case to have the final decision delayed until October or so. Then with a touch of racist hatemongering, the Democrats will be able to rouse the black vote to its fullest extent. Any riots or deaths that come concurrently are the costs of fulfilling the “diamat“. Or possibly an excuse for delaying any vote at all.
I agree that Zimmerman will likely be acquitted, based on what we now know of the evidence. But he’ll also likely be bankrupted by the legal fees by the time that happens, and all for the defense of charges that never should have been filed in the first place.
One of the news reports I watched last evening said that Zimmerman yelled for help 14 times before shooting Martin. Fourteen times. One of the eyewitnesses gave a recorded statement to police, in which he said he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, raining down blows on him MMA (mixed martial arts) style. Zimmerman, unlike Martin, knew all along that he had a loaded gun on him. Zimmerman could have shot Martin much sooner than he did; instead Zimmerman tried to get away, he screamed — 14 times — for help, and he only shot Martin after Martin felt the gun holster, said “you’re going to die tonight” and reached for the gun.
It’s hard to imagine a clearer case of justifiable self-defense. IMO, charging Zimmerman was an outrageous abuse of prosecutorial discretion. This case is nothing but a political witch-hunt, designed to appease the black racial-grievance mobs. The Florida prosecutor is a disgrace.
So Trayvon’s dad said the guy in the 911 call who was screaming for help wasn’t Trayvon.
As long as we are dealing with irrelevancies… You now have a set of Trayvon’s prints. The initial claim of Zimmerman was that there had been a rash of burglaries in the subdivision. Now that you have a reference sample, do the police want to go back to the homes where the burglaries happened and look for prints? I mean, in small time burglaries I doubt they even lift prints, but if his showed up anywhere in that subdivision, not his father’s house… I’m just sayin’.
And the hits just keep on coming: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/trayvon-martin/martin-zimmerman-witness-758903
I just find the liberal position to be absurd. They said this was about Stand Your Ground, which they mean by that is that Zimmerman stayed and shot the Trayton, when he could have fled. Well Trayton could have run and fled, yet they charge him for murder as to say its your duty to lay their and be beaten up a druggier out thug because he is a minority? Shouldn’t the duty to escape argument be used to condemn the character of Trayton like it was Zimmerman regardless of who started the fight?
I think all along they knew Trayton threw the first punch. He was out at night in a gated community, apparently wearing a hoodie of all things in florida, which isn’t a cold state, EVER. they were just trying to find some ground to lynch zimmerman to hate on a republican state.
I think the question really moves to how many years the prosecutor should get for prosecuting someone which the all the evidence says he not just not guilty, but most likely innocent.
Um, Florida can get pretty cold. And it was raining, perfect hoodie weather.
Unless your hoodies are made of different materials than most sweatshirts, that’s going to be about as comfortable in the rain as wearing a wet sponge…
Leftists bring no continuity or coherence to any issue — just need. They live in the moment, like children, grabbing what they can when they can — no memory of yesterday, no thought of tomorrow. The need never stops, thus the lessons never get learned. If they were educable or rational at all, the Duke rape case would have taught them everything they ever needed to know about checking their worst impulses. But it taught them nothing. Nor will this. They can’t reason or be reasoned with; this is why they have to be routed.
Its typical of 911 despatches to takes the “Don’t do anything” advise reguardless of the situation…same with cops.
But why is the govenor excluded from blame…he did appoint this prosector to hang Zimmerman to avoid riots.
Actually, there was never any evidence of anything other than Zimmerman acting properly in self defense. Not a bit.
The entire controversy didn’t even start after the shooting. Before it was taken down (after the controversy began, weeks later), Martin’s Facebook page was full of messages from his friends, all of them just expressing sadness and missing him – NOT ONE suggesting he was the victim of injustice, because they knew he wasn’t.
It wasn’t until race pimp attorney Ben Crump got involved and the parents began to smell a payday (how many grieving mothers trademark their son’s image weeks after his death for “merchandising” purposes?). The appearance of Al Sharpton should have been a dead giveaway to any sentient being that this was just another manufactured controversy by hustlers hoping for money.
“Justice for Trayvon” was delivered that night when the felonious assault on Zimmerman was met with deadly force on the gangsta wannabe. It’s no tragedy that a budding criminal career is cut short.
[…] HT: Legal Insurrection […]
For most people it is just entertainment. They don’t really care.
Miami Vice Miami CSI -ok it is not Miami but Sanford Vice won’t sell.
Headline on Yahoo!News: Trayvon Martin killing ‘ultimately avoidable’.
Avoiding everything else in the report, the left will now mentally redact that document to contain nothing else but that sentence. It has begun.
People already seem to ignore the fact that the dispatcher said “You don’t need to do that” not “Don’t do that.” It was a CYA statement by the dispatcher so that ultimately the Zimmerman family couldn’t come after him if Martin had beat Zimmerman senseless. It’s amazing how they are able to take that statement out of context and somehow twist it into meaning that Zimmerman is guilty.
Even worse, they ignore his reply of “OK” and the evidence that within a few seconds he stopped his chase.
” You will hear how Zimmerman must be guilty because he got out of the car.”
Is that similar to the rape victim being guilty because it wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t dress so provocatively? Or how about it must be my fault I got mugged because I took a walk at night.
“Ultimately avoidable”? I guess we can say that about the disasterous Obama Presidency if only Democrats and Independents had not gotten out of their cars to vote in 2008.
look its very simple, w/o a criminal trial sharpton and crew could not initiate civil proceedings afterwards for wrongful death IIRC.
been a bit since I looked that up so I may be wrong but thats my recollection of how the process needs to happen.
“it was “ultimately avoidable” if George Zimmerman never got out of the car.”
paging captain hindsight.
a similar argument: the holocause was ultimately avoidable if all the jews left europe.
[…] – An Indepth Look At The Zimmerman Case – via […]
dmacleo May 18, 2012 at 9:39 am
“…w/o a criminal trial sharpton and crew could not initiate civil proceedings afterwards for wrongful death…”
Conservative Treehouse has done an EXCELLENT job of peeling back the layers-of-the-onion on this: check out the history of Benjamin Crump (atty representing Trayvon’s parents) at
[I recommend update# 14 dated 5/2/12 because it has clickable links to earlier important updates.] Crump looks to be the the one pushing for a civil suit. Also check out Ryan Julison & his PR firm; apparently they had also been associated with the Pigford settlement. Looks like lots of sleaze politics in Florida. (For all I know, “sleaze” is tied to “politics” everywhere; I may be hopelessly naive in believing “politics” has any relationship with “for the good of the citizens”… sigh.)