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Attorney Andrew Branca Participates on NPR Zimmerman Panel

Attorney Andrew Branca Participates on NPR Zimmerman Panel

“the permissible number of times my kids can have their heads bashed on the sidewalk by Trayvon Martin is zero”

It was mid-afternoon when I received the phone call.  Would I be interested in participating on a panel discussing the Zimmerman case and self-defense law in general, to be hosted on KPCC, the Los Angeles area National Public Radio station?  Meh, why not, I told them.  And there I was, on hold with my iPhone waiting to “go live,” and thinking: boy, didn’t they see any of my trial tweets?  Why would NPR want me on the air?

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 7.22.00 AM


The show was AirTalk with Larry Mantle. Unsurprisingly, I’d never heard of either the show now Larry, but then my home hunting grounds in Boston were a considerable distance away.  The others on the panel (although we weren’t all on at the same time) included Brian T. Dunn, a sensible sounding lawyer from the California office of the Cochran Firm, Lawrence Rosenthal, a Professor of Law at Chapman University and Jon Greenbaum, Chief Council for Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, and Stanley Goldman, Professor of Criminal Law at Stanford Law School and an old-school gun control fascist–he’s the third voice on my segment of the show.

And, me, your humble correspondent.

I didn’t hear the entirety of the hour-long program–hey, I’ll suffer for my craft, but only so much–but did start listening a few minutes before they promised to put me live.  Professor Goldman was going on about how the reason Florida v. Zimmerman was such a debacle was because of it’s crazy “Stand Your Ground” law, and how the outcome would have been infinitely more sane had the case been tried, for example, in California.  Florida’s SYG law, he explained, gave individuals egregious powers to kill others, above and beyond that found anywhere else in America.

And then I was live.

Larry Mantle: “I know that there are supporters of George Zimmerman who feel he never should have been on trial, to have him even face these charges was malfeasance.  What is your opinion about his, particularly looking at it fro a self-defense standpoint?”

Andrew Branca: “Well, I certainly agree with that, and I’d like to talk to that. But before we do , I’ve been listening to the show on hold while it’s been going on, and I hear a lot of discussion about how Florida has this crazy stand-your-ground law that creates these unique legal scenarios. The fact is Florida’s stand-your-ground law is quite common, 33 states are effectively SYG states and have very similar provisions.  In fact there is one state that not only lets you to stand your ground, it explicitly allows you to pursue your assailant if necessary for your safety.  And that state is California [where the station is located].


There was more fun antics of that nature, including my closing line: “the permissible number of times my kids can have their heads bashed on the sidewalk by Trayvon Martin is zero”.  To listen to the whole thing, see below.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,” now available at and also at as either a hardcopy or in Kindle version.

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

Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for the invitation to guest-blog on the Zimmerman trial here on Legal Insurrection!


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Because of this stupid discussion, nothing is being said or done with all of the Obama/Holder scandals. Wake up, folks. Do not comment on this distraction. Comment on the real issues that confront us.

I will comment on every blog that references this case and raise the Obama/Holder scandals.

    txantimedia in reply to Towson Lawyer. | July 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    There are over 300 million people in America. Are you demanding that all 300 million focus on that? Are you claiming that Americans can’t multitask?

    Musson in reply to Towson Lawyer. | July 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Rumor: Eric Holder is asking DOJ lawyers to determine if Manslaughter can be deemed a Tax.

    Sitting here mourning the destruction of Jerusalem (twice) on this day, I would say that nothing is more dangerous than injustice.

    start your own blog then.

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Towson Lawyer. | July 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I think they are laying the foundation for another vote to restrict gun liberty this fall. If it fails again but margin of loss is narrower this time than the vote earlier this year, they may decide to run on restricting gun liberty as a campaign issue in ’14.

    Either of these Democrat maxims apply. Pick one:

    ‘Never let a crisis go to waste’ – Rahm Emanuel
    ‘It’s not over until we win’ – Russ Feingold

    Sanddog in reply to Towson Lawyer. | July 16, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Personally, I believe the ability to defend your own life against thugs is even more important today, particularly with people like Erik Holder running the DOJ.

    This case would be just one more crime statistic except for the fact that the media have turned it into an excuse to whip up political support for gun control, weakening the right of self-defense, and pushing an “all Blacks are victims of the White power structure” political narrative to enrich the race-baiters such as Al Sharpton. It’s the outlandish publicity that matters, and it can have major consequences. It is not a trivial pursuit. There needs to be push-back.

I can’t wait to get my copy of your book! Thank you for standing up for the intelligence and the integrity of the common citizen in the face of simpering hoplophobes (those with an irrational fear of firearms)!

The other lawyer said that if both Trayvon and Zimmerman were unarmed that both would be alive today.
I contend that had Zimmerman not had his gun and used it, Trayvon would have killed him. And I further contend that we might never know who killed George Zimmerman because I seriously doubt Trayvon would have done what Zimmerman did, namely call the police and wait until they had arrived.

    iRain in reply to Kitty. | July 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Indeed. Martin was armed with two lethal weapons. His hands.

      mzk in reply to iRain. | July 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

      No, not his hands. The sidewalk. I’m quite serious.

      I’ve heard – would not mind confirmation – that NY has charged people with “lethal weapon” for pushing people off platforms – the lethal weapon is the train.

      The Bible classifies both fists, fist-size pieces of wood or stone, and iron (perhaps if sharp) of any size as lethal weapons, but I suspect that’s not the intent of the statute.

    byondpolitics in reply to Kitty. | July 16, 2013 at 9:25 am

    and that’s the thing… we really know that because Mr. Zimmerman had already called the police and called out to his neighbors for help and Mr. Martin did none of that. One argument that I have heard is that Mr. Martin, as a black, was afraid of misplaced police brutality. However, he did not even ask his Ms. Jeantel to make sure help of his choice was alerted.

      My husband believes that Trayvon had decided to not let the “crisis go to waste,” so he attacked Zimmerman in hopes of earning some gang cred. His father is (allegedly) a member of the crips.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to byondpolitics. | July 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Mr. Martin had encountered Police and School authority just a few days before attacking Zimmerman. He had been suspended…more than once.

      This information was not allowed in the trial.

    Observer in reply to Kitty. | July 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

    “the permissible number of times my kids can have their heads bashed on the sidewalk by Trayvon Martin is zero”


    LOL. I was thinking yesterday that it would be interesting to conduct an experiment with the leftists pushing the “it wasn’t necessary to use a gun” argument.

    In the experiment, we would pair each of them a 17-year old male assailant of similar height/weight/musculature/fighting experience as Trayvon Martin. (Skin color of the experimental assailant would not matter; they could choose white, black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.). The assailant would sucker-punch the leftists in the face, hard enough to break their noses and knock them down. Then the assailants would jump on the stunned and injured leftists, pin them down on a concrete sidewalk, and pound on them MMA-style, until the leftists signaled that they had reached the point where they’d be willing to use a gun to defend their lives. An observer would be standing by with a stopwatch to record the results.

    My guess is that the vast majority of the subjects in that experiment would not be willing to wait as long as Zimmerman did before using his gun.

    Any leftists out there willing to help me test my hypothesis?

      Wilburdog in reply to Observer. | July 16, 2013 at 10:37 am

      This would be a classic example of knocking some sense into their heads (eggheads?)

      archtyrx in reply to Observer. | July 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Methinks a better question is for rightists to decide if they want to stalk a leftist who is going to kick their creepy ass.
      How’s that sound?

        Ragspierre in reply to archtyrx. | July 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

        Typically stupid.

        Observer in reply to archtyrx. | July 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

        Sounds like you’re a “no” for my experiment.

        Why am I not surprised?

        Oldflyer in reply to archtyrx. | July 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        You forgot the word “Cracker”.

        Paul in reply to archtyrx. | July 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

        What an astoundingly stupid post. You just validated the need for concealed carry permits by proving that the world is populated by idiots who do not understand the meaning of the word “stalk” and who believe that they are justified in aggravated assault when their warped macho world view is “violated.” Congratulations idiot, and for your family’s sake I hope you never test your macho theories on a concealed carrier. Live like a thug, die like a thug.

Uncle Samuel | July 16, 2013 at 8:03 am

You go, Mr. Branca! The helpless little children had no idea you were packing radio heat …. TRUTH, FACTS and GUTS!

Nice job, Andrew. As far as Rosenthal citing statistics … I would have responded there are far more people killed by 17 year old African American “children” than citizens carrying legal guns in SYG cases.

As for the idea GZ was stalking this child … He called the non-emergency line to report suspicious activity. In his first call, he said their is a person acting suspiciously, like he was on drugs. The toxicology evidence supported his suspicions.

But, people looking to commit a crime don’t call law enforcement before they do it.

Now Andrew, there you go confusing people with the facts again!

moonstone716 | July 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

Telling the truth on NPR, Andrew? Don’t you see how it confuses them? Bad Andrew!

LOL. At least they know not to invite YOU again!!

I decided that since this trial is over, and ended with a fair verdict, I am not going to keep following the riots and the stupidity on TV. I’m glad this site is here so I can keep up with whatever happens next with any legal issues.

I appreciate all the work you did, Andrew, and following your twitter feed was both informative and amusing. I also like your artwork! I hope the spots you have been doing lately help you sell more books.

The most surprising thing about AB’s appearance—the host of a NPR radio show seemed to be rather neutral in the debate.

    ThomasD in reply to Jazzizhep. | July 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Neutral? No.

    Rather neutral? Is that like sort-of pregnant?

    Re-read the quoted opening question. Don’t you see that it is rather subtly loaded with assumptions? Why is it necessary to associate a Zimmerman supporter with the belief that there was no legal justification for a trial.

    Couldn’t one be entirely neutral on the subject of Mr. Zimmerman (and instead have a dispassionate belief in the justice system) to recognize that there was not enough evidence to support criminal charges?

    One could even dislike Mr. Zimmerman and still recognize that the State did not have a case. It serves no good interests to pursue a bad case as subsequent events have shown.

    I’m afraid the main reason this seemed ‘rather neutral’ to you is that, much like the frog in the pan of water who doesn’t notice that he’s being slow cooked, you have been bathed in the media bias for so long that you cannot even recognize it.

      Matt in FL in reply to ThomasD. | July 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      As far as the neutrality of the host, I was pleasantly surprised when he challenged the other (non-Andrew) guy about the “how it works in other countries” line of thought. I thought that was going to fall to Andrew to do, so the fact that the host did it and allowed Andrew to use his time to answer a real question was gratifying to me.

    Stu707 in reply to Jazzizhep. | July 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Jazzihep, I support KPPC because of that program. Larry Mantle is one of the few NPR hosts who frequently has intelligent, articulate guests who oppose the liberal narrative on policy issues.

    ThomasD, Mantle politely challenges all of his guests.

    Rand in reply to Jazzizhep. | July 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I listen to Larry Mantel on the radio every so often. He’s not a bad egg, really. Especially when you consider that his program is on NPR. I get the feeling that he suffered through and absorbed a bunch of leftist indoctrination (haven’t we all), perhaps in school, perhaps his parents, but it never quite sits well with him. His leftist B.S. detector actually works sometimes. I get the feeling that he occassionally does some independant research on topics discussed on his program by so-called experts, and then realizes “wait a sec….. these guys snookered me!” If he ever asks Andrew back on his program again, I will know for sure.

moonstone716 | July 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

The NPR guy’s voice is horrible. Where do they get these people? “Simpering” is the closest I can come to it, but it appears to be his normal tone. (Shudder

Enjoyed this discussion, especially your expertise on this matter, Andrew. It will certainly be a plus if people were convinced by your arguments. I’m sure most listening to NPR haven’t heard this viewpoint before. Well done.

txantimedia | July 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

Andrew you sly devil. There’s nothing like getting a smug liberal college professor to hoist on his own petard. Well done my good man. Well done.

tarheelkate | July 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

If just one regular NPR listener heard you and learned, it will have been worth it. My left-wing brother listens in LA. Maybe you got to him.

Got your book late last week; excellent resource.

The other person on the discussion does not seem to be aware that more people are beaten to death than killed by firearms. That is true in jolly old England which he seems to be so admirable to him. I would suggest he avoid the Highlands where they are armed to the teeth with hunting weapons and very few people are beaten to death.

tarheelkate | July 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

Gracious. I listened to Lawrence Rosenthal, following you, Andrew. He makes a complete fool of himself. Zimmerman has been judged to have broken no law, but Rosenthal thinks his gun should be taken away anyhow?

People who talk this way think that a better outcome would have been Zimmerman dead or with traumatic brain injury.

Very, very good job Andrew of ‘standing your ground’ on NPR. The liberal professor is a hopeless, brainwashed liberal, yet there’s hope for the moderator. Simpering voice not withstanding. 🙂

Andrew, you should forward your interview to Stevie Wonder and tell him the states to avoid now that he supposedly won’t perform in any Stand Your Ground state.

So do LEOs retire after they shoot somebody in states like California ?
Aren’t a large number of LEOs former military who have shot and killed people ? Under this strange notion that seems to permeate academia, how do these folks get the right to carry a gun, they think it should be “one and done” ?

I understand the ignorance of those who get their news from facebook feeds, but the other guest there is presumably intelligent and educated. What’s his excuse? Well done, sir.

UnknownProfessor | July 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

Well done. I particularly like the closing statement: “the permissible number of times my kids can have their heads bashed on the sidewalk by Treyvon Martin is zero”.

Obviously your sound-bite-fu is strong.

I live in the deep-Blue state of RI, and most of my neighbors are aghast at the fact that I have told my 12 YO daughter that she has my permission to respond with significant force to anyone who starts a fight with her. She knew how to do a proper rear-naked choke (a Brazilian JiuJitsu move) by age 8, and can now do a perfect arm-bar), so I have few worries that she can take care of herself (and I pity the poor boy or girl who tries to take advantage of her).

We are buying her first BB pistol this summer for target practice in the back yard.

I expect we’ll have a lot of neighborhood boys (and girls) that want to join in.

Hey, Stevie Wonder just got a ton of free publicity. Most of us thought you were dead, Little Stevie. You might still be alive, but you are stuck on stupid and racist, I see.

    Wilburdog in reply to AYFKM. | July 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

    guess you haven’t seen Stevie in a while. He isn’t Little Stevie any more. Pretty much a porker now.

I would remind Mr. Rosenthal there is a very good reason we are not like any other country. Only tyrants and those who support tyranny want our guns.

We need people like Andrew who can sit at the table with willfully ignorant people and use civil discourse to expose them.

This issue does tie into to the current scandals of tyrants.

To paraphrase Mr. Mantle: During an assault where the victim is not armed, the assailant is fairly sure they will not be injured or killed. In his mind, this appears to be a good thing. Fortunately six jurors in Florida disagree.


Well done!

Would CA law have given Martin more justification? He was pursuing Zimmerman whom he considered a threat to him. (What sort of a threat, I will not speculate.)

    Uncle Samuel in reply to mzk. | July 16, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Trayvon’s drug history, his crime history, family and trauma history may have contributed to his state of paranoia, especially re: persons in authority, persons watching him, approaching and following him.

    That did not give Trayvon one bit of justification for engaging in felony assault, attempted murder, hate speech and threat to murder.

    Trayvon had WAY more than enough time to go home and lock the door.

    However, Trayvon’s drug, family, trauma and fighting history and state of withdrawal, also created aggression and emotional lability.

    He was a walking bomb with a very short fuse.

    Trayvon brought his death upon himself.

    MOREOVER, if the police or a neighbor – anyone – had come to help George Zimmerman, he would not have had to use his firearm.

    Bill in reply to mzk. | July 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    My reply ended up in the wrong place. Here it is:

    IIRC Rachel Jeantel told Martin that the creepy ass cracka might rape him.

I dip into NPR through KPFK and KPBS in San Diego, CA. You’d be amazed at the outright lies pushed by these people. And I know other people who believe everything they hear on those stations.

Government-sponsored “news” is big in California.

not_surprised | July 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

“he shouldn’t get HIS gun back?” that’s retarded, sir..

    Crawford in reply to not_surprised. | July 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Yeah, I get this feeling the hoplophobes are ESPECIALLY terrified of a gun that’s been used. As if “it’s tasted blood, now it’ll be desperate to kill again!” is anything but fantasy.

Ohh, that was great. BTW, here is the link to KPCC webpage for this show. Someone isn’t happy that you were invited lol

“the permissible number of times my kids can have their heads bashed on the sidewalk by Trayvon Martin is zero”.

Amen preacher. Amen. God bless you. Did you cause some absolute decompensation on NPR?

Rosenthal ,’No good reason for TM to die.’ WHAT !! this guy is so left he makes me sick . Makes up law as he goes.
Stood your ground Mr.Branca. Fine rebuttals imo . Had Rosenthal nervous.
Bought your book btw.least i can do for all you have done , TY. I’m sure it will be beneficial

That professor was certainly a clueless dope, but they all are aren’t they?

This just in from Rachel Jeantel:

“Kaboom!?? Seriously, Mr. Branca. That’s just retarded, Sir. That’s Old. That’s ‘Old School’ People. We in a ‘New School’. Our generation say . . .


Good Onya’ Andrew!

Maybe that guy Rosenthal needs to have some 6 feet tall, seventeen year old dude bash his head against concrete.
Maybe then he will have a slight change of opinion.

It outrages me that this people continue to ignore the most basic fact in this case, that trayvon martin was committing felony battery on George Zimmerman.
They just don’t want to talk about it.

And there’s one thing that I consider criminal in their attitude. They are sending a very dangerous message to our youth: It is ok to assault people just because they are following you.
I have not seen ONE single media outlet, college professor or President Of The United States reach out to explain what’s the right thing to do: walk away and call the police.

It is criminal, just criminal that they continue to promote violence.

    Baker in reply to Exiliado. | July 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I’m sure Rosenthal’s last thoughts before the blow that kills him or perhaps leaves him a vegetable for the rest of his life would be, “I’m so glad I don’t have a gun because statstics show I might use it unreasonably to harm this poor angel that is beating the crap out of me.”

MOM says Corey-Nifong and BDLR “are a disgrace to my profession” in an interview with Reuters referring to the Brady violations, especially the contents of TM’s cell phone which weren’t turned over till just prior to trial. It looks like not one other news organization has picked up the story. Corey told Reuters that “Our office adhered to the highest standards of ethical behavior”. Really? Really? You decide.

And it is worrying when you have a university professor at law trying to put data before the law.

Data can be useful for the Legislature to modify or update the law, but that data has no business in a court of law.
A jury has the duty to judge and reach a verdict based on current law, not on data or future projections, and certainly not on a biased interpretation of data.

THANK YOU, Mr.Branca!!

As a nearly lifelong resident of the Peoples Republic of California and, since ’06, a resident of Central Florida, I can testify that my wife and I moved to a Far More SANE State.

Were it not for my old home state’s magical geography and the center of my decades’ long occupation(TV Producer)I would not miss it one iota.


The talking pinheads on TV keep bringing up the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida and in other states are just trying to twist the facts. It goes against the “Narrative” that GZ profiled and chased down TM and shot him, while he was walking home with Skittles and Iced Tea, which as we all no didn’t happen. But they’re not speaking to us they’re speaking to those that are uninformed and to lazy to get informed. This was a classic case of self-defense but that won’t do b/c that means GZ had to defend himself from a thug beating him and only shot when no one would help.

Given the limited time available on TV and radio, it is essential to get points across in a pithy and succint manner. You did an awesome job.

I live in LA and listen to Larry Mantel on KPCC quite often. He is actually pretty fair-minded (esp. for a commentator on an NPR radio station).

Rosenthal did the usual left-wing song-and-dance. Once you made it clear that his legal analysis sucked, he flips over to the more maleable “moral” arguments (his moral reasoning sucks also), and then finally he moves on to the subject of gun control. You definitely nailed him and chased him out of your area of expertise.

There’s always a handy (and worthless) statistical factoid on gun-control for these propagandists to toss out there. Too bad Gary Kleck or John Lott weren’t on the call with you – this bozo would have had his head handed to him on that subject as well.

    I had a lot more to say, especially about hiS BS statistics, but they only ever had one person’s mike on at a time, so mine was muted unless they anticipated I was answering a direct question.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

      I am guessing that the one-mike-at-a-time approach is a necessity to keep the ignorant blow-hards from using interruptions and decibal level as a substitute for reasoned discourse (think, Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson).

      You should do more of those. You were great.

Love it! Bet NPR crosses you off their names to call! -:) We could sure use more of you on the airwaves vs. most of the IDIOTS (even at Fox) on the air discussing this! Good luck with your book sales … hope to hear and see more of you on a national basis. Sharp, clear common sense and knowledge is hard to find these days!

BTW you may want to consider boning up on gun-control issues to be prepared to counter-act these guys. Otherwise, these SOBs will always just change the subject to run away from your legal arguments. There are numerous pithy arguments against gun-control that can be marshalled in a pinch without having to spend the time becoming expert in the subject. Start with a visit to John Lott’s web site at for ammunition (he he, pun intended).

    I’m almost as up to speed on gun control issues as I am on self-defense law. No worries there. Looking at my well-worn copy of “More Guns, Less Crime” on my bookshelf as I type this.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

      Awesome! You have to get out more and cross swords with these clowns. Too bad there wasn’t more time for discussion on that program, but alas, you have to squeeze in what you can in the limited time available. Great job!

The thing that makes my blood boil from these Martin supporters is when they characterize a violent felony (i.e. aggravated battery) as a “scuffle” or “altercation” where people “duke it out”. How quaint sounding. Rosenthal referred to it as “fisticuffs” as if some referee were standing by, admonishing the fighters to follow the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry. What a complete ass. I have a son who was brain-injured in a car accident some 8 years ago, and I have met numerous brain-injury victims at support groups who were permanently impaired as a consquence of similar events involving “fisticuffs”. One I met was also blinded in one eye. What we are talking about here is brutal street violence for which there is no excuse. I am so pissed at these ignorant bastards for soft-peddling the damaging consequences of criminal violence just because sweet little Treyvon Martin was the perpetrator.

    iconotastic in reply to Rand. | July 16, 2013 at 11:55 am


    In my city of Seattle, there have been three well-known murders/deaths/whatever done by just fists and feet. One was during the Mardi Gras riots (where the police just watched a young man be beaten to death–so much for police being there in minutes), one was a nice old guy playing a tuba outside of the opera hall, and one was a guy watering plants.

    But at least his attackers were still alive, right? Of course, one of the Tuba guy killers killed again after he was released. But at least that precious soul is still alive, right??

Peaceful “Justice for Trayvon” demonstrators in Los Angeles attacked a news crew where 9 reporters were injured. Too bad it wasn’t CNN NBC and ABC employees who foisted this GZ non-case down our throats taking dictation from the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and Crumb.

    styro1 in reply to styro1. | July 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

    As someone commented on The Gateway Pundit: The media starts the fire, fans the flames, and then gets burned. How appropriate …
    Yes indeed!

    Exiliado in reply to styro1. | July 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    There was also another interesting comment in that discussion. Somebody kind of coined a new expression: pulling a Trayvon a.k.a. an unprovoked and impulsive attack on an unsuspecting person….

      Rand in reply to Exiliado. | July 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      Pulling a Treyvon should mean maliciously and haphazardly attacking somebody and getting shot for your trouble.

      There was an incident here in LA some while back at Dodger Stadium where some Dodger “fans” beat the hell out of (and seriously injured) a visiting Giants fan. I often wonder what would have happened had he been armed and simply shot dead the vicious bastards in the act of attacking him. Probably would have had a Trayvon Martin style case a long time ago. But if I were him, I would rather stand trial than wind up crippled.

      tencz65 in reply to Exiliado. | July 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      THIS is TM’s legacy . NOT being a hero as our racist prez said

Enjoyed the conversation immensely. I was taken quite aback when either Rosenthal or Goldman said to set the law aside for a moment–huh?

The most troubling aspect of the last speaker’s opinion was that the life of the aggressor was judged by him to be equally valuable to the life of the victim. Any steps to preserve both lives, even if it meant serious injury to the victim, was acceptable in order to preserve the precious life of the attacker.

wtf??? Does this include apprehension by the police as well? Shall we disarm the police in order to preserve the precious lives of the people they apprehend? How about prisons as well? Shall prison guards be disarmed? After all, if prison guards have no weapons the lives of the inmates will be safer, right? If an inmate fights to escape then isn’t it better to let the inmate do whatever injuries needed in order for him to escape than to shoot the inmate attempting to escape.

Please, Lord. Tell me this idiot is not a professor of law at Stanford.

    Sanddog in reply to iconotastic. | July 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    The police and corrections officers represent government. Only they are allowed to use lethal force. When you allow the common citizen to defend their lives, it weakens their power.

    Yup. That’s what they meant. Attacker alive and victim brain injured or crippled, that is okay. Attacker dead and victim unharmed, that is bad. Of course, if Zimmerman were severely injured and laying in some brain injury ward, none of the people so riled up about Martin would even know, or give a crap even if they did know about it. The little angel Treyvon Martin would perhaps have been prosecuted for aggravated battery and done some prison time in obscurity. And life, according to Rosenthal and Goldman, would be good.

The default progressive position seeks to criminalize self defense and personal responsibility for our own safety. That way, everyone is a victim. And since we’re all victims, we need the government to take care of us. Sorry… I refuse to live in that world.

Self-defense is not merely some social policy to be haggled over based on utilitarian comparisons of relative harm. It is a basic human right. It is being pissed on now for crass racially-motivated political reasons. We need to be as angry about that as those “righteous” protesters, in their malevolent ignorance, are angry about Treyvon Martin. This whole fiasco really pisses me off.

    Exiliado in reply to Rand. | July 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, we are angry, but we don’t riot. We don’t break car windows. We don’t break store windows. We don’t raid Walmart. We don’t disrupt traffic. We don’t commit assault and battery against those with a different opinion.

    What do we do?

    We write to the Legislators that represent us.
    We vote.
    We follow and respect the law.

    Why do we do it that way?

    Because we are proud to be Americans.
    Because we are proud of the democratic values and principles under which this nation was founded.
    Because we are respectful and moral citizens, not scum.

I need a drink.

IIRC Rachel Jeantel told Martin she thought the “creepy ass cracka” might rape him.

    Rand in reply to Bill. | July 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Alas, we cannot hear the call between Jeantel and Martin. I have this feeling (totally unsupported by any evidence) that it would be outrageous and over-the-top, with Jeantel hammering Trayvon to be a man, whipping up his anger to whoop that creepy ass cracker’s ass. Just speculating, mind you.

Ignore the comment. Originally got it in wrong place. Need another cup of coffee.

Mr. Branca, the service you and the Professor provided during the Zimmerman trial was tremendous. The post-trial services you provide in situations such as the one you describe in today’s post are likely more valuable. They’re heard by people who would never be exposed to them, otherwise. Wordy, pontificating, pompous “experts” such as your fellow panel members are usually struck dumb when confronting informed, authoritative, simple and straightforward short statements opposite their own. Professor Goldman is a classic example; he’s either dishonest or ignorant of the law – no other choices exist.

As your reputation spreads I’d expect to see you more in conservative venues and less frequently in the NPRs of the world; they cannot afford to let you in. I hope you stay with it, and thank you.

    I strongly disagree with the suggestion that Mr. Branca be seen in more conservative venues and less frequently in the NPRs of the world. That is exactly the wrong approach if you want to spread the truth and wisdom of Mr. Branca and those who we ideologically agree with.

    We need to embrace every progressive and leftist venue available to us and spread the ideas of liberty and laws of the constitution. We can no longer afford to preach to the choir. I applaud Mr. Branco for being able to stand up for the values, laws and principles which are the only things that will save this country. Time is running out, Rome is burning.

      Phillep Harding in reply to bodiazrising. | July 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I agree in general, but you might recall what happened to Palin and that creative editing she was subjected to.

      Anyone appearing in such a venue needs to have someone recording what happens independently. The studio, radio station, whatever /will/ refuse to supply anyone with the raw recording.

      Make your own.

      Owego in reply to bodiazrising. | July 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Perhaps I should have been more explicit: “… I’d expect to see you INVITED TO more conservative venues and less frequently to the NPRs of the world”

      DollzWize in reply to bodiazrising. | July 17, 2013 at 10:02 am

      I Strongly Agree that these viewpoints need to be disseminated on NPR and not just in conservative circles. Had it not been for the Zimmerman witch hunt I never would have found this place, nor expanded some of my own opinions.

      I just realized I already Had a profile on WhiteHouse.Gov so I signed Every petition regarding the Injustice’s regarding Holder, Corey and George Zimmerman

      I also wrote back to several of my liberal mailings that quite frankly after witnessing this GZ witch hunt, I just really dont care about issues like adding my signature to restore the voting rights act.

      So as a voting liberal democrat, I Strongly agree that this idiotic political polarization is isolationist and I am tired of people only talking to like minded rabble be they the NAACP or Freakin Conservatives.

      I hope we can all cross party lines more often and in more productive ways.

      And this is why I support NPR and also;Thank you Mr Branca for accepting that NPR interview, and for doing such an excellent job expressing the Real issues and making such salient points.

        jayjerome66 in reply to DollzWize. | July 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

        My views reflect yours as well.
        But I don’t think we’re going to feel welcome, all things considered. There’s seems to be more diversity of opinion on the O’Reilly Factor then here.

Freddie Sykes | July 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm

The progressive lawyer seemed to imply that it would be undesirable for a woman to use a gun to defend herself against a rapist because chances are that, if she didn’t, both would eventually be able to walk away from the “unfortunate situation”.

I agree with Branca: I have zero tolerance for anyone smashing a loved ones head against concrete.

Spot on Mr. Branca.

I did not hear the host direct any sort of challenge, or leading questioning to Rosenthal. Perhaps Mantle, in other situations, is as you say. But in the posted clip no such examples exist.

    ThomasD in reply to ThomasD. | July 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Sorry, that was directed at stu707 above.

    jayjerome66 in reply to ThomasD. | July 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Yes he did. Go listen again.

    He confronted the assertion about less violent escalations and deaths during confrontations in Europe attributable to lower gun ownership there. ,

Gremlin1974 | July 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

“Gun control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.”

Don’t know who said it, but truth is truth.

    MarkS in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Excellent point, well said!

    bigskydoc in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I have modified the statement a bit in recent days and posted wherever I see people talking about how terrible the Florida laws are etc.

    Because a man laying unconscious or dead after being beaten to a bloody pulp is morally superior to a man explaining to the cops why he shot to stop the pummeling before he could be knocked unconscious or killed?

    It is especially fun to post on my lib friends Facebook pages.

    The rape comment is better, but my edit is more timely.


    I first encountered that saying online in the 1990s and the man who said it was science fiction writer L. Neil Smith. I asked if I could borrow it and he said yes. His original quote was about Handgun Control Inc. but it applies to all gun controllers. “Gun control: the group that would rather see a woman dead in an alley with her pantyhose knotted around her neck than see her with a gun in her hand.” It’s still true.

Gremlin1974 | July 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

LOL, I just love the way you smacked them with the velvet hammer. Now gonna go check the mail and see if by book is here, can’t wait to start reading.

The only problem with California’s SYG law is the fact that getting a concealed carry permit is next to impossible..

    Crawford in reply to GrumpyOne. | July 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    And open carry of even an unloaded weapon is a crime.

    Rand in reply to GrumpyOne. | July 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Tell me about it. I live in California. There is a bill in the legislature currently to designate ANY semi-automatic with a detachable magazine as an “assault weapon” which would include my Ruger 10-22 rifle. If that happens, I will be making a trip to drop some firearms off at my 2nd home in Las Vegas.

I think Stan Goldman is with Loyola Law School – where I encountered him many years ago – not Stanford. And it looks like he’s still an idiot.

The notion that GZ shouldn’t get his gun back because he killed someone with it boggles my mind! What is the point of carrying a weapon for self defense if you don’t use it when yourself needs defending?

    tencz65 in reply to MarkS. | July 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    that statement was so far out there . It threw me of my train of thought. perhaps he was trying to confuse Mr.Branca . Attorney versus Attorney

Fred Thompson | July 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

The following is a partial transcript of the interview (leaving out much of Rosenthal’s comments, and summarizing some of Mantle’s questions):

Mantle: Why was it wrong for the case to be brought?

Branca: “Well, they didn’t have probable cause to bring the charges. The prosecution, even after 14 months – essentially, if you heard their closing, they had almost no direct evidence and very little circumstantial evidence on the elements of the crime that they had to prove to get murder 2.

“It was a very emotional appeal, it was to the heart and ‘Trayvon’s dead’ and so forth, and of course that is a genuine tragedy, but they actually have an affirmative charge, an obligation to bring evidence before the jury beyond a reasonable doubt on each and every element of that second degree murder statute, and they simply didn’t have it.”

Mantle: Is there recourse for Zimmerman in the wake of his acquittal?

Branca: “I don’t know. That’s not my area of expertise. I certainly think that a hearing on sanctions on these prosecutors’ conduct is well warranted. I believe from my observation – and I’ve watched the trial and discovery in its entirety – there was to my eyes considerable misconduct in that discovery process.

“I’ll give you perhaps the most egregious example. The whole point of discovery is that both sides start the trial with the same body of evidence. Now they can take those elements of evidence and build their own story, build their own compelling narrative of guilt or of innocence. They can choose to ignore pieces of that evidence. They can choose to emphasize other pieces more than the other side. That’s all perfectly appropriate, but they’re supposed to start with the same pieces. Like a jigsaw puzzle, they both have the same pieces. When one side denies the other pieces, either affirmatively or by trickery, then it’s not a fair game any more.

“And what the State did in this case was they had a data file from Trayvon’s phone. They generated a written report of the contents of that data file. In fact, the written report only represented a portion of the contents. Then they handed the file and the report together to the defense and said, ‘Here’s the data information.’ Well, the defense assumed that the report covered all the data on the file, especially since they didn’t have the specialized equipment to break into the phone and look at the data themselves. When it was discovered that in fact the report left out a lot of the information, particularly information that would not have looked good for the State, like Trayvon holding a gun, or marijuana plants, or things of that sort, well then of course the whole thing was blown open, and sanction hearings were begun before the trial. Judge Nelson suspended them until after a verdict, but that was egregious, that was trickery.”

Mantle: Should Zimmerman be allowed to get his weapon back?

Branca: “Well if he was allowed to before, why wouldn’t he be allowed to now? He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Mantle: Well, not something that was judged as a jury by criminal, but the fact that he used the gun against someone else, couldn’t local law enforcement deny his request to carry a weapon?

Branca: “I don’t see that happening in the State of Florida. I mean, I live in Massachusetts where licenses are very discretionary, and that would certainly be the outcome here. I expect in California it’s a very similar situation. But in states that are ‘shall issue’ states, unless the state can affirmatively demonstrate some reason why you are not entitled – and that would be some kind of criminal offense or history of domestic violence or something along those lines – unless they can demonstrate that affirmatively, they can’t deny you the permit. It’s not discretionary on their part.”

(Lawrence Rosenthal makes some remarks on his desire for greater gun control and his belief that “Stand Your Ground” is responsible for an increased number of deaths.)

Mantle: You want to respond to that? Justifiable homicides up significantly since “Stand Your Ground” was enacted.

Branca: “Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ll accept that for discussion’s sake. But I guess I would say, what’s the problem? Because there were justifiable homicides. That means people were lawfully defending themselves against death or grave bodily harm. Would we want the alternative, where they’re forced to suffer death and grave bodily harm rather than defend themselves?”

Lawrence Rosenthal makes some more comments and then remarks: “There was no good reason that Trayvon Martin died. We shouldn’t forget that.”

Mantle: And I know you have to go Mr. Branca. Quick closing comment, sir.

Branca: “Well I would just say that I’m afraid there was good reason. He was committing an aggravated assault on somebody, he was beating their head on the sidewalk, and I don’t know if you have any children, but I have several, and my permissible number of whacks of their head on the sidewalk by Trayvon Martin is zero.”

majorsensible | July 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm

A few thoughts:

1. The gun-control lobby’s new favorite stat is how the number of justifiable homicides in Florida have nearly tripled since SYG was enacted.

The number of justifiable homicides went from an average of 12 per year to an average of 35 per year — during a period when the total homicide rate went from an average of 902 deaths per year to an average of 1071 deaths per year. In other words, a statistically insignificant increase in the number of justifiable homicide deaths.

2. The stat only cites justifiable homicides but does not indicate how many are gun deaths and how many occur by other means. Additionally, it appears that “justifiable homicides” includes criminals shot by the police in the line of duty, giving the lie to the implication that SYG leads to vigilante action;

3. Professor Goldman is being dishonest when he says that had George Zimmerman not had a gun, both men would be alive today. Given the severity and nature of the beating that Zimmerman was taking from Martin, it’s not only possible but likely that Martin would have beaten Zimmerman to the point where Zimmerman suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage.

Andrew Branca, I salute you sir!

What a wonderful dropping of the hammer right at the end of the show. You left nothing more that could be said!

Now I’ve recently got your book, so please quit putting so much of interest on this blog (which I am terribly addicted to since I discovered the absolutely tremendous coverage of l’affaire Zimmerman) so that I can read it!

Really, you did a wonderful job on that interview. That pompous windbag opposing you looked pretty foolish, which I greatly appreciated.

Now if we can just impeach a certain unqualified president….

These are the stats on justifiable homicides in Florida,pre- and post SYG, in a sortable format, including whether the shooter was a civilian or a LEO, and the race of both the shooter and the victim. Just if anyone’s interested:

I appreciate the stats, love ’em. In the context of this particular discussion, however they are a trap. The other guy just gets to argue about the underlying methodology, or makes up his own numbers or talks about there are hardly any shooting deaths in Antarctica.

I couldn’t care less if shooting deaths went up after SYG by 5%, or 10%, or 100%, so long as the right people are doing the dying.

If some thug attacks a law-abiding armed citizen with deadly force, they ought not be surprised when they hear a loud noise and spring a leak

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

    The statistical anti-gun arguments are used effectively by the left, even when they are mostly spouting nonsense. If anybody can turn that back on them, you would be the one to do it. Your speaking style is much better than John Lott’s. He comes off as a bit of an egg-head when he speaks, and he doesn’t handle himself as well as you do in an adversarial speaking forum. Just once, I would like to see Piers Morgan arguing gun control with somebody who has the knowledge and speaking abilities to kick his ass, instead of the eccentric 2nd amendment types that rant and rave and make Piers look sensible and reasonable by comparison.

      Is that you, mom? *blush*

      Thanks for the kind words.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

        I guess I was being a bit over-enthusiastic. But the gun-rights debate is my favorite topic. For me, the Zimmerman case is just another side-show in that debate.

        I will be buying your book on self-defense law.

        jayjerome66 in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        I agree… you sounded great…

        Wish you had more time to confront the idiotic statement if no guns were involved in the confrontation, nobody would have been dead, by quoting the witnesses who testified if the head-banging continued George could have been killed, or suffered permanent head trauma.

I’m not a lawyer, but I do know this and that about statistics. The thing that jumps out at me from the data linked by Amy in Florida is that in 2007 justifiable homicides in Florida jump for both police and civilians by an equal amount.

Thus, any explanation of the data has to provide an explanation that is not affected by the difference between police an civilians. This immediately refutes any argument that the behavior of civilian shooters has changed; so far as I know, the police have never had a duty to retreat.

    On looking into it further, it could possibly even be a change in definition/terminology or way the stats are calculated, a change which took effect in 2007? Like the way the number of autism sufferers and people with high cholesterol jumped when we redefined the qualifications for having autism &/or high cholesterol?


    “Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology at Florida State University, has researched how the FBI and police departments define justifiable homicide.

    Criminologists are suspicious of sharp increases or decreases within a short time frame, he said.

    ‘I don’t believe anything triples.…Increases that sharp are probably due to some artificial cause like a shift in how people are defining events,’ Kleck said. ‘It’s possible nothing actually changed in frequency except police departments increasingly defined homicide claimed to be defensive as a justifiable homicide. … Local police departments are increasingly viewing alleged defensible homicide as falling into the UCR definition. I don’t think they are trying to rig data, they honestly shifted their perceptions of what qualifies.’

    Bill Eddins, state attorney in Florida’s 1st Circuit and president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said he couldn’t conclude if there is a correlation between the ‘stand your ground’ law and the increase in justifiable homicides.

    To determine the effect of the ‘stand your ground’ law would require examining how many times the statute was used, the result of the case and whether or not the ‘stand your ground’ statute contributed to that resolution, he said.

    ‘There is no real measurement set up to do that at this point. I cannot reach the conclusion that there is a direct correlation in the increases of justifiable homicide as a result of stand your ground law. I know other people are saying you can, but I can’t reach it.'”

    That’s from left-biased Politifact, too!

    In any case
    (1) there’s something screwy-looking with that big jump starting in 2007
    (2) there’s no evidence of a widespread “creepy-ass crackas going around gunning down innocent black children” epidemic
    (3) with over a million civilian CCL holders here, 35-40 justifiable homicide deaths is not a huge number in the big scheme of things
    (4) violent crime per 100,000 citizens in Florida is down from 705.8 in 2006, the first full year of the SYG law, to 496.2 in 2012.

    (cites: )

      jayjerome66 in reply to Amy in FL. | July 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      And as noted elsewhere, no racial link to the SYG shootings: black SYGs mostly shooting blacks; white SYGs mostly shooting whites; Hispanic SYGs, mostly shooting Hispanics, etc..

Wow! Andrew Branca is a radio super-star.

[…] Andrew Branca corrects fallacies associated with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” on NPR, alleged supporters of Treyvon Martin have stormed a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles and other reports of […]

jayjerome66 | July 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm

And Jimmy Carter — that’s right, an arch liberal, says the jury in George Zimmerman trial ‘made right decision’

So where are the two Bush’s on this issue?

Mr. Branca – outstanding job, as usual. I particularly liked your answer to the stat about justifiable homicides tripling as a result of Florida’s SYG law – essentially “what’s the problem”. The only thing I might add to your response is that in addition to the shooter preventing their own serious injury or death, they likely provided our society the fringe benefit of ending whatever future harm would befall their neighbors at the hands of these violent criminals.

Another thing that has frustrated me in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial is that all the “remediation” discussions has focused on those who might defend themselves. But this fails to recognize that the number one cause of Trayvon Martin’s death was not the methods employed by a vigilant community watchman, or the conceal-carry or SYG laws of Florida. The number one cause of his death, by far, was the fact that Mr. Martin was inclined to unjustified violent reactions to non-violent events such as being watched and possible followed (for a time) by Mr. Zimmerman that night.

Anyone who has taught in public schools knows that someone like this will frequently get into fights just because someone else looks at him the wrong way. This unjustifiable, irrational rage and the inevitable violence that follows would have eventually led Mr. Martin to the same fate. And if we really want to protect people like him, that’s the issue which mostly needs to be addressed.

I’ve seem so many make lists of all the things that Mr. Zimmerman could have done differently that night to avoid the confrontation – stay in his car, announce he was, not follow, etc. But as you know, none of those things are illegal, and given he had a legitimate duty to keep an eye out for his neighbors, one could argue that these actions are indeed proper. But regardless, the one action that clearly crossed the line was how Mr. Martin reacted, with violence, to what Mr. Zimmerman was doing that night. And that action, and the blind rage which motivated it, is what really needs to change. Otherwise, no matter what else is done, young people like Mr. Martin will continue to be at risk.

[…] covering the Zimmerman trail for Legal Insurrection. Recently, he was asked to participate in a panel discussion on gun rights and the Zimmerman […]