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Zimmerman Final Jury Instructions

Zimmerman Final Jury Instructions

The Court has released the final Jury Instructions that will be read to the jury this afternoon.

For background on the argument leading up to the instructions, see Zimmerman Trial:  The Jury Instructions.

If Zimmerman wins, these sections of the Instructions likely will be decisive (full Instructions embedded at bottom of post):

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE

The killing of a human being is justifiable and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon George Zimmerman, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which George Zimmerman was at the time of the attempted killing.

JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE

An issue in this case is whether George Zimmerman acted in self-defense. It is a defense to the crime of Second Degree Murder, and the lesser included offense of Manslaughter, if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force.

“Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.

In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.

However, if from the evidence you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved

Zimmerman Final Jury Instructions (2)

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Comments

Has the jury seen a picture of Trayvon Martin that is actually reasonably current?

And thanks professor for yesterday’s honor.

    TexasJew in reply to Robin. | July 12, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Yes
    The 7-11 surveillance camera
    He’s at least 6’2 or more

      Plus they saw the dummy. No not Bernie, the foam guy.

      antonb in reply to TexasJew. | July 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      The ME reported his length as 71 inches. I am thinking that maybe when rigor sets in the body shortens some and he may have been significantly taller than that reported length. Wondering if anyone with a medical background could weigh in on that. I know that when I would measure my height as a kid I would always try to “stretch up” and would think this does help add some height to the measurement.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to antonb. | July 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        Nope, the extra height is usually from shoes, the ME’s measurement would be sans footwear and socks, most likely he had on thick sole tennis shoes of some kind and gained a couple of inches from them.

      luagha in reply to TexasJew. | July 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Modern stylish tennis shoes add an inch and a half of padded heel, which may be why Trayvon looked 6’2″ but when measured after death was 5’11”.

    iRain in reply to Robin. | July 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Would it be amiss to assume the defense, in closing, will present photos of Trayvon that better reflect his true nature?

    Do I understand, correctly, that the reenactment video will be shown to the jury during the defense’s closing argument? If so, wouldn’t this video adversely affect the Prosecution’s attempt to depict Trayvon as a mere “boy”?

    I, too, have a good feeling about the verdict, having read through the Instructions. If all else fails, however, there is always appeal, and considering the State’s lack of evidence to support the crimes it has charged Zimmerman with, in my opinion, a guilty verdict would be turned over onto its head.

    Oh, and by the way – it pleases me so to have found you all.
    It’s a honor to be here, among such intelligent people, from whom I can and have learned much.

    Thanks Professor, for all you do.

I read these last night and had a good feeling. I am so glad you highlighted the key sections. I am going to be out for most of the day today but I will keep an eye on the blog and on twitter for highlights. Maybe by the time I return home (4:30 PM)there will be a verdict.

    Isn’t normally for self defense the burden of the affirmative defense is on the accused (by a preponderance)? Here the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was in the wrong.

    That cannot be possible with a fair jury.

Reaching a verdict in this case really shouldn’t be that hard or take that long. In the end, Martin’s violent reaction led to his death. If any juror still believes otherwise they have not been paying attention.

Zimmerman found innocent, Skittles sales hurt most

pablo panadero | July 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

Yet another opportunity for an appeal on a guilty verdict, the instructions include “In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.”

The judge denied admission of Trayvon’s relative physical abilities, including his history of fighting MMA-style.

    Wow. IANAL, but doesn’t she say elsewhere to the effect of ‘You may consider as evidence ONLY evidence that has been presented to you here’ etc ? And she prohibited ANY evidence of TM’s physical condition or abilities. So what EVIDENCE are they supposed to weigh that question with ?

    Isn’t that prima faci error ?

“In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.”

The state, through its prosecutor and its court, has made this comparison all but impossible

Just so it doesn’t get lost in the huge comment streams here… Thanks for the work you e done on this trial and for hosting Andrew. It has been very helpful to many, I am sure, and has also done yeoman service in getting data and viewpoints past the self-appointed information gatekeepers.

Wrathchilde | July 12, 2013 at 8:30 am

Aaand we’re off!

[…] legalinsurrection.com, who’s been providing excellent coverage and analysis of the […]

Did anyone else see Geraldo on Fox this morning going “all in” on Zimmerman’s self defense claim? He was emphatic that who started the fight or followed whom is totally irrelevant. He also said he thinks the women on the jury know they would have shot Trayvon a LOT SOONER than Zimmerman did if they were accosted by St. Skittles.

Fascinating and unexpected…

i bet if zimmerman had gotten out of his truck looking like “The Rock”, or wearing an officer’s uniform, martin would have made it home in 20 seconds. it’s likely he sized zimmerman up.

    dms, you are suggesting a narrative that seems obvious to so many but the gatekeepers of the Civil Rights Industrial Complex have used the threat of racism accusations to keep people from considering the obvious: TM was “smelling himself” and “rolled up” on GZ because he perceived him to be a “punk”. The problem was that GZ was armed and TM got shot. This happens in the hood all. the. time.

stevewhitemd | July 12, 2013 at 8:57 am

Actually pretty darned reasonable instructions as I read them as a lay person. I recognize that the language is mandated by law and vetted by the lawyers, but the instructions really do make clear that the jurors have a high burden of proof.

Cautiously optimistic that justice will be done.

JoeThePimpernel | July 12, 2013 at 8:57 am

We know from Rachel Jeantel’s testimony that Saint Trayvon made it all the way to his father’s girlfriend’s condo, then went back out to confront Zimmerman.

Case closed.

    if tm had made it home, why was a sack containing skittles found there at the spot where he was shot?

      Uncle Samuel in reply to dms. | July 12, 2013 at 10:06 am

      TM looked back, saw GZ go by on the sidewalk, so he didn’t go inside as he should have, but turned around to go back and fight/punish George Zimmerman and maybe get a nice bloody photo to post as a trophy on his facebook page and tweet around to his friends.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

        <b?TM saw GZ's flashlight moving by. The temptation to fight was too great. TM wanted blood. He liked the feelings of power and control that fighting, drugs, sex talk, stealing, assaulting the bus driver gave him. He went back to make a stranger suffer and bleed and get his emotional gratification.

        At this point – TM BECAME THE STALKER AND AGGRESSOR.

        Then TM became a perpetrator of felony assault.

        Would TM have stopped or killed GZ as he was threatening to do?

        That is a chilling question.

        I think that is the most likely scenario. It is the one that is best fit for the facts as they came out in the trial.

        We all know that he doubled back to the T

    The “Trayvon circled back” bit wasn’t pushed by defense counsel during their case. I don’t know if the jury will make the necessary connection between Jeantel’s testimony regarding Trayvon’s location and the timeline without it.

      antonb in reply to randian. | July 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      O’Mara had the dramatic four minute pause in his close today to demonstrate the amount of time Martin had to make it back to his fathers condo which was “a football’s throw” away from where the incident occurred.

Uncle Samuel | July 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

Anybody have a link to the fact that the Twin Lakes Retreat neighborhood had recently changed street names as one person commented?

That is an important point if true.

    Matt in FL in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Why do you think it’s an “important point?” I think it’s completely irrelevant.

      antonb in reply to Matt in FL. | July 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Because it destroys the argument that Zimmerman would have known each of the street names in the community (there are only three streets there) and wouldn’t have shown confusion with the operator over where the police should meet him when they arrived.

    luagha in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    It’s in the testimony of one of the female prosecution witnesses actually. She testified that the street names had been changed and the new signs that were put up were concealed by trees so you had to get right next to them to read them. No one knew any street names aside from their own.

you ask 10 people to name the three streets closest to their homes and some are not going to be able to do it. me for one. not knowing the street names is a non issue. its sounds substantive, but its just not. LOTS of folks don’t store that kind of information in their noodles. It should not be an issue in fact.

What I find interesting in the jury instructions, that if the narrative were true (“stalking”), and Martin had killed Zimmerman, it might have been lawful, as per case 2. And vice versa. In other words, under those conditions, either killing the other would be lawful. (Like the story of Phineas and Zimri in the Bible.) Of course, Martin is still a thug.

    antonb in reply to mzk. | July 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I believe that as well. With the gun in play, TM maybe could have made a claim that he feared for his life when it was discovered. Of course, that claim would have been complicated by the fact that he would have had no injuries and Zimmerman was all beat up.

“In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.”

How is the jury supposed to do that since all evidence of Martin’s violent hobby of street fighting has been suppressed?

    randian in reply to Cargosquid. | July 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I think the street fighting is the least of it. Didn’t any recent photos of Trayvon (other than autopsy photos) get suppressed? Trayvon was a tall, well-muscled dude in the photos I’ve seen.

      antonb in reply to randian. | July 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      In closing, O’ Mara got the picture in of TM alive and with his shirt off which should leave some impression on the jury as to the threat Zimmerman felt that evening as his face was being pounded.

If those instructions are followed it should take about five minutes to return an acquittal.

    antonb in reply to DarkHelmet. | July 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Only reason I see a deliberation of more than five minutes is to show some respect for the Martin family. I hope that the jury does add an “innocent” check box to the form and checks it as well. Maybe a fourth check box for the Idiocy of Prosecution team – GUILTY.

All I want to know is how much dinero did Rev’s Al and Jesse make on this case.

To prosecution team member Cokie Pants – 17 year olds cannot legal possess a concealed weapon so kinda defeats your role reversal meme. Each time I think this prosecution team cannot make themselves more foolish, they prove me wrong.

David Dennis | July 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Why are we using this Docstock service, which appears to require privacy-sapping registration, instead of one of the many alternatives that doesn’t?

Hoping the jury looks at Rachel Jeantel and makes the connection that she’s a gangsta girl so Trayvon must have been the type as well since they were such good friends.

    gospace in reply to robbi. | July 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I read she was catfishing- and may never have actually met Trayvon. NOBODY asked when they met, or how. That I remember.

[…] From the jury instructions in the George Zimmerman case, via Legal Insurrection:   […]

[…] The jury has been charged in Florida v. Zimmerman, and have begun their deliberations. The verdict form is here. Final Jury Instructions here. […]

retiredprosecutor | July 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

The “Justifiable Use of Deadly Force” instruction is better for GZ than the “Justifiable Homicide” instruction. The latter requires that GZ must have been resisting an “attempt” by TM to “commit a felony” upon him. The former instruction doesn’t contain any such requirement. The jury could conceivably conclude that TM was NOT attempting to commit a felony on GZ, but GZ DID reasonably believe that TM was about to inflict great bodily harm on him. In that case, self-defense would be justified under the latter instruction, but not under the former instruction.

I still can’t figure out why the judge gave BOTH instructions.

ONLY the “Justifiable Use of Deadly Force” instruction should have been given.

In addition, why didn’t the judge remove language from the instructions that have absolutely nothing to do with the facts in this case? IMO, this is sloppy work that has the real potential to confuse the jury.

[…] The verdict form is here. Final Jury Instructions here. […]

[…] “If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” [LegalInsur] […]

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