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Law School course: “historical trajectory of Trayvon Martin case”

Law School course: “historical trajectory of Trayvon Martin case”

Taught by attorney for the Martin family.

A JD student at the University of Miami School of Law–and a long-time fan of “The Law of Self Defense”–contacted me recently to share a notice he’d received from the school. It seems for the Fall 2014 semester they will be offering a “short course” (good for one credit) with a focus on the Trayvon Martin case, entitled “Legal Advocacy, Media and the Pursuit of Social Justice.”

The first note of interest is that the course is being “taught” by none other than Jasmine Rand, an attorney with the firm of Crump & Park. Benjamin Crump, of course, was the public legal face of the Martin family, as he is currently the public legal face of the Mike Brown family in the Ferguson shooting. Attorney Rand herself “leads the firm’s Civil Rights Department. Her evolving practice focuses on civil rights, wrongful death, civil rape, and catastrophic personal injury.”

Ms. Rand is perhaps most memorable for her appearance on the Greta Van Susteren show on Fox News in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was, of course, unanimously acquitted by the jury of all charges after mere hours of deliberations. In the course of her four minutes or so of air time Ms. Rand expressed her view that the jury in that trial had not delivered “justice.” When asked if it was not her duty as a lawyer to accept a duly empaneled jury’s verdict, Ms. Rand responded that she has a greater duty than being a lawyer, and that was to be a “social engineer.”  Good stuff:

Of course, neither Crump & Park in general nor Ms. Rand in particular had anything directly to do with the only trial involving the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, which was the criminal prosecution of George Zimmerman. That prosecution was handled exclusively by the State of Florida. Indeed, what little involvement Crump & Park may have had in the months leading up to that prosecution almost certainly made the State’s efforts to achieve a conviction more difficult–e.g., Rachel Jeantel’s “cursive” note and the orchestrated playing of the 911 tape for Martin’s parents contrary to investigator’s wishes.

Rachel Jeantel testifies at Zimmerman trial

Rachel Jeantel testifies at Zimmerman trial

A short-course on the Zimmerman trial could, of course, be utterly fascinating, if taught by the attorneys actually involved: Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda, and John Guy for the State, and Mark O’Mara and Don West for the defense. The trial strategies and tactics involved, the various decision-points and choices made, how set-backs were overcome, or not overcome, would all be vastly insightful.

Mark O'Mara with mannequin

Defense counsel Mark O’Mara with mannequin during Zimmerman trial

Alas, that is not what this course is to offer. Its focus will instead be far less substantive: social justice, generally, and a great many specifics never actually relevant to the trial. Among these are:

  • “federal civil rights violations”–none were ever found, despite tremendous resources devoted by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • “Stand Your Ground”–never at any point relevant in either the physical confrontation nor the criminal trial
  • “international human rights standards”–oofah

At it’s heart, of course, the Zimmerman trial was simply a very straightforward and traditional case of an aggressor committing a vicious aggravated assault upon an entirely innocent victim, that victim lawfully defending themselves with a legally carried pistol, and the aggressor dying as a result of that lawful act of self-defense.

There’s not much room for “social justice” there, however, so instead in this course  “. . . students will engage in non-traditional legal analysis, exploring the literature on the sociological intersection of race and the law, and examine and reflect on complementary forms of advocacy, such as the use of the media as a tool of advocacy . . . ” (emphasis added)

“Non-traditional legal analysis”? “Sociological intersection of race and the law”? “Use of the media as a tool of advocacy”? Yeah, that sounds like Crump & Park, alright.

Question: How’d that work out for them in the Zimmerman trial?

But wait, there’s more: “The course will highlight . . . the ability of music to communicate messages that impact legal reform.”

Music.  Oofah.

Hey, Dean White, if you’d be interested in a traditional legal analysis of the Zimmerman trial, call me. I caution you, however, that my presentation will be pretty light on music, and will place substantially greater emphasis on the relevant evidence and law than it will on “social justice.” (By “substantially greater” I mean 100%.)  For reference you can peruse “The Zimmerman Files: Aggregated day-by-day live coverage & analysis.”

Anyway, the official course description distributed by the University of Miami School of Law is below:

Course Description: LEGAL ADVOCACY, MEDIA, AND THE PURSUIT OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

Students will explore a dynamic and multidimensional approach to legal advocacy by focusing on the historical trajectory of the Trayvon Martin case in all its facets. Emphasis will be on decision points and strategic choices that faced legal advocates, the role of the lawyer in shaping the course of litigation, and the dilemmas and opportunities raised by media attention. Students will be led through an examination of the following aspects of the case as it unfolded: civil law; criminal law; federal civil rights violations; Stand Your Ground, and the application of international human rights standards. In this course, students will engage in non-traditional legal analysis, exploring the literature on the sociological intersection of race and the law, and examine and reflect on complementary forms of advocacy, such as the use of the media as a tool of advocacy, tempered by professional regulations and ethical obligations. The course will highlight the emergence and role of the social justice movement that accompanied the litigation, and the ability of music to communicate messages that impact legal reform. The course will challenge students to conceptualize law as an evolving process, rather than a static system; taking students beyond application of legal precedents to creation of law and systemic change by combining traditional litigation skills with alternative forms of advocacy.

Jasmine Rand is an attorney with Parks & Crump, L.L.C. in Tallahassee, Florida, where she leads the firm’s Civil Rights Department. Her evolving practice focuses on civil rights, wrongful death, civil rape, and catastrophic personal injury. Notable representations include: a police brutality case involving an eighty-one year old man shot to death on his own property; a policy brutality case involving a mentally ill inmate beaten and tasered to death by officers; premise liability rape cases; and a wrongful death action in which a diver was killed in the propeller of a yacht in the Bahamas. In her first year of practice, Jasmine prepared a Petition for Rehearing for an employment discrimination case before the United States Supreme Court. When necessary, Jasmine represents her clients against law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and large corporations in State and Federal litigation.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.

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Comments

C’mon, Andrew, we all know that true justice has nothing to do with the law. The law is just a pretext to get us to true justice. I’m sure this course will contribute greatly to the careers of aspiring lawyers who want to know how to promote true justice as opposed to legal justice. {{{snicker}}}

    JusticeDelivered in reply to txantimedia. | September 20, 2014 at 9:36 am

    What more could Thugvon ask for, he did receive justice. And, there was social justice, society will not have to pay for future misconduct.

    There is no doubt that Trayvon’s upbringing was unjust, when are we going to start holding parents responsible for their children’s crimes? How about sending parent and child to a boot camp where necessary to get parents to do right by their children?

“Legal Advocacy, Media and the Pursuit of Social Justice.”

Translation: How to play the race card for fun, fame and profit. Course conducted by someone who has accomplished this.

    Deodorant in reply to McAllister. | September 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Why not? Whites played the race card for fun, fame and profit for centuries. I guess history was neglected in your ‘education’.

      “Why not? Whites played the race card for fun, fame and profit for centuries. I guess history was neglected in your ‘education’.”

      What if “whites” did play the race card? Am I responsible for the offenses of “whites” that occurred many decades before MY “white” ancestors ever came to this country?

      Are “black” people responsible for the BLACK people who sold other black people into slavery? Surely you know that white slave traders didn’t march into deep Africa to seize slaves, right? They bought slaves at African ports FROM OTHER BLACK PEOPLE.

      Surely you know this? Right? RIGHT?

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Yes, I do know that. History is complex and multi-faceted. But to ignore the role that our shared history has played in our current state is ridiculous; even if my family came here around 1910.

        I am a bit surprised by you. Do you really think the disadvantages of blacks stopped in 1865? 1965? Besides, I was just pointing out that the ‘race card’ has a long and cherished histroy in THIS country. “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. It is the laws of this country that we are both concerned with. What happened in Africa is certainly important, but hardly relevant.

        My comment was directed to the poster, not you. There are always be people who will exploit issues. But it is an ad hominem attack to imply that all those that are unhappy with the outcome of the Martin case are playing the race card.

        Perhaps the course will be attended by a cross-section of people, there will be some lively discussion, and a thorough examination of the issues. It is just a 1 credit elective. During my college experience, I had some courses where I vehemently disagreed with the instructor. In one case, the instructor later told me I was the best student he ever had. In another, I came to see the instructor’s point of view. Isn’t that why one goes to school?

        I have been accused of being a troll. But I do not trowl the internet looking for sites to antagonize. I was invited to check out this site during the Zimmerman case. I found you extremely interesting and illuminating. I can’t say the same for many of the commenters. I see so much resentment,self-pity and prejudice that I get the urge to inject a little reality – every once in a while.

          platypus in reply to Deodorant. | September 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

          The constitutional disadvantages of blacks ended with the passage of 13th, 14th, & 15th Amendments and the civil rights acts shortly thereafter.

          The resentment of the Southerners was, in large part, to the manner in which reconstruction was done. Contrary to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, there was plenty of malice towards the South and it was generally treated like a conquered enemy rather than a reconciled family member.

          If I had to point to a large point that fueled racism and such, it would be the Radical Republicans in Congress and their dapper thugs (carpetbaggers) that bossed everybody around.

          (side query – if Lincoln had lived, would he have ordered the debts of the Confederacy to be paid out of the Treasury?)

          The South was plundered after the War under the guise of helping Negroes to achieve parity.

          Now the real question is: who has the right to “play the race card” – whites or blacks? I say that no one has the right to salute the flag while reciting the Pledge if skin color is an issue to that person. In other words, reciting skin color as an excuse for anything mowadays is a=offensive to the constitution which never specifically described itself as being for whites but now most definitely excludes skin color from any consideration at all.

          The fact that private citizens can hold racist beliefs does not impart or imply authority to any government entity to recognize such attitudes. Every time the government does anything to elevate skin color from a physical curiosity into a legal consideration (no matter how slight) is a violation of the constitution and the person responsible should be fired (and then sued).

          I have personally decided that anyone who uses skin color to explain anything to me is someone far below my intellectual and moral level. I’m done with the race card which I have been tolerating for 66 years. No more. GFO to the whole lot of ’em.

          “I have been accused of being a troll. But…”

          If you were not a troll you would not have written “Why not?”

      richard40 in reply to Deodorant. | September 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

      The remedy for injudstce is not continued injustice in the opposite direction, it is justice. Bad conduct in the past by others, does not justify bad conduct by you today. By claiming that past playing by whites of the race card justifies you doing it today, you are basically saying that past oppression is right, since you feel it is right for you to do the same today. MLK had it right, people should be judged by the content of their charachter, not the color of their skins.

jesus christ.
what a friggin farce.

    filiusdextris in reply to dmacleo. | September 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Hey, please. Whether you believe in Jesus as Christ our Lord or not, many of us do. It is not sensitive or appropriate to use his name as a mild swear word, even if meant flippantly.

      jayjerome66 in reply to filiusdextris. | September 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      And many of us are atheists and agnostics and skeptics and doubtful Jews and Catholics who are offended by that kind of cencerous nonsense. JEEZZ – you sound like those Iranian clerics condemning the Happy Dancers because they found it offensive to their restrictive religious sensibilities.

        filiusdextris in reply to jayjerome66. | September 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        Since when does civilly asking for a civil tongue equate with barbaric restriction of freedom? Hyperbole much? If he had used Mohammad’s name in vain, or sworn at Jews, would not a lot of people have been justifiably upset? Why do you wish to condone insensitivity in speech to the most common religion in America?

        Note, I said what I said for his sake (and others), not mine. There’s a commandment in the JudeoChristian faith about using the Lord’s saving name vainly. If I suspect that there is any halfway decent chance that correction will help, I have a faith duty to correct (I wouldn’t do the same on an existentialist website since it would only likely harden hearts). Normally, I wouldn’t chastise in public, but we all use pseudonyms here anyway.

        Finally, note, I’ve said my piece. If he continues (or you), I won’t repeat the same admonishment in the future unless asked.

          It actually is very simple, and it is not about swearing. It is about seeking help (whosoever calls on His name) when one is unable to save himself. In the specific case at hand, the utterer is asking Christ for help in understanding and comprehending the reality he is seeing.

          Never look for the worst – seek the best and you shall find it. 🙂

          Some people are offended by even the gentlest, civilest Christians. Which tells you something about said secularists.

          jayjerome66 in reply to filiusdextris. | September 22, 2014 at 10:59 pm

          And some people are offended by the gentiliist most civil non-believers. Which tell you about said Christains. Go figure.

      Little baby cheeses! Settle down, y’all. 🙂

The civil rights advocates wish that Martin had murdered Zimmerman. The lynch mob which formed after his successful self-defense was evidence of their prejudice. Instead, they will settle for subtle public slander in perpetuity. Which will, of course, be coated with doctrines of collective and inherited sin. It’s for the profit… I mean children.

    Deodorant in reply to n.n. | September 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Shouldn’t we all be ‘civil rights advocates’?.

    I think you have no idea that ‘lynch mob’ is not a figure of speech. Many people, mainly black, did actually get hung. Who was physically harmed in the aftermanth of the Zimmerman case? There wasn’t even any property damage.

    How quiokly we forget.

      platypus in reply to Deodorant. | September 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Nowhere near as many lynchings of blacks as people think. It was news mainly because it was not common.

      But you aren’t a civil rights activist, you’re just another Sharpton in training to become a professional racist making your living from playing race cards.

With “the pursuit of social justice” in the course title, what more do you have to know?

A term recently used by “shotgun Joe” is now etched in my mind.

MouseTheLuckyDog | September 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm

What is “civil rape”?

    “tipline” inquiry to AFB, are these maybe cases you want to look into for the edumacation of us LI-ers, err, LI-ians?

    The 12/2013 and 5/2014 (approx) cases of Marvin Louis Guy and Henry Goedrich Magee. Both in Texas, both night-time no-knock raids where the occupants fired on and killed LEOs, defense “thought it was home invasion”. (And not a lot of evidence found, so far, my-disclaimer-here, etc., to justify the raids.)

    WaPo cite: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/05/16/no-drugs-found-in-raid-that-claimed-the-life-of-texas-police-officer/

    Sorry if this is a duplicate.

    nerkbuckeye in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | September 20, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Kinda like “Conservative Democrat” . I had to laugh because I thought the exact same thing but I’m assuming it refers to suing someone for rape? Maybe when a conviction doesn’t happen?

      “Civil rape” generally refers to attempting to hold a third-party vicariously liable for a rape. For example, woman raped in laundry room of her apartment building sues the apartment building because prior rapes occurred there and they did not adequately secure the facility against future rapes. Or woman works in convenience store, convenience store is robbed, robbers rape woman, woman sues convenience store for inadequate security.

      That kind of thing.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    JusticeDelivered in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | September 20, 2014 at 9:46 am

    “Civil Rape” is where a PR campaign is used to drive a uncivil shakedown for personal profit.

“Swirling around the crapper until flushed away”, that’s a trajectory, right?

As George Zimmerman has an interest in improving his education these days, think he could register for the course, to provide first hand balance to Jasmine’s syllabus? And do carry permits in Florida allow him to bring his gun to class? 🙂

“tip line” comment to AB about possible interesting self-defense cases, bad guys (?) versus LEOs:

Today I’ve seen on the interwebs articles about two Texas cases, within 5 months of each other, night-time no-knock raids where occupants shoot and kill LEOs (apparent defense: “I thought it was a home invasion” ).

The accused are Marvin Louis Guy and Henry Goedrich Magee.

Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/05/16/no-drugs-found-in-raid-that-claimed-the-life-of-texas-police-officer/ and http://thefreethoughtproject.com/prosecutor-seeking-death-penalty-officer-killed-knock-raid/

disclaimer: I spent 3 minutes ‘researching’ this, so if it’s junk, I won’t be surprised

At what point do law school students band together and sue the school for tuition fraud? Aren’t you entitled to expect to be turned into a lawyer, instead of just a hired gun (legal technician) who can go get a bar card.

I’ve worked as a paralegal for many attorneys and a couple of them were real lawyers. There’s a difference, which is why TPTB are on a long term mission to make the two words into interchangeable synonyms.

How many people know that a lot of law schools do not require students to take a constitutional law theory class in order to get a JD? Yeah they take a semester of con law but it is mostly about learning to cite precedent (at least according to the attorneys I know).

If the Rule of Law is now The Rule of Shifting Social Considerations, we are toast.

These people are going to keep milking that cow long after it ran dry of both milk and blood.

And by the way, I do believe in social justice.

But in my version of social justice, I get to keep the fruits of my hard work, while “the others” get to keep the fruits of their laziness.

There are still a lot of idiots claiming Trayvon was murdered.

Parks and Crump were after a civil payout after the murder trial was won, but they had to settle on the million dollars conned from the Condo Complex’s insurance company and whatever fees they got from Martin Family fundraising schemes.

Now we have them sucking up to the racists to get a bunch of money from the City of Ferguson.

I will say that P-C Law Firm certainly is very successful in hiring attractive female spokes-models to impress their target audiences.

    platypus in reply to gad-fly. | September 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    No offense but their sense of timing and political awareness is what got the million dollar payout. Not a con job but a very slick sales job (in settlement negotiations).

    I admit there isn’t a whole lot of daylight between the two but there is some daylight. Plus, it was private money which is so much better than taxpayer money.

..”students will engage in non-traditional legal analysis, exploring the literature on the sociological intersection of race and the law, and examine and reflect on complementary forms of advocacy, such as the use of the media as a tool of advocacy . . . “

Just another course in identity politics musicology.

Don’t forget that Donna Shalala had to give the final sign-off on this. (I suppose)

There was no justice. Zimmerman’s life was ruined.

The only one who got Justice was Martin, and it wasn’t the state that gave it to him, just some poor unlucky neighborhood volunteer.

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