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George Zimmerman Trial Tag

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is among the most aggressive groups in seeking to limit, if not eliminate, the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear Arms. CSGV also attacks so-called Stand Your Ground laws through misleading accounts of what happened in the Trayvon Martin shooting by George Zimmerman.  This CSGV video released about a month after the Not Guilty verdict, received a lot of attention: The video was highly misleading as it related to the actual facts of the case.  One of the harshest critics was Andrew Branca, a contributor at Legal Insurrection and author of The Law of Self Defense. Branca, whose extensive coverage of the Zimmerman trial received national attention, wrote a blistering critique of the video, Deceptive Trayvon Martin Shooting Reenactment Video Released (emphasis added):
The video is highly deceptive, and nothing more than a continuation of the propaganda campaign about the case. Had they felt any affinity for the truth, they might have mentioned Martin’s emerging from the darkness to fell Zimmerman with a blow the neighborhood watch volunteer never saw coming, a blow that hit with such force that it broke Zimmerman’s nose, and which he described to police that same night as feeling as if he had been hit by a brick. Had they felt any affinity for the truth, they might have mentioned Zimmerman’s many and numerous injuries about the head and face, especially those caused by Martin striking Zimmerman’s head on a cement sidewalk, with any single blow capable of being the one that turned Zimmerman into a drooling vegetable or simply taking his life. Had they felt any affinity for the truth, they might have mentioned Martin’s long record of school violence, his engagement in street fighting, his apparent drug use, his apparent gun dealing, and his self-expressed desire to beat his victims until they had suffered “enough”. Had they felt any affinity for the truth, they might have mentioned Zimmerman’s long history of affectionate and communal relationship with black neighbors throughout his life, from his childhood to the present day, or indeed Zimmerman’s own mixed-race background. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence tried for decades, under various guises and name changes, to seize the guns of law-abiding citizens. They failed. They tried to limit the right of the citizenry to carry arms for personal protection, they failed. By demanding a legal duty to retreat from a felonious attacker they weaken the position of the law-abiding armed citizen who sought no fight and strengthen the hand of the felony criminal who possessed all the power to choose when, where, and how to launch his vicious attack, robbery, or rape of his intended victim.

Andrew Branca was invited by Campbell University Law School to speak on the issue for which he is best known, The Law of Self Defense. Here's part of the press release announcing the visit:
Nationally renowned self-defense expert Andrew Branca will speak at Campbell Law School next Tuesday, April 8 at noon in room 105. Branca, author of “The Law of Self Defense” will speak on how self-defense has become one of the latest hot button issues in gun law politics. He will also address North Carolina’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws.... One of the foremost experts in the United States in self-defense law across all 50 states, Branca’s expertise has been used by the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, NPR, and numerous other media organizations, as well as many private, state, and federal agencies. A Massachusetts-based attorney, he is an adjunct instructor of the law of self-defense at the Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, New Hampshire. He regularly lectures throughout the country on self-defense and the legal consequences thereafter. “Mr. Branca is one of the leading experts nationally on self-defense and the Second Amendment,” said Campbell Law Associate Professor of Law Greg Wallace. “We are fortunate to have him joining us, and I have no doubt that it will be an engaging experience for all in attendance.”
One self-described "Online tech fixer for progressive causes" tweeted:

E.J. Dionne, Jr., in his Washington Post piece entitled "Repeal stand-your-ground laws," presents us with yet another example of the utter inability of too many journalists to grasp the relatively simple and straightforward legal concept commonly referred to as "Stand-Your-Ground." Humorously, the first paragraph of his piece had me utterly convinced that Dionne must certainly be writing about Obamacare, despite the headline:
The law is supposed to solve problems, not create them. Laws should provide as much clarity as possible, not expand the realms of ambiguity and subjectivity. Laws ought to bring about the practical results their promoters claim they'll achieve.
With a lead-in like that, surely he's about to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, right? Just kidding--it is, after all, the Washington Post. Instead, Dionne has decided to call for the repeal of another law about which he patently knows nothing: "Stand-Your-Ground."

Dionne's Imagined Relevance of Stand-Your-Ground to Dunn Trial

How can we identify his ignorance of the law he argues should be repealed, as well as its application (or, more accurately, its lack of application) in the Zimmerman and Dunn trials. Why, he's kind enough to show us, in his own words. First, Dionne writes of the Dunn trial:
Supporters of the law say it was technically not at issue in the case, but this overlooks the obvious role it played in the trial.
And where do we find this "obvious role" for SYG in the Dunn trial? It was mentioned in a single passing sentence--that would be ONE sentence--with no particular emphasis by defense counsel Cory Strolla in his closing argument. One mention over the course of two weeks of jury voir dire opening statements, day after day of trial, and closing arguments. One. Mention.

Although it had been widely reported (including right here at Legal Insurrection) that the Sanford, FL police department had banned Neighborhood Watch volunteers from being lawfully armed, Police Chief Cecil Smith now says that this policy was miscommunicated to the public. It remains true that volunteers in a more thoroughly organized form of neighborhood watch--called "Citizens on Patrol"--will be prohibited from being armed.   Readers may recall  "Citizens on Patrol" from early in the Zimmerman trial.  One of the first of the Prosecution's witnesses was Wendy Dorival, a civilian employee of the Sanford PD who acted as their liaison with local neighborhood watch programs.  She testified about her interactions with George Zimmerman in that context, describing him in glowing terms.  Indeed, so impressed was she with Zimmerman that she tried to recruit him for the more substantive "Citizens on Patrol" program.  In that program Zimmerman would have been provided with a patrol car, a uniform of sorts, and generally been as close to being a "real" policeman as he had ever hoped to become. Zimmerman declined the opportunity -- one might speculate because even then the position would have required that Zimmerman disarm himself.   So, if it was always the policy that "Citizens on Patrol" were required to be unarmed, but that the "standard" Neighborhood Watch volunteers could lawfully arm themselves, why the past few days news about these issues? I expect that the only real "miscommunication" from the Sanford Police Department has been in misunderstanding how severely negative the response would be to the notion that Neighborhood Watch volunteers would be required to leave themselves fatally vulnerable to criminal aggressors preying on their neighborhood. For those who are interested, here is Wendy Dorival's testimony from the trial:

Of course, the two cases bear no resemblance at so many levels. But Oprah can't help herself, and debases the memory of Emmett Till by comparing Till's whistling at a white woman and subsequent beating death to the violence perpetrated by Trayvon Martin upon George Zimmerman who acted...

So now we have word that the Smithsonian is "eyeing" Trayvon Martin's hoodie for its new branch, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. According to the branch's director Lonnie Bunch: It became the symbolic way to talk about the Trayvon Martin case...

Look, I want to give Bill Cosby his props. He's been speaking up courageously for years on the problems within the black community, and he's gotten a lot of flak for it. It can't have been easy for him. Here are some excerpts from the address...

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