Zurai wrote:It is actually pretty difficult to (quickly) beat someone to death barehanded. You can kill people barehanded, but it's pretty obvious that's what you're trying to do; snapping the neck, using lethal chokeholds, that kind of thing. And, to be blunt, Zimmerman was not beaten, according to the physical evidence. He may have been struck, maybe even more than once, but he wasn't battered and bruised with broken ribs and bruised lungs. There's absolutely no (currently publicly available) evidence to support an accusation that the kid was out to kill Zimmerman. Especially since the phone conversation reported by his girlfriend had him as trying to escape the confrontation.
I agree that it isn't easy to kill someone bare handed but it's not impossible or unheard of. And the reality is quite different when you are laying on your back with a broken nose and bleeding from the back of your head. What will your assailant do to you if he knocks you out? Will he then choke you? Do something worse? But potential death isn't even the issue here as we shall see below.
The point is that there's absolutely no reason --including the physical evidence -- to believe that Trayvon really could have killed Zimmerman. He wasn't a street fighter, as far as we know.
Again, you make an irrelevant point. Zimmerman wouldn't know if he was a street fighter or not. Knowledge that Zimmerman wouldn't have is irrelevant to his decision. And potential death is not a requirement for self defense as we shall see below.
He wasn't at all muscular; as has been discussed in the thread, 140 pounds at 6'3" is skeletally thin and muscles weigh more than fat.
Agreed, but at night, the guy is wearing a loose fitting hoodie, you're getting beat around the face/head, your in pain, bleeding, and probably in shock, it's not going to be easy to make that determination, don't you agree?
He was completely unarmed, unless you're counting skittles as deadly weapons.
Yes, he's unarmed but that's pretty obvious if he's on top of you beating you with his fists. And irrelevant if your on the bottom taking the beating. And again, irrelevant for a self defense claim.
If he'd been 250 pounds and had actual history (even non-criminal history as in school records) of aggressive behavior and violence, or had he had a knife or gun of his own, sure. I wouldn't even be involved in this discussion. But the fact is, you're saying that self defense justifies lethal force. This is utterly erroneous, even in Florida
Again, history is irrelevant since Zimmerman wouldn't know that, and everyone who does have a "history" has a first time, right? As for a knife/gun being necessary to claim self defense that is not necessary under Florida law. All the is required is:
http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapon ... fense.html
Florida law defines deadly force as force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
Note, your argument so far has been premised on the fact that Martin was unlikely to have killed him but that's NOT the only condition for lawful self defense. There is also "great bodily harm".
Volokh has a great overview here:http://volokh.com/2012/03/27/floridas-s ... ense-laws/
According to Volokh:
Media coverage of Florida’s self-defense laws in recent weeks has often been very inaccurate. While some persons, particularly from the gun prohibition lobbies, have claimed that the Martin/Zimmerman case shows the danger of Florida’s “Stand your ground” law, that law is legally irrelevant to case. So let’s take a look at what the Florida laws actually say.
Fla. Stat. § 776.012. Use of force in defense of person
A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
So the general rule is that deadly force may be used only to “imminent death or great bodily harm,” or “the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” A person may only use deadly force if he “reasonably believes” that the aforesaid factual conditions exist. These standards are the norm throughout the United States.
Eventually, a grand jury will issue a report based on its investigation. In the meantime, there are two competing narratives. In one narrative, Zimmerman followed Martin, attacked him, and then murdered him. Let’s call this the “M narrative.” In Zimmerman’s account, he followed Martin, caught up with him, and then left; while he was leaving, Martin attacked him, knocked him to the ground, and began slamming his head into the pavement. Let’s call this the “Z narrative.”
I am not making any judgment about which narrative is more plausible. The grand jury will do that. For now, it should be noted that neither the M narrative or the Z narrative has anything to do with a duty to retreat. The retreat issue would only be relevant if Martin were the aggressor, and Z had the opportunity to escape from Martin in complete safety. Then, and only then, would different state standards about retreat be relevant. Simply put, everyone who has claimed that Florida’s retreat rule affect the legal disposition of the controversy is either misinformed or mendacious.
The core Florida law on deadly force in self-defense leads to clear results. If M is true, then Zimmerman’s firing of the gun was a criminal homicide. If Z is true, the act was lawful self-defense. The results would be the same in every other state.
In sum: there is not a shred of support for the claim that Florida law protects, or has protected Zimmerman, if he unlawfully attacked Martin. If Zimmerman’s story is true (Martin attacked him, putting him in imminent peril of grave bodily injury, with no opportunity to retreat), then Zimmerman’s self-defense claim would be valid under the laws of Florida, New York, or any other Anglo-American jurisdiction.
Based upon this analysis, if attacked, Zimmerman does have a valid self defense claim. Fear of being killed is not the only requirement.