Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Question Of The Day

Joe Huffman says there is only one question he wants answered about the Trayvon Martin case. And depending on the answer, that will be all he needs to know about the case.

The one question I have that will probably settle the issue for me is when the authorities said, "Zimmerman then shot Martin once in the chest at very close range"; What was that range? I've probably spent more time and money than most on learning about such things and if the investigators know what they are doing, and I have no reason to believe they don't, then they should be able to determine that range quite accurately. If the range was under 12 inches they can probably determine the range to within a fraction of an inch. And of course the angle can be determine quite closely as well.

If the range is determined to be within six inches and the bullet path matches Zimmerman's story then I have to conclude the two were in a fight at contact distance and Zimmerman was losing badly. If I were on a jury I would insist that Zimmerman was in reasonable fear of imminent permanent physical injury or death and was justified in using deadly force to protect himself.

End of story for me.
This is a very interesting question and one I hope will be answered sooner than later.


  1. With all due respect to Joe, I think the pertinent question is did Zimmerman really make every effort to disengage prior to being pummeled by Trayvon. As the apparent initial aggressor, he has a higher duty to retreat than normal.

  2. If Zimmerman was the initial aggressor in the legal sense, i.e. he initiated illegal force or the threat of it, he cannot claim self-defense at all; duty to retreat in the normal sense does not come into play.

    In Florida, as long as he had a right to be there, which Martin had as well, he didn't have a duty to retreat. But that's irrelevant in the account he provided, where Martin was the initial aggressor with a punch that knocked him to the ground after three words of warning, followed by Martin getting on top of him and slamming his head into concrete etc. You don't have to retreat if you can't.

    BTW, I've always been under the impression that the duty to retreat was a binary thing, either you have to if you can or you don't. This is the first time I've head "higher duty to retreat".

  3. 100% agree - range is everything