Another good post from Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft

Disclosure: I am not a left wing person at all. My reason for look at Jeralyn’s site happens to be her coverage of the Zimmerman case. Once the case is totally complete I will continue not looking at most of her posts.

That being said, I make one more point, and that is Jeralyn seems to not know that an adjunct lecturer is not the same as a law professor. She should know the difference, hence I do fault Jeralyn for adding the Law Professor bit about Barry Soetoro when it simply is not true.

So here is Jeralyn’s excellent comment:

Here’s the transcript of President Obama’s remarks on the George Zimmerman verdict today.

Here’s what I agree with:

The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works.

The rest of his remarks, on the topic of race, would be welcome following an incident involving racial profiling by police. In case he hasn’t noticed, the practice is rampant in New York City. They do not fit in the context of this case. [More…]

He has now gone from Trayvon Martin could have been his son to Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago.

The most objectionable part of his comments: Not once did he express any empathy for George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted who spent the past 16 months under the cloud of criminal charges, and who continues to have a target on his back.

Obama said if Martin had been white the result would probably have been different. Not once did he acknowledge that if Trayvon Martin had not attacked George Zimmerman, the outcome might have been different.

As a former Constitutional law professor, I would expect our President to acknowledge that the purpose of a criminal trial is not to send messages to the American public. It is merely to test the Government’s evidence: Did the state prove guilt and disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

By the President comparing himself to Martin 35 years ago, is he saying he would have responded as Martin did, and physically attacked someone for following him? I hope not because our laws do not allow such conduct. It is not illegal for a private citizen to follow someone. It is illegal to physically assault another person who has not threatened him with the imminent use of force.

I am very disappointed that the President has chosen to endorse those who have turned a case of assault and self-defense into a referendum on race and civil rights. And that he is using it to support those with an agenda of restricting gun rights.

The President, like so many others, refuses to acknowledge that George Zimmerman had no avenue of retreat from the beating Martin was inflicting on him. Zimmerman would have prevailed on self-defense without a stand your ground law. The only additional element a stand your ground law adds to traditional self-defense is the elimination of a duty to retreat if one is available.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there will be no change to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. I hope he’s right. The law does not need to be changed. People have a right to defend themselves from attacks like the one Martin initiated against Zimmerman. They should not have to wait until the next blow, which could be a fatal one.

Trayvon Martin was not an unarmed teen just walking home with Skittles. The evidence at trial showed he had enough time to go home and did not. Instead, he chose to confront and physically attack Zimmerman. He may have started his walk home from 7-11 as an innocent unarmed teen with a bag of Skittles, but along the way he used his hands and the cement as weapons.

The jury’s verdict is the best evidence that not a single one of them believed Martin was the one screaming for help.  Angela Corey said this week the state has never denied Trayvon Martin hit George Zimmerman. The state argued Zimmerman’s injuries weren’t serious enough to warrant shooting Martin. There was expert testimony at trial that Zimmerman had no other means to escape the danger he perceived he was in, and that his perception of that danger was reasonable.  The jury sided with the defense.

The state tried to cast Zimmerman as the aggressor who provoked the fight, and the judge correctly ruled the jury would not be so instructed. There was no evidence to support that Zimmerman provoked Martin’s use of force against him. There was no evidence that Zimmerman tried to physically restrain Martin.

Whether you are 17 or 28 or 52, you have the right to resist a beating. It’s time to recognize this case for what it was: an unfortunate encounter between two people, each of whom found the others actions suspicious. One had the opportunity to leave and continue on his way home. Instead of availing himself of that opportunity, he chose to assault the other person. Wrong option.

Whether Martin was black, white or purple was not a factor at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman’s will to live without permanent brain damage was entirely reasonable. Stand your ground or no stand your ground, self-defense is judged by the circumstances that existed at the time deadly force was used.

The actions of Zimmerman before Martin’s attack was an issue only for the determination of ill-will, hatred, spite or evil intent, as contained in the Murder 2 statute. Once the jury rejected the state’s argument on murder 2, the series of acts leading up the non-physical encounter are irrelevant. What matters is Zimmerman’s belief at the time he responded to Martin’s use of force. Was his belief reasonable that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent great bodily harm to himself. The jury said yes. Race has nothing to do with it.

It is unfortunate that Trayvon Martin lost his life, but he was wrong to use his fist and the cement as a weapon and attack George Zimmerman.  Changing the law is not an appropriate response when the state failed to prove Zimmerman had an alternate means to extricate himself from the danger. Suggesting that someone being beaten should wait for a fatal or near-fatal blow before defending himself makes no sense.

The police investigation in this case was not deficient. They interviewed witnesses, some more than once and canvassed the neighborhood for more witnesses. They interviewed Zimmerman without a lawyer several times and had him reinact the encounter with Martin and the shooting. They conducted a voice stress test which Zimmerman passed (and was not admitted into evidence, which was the correct ruling.) They obtained phone records and examined Zimmerman’s phone, downloading texts and photos. They got court orders to examine Martin’s phone when his parents and lawyers were unable or unwilling to provide a passcode. They collected physical evidence and sent it for testing. They obtained videos of neighboring businesses. The only deficiency was in the preservation of evidence on Martin’s body and clothing, and more mistakes were made at the Medical Examiner’s office than by the police at the scene.

The evidence obtained from the investigation would be no greater if the FDLE and state’s attorney’s office had the case from Day 1 — unless they were willing to manufacture it. Even Angela Corey said it would be wrong to charge someone before the investigation is complete, and that would take at least 4 to 6 weeks in a case like this. Calls for Zimmerman’s arrest were premature. And as evident from the family’s most recent statements, they would not have been satisfied with just an arrest. Only a conviction would have been acceptable to them.

Police are supposed to impartially follow the facts and then develop a theory. It’s inappropriate to develop a theory and then try and force the facts to fit a preconceived theory. Surely we learned something from the travesty of doing it backwards as was done in the case of JonBenet Ramsey. Her parents were vilified for years because the police were hellbent on finding facts to fit their theory of guilt instead of following the facts and evidence to see where they led.

If the public wants change, a good starting point would be opposition to Neighborhood Watch programs that encourage people to report behavior that isn’t criminal but merely suspicious. Ending police endorsement of such programs might make a difference.

I am all for protesting the racial disparity in our criminal justice system. But put the focus where it belongs: On arbitrary and unfair laws that disproportionately affect minorities, police misconduct, too much discretion vested in prosecutors, and overly harsh sentencing laws and guidelines. Leave George Zimmerman out of it.

Please note, I do not agree with Jeralyn and her opposition to Neighbourhood Watch programs. In fact I think that people should get involved in neighbourhood watch so that criminals are apprehended before they do further harm.

Citizens should have a right to protect their neighbours. George was not on any “watch” that night, but he was going to the store. George was being observant when he noticed someone behaving suspiciously. We do not know exactly what drew George’s attention to the figure that turned out to be Trayvon Martin. Personally, I reject the nonsense that his behaviour was due to him being on the phone.

I note here that there is now some evidence that Trayvon’s phone was not on Tracy Martin’s bill as claimed by Crump but was on $ybrina Fulton’s phone plan. That means there is a much larger discrepancy in the story. In my mind there are a lot of holes in the narrative.

Since there is a presumption of “innocent” until “proved guilty”, the fact that the jury found George to be not guilty means that he is innocent, especially of murder. It was Trayvon Martin who was the one who was committing a felony that night, and George had a right to defend himself.


17 responses to “Another good post from Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft

  1. Like you, I won’t be visiting the site after the George Zimmerman case is settled. But I take Merritt to tasked because she does not address the politicization of the case by her party.

    Which much like minorities unable to say a bad word about other minorities regardless of their deeds and how wrong they are.

    I commend Jeralyn for her stand on Zimmerman, but the failure of her and others like her of staying quiet when their voices are needed the most is disappointing.


    • You raise good and pertinent points as to why Jeralyn needs to be taken to task, that is her failure to even bother with the fact that the Democrats politicized the case even though George is a registered Democrat.

      However, my bigger beef with Jeralyn is the attack on the Neighbourhood Watch Program. She seems to think that people should not be profiling others, and I think that she is wrong because that information can in fact save lives.


    • I don’t disagree with you about the NW programs, which are needed but that goes to back to my statement about her not mentioning the blatant politicization of the case.

      Who commit a disproportionate number of burglaries and break-ins? Who will NW groups be most likely to call the police for? It is avoidance of these 2 questions that give rise to the negativity of some towards NW programs.


    • Correct Bori.


    • It is hard for Liberals to criticize others and to mention the high criminality in urban neighborhoods because it exposes them. They don’t want to talk how their policies have contributed to the issue, so they just ignore it.


    • they are not Liberals. The Liberal Party in Australia is the conservative party.

      These people are either soft Leftists or hard Leftists and Marxists.

      To be a liberal means that you believe in things like capitalism and free trade. That is the opposite of the beliefs of these people and that includes Jeralyn Merritt.


    • ACLU has done a 180 and now wrote the Justice Department that it should not pursue Federal charges against Zimmerman. Here’s an article that Jeralyn wrote about it.


    • Jeralyn makes some very good points in that article. Did you notice how she tears Jasmine Rand to shreds?


    • Deservedly so, I am still upset at how she was bragging about how they got the State to charge GZ.


    • It is disgusting what they did in such a racist manner towards George Zimmerman.

      As you are no doubt aware, I have cousins in the USA, in fact within the Detroit area, and my cousins are of Hispanic ancestry. My uncle John either came from Mexico or his parents did. He was a US Marine and he met my aunt because he was fighting in the Pacific region during the 2nd World War. This kind of makes the whole thing personal.

      What I do see in this case is not just the racism exercised against George but something more shameful and disgraceful – false anti-Semitism.

      The name Zimmerman is German. It is a name that is normally attached to German Jews. Mind you, in my own family background there is German, but the name Hacker does not evoke German Jews lol. The bigots latched onto the name Zimmerman. The worst of the bigots tried to claim that George was a member of the KKK. Well at least with party affiliation they were technically correct since the KKK is affiliated with the DNC… and it remains affiliated with the DNC…. and yes the KKK are crazy leftists too, but they are to the right of the extreme Left.

      Jasmine Rand has all the hallmarks of being a Marxist. Did you know that Marxists hate Jews even though Jews were among the first Marxists and Engels who formed the first Communist Party with Marx was a Jew? Funny how that works!! Use them then discard them… Jasmine Rand is in fact dangerous with her social engineering because what she wants to establish is that Marxist State.

      I do get the feeling about Jeralyn Merritt that she is mostly preoccupied with people who are in prison, and that she has a blind spot aka her posts about Tsarnaev the Boston bomber… I totally disagree with Jeralyn in regard to that person. Jeralyn’s heart might be in the right place, but her blind spot means that sometimes she is a bit off the mark. She also has a blind spot where Barry Soetoro is concerned.


    • My grandfather fought in WWII, and his brother in Korea they both have Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat. They endured all kinds of discrimination at first for their heavily accented English but by the time they left the Armed Forces both had earned respect of others.

      They both were extremely patriotic and loved America, I am glad they are both dead it would be really hard on them to see movements like OWS, and our President pandering to different groups as he does.

      As for Jeralyn I think you are right she is a defense attorney, and she has probably has heard every sob story from people that she is defending which would either make you very cynical or extremely sympathetic to their stories.


    • Yikes, my grandfather served in WW1 !! He was under 20 when he lost his leg because of a bullet wound that went to gangrene.

      I am sure your grandfather was a very proud American, just like my uncle John.


    • Yes he was, he also used to tell me that I should beware of the communist, he had some dealing with them in Europe, but would never tell me what had happened. We had cousins in Cuba that did not get out, and he was always wary of the same thing happening in the US.


    • Cuba = Russia.

      Say no more. I completely understand.


  2. Your are correct, what we in the US call Liberal has no resemblance to a Classical Liberal once was. That is the problem with labels, they are so easily hijacked by others to suit their purposes. Perhaps Progressive is a more appropriate label though there is nothing progressive about their agenda.