Reported by Reuters
“A Florida state court judge ruled on Monday that recent changes to the state’s “stand your ground” law are unconstitutional, finding that legislators overstepped when making it easier for defendants to argue self-defense to obtain immunity for violent acts.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch said courts, not lawmakers, should set the process by which defendants can claim they were protecting themselves with an act of violence, according to the ruling posted online by the Miami Herald.
The revision shifted the burden of proof during pretrial hearings to prosecutors, rather than defendants, to show whether force was used lawfully. Supporters saw the changes backed by the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, as bolstering civilians’ rights to protect themselves.
Monday’s ruling in Miami circuit court is not binding on other state trial courts, the Miami Herald reported.
Advocates predicted the ruling would be reversed on appeal.
“It is the role of the legislature to write the laws that govern how Floridians may exercise their statutory and constitutional rights,” Richard Corcoran, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement. “The Florida House will continue to stand with ordinary citizens who exercise their right to self-defense.”
Florida’s “stand your ground” law, passed in 2005, received wide scrutiny and inspired similar laws in other states. It removed the legal responsibility to retreat from a dangerous situation and allowed the use of deadly force when a person felt greatly threatened.
This spring’s changes were adopted over outcry that gun owners could be emboldened to shoot first.
Critics cited the 2012 death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the Orlando area, which spurred national protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. The neighborhood watchman who killed him, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder after the law was included in jury instructions. ”
There were debates on whether George Zimmerman claimed stand your ground during his trial. As Reuters correctly reports, Judge Nelson included stand your ground jury instructions in those given to the jury to decide Zimmerman’s fate.
Published using Press This
At its commencement ceremony on May 13, Florida Memorial University will present a posthumous honorary degree to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager killed by George Zimmerman five years ago.
The private university announced Wednesday that Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, will accept a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science with a concentration in flight education on behalf of their son.
The degree is in “honor of the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot,” the school said in a Facebook post. Florida Memorial’s Department of Aviation and Safety has a designated Cessna pilot training center, and the school also houses the Trayvon Martin Foundation. It is based in Miami Gardens where Trayvon Martin lived.
Trayvon Martin was 17-years old when he was shot and killed on February 26, 2012.
Trayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995. He would have been 22 years old today.
It is because Trayvon was killed that I came to the internet in 2012. The man who killed him claimed defense under Florida’s controversial stand your ground law. Seeing racially bigoted comments, and attacks upon his family and friends, opened my eyes that America is not post-racial. Others saw this too. The Black Lives Matter Movement was birthed.
Trayvon’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, have published a book titled “The Enduring life of Trayvon Martin: Rest in Power“. The 368 page hardcover book sells for $26.00. The book is available for Kindle for $12.99 and on audio CD for $35.00. It became available in bookstores on January 31, 2017.
Yes, dear brother Trayvon, you are resting in power. May your parents, and all parents who advocate against gun violence and for truth and equal justice, be strengthened and empowered to keep the light burning.
Book: Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, Written By His Parents Is Now Available for Preorder
Amazon introduces Rest In Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin:
“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”
“Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon’s father—a truck driver named Tracy—tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon’s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son’s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon’s parents, who—driven by their intense love for their lost son—discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.”
“Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade? “
“Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, those questions from the most intimate of sources. It’s the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.”
“Florida State Attorney Who Oversaw Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander Cases Is Defeated in Primary”
It’s been said by some on this blog that we anticipated hearing from George Zimmerman soon. He’s been quiet since his suspension off Twitter for tweeting revenge porn. In these past months, I’ve refrained from writing about that, in addition to writing about other things that Zimmerman does or that involves him. Today, I’m writing about him to send a message to America — THANK YOU for not allowing Zimmerman to taint the memory of Trayvon Martin. Thank you for not allowing Zimmerman to capitalize on the anger, rage, and pain that he caused on the rainy night of February 26, 2012.
The “most hated man in America” received his gun back from the DOJ, who had possession of it since his state trial ended on July 13, 2013. Zimmerman’s best friend, Mark Osterman, called Zimmerman “the most hated man in America” in the title of his book. Osterman wrote that book before Zimmerman stood trial and as we have seen, everything that Zimmerman has ventured upon since the end of his trial has proven that people do not like him.
Yesterday, the media announced that Zimmerman was auctioning off the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm gun that he used to kill Trayvon Martin. The auction was to open this morning on GunBroker.com, starting at $5,000. When I read that, I wondered if having the weapon caused Zimmerman such pain, then why not have it destroyed rather than selling it for popularity purposes. I mean, he purchased it for less than $300 so why would he think its minimum value is $5,000? Is he putting a value on it that he thinks is the equivalent of Trayvon’s life? Is he putting a value on it because he thinks his own name is worth that much? Or, is that his price to kill?
Now, it doesn’t matter what his reasons or intentions were, because the auction site cancelled the auction. Read the rest of this entry
On February 26, 2012, a 17-year old-young boy was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida. It was a rainy evening. He went to a convenience store for candy and juice. On his way back, a neighborhood watchman alleged that he was on his way to Target to get groceries when he saw a suspicious teen. He followed the teen in his truck, then on foot. Trayvon Martin was shot in the heart with a hollow point bullet by George Zimmerman.
What happened in this nation as a consequence of George Zimmerman’s actions exposed the good, the bad, and the ugly. Trayvon’s life, death, and legacy, has motivated many people of all races and from all walks of life to come together for the good, including advocating for changes to stand your ground law and gun control.
We shall not forget.
In support for justice for Trayvon, LLMPapa produced videos during Zimmerman’s pending trial. In the following, he addresses where a journalist wanted to interview him and he gives his response.
After the fire, the fire still burns. The heart goes on.
Today, let’s celebrate Trayvon’s legacy.
Dom, your words not only express your talent, but the power in which you use them.
Round and round the story goes
One that’s as old as time
Where it stops nobody knows
Causing tensions to climb
These 50 odd years since civil rights
Have made so little change
Hatred between black and white
Festers like the mange
Fear of lynching may have passed
But fear exists no less
While walking the street they’re still harassed
No matter how finely dressed
Ask Sandra Bland or Michael Brown
Oh wait they cannot speak
Too many names buried in the ground
The future seems so bleak
Justify and deny all you wish
Your blindness it won’t erase
200 years by chains and switch
Like animals kept in place
Nothing has changed in modern day
Ask Eric, Tamir or Trayvon
It matters not what any of us say
Because either way they’re gone
~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~
Written by scrodriguez.
Here we go again same (expletive), different toilet. George Zimmerman is playing the blame game again. This time he has pointed the finger at President Barack Obama stating that our president is to blame for racial tensions surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Of course we expect the typical “I am not to blame” campaign headed by Zimmerman. after all his past clearly proves this right? I mean it wasn’t his fault that he was following an unarmed teen in the middle of the night first by car then by foot he didn’t create any scenario at all that would leave a kid to feel threatened no not good ole Georgie.
George follows the book, respects the law. (snark) I mean that is evidenced by him disregarding the neighborhood watch handbook guide in which the Director of neighborhood watch clearly stated, time and time again, not to follow anybody. The handbook clearly states you are the eyes and ears for law enforcement — not the vigilante. George’s actions remind me of a statement made at his trial by Rachel Jentel.
In fact, George was even reminded this on his non-emergency call when he reported a suspicious looking black teen walking through the Retreat at Twin Lakes. And of course, after several neighborhood watch meetings, after having read the handbook given to him and being reminded on the non-emergency call not to follow, George did not follow those instructions. In the end, he said it was Trayvon’s fault for his own death.
Oh wait – maybe it was the dispatcher’s fault for asking if he wanted to meet the arriving officer at the mailbox. Maybe it was the day of the week’s fault because he and Shellie always grocery shopped on Sunday evenings after he cooked dinner for her – although Shellie had left George the day before and was at her dad’s. Read the rest of this entry
Reblogged from News One. (Not directly reblogged because of the size of a photo that might be a trigger alert for those traumatized by the face of George Zimmerman.)
In a newly released video, George Zimmerman — the former neighborhood watchman acquitted of murder in 2013 — blames President Obama for stirring racial tensions following the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Zimmerman, who pursued and approached the 17-year-old as he walked to his father’s house, can be heard on the March 8 recording saying he was victimized by Obama and wrongly accused of being a racist by the media.
The Orlando Sentinel writes:
“…he faulted the media for portraying him as a racist and the criminal justice system for bringing him to trial but saved his harshest criticism for Obama, whom he accused of trying to prosecute “an innocent American.”
“For him to make incendiary comments as he did and direct the Department of Justice to pursue a baseless prosecution, he by far over-stretched, over-reached,” Zimmerman said. The president, whom he referred to as “Barack Hussein Obama,” should have told the public, ” ‘Let’s not rush to judgment,’ ” Zimmerman said.”
The recording, released by his Tampa divorce lawyer Howard Iken of Ayo and Iken PLC, marks Zimmerman’s first public comments since the DOJ announced in February that he did not violate Trayvon’s rights. Since his acquittal and even during his numerous run-ins with the law following the trial, Zimmerman has remained mum and “still tightly guards his privacy,” according to The OS. Read the rest of this entry
Racerrodig asked that I open a thread so people can share remembrance and their thoughts on how we heard about the death of Trayvon Martin. He also suggested that we discuss how it affects us and what we do to make relations better. Thank you, Racerodig, for your willingness to share with others.
It’s not often that I write opinion or editorial pieces, but today I’m compelled to do so in remembering Trayvon. The announcement by the Department of Justice was not limited to not charging George Zimmerman with violating Trayvon’s civil rights. The announcement included more, and I would like to address that.
In its written announcement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote:
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy. It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”
Many of us have experienced that anyone who participates in the necessary dialogue is targeted for destruction by a small group of individuals who believe there is a conspiracy which they call the “BGI.” No one has been destroyed however, and all of their efforts have not stopped the necessary dialogue. The best dialogue I’ve witnessed has taken place on this blog respectfully, and between diverse people. Some of us even have diverse spiritual beliefs, but all of them are based on doing no harm, respecting life, and promoting equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, age. Read the rest of this entry
Hat tip to Butterflydreamer2.
Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, said that he hopes the decision will mark the start of a new chapter in George Zimmerman’s life.
Trayvon’s parents said they are disappointed but thanked the Justice Department for their investigation.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the investigation concluded that circumstances of the case did not meet the high standard required to prove a federal hate crime.
The timing raises suspicion of the investigation and result. The federal grand jury met last year and their session ended in December. Had the federal grand jury not returned an indictment, the DOJ should have announced that much sooner than now. Zimmerman did have an attorney; Don West, who is a federal criminal defense attorney. Apparently, Zimmerman was anticipating an indictment. The question is, did the federal grand jury return an indictment, but the DOJ decide that in spite of that, they will not prosecute? Read the rest of this entry
Just some thoughts on this dreary, cold day.
It is hard when loved ones die from disease or old age. It is horrible when loved ones die from an accident. It is devastating when loved ones are killed by others. Those left behind always seem to have a feeling of guilt, but that’s mainly from being helpless. I’ve said on this blog many times that death does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about age, gender, or the color of skin. Money might buy medical care to extend life, but it cannot bribe death when the time comes. That sense of helplessness runs deep.
When loved ones are killed, people look to the justice system. The only comfort that comes from that is the sense of juries and judges acknowledging right from wrong. However, what juries hear and see is painted by their own hearts and minds. People are not computers programmed to process data without bias.
There are times when there are no words sufficient in bringing comfort to the hurting, to those who have lost loved ones, the ill, the tired. There are times when I feel that there must be more – something I can do, and not merely say. If I had the power of resurrection, I would walk through the hospitals, the morgue, the graveyards, calling out names and saying, “Come forth.”
Today, because I feel that there are no words sufficient to directly comfort the living, I will address their loved ones who have gone on. Read the rest of this entry
Trayvon Benjamin Martin (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) was a 17-year-old Black teen from Miami Gardens, Florida. His life became famous in his death that brought many issues to public interest, including neighborhood watch, stand your ground law, racial profiling, and police investigations. Trayvon’s death brought attention to the justice system and cultural diversity.
Trayvon was born in Miami, Florida. At the time he was killed, he was a junior at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School. Trayvon is the son of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin who divorced in 1999. On February 26, 2012, Trayvon was visiting his father who was at his fiancee’s townhouse at the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. That evening, Trayvon walked to a convenience store and purchased candy and juice. On his walk back, George Zimmerman saw him and called the Sanford Police reporting a suspicious person. According to an ear witness who was on the phone with Trayvon, after noticing that he was being closely and consistently followed by a man in a truck, Trayvon ran. The man in the truck was George Zimmerman who left his vehicle and followed Trayvon. Subsequently, Zimmerman shot Trayvon in the heart, killing him.
Shannoninmiami submitted the following comment:
That is such an awesome idea- videos of the victim before the killer &co vilify them. but then I remember xena telling me a long time ago, that the victim is not on trial,
they don’t need to defend themselves! isn’t that some BS??@!! because I remember thinking of course, that makes perfect sense or THEY WOULDN’T BE the VICTIM, they’d be the DEFENDANT!
that’s true technically but things have changed. the media & the legal profession seem to be devolving into game show like entertainment sources. the ones who used to respect & speak for the victims aren’t really doing that in certain cases.
victims aren’t treated as victims. but in order for a dead victim to have a fair chance at justice they gotta be the victim.
Maybe we need a sort of special victim’s defense team who can speak out on the victim’s behalf and counter attack the killer’s allegations.
look at cases like Mike Brown & Trayvon where racist character assassination is used as a defense for murder, literally.
it seems anything goes, even fantastic stories of dead teenagers with super human strength and magical powers”
Thank you Shannon, for bringing up this subject. Today, the media and internet have changed things to where many people no longer think logically. In fact, the double-minded man is revealed more today because of the internet, and we see this when people place victims on trial.
I would like to share a portion of how I came to understand that victims are not on trial.
On December 1, 1958, Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago caught fire, killing 93 children and 3 nuns. Some of the children that died were my age. I remember seeing the photographs of those who died on television and in the newspaper that my dad brought home with him from work. So many children.
In my child, inquisitive mind, I asked my Sunday School teacher if the children had done anything wrong to die so young and by fire. My thoughts were somewhat along the lines of Santa Claus giving presents only to children who were good.
The next I remember hearing of massive death came by Richard Speck, who on July 13, 1966, killed 8 nursing students in Chicago. There was talk in the beauty shops and meat market. Rumors were passed about the immorality of the nursing students and some people disagreed that White nursing students should have shared living quarters with nursing students from the Philippines. It left me puzzled. How could those nursing students be responsible for their own deaths and why accuse the lone survivor, who was from the Philippines, of conspiring with Speck? Read the rest of this entry
At Sundance, the premier independent film festival, the documentary titled 3 ½ Minutes will take the screen in Utah. Minette Nelson wanted to document a story that would continue the discussion on race and gun violence with a focus on Florida, but she wanted a story that was not as well-known as the Trayvon Martin story. Her son told her about Jordan Davis. She read everything she could about the killing and mailed Ron Davis, Jordan’s father, in April 2013.
“My letter stated that I felt that Jordan’s case could be exemplary of what is wrong with post-racial society in America and that Jordan was no different from my son. Thirdly, that if there had been no gun in the equation, Jordan would’ve gone home safely to his bed that night.”
The 2013 festival’s award for best cinematography went to Marc Silver for the film, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” Marc Singer directed “3 ½ Minutes.” He has a promotion for the film on his website.
On Friday, George Zimmerman was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, and domestic violence involving a weapon. We have since learned that the weapon was a wine bottle.
On February 26 , 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman called the police non emergency number reporting a suspicious person. Travyon was returning from a convenience store, walking to Brandi Green’s house, where he and his dad were staying. Trayvon was unarmed.
Zimmerman abandoned his rental townhouse that same night, and did not return to work thereafter.
It was not until April 2012 that Zimmerman was charged with 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The weekend before his arrest, George Zimmerman opened a website and requested financial donations to a legal defense fund. After his arrest, the money began pouring in. Via the jail house telephone, he instructed his wife Shellie on transferring the money and paying off their debts. At a subsequent bond hearing, George Zimmerman sat in court like a “potted palm” while his wife denied knowledge of the money. George also kept hidden that he had a valid passport in a safety deposit box.
By motion of the State’s Attorney, Zimmerman’s bond was revoked. He had a subsequent bond hearing where Judge Lester stated that he believed that if it was not for the ankle bracelet, that Zimmerman would have left the country with other people’s money. Shellie was charged with perjury.
Around December 2012, George, Shellie, and Mark O’Mara were sued by a security firm for breach of contract and failure to pay.
On July 13, 2013, a jury of six women acquitted George Zimmerman. Following his acquittal, Shellie appeared in court and entered a plea agreement on the perjury charges. She then announced that she filed for divorce. Read the rest of this entry
Since no one was paying him attention, George Zimmerman called into the Armed American Radio to express how his life has gone and stays downhill since he killed unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
According to Raw Story, George told Armed American Radio;
“I don’t really remember what normal is,” Zimmerman said. “I’ll tell you that I’m not working – I enjoyed working, I enjoyed being a productive, taxpaying member of society. I haven’t worked since the incident, so in terms of the violent threats, the bounty on my head, I haven’t seen on any of the bounty posters an expiration date.”
The “bounty” was for an arrest. He’s not working because he thought that his supporters would financially support him. That turned out to be a disappointment. George even started a blog and after 2 months, turned off the widget that reports the number of views because they were so low. His blog has one comment from one supporter. People don’t want to be associated with him anymore than they want to be publicly associated with the blogger who commented on his blog.
THE MANY FACES OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
Jahvaris Fulton and Tracy Martin (Source: Twitter)
According to blackenterprise.com, Jahvaris Fulton, the older brother of slain Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, recently graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.
Fulton, 22, has made the best of his opportunities since losing his little brother to violence. Prior to graduating, Jahvaris served as a congressional intern for Florida Representative Frederica Wilson.
Wilson, a founder of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, also counts Fulton as a member who helped to encourage at-risk in Miami-Dade schools to stay in school.
Recently, Jahvaris and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show to highlight the wide breadth of miscommunication that exists between persons of color and white America. “It’s not happening to them, so they don’t quite get it,” she told Cooper in an interview that aired Friday. “They don’t quite…
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