I am manually reblogging Danny Warrior’s excellent post since there was no automatic option to do so. He as brought up some great points. Andrew Branca aka “@LawSelfDefense” has wholly embraced George Zimmerman’s absurd self-defense claim, despite its incredulity and the fact that it spits in the face of his book, Law of Self-Defense, not to mention common sense. Danny pointed out that Zimmerman violated one of the tenants of Mr. Branca’s book concerning staying out of trouble. I’m going to go further and point out that Zimmerman self-defense claim was based on an obvious lie.
There was no evidence that Trayvon Martin, was doing anything illegal but Zimmerman called the police on him because he deemed him suspicious. Of course, the “incident” happened only because Zimmerman chased Martin despite: (a) Neighborhood Watch regulations which state he should not follow “suspects”, (b) NW regulations that state that he should not carry a weapon and (c) yes, the police dispatcher’s advice that he not follow Martin.
No, none of those are laws, but these were are regulations and advise given by law enforcement for good reasons! If Zimmerman, does not leave his car and chase Martin, which law enforcement, in three different instances, advised him not to do, nothing happens! Read my post: Zimmerman Ultimately Killed Martin Because Unknown Young Black Males Were Burglars To Him which references the transcript of the third interrogation of Zimmerman. Zimmerman felt his own personal and unfounded suspicions were more important than law enforcement’s regulations and directives! The situation should have been left to law enforcement, which is their job, not Zimmerman’s. Instead, Zimmerman chased and confronted Martin, without identifying himself, though he had several opportunities to do so and then killed him under unknown circumstances.
There was no evidence presented that Martin attacked Zimmerman unprovoked or suddenly. According to Zimmerman’s own statement, Martin asked him why he was following him and Zimmerman, instead of simply identifying himself as a member of NW, quickly reached into his pocket. Martin allegedly hit him at that point, and if he did, why shouldn’t he? Why wouldn’t Martin be concerned about a stranger who had followed him for no reason he could possibly fathom, on a dark, rainy night. Why wouldn’t he be concerned when he asked the stranger for an explanation and the stranger suddenly reached into his pocket?
Now, we wouldn’t even have to venture into the flimsiness of Zimmerman’s self-defense claim if he simply stays in his car. Well he didn’t, so let’s look at how absurd it was. The basis for Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was his allegation that Martin was on top of him pounding his head into the cement (over a dozen times) and this is why Zimmerman shot him. This is demonstrably false as Martin’s dead body was located far from the sidewalk which is where Zimmerman shot him. Could his body have been moved after he died? Not likely, Zimmerman testified that Martin was straddling him and after he shot him, he fell forward, on top of him. He further “testified” that he turned Martin’s body over and nothing else. Read my post: George Zimmerman Did Not Kill Trayvon Martin In Self-Defense Below is an image of the location of Martin’s body interposed with Zimmerman’s “testimony.”
So, Zimmerman’s statement that Martin was pounding Zimmerman’s head on concrete when Zimmerman shot him is demonstrably false. Considering how insignificant Zimmerman’s injuries were, it is doubtful that Martin ever pounded his head on the cement at all, however that is not even relevant.
Still Mr. Branca has hugged Zimmerman, and his flawed case of self-defense, to his breast like a suckling infant. Let’s look at what Mr. Branca has to say about self-defense.
It’s simply the self-defense law element of proportionality–a person is allowed to use only as much force as is necessary to neutralize the threat, and no more than that. Proportionality has both an intensity and a temporal (or time) dimension.
In terms of intensity, one can meet a non-deadly attack only using non-deadly means, and a deadly force attack with deadly means (also, of course, non-deadly means).
I have embedded a Facebook page containing another quote from Mr. Branca.
Martin never presented a reasonable of death or great bodily harm to Zimmerman, even if he had banged Zimmerman’s head on the concrete at some time during the encounter, when Zimmerman shot Martin, they were both on the grass and there was no threat of Zimmerman having his head banged on concrete.
At the debate, Bianca claimed there are essentially 5 elements of self-defense
1. Innocence – You must not have been the aggressor.
As I have set forth already, Zimmerman was the aggressor. He left his car and chased Martin, never identifying himself and then reached into his pocket suddenly. Note that when he agreed with the dispatcher that he should return to this car, 84 seconds passed and he did not walk the 30 feet to return to his vehicle! Again read my post: Zimmerman Ultimately Killed Martin Because Unknown Young Black Males Were Burglars To Him
You have to be facing a threat of death or great bodily harm that is about to happen right now.
When Zimmerman shot Martin, at best, Martin was on top of him, on the grass! He faced no threat of death or great bodily harm!
The amount of force you use in self-defense has to be no greater than necessary.
Shooting a Martin because he was allegedly on top of him on grass, is certainly not a proportionate amount of force. Martin was unarmed and not even armed with a block of concrete at that point.
Your conduct has to be both subjectively and objectively reasonable.
As already indicated above, Zimmerman’s conduct was certainly not objectionably reasonable.
5. Avoidance. If you have a path of safe retreat you have a legal duty to take it.
The Stand Your Ground laws removed the last requirement. However, avoidance would obviously have applied to Zimmerman who could have simply stayed in his car, returned to his car or not confronted Martin, all of which were completely unnecessary and would have avoided Martin’s death! The authors of the Stand Your Ground Law are in agreement as they felt the law didn’t apply to George Zimmerman once he ignored the police dispatcher. Author of “stand your ground” law: George Zimmerman should probably be arrested for killing Trayvon Martin, By CBS News July 12, 2013,
Still Andrew Branca champions Zimmerman as a self-defense exemplar! This does a disservice to his entire treatise on Self-Defense. Zimmerman’s encounter with Martin is the antithesis of self-defense, and it lowers the credibility of everyone, especially Mr. Branca, who champions it. His foolish wager with Sunny Hostin further puts him in an unflattering position, not to mention his internet harping on it! True, the nature of law is a dependence on fine and minute points. Technically the dispatcher did not “order” Zimmerman not to “follow”, i.e. “chase” Zimmerman, even though Zimmerman felt it was an order, which he ignored. You can see Zimmerman’s statement below.
Is Mr. Branca’s position that Zimmerman was right to chase Martin? He is certainly capable of making such an indefensible argument. Maybe that’s assume why he made so much of an asinine wager, even though even if he won, it was a “technical” victory, not a meritorious one!
Self-defense (and Stand Your Ground laws) were never designed to support vigilantes which is precisely what Zimmerman was. It is obvious, that Zimmerman did not leave his car to get directions for the police dispatcher, but to chase Martin. Moreover, he perceived the police dispatcher’s “directive” as an order. Note that in his statement he claims that Martin attacked him on his way back to his car. He never really headed back to his car as he was busy chasing Martin. Again, read my previous post: Zimmerman Ultimately Killed Martin Because Unknown Young Black Males Were Burglars To Him
What validity and merit self-defense laws, including “stand your ground”, might have is frittered away by attempting to use them as a shield for George Zimmerman’s irresponsible vigilantism.
Mr. Branca’s iconization of George Zimmerman is boundless and only trumped by his intemperance. He ignores not only the precepts set forth in his own book but those of the rules of evidence. There was no evidence admitted in the trial that states Martin was a thug, however, he tosses aside the calling of his profession to join the rabble, George Zimmerman worshipers, who claim that, the rightfully excluded hearsay evidence in Martin’s social media, somehow makes Martin a thug. Read my post: The Framing of Trayvon Martin
Massachusetts attorney and author of Law of Self Defense Andrew Branca was a debater on a panel at UC Berkeley. The hashing out was proudly provided by Branca himself. Can be found here:http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/04/cnn-analyst-welches-on-bet-after-andrew-branca-wins-stand-your-ground-debate/ I highly suggest you read prior to going further. Even if you hate the guy. The “expert” drank 2 gallons of water during the debate. Prolly to keep the steam from coming out his ears. He knew he had to “act” professional which is kinda hard for Branca on social media. His pro SYG stance “won” the debate. The debate win ended up being based on which stance could change the minds of those who reported they were undecided on SYG laws prior to the debate, although I can not imagine why one would attend had they not already had a solid stance to begin with. The numbers however, remained relatively high on those who oppose SYG as it currently stands. Instead of answering the question concerning the debate Branca wagered $100 bet that he can prove Zimmerman was not told to stay in his car. This is typical Zimmerman support semantics when it comes to self-defense debating. I hope to outline why arguing this point as a non fact is inconsequential. Sunny Hostin CNN legal analyst which was also a debater opposing Branca took the wager. Branca said he would provide the audio once he returned home. The always attention seeking, book pushing, Zimmerman supporting, self defense “expert” Branca held true to his word and still as I write this post continues to heckle Hostin via social media. She isn´t biting, and it disappoints Branca and his clan of followers. If this was the highlight of the debate for Branca he needs I feel sorry for him. With that being said.
Despite the fact the operator had not told Zimmerman to stay in his car, arguing whether or not Zimmerman was told to or not by the operator does little to prove SYG or self-defense in context of the debate. Actually, Brancas own advice in his book is to AVOID confrontation.
Here is an excerpt from his book
“To guide the crafting of a legally sound self-defense strategy, I offer five basic rules:
Keep out of trouble in the first place
Minimize your legal exposure if trouble does start
Foster the confidence to act decisively when necessary
Diminish your perceived legal vulnerability
Facilitate acceptance of events
I know what you’re thinking: what’s with that first rule about “keeping out of trouble in the first place”? I don’t need to be told that, I’m the good guy, I don’t go getting into trouble. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cases I see where an otherwise law-abiding armed citizen finds himself in legal trouble for having used force against another person, it is precisely because they failed to simply keep out of trouble in the 1st place. In talking with such folks I always ask, “looking back, were there any warning signals early on, that if you’d heeded them might have allowed you avoid the fight entirely?” The almost invariable answer, is “yes.”
Branca is in direct conflict with his own advice on RULE #1 every time he hoots and hollers about MSM or talking heads getting that detail wrong in the Zimmerman case. Even had an operator not told Zimmerman to stay in the car the fact still stands that had he STAYED in the car on his own vocation the entire event was avoidable. Which coincides with “keeping out of trouble in the first place” and also rule # 2! And, the fact Zimmerman had left his vehicle reveals he was not a well-trained gun owner and he certainly placed himself in a position of HAVING to use force whether he was told to stay in the safety of his vehicle or not. HE decided to get out regardless of purpose and intent. Zimmerman leaving his car also reveals he had little if any respect to follow the reasonable instructions in the watchman´s handbook, or had he had decent training as a neighborhood watchman, he would have remained in his vehicle. The other factor is that Zimmerman had walked back just about every detail he was claiming about Trayvon while on the phone with the operator.
Self defense laws do not protect anyone who instigates, or provokes an altercation. From the very first time both viewed each other Trayvon spent his time moving away from Zimmerman. While Zimmerman spent his time moving closer to Trayvon. Were it not for the actions George took either of them would’ve been hit, or shot.
As for Branca, he does make good legal argument for self defense laws when he can contain himself. His behavior is inconsistent. He appears desperate most times to stay relevant which is a turn off and embarrassment for anyone who has cited him. He is making a buck,and plugs himself when he can to feed his family. So I understand. He reminds me of people who sell stuff on an infomercial. “Not sold in stores” type of product. Which is fine but he tries too hard. He is no John Lott! He utilizes and over does the semantics (ie;a bet on publicly already hashed out info to make a buck & win a debate) and the what if´s involved in self defense are nothing more then scare tactics. Facts only which courts can consider when someone claims self defense. Good arguments for the need, but tactically unsound and obviously biasedly applied.
I tried to find any legal case Branca had a self defense client in the court of law. I have not found even one. If anyone can point me in the direction so I can read the case please do. He himself has never noted any cases he has tried or won.
I digress…..What Branca is missing is the argument in the Zimmerman case for the public which clearly was/is whether or not Zimmerman was an INNOCENT victim who HAD NO CHOICE but to self defend through use of deadly force. Branca appears in his book to be saying self defense starts with AVOIDANCE. Zimmerman was not interested in avoidance. Zimmerman broke every rule in Branca´s book. Mr. Branca has to admit Zimmerman broke Rule #1 when he left his vehicle be it against direction of an operator or on his own vocation. If Branca refuses to acknowledge this tidbit, he should return the money to everyone who EVER bought his book. That is my wager! I have said this numerous times, the Zimmerman case is not a good example of pro–SYG or self defense. It is a GREAT example in showing how low some are willing to go in an attempt to cover–up their biases, and stereotyped mentality.