Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman verdict is in. It should not have surprised anyone, really: whatever issues Florida has in the legal treatment of whites and minorities aside, the prosecution did not do a particularly good job at disproving Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. Under Florida law, a) self-defense is still a valid defense even if the defendant originally initiated the encounter as long as they believe that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm and have exhausted other means of escape, and b) in any case, the burden of proof lay with the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense.*
Zimmerman’s defense team chose a standard self-defense claim. Florida’s “stand your ground” law was never in play. It should have been.
What about Trayvon Martin’s right to stand his ground? Why should he be forced to give way when stalked and harassed? Why should he not have the right to defend himself when he felt in fear of great bodily harm?
Oh, that’s right. He didn’t have a gun. Doesn’t count.