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George Zimmerman Trial Coverage => Post-Verdict Events and Thoughts => Topic started by: RickyJim on February 24, 2014, 11:37:16 AM

Title: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: RickyJim on February 24, 2014, 11:37:16 AM
A study by 3 MIT researchers has just come out. (  It describes the complicated history of how this ordinary police blotter incident became the media sensation it did.   Perhaps it explains more what happened rather why this case grabbed such attention.  (I still can't figure out also how Justin Bieber made it so big.  :D )  It also is a bit heavy handed in its few references to the actual facts of the case.   For example,
The audio of the call established that the 911 operator asked Zimmerman not to pursue Martin. Zimmerman ignored this advice and confronted Martin.
Title: Re: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on February 24, 2014, 03:18:46 PM
During the halftime of the NBA All–Star Game on 26 February, Martin walked to a nearby convenience store to get an iced tea and a bag of Skittles for himself and his stepbrother–to–be.

The All-Star Game began at 7:30, about the same time TM was pronounced dead. And it wasn't tea.

This is from the first paragraph of the study. I wouldn't put any confidence in researchers who don't bother with facts that are easy to check.

ETA: The third paragraph characterizes Rachel Jeantel as TM's 'girlfriend', a status she denied under oath at the trial.
Title: Re: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on February 24, 2014, 03:55:26 PM
Crump brought on local lawyer Natalie Jackson, who enlisted the pro bono services of publicist Ryan Julison.

Julison’s pitch did not emphasize the racial element to the story, but underscored agreed upon facts: a neighborhood watch vigilante, who was carrying a gun, shot an unarmed teenager, and was not arrested.

I disagree with both claims about 'Julison's pitch'. I think Julison's pitch did 'emphasize the racial element to the story', and asserted many factual claims that were by no means agreed upon. The characterization of GZ as a 'vigilante' is an example of the latter, if it is accurate. I don't actually recall if Julison made the vigilante charge explicitly, and at this point I have zero confidence in the research of these 'academics'.

Julison was particularly struck by the fact that a neighborhood watch captain would be carrying a firearm with no training of any kind other than a concealed weapons permit (Julison, 2012).

This makes no sense, as a 'permit' is not 'training'. Presumably it means no more training than required to get the permit, but it could be interpreted as implying no training at all.
Title: Re: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on February 24, 2014, 04:06:44 PM
One reader, Kevin Cunningham, saw the Reuters piece shared on a listserv, “Men of Howard,” comprising fellow members of an informal fraternity at Howard University, where he attended law school (Leitsinger, 2012). Frustrated by the relative paucity of media coverage and incensed by the lack of justice, he began a petition on 8 March.

'[T]he lack of justice' is presented by the 'academics' as an objective fact, not just the view of the individual under discussion.

Title: Re: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on February 24, 2014, 04:31:29 PM
Another development in the story was delivered directly by a mainstream media commentator on 23 March, when TV pundit Geraldo Rivera suggested that Martin’s decision to wear a hooded sweatshirt was “as much responsible for [his] death as George Zimmerman.” There was immediate backlash to Rivera’s comments, including from Rivera’s own son. This moment solidified the ‘hoodie’ as part of the national conversation and battle over the framing of the story.

The study doesn't mention that Rivera cited no evidence that the hoodie was a causal factor in the incident. I don't think there was ever any such evidence. The meme may have started with a poorly sourced Gutman report. (
Title: Re: The Case Goes Academic
Post by: jeanmarc8 on March 01, 2014, 01:42:52 PM
RJ and NM_NM: nice find and IANAL. 

I think the more interesting discussion would be how police departments/municipal governments could plan to respond to “social change organizations that seek to harness advocacy campaigns to news stories”.

The “success” of such groups, as evident in this case, suggests that future events will try to be run on a  parallel course, and that is visible in current news in Florida.   I don’t think the leadership in Sanford ever got ahead of the news cycle or were able counter the unsubstantiated claims from the unfriendly press. The city leadership’s delay in seeking to obtain more certain information was likely perceived as stalling by the public based on the inputs from the unfriendly press. This gave more credence that the Sanford leadership had something to hide in the process.   I think the only option the Sanford leadership really had was to schedule the grand jury inquiry much earlier, and force those involved to put their evidence (or lack thereof) on the record. That would have included Julison, Crump, W8/RJ as well as the remainder of TM’s family. As I understand the Grand Jury process, they would not have had legal representation while providing testimony, which may have been interesting as well, because it would have limited Crump’s role as the spokesman.

I think the grand jury might have answered some of the more puzzling parts of this case, such as the following (though I believe the grand jury proceedings are sealed so we would not be aware of the answers):
1.   Resolution of the widely claimed but doubtful interaction (? meeting/ ?telephone conference)  on the night of the event between the senior police leadership and GZ family.
2.  A more precise timeline for W8/RJ from being identified up to the full accounting for the initial interview, including a complete and audible copy of that first interview by Crump/Julison.
3.  A better understanding of the “what, when, where, how and why” of TM’s trip to Sanford, and his activities for the several days before the incident.
4.  More information on TM’s school history was than revealed in the trial.
A Florida grand jury in March 2012 should have been able to sort out the facts of the case, as compared to the claims that were presented repeatedly in the press without much critical assessment. The grand jury would have been able to assess the credibility of W8/RJ and SF, the two prosecution witnesses with the closest ties to TM. They also could have assessed the credibility of the various witnesses from the townhouses on the night of the event. At least I would hope they could sort those out, because 6 Florida jurists in July 2013 were able to do that, with some help from the defense team.

The grand jury option would have put the prosecution in an interesting position. The prosecutor allegedly has the ability to “indict a ham sandwich” through the grand jury process ( retrieved 20140227); however in this case, the prosecution (before Corey et al) might well have considered a “no bill” to be reasonable since it supported their assessment of the case. The grand jury option may have offered a much earlier endpoint for the case without much downside given the eventual outcome and the multidimensional costs of the case. ( retrieved 20140227)

Again, IANAL.