Read Florida law: George Zimmerman didn’t engage in “stalking” of Travon Martin.


I finally couldn’t take all of the references to “stalking” in the George Zimmerman/Travon Martin case from those who clearly have no idea what the term meant in law. I looked up the definition of “stalking” in Florida law when this all started and here is the relevant excerpt: “…a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking…”

Note the word “repeatedly” in the definition. Once is not “repeatedly”. I also note the definitions in the stalking statute relating to the terms “harass” and “course of conduct” also refer to repeated behavior.

Looking at the law, GZ didn’t engage in “stalking” since the law requires an act of following (which must be done “willfully” and “maliciously”) to be committed “repeatedly”. Those who wish to claim that GZ “stalked” TM would be advised to look up the law, since stalking is a crime with a legal definition.

Reference: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html

It simply floors me that in all of the months of discussion of this case where the term “stalking” has been tossed around that looking at the law on the topic has been overlooked. It took me maybe three seconds to locate the statutory reference with a simple Internet search.

UPDATE: The verdict is now in and Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted. As such, my take on events was correct and those of the commentators below was not.

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4 Responses to “Read Florida law: George Zimmerman didn’t engage in “stalking” of Travon Martin.”

  1. Barbara Says:

    What is repeatedly, he had been told several times after getting in and out his truck not to follow the child. After the first time there was a second time that he followed the child, there for it was repeated. Your argument is assuming that he was only told once to not follow but following the trial Zimmerman was told more than once therefore it is a repeated offense.

  2. jamesacooley Says:

    First, you have your facts wrong. MZ was advised exactly ONCE by the 911 operator that “…we don’t need you to do that.” when confirming that he was following TM.

    Indeed, here is a transcript of the entire 911 call:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

    Please offer a specific piece of trial evidence that “he had been told several times after getting in and out of his truck not to follow the child.”

    You can’t, because it simply doesn’t exist. Facts are troublesome things…

    Next, your logic is faulty. No reasonable cop, judge, jury member, or other person could look at the legal definition of stalking and say that this met the test of repeatedly. We are talking a chain of events that took place within a little over five minutes within a single small neighborhood location. It was one event. To argue otherwise is like asserting that each bite of food is a separate meal.

    The timeline from the start of the call to 911 to report TM as a suspicious person (the call which lasted 4 minutes, 11 seconds start to finish) to the second 911 call with the sounds of GZ under attack was a mere 5 minutes and 31 seconds.

    Again, how does one do something “repeatedly” in a time-span that was just slightly over five minutes? The timeline from the end of the GZ 911 call to the second call with the “ground and pound” confrontation already taking place was a scant minute and ten seconds.

    The shot itself is heard six minutes and eight seconds after the start of the initial 911 call and just 33 seconds after the start of the second 911 call.

    The mere act of following what appears to be a suspicious person while notifying the police would also not satisfy the “willfully” and “maliciously” test under Florida law. The fact the GZ was on the phone with the 911 operator while doing it would negate any such claim.

    Please stick to the facts of the case.

  3. Gahaa Pacino Says:

    No, this was clearly stalking. “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree.” George Zimmerman stalked and killed Trayvon Martin and your argument of self defense is gone.

    • jamesacooley Says:

      No, it is CLEARLY not stalking. Again, it has to be done repeatedly. Once is NOT repeatedly. Also, a person who is actually committing the crime of stalking fails both the “willfully” and the “maliciously” test if they are on the phone with 911 at the time calling in a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Their reason for following the person is to call them into the police as suspicious (a reasonable conclusion given the circumstances and recent burglaries in the neighborhood).

      Again, if you are going to make statement like these, please be prepared to back them up with evidence from, the trial. You can’t because there simply isn’t anything available to support your claim. Simply stating something as fact won’t cut it if you have no evidence to support your point — and the clear language of the law and the circumstances are in conflict with the statement.

      The self-defense argument is also not “gone”. Again, please read the freakin’ law and evidence! There is unambiguous eye-witness testimony that TM was on the top engaged in a “ground and pound” beat-down of GZ. The physical evidence and injuries are consistent with this (broken nose, head lacerations, etc.). All of the physical injuries (other than the single gunshot) were sustained by GZ and none by TM — with the exception of evidence of knuckle bruising detected for TM. All of this points to TM as the aggressor. The bullet wound itself is consistent with what would occur to a person who was on top of another and leaning forward.

      In short, the overwhelming majority of the eye-witness and physical evidence supports the self-defense claim. If you can point to credible trial evidence that contradicts it, please do so.

      Here is Florida law on the use of deadly force for self-defense: (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or requires that one reasonably for imminent loss of live or serious bodily injury.

      Here is the citation:

      http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.012.html

      A person who is flat on their back while someone pummels their face (bloody broken nose already sustained) and slams their head against concrete is OBVIOUSLY in danger of “great bodily injury”. We have a high-profile murder case going on now here in Austin on trial now where the cause of death was a punch to the head. Indeed, a simple online search shows up several stories on murder cases where the cause of death was a punch to the head (often just one blow).

      https://duckduckgo.com/?q=murder+case+punch+to+the+head

      Someone who has already sustained multiple blows to the head would reasonably fear they are in imminent anger of death or great bodily harm. I would certainly do so. I daresay so would most people. I note that the laws regarding self-defense and the use of deadly force don’t even require you have been injured. You just have to show that you reasonably believed that death or great bodily harm was imminent.

      GZ went beyond what was required in law by actually sustaining multiple injuries while helpless on the ground before pulling his legal firearm and firing one shot.

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but nobody is entitled to their own facts. These are the facts of the case based upon the evidence and the law. If the jury rules on the evidence and law and whether there is reasonable doubt, they simply cannot convict.

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