14th Jul 2013
Although a Florida jury found George Zimmerman NOT GUILTY yesterday after 16 hours of deliberation, DON’T read anything into this verdict as far as how things would go under California law. Under California law, at best, Zimmerman may have been able to achieve a result of voluntary manslaughter under a theory of “imperfect” self defense. Imperfect because Trayvon Martin was unarmed and it would be virtually impossible for Zimmerman’s defense team to convince a jury that the use of lethal force was justified against an (alleged) assault without the use of weapons.
California law, over the past two decades, has moved far away from “self-help” defenses, such as self defense. While the defenses are still on the books, California disfavors the defense to the point that it seems highly unlikely the same result achieved in Florida could be accomplished in California.
I invite user comments on this topic.