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Judge Rules Defense Can Use Trayvon Martin Tweets

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the if-you-cannot-or-will-not-afford-an-attorney dept.

Privacy 848

theodp writes "The NY Times reports a judge in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman has ruled that Trayvon Martin's school and social media records should be provided to the defense. Judge Debra S. Nelson said Martin's Twitter, Facebook and school records were relevant in the self-defense case. In those instances, showing whether a victim 'had an alleged propensity to violence' or aggression is germane, the judge said. The defense also got permission for access to the social media postings of a Miami girl who said she was on the phone with Martin just before the shooting. Time to update the Miranda warning to include: 'Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?'"

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848 comments

*walks on by* (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715849)

Nope, I'm staying outta this one. Just keep walking, everyone.

zimmerman is innocent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715851)

some redguard chimped out, end of story

Re:zimmerman is innocent (-1, Troll)

toriver (11308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715991)

Justifying murder is a hobby of yours?

Re:zimmerman is innocent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716009)

It seems judging people guilty before they have had a fair trial is a hobby of yours.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716087)

He shot and killed a man. He deliberately went out with a weapon to kill someone.

How is that not murder?

Re:zimmerman is innocent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716157)

He shot and killed a man.

True.

He deliberately went out with a weapon

True. It's legal in Florida.

to kill someone.

Not True.

How is that not murder?

You're not seeing the difference between homicide and murder. He admits killing Martin, but - as the law allows - says it was in self-defense.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716163)

He deliberately went out with a weapon to defend himself in case he was attacked.

How is that not self defense?

Re:zimmerman is innocent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716243)

I'm not defending the kid but, wouldn't shooting an unarmed man (or boy) be responding with "excessive force"? They threw stones so I shot them is not a valid defense.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (3, Insightful)

Bluude (822878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716301)

It you attack a cop with stones or a knife or even your hands, it is not excessive force for them to shoot you. Why should it be any different for the public?

Re:zimmerman is innocent (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716309)

Well, in Florida you are allowed to use deadly force against a person if you feel threatened and are in a place you have a right to be. Unfortunately both people in this case can make that claim since they were both allowed to be where they were...

Re:zimmerman is innocent (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716337)

Only if you believe it's impossible for an unarmed man (or boy) to kill you or do serious bodily harm to you. Since there are plenty of examples of that happening, I'd say no, defending yourself with a gun against someone attacking you with their body is not excessive force.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716175)

kid in a neighborhood he does not live in, that has had breakin problems, acting suspiciously...

All that screams to me they might be upto something. And if MY family lives here. I damm well am very interested in stopping this person so the police can talk to them. And if that person attacks me... I damm well am going to shoot them.

And then you have his online activity as revealed by so many people.. The kid was a stupid thug wannabe. I wouldnt put it past him to have been the one responsible for breakins in the area. he was no saint. kid or not.

Everyone pretends this is just all a huge mistake because it was a kid. and he was *gasp* black!

but guess what. black kids can be criminals too. and sometimes bad things happen to criminals.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (-1, Troll)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716195)

Or perhaps reading cogent facts about the case might have lead him to that conclusion? Fact, the young man (17 years old) was shot in the back and the evidence suggests he was shot at some distance, apparently trying to run for his life. Their has never been a single bit of corroborating evidence that Mr. Zimmerman was in any way assaulted. Video at the police station immediately after the incident showed Zimmerman laughing with the police with no injury to the face and no blood on his clothing (anyone who's broken a nose can attest to the flood of bleeding and the unmistakable swelling and bruising that follows.) The young man had no history of violence, was unarmed, and had exactly zero reason to interact with this clown save to defend himself against deadly force. And finally, when Mr. Zimmerman called the police about a suspect walking down the street, the police said to step down and they would handle it, to which he replied,"No way, he'll get away, I'm handling this." So, I don't know, maybe his sounds like science fiction story was true and an sweet unarmed 17 year old kid had a psychotic break and he had to put him down in fear of his life, its not beyond the realm of possibility, its just gonna be a mighty hard sell with the current set of evidence.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716263)

Fact, the young man (17 years old) was shot in the back

Nope, shot in the chest, from the front

and the evidence suggests he was shot at some distance, apparently trying to run for his life.

Nope. Estimated distance was 24 to 36 inches, about arms length for someone his height.

Their has never been a single bit of corroborating evidence that Mr. Zimmerman was in any way assaulted.

Nope. His face and head showed signs of a severe beating and Martin's knuckles were bruised in a way consistent with punching someone in the face and head.

Re:zimmerman is innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716331)

was shot in the back

Nope.

and the evidence suggests he was shot at some distance

Nope.

no injury to the face and no blood on his clothing

Nope.

The young man had no history of violence

Nope.

to which he replied,"No way, he'll get away, I'm handling this."

Nope.

Any other bullshit you'd like to spew? Perhaps you'd like to post the ancient picture of an 11-year old Martin? Or maybe you'd like to Photoshop Zimmerman, make him look a bit more Caucasian, hey?

Will Zimmerman get justice? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715863)

This case has always been much more about media bias than about a mexican shooting a black.

Re:Will Zimmerman get justice? (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716123)

I still don't recall a single story in the mainstream media that had a picture of the victim as anything other than a kid of 11 or so. They're obviously trying to generate outrage for attrcting clicks or purchases.

Re:Will Zimmerman get justice? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716287)

Zimmerman is a red herring. This would never have become a major news case if the police had done a proper investigation instead of questioning the killer for some hours and letting him go, like he'd been caught nabbing candy.

The question is why a murder case, claimed self-defence or not, was given about as much diligence as your average shoplifting.

Blame the victim much (0)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715865)

This is definately a "blame the victim" move... Pretty low for the courts.

I don't see what good it would do? Unless the kid was bragging about breaking into houses or getting into fights, there's not much gonna clear the guy. In fact, if the kid tweets about being followed once before, even if he's upset about it, then it's only going to backfire.

Re:Blame the victim much (2)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715893)

In most criminal trials they can't bring up what a scumbag the guy has been in the past. Wonder whats going on here.

Re:Blame the victim much (5, Interesting)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715941)

That's true about the defendant, but we're talking about the victim here. It's much easier to get character evidence entered about the victim than it is about the defendant.

Re:Blame the victim much (5, Informative)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715931)

The defense has argued that Trayvon was the aggressor and are going to see if his school records and online life back that up. The internet is not some parallel dimension with no relationship to our real lives. If Trayvon was into "Thug Life", MMA, etc... or was suspended for getting into fist fights at school (he was suspended at least 3 times) then this is relevant to the case at hand as it makes the notion that he attacked Zimmerman more believable.

Re:Blame the victim much (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716051)

Yeah, because everyone who listens to hip-hop or trains MMA is a violent thug! Maybe he played some violent video games too! They should dig up his Call Of Duty account and see how many kills he has! Or maybe he has an Orc character in that satanic WoW game!

Re:Blame the victim much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716225)

the significant majority of them are violent thugs

Re:Blame the victim much (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716017)

Even if the kid was bragging about breaking into houses, and even if Zimmerman was aware that Martin broke into houses, that doesn't clear Zimmerman: A citizen with evidence of somebody else's criminal behavior that isn't in immediate danger is supposed to notify the police, not shoot the alleged criminal.

What I'm assuming they're claiming they're after is evidence that Martin was a violent person who was likely to have responded to Zimmerman by assaulting him. What they're actually almost definitely after is information that they can use to drag Martin's name through the mud to try to convince the jury that Martin's life was not worth protecting under the law.

I watched a defense attorney try this exact move while I was sitting on a jury. The defendant had been accused of smashing a brick over the victim's head, making her smoke crack, dragging her into a house, and then cutting up her face with a knife. The defense counsel offered no defense except to insinuate as much as he could get away with that the victim had entered the house voluntarily and traded the use of her car for the drugs. The jury realized very quickly that this didn't matter at all, because the available evidence made it quite clear that defendant had still taken a knife to the victim, and we were only asked to decide whether an assault with a deadly weapon had occurred. It was plain to me that the point of the "defense" was not to suggest that the defendant was innocent, but to suggest that the victim was a worthless human being so we wouldn't care what the defendant had done.

Re:Blame the victim much (5, Interesting)

niko9 (315647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716117)

Even if the kid was bragging about breaking into houses, and even if Zimmerman was aware that Martin broke into houses, that doesn't clear Zimmerman: A citizen with evidence of somebody else's criminal behavior that isn't in immediate danger is supposed to notify the police, not shoot the alleged criminal.

What I'm assuming they're claiming they're after is evidence that Martin was a violent person who was likely to have responded to Zimmerman by assaulting him.

Zimmerman has always articulated from day one that he shot to stop the active attack. That he only got out of his car to give the relevant information to the 911 dispatcher of Martin's whereabouts. That Martin came back to confront ZImmerman, threw a punch and continued to beat him while he was supine on the ground. Being on the ground with an attacker actively slamming your head into the concrete pavement is reason enough for using deadly force to stop and attack.

Zimmerman has never said that he shot Martin for looking suspicious. The media has latched onto speculation --as if it were fact-- that ZImmerman merely shot someone for walking around. The media has put forth the accusation that Stand Your Ground laws allow for this to happen legally when nothing could be further from the truth.

P.S. Guess which state was the first to enact a Stand Your Ground Law? California. Yes. Hardly the red state bastion of the NRA.

Here's a very informative video about what Stan Your Ground laws are really about: http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/stand-ground-laws-self-defense-or-license-kill [cato.org]

Re:Blame the victim much (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716239)

Being on the ground with an attacker actively slamming your head into the concrete pavement is reason enough for using deadly force to stop and attack.

being in such a situation isn't going to give you much opportunity to draw a weapon and fire it, let alone do much else.

I guess the facts of the case are too tied up in partisan opinion and vested interest to make a good verdict happen.

Re:Blame the victim much (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716283)

Deadly force should never be used, even in self defense. There is simply no reason for anyone to take the life of another human being.

Re:Blame the victim much (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716343)

Deadly force should never be used, even in self defense.

There are times that deadly force MUST sometimes be used in self defense, if you intend to survive.

Re:Blame the victim much (-1, Flamebait)

jjohnson (62583) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716317)

Do you believe that Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by 70 pounds, was really supine beneath him? That Martin could sneak up on a man holding a gun in a well-lit intersection, and take him down? That the reason Zimmerman got out of his car was, as he said, to see where he was, which was in the middle of the neighbourhood he'd been patrolling for the last six months and lived in?

I don't believe a fucking word Zimmerman says, in part because the injuries he claims to have don't show up on the video of him at the police station that night, and his visible demeanor with the police indicates that he was uninjured. But more than that, his story just reeks of implausibility.

He didn't shoot Martin for looking suspicious. He followed and engaged because Martin looked suspicious, which in this case means "walking while black in my neighborhood, carrying Skittles".

Re:Blame the victim much (5, Informative)

Americano (920576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716261)

But the jury isn't being asked to decide whether an "assault with a deadly weapon" has occurred. They're being asked to decide whether or not the killing of Trayvon Martin was an act of self defense (and thus unfortunate, but legal under Florida law), or an act of 2nd degree murder (and thus illegal, and carrying with it a stiff prison sentence).

Since all we have is one side of the story, past patterns of behavior on the part of Martin & Zimmerman may be very relevant in assessing the evidence. *IF* Martin has a history of breaking into houses, getting into fights, etc. etc., then it makes Zimmerman's story - that he was standing there when Martin approached him and assaulted him - somewhat more believable. If Martin is shown to be the poster boy for good kids everywhere, then it makes it far less believable. Just as past patterns of behavior on Zimmerman's part are relevant - does he have a history of racism? does he have a history of assault? does he have a history of waving his gun around like a maniac? All of these things would make his story LESS believable.

It's all relevant, because there simply aren't many facts beyond "deceased young black male, shot at close range" and the defendant's claim that "I was jumped, and acted in self defense." What a jury is being asked to decide is - is Zimmerman's story reasonable?

Re:Blame the victim much (0, Flamebait)

stewbacca (1033764) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716329)

This argument makes no sense. Even if Trayvon Martin DID approach him and even if he assaulted him, the entire thing was provoked by Zimmerman. You know what doesn't happen if you don't strap a pistol to your belt and tail people doing nothing wrong? That's right, you don't end up being charged with 2nd degree murder.

Re:Blame the victim much (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716023)

This is definately a "blame the victim" move... Pretty low for the courts.

I don't see what good it would do? Unless the kid was bragging about breaking into houses or getting into fights, there's not much gonna clear the guy. In fact, if the kid tweets about being followed once before, even if he's upset about it, then it's only going to backfire.

But he was bragging. Bragging about punching bus drivers in the face. He was also seen in YouTube videos refereeing Fight Club style fights.

You can read some of his tweets here: http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/26/the-daily-caller-obtains-trayvon-martins-tweets/

And if you think someone if blaming the victim, you're right. They are blaming Zimmerman for defending himself. Read the NYT article carefully. Every article from the NYT and most media outlets always make reference to Trayvon being unarmed as if that means you should never be shot or be the recipient of deadly force. The also say Trayvon "hurt" Zimmerman's head. Hurt? Hurt is when you trip and skid your knee. Hurt is not what happens when someone is slamming your head into a concrete pavement.

The courts have *long* recognized that deadly force can be used against unarmed attacker(s) under certain conditions.

Again, all part of the narrative put for by most media outlets --especially the anti-gun NYT-- that despise guns in the hands of civilians and those who use them for self defense.

Re:Blame the victim much (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716293)

Repeal the Second Amendment it is deadly. No one should have the power to take life away from another even in defense of their own. Due Process must apply.

Re:Blame the victim much (0)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716315)

That doesn't change the fact that when Zimmerman reported he was FOLLOWING the kid, the police told him to stand down, and he said "No, I'm not letting him get away." It was Zimmerman that instigated the situation, brought deadly force to the scene, and made a host of claims that simply don't stand up under the slightest scrutiny. Trayvon could have been a howling asshole, a pretty common behavior these days. If thats all it takes to justify deadly force, then this nation is in serious trouble. You simply can't stalk people, hunt them down, then shoot them and claim self defense, it does't wash.

Re:Blame the victim much (3)

nomad63 (686331) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716063)

No it is not "blame the victim" move. It is putting all relevant facts into the daylight move in my opinion. If you are a proven aggressor against law enforcement or any other thing for that matter and if you were in a conflict with this group, it is the other party's right to present what and who you are with all publicly available information. Otherwise, we are going into the gray area of a homeowner shooting a thief inside his house and getting sued for the thief's injuries.

Re:Blame the victim much (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716143)

It's the way the system works. It's how it's designed. If a fact is relevant, then it's admissible. The defence is arguing that this is relevant. Given that he's going to be locked away from society for a very long time and have his life ruined, I don't think it's too much to ask to be absolutely sure that his actions were totally unjustified.

It's important that all relevant facts are disclosed. The court is meant to consider these facts impartially. If the court can't be impartial, and we need to hide factual information from the jury, then we have bigger problems than this specific decision.

You think he's guilty. That's fair enough. So do I. The court is acting on the presumption that he's innocent, and that's how it should be.

Re:Blame the victim much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716327)

This is definately a "blame the victim" move... Pretty low for the courts.

I don't see what good it would do? Unless the kid was bragging about breaking into houses or getting into fights, there's not much gonna clear the guy. In fact, if the kid tweets about being followed once before, even if he's upset about it, then it's only going to backfire.

Nonsense. You don't really know what is in all of that. The court didn't rule whether or not it is admissible. They just ruled that there may be something admissible in there so the defense should have access to it. For all you know, there may be something in there about him hating the guy who shot him and wanting to kill him. I doubt it. But, if so, it would certainly be pretty convincing evidence if there was.

Likewise, if the guy who shot him had tweeted stuff about wishing he had the chance to kill someone, that would be equally relevant.

And, it is not entirely clear who the victim is in this situation.

Tweeting, and posting on facebook (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715869)

Tweeting, and posting on facebook or other social sites are forms of speech, speech is protected by the first amendment but that said it can also be used against you in any court of law. 'Anything you say can and will be used against you' so I think the current miranda rights cover that.

So nothing really ground breaking here as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715899)

Usually law enforcement has to read you your miranda rights beforehand for your speech to be admissible in court, though I admit I'm a little bit light on information as to how it works post mortem like this.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (4, Informative)

porges (58715) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715951)

That refers to statements you make to the police after being arrested, not to previous statements.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715959)

Miranda rights are there to protect you from self incrimination to the police. Things you have already said publicly (not to the police) are AFAIK fair game.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (3, Insightful)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716011)

Things you have already said publicly (not to the police) are AFAIK fair game.

Not really. They are still subject to the rules of evidence, and can be excluded for numerous reasons.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (4, Insightful)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716091)

But generally not on self-incrimination grounds, which is the protection the Miranda warning about "anything you say" is about.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (2)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715985)

Tweeting and posting Facebook are protected free speech in the US. They are also generally public speech and can certainly be used against you as a defendant in criminal court if the content suggests illegal activity. The First Amendment protection is only against being prosecuted for the speech itself. The Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination doesn't apply to such public, voluntary statements.

But, ultimately that doesn't apply here since Trayvon isn't the defendant. This is about the use of public statements by the other parties by the criminal defendant. Miranda warnings don't apply here. They apply when the police arrest you and presumably charge you for a crime. When did they arrest or charge Trayvon?

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (5, Informative)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716079)

Trayvon isn't on trial, therefore his speech is not being used against him, so miranda rights are pointless

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716209)

Not quite. Law enforcement has to read you your Miranda rights before *that particular law enforcment officer*, or set of officers can use your speech directed towards them in a court of law.

Getting arrested is generally a stressful event and the reading of the Miranda rights is supposed to cool you down a bit.

Miranda rights don't apply to anything written down for all to see in a public forum. They don't even apply to seized letters so long as proof of you writing the letters while not being coerced to do it can be established.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716221)

Sigh, worded poorly, "speech directed towards them" should read "Speech made in their presence"

I really need to learn how to hit the preview button instead of the submit button for reviewing my posts >_>.

Re:Tweeting, and posting on facebook (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716259)

As I understand it, if you voluntarily disclose information, the Miranda Rights are irrelevant. So, public postings would definitely be admissible. Never mind that Treyvon's not on trial, and you don't usually Mirandize the prosecution. :)

Criminals are not big on reading warnings (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715879)

As in; "Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?'"

Clairvoyance time again! (1, Flamebait)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715883)

The last time this case was featured, we got some pretty damn detailed descriptions about how the brave vigilante Zimmerman shot a 100 pounds lighter unarmed criminal in desperate self-defence, or how the helpless kid Martin was brutally murdered by a psychotic racist pursuing him for wearing a hoodie. So, any bets on how this round of defending one's position on an issue one can't possibly have any informed opinion about by making shit up goes?

I don't get it (5, Insightful)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715887)

Zimmerman, not Martin, is the accused here so of course he should be entitled to what ever exculpatory evidence he can find. If the "Miami girl who said she was on the phone with Martin just before the shooting" wanted her social media postings protected on 5th amendment grounds and the court found that they weren't protected there might be a story here, but the summary at least doesn't hint at that.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715971)

If the "Miami girl who said she was on the phone with Martin just before the shooting" wanted her social media postings protected on 5th amendment grounds and the court found that they weren't protected there might be a story here, but the summary at least doesn't hint at that.

IANAL, but the fifth amendment only protects the person on trial--witnesses aren't permitted to "plead the fifth."

Re:I don't get it (2)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715997)

IANAL either, but as far as I know the 5th amendment protects everyone all the time. Meaning that the government can never compel you to incriminate yourself even if you are not accused of a crime at that moment.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716029)

Correct, but you cant use the 5th to prevent incriminating someone other then yourself, unless doing so would incriminate you.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716045)

1) She's not on trial, and therefore it can't be self-incriminating.
2) They didn't compel her to say anything, she posted it publicly.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716149)

1) She's not on trial, and therefore it can't be self-incriminating.

Yes, it can be. If I am called to testify in your trial and I testify that I saw you kill someone while I was robbing your house, that would be self-incrimination. It could be used to charge me with burglary (or whatever the particular charge would be for what I testified I was doing at the time). The fact that I am not currently charged with something does not mean that honestly answering the questions put to me are not self-incriminating. Your second point is relevant to the situation.

Re:I don't get it (1)

arekin (2605525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716205)

1) She's not on trial, and therefore it can't be self-incriminating.

This doesn't matter, you can incriminate yourself even if you are not being tried. Anytime you are under oath you are permitted to plead the 5th if you believe that it will incriminate you. Your testimony in one trail could be used as admission of guilt in another trial.

2) They didn't compel her to say anything, she posted it publicly.

This does matter, publicly stating things that incriminate you is just stupid.

Re:I don't get it (1)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716065)

but they can easily force you to give testimony by granting you immunity. The Miami girl can be protected from self incrimination but she cannot refuse to provide evidence if the only person she is protecting is a co-conspirator. The prosecution can decide that forcing her hand by granting immunity is worth the trade-off. If she still refuses to provide the information then she could go to jail for obstruction.

Re:I don't get it (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716101)

5th Amendment protects citizens from being forced to testify against yourself in a court. These do not include any statements (especially public tweets) that you have said in the past. If you told a roomful of people how much you hated a murder victim, it's not against 5th Amendment rights for the state to call those people to the stand about what you said.

News For Nerds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715891)

Why in the world is slashdot on this story? It's not remotely new for nerds or tech related in any way. Legal issues releated to tweets, fb posts are not new or interesting.

Miranda Rights v2.0 (0)

g1zmo (315166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715901)

"Anything you tweeted six months ago can and will be twisted to portray you in whatever light suits the prosecutor's agenda."

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41715917)

It's as relevant as Zimmermans job history or criminal history

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (5, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715999)

"Anything you tweeted six months ago can and will be twisted to portray you in whatever light suits the prosecutor's agenda."

It amazes me that so few people understand how truly dangerous social media is. Everyone who uses it is creating a permanent record of things that used to be hearsay. Even the most innocuous posts can come back to haunt you. Like any corporation, people need to be exceptionally careful about the image they present, even if they believe it to be private. Failing to so so could easily affect ones entire life.

For example, Take a fellow we just received a resume for. The gentleman had all of the qualifications we were looking for, and did quite well on a phone interview. Googling for this guy produced some pictures of what we presumed to be college gatherings that demonstrated extremely poor judgement on this guys part. Final result: no in person interview, they guy is on our block list, and he will never even know why he didn't get an in person interview. How many different opportunities is he going to miss out on that he will never know he missed because of those photos. Same thing goes for all social media postings. How long before Facebook decides to start "enhancing their revenue" by providing this kind of damning information to HR services for a fee. The company I work for wouldn't hesitate for a second to pay for such a "search", and neither would a lot of places. Facebook has almost no real risk of exposure because no HR department would want to publicize this kind of research, and people would have no way of finding out they had been the "victim" of such a search.

-=Geoskd

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (2)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716085)

I agree 100%.. once you post it publicly, there is no taking it back. You can't un-ring that bell. Think in terms of the novel 1984. The only thing safe from tampering is your thoughts. In that novel they convinced the populous that they had thought police to even spy on that.

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716193)

And maybe you got rid of your best candidate because of prejudice based on what he does in his private life. You're part of the worst scum of this Earth. Fuck you.

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716271)

maybe their best candidate was too stupid to not post himself smoking a blunt while fucking a undeage girl for all of eternity to see

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716207)

You don't think somebody wouldn't mention to friends, relatives, etc that the company they work for uses it? That a disgruntled ex employee of Facebook or a company that uses it wouldn't mention it?

It would become common knowledge very quickly and open up a shitstorm of trouble for FB.

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716223)

So you declined an interview to a qualified applicant because they partied in college?

I hate to break it to you, but almost all your other interviewee's did too. What we need to do - as a society - is recognize certain social norms. We already do to an extent, but its the silent code that its all ok until you get caught.

Having just read RA Salvatore's Homeland it reminds me of the Drow society - everyone attacking each other and scheming and its fine if you get away with it but if you get caught society punished you to the utmost.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (2)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716013)

"Anything you tweeted six months ago can and will be twisted to portray you in whatever light suits the prosecutor's agenda."

This is to be used for the defense, not for the prosecutor.

Re:Miranda Rights v2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716289)

Why is this insightful? Oh right because when a black kid gets shot by anyone who isn't black, it MUST have been racism.

Public vs Private and Expectations (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715919)

Consider: A protected twitter account, a twitter account that is public, a posting on Facebook that is restricted to certain friends, a posting that is open to friends of friends, your school records, your medical records. In each instance, there is a varying degree of privacy expected. That degree of privacy ought to be the measure of how a court accesses the information, rather than the medium the information is stored in.

Re:Public vs Private and Expectations (5, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716197)

they wont see it that way... let me counter that with a different medium but similar concept..

I am hanging around a campfire with 5 of my buddies, we are all drinking. I make the comment that I cant stand my boss and I'm probably going to kill him one day. A week later he is found murdered in his home. One of my buddies drops an anonymous tip about my drunken outburst to the cops. The cops go gather witness statements from a couple of these buddies and collect enough evidence for grand jury indictment. Later all 5 people are brought into court, sworn in under oath, and made to testify as to the accounts of that night.

I cannot claim that just because I didnt get on live TV and make the announcement, I had some expectation of privacy. If these twitter and facebook posts as well as school records create a pattern of violence and other criminal activity, it garners support of the defendants claim:

  "during the physical altercation with Travon Martin, Travon found the gun lodged in the waistband of George's belt and grabbed for it while saying 'you're going to die tonight mother fucker!'. During the struggle for George's life, the gun discharged once into the chest of Travon at point-blank range".

This is a statement of account that has no eye witness. The defense claims that the intent was just to detain one of the people that has been constantly breaking into the homes of the neighborhood and Travon jumped him, resulting in a struggle for life. Some of these breakins have even been home invasions while residents were home. For weeks cops have gotten there 30min too late to catch them. Many times even called in by George to come grab them. This again gives a story of a man simply trying to slow people down just enough for the cops to arrive. Its a good story. Nobody will ever know what really happened besides George and Travon. Dead people obviously cant testify.

Meanwhile the media, and the victim's family, are painting Travon as this completely innocent angel, an honor roll student, that's only crime in life was being black. So if these records show:
1. travon was a C and D student
2. Travon had a poor attendance recorc
3. Suspensions and records of disciplinary action for extreme violence
4. tweets bragging about breaking into homes
5. facebook posts bragging about, or pictures showing, stolen goods

Then although they, by themselves, do not prove travon grabbed the gun and tried to murder George; still accomplish character assasination. "If they lied about these things, then they're probably lying about everything else too, just to avoid public record of their son being a criminal". Once that opinion gets formed with the jury it will be harder to get a conviction for sure. The evidence to decide on is not whether George shot and killed Travon, he clearly did. The question is whether George's life was actually in immanent danger, justifying self defense.

did you forget who the defendant was? (4, Informative)

Mr_DW (894313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715923)

Okay so you say "Time to update the Miranda warning to include: 'Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?'"' And FTFH "Judge Debra S. Nelson said Martin's Twitter, Facebook and school records were relevant in the self-defense case." Miranda is for the accused. Basically your snide comment makes your headline look dumb.

Re:did you forget who the defendant was? (3, Insightful)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715981)

It also only relates to the rights of the accused while in custody.

wtf? (-1, Flamebait)

JosephTX (2521572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715933)

Because clearly that Zimmerman psycho knew all about some kid's online comment history when he harassed and shot him.

The defense lawyers and the judge need to be thrown in jail along with him.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716021)

Because clearly that Zimmerman psycho knew all about some kid's online comment history when he harassed and shot him.

The defense lawyers and the judge need to be thrown in jail along with him.

Zimmerman psyco, great just great, let's just go with the medias assertation and just convict him without a fair trial.

I personally don't know if he is actually psycho or what, but let's not go with the retarded Mob mentality

Funny how the media that vilified a Mexican man and left out important information on purpose to skewer their point, but they put their fucking blinders on when multiple groups of black men all over the country went out and killed many non black men and boys...

All I'm saying weather he is guilty or not, all people in the USA deserve a fair trial no matter your color.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716061)

You're hysterical, and hilariously stupid. Firstly, get a grip. Secondly, get a clue about how your legal system works. Thirdly, acquire a shred of understanding about the case.

After you have done this, you may be able to contribute something constructive that does not make you look like a nincompoop. Not before, after.

Re:wtf? (4, Insightful)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716069)

Why should they need to have prior knowledge?

In an fairly extreme example: if I post on FB about my martial arts hobby that I'm going to go out and beat some random guy on the street up. Then I'm shot dead out on the street. Then the shooter is prosecuted for shooting innocent me with wide reporting of how innocuous I was. Then it's certainly reasonable to use my prior statements displaying bad intent to call that description of me into question and of my martial arts training to suggest capabilities beyond what might normally be expected of someone my age and appearance.

I don't know all the details of this case and almost certainly neither do you. But it's ludicrous to suggest prior statements are only relevant if the defendant knew about them beforehand or can't be used in this situation under some misunderstanding of the constitutional protections of free speech.

Re:wtf? (2)

JosephTX (2521572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716145)

you KNOW that's not why they're doing it. If this were the case, half of court cases would have the lawyers looking through victims' internet history. They're only doing it in this case because widely-publicized stories always lead to biased rulings, and they want to look for any and every angry comment or argument the kid's ever made online to give him a negative image.

You aren't going to see the defense showing any tweets like "brb gonna go beat up this neighborhood watch guy" or "lol gonna rob a store without a gun" or anything that would indicate that Trayvon had bad intentions the night he was killed. Instead you're only going to see negative comments he made on completely irrelevant things like youtube videos or on somebody's facebook wall weeks or months prior to his murder.

Awful analysis by OP (5, Insightful)

webbiedave (1631473) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715937)

Time to update the Miranda warning to include: 'Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?

Sorry but courts allow emails to be introduced as evidence so long as authenticity can be established. Why shouldn't this hold true for tweets and facebook posts? This has absolutely nothing to do with Miranda.

Re:Awful analysis by OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716311)

It shouldn't even be allowed for emails.

Twitteratus (-1)

persevero (1759722) | about a year and a half ago | (#41715965)

Because Zimmerman was so taking the kid's Tweets into account when he decided to shoot him.

Re:Twitteratus (0)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716031)

It doesn't mean he took the tweets into account when shooting him. It may mean that he saw that Martin was violent (for reasons other than the tweets) and that's why he shot him, but the tweets independently confirm that he was violent.

Re:Twitteratus (0)

maxdread (1769548) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716095)

I really wish there was a mod option "Dumbass" as that's the only fitting description I can think of for your post.

The prosecution will make an issue during their case (and the media has tried this plenty) that Trayvon just wasn't an aggressive person, he wouldn't have started a fight as stated by the defendant, he doesn't have any history of violence or aggressive behavior. The defense has every right to disprove that notion especially if proof exists to counter that claim, the proof in this case comes in the form of Facebook, Twitter and school records. The point isn't that Zimmerman knew about the postings and records before hand but that the postings and records prove a history of aggressive behavior on Trayvons part.

If you can't figure that out then it would seem my desire to mod this post "Dumbass" has merit.

Miranda protects the defendant, not the victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716003)

Many of you seem to forget that Martin is a "victim" in this case and the Miranda warnings are for the defendant. If Martin has a history of tweeting violence, break-ins, hating Mexicans or whatever then these are valid things to bring up by the Zimmerman defense team. On the other side of the coin, if Zimmerman had postings saying he hated black people then they would pretty much lock up a wrongful death case for the Martin family.

Re:Miranda protects the defendant, not the victim (2)

jittles (1613415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716137)

You also forget that the Miranda warning is there to tell you that you do not have to speak to the police, and nothing more. Mr Martin or Mr Zimmerman could have either written things on paper, online, or in blood and they can be used in a court of law. It doesn't matter when or where you write your stuff down, if the prosecution or defense find it, and can prove its admissible, it's in. Finally, Miranda Rights do not protect anything you say to the police, at all. The only way you can have something thrown out due to lack of notification of Miranda rights is if you can show that they intended to arrest you, or did arrest you, and asked you to talk without Mirandizing you first. This is why, if you watch videos of police interviews, they almost always ask the person if it is okay to talk to them each and every time an officer comes into the room. However, if the police come by to ask you questions as a witness, or neighbor to a crime, and you say something incriminating during that questioning, you're screwed. That's why there is a YouTube series from an ex-cop, now lawyer talking about why you should never ever talk to the police.

Slashdot seems to lean toward Martin's case (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716035)

I'm surprised that the comments here seem to lean toward supporting the Martin side of the story instead of the Zimmerman side. If Zimmerman just wanted to shoot Martin, why did he get in to a physical altercation first? Why did he call 911? Can we at least give Zimmerman a chance to state his case? Isn't it possible, even probable, that Martin attacked Zimmerman after being followed?

Re:Slashdot seems to lean toward Martin's case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716173)

I'm surprised that the comments here seem to lean toward supporting the Martin side of the story instead of the Zimmerman side. If Zimmerman just wanted to shoot Martin, why did he get in to a physical altercation first? Why did he call 911? Can we at least give Zimmerman a chance to state his case? Isn't it possible, even probable, that Martin attacked Zimmerman after being followed?

Rhetorical question, right?

If not:

Because the "progressive" purveyors of a racial spoils system get to play not just any race card, but an anti-2nd-Amendment race card at that.

Good lord, look at how the 911 tape was altered to paint Zimmerman as a racist.

On a side note ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716073)

There have been no new burglaries in the gated community since Mr. Martins death.

Did Travyon play CoD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716077)

Or other FPSs? Because if he did I sure hope for justice's sake he didn't tweet about it.

Nothing new under the sun. (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716099)

Time to update the Miranda warning to include: 'Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?'"

In 1912, instant messaging meant sending a telegram or mailing a postcard. "Ten words or less." In 2012, you tweet. That changes nothing. Evidence that is relevant to an issue in dispute is admissible unless there is a compelling legal reason to exclude it.

A Miranda warning is required only when you are about to be interrogated by the police, with damn few exceptions, what you expose to others has always been fair game.

Re:Nothing new under the sun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41716199)

Came in to say exactly this. Manufactured outrage is manufactured.

"Anything you Tweet can be held against you" (2)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41716131)

Mr. Martin is not on trial. He's dead. Mr. Zimmerman is on trial. If the prosecution could find any "Tweets" or FaceBook postings of his that they could use against him the court would permit it.

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