George Zimmerman Jury Instructions

Excerpts are provided below.

George Zimmerman, the defendant in this case, has been accused of the crime of Second Degree Murder.  A killing that is excusable or was committed by the use of justifiable deadly force is lawful.  If you find that Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, you will then consider the circumstances surrounding the killing in deciding if the killing was Murder in the Second Degree or was Manslaughter, or whether the killing was excusable…The killing of a human being is justifiable and lawful if necessarily done:

1.  While resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon George Zimmerman.

or

2.  While resisting an attempt to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which George Zimmerman was.

EXCUSABLE HOMICIDE

The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of three following circumstances:

  1.  When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent.
  2.  When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation.
  3.  When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the attempted killing is not done in a cruel and unusual manner.

SECOND DEGREE MURDER

To prove the crime of Second Degree Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1.  Trayvon Martin is dead.
  2.  The death was caused by the criminal act of George Zimmerman
  3.  There was an unlawful killing of Trayvon Martin by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.

An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:

  1.  A person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another and
  2.  Is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent and
  3.  Is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

…it is not necessary for the State to prove George Zimmerman had an intent to cause death.

ENHANCEMENTS

  1.  Discharge of a firearm that caused great bodily harm or death to Trayvon Martin.
  2.  Discharge of a firearm
  3.  Possession of a firearm

LESSER INCLUDED:  MANSLAUGHTER

To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1.  Trayvon Martin is dead.
  2.  George Zimmerman intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act…it is not necessary for the State to prove that George Zimmerman had an intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death.

ENHANCEMENT

  1.  Carried, displayed, used, threatened to use, or attempted to use a firearm

JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE

“Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself…you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time…the danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual…the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.

If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat…you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

George Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty.  This means you must presume or believe George Zimmerman is innocent…To overcome…presumption of innocence, the State has the burden of proving the crime with which George Zimmerman is charged was committed and George Zimmerman…committed the crime.  George Zimmerman is not required to present any evidence or prove anything.

REASONABLE DOUBT

A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find George Zimmerman not guilty because the doubt is reasonable…It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.

A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of George Zimmerman may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence, or the lack of evidence.  If you have a reasonable doubt, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty. If you have no reasonable doubt, you should find George Zimmerman guilty…It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence, and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence.

EVIDENCE – TESTIMONY

You should consider how the witnesses acted, as well as what they said…You may rely upon your own conclusion about the witness. A juror may believe or disbelieve all or any part of the evidence or the testimony of any witness…Expert witnesses are like other witnesses, with one exception – the law permits an expert witness to give his or her opinion…However, an expert’s opinion is only reliable when given on a subject about which you believe him or her to be an expert.  Like other witnesses, you may believe or disbelieve all or any part of an expert’s testimony.

The Constitution requires the State to prove its accusations against George Zimmerman. It is not necessary for George Zimmerman to disprove anything. Nor is George Zimmerman required to prove his innocence…George Zimmerman exercised a fundamental right by choosing not to be a witness in this case. You must not view this as an admission of guilt or be influenced in any way by his decision. No juror should ever be concerned that George Zimmerman did or did not take the witness stand to give testimony in the case.

A statement claimed to have been made by George Zimmerman outside of court has been placed before you. Such a statement should always be considered with caution and be weighed with great care to make certain it was freely and voluntarily made…If you conclude George Zimmerman’s out of court statement was not freely and voluntarily made, you should disregard it.

RULES OF DELIBERATION

1.  You must follow the law as it is set out in these instructions. If you fail to follow the law, your verdict will be a miscarriage of justice.

2.  This case must be decided only upon the evidence that you have heard from the testimony of the witnesses and have seen in the form of the exhibits in evidence and these instructions.

3.  This case must not be decided for or against anyone because you feel sorry for anyone, or are angry at anyone.

4.  Remember, the lawyers are not on trial. Your feelings about them should not influence your decision in this case.

5.  Your duty is to determine if George Zimmerman has been proven guilty or not, in accord with the law.

6.  Whatever verdict you render must be unanimous.

7.  Your verdict should not be influenced by feelings of prejudice, bias or sympathy.

…For two centuries we have lived by the Constitution and the law. No juror has the right to violate rules we all share.

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Comments
  1. JanCorey says:

    I don’t think it will take long for the jury, it’s a pretty simple case, an easy self-defense case provoked…

    Like

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