16 Fox Figures V. Zimmerman Juror On Whether Stand Your Ground Mattered In The Trial

››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

Even after a juror in George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin said that Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law influenced the outcome of the case, Fox News hosts and contributors continue to claim otherwise as a means to attack Attorney General Eric Holder for opposing such laws.

Attorney General Eric Holder Denounces Stand Your Ground At NAACP Convention

Holder: Stand Your Ground Laws "Senselessly Expand The Concept Of Self-Defense And Sow Dangerous Conflict In Our Neighborhoods." In a July 16 speech at the NAACP annual convention, Holder criticized laws that "eliminate[e] the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely," adding that, "such laws undermine public safety":

Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation's attention, it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if -- and the "if" is important -- no safe retreat is available.

But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and - unfortunately - has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation - we must stand our ground - to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent. [Attorney General Eric Holder Addresses the NAACP Annual Convention, U.S. Department of Justice, 6/16/13]

Zimmerman Juror Cited Stand Your Ground As Legal Justification For Defendant's Actions

Zimmerman Juror: Stand Your Ground A Reason Why Neither Second-Degree Murder Nor Manslaughter Charges Applied. An anonymous member of the jury appeared on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on July 15 to discuss how Florida's Stand Your Ground law provided a legal justification for Zimmerman's actions. According to the juror, neither charge against Zimmerman applied "because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground":

JUROR: We just starting looking at the law, what exactly we could find and how we should vote for this case. And the law became very confusing.

ANDERSON COOPER: Yeah, tell me about that.

JUROR: It became very confusing. We had stuff thrown at us. We had the second-degree murder charge, the manslaughter charge, then we had self-defense, Stand Your Ground, and I think there was one other one.

[...] 

COOPER: Did you feel like you understood the instructions from the judge, because they were very complex. I mean reading them, they were tough to follow.

JUROR: Right. And that was our problem. It was just so confusing what went with what and what we could apply to what. Because there was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there is just no way -- other place to go.

COOPER: Because of the two options you had, second-degree murder or manslaughter, you felt neither applied.

JUROR: Right. Well because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground. He had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or that he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right. [CNN, Anderson Cooper 3607/15/13]

For more information about the role of Stand Your Ground in the George Zimmerman controversy, click here.

Fox Hosts Continue To Deny Link Between Stand Your Ground And Zimmerman Acquittal

Fox Host Bill O'Reilly: "Stand Your Ground Was Just A Small Part Of It." During the July 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly responded to a viewer's email that noted the jurors considered Stand Your Ground in their verdict by dismissing the law as "just a small part of it":

[Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor7/17/13]

Fox Host Bret Baier: Holder Commented On Stand Your Ground "Even Though The Stand Your Ground Law In Florida Was Not A Part Of Zimmerman's Defense." From the July 17 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier:

[Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier7/17/13]

The Five Hosts Eric Bolling And Kimberly Guilfoyle Agree Zimmerman Case "Has Nothing To Do With Stand Your Ground." During the July 17 edition of The Five host Kimberly Guilfoyle stated, "Newsflash: Stand Your Ground Law didn't apply in this particular case," before host Eric Bolling added, "It has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground":

GUILFOYLE: When you have people talking about Stand Your Ground law. But newsflash, Stand Your Ground law didn't apply in this particular case.

BOB BECKEL, HOST: Right, well you think he could have done it without Stand Your Ground law?

GUIFOYLE: Bob, it wasn't used as a defense in this case. They elected --

BECKEL: I know, I understand that, but I'm saying, do you think he could have done that?

BOLLING: Done what?

BECKEL: Killed a kid.

BOLLING: It has nothing to do with Stand Your Ground.

GUILFOYLE: -- okay, but what I'm trying to tell you is, they could have proceeded in front of the judge and did that defense, and they didn't. They decided to take it to the jury and argue self-defense which is different. [Fox News, The Five7/17/13]

Fox Host Brian Kilmeade: "I'm Totally Confused By Eric Holder ... The Theme Of His Speech Was Let's Stand Up Against Stand Your Ground Law, Which Didn't Even Play A Role Here." From the July 17 edition of The Five:

KILMEADE: I'm totally confused by Eric Holder. I'm totally confused by his speech. Number one, his own personal experience is interesting, if he's doing his biography. Number one, it doesn't apply here.

Number two, I don't know why he's talking about - his theme of his speech was let's stand up against Stand Your Ground law, which didn't even play a role here.

GUILFOYLE: It wasn't applicable.

[...]

BOLLING: The jury did not speak about Stand Your Ground. The jury had no opinion on Stand Your Ground. [Fox News, The Five7/17/13]

Fox Host Martha MacCallum: "The Stand Your Ground Law ... Played No Role In The Actual Trial, It Was Not Something That The Jury Took Into Consideration." From the July 17 edition of America Live:

[Fox News, America Live7/17/13]

Fox Covers Up Role Of Stand Your Ground To Attack Holder

Fox Host Jon Scott And Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano Agree: "Stand Your Ground Didn't Even Enter Into Zimmerman's Defense." From the July 17 edition of Happening Now:

SCOTT: General Holder was talking about the Stand Your Ground laws in front of the NAACP and urging Florida to get rid of it. Stand Your Ground didn't even enter into Zimmerman's defense.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. It's also a state law, it's not something that his opinions are relevant on other than as a private citizen. [Fox News, Happening Now7/17/13

Fox Host Bill Hemmer's Stand Your Ground Falsehood Prompts Fox Host Tucker Carlson To Say Holder "Is Using This Case As A Way To Push His Pet Interest In Eliminating" Such Laws. Prompted by Fox host Bill Hemmer's claim on the July 17 edition of America's Newsroom that, "Stand Your Ground was never part of Zimmerman's defense team in that trial," Fox host Tucker Carlson stated, "It has, actually, nothing to do with this. It is a little bit striking that the Attorney General is using this case as a way to push his pet interest in eliminating these laws":

HEMMER: We should note, by the way, Stand Your Ground was never part of Zimmerman's defense team in that trial. Tucker, what about Eric Holder's position on this now?

CARLSON: Well it wasn't, as you just noted, part of the trial, because Zimmerman couldn't safely retreat; he was on his back with someone on top of him. So it has, actually, nothing to do with this. It's a little bit striking that the attorney general is using this case as a way to push his pet -- his pet interest in eliminating these laws.

HEMMER: You surprised about that?

CARLSON: Well, I am almost surprised because the truth is America is not imperiled because home owners are protecting themselves too vigorously. And by the way, your right to self-defense is a natural right. It is not bestowed on us by Eric Holder. You're born with it. So this is, it's a little creepy, it's a little bit like the administration's push for gun control, an effort to strip you of basic rights. [Fox News, America's Newsroom7/17/13]

Fox News Legal Analyst Peter Johnson Jr.: Stand Your Ground "Didn't Even Become An Issue In Terms Of This Case." In a July 17 Fox & Friends segment where host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Holder wants to make self-defense a crime, legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr., claimed that Stand Your Ground "didn't even become an issue in terms of this case":

[BEGIN VIDEO]

HOLDER: It's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. The list of resulting tragedies is long and unfortunately has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation, we must stand our ground.

[END VIDEO]

KILMEADE: Can they really consider that self-defense? Can self-defense be considered a crime then? Joining us right now to weigh in, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. Peter, Stand Your Ground, 30 states say that's okay with me, the Attorney General says no?

JOHNSON: Good morning. 30 states say it's okay, it allows people to stand their ground. There's no obligation to retreat in the face of serious bodily harm or a risk of death. And it didn't even become an issue in terms of this case. That was not the defense in the Zimmerman case. The defense was straight justifiable homicide based on self-defense. [Fox News, Fox & Friends7/17/13]

Fox News Correspondent Peter Doocy: "It Is Important To Remember That The State Of Florida Versus George Zimmerman Was Not A Case That Hinged On Stand Your Ground." [Fox News, Fox & Friends7/17/13]

Fox News Contributor Michelle Malkin: Holder's Citation Of Stand Your Ground "The Obama Administration's Cringe-Inducing Non Sequitur Of The Week." Malkin wrote at Townhall on July 17 that Stand Your Ground had "[a]bsolutely nothing" to do with the Zimmerman trial." Malkin added, "Holder's racial-grievance-mongering agenda has also been bolstered by media propaganda outlets, who've been dutifully bashing Stand Your Ground regardless of the facts":

Welcome to the Obama administration's cringe-inducing non sequitur of the week. On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder continued stoking the fires of racial resentment over a Florida jury's acquittal of George Zimmerman. In an address to NAACP leaders, who are demanding federal intervention, Holder attacked Stand Your Ground self-defense laws.

[...]

So, what exactly do Stand Your Ground laws have to do with Zimmerman and Martin? Absolutely nothing, of course. Outside your own home, common principles of self-defense dictate that unless you have reasonable fear of deadly force or harm, you must flee if possible rather than use deadly force. But a "duty to retreat" rests on the ability to retreat. And "duty to retreat" was irrelevant in Zimmerman's case because -- pinned to the ground with Martin on top of him, bashing his head on the concrete -- he was unable to retreat.

This didn't stop the NAACP crowd from cheering their heads off when Holder tossed out his red meat. Holder's racial-grievance-mongering agenda has also been bolstered by media propaganda outlets, who've been dutifully bashing Stand Your Ground regardless of the facts. [Townhall, 7/17/13]

Fox News Contributor Allen West: "I Don't Think That You Can Look At Stand Your Ground Law And See How It Will Apply To This Case." Fox News contributor and former Rep. Allen West added during an appearance on the July 16 edition of The O'Reilly Factor that "I don't think that there is anything that will show you have a problem in Florida, or some 22 other states that have laws similar to that":

WEST: When I think about what Attorney General Holder said today, the Stand Your Ground law was not a part of the Zimmerman case. As a matter of fact, I think that they are looking at an opportunity in not letting a good crisis go to waste. Each and everything individual has a right to defend themselves and I think that's what Stand Your Ground law is about. And I live in Florida and understand that law very well.

And I don't think that you can look at Stand Your Ground law and see how it will apply to this case, and I don't think that there is anything that will show that you have a problem in Florida, or some 22 other states that have laws similar to that. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor7/16/13]

Fox Business Host Lou Dobbs: Stand Your Ground Law Had "Nothing To Do" With Zimmerman Case. Host Lou Dobbs said on the July 16 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, "The Attorney General himself is confused about the Stand Your Ground law and decided today to shift his focus to that law, rather than further trying to demonize and vilify the jury and the judicial system that reached a not guilty verdict":

[Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight7/16/13]

Fox News Contributor Katie Pavlich: "As A Reminder, The Stand Your Ground Law In Florida, Like Race, Was Irrelevant In This Case." In a July 16 article for Townhall, Fox contributor and Townhall news editor Katie Pavlich claimed that, "Holder equated self-defense to gun violence in reference to the [Trayvon Martin] case and urged people in a violent confrontation to retreat from their attacker":

Knowing the event would be covered by television networks, Holder urged America to use the Zimmerman case as an opportunity to have an "honest conversation" about race, even though jurors said the case had zero to do with racial biases. Not to mention, the FBI confirmed a year ago that Zimmerman is not a racist. 

Holder equated self-defense to gun violence in reference to the case and urged people in a violent confrontation to retreat from their attacker. He slammed Stand Your Ground laws and received standing applause as a result. As a reminder, the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, like race, was irrelevant in this case. [Townhall, 7/16/13]

Stand Your Ground Does "Undermine Public Safety"

Texas A&M Economics Professors: Stand Your Ground Laws Responsible For "An Additional 600 Homicides Per Year." In a June 2012 study, economics professors Mark Hoekstra and Cheng Cheng found "compelling evidence that by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force, [Stand Your Ground] laws induce more of it":

[W]e find significant evidence that the laws lead to more homicides. Estimates indicate that the laws increase homicides by a statistically significant 8 percent, which translates into an additional 600 homicides per year across states that expanded castle doctrine [Hoekstra and Cheng's term for Stand Your Ground]. The magnitude of this finding is similar to that reported in a recent paper by McClellan and Tekin (2012), who examine these laws' effect on firearm-related  homicide using death certificate data from Vital Statistics. We further show that this divergence in homicide rates at the time of castle doctrine law enactment is larger than any divergence between the same groups of states at any time in the last 40 years, and that magnitudes of this size arise rarely by chance when randomly assigning placebo laws in similarly-structured data sets covering the years prior to castle doctrine expansion. In short, we find compelling evidence that by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force, castle doctrine laws induce more of it. [Texas A&M University, Department of Economics, June 2012]

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