May 14 2012
In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a legal case that a court or other judicial body may apply when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “precedent” as a “rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases.”
This legal term is rapidly becoming an issue for the George Zimmerman’s defense team, because today comes news of a second court case that parallels the Trayvon Martin case, and spells bad news for George Zimmerman (here was the prior case). The parallels are quite important:
Circuit Judge Ashley Moody denied a motion to use the Stand Your Ground defense on Monday.
Trevor Dooley, 69, said he was protecting himself when he was attacked and choked by David James
Dooley is charged with manslaughter in James’ death.
Before we go further, note the lesser charge of manslaughter here – which indicates prosecutors may have a lot more on George Zimmerman than has been publicly released to date. Now the specifics:
Dooley, who lives across the street, saw the skateboarder and yelled at him that he was not allowed to skate on the court. James stuck up for the teenager, yelling to Dooley to show him the sign saying he was not allowed to skate.
A verbal altercation between Dooley and James ensued. That altercation at some point became physical, and ended when Dooley — who has a concealed weapons’ permit — took his gun out and shot James.
Similarity 1: Dooly is trying to play cop and enforce laws. Something he is not authorized to do. Identical to Zimmerman
Similarity 2: A verbal exchange gets heated, and turns to a physical one, in which the instigator (Dooly) begins to lose the physical battle:
His attorney also tried to portray Dooley as an older, smaller and physically weaker man than James, who feared for his safety.
The defense also called James’ daughter, now 10 years old, to testify. She saw the altercation and shooting take place.
She said she did not see Dooley’s gun until he took it out during the altercation. She also said her father was “on top” of Dooley at one point “to keep him down so he could actually get the answer” about where the sign was.
Double bad news here. Dooly was on the bottom (like Zimmerman) and he pulled the gun during a physical fight. The verdict was there was insufficient threat of life at this point. Even though he was out matched physically.
Dooly entered into a confrontation with another law abiding citizen – armed. He then pushed the confrontation forward until a physical altercation occurred, at which point he pulled his gun and killed the other person.
This is not self defense, nor is it defensible. Zimmerman better start negotiating – and fast.