Zimmerman murder trial judge denies defense request on jury instruction

SANFORD, Florida Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:39am EDT

Judge Debra Nelson gives instructions to the attorneys during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Gary W. Green/Pool

Judge Debra Nelson gives instructions to the attorneys during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary W. Green/Pool

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SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - The judge presiding over the murder trial of George Zimmerman denied a defense request on Thursday that jurors be instructed the neighborhood watch volunteer did nothing illegal in deciding to follow Trayvon Martin, before the encounter in which he shot and killed the unarmed black teenager.

"I am not giving that instruction," Seminole County Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman defense lawyer Don West, who said no Florida law makes it illegal to follow somebody and that the proposed jury instruction was key to Zimmerman's self-defense case.

Nelson ruled after West failed to cite any law spelling out the legality of following someone by car or on foot. Evidence at Zimmerman's trial has shown it was his pursuit of Martin, with a concealed semiautomatic handgun, that set in motion the event that led to Martin's death.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Writing and editing by Tom Brown)

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Comments (16)
ambradley wrote:
There doesn’t need to be a law to allow something that isn’t explicitly disallowed. I learned that in high school. Did the judge graduate from high school?

Jul 11, 2013 12:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Userlevel6 wrote:
“Evidence at Zimmerman’s trial has shown it was his pursuit of Martin, with a concealed semiautomatic handgun, that set in motion the event that led to Martin’s death.”
Reuters, yellow journalism at it’s finest. Some of the most biased reporting I’ve ever seen in my life, and you people are the go-to source for most other news outlets? Un-be-frikin-leavable.

Jul 11, 2013 12:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Userlevel6 wrote:
“Evidence at Zimmerman’s trial has shown it was his pursuit of Martin, with a concealed semiautomatic handgun, that set in motion the event that led to Martin’s death.”
Reuters, yellow journalism at it’s finest. Some of the most biased reporting I’ve ever seen in my life, and you people are the go-to source for most other news outlets? Un-be-frikin-leavable.
So, if I watch or follow any stranger walking through my neighborhood, I’m to be guilty of a crime when that stranger attacks me because he doesn’t like being watched? Is this what our legal system has come to?

Jul 11, 2013 12:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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