New statement from Juror B37:

Thank you for the opportunity to vent some of the anguish which has been in me since the trial began. For reasons of my own, I needed to speak alone. There will be no other interviews. My prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict option other than “not guilty” in order to remain within the instructions. No other family should be forced to endure what the Martin family has endured.

As for the alleged “book deal,” there is not one at this time. There was an agreement with a literary agent to explore the concept of a book which discussed the impact of sequestration on my perceptions of this serious case, while being compared to the perceptions of an attorney who was closely following the trial from outside the “bubble”. The relationship with the agent ceased the moment I realized what had been occurring in the world during the weeks of my sequestration. My prayers are with Travon’s parents for their loss, as they have always been. I now wish for me and my family to recover from being selected for this jury and return to a normal life. God bless.

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According to the instructions given to the jury, Zimmerman had “no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm…

[Juror B37] said a holdout juror switched her vote to “not guilty” after half an hour of agonizing over the law.

“She wanted to find him guilty of something but couldn’t because of the law. The way the law was written, he wasn’t responsible for (negligent) things that he had done leading up to that point,” she said.

“I wanted to find him guilty of not using his senses but … you can’t charge him with anything because he didn’t do anything unlawful,” said juror B-37, who also said she believed Martin attacked Zimmerman.

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Juror B37: After hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law, and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there’s just no way … because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground …
Cooper: Even though it’s he [Zimmerman] who had gotten out of the car, followed Trayvon Martin, that didn’t matter in the deliberations? What mattered was those final seconds, minutes, when there was an altercation, and … in your mind the most important thing was whether or not George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger?
Juror: That’s how we read the law. That’s how we got to the point of everybody being “not guilty.”
Cooper: So that was the belief of the jury, that you had to zero in on those final minutes/seconds, about the threat that George Zimmerman believed he faced?
Juror: That’s exactly what had happened.

That narrowing of the timeline—not race—seems to have been the biggest factor in the acquittal. Zimmerman’s provocations or poor judgments leading to the confrontation were removed from the jury’s calculus. The prosecution was doomed by the law of self-defense as the jury understood it, based on the judge’s instructions. Zimmerman’s attorneys didn’t invoke Florida’s formal proceedings for a “Stand Your Ground” defense. And the case was about much more than that defense, or about race. But the “Stand Your Ground” doctrine, as cited by this juror, plainly influenced the verdict.

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One thing we can all agree upon without much strain is that this incident — this senseless, heartbreaking death — never should have happened. Zimmerman, who began acting as a watchman in 2004 and had made more than 40 calls to authorities over the years, never should have left his car once he notified police, who told him to stay put.

We also can surmise that Zimmerman would not have followed Martin if Zimmerman weren’t carrying a gun. If Martin were perceived as dangerous, wouldn’t an unarmed individual keep his distance until police arrived?

Thus, we conclude that Zimmerman’s actions led to the confrontation that ultimately resulted in a fight that ended with the fatal shooting.

It never should have happened. And it didn’t have to.

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Jeantel expounded on her thoughts on what occurred when Zimmerman and Martin met face to face. “I believe Trayvon hit first,” she said. She went on to describe how she believed that Trayvon throwing the first punch was likely caused by Zimmerman attempting to grab and detain Martin.

While it is impossible to confirm Jeantel’s speculation, this revelation coincides with the testimony she gave during the Zimmerman trial. On the stand, Jeantel indicated that she could hear Martin saying “get off, get off” before the phone call they were on disconnected. It also expands upon the account she gave earlier this week, during an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” The 19-year-old described to Morgan how she told Martin that Zimmerman might be a “pervert” or “rapist.” She believed that Martin’s fear led him to flee the older man, but not head straight to the home where he had been staying because the 12-year-old son of his father’s fiancee was there.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it clear again on Wednesday that he has no plans to call a special session to have legislators address the state’s self-defense laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial.

But Scott’s words so far having little effect on the small group of protesters upset that Zimmerman was acquitted over the weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death last year of Trayvon Martin…

Protester Steven Pargett said the group would “wait” until their demands – which includes changing the state’s “stand your ground law” – were met.

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Florida Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, who helped draft the 2005 law — the nation’s first — said Holder hadn’t done enough research before calling to overturn “stand your ground.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court adopted ‘stand your ground’ 90 years ago [on federal lands] … I found it inappropriate for him to make inappropriate criticism of any law,” said Simmons, a lawyer of 36 years. “The attorney general is simply inaccurate. This is common-sense legislation that protects the innocent.”

Simmons said the possibility of the law being overturned in Florida was “exceedingly limited, somewhere between zero and 1 percent.”

Kareem K. Jordan, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Central Florida, also doubted the current makeup of Florida legislators would repeal the law.

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African Americans benefit from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law at a rate far out of proportion to their presence in the state’s population, despite an assertion by Attorney General Eric Holder that repealing “Stand Your Ground” would help African Americans.

Black Floridians have made about a third of the state’s total “Stand Your Ground” claims in homicide cases, a rate nearly double the black percentage of Florida’s population. The majority of those claims have been successful, a success rate that exceeds that for Florida whites…

Forty four African Americans in the state of Florida have claimed a “Stand Your Ground” defense. Of these claims, 24 were considered “justified” (55 percent), while 11 resulted in convictions and nine cases are still pending.

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) on Wednesday accused Attorney General Eric Holder of exploiting the death of Trayvon Martin to push the Obama administration’s gun control agenda.

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox blasted Holder’s calls for states to review “stand your ground” laws, which allow the use of deadly force for self-defense. Those statutes received scrutiny during the Florida trial of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who was acquitted Saturday on charges of murder and manslaughter in the shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

“The attorney general fails to understand that self-defense is not a concept, it’s a fundamental human right,” Cox said in a statement. “To send a message that legitimate self-defense is to blame is unconscionable and demonstrates once again that this administration will exploit tragedies to push their political agenda.”

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“This was not a victory for gun rights,” argues Jeffrey Swartz, a former Miami-Dade judge who’s now a law professor at Cooley Law School in Tampa, Fla. “I think the opposite is true: After seeing what happened to George Zimmerman … and how his family has been completely uprooted by this, and how the Sanford community has been uprooted by all of this, if I’m an average citizen I’m going to keep the gun in the holster. I’m going to make the call [to 911], but I’m not getting out of my car.”…

Self-defense laws like Florida’s “represent our rejection of a state where the government has a monopoly on instruments of violence [and where only the government] gets to decide who is authorized to take life, and under what circumstance,” says Brannon Denning, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and co-author of “Gun Control and Gun Rights: A Reader and Guide.” In that way, he adds, guns and self-defense ideals “are in our DNA – this is part of who we are, for better or worse.”

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This is all a transparent pretext, of course, for undermining a plethora of state laws enacted by pro-Second Amendment legislatures. (Never mind that eight of 15 states that adopted Stand Your Ground legislation were helmed by Democratic governors at the time of passage.) Even more insidiously, left-wing groups have exploited the Martin case to launch broader attacks on the political speech and activities of limited-government groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, which supported Stand Your Ground.

The Obama administration’s cynical campaign against Stand Your Ground laws is a racially charged weapon of mass distraction. The goal isn’t public safety or community harmony. The goal is for conservative political opponents to Surrender Your Ground. Silence, as always, is complicity. Political self-defense, as with physical self-defense, begins with self-assertion.

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“Florida will be the battleground of a new civil rights movement,” Sharpton said during a news conference with other clergy outside the Justice Department headquarters.

“We are not having a two- or three-day anger fit,” said Sharpton,who is president of the National Action Network and also hosts a show on MSNBC. “This is a movement for social justice.”

Sharpton said the nationwide action has two goals: urging the Justice Department to move forward with a civil-rights probe of Zimmerman and repealing “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws that some say made it difficult to win a conviction in the case.

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