So somebody took a shot at George Zimmerman, and is insisting on a hearing under Florida's self-defense law. But wait! Isn't that one of the controversial things about the Zimmerman trial?
Well, kinda. Zimmerman's attorney decided not to file for that hearing, and instead to move directly to the trial. And this hearing is not likely to do his shooter any good.
The hearing is to determine whether the defendant acted in self-defense. The defendant, not the state, has to prove that it was self-defense by preponderance of the evidence, that is, slightly more likely than not. If the defendant wins, the charges are dismissed.
Now, before you start protesting about how unfair that is, learn this: If the case actually proceeded to trial, the State would have to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden a defendant has the the hearing is much higher than the burden they would have at trial.
The purpose of this hearing is to eliminate the costs associated with a full trial, and prevent anti-self-defense prosecutors from harassing people in their jurisdictions. (This is "Process as punishment")
So what about Zimmerman's shooter Apperson? Well, he's probably toast and will lose the hearing and go to jail. Why?
Because he's claiming that Zimmerman pulled up next to him and flashed a gun, which is why Apperson opened fire. Zimmerman claims Apperson started yelling at him, and then opened fire when Zimmerman looked away and rolled his window up. Apperson's case begins to fall apart because he had previously called the police claiming Zimmerman threatened him, called the police because Zimmerman had been in the area of his office, and generally had an obsession with Zimmerman, according to the police report.
So it's highly unlikely that Zimmerman, given his history, would pull up to someone and pull a gun, and then let someone else take the first (and only) shot. There's no evidence that Zimmerman did anything aggressive (and the claim is limited in such a way that evidence would not have been produced) and Apperson has a history of going after Zimmerman.
So he's definitely toast in the hearing, and almost definitely toast at trial, assuming the judge or jury doesn't go "Hey it's George Zimmerman. Shame you missed."
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