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Letters: The Zimmerman case and the law

August 03, 2013

Re "Bending tragedy to fit," Opinion, July 30

In debunking claims that George Zimmerman was acquitted in Trayvon Martin's shooting because of Florida's "stand your ground" law, Jonah Goldberg notes that the judge's instructions to the jury on the law were standard. Actually, if there is no evidence admitted by the court to make a "stand your ground" defense, the judge should not have instructed the jury on it.

In law school, I learned in a second-year evidence class that if there is no evidence on a party's theory, that party is not entitled to an instruction on it. Goldberg's justification that it is merely part of a standard instruction puts form over substance. There are many standard instructions, but the judge instructs only on the evidence admitted in the case.

The only justification for any instruction on this subject would be as a warning to the jury not to even consider this defense theory no matter where they heard it, be it the courtroom or the hotel room.

Tony Ruffolo

Carlsbad

Goldberg concludes his column by saying, "I fail to see why the media should so eagerly oblige" those who want to get something positive out of this tragedy.

I see a reason: Parents in America want to know it's safe for their children to go to the candy store without being targeted by a man with a gun.

Susan Reckon

Studio City

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