Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman goes on trial this week for the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman was the security watch captain for the Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners Association when he reported that Martin was taking a late night walk through his gated neighborhood in February 2012. A police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to get involved, but a few moments later Zimmerman fired a handgun and killed Martin, who he said had attacked him. Zimmerman had multiple abrasions on his face which appeared to back up his story of being attacked by Trayvon Martin.

The judge in the case has ordered that the defense may not introduce photos from Martin’s cell phone that show him smoking dope and flashing a handgun a few days before he was killed. The judge has also disallowed testimony that Martin had been involved in previous fights. Some of those facts may still find their way in front of the jury. Finally, Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law supports those who use deadly force when they’re afraid of death or serious bodily harm.

A few observations from this longtime investigative reporter: I’ll be roundly criticized for this, but I predict Zimmerman will not be convicted. The jury will either be hung or it will find Zimmerman not guilty. Yes, the Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners Association recently forked up a million dollars in a settlement with Martin’s family, but that was just a routine and legal extortion scheme which essentially ensures that all the lawyers get paid. Trayvon Martin’s family won’t see much, if any, of that settlement money.

If I’m wrong about any of these predictions, I’ll go off and sulk in a corner of my bedroom. And I won’t even complain about the chastisement that will surely follow. But folks, if you really want to analyze how the average HOA court case resolves itself these days, just look at the craziest of all possible outcomes. It’s a sad fact of life, but more times than not, in our current legal system, that’s what you’ll inevitably see.

George Zimmerman: Not guilty.

And homeowners in the Retreat at Twin Lakes HOA have yet to see the massive special assessments they’ll be hit with to pay for this debacle.

Wanna buy a home in the Retreat at Twin Lakes HOA?

Me neither.

There goes the neighborhood.

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

1 thought on “Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

  1. Deb

    Discrimination is alive and well in many HOAs. One can be a target for something simple as a wrong political belief when you put up a statue or sign. I put a statue on my porch in 08 during election for a pres candidate who won. My views are not popular in a red state, but whatever.
    In many HOAs discrimination comes in many forms your hair or car color, religious or political belief. It does not matter once the local gossip monger has it in for another, the viciousness spreads like cancer.
    Unjust discrimination and neighborhood self-security thugs are never acceptable. As a person who lives in AZ , who has been an HOA target,I wear a hoodie in the front yard while doing lawnwork when the weather is cool.
    I realize this is an old topic, but one that should never be forgotten.


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