« July 20, 2013 | Main | July 22, 2013 »

3 posts from July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013

Why George Zimmerman would have beaten the rap, even without Stand Your Ground


George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict had nothing to do with Stand Your Ground, right?


The wording of the self-defense law appeared in the jury instructions, and it was discussed by jurors, the defense and prosecutors in court.

So, therefore, Trayvon Martin’s shooting had everything to do with Stand Your Ground, right?

Also wrong.

There’s a good chance Zimmerman might still have walked even if Stand Your Ground had never become law in 2005. At most, without Stand Your Ground, the jury would probably have hung.

In that case, Zimmerman would have walked for months more and still had a great shot of being acquitted in a retrial if the prosecution put on the same case.

Just look at self-defense laws other than Stand Your Ground, and consider that the prosecution broadly failed to prove its case, which lacked some solid evidence.

As with any court case, there are arguments on both sides. Unlike most court cases, the argument over Trayvon’s shooting and Zimmerman’s verdict is public and largely politically partisan.

Many Democrats, pointing to this case, want changes to Stand Your Ground. It expanded defendants’ deadly force justifications and removed their “duty to retreat” from a confrontation.

Top Republicans, who control the Florida Legislature and governor’s office, want no changes to the politically popular self-defense law in a state where the violent-crime rate is declining.

The argument over what the jury felt and how the law applied will be at the crux of the political debate as dozens of protestors continue to occupy the state Capitol and the Legislature gears up this fall.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/21/3513024/marc-caputo-even-without-stand.html#storylink=cpy

Column here

Miami docs are employing cost cutting model spawned by Affordable Care Act

Patient Robert JAfter suffering two heart attacks within one month in 1997, Robert Rivera sees a cardiologist regularly, and a nephrologist for an unrelated kidney disorder. But it’s his primary care physician, an internist, whom Rivera trusts most.

“I wouldn’t change him for anything in this world,’’ says Rivera, 71, who lives in South Miami-Dade County and works in the financial industry. “He sees me every three to four months, and he’s been doing this for 16 years.’’

Rivera, a Medicare beneficiary, coordinates all of his medical care through his internist, who referred all the specialists, and he now receives the kind of comprehensive treatment that he never experienced before the two heart attacks, including regular preventive screenings, management of his blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and convenient access to his doctors.

In concept, the coordinated medical care that Rivera receives is nothing new, containing some of the familiar components of traditional health maintenance organizations, such as reducing unneeded medical procedures and careful selection of providers who will work for pre-negotiated rates.

But Rivera’s doctor belongs to a group that has applied to become an accountable care organization or ACO — a creation of the Affordable Care Act that policy makers say will improve the quality of medical care and lower costs by financially rewarding providers who can demonstrate that they keep their patients healthy at less expense. More here from Dan Chang

Photo: Prime Health partner Dr. Diego Saavedra, left, takes the pulse of his patient, Robert J. Rivera, right, during an office visit. Prime Health is a group of South Florida doctors who banded together to form an ACO or Accountable Care Organization, a creation of the Affordable Care Act which rewards physicians for lowering healthcare costs and improving quality. CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Cities could see more green over legislature's change to red light camera law

When South Florida cities began installing red-light cameras several years ago, most expected a revenue bump along with increased intersection safety.

But while most studies show few crashes at intersections with red-light cameras, many cities haven’t seen the money they expected, and at least one is several thousand dollars in the hole.

Now, some cities plan to use new changes in Florida’s red-light camera laws to wring more money out of strapped camera programs.

The new legislation, which went into effect July 1, requires municipalities with the cameras to set up local hearing boards for people who get violation notices and want to fight them. It gives drivers more time to appeal, and doesn’t force them to wait until after payment is due and their $158 notice of violation becomes a $264 Uniform Traffic Citation in order to contest it. More here from Jonathan Simmons.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/20/3510185/south-florida-cities-find-new.html#storylink=cpy