If as a lawyer you're turned to for expertise in the ongoing conversations about the Trayvon Martin verdict and its aftermath, you might find the following links useful:
Can the federal government bring charges against George Zimmerman? Most of the critical commentary says that the federal burden would be greater than the Florida state prosecution case. Here's FBI's website lay explanation of the relevant federal criminal civil rights laws.
What did the jury instructions on self-defense actually say? The jury instructions are posted here.
How unusual is Florida's self-defense law? Be careful on this one. The jury is apparently still out in the legal blogosphere. In "Burden and Quantum of Proof as to Self-Defense" Gene Volokh says that Florida law is "precisely the same as in nearly all other states: In 49 of the 50 states [the exception being Ohio], once the defense introducing any evidence of possible self-defense, the prosecution must disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt." Among the 269 comments (many presumably from other law profs and legal practitioners) are those that claim that the post is, well, "flat out wrong," primarily because of Florida's stand your ground law.
What about a wrongful death action by Trayvon Martin's parents? Could Martin's parents, like Nicole Simpson's and Ronald Goldman's parents in the aftermath of O.J. Simpson's acquittal on murder charges, pursue and win a wrongful death action against Zimmerman? The first level of confusion that needs to be addressed with lay people is the difference between criminal and civil cases. The difference in the burden of proof is not obvious, and many lay people incorrectly consider a civil action following a criminal acquittal as kind of appeal. But Florida's stand your ground law creates a connection between the criminal and civil law by explicitly providing for a civil immunity hearing based on the law, an option still open to Zimmerman. In this "what's next" Washington Post story a Florida criminal defense lawyer told the Post "The defense opted against asking the judge to dismiss the case based on Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which in many cases justifies the use of deadly force, without the obligation to flee, when a person feels threatened. If the judge had refused a dismissal on those grounds, Zimmerman might not have been able to claim immunity." Here's an earlier explanation from CNN:
Section 776.032 of the Florida Statutes provides that a person who uses force as permitted in Section 776.012 or Section 776.013 “is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action,” with limited exceptions. If a civil action is brought against the person who used qualifying deadly force, a court must award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred in the defense of the case.
The procedures for asserting prosecutorial immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law are defined in a Florida First District case, Peterson v. State, which held that Section 776.032 established a “true immunity” and not just an affirmative defense. The Court held that when immunity is properly raised the trial court must decide the matter by confronting and weighing only factual disputes at a hearing. The Florida Supreme Court adopted the Peterson framework in Dennis v. State, 51 So. 3d 456, (2010).