Skip to comments.Why George Zimmerman May Be Hard To Convict (Any legal people here to dissect this?)
Posted on 04/14/2012 4:15:20 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
When a man shot and killed a boy on a rainy night on the streets of Sanford Florida, because he looked suspicious and the man took it upon himself to investigate this person wearing a hoodie, the State District Attorney filed second degree murder charges against the adult, but may have inadvertently have all the charges of murder dismissed or find him not guilty.
The State of Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey has charged George Zimmerman for second degree murder against Trayvon Martin, which according to Floridas law may get Zimmerman life in prison. But there seems to be a catch. According to Floridas law, to prove second degree murder, the State of Florida must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1.The victim is dead; 2.The death was caused by the criminal act of the defendant; 3.There was an unlawful killing of the victim by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life. 01) Travon Martin is dead. Zimmerman claimed he killed him in self defense.
02) When the 911 operator said to not get involved, Zimmerman disobeyed the operator and confronted Martin. By not obeying the order, this can be grounds for obstruction of justice, an arrestable offense, therefore, satisfying two of three within the laws of second degree murder.
03) There was an unlawful killing of the victim by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life may be the issue here.
According to Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, the word depraved says: marked by corruption or evil; especially : perverted. The State has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmermans mind was corrupt or evil or even perverted. Also what is reasonable doubt?
Reasonable doubt: Prosecution must be proven to the extent that there could be no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that the defendant is guilty.
So is there any doubt that Zimmermans mind was corrupt, evil or perverted? The defense may say that he was concerned about the safety and well being of the community and that his intentions were to protect property and Zimmerman who gave chase, was a victim of Martin, who pounced on him, started to smash his head against the concrete and Zimmerman had no choice but to shoot Zimmerman to defend himself. If Zimmerman sticks with that story, the jury would have no choice but to say not guilty. On the other hand, the D.A. can still file manslaughter charges.
According to Florida law: Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought. Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary. Essentially, the difference between manslaughter and murder is that manslaughter was the result of an accident, heat of passion, or some other act in which the person does not have the mental state to commit a murder.
Involuntary manslaughter: To establish involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must show that the defendant acted with culpable negligence. Florida statutes define culpable negligence as a disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior. The state may be able to prove involuntary manslaughter by showing the defendants recklessness or lack of care when handling a dangerous instrument or weapon, or while engaging in a range of other activities that could lead to death if performed recklessly. Example: If the defendant handles a loaded gun without any knowledge of whether the gun is loaded, and he later discharges the gun into a group of people, the defendants actions likely meet the recklessness requirement for a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Florida state laws also establish involuntary manslaughter if the prosecutor shows that the defendant used excessive force during self-defense or the defense of another person. The prosecution and defense can look at the facts and circumstances of the killing to determine whether the defendant reasonably believed that self-defense was necessary; if not necessary, the state might proceed with an involuntary manslaughter charge.
If the D.A. cannot prove that the Zimmerman was depraved, then legally, Zimmerman is a free man and under the double jeopardy rules, he cannot be tried again for the same crime
but then there is federal court.
Why Zimmerman may be hard to convict....
1. He’s innocent...
If he’s quoting the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, then he’s not a lawyer.
assuming this even gets to trial a big IF!
The prosecutor could go to trial with that one charge or the jury could be told to include lesser charges as to guilt.
Obviously a trial with only the 2nd degree count being allowed would be in GZ’s favor if the evidence is what we all think.
Oh, btw, my step-mother was a lawyer, my nephew spent 3years in prison with a legal library card, I succesfully beat a speeding ticket, and my wife has sued a tanning salon and a dentist for malpractice successfully, and we’ve all been reimbursed against future health claims for living in Govt. FEMA trailers. I think I qualify.
The bit about Zimmerman “disobeying” the dispatcher and obstructing justice etc. is so absurd it is laughable.
The premise that in Florida the jury must convict on second degree murder or free the defendant is wrong. The jury is permitted to instead convict on a lesser included offense, which in the case of second degree murder includes manslaughter.
In any event, there are NO facts reported by any news media that can form the basis of a finding of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on ANY offense.
Commentators claim the special prosecutor must have some sort of secret evidence to justify the charging affidavit, but that seems EXTREMELY unlikely given the media attention to this case and all of what has been reported about the police investigation.
Having to look at that prosecutor for a long trial is cruel and inhumane punishment, and a reasonable judge would set Zimmerman free for punishment served.
This whole sham is so laced with race politics and class warfare, that it stinks. Zimmerman gets his day in court like any citizen would where the FACTS will come out before a jury.
The professional liberal race pimps and the complicit radically liberal media are trying to try Zimmerman on the news stand. Anyone who pays any attention to them is a fool.
Our system of justice, under attack as it is by the radical Obama Thug administration, will determine the guilt and merit of Zimmerman -— not the class dividers and race baiters. WHAT A CROCK !!!
First of for murder there has to be intent. there wasn’t.
Then under FL there needs to be a depraved mind. a form of intent and based what we know that didn’t exist either.
Whole thing is a put up job.
This is a political case. He will be convicted regardless of what the law and the facts may be.
Welcome to the Obamanation.
2. IS a complete fabrication (IIRC started by the Revs)
Couldn’t get beyond it as it appear to be more BS.
If you read through the hand book used by the Neighborhood Watch group, GZ was following the instructions in the book explicitly. The dispatcher even suggested he keep an eye on TM. It was after that suggestion that he got out of the vehicle.
It doesn’t matter what led up to face-to-face confrontation, and much has been made of this. If in the end Zimmerman was attacked and feared for his life, self defense can be invoked. Not a lawyer but seems like common sense to me.
Disobeying a Police Dispatcher?
1)I dont think it is common knowledge as to whether emergency or police dispatchers are police offers with the power to command obedience.
2) When a police dispatcher says “We dont need you to do that” is not an order or something to follow as well as when your couped up under a bed while a home invader is in the home and the dispatcher tells you to ‘stay on the phone’ or ‘dont grab a gun, we’re sending someone on the way’ other situationally detached inappropriate advice.
I'm not going through the whole list of dumb things in this article, but how about one paragraph?
When the 911 operator said to not get involved, Zimmerman disobeyed the operator and confronted Martin. By not obeying the order, this can be grounds for obstruction of justice, an arrestable offense, therefore, satisfying two of three within the laws of second degree murder.This is incorrect on several counts. First, he did not call 911, it was the police non-emergency line. Second, the operator's suggestion was not a "lawful order" which Zimmerman was in any way bound to obey. Which means, of course, (third) the conclusion about obstruction charges is also incorrect. Finally, we don't actually know that Zimmerman "confronted" Martin. The account of Martin's girlfriend, in which Martin starts the conversation by challenging Zimmerman would seem to suggest the opposite.
As for manslaughter, which the writer seems to think is off the table, it is automatically a lesser included charge under murder two, which will certainly be part of jury instructions.
If,by chance,there *is* an acquittal in the state court the nation's esteemed (but not by me) Attorney Corporal will weigh in,unless he's been demoted to civilian ambulance chaser by then.
You're suppose to WHINE!!..
Romney voters might agree with that...
Hah! The Scalia defense!
Former State Prosecutor here (25 years).
Much to the chagrin of a fair number of individuals (per the private mails I have gotten), I have maintained, and STILL maintain, that it was 100% appropriate to charge Zimmerman. I have also said, that a conviction is another thing. Not sure what your question is, but let me try and address the issue.
It seems that your question is the “depraved mind”. That is really a term of art and has nothing to do with insanity. Second Degree murder is murder minus the premeditation. The frequently used example is someone randomly firing guns in residences, or in the air, or shooting bottles in their window next to another house. There is no premeditation in any of those actions, but the act itself is so “depraved” that anyone of even basic intellect would know that would kill someone.
Next is the Voluntary v. Involuntary. Voluntary is the old “heat of passion” murder, i.e. you walk in on your spouse having sex with someone else and in a fit of rage kill one or both of them.
Involuntary is typically death via DWI (DUI) or reckless behavior such as speeding 65 in a 25 mph zone and hitting someone.
Now this case, if I were prosecuting, I would argue the following for each charge:
1. 2nd Degree - that by ignoring the police and chasing down someone, while armed, Zimmerman was extremely reckless to the point of “depravity. I would also suggest that any false statements I can prove (and there sure seem to be some) indicate that his version is not to be believed and that he chased down Martin with a “hair trigger” and was just begging for an opportunity to shoot.
2. Voluntary - Zimmerman reacted angrily and with excessive force. He was angry to the point of heat of passion because he thought the police were going to let yet another one get away. That when Martin confronted him, he unjustifiable shot him.
3. Involuntary - Zimmerman had no intention to shoot, but he was out there, in the dark chasing down someone. Zimmerman did not have police training, ignored police instructions, and that his extremely negligent behavior resulted in someone’s death.
There WILL be a hearing on “stand your ground”. Zimmerman has a VERY tough way to go with that one. Because he initiated the chase, he can not avail himself of self-defense. The only argument his atty can make is that he broke off the pursuit and that Martin jumped him. However, based on what I have seen (which is NOT all the evidence so there is a danger of trying via the press), Zimmerman has serious credibility issues. He’s got a 50-50 on winning this motion. Not at all sure of the law in FL, but in VA that would be a closed hearing with that evidence being kept confidential by the court.
Also, Voluntary and Involuntary are lesser included offenses of 2nd. If the Prosecution so requests, then the jury can find guilty of one of those lesser offenses instead of 2nd.
If for some reason they don’t ask for the lesser included instructions ,then, you are correct, double jeopardy prohibits re-trying for Voluntary or Involuntary.
Finally, the Fed charges (if any) are not lesser included so Double Jeopardy does not apply. However, I would be VERY surprised if there are Fed charges. I just don’t see hate crime evidence. I wouldn’t be shocked, but surprised.
Hope that helps a little.
They are permitted to convict on lesser ONLY if the Prosecution asks for it. (Unless the FL procedure is very different from where I practiced).
“The bit about Zimmerman disobeying the dispatcher and obstructing justice etc. is so absurd it is laughable.” I agree,where I live in Maryland, the dispatchers are girls (of whom I’ve dated a few) they are not duly sworn police OFFICERS, so I question their authority to give a “lawfull order.” It may be differant in Florida, I speak only from my locality. Any others out there that have a similar set-up?
But Stand Your Ground is tried how?
Preliminary hearing with only a preponderance of evidence required to show Zimmerman acted in self defense?
Two witnesses saw Martin on top of Zimmerman.
Isn’t that game over?
I believe in FL the judge is required to instruct on LIOs.
Zimmerman said “okay” when told to stop pursuit and headed back to his vehicle.
Martin, instead of going to the place where he was staying, doubled back to confront and punch Zimmerman.
Zimmerman had solved four burglaries two weeks earlier through his efforts.
Zimmerman said Martin was acting suspicious - not on the sidewalk? Looking in windows?
Martin was busted at school and suspended for possession of stolen property.
Martin became the aggressor and was on top of Zimmerman. The gun was exposed and Martin reached for it. That’s when he was shot.
Self defense and the witnesses back it up.
You’re suppose to WHINE!!..
Romney voters might agree with that...
That is the exact argument he is making!
Based on the fact that he was physically attacked after he had returned to his truck, it is self-defense.
The confrontation seems to have occurred because Martin thought Zimmerman "dissed" him by watching what he was doing. Depending on who is on the jury, there may be jurors who think that that justified Martin attacking Zimmerman and telling him that he was going to kill him (as Zimmerman apparently claims happened).
Problem is a Judge tossing the case, even for legitimate grounds = riots.
Blacks suffered worse under Obama than any demographic. Look at the unemplyement rates and net worth of black families.
What are Rats to do?
Manufacture a “war on women” and a “war on blacks” to scare and fool their voter base.
Even in the case of duly sworn police officers, there is no generalized obligation to obey police officers.
Laws narrowly prescribe those circumstances in which a police officer is legally allowed to order citizens around, such as for purposes of regulating traffic.
It's what distinguishes us from a police state (at least in theory).
The idea that progressives believe a police dispatcher has some sort of legal authority to order around citizens says all you need to know about progressives.
“Because he initiated the chase, he can not avail himself of self-defense.”
I gather you are not familiar with Florida law...
This is a widely disseminated LIE. The 911 transcript clearly shows Zimmerman was given no order, no warning. Answering affirmatively that he was following, he was only told this: "Ok. We don't need you to do that.
That is no order. That is no warning. There is nothing to obey. That is not even a request not to follow.
Wasn’t it another line he called? Not 911. ?
I read that on a thread here.
In most cases this wouldn’t reach a court; in this case I can’t wait to see what Judge they arranged to help the prosecution.
Was listening to dad’s TV while I do some chores. Think he may have it on CNN. Commentator caught my ear while talking about this case. Referred to witnesses changing their stories from the initial interview done by the police, the night of the incident. (Bet we know who he was talking about.)
He specifically mentioned the person changed statement to it was a “young boy” yelling for help.
Wait till the videos come out of the 6’3” hooded kid. Surprise! Surprise! (I assume his voice had changed....LOL)
"776.041 Use of force by aggressor.--The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force."
Self-defense still applies. If you punch someone in the mouth, they can punch you back. If they start beating your head against a desk (or sidewalk), then they are using lethal force to respond to your non-lethal attack.
Even if Zimmerman 'provoked' Martin by using racial slurs or shoving him, he would retain the right to self-defense if he reasonably believes the force Martin is using is now at lethal or great bodily harm level in response. A punch in the nose isn't lethal force - but pounding a head against concrete can be.
For Obama to be re-elected—Zimmerman must die. He will not survive in jail. An all black jury will convict him. Zimmerman is finished—even if innocent he will be sacrificed upon the altar of politics and mob rule. Think, Joan of Arc.
Based on my current knowledge of the facts, I’d currently vote to acquit, were I on the jury. However, I’m not at all committed to that position, and could be persuaded otherwise.
That said, I think this is one of those rare cases where a public trial must happen. There is no other way to ‘clear the air,’ and Zimmerman would greatly benefit by having the evidence publicly presented (and legally vetted by the prosecution’s failed attempts to refute it) that clearly exonerates him—assuming that’s what it will do.
Zimmerman said he was returning to his truck. Can you prove he wasn't?
How did Zimmerman get the bloody nose?
How did he get the wet grass stains on his back?
How did he get the cut on the back of his head?
If he was sucker punched from the back and the “boy” was straddling him and pounding his head on the sidewalk do you contend Zimmerman should have asked nicely “Please get off me?”
I know that your prosecutor's’ hat means you are trying any way to charge him so he will ask for a plea deal, but why is that “Justice”.
That's funny, because CNN is the venue that featured this witness as providing startling new information.
-- Wait till the videos come out of the 6'3" hooded kid. --
O'Mara is pretty tall, and really looks it standing next to Zimmerman. I wonder how tall O'Mara is. Put him in a Trayvon Martin Memorial Hoodie, and see what sort of impression that gives the viewer.
That is not true. A police dispatcher can not issue a lawful order and even so, there was no order and it is not ever clear Zimmerman disobeyed.
It was a miss-communication by the dispatcher. She had told him to keep an eye and he did.
When she said you don't need to do that. I thought she was saying, you don't need to get out in the rain and cold as a response to his comment about the weather. It didn't occur to me to be anything else until the media got involved.
A competent judge with any integrity would throw this case out at the pretrial hearing. Unfortunately, I doubt that happens.
I have an idea what witness this might be.
There was a woman who called 911 to report the altercation. This is the call on which you can hear the gunshot in the background. You can also hear her yelling at someone else in the house telling them NOT to go out and help the person who was screaming for help.
One of the networks had an interview with this woman with her appearance and voice disguised. She said she peeked out the window and talked about the larger man being on top and hearing the cries for help.
The news media reported this as a grown man killing a young boy.
So everyone who didn't personally examine the body was under the impression that the young boy was the smaller person and had the higher-pitched voice. This was compounded by the photos of 12-year-old Trayvon being used by the media.
In fact, Zimmerman is only 5'8" and was the smaller man by several inches. Zimmerman also has a high-pitched voice even when he is not screaming, as anyone can hear on the recording of the police dispatcher call.
So we may have here a situation in which witnesses have interpreted what they heard or saw by reference to the mis-reporting in the media, leading them to believe they know the opposite of what occurred.
While the Zimmerman/Martin white on black killing is covered 24/7 on the MSM with an outpouring of rage and charges of a racial hate crime, where is the concern- where is the rage about the home invasion, torture, beating, rape and murder of the elderly white couple by a gang of feral blacks in Oklahoma just a few weeks ago?
The 90 year old war veteran husband was beaten and his jaw broken. He was shot in the face numerous times with a BB gun and sent to the hospital in critical condition.
The 85 year old partially blind wife was RAPED and then BEATEN TO DEATH.
Can you just imagine the pain, the humiliation, the horror that dear old lady experienced being gang raped by that pack of feral animals?
(the autopsy states she was raped. Dont think all of these animals didnt all participate)
And can you imagine the pain, the horror of that dear old husband having to witness this?
Theres a lot more involved here than a home invasion and robbery.
WHERE ARE THE CHARGES OF A RACIAL HATE CRIME??
90 year old husbands jaw broken and shot in face with a BB gun numerous times?
85 wife year old semi blind wife RAPED and BEATEN to death??
Why does it take a foreign press to enlighten America as to this henious crime?
Where is the outrage?
Thank God you’re retired
Actually chuckled when heard “alot will depend on the quality of the witness” and then the explanation...Checked it out, it was AC,.... he’s moon walking too.
Couldn’t wait to tell you. Guess it’s been a good thing that they are only showing the “young innocent” pictures
That is also what Zimmerman told police within minutes of shooting Martin. Hard to see how he could have concocted a story that fits all the evidence in that short amount of time.
OTOH the so-called probable cause affidavit relies heavily on the girlfriend in Miami's account, which was not given until several weeks after the shooting and the police tapes and other evidence were made public.
You really need to quit trying to reason any of this out. The facts and the law DO NOT MATTER.
1. This is an election year
2. Race and class envy is involved
3. There are already threats of rioting SERIOUS THREATS. They mean it and they will do it.
The poor kid is already convicted. The fat lady already sung.
It was the woman who appeared twice on CNN. Cboldt and Maggie had her number the first time she appeared with AC.
She came back later because she had new evidence...
Sounded like a “valley girl” to me.
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