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?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.