Skip to comments.Where’s the ‘Probable Cause’?
Posted on 04/13/2012 7:05:10 PM PDT by doug from upland
The charges brought against George Zimmerman sure look like prosecutorial misconduct. The case as put forward by the prosecutor in the affidavit of probable cause is startlingly weak. As a former chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I have read a number of such affidavits, and cannot recall one lacking so much relevant information. The prosecutor has most likely deliberately overcharged, hoping to intimidate Zimmerman into agreeing to a plea bargain. If this case goes to trial, Zimmerman will almost definitely be found not guilty on the charge of second-degree murder.
The prosecutor wasnt required to go to the grand jury for the indictment, but the fact that she didnt in such a high-profile case is troubling. Everyone knows how easy it is for a prosecutor to get a grand jury to indict, because only the prosecutor presents evidence. A grand-jury indictment would have provided political cover; that charges were brought without one means that the prosecutor was worried that a grand jury would not give her the indictment.
Advertisement The affidavit consists of six main points:
● Zimmerman was upset about all the break-ins in his neighborhood and expressed anger at how criminals always get away.
● According to a discussion with Trayvon Martins girlfriend, who said that she was talking to Martin before the attack, Zimmerman followed Martin. He did so despite the police operators saying we dont need you to do that.
● Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued, though no evidence is cited on this point.
● Trayvon Martins mother identified the voice crying for help on a 9-1-1 call as her sons.
● Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, and this is confirmed by both Zimmermans statement and ballistics tests.
● Martin died from the gunshot wound.
Note some of the points that are missing. The prosecution doesnt claim Zimmerman had racial animus against blacks. There was no f***ing coons on the police call. Some extremely relevant information from the police report is completely excluded: There is no mention of the grass and wetness found on the back of Zimmermans shirt, the gashes on the back of his head, the bloody nose, or the other witnesses who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, before the shot was fired. There is not even an attempt to say that the police report was in error; instead the affidavit just disregards it.
Even if everything in the affidavit is correct, it does not even begin to deal with the most crucial question: Who attacked whom? Even if it is true that Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued, there may have been no wrongdoing on Zimmermans part. Confronted does not mean provoked or assaulted. It could simply mean that Zimmerman followed Martin and asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood. Surely Zimmerman had the right to investigate a strange person in his neighborhood. The police operators advice that we dont need you to do that was merely suggestive, not an order to stop. Indeed, the police had no authority to give Zimmerman such an order.
Now take the charge of second degree murder. There is no way that the affidavit justifies such a charge. In Florida, second-degree murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual. But if Zimmerman was being beaten, there was no depraved mind regardless of human life, and the act imminently dangerous to another would be justified as self-defense.
Angela Corey, the special prosecutor who filed charges, claimed multiple times on Wednesday that the prosecutors are seekers of the truth. In our legal system, grand juries can sometimes provide a check on prosecutors who indict based on political pressure or the desire to seek the limelight. It is no surprise that Corey avoided the grand jury.
John R. Lott Jr. is a FoxNews.com contributor and a co-author of the just-released Debacle: Obamas War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future (John Wiley & Sons, March 2012).
I was for awhile, but I’ve been busy lately.
I know what you mean. The weather has been getting pretty nice here and the great outdoors is calling. Unfortunately it’s saying “you have a lot of work to do on this house.” But it’s still nice to get out there. lol
Well, perhaps, after Treyvon went south on Twin Trees and then east between the buildings on the pink route, perhaps he did turn south (right) and hide. When Z came through to the walkway between the buildings, Trayvon followed him to F, where he accosted and attached Zimmerman.
Alternatively, if George had done as he says and followed the maps direct route from C to E, then Treyvon jumping him on his way back to C, thered be a lot of backpedaling and dancing away from Martin to get to F.
As far as I know, we have no direct word from George on exactly what path he took, only the second hand info from his family, that appears to me to be a bit confused, as you would expect from someone who doesn't even live in the area.
Of course, this is all pure speculation on our part until we get some hard testimony on exactly what George is claiming and any evidence shows.
haha! good luck with the house! keep up the good work here too!
What "facts" am I rigorously ignoring?
All of the ones you so frequently get called on.
George's father and brother, both are telling the same story George told Police. The route is what the wagist map is modeled after, and IS the direct word from George.
Alice in Wonderland using George's dad's interview to determine where George walked.
I question everything Georges father said. I wasnt there and neither was he. (Alice in Wonderland post #186 to Aunt Polgara)
Alice in Wonderland denying the accuracy of George's dad's statements.
Which is it? I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways, Alice. George may have been ill advised to follow Martin, but there was nothing illegal about it. I'm sure he's ruing the day that things turned out the way they did; but if Trayvon attacked him, he had a perfect right to defend himself. Remember, the state has to prove that he broke the law, and nothing that I have seen comes anywhere near that proof.
How do you know what George told police? I haven't seen the police report. Have you?
Correct, but if Zimmerman is the aggressor it doesn’t apply. The Murder 2 indictment points to Zimmerman being the aggressor, otherwise the indictment is junk and Zimmerman is exempt under the law because Trayvon Martin was the aggressor.
My point is that gun grabbers want to undo 2nd Amendment gains and so point to SYG laws as the problem. Capiche?
Not if Obama is un-elected this November.
We need to have the Department of Justice returned to an agency that seeks justice for all, not justice only for Holder's "people."
Alice lives in Wonderland. She always has it both ways. lol
Afraid to state the “FACTS”, eh?
Ah, so you're one of those rare FReepers who understands "right from wrong." /s
Has it ever occurred to you that "right vs left" is often congruent with "right vs wrong"?
And has it ever occurred to you that we ALL have the right to follow suspicious persons in our neighborhood?
And to call police to try to give them a location of the suspicious person?
Which is precisely what Zimmerman was doing.
God forbid we should ever get to the point in this country where we are not allowed to try to get a good look at a suspicious person, and call the police to give his location.
And btw, George Zimmerman's "story" checked out with the police during the initial investigation, i.e. when the police took him to the location of the incident and told him to "re-enact" the events.
Presumably this is the same "story" he told his dad, and that his dad related to the media.
What? You want me to recount all the facts in this story for you? Solely because you can’t read yourself and instead decide to propagandize and speculate? ROTFLOL
Was it ever ascertained if wee saintly Treyvon had any limits?
The initial Police report is all that’s available to us peons, and they’ve tried to eliminate even that.
But let me ask you, do you think George, with his police training and experience dealing with them, would not take the time to circle the wagons and get the story straight to those he knew would be repeating it?
Neither do I.
When his father and brother repeat George’s account they specifically say “George said,.....”
That's a big "IF" ... which everyone assumes is "FACT". It's what George said and his family parroted. George also said Martin's last words were "Ya got me!" ... a line straight out of a B-grade movie.
And yes, I know George had a bloodied nose and cut to the back of his head. But that does not mean Trayvon threw the first punch. As far as I know, no one saw who started the fight, although witnesses saw it in progress.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher's instruction to stop following Martin. Instead, he continued to follow Martin, confronted Martin, and shot Martin after a struggle.
The affidavit also states that it is not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence. It is merely a presentation for a determination for probable cause for second degree murder.
Actually, I was surprised with the murder charge since the lead homicide investigator had only recommended a manslaughter charge.
Exactly. There is no publicly available report of what George actually said beyond the statement given early on in police custody that he called for help and no one came to his aid. Nowhere has it been released exactly what George himself has said to the police.
But let me ask you, do you think George, with his police training and experience dealing with them, would not take the time to circle the wagons and get the story straight to those he knew would be repeating it? Neither do I.
You are joking, right? In his initial call to the police, he couldn't even get the address of the clubhouse correct or how to direct the police to where he first saw Trayvon.
When his father and brother repeat Georges account they specifically say George said,.....
Actually, what I heard was his father saying something like, "it's my understanding ..." over and over" and over and over saying he didn't discuss certain things with George. Their statements are nothing but hearsay and inadmissible in court.
This is all about exactly which way the two of the walked through the neighborhood, and I presume that it will all come out either at the self-defense hearing or in a trial.