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).
Based on the call he did not have any problems with the directions. The dispatcher knew the area also. Zimmerman was not sure of the correct house he was parked next to.
I've lived in my area for years and I'd be hard pressed to give directions unless I'm in my own house.
No. We cant. George's MapQuest skills, along with most of the other issues you seem to require are all pretty much irrelevant as far as I can see. You seem to have some personal threshold that needs to be met. George isn't smart enough....His fathers position too lowly for him to have gleaned adequate experience, not enough juicy details.....on and on.
Maybe whatever evidence allowed at trial will suffice for you, maybe not. But good luck to you.
Yes, he did have problems directing the cops to where his car was parked. He originally described the clubhouse address as 111 Retreat View Circle. Even the dispatcher knew that the correct address was 1111 Retreat View Circle. then he gave absolutely unclear directions on how to get to his vehicle.. and I’m not talking about street addresses. I’m talking about where to turn. I couldn’t even figure out what he was trying to say when I was looking at a map of the complex.
If you have seen the map of the complex, you know that the streets have funny turns, so it would be somewhat difficult to describe how to negotiate the streets, but he presumably had experience doing just that.
I also don’t know the names any more of the minor streets around my house, but I’m not a neighborhood watch captain either. I jokingly tell people to turn left at the house that used to have the three birch trees in the front yard. :-)
I don't know if he is guilty or not. There just isn't enough publicly available evidence to support a guilty verdict. We have to have more than feelings, or speculation to arrive at a guilty verdict.
I do know that the racist pimps are making in almost impossible for George to get a fair trial.
With what we know now, I think it is more likely than not that Trayvon threw the first punch and was on the verge of killing George, but that's just speculation on my part. As the trial unfolds, we will know more, but will we ever know enough to convict George beyond a reasonable doubt? It doesn't seem likely at this point unless there is some more actual evidence that we don't know about at this time.
You take it incorrectly. I have said NOTHING that indicates George may be guilty of anything related to the TM situation. No idea about the rest of his life.
"...I think it is more likely than not that Trayvon threw the first punch and was on the verge of killing George, but that's just speculation on my part...
Baring some unknown video, all there will be at trial IS speculation.
I hope there will be cameras allowed. I expect the Prosecution to fight HARD to keep them out, and fight even harder to limit what evidence is allowed.
FL has a sunshine law that apparently puts all trials on TV. I expect that this one will be on TV too.
And for those who fear that a not guilty verdict will cause riots, I think that just about any verdict is likely to cause riots.
Both sides will fight hard to restrict evidence. That's what lawyers do...fight for their side.
I have been under the weather and not followed this very well. Did DeeDee actually hear that conversation === Trayvon asking why George was following him and George's response asking why he was there?
That's a tough one for the prosecution, provided the defense exploits it properly, and the whole case may fall to pieces around that.
You are on the phone with someone who says they're being followed, says they are scared, you hear challenging words exchanged, you hear what sounds like a scuffle and the phone goes dead. Then you never call back and don't inform anyone else until well after the fact?
That sounds so strange you have to wonder why. Did Martin say something to her about what he was doing or going to do that made her fearful of calling the police or a friend or someone? Being unconcerned and incurious doesn't sound very plausible.
According to Martha Maurer of KTAR who interviewed Dee Dee, Trayvon Martins girlfriend who was on the phone with Trayvon just moments before the fatal shot, she said that Trayvon Martin described George Zimmerman as creepy and said hes crazy. Shortly afterward, Dee Dee says she heard Trayvon Martin ask George Zimmerman why he was being followed and what was he doing. Dee Dee said, Trayvon got nervous and he said he gonna run around from the back, so he ran from the back and said he had lost him, but within a few seconds, Zimmerman was behind him again. Finally, Dee Dee said she heard Trayvon Martin being pushed to the ground.
Ummm...why didn’t Martin just call the police if he felt threatened?
Here is part of what Trayvon’s girlfriend DeeDee actually said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jhes6BlFf8&feature=related
She also speculated that someone pushed Trayvon “because the headset fell off and the line went dead,” but she had no way of knowing exactly what happened from what she said in the interview.
If Trayvon was the one screaming for help why did at least one eyewitness say it was Zimmerman? Why did Zimmerman tell police he cried for help?
The headset could have just as easily fallen off when Trayvon coldcocked Zimmerman and broke his nose.
I do believe that DeeDee did say she attempted to call Trayvon back and got no response, but I don't have the evidence for that. As far as calling anyone else, I don't know.
>>The headset could have just as easily fallen off when Trayvon coldcocked Zimmerman and broke his nose.<<
We'll find out. I'm sure her phone records have been subpoenaed and every call she made or received that night will be revealed.
If Trayvon was “pushed to the ground” how would DeeDee even know that, since she was on the phone and the phone went dead about that time? Maybe she did hear someone being pushed to the ground just before the phone went dead. How could she tell if it was Trayvon or George? I don’t think her testimony is going to be too helpful to the prosecution, and it might even be the defense that calls her to the stand as a hostile witness.
If Zimmerman’s intent was to confront Martin why did he call the police? Why not pull up alongside him the truck? The entire Martin narrative is built on faulty logic.
Who would call the police before and during their hunt to kill someone?
Who would call the police immediately after killing them and report themselves?
Who cries for help while beating on someone?
At the point Martin loses Zimmerman why doesn’t he just walk home?
The questions just keep coming.