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).
So many questions. Here’s another...
Why would a guilty man willingly go to the police station and go over and over what happened and come back the next day to walk them through the events of the previous evening with no attorney present? With George’s dad being some kind of a retired low level magistrate, it’s not exactly like George wouldn’t know to shut up if he thought he had any culpability. I love this video. Never talk to the police.
It might be a career breaker.
I can't wait for the forensic analysis. Were there powder burns on Trayvon's hands? What part of his hands? Does that indicate that he had his hand/s on the gun when it went off?
She heard Trayvon being pushed to the ground? How does someone hear that? The only way she would know is if he said “I have just been pushed to the ground.”
Is there any medical proof yet that Zimmerman’s nose was actually broken? It could have been bloodied but not broken.
>>Is there any medical proof yet that Zimmermans nose was actually broken? It could have been bloodied but not broken.<<
Not that I have seen. There’s not much proof of anything yet.
>>She heard Trayvon being pushed to the ground? How does someone hear that? The only way she would know is if he said I have just been pushed to the ground.<<
Unfortunately, in the interview, she claimed that the phone went dead shortly after Z asked T what he was doing there.
>>So many uncomfortable questions for the prosecution.
It might be a career breaker.<<
Bingo. Angela Corey, meet Marcia Clark
My guess is that Corey will not do the actual prosecution she will hand it to a subordinate prosecutor. If she does, judging by her press conference, she will be eaten alive in the courtroom and act like a clown outside of it for the press. Marcia Clark X2.
Judging how giddy she was when she announced the charges, I doubt she will be able to resist being in the courtroom. Maybe she will get Nifonged. :-)
I have seen that video and it’s good advice. He probably shouldn’t have done all that talking even if innocent but it sure doesn’t make sense for a guilty man to do it.
Watch the press just drop the story if it starts to go south for her though. But that would be hard to do after all this buildup.
I just hope that Z’s story was consistent if he’s innocent. Reminds me of Judge Judy... she always gets the parties talking and when she catches the first one in a lie, she rules for the other side. :-)
>>She is supposedly going to retire in the near future so she probably thinks this is her ticket for a high-profile win to end her career on.<<
hmmm... I wonder if she has looked at any statistics on prosecution wins in high profile cases. I don’t think they are too good.
Hmm, more uncomfortable questions. I wonder how much of the prosecution's case will rest on the initial investigation that was allegedly corrupt and/or shoddy?
>>If his story wasn’t consistent with the evidence and witness testimony you would think he would have been charged to begin with. <<
Maybe we’ll see the first prosecutor and the initial investigators called as witnesses for the defense. Wouldn’t that be a spectacle.
Yes it would and at some point I would think they would want to defend their decisions publically. If they’re not called as witnesses in the case maybe Greta will have them on her show to comment on the case as it unfolds. :-)
If someone who is really knowledgable about this case can summarize the facts, it may be time for me to do a Hitler rant about it. What is the actual amount of the bounty? Did both Sharpon and Jackson go down there? What were Sharpton’s specific threats? Which network did what in false reporting?
Hi Doug, Rush last week say that Zimmerman should be able to collect the bounty, since he turned himself in. :-)
Heard that on his show today. Pretty funny.