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).
As I noted in #81.
Most likely, he got out of his truck and walked over to the north end of the walkway between town house rows in order to see if he could see where Martin went (as opposed to pursuing him). Retreat View Circle, on which Zimmerman lived, is at the far end of that walkway. The front door of Brandy Green's townhouse is on that street (and the back door is presumably where Martin was headed before he decided to teach the Man a lesson).
There is a pretty good reconstruction here.
A friend of mine works for WSP, I know of what I speak. And it has been confirmed to me by other FReepers that it is the same in their state.
Police dispatch IS, in many places, officially, legally, statutorily, an LEO position, with all the force and effect of law behind them.
Hmm. That would be a problem. Perhaps you could provide us the correct spelling of his name?
Is the lady who cleans toilets at the police station a cop?
The cleaning lady does not represent the police to the public. Sean (or whoever picked up the line) did.
He did not know the exact house numbers. That is what the dispatcher was asking for. He was between houses and I'm sure there are no house numbers on the backs.
“The cleaning lady does not represent the police to the public. Sean (or whoever picked up the line) did.”
She might, if I happened to walk into a bathroom she was cleaning. In which case you’d probably say it was my fault if I ignored her suggestion not to walk on a wet floor and someone ambushed me from a stall.
But seriously, just because you represent the police does not mean you are police. It doesn’t mean you can give lawful orders, especially if they’re not actually orders. And finally, at long last, will someone please demonstrate to me that he ignored the “order.” Because if he followed it, this is moot point.
He was parked on Twin Trees ... the next street over is Retreat View Circle. He thought all the action was happening on Retreat View Circle. Even his dad said he went over to the next street (Retreat View Circle) via the short walkway.
Why did he not retrace his steps back to his vehicle? Why did he go onto the long walkway, away from his vehicle?
Did Martin attack him on that short walkway and drag him part way down the long walkway to the site of the shooting?
What "Sean" said was far from an order. It was merely a bland statement enunciating established policy, although a properly trained neighborhood watch guy should have fully understood the meaning. And whether or not "Sean" had a badge and was authorized to patrol the streets wearing a gun is irrelevant. He was not on the street, but he did officially represent the Sanford Police.
And finally, at long last, will someone please demonstrate to me that he ignored the order. Because if he followed it, this is moot point.
More than likely, Zimmerman did follow the "order". He responds "OK" to the suggestion not to follow. He then states he's lost track of the suspect. Then he starts to give his address (1950 of which there is only one, LOL) but stops because he fears Martin may be close enough to overhear. Then the call ends, and a few minutes later well, you know the rest of the story.
"The office of the State Attorney, 4th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Angela Corey has requested that the City of Sanford remove all reports, videos and audio pertaining to the Martin/Zimmerman case from the website. Their office has provided legal justification for the action and they believe further access to the information will have an adverse effect on their efforts to come to a resolution to this investigation."
What say you to that?
“whether or not ‘Sean’ had a badge and was authorized to patrol the streets wearing a gun is irrelevant.”
I should think it would be, if not following it takes away your right to assert self-defense.
“What ‘Sean’ said was far from an order.”
Why are we talking about it, then? What relevance has it to Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence?
“although a properly trained neighborhood watch guy should have fully understood the meaning”
That “although” is funny. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean. Are we supposed to think he ignored it while understanding its meaning? Do you know of any evidence showing that he didn’t follow the “bland statement enunciating established policy”?
“More than likely, Zimmerman did follow the ‘order’”
Again, then, why are we talking about it? It’s an awful lot of fuss over “a bland statement enunciating established policy” given by a kinda sorta but not really cop representing the police, but not in a capacity to give lawful orders, that he more than likely followed.
“they believe further access to the information will have an adverse effect on their efforts to come to a resolution to this investigation”
Why? Aren’t these things public? We hear them all the time on the news when other evidence is deemed privileged.
He was in his car.
You can still hear unedited versions of the 911 call on all over youtube.
It’s obvious when he exits and when he stops pursuing.
“well, you know the rest of the story.”
Not really. I can guess, but what’s in a guess? Al Sharpton’s guess is probably that Zimmerman went back to hunting Martin down, shouted at Martin “You gonna die, you dirty coon!” and proceeded to hit himself in the nose, pound his own head on the pavement, and shoot Martin for kicks.
What I do know is that there’s no evidence that Zimmerman started the fight, various pieces of evidence that he was losing the fight, and no evidence I’m aware of to contradict his self-defense defense. And that’s how criminal cases work in this country: the prosecution has to prove things. Not just say he was pissed off at the police and maybe didn’t follow the non-order of a non-police officer.
He did not return to his vehicle by retracing his steps. He either took a detour down the long pathway which was in the opposite direction or Martin dragged him down that pathway. Which was it?
Why did Martin confront Zimmerman in such an aggressive way, and was there a blood test to determine if the kid was high on something?
Regarding the voice on the recording — won’t a technical test be done to reveal who was calling for help?
If the jury is intimidated and convicts Zimmerman, can’t he still appeal and appeal until a judge at some level looks at the actual evidence?
If so, shouldn’t we be making contributions to his legal defense?
Do you still say it was the street names he didn't remember?
“was there a blood test to determine if the kid was high on something?”
I believe there was. Funny thing, before the story blew up I recall listening to some lefty “news” show on the internet, or maybe it was Al Gore’s network. They thought it unjust that Martin had been tested and not Zimmerman, implying it was all part of the rush to judgement by Old South authorities against Martin for being black.
I don’t suppose it occured to them that while you can’t go around drawing blood willy-nilly from living people with Constitutional rights, you don’t need probable cause to get it from a corpse.
"Sean's" exact job title is of no importance to the case.
In the call in question, Sean was the police, and Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch guy. No more, no less.