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).
Yes, you are absolutely correct. It's also what the original police investigation found before the race pimps got involved. In the self-defense hearing, the prosecutors have to prove to the judge by a preponderance of the evidence that George's actions do not constitute self-defense. And then, if they do satisfy that requirement, George has the opportunity to go before a jury, where the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not self defense. As of yet, I haven't seen anything to doubt George's story.
George also said Martin's last words were "Ya got me!" ... a line straight out of a B-grade movie.
If you are going to make stuff up, would you please try to make it more believable?
George had no legal obligation to follow the dispatcher's suggestion and there is no evidence that I have seen that George "confronted" Trayvon. Even what Trayvon's girlfriend said in her TV interview seems to support that Trayvon threw the first punch. According to her, Trayvon asked why George was following him, and George asked why Trayvon was there, and a fight ensued. It wouldn't be logical for George to punch Trayvon at that point, but it would be very logical for Trayvon to answer George's question with a punch.
You are aware, are you not, that even noted left-wing attorney Alan Dershowitz has called the Affidavit of Probable Cause "irresponsible and unethical"?
After following the story for several weeks and the reasoning of both sides, I was recently struck by the comments made by the woman with the father being interviewed after the arrest of Zimmerman.
This is a very important point which offers profound insight into antichristian thinking.
The woman stated “they felt at peace”,..now that Zimmerman had been arrested.
For a mother to remark that her innermost feelings after the death of her son simply became an issue of feeling Peace after the arrest of the person whom her son had attacked and responded with deadly force is NOT the normal human response to the situation.
It reveals volumes about the thinking processes of those adversarially attacking Zimmerman.
Please note most people’s thinking is framed by their theology, be it atheism, human secularism, Islam, Judeo-Christianity,...etc.
The comment made by the mother, reflects an Islamic way of thinking. Islam has a fundamental problem with justice. The focus of their thinking is not upon justice, but upon what they perceive as righteousness as reflected by peace within themselves.
This is NOT a Judeo-Christian method of thinking. It is not the premise of the American system of jurisprudence.
Too many Americans observing the conflict perceive this as simply being 2 different perspectives of the facts and those facts are what will be used to resolve the conflict with justice prevailing in asserting authority over the criminal actions involved.
There do exist some who take a liberal perspective, who would argue against anything any LEO would assert. Those parties merely clutter the argument.
The real conflict here regards the rule of law, and the use of the judicial system to promote the authority of an Islamic thinking over a Judeo-Christian and humanist society. It is a mystery of iniquity.
Please note, a mother who has lost her son will naturally feel grief. The grief will be so insurmountable that nearly nothing will alleviate that grief. When faced with the information that the person who killed her son was arrested, the mother replied she finally felt peace. This is very contradictory to a natural response of a loved one.
They might desire vengeance, but that would not be described as a feeling of peace.
She might seek judgment for a perception of unrighteousness which denied her a living son, but the arrest and charges made hardly provide a peace for a close family member.
She might seek justice, so that whatever the consequence, the memory of her son could come to a righteous and just closure.
She might reject any solution or outcome, just in rebellion to the pain and grief she naturally feels, but again, this is nor a feeling of peace.
She might simply seek approbation of her thinking, right or wrong, that her son really was a good boy in his heart, but she would hardly be at peace in this situation, as it is far more likely her son’s suspension and most recent appearance is more criminal than righteous. Even if she hated LEOs, she wouldn’t be at peace with the arrest in this situation.
I don’t doubt her statement that she feels peace, but it manifests thinking which is much more consistent with an antichristian way of thinking and more consistent with a scarred Islamic thinking pattern. It is a thinking which doesn’t value justice as much as it simply seeks authority to satiate their emotion, even if unrighteous and unjust.
This same thinking pattern is manifest by Obama and others in this Administration. In some respects it is unfair to even label it as Islamic, because even Muslims have a strict adherence to legal authority. This is closer to a mystery of iniquity, seeking anything which is either unrighteous or unjust, simply to evoke power satiating the emotion of those lacking virtue.
This isn’t Marxism vs Capitalism, nor Islam vs the west. It isn’t left vs right, nor even a difference in perspectives. IMHO, there is something far more sinister afoot in this conflict.
It is commonsensical for those respecting the rule of law, to fully anticipate if a person willfully presents themselves as criminal, makes that appearance to legitimate authority, then stalks and attacks that authority, even in a situation where they are foreign and know they are not local, then attacks with intent to cause bodily harm, and leaves evidence of seeking to kill a person seeking to maintain security, that the same person now exposes themselves to defensive force, and likely deadly force against their person.
There is a different way of thinking involved here which is not the same as that used by our system of jurisprudence, but it appears to reflect a very large body politic emerging in the American public.
"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."
You must be joking....WTH does that have to do with what I said? Their descriptions relate to how Treyvon and George acted and where they went, and their descriptions ALL jive.
The notion the Zimmerman family did not go over the official story-line is spectacularly naive, and the exact street address is completely irrelevant to that story-line. Hell, I've lived in the same small development for 5 years and I couldn't name the next street over.
“Charging Zimmerman is an EASY call.”
Why? Do you mean that a charge can be filed is an easy call? That it is possible to file a charge with being fired does not mean it is an easy call that charges are warranted. This is particularly true, if there evidence on the other side, as the public record so far suggests.
I agree that her claim will be that he followed someone with a loaded gun. Anyone with any respect for the right to bear arms should not stand for that kind of standard by the state.
That you claim 25 years of prosecution experience here and come to this conservative website with such a weak argument makes me wonder, if you are being truthful about your experience or if you are a statist who thinks they are conservative?
Nothing I heard in DeeDee's interview suggested to me that Trayvon threw the first punch. She seemed to indicate the Trayvon was pushed. Wasn't Zimmerman's previous arrest for pushing an undercover LEO?
Alan Dershowitz, the guy who worked for Harry Reems (the porn star), Leona Helmsley, Jim Bakker, Mike Tyson, Michael Milken, and O.J. Simpson, is now a hero at FreeRepublic? Maybe he's itching to write a new book.
I don't believe that's true. I listened to the youtube of that interview. Dad says nothing about George looking for street signs or not knowing what street he was on. He says that George was going to look for an address for the police. Listen from the 1:40 mark to 2:15.
You implied that Zimmerman was lying and you appear to have based it on a falsehood. Explain to us how you got that wrong.
Link to father’s interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9oNoQQbjPA
re: But that does not mean Trayvon threw the first punch
I am trying to think of a reason Zimmerman would have to throw the first punch. He was the one who was armed and knew he could defend himself. If he threw a punch and got into close quarters, there would be a chance that Martin could take his weapon. Zimmerman would have been very foolish to engage first.
Indeed, Zimmerman would have had no reason to throw the first punch. If you are armed, you don’t get into a fist fight. There was a reason Trayvon would throw the first punch. Whether he was up to no good or not, he did not like it that he was being followed.
And ultimately if this prosecutor does not have evidence that Zimmerman threw the first punch, she is as Levin, McCarthy and Dershowitz guilt of misconduct.
Informed, well written, carefully analyzed.
The big questions in my mind are.....
(1) How long did Zimm observe Martin before he called police?
(2) Did Zimm follow Martin in his truck before calling?
(3) Was Martin talking to DeeDee when Zimm first observed him? It's easy for me to believe that 17 year old Martin might be acting goofy or unpredictably if he's on the phone...”Hey, baby, I'm standing out here in the rain talking to you.”
(4) Was there actually a confrontation at the truck, before or after Zimm’s police call?
(5) Did Zimm return briefly to his truck after ending his police call?
(6) DeeDee claims Martin was frightened, that she heard a fight start, then the phone went dead. Can DeeDee be believed when it appears she made no attempt to call 911 or Martin's parents after Martin hung up?
Hopefully, the court's evidence file will be released soon.
The New York Times reported that Zimm did a step-by-step, next day, at the scene, video reenactment for Police.
To my eye, Zimm’s credibility seems quite solid so far.
Seeing that video should help put the whole puzzle together.
My objection to what you said is that the portrayal of George as some kind of super cop with all his ducks in a row just doesn’t jive with what we know about the guy.Since George had been doing this neighborhood watch stuff for some time, and if he was that competent with regard to the minimal training he got, he should at least know how to direct cops through his small development. After all, he had done it a number of times before. From the glimpses we have gotten of him, he appears to be a generally decent fellow who set in motion events that he was unable to predict who is now being portrayed to the whole country as some kind of monster. It would surprise me if he is alive in a year, either by his own hand or assassinated.
Do I think he gave his family a lot of the story? Of course, but do I think they got all the details right? Not likely. That’s why hearsay isn’t admissible in court. Remember, the issue we are talking about is the route the two of them took before the fatal encounter. Here on FR, we consider it a vital piece of info, but the family really didn’t go into exact detail in their interviews.
You demonstrate that contrary to Corey's claim that prosecutors are "seekers of truth",
they are actually seekers of convictions, often without regard for the truth.
The “truth” is, Zimmerman is probably guilty of Manslaughter. And how on Earth a few of you utterly ignore the fact that the Prosecutors paraded across the media agree that Zimmerman should be charged, is just giving in to an ideology over reality and facts.
Mama could not handle him so he gets shipped off to dad. It happens quite frequently.
Dad should at least have a sit down with his son and brief him on how to carry himself in the new neighborhood. If young black males were robbing the houses in the area that should be a point of concern for a parent of a young black male.
“Son, kids like you have been burglarizing the area so if you are outside do not loiter around the neighbors houses. You are an outsider and will arouse their suspicion”
Did the dad explain about the neighborhood watch program? If Zimmerman was “overzealous” as some claim, did the dad know about this?
How about, “Son, stay away from the short, white, bald guy with the black truck, he's an a—hole and will sic the cops on you in a NY minute”
According to the family story Trayvon went to get skittles and ice tea for a relative. How come the dad was not concerned when he did not return? He was not too concerned about Trayvon it seems.
People are reaching for answers. Zimmerman could have shot him at anytime and made up a story if he was targeting this kid. Some even suggests he had his weapon out. I doubt that for the simple fact he was hit. Keltec PF9s don't have safeties. For him to rack and load would have been hard to do during a struggle.
Your first link takes us to the third hand statement from Trayvon’s father, recounting what George supposedly told the investigator, (who may or may not have been the one who told Tracy Martin), who told Tracy Martin who told the reporter. And we know that at least some of what was reported was not true. The police report has Trayvon on his stomach when the cops arrive.
Your second link references a Washingon Post article, quoting Tracy Martin again and includes this tidbit:
“The unarmed teenager hit Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, pinned him down and told him to shut the [expletive] up.
During the beating, Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired one shot at close range into Martins chest. You got me, the teenager said, falling backward.”
OK, now according to this account, Zimmerman is pinned on the ground, firing one shot at close range and Martin falls backwards. Nice trick if you can accomplish it. According to the witness on the scene, Martin was on his stomach after the shot was fired.
I apologize for suggesting you made it up. It appears that the story came from an interview on the Washington Post website of Tracy Martin.
Since you apparently believe the story, do you also believe that there were 2 encounters between George and Trayvon, as told by Trayvon’s father in that same interview? Do I think Tracy Martin lied? No, I believe he is mistaken.
>>Nothing I heard in DeeDee’s interview suggested to me that Trayvon threw the first punch. She seemed to indicate the Trayvon was pushed.<<
What DeeDee’s interview stated was that Trayvon asked why George was following him, and George responded by asking why Trayvon was there, and then the phone went dead. She has no evidence what happened, only her speculation.
No, Alan Dershowitz is not a hero at FR, but if even HE thinks the Affidavit is a crock, it must be a crock. He is by far not the only one to have said that.
Yes, your objection is from your interpretation, not from my rather simple, and obvious, point.
"....with regard to the minimal training he got...."
"Zimmerman became interested in becoming a police officer. In 2008, he attended a four-month course at the local sheriff's department. In his application for the course, Zimmerman wrote: "I hold law enforcement officers in the highest regard and I hope to one day become one." More recently, he was taking law enforcement courses at Seminole State College...."
Of course this is all IN ADDITION to getting his CCP and working with local Sanford PD in his Neighborhood Watchman capacity. If this qualifies as "minimal training" to you......
"Do I think he gave his family a lot of the story? Of course, but do I think they got all the details right? Not likely. "
You're probably right. With George's "minimal training" and his fathers scant experience in legal matters as a Supreme Court Magistrate, the details were completely disregarded...../s
You're hardly the one to preach the supremacy of reality and facts,
while blatantly spreading the lie that Z was "following when told not to".
If he had spent a lot of time and effort making sure his family knew all the facts, why was his dad so vague about the details of how George and Trayvon came to be together? That's critical to this case.
By the way, your use of “Supreme Court magistrate” to describe his father may accurately describe his former title, but he was just a low-level judicial officer who didn't even work in a courtroom, but did routine matters for the judges.
No matter what we all think might have happened, eventually a lot more facts should come out, but I doubt we will ever know beyond a reasonable doubt what happened that tragic night.