Skip to comments.The Arrest of George Zimmerman: Justice or Politics?
Posted on 04/17/2012 4:41:17 AM PDT by SJackson
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The Arrest of George Zimmerman: Justice or Politics?
Posted By Ben Cohen On April 17, 2012 @ 12:30 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 11 Comments
Most people have responded to Angela Coreys decision to charge George Zimmerman with second degree murder in one of two ways: they have applauded her or they have cautioned people to wait for the trial — in which we will hear all the facts. Very few people have accused Angela Corey of filing these charges for political reasons, despite her affidavit of probable cause not demonstrating probable cause, or indicating any new evidence that her predecessor didnt have. Indeed nothing new has become public that would indicate significant new evidence since March 13, when the Sanford police concluded their investigation.
Prior to removing himself from the case, the District Attorney, Norm Wolfinger, disagreed with the lead investigator who wanted to bring charges. Wolfinger had agreed to put the evidence before a grand jury and allow them to decide whether to bring charges. The new prosecutor, who was appointed after public protests and major media attention, decided to forgo a grand jury and present a judge with an affidavit of probable cause. Assuming no significant new evidence has been uncovered (and we have no reason to believe it has), then either Corey is right or Wolfinger was right, but not both.
The major reason why one would not charge George Zimmerman with a crime is that, as Sanford police chief Bill Lee said:
When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony.
In fact one of these eyewitnesses has come forward and spoken with the media. He related seeing a man wearing red lying on the ground screaming for help while another man was beating him. He ran to call police, and when he looked outside again the guy on top was lying dead in the grass from a gunshot wound.
One of the few documents that has been released to the public (now taken down) was the partial initial police report; this document contains the statement of Officer Timothy Smith, the first person to arrive at the scene. He states that George Zimmerman had blood on his nose and back of his head, along with grass on his back. While the media has raised a hue and cry over grainy security cam footage, we have the sworn statement of the first officer to arrive at the scene.
As Alan Dershowitz and others have pointed out the prosecutor’s affidavit of probable cause doesnt contain either probable cause to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder, or any indication of new evidence. Manslaughter consists of an act which is neither reasonable nor justifiable and results in another persons death; all murders could also be considered manslaughters. First degree murder involves deliberately killing another person as part of a preplanned plot or scheme. Second degree murder involves killing another person without premeditation, by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.
The prosecutors affidavit of probable cause doesnt contain a description of anything remotely resembling that, nor do any facts available to the public point in that direction. The prosecutor claims (in the affidavit) that Zimmerman followed and confronted Martin, something happened, and Zimmerman shot Martin. The sole piece of evidence she presents to back up her claim is the statement of Trayvon Martins mother that the voice heard in the background of a 9-11 call is Trayvons.
As Alan Dershowitz correctly pointed out, and another lawyer has told me, the right to self defense is never forfeited. As long as George Zimmerman reasonably feared death or serious injury, and lethal force was his only available escape, then he is protected under the traditional rules of self defense. And given the presence of at least one eyewitness who saw George Zimmerman pinned to the ground and screaming for help, Zimmerman has a basis for that claim. Nothing in the affidavit contradicts Georges claim to self-defense.
When this prosecutor decides to file charges after months of protests, media criticism, threats of violence, and actual violence, without actually presenting any new evidence, what other possibility (besides political motivation) exists? Further, the charges she files are more severe than any of the lawyers or police who investigated the incident contemplated. Perhaps she overcharged as a negotiating tactic, but given the circumstances how could she possibly accept a plea to a lesser charge? Especially after statements such as Frederica Wilsons that Trayvon Martin was hunted down and shot like a rabid dog.
And the evidence that outside factors influenced her decision is not merely circumstantial; her April 11 press conference started off by referencing the sweet parents, of the victim. She then went on to thank the Martin familys legal representatives, who have stayed in touch daily. Given Mr. Crumps and Mr. Parks strong feelings about the case, do you think theyre interested in a plea agreement?
Those who are not yet convinced that George Zimmerman is guilty of murder need to stand up and say so. It doesnt suffice to say that we should wait for the facts. Of course we should wait for the facts and if the facts change, then our opinions should change with them. People should always be open to the possibility of new evidence, but when the facts lead them to conclude that a prosecution for second degree murder is motivated by politics and not facts, then they should speak their minds.
Ben Cohen is an unrepentant liberal libertarian who was recently banned as a poster from the Daily Kos over his opposition to the mob hysteria that has all but convicted George Zimmerman of cold-blooded, racially motivated murder in the absence of evidence or trial. He has told his story in the FrontPage article, Another Thought Criminal Banished by the Daily Kos.
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What a silly question.
Since the arrest did not come from a police investigation presenting evidence to a District Attorney and instead came about after a trial and conviction by the National Media, nationwide hoodie marches and President Obama adopting the kid that was killed, I think politics is the answer...........
stand-your-ground appears to make the hoodie crowd and it's enablers a bit uncomfortable.
stand-your-ground appears to make the hoodie crowd and it's enablers a bit uncomfortable.
Politics or fear?
I believe more fear than politics.
I believe they are trying to calm a situation that was becoming worse due to the efforts of Jackson and Sharpton.
Who IMO should have been arrested for instigating and inciting an emotional mob.
Sharpton has already been an accomplice in the murder of at least one man due to his incitements. Why are these people allowed to go on instigating violence unimpaired?
There is another alternative, the correct alternative.
There must be a trial.
Zimmerman can not be proven innocent without a formal trial
In our system, there is no way a person can be proven innocent.
He can be declared not guilty, which means the jury (or judge) decides that the state has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
But that is very different from being proven innocent.
Possibly we should allow for a verdict of “innocent,” in addition to not quilty, which is about the same as “not proven.”
A trial is no guarantee of justice for Zimmerman, ie Simpson, and the trial of the rapist/murderer of Anne Pressly and rapist of Kristin Edwards-
in which the black jurors forced a mistrial.
“There must be a trial. Zimmerman can not be proven innocent without a formal trial.”
That statement bothers me. No insult intended, but in or system “innocence is presumed” one doesn’t have to “prove” innocence, the prosecution has to prove “guilt.” Charges are only supposed to be brought upon “probably cause” that a crime has occured. The “probably cause” presented does not rise to the standard that any reasonably person would say has the “elements” required by law to get a conviction. For instance, “depraved mind?” The whole thing is madness being driven by a mob mentality.
At worst, I think Mr. Zimmerman showed poor judgment in leaving his vehicle to follow Martin. However, even if Mr. Zimmernan’s actions intimidated Martin, it does not give him the excuse to attack Zimmerman forcing him to use deadly force. Martin should have contacted the Police himself and reported he was being stalked, were that to have been the case. At least Mr. Zimmerman was in contact with authoriities and FULLY cooperated with them during their investigation. Based upon what evidence made available to us, Mr. Zimmerman was attacked (blind sided) when he attempted to disengage from Martin.
Prison is the safest place for Zimmerman right now...hopefully Solitary confinement for his safety. He will have plenty of money from lawsuits down the road to make up for this lost time.
Add Farrakhan to the list, on account of putting a bounty on Zimmerman.
If ANYBODY else pulled what these characters have done and are doing, they would be brought up on charges so fast it would make their heads spin.
There’s a lot of politics at play here, and its a damn shame. This case has gotten more attention than it deserves, and these half-assed “awareness” campaigns from militants aren’t helping matters. I’m not against a trial ... but lets call off the lynch mob.
I think the facts are questionable enough that a jury should hear them. Maybe Zimmerman was in the right, maybe it wasn’t. Let the State try to prove the case, if they can, and let the jury decide.
That’s the way the system is supposed to work in questionable self-defense shootings. Even in States that have favorable self-defense laws, prosecution is always a risk when you choose to use deadly force — just because you think its self defense doesn’t mean a cop, prosecutor or jury will agree. And, ultimately, they decide whether its justified.
Don’t pull the trigger unless you’re prepared to be second-guessed.
In newspeak justice equal a cross between revenge and repartions.
repartions = reparations
Hah, now that is some genius Goebbels propaganda there. Mark Levin, Andy McCarthy, Alan Dershowitz, and other big-time lawyers have absolutely trashed the charges as filed. They just don't come right out and say that she's politically motivated.
POLITICS, pure politics.
It’s 100% about blacks (i.e., race bating leaders) hating whites.
During a surprise attack do you think you will be even thinking about aftermath? The fight or flight response will override all thought.
Its something you ought to think about before you holster the weapon ... not necessarily in-the-moment. I’m prepared to go to prison to protect myself or my family. I’m prepared to pay the legal fees to defend my decision to use deadly force (even if you win, it could cost you $10K+ in legal fees).
If you’re not prepared to accept the consequences of shooting, you shouldn’t be carrying a weapon. If its not worth going to prison over, its probably not self-defense anyway.
At worst, I think Mr. Zimmerman showed poor judgment in leaving his vehicle to follow Martin. . . .
There are so many comments here that I disagree with here, there is no way I can come close to getting to all of them but a couple just scream for attention.
There is no system in the US to prove anybody innocent. Proving innocent is not necessary since there is a presumption of innocence. Unlike the Democratic party, in the world of criminal law the seriousness of the charge has nothing to do with guilt.
Of course the charge of 2nd degree murder came from public pressure or mob hysteria. The funny thing is that the mob is happy because of the over charge of murder. The mob should be angry at the overreach which practically guarantees an acquittal. In a fight between two people it is extremely difficult to make a charge of anything over manslaughter stick. In this case with witnesses stating they saw Zimmerman on the ground screaming for help, even manslaughter is a real stretch.
Did Zimmerman show poor judgment in following a stranger in the community? How silly is that statement. Zimmerman was the captian of the guard so to speak. The development has suffered through 9 burglaries in the last 3 months. Zimmerman caught one of the burglars earlier and held him until the police arrived. Zimmerman was doing his job protecting his neighbors.
Some say that the bad thing was carrying a gun. It sounds to me like it was a good thing he was carrying, he might otherwise be dead.
The expression is true, “it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6”.
It appears that Zimmerman may in deed be a hero instead of a murderer.
I don’t want to see anybody get killed unnecessarily BUT if someone is trying to kill me and I can turn the tables, I will.
While it is true that Martin is dead, Zimmermans life is ruined too.
It is neither politics nor justice.
It is a LYNCHING.
“Zimmerman can not be proven innocent without a formal trial”
That is not the purpose of a trial. Don’t pervert the justice system for political reasons.
In our system one is never "proven innocent"...just ask OJ.
“Did Zimmerman show poor judgment in following a stranger in the community? How silly is that statement. Zimmerman was the captian of the guard so to speak. The development has suffered through 9 burglaries in the last 3 months. Zimmerman caught one of the burglars earlier and held him until the police arrived. Zimmerman was doing his job protecting his neighbors.”
I don’t appreciate you taking a single statement I made, and using it as a diatribe. First, I clearly stated that “innocence” is presumed. It is incumbent upon the prosecution to prove guilt. I fully agreed that Zimmerman is NOT guilty of 2nd Degree Murder or Manslaughter. I stated so clearly.
What I said was “at worst he was guilty of bad judgement.” I stand by that statement. Each state has its own laws regarding “citizens arrest” etc. Mr. Zimmerman should NOT have been following Martin. His duty ended with his call to 911. Making arrests is a law enforcement matter. IF he has a history of doing this, it is going to hurt him in court. It shows a pattern of going beyond a citizen’s mandate to inform law enforcement. In the past I have worked as an armed security guard and armed private investigator (state licensed...and I had to have insurance or be bonded). Even in that capacity, I was taught that I only had “citzen arrest” authority....and it is a shaky thing to detain someone. I was taught to call police. I could only use my weapon in direct defense of myself or a client....but even then I was subject to review to see if my actions were warranted.
A neighborhood watch has NO legal authority or law enforcement authority it is defined as a “watchman” which doesn’t include being armed. IF I was limited when functioning in a state licensed and paid armed capacity....what business was Mr. Zimmerman doing following Martin (I fully agree Martin was suspicious)? Like I said, he should never have followed Martin...he put himself in harm’s way which caused him to require the use of deadly force. (Let me be clear that I don’t think Mr. Zimmerman is guilty of even manslaughter...charges should be dismissed) Mr. Zimmerman showed poor judgement.
However, as I also clearly stated. Martin was terribly wrong to double back and attack Mr. Zimmerman, and in that circumstance Mr. Zimmerman exercised justifyable homocide.
I knew that Mr. Zimmerman had done a good job “watching” over his neighborhood in the past. However, I find in alarming that he “detained” someone. How was this done...at gunpoint...in handcuffs. Those are not within a citizen’s normal authority....except if they had maybe witnessed a “capital” crime. Or, if it was his own home that was burglarized.
Before I wasn’t too concerned for Mr. Zimmerman being acquited...he should be. However, if he has a history of physically detaining suspects, he is going to be painted as a vigilante....which is outside of the law.
Also, remember one thing. The law presumes that human life, even that of a burglar, is worth more than mere property. Thus, the castle doctrine only protects an occupant in a dwelling if they use deadly force against an unlawful intruder. The law assumes that the occupant is reasonable to assume fear of their life, and deadly force is authorized.
However, if I drive home and find that a car is in my front drive being loaded with material stolen from my home, and I use deadly force to prevent the thief, then I will be prosecuted. The correct response is to retreat and call police. We had some idiot in my home state chase the theifs in a car, shooting at them on the open road. They were rightly prosecuted. We also had a case were a man was repeatedly the victim of theft on his property. He armed himself and hid in his back yard. When the punks came to steal from him, he shot them down. He was also rightly proscecuted.
A “citizen” calls the police, they don’t attempt to function as them unless specifically asked by law enforcement for assistance.
Like I told you, the law assumes human life is more important than property. Only when human life is endangered is deadly force acceptable. The Castle Doctrine or Stand your ground laws do NOT change that basic fact of law. They just provide protection for a victim that is forced to take a life to defend their own.
Why? What's the point? People who believe the Martins, aka. "sweet, sweet people," just get angry with me when I do.
Despite the lack of clear facts, minds are already made up against George Zimmerman. And it's distressing to see the lines so clearly racial.
That assumes quite a lot that is not in evidence. If he "held" alleged criminals before, it has never been alleged he held them illegally. There would have been charges filed then, and I've never heard of any kidnapping charges being filed against Zimmerman.
This is a political beat-down of everyone in America who isn't Obama's favorite flavor of black.
When a YBM attacks you, you see, your part in the revised "social contract" is to lie there and bleed while he goes through your pockets ("reparations") and turns your face into custard ("social justice"). Then, at his sole option, you either lie there and bleed for a while, or else he caps you and you take a trip to the morgue after the guy with the chalk shows up ("social change").
That's what they're selling, anyway.
Not the way I heard it. The old "hue and cry" doctrine allows any citizen to detain and arrest. Otherwise -- why pursue? Chase but not catch, when "seconds count and the police are minutes away"? Why bother to complain in the first place?
You must be a defense attorney: "Everybody walks."
I rarely carry my weapon. I'm a big dude so most people steer clear of me anyway. The only time my "babies" leave the house is to kill paper targets.
Zimmerman can not be proven innocent without a formal trial
Nor, in all probability, can he be proven innocent with a formal trial.It will be he said, she said - and thats not good enough to prove culpability beyond a reasonable doubt, so Zimmerman cant - on the basis of facts as published - be convicted. But that will do nothing to convince the unconvincible, whose name by this time is legion, for they are many. There is no videotape of the start of their physical interaction, and thats probably nearly always the case since the perpetrator would be dumb as a brick to do something to put himself in jail knowing his action was being recorded.
I dont expect any better behavior of Sharpton and Jackson, and even if you sue them you probably cant recover much of anything (if the history of Sharpton re: the Brawley case is any guide). But Zimmerman has an open-and-shut libel case against NBC because they aired a maliciously edited version of Zimmermans call to the police which - had it been representative of Zimmermans actual intent - would convict him of a hate crime. Zimmerman should sue - not just NBC, but all of objective journalism. He should sue the Associated Press and every member of the AP individually. He should name the NBPP, Sharpton, and Jackson for their role as the muscle in a racketeering operation, and the suit should be a RICO suit for triple damages. And while youre at it, sue the FCC for not lifting NBCs broadcast licenses. I wouldnt expect recovery from the NBPP, but journalisms relationship with it should be a huge embarrassment to journalism.And dont worry about the First Amendment, if libel laws pass First Amendment muster, the rest of what I have said does as well. In any event, the APs reason for existence is to economize on the use of bandwidth in the transmission of the news. In the context of dark fiber today, bandwidth scarcity is nonexistent and the AP, far from being too big to fail, has become an anachronism.
“Not the way I heard it. The old “hue and cry” doctrine allows any citizen to detain and arrest. Otherwise — why pursue? Chase but not catch, when “seconds count and the police are minutes away”? Why bother to complain in the first place?”
No I’m not an attorney. Years ago, over 7, I used to be both a state licensed Armed Guard and Armed Private Investigator in the State of Oklahoma. Those were what the state’s Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training mandated coures required taught on “Citizen’s Arrest.” It is a (was?) a very limited ability then. Even licensed and in a duty status, I was still just a citizen with only “citizens” arrest authority. At that time, I was also taught that each State has its own law regarding this. Some states don’t allow for a “citizen’s arrest.” I don’t know what the law is in Florida. Whatever, there are no federal laws on this, just state ones (as I was educated by the state CLEET).
Someone needs to look up Florida law on citizen’s arrest and to what extent can you carry it out. Some state’s may allow pursuit, but I’m certain you cannot endanger others to do so.
Also, I’m NOT for people “walking.” However, the law traditionally does place a higher value on life than property. In most states, defending property does allow you to use deadly force, because like I said, the law sees life, even a criminal’s, as more important than property.
I agree with the basic premise. I would not take a life to protect my property from thieft, only to protect my life or those I am responsible for, like my wife and son. Depending on your state, going beyond immediate family “may” be a violation of the law.
For instance, when I left Okla. in 2005, those persons with a concealed carry permit could only use the weapon to defend themselves, their immediate family, and (strangly enough) their employer. So, as the law used to be (I don’t know if it still is) if you had a self defense permit (concealed carry) and was to witness an armed robbery, you were NOT allowed to shoot at the robbers unless it was you being robbed (armed robbery), you could not use the weapon to help a cashier, etc. Only IF your life was clearly in danger could you react. IF an investigation revealed that you witnessed an armed robbery taking place inside a store, and you purposely entered so that you would be in threat, and then used your weapon in “self defense.” You could be charged, because you did not properly follow the rules of engagement for a “self defense” (concealed carry) permit. You could be prosecuted for going beyond what the permit allowed. Depending on the prosecutor, you could/might be charged and tried.
It was repeatedly stressed in the required classes that were required before you got a SD permit that you ARE NOT law enforcement.
In my reading today, I discovered that Mr. Zimmerman was repeatedly told by the police, prior to the incident, that he was NOT to act as law enforcement while conducting a “neighborhood watch”, but simply as a “watcher.”
I personnally think charges against Mr. Zimmerman should be dropped. However, how I feel in irrelevant. I also feel that the special prosecutor, for political reasons, pushed forward a charge of 2nd Degree murder wrongly.
However, I am concerned that Mr. Zimmerman’s obsession with protecting his neighborhood has gotten him in deep trouble. If nothing more, I am certain he is emotionally devastated he had to shoot Martin in self defense.
I hope, I used to be convinced, that he will be acquited. However, I’m starting to doubt that. His previous actions of detaining a burglar, etc. will be used to show him as vigilante (I don’t think him one..but they will try to convince a jury). Plus, as I told you all, he was repeatedly told about the limitations of being a “neighborhood watch” person...the only one in his neighborhood. His pushed the envelope one too many times and got burned.
It may not be emotionally satisfying to realize that we as mere citizens are very limited in what we can do, but it is a reality of the law...at least in some states.
“Zimmerman can not be proven innocent without a formal trial”
Actually, an acquital is NOT proof of innocence, that is already assumed, it is failure of the prosecution to convince all twelve jurors that, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Zimmerman was guilty.
IOW, stand by and watch with cold eyes as the cashier is gunned down and his cash drawer cleaned out, and then watch some more as the perp(s) give the cashier two more in the head for good measure.
Outstanding witnessing. Pillar of manhood and the community's bulwark.
we as mere citizens are very limited in what we can do
Lick hand, wag tail. Sit up and beg. Yeah, I get it.
And just who is putting this crap out? In which country? Thought maybe I'd got lost and stumbled into Lower Slobbovia, or maybe Elbonia. "Here, take my firstborn as a yard ornament."
“IOW, stand by and watch with cold eyes as the cashier is gunned down and his cash drawer cleaned out, and then watch some more as the perp(s) give the cashier two more in the head for good measure.”
Don’t kill the messenger. I’m just telling what the law allowed or didn’t allow. When they developed OK’s “Self Defense Law” it was for the purpose of “self” defense, not to be a law enforcement official or to protect others. IF one choses to go beyond what the law allows, you put yourself at the risk of prosecution by the city or state. IF you have a liberal Dem as DA, then you will get charged. There are still multitudes out there that want to disarm us. I say don’t give them an excuse....look at what is happening in Mr. Zimmerman’s case.
I’m NOT saying it is right to have to stand by and watch someone else killed while you are powerless, but that is the law in regards to a “self defense” permit.
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