In a surprising development, George Zimmerman was charged with Second Degree Murder in Florida today. He is now in custody and a court appearance is likely tomorrow.
The charge by the prosecutor is stunning.
First the prosecutor dismissed the grand jury, which took Murder One off the table. Under Florida law, a charge of Murder One can only be delivered by a grand jury.
Much of the evidence in this case has already been made public. There are stories in the narrative of Trayvon Martin as little innocent victim. Turns out, he was not the twelve year old that was shown in the media photographs. He was a seventeen year old football player who was not only taller than Zimmerman, but almost certainly in much better shape.
Zimmerman apparently told the police that he lost Martin, who later approach him and said something to the effect of, “Do you have a problem?” Moments later, he allegedly said something to the effect of, “you do now,” and hit Zimmerman. Zimmerman claims he was punched and knocked down by Martin. Zimmerman claims that Martin began pounding his head into the ground. All of these claims seem to be supported by physical evidence. Zimmerman had a broken nose and lacerations to the back of his head. The back of his clothing was stained and wet when the police arrived moments after the shooting. A Zimmerman family member said that Zimmerman had told the family that Martin tried to take Zimmerman’s gun away from him.
All of that indicates a justifiable homicide.
The prosecutor has charged him with Second Degree Murder. While Florida’s statute has some archaic language in it, Second Degree Murder is basically the same as First Degree Murder minus the premeditation.
Why Second Degree Murder with a case where the known facts do not support the charge?
There is always the possibility that the prosecutor is sitting on a smoking gun that would convict Zimmerman but if that were the case, he would have been charged the night of the shooting.
At a news conference late this afternoon, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey said, “We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts of any given case, as well as the laws of the state of Florida.”
Pardon me, while I laugh. Public pressure is exactly why this case was brought.
It is also why the charge is Second Degree Murder.
Why? First, I do not believe the prosecutor could have gotten a grand jury to go for Murder One. Even though the prosecutor selects the evidence and the standard of proof in front of the Grand Jury is only probable cause, it would not have happened.
In the criminal justice system, what she did is called “over charging.” Ethical prosecutors are trained not to over charge. You go with the facts because a prosecutor’s duty is to seek justice, not secure a conviction.
By going with the greatest charge she could get, the prosecutor has two advantages. First, she increases the chance that Zimmerman will have a bail set so high he cannot make it. Every prosecutor knows that if you can get a defendant into jail, your chances of getting him or her to plead guilty go up by an order of magnitude.
Second, when the prosecutor makes a plea bargain offer, she will have a greater chance of that offer being accepted. If Zimmerman is looking at a life sentence, a plea to a reduced charge is hard to say no to, particularly if it involves only a little jail time or no jail time at all.
If Zimmerman cannot make bail and her offer involves immediate release, the offer is again hard to decline.
This case should have been presented to a grand jury instead of having a single prosecutor, subject to public pressure, make the decision. George Zimmerman will now have a trial and hopefully the State of Florida can find twelve unbiased jurors.
Based on what is publicly known about the case, it never should have been filed.
Hopefully, justice will be served.
I bet most of the jury is going to be black and that he will get convicted to stop rioting - this is a cynical point of view but this man CANNOT get a fair trial - the progressive media has done its job for the higher ups who are destroying this country..
Our nation is close to a Syria nation! We are going to be like Egypt and the others we helped take down their leaders. Obama and Van Jones along with moveon and SEIU are preparing for the "peaceful" takeover and the sad thing our leadership is with them and allowing them to destroy police, military or anyone that steps in their way. Obama has infilitrated the FBI, ATF, and Secret Service. Many can get Top Secret clearance in days and they don't even know what security is. I have to ask "How will America handle the riots that are beginning in the U.S.?" Syria and the others tried to handle it through military and police and didn't work. We point to the leadership and behead them. Look who is behind the riots! The Muslim Brotherhood reach out to make the poor think they are for them and use the "bottom up" and then turn around and make the country more dangerous and destructive. We in America must wake up fast!!!!