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Zimmerman Prosecution Predictably Collapsing

June 30th, 2013 - 10:13 am

The state of Florida’s politically driven decision to charge George Zimmerman with murder has resulted, as some of us predicted it would, in a pathetically weak case. It has taken only a few days of trial to collapse of its own weightlessness – undone, in fact, by the direct testimony of a prosecution witness, as Bryan Preston relates at the Tatler and Ed Morrissey details at Hot Air.

Over a year ago, I explained why this would happen:

When Trayvon Martin was first shot to death nearly two months ago [on February 26, 2012], state authorities sensibly opted not to charge George Zimmerman with murder. It wasn’t that they were looking to excuse wrongdoing. It was that the evidence was insufficient to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Plainly, there was a lack of criminal intent: There was obviously no premeditation; and, alternatively, the facts do not remotely suggest that Zimmerman acted with a “depraved mind regardless of human life” (e.g., the savage indifference of a man who fires into a crowd, heedless of the consequences). To the contrary, the known facts indicate (a) Zimmerman’s concern that Martin was acting suspiciously (the depraved do not call the police, as Zimmerman did, before shooting), and (b) a struggle in which Zimmerman may well have been severely beaten and, in any event, would have a strong basis to persuade a jury that he shot in self-defense.

In advancing that argument, Zimmerman would be aided by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives the law-abiding latitude to use guns for protection….

The “Stand Your Ground” point was gravy as far as the baseless murder charge was concerned. If a prosecutor cannot prove the statutorily required intent element (mens rea) for murder, then the accused’s conduct cannot amount to murder, period. The accused only needs to rely on a legal defense of his conduct (such as self-defense) if the prosecution’s proof is sufficient to establish the offense (here, murder) in the first place. But “Stand Your Ground” would have been very relevant had Zimmerman been formally accused of an offense less serious than murder. Regarding that, as I observed when Zimmerman was initially charged:

Florida law makes causing the death of a person under the age of 18 manslaughter, provided there has been “culpable negligence.” It also criminalizes as manslaughter the “unnecessary killing” of a person in order to resist or prevent that person’s violation of law (e.g., the use of lethal force to repel a clearly non-lethal threat). Neither of these charges would [be] a slam-dunk; indeed, they’d be losers if Zimmerman shot because he was justifiably in fear of his life.

Despite the palpable lack of evidence that Zimmerman had the required intent to commit murder, the state bowed to pressure from the racial grievance industry (led by Huckster-in-Chief Al Sharpton), shamefully aided and abetted by the most politicized, race-obsessed Justice Department in American history. Lest we forget, it was Attorney General Eric Holder’s collaboration with Sharpton and threat to trump up a federal civil rights prosecution that induced state officials in Florida to reconsider the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman.

It’s easy for a corrupt process to produce criminal charges. It is quite something else to prove them. To try to fill the gaping intent hole in its case, the Zimmerman prosecution has transferred the hobgoblin of racism from the headlines into the courtroom. Indeed, it did not even wait for the trial to do that; the prosecutor injected racism directly into the charging documents.

As I noted at the time, the affidavit in “support” of the murder charge employed the explosive term “profiling” to describe Zimmerman’s suspicion of Martin. That word has no place in a charging instrument: It was transparent code to imply, in the absence of any evidence, that Zimmerman is a bigot who assumed Martin was up to no good just because he was black.

“Profiling” is an ambiguous term. Generally speaking, it is a perfectly appropriate, commonsense practice – a marshaling of various characteristics and behaviors typically found in kinds of criminal conduct. It is routinely used by police to avoid hassling innocent people. Like all sound police practices, it can be abused – a bad cop can invidiously home in on one characteristic (like race, religious belief, political stance) and groundlessly associate it with criminality. The latter is rare, but it is unfortunately what the racial grievance industry, echoed by the media, has conditioned the public to think of when the term “profiling” is used. It is this slanderous connotation of “profiling” that the prosecution wants people (especially juror-people) to associate with Zimmerman. Rather than as a legal term, the charging documents use “profiling” as an atmospheric – since prosecutors had neither the evidence to prove racism nor the courage to be forthright about what they were doing.

It would be bad enough to do this in a case where attitudes about race were pertinent – say, a prosecution for violating someone’s civil rights. But it is even more shameful to do it in a case where attitudes about race are legally irrelevant. However much the media may be fascinated by racial dynamics, racism or the lack of it should have no bearing on a prosecution for what the law calls “depraved indifference” murder (second-degree murder in Florida).

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Top Rated Comments   
The Stand Your Ground law does not come in to play in this case. That law assumes you have the possibility to retreat, and does not require you to do so. Zimmerman had no possibility to retreat, so this is a "standard" self-defense case.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
As the facts, concerning this incident, dribbled out, it became increasingly clear, that this was an act of self defense on the part of Zimmerman. That said, never underestimate the possibility that a jury will incorrectly find him guilty. That a professional prosecuter worked to bring charges against Mr. Zimmerman, is disgraceful to her, and the State of Florida.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very nice explanation of the legalities but none of it matters. We have a prosecutor performing a "great service," for which the Democrats will provide a reward. We have a judge acting on the knowlege that some Democrat will put her on a higher court for making sure the trial goes the "right way." We have a jury terrified, literally if they're not afraid for their lives they should be, should they return anything other than a guilty verdict. We'll see how much courage they have and I'm betting on not much. Even if the jury hangs the names and addresses of those willing to acquit will be tweeted and posted on Facebook in minutes and it will be open season on them. Even if they do acquit, Holder will bring in the USDOJ and there's no lynching like a federal lynching. This is the state of modern America anywhere there are large numbers of blacks and Democrats are in control.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (78)
All Comments   (78)
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After a lot of the evidence it seem that this was a train wreck waiting to happen. Guilty of murder no. Stupid yes. But that is what train wrecks are: small errors leading to big consequences and the jump in before the fats by politicians.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zimmerman is getting hosed because he shot a colored kid, martin got what he deserved, glad he is dead.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Welcome to Øbama's America. Once acquitted, Zimmerman should file civil charges against the State and several "media" outlets. I hope he gets millions and a permanent visa in New Zealand or somewhere cool.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have we forgotten Rodney King? This will be that on crack!
The media will aim these stories any direction they want to, or just keep silent about them, play it down, but we know that won't happen.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excepting that Florida is heavily armed.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
This article is overly lawyerly. A white guy cannot shoot a black guy and expect to walk away. The white guy is singled-out and targeted by the president of the United States, the US AG, broadcast and cable television networks, metropolitan newspapers -- you name it. They lie, they cheat, they spread disinformation, they poison the jury pool and the witnesses, they threaten violence -- all by design. This is a totally corrupt justice system. The law is irrelevant except as an academic exercise.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zimmerman will be found guilty. Preordained by the DOJ, Florida, the media, liberals, and the parasites who live or survive by playing the race card at any convenient moment. Even if there was video evidence to support Zimmerman, it wouldn't have been allowed because it would have been considered prejudicial to the prosecution's case.

This kangaroo court has been in session and guilt declared at the time of the announcement of Zimmerman's indictment.

Count on it!!!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's just move on with the show trial, get the verdict, and get on with the Summer rioting. Riot Season is August thru October in Florida
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe everyone who has been following this case has made the decision to arm them selves in the event Zimmerman is acquitted.
I believe the riots will happen conviction or acquittal just because the Martin supporters want to riot.
The day of the verdict I'm staying home behind closed doors that will need to be broken down before entering that way I won't be in the same government lynching type scenario Zimmerman is in.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
In case of riot, load those thirty round magazines. That doesn't leave much hope for NYers with those seven rounders, does it.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I believe the riots will happen conviction or acquittal just because the Martin supporters want to riot."

Sadly, that's the truth of it.

But here's another truth that the "Get Wh1tey" crowd,(and not all Martin supporters belong to that crew), never learned from the LA riots:

In a time of general disorder with widespread acts of mayhem, there is no rule written anywhere that says that Caucasians cannot ALSO get them some rioting in.

Do you think that the LA riots were confined to South Central by ACCIDENT?

If you wish to send Cedric a birthday card, you might want to tape it to a brick and throw it into the La Brea tar-pits...his skeleton is likely down there, with his gold teeth and his Crips rag, riding the bones of a wooly mammoth.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's amazing people like you are always calling on Jesus. Why do you need him? You can already forgive yourselves for anything.

Martin wasn't a thug. He was a teenager walking down the street who was stalked and confronted by a would-be vigilante with a gun. He stood his ground and knocked over a larger guy, who, it turns out, was also a wimp for all his kung-fu training and had to resort to lethal force to save himself from a kid. If this weren't a tragedy, it would be a farce since Zimmerman is so typical of the kind of ridiculous marginal characters who infest the American nutty right, i.e. you guys.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Never mind all the evidence, Harrison, just keep mouthing your alternate universe nonsense. Everything I've seen says Martin was a thug, and a wannabe criminal. Zimmerman was no vigilante, just a guy looking out for his neighborhood. Zimmerman had a perfect right, a duty even, to keep an eye on Martin. Martin's assault on Zimmerman was NOT justified by anything Zimmerman did. The only tragedy involved in this situation is that Zimmerman did us all a favor and it might end up ruining his life.

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wasn't a thug? Have you seen recent pictures of him recently? Did you read his postings about drug use, etc.? Did you notice that he was coming home from the store with tea and skittles, but the store clerk testified that he didn't buy anything?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's amazing you people always calling for the presumption of innocence and the rights of the accused.

Zimmerman was just a guy walking down the streets who was attacked by an angry young man, right?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
more to the point ... an angry young punk
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Basically, yes.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not that it matters to one of your perspective, but Martin was actually about a foot taller than Zimmerman.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
You assume the prosecutions point of the charges is to win. I think it's cover, a very expensive, very crude and abusive case of CYA.

The charges are outlandish and dramatic - ethnic rabble-rousers appeased . . . check.

Zimmerman gets released, rational folks are appeased . . . check

Hold press conference saying "over the next few months we will review other possibilities" and never do it. Hopefully hold off riots, but if you don't that's not the prosecutors problem but for the police. Backside sufficiently covered!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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