A jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty of the second-degree murder and manslaughter 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The result is not surprising. The state had little evidence to support a manslaughter conviction and nothing to support a second-degree murder conviction. The only direct evidence the jury had to go on was Zimmerman’s, and while it is self-serving, the state could not come up with anything to specifically contradict it beyond a reasonable doubt.
I would love to blame this all on racism, but I think the problem lies with the prosecutors. They simply did not put on a strong case. They failed to address several problems with Zimmerman’s story, from the placement of the gun on Zimmerman’s hip to Zimmerman putting his gun away despite claiming he did not know whether Martin was shot, let alone alive or dead. Some points they addressed in their closing, yet quite often they allowed those points to hang in the air, perhaps hoping the jury would connect the dots for them. Continue reading →
In a surprising move, special prosecutor Angela Corey charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder. Zimmerman turned himself in last night, and now sits in jail awaiting a hearing to decide whether the “Stand Your Ground” law applies in his case.
“It seems like an enormous swing to be able go from not feeling you have enough evidence to arrest him, to charging him with essentially as high as you can charge him in second-degree murder,” Richard Hornsby, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando, Fla., told msnbc.com. “Second-degree murder requires him to have engaged in an intentional act with ill will, hatred or spite. It means he basically went and was looking to shoot Trayvon Martin.”
It does seem like an extreme charge given the information that has been released to the public. However, we do not know what evidence the prosecutor has. The evidence may point to a higher charge. Also, the second-degree charge does not require premeditation. All it requires is that Zimmerman acted in a way “demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.” The prosecutor may be able to demonstrate that, however, there is a problem. Continue reading →