George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty

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

George Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder

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.

Some legal experts found the second-degree charge overzealous:

“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

Zimmerman’s lawyers quit

In a bizarre move, George Zimmerman’s attorneys, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, held a press conference to announce that they were no longer defending him.

They stated that they had not spoken to Zimmerman since Sunday, and were concerned about his recent behavior:

They said they have not talked to Zimmerman, whose location is not known, in at least two days but in the past had spoken with him over the phone. “We can’t represent him unless he comes forward and asks us,” Uhrig said.

“We have a pretty good idea where he (Zimmerman) is,” Uhrig said, but added that Zimmerman is not answering the phone. The attorneys said they thought Zimmerman was still in the United States, but not likely in Florida.

It gets stranger. Zimmerman apparently attempted to contact the special prosecutor on his own, something no one should ever do. You never talk to the prosecutor or police without your attorney. Even odder, Zimmerman spoke to Fox News and radio show host Sean Hannity. Hannity stated on his radio show that he would not reveal what they spoke about, and Zimmerman also said the same thing to his attorneys. Just to be clear, Zimmerman refused to tell his attorneys what he told Hannity.  Continue reading

George Zimmerman in fear for his life

According to some of George Zimmerman’s friends, Zimmerman is in fear of his safety after receiving death threats:

George Zimmerman, who has claimed he shot Trayvon Martin on February 26 in self-defense, is staying at an undisclosed location after widely circulated death threats and word of a $10,000 bounty to find him, said legal adviser Craig Sonner, who said he would represent Zimmerman if charges are filed.

That is not good. While I, like many people, think that Zimmerman should be arrested and charged given the available evidence, no one should threaten his life, let alone take a bounty out on him (although the bounty is only to bring him in to the police, not to harm him). That is not the way justice should work. That would be doing things the way Zimmerman did.

His friends went on to state:

Friends of Zimmerman, who has not spoken to the media, said he was extremely upset about the shooting.

“I mean, he took a man’s life and he has no idea what to do about it. He’s extremely remorseful about it,” said his friend Joe Oliver.

For a “extremely remorseful” man he is rather quiet. He has not released any public statement expressing remorse. He likely has not contacted Trayvon’s parents. If he wanted to show remorse, he could easily turn himself in or at least hand over the gun used to kill Trayvon to the police. That would at least make it look like he is trying to set things right.

“What makes all these people who are threatening George any better than the person they think he is?” he added. “You’ve got all these people wanting to lynch the man, and they don’t know the whole story.

“There are huge gaps that are being filled in and interpreted without evidence,” he said.

There is a slight difference. Continue reading

Why is George Zimmerman not in jail?

The Justice Department and the FBI finally decided to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The decision came following public outrage over the police allowing George Zimmerman, the shooter, to go free. According MSNBC:

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI announced on Monday that they have opened an investigation into the shooting in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was killed.

“The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

The public outrage might intensify now that the police released the 911 calls. According to the released 911 calls, Zimmerman thought Trayvon looked “suspicious”:

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about,” Zimmerman told dispatchers, adding, “These [assholes]. They always get away.”

The dispatcher, hearing heavy breathing on the phone, asked Zimmerman: “Are you following him?”

“Yeah,” Zimmerman said.

“Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher responded.

But he did. From the other 911 calls, we can sort of hear Trayvon screaming for help and then loud gunshots and then nothing. Continue reading