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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It will be astonishing if George Zimmerman is convicted of second-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Not that Zimmerman was right to the pull the trigger, but that particular charge will be extremely difficult to prove. Why Special Prosecutor Angela Corey didn’t file for manslaughter instead has lots of smart lawyers scratching their heads.

Perhaps it’s a strategic move aimed at nudging Zimmerman toward a plea bargain, but in the meantime her decision only serves to raise expectations among the many — outraged and grieving — who’d been calling for Zimmerman’s arrest.

True, the lethal confrontation between the neighborhood crime-watch patroller and the Miami Gardens teen would never have occurred if Zimmerman hadn’t been tailing Martin through that gated townhouse community in Sanford.

There’s no law against walking at night while black, or running at night while black.

Or wearing a hoodie at night while black.

But Zimmerman was sure the kid was up to “no good,” and he made a 911 call that stands as a tragic foreshadowing of what was to come.

“These a——- always get away,” he said at one point, an edge of exasperation in his tone.

He ignored the police operator’s advice to stop following Martin, and on the tape he can clearly be heard hastening his pursuit. It turned out that the teen was merely returning to the home of his father’s girlfriend after a trip to a nearby store.

To win a conviction for second-degree murder, however, prosecutors must convince a six-member jury that Zimmerman acted in a manner that was “evincing a depraved mind.”

Suspicion, unfounded or not, isn’t inherently malicious. Nor is reckless judgment a sure sign of mental depravity.

  • Certainly a murder conviction should be hard to prove in any case. The burden of proof is upon the prosecution. The country is certainly divided over the issue of who is to blame for the tragedy. Lots of stuff about old pictures, wet shirts, bloody noses and alike. I look upon this incident as entirely preventable. If Zimmerman is convicted of 2nd degree murder or manslaughter it will be because of the actions he took. He was instructed by lawful authority to back off and to not futhur follow the young man. He did not follow a very simple directive and everything that occured after that point is his full responsibility. I’m a great believer in personal responsibility. If he had done as requested nothing would have happen. Zimmerman would not be on trial for murder, a young man would still be with his family and the rest of us would be engaged with other matters. Zimmerman is certainly guilty of hubris and poor judgement. I will not be suprised if he convicted of manslaughter, or if a plea bargain is reached before too long. All in all a terrible tragedy that never should have happened, and an open wound that will be slow to heal anytime soon.

    • Yappy2

      The dispatcher told him they didn’t need him to follow Trayvon anymore and he said OK. How can it be his fault if Trayvon decided to double back and attack him from behind. If Trayvon would have just went to his father’s, girlfriend’s house then he would be alive today. How do we know that Trayvon didn’t hit him in the back of the head with the can of tea, or in the nose to break his nose. It might not be against the law to walk alone at night wearing a hoodie, no matter what race you are, but I do find it suspicious to be walking around a neighborhood at night and in the rain. It is also not a crime to try and find out who this stranger is, especially since you are the appointed neighborhood watch person, and you have had numerous crimes happen in your neighborhood. That doesn’t make him a vigilante. It is a person trying to protect old ladies like me and others.

  • If Zimmerman was black and Martin was white, who was half-masked, would there be such a stink and call for public lynching of Zimmerman, who may have defended himself and shot in self-defense?

    The author of this article had forgotten that a person is NOT guilty unless proven guilty. more we learn about this case, more it seams that a Hispanic man may have unintentionally shot an innocent man, but is NOT a murderer, as llynch mobs had tried to depict him, including the author of this article.

    How many real murders of all colors were done in the meantime, which nobody bothers to write about?

    • EdC

      Let’s see profiling a person standing on two legs wearing protective clothing as someone who is up to no good, by an untrained wannabe cop, self proclaimed security guard, fooowing that person after being told to back off, and then by the phone call with Trayvon ‘s girl friend, sneaking up on Trayvon. Zimmerman by his own admission is guilty. And in your example if Z was black And T was white the cops would have shot him on the spot. Since either one of them was a person of color, it was a hallalja moment. Cause someone killed a person of color according to the white cops. Zimmerman by just carring a gun, in the hopes he could use it, planned to kill someone, doubt however if he would drawn down on a white, cause again the cops would have killed him on the spot. Yeah there are a lot of murders since, but not ones that claim selfdefence when there is nowarrent for it. Now it’s up to Zim to act like a man, confess his murder and be sent to jail to get killed by some inmate that shouldn’t have been there, but is and has nothing to loose, or get free somehow to get killed by someone who will enact justice because the prejudiced provayer of the law won’t, and then start a race war with people who like to kill people of color.

      • Yappy2

        Your descrition is so sick. I as a 70 year old white woman was mugged by two young black men in front of my condo. I didn’t get a gun. I got a dog but I don’t have my dog attack black all black people. I think he would protect me if anyone accosted me again. My brother got stabbed by two young black men at a job at a convenience store. A second job he took to help support his family after losing his job of 17 years. Niether one of us hated all black people and got along with fellow black employees at work and away from work. My brother is deceased, but I am now seeing through the blogs how many blacks hate me just because I am white.

  • Zimmerman will be a free man because a second degree murder conviction will not prevail. Prosecutors and the system used such conviction to protect Zimmerman……….It does not take a Rocket scientist to figure this one out. Mayhem in the making…:(

  • To quote Bob Seger, “call me a radical, call me what you will.” I know it would be even harder to convict him of premeditated 1st degree murder, but that’s what should really happen and he be given the death penalty.
    On the 911 tape he said, “f****** coon” which showed he hated blacks, and Trayvon had on a hoodie, which gave Zimmerman the thoughts of stereotyping him as a black boy looking for trouble. He even said that. Then he disobeyed the police and chased him down and shot him. To me he had it in his mind when he was told not to follow him, that he was going to shot him a black boy and it became premeditated.

    • holyreality

      Conjecture of what is in a defendant’s mind is no way to convict. A wannabe who bit off more than he could chew, and then used deadly force for self defense is what we have at best.

      Murder is a stretch, and manslaughter is the best bet.

      Stonwalling behind a murder charge will gain some brownie points, but a loss in trial will spell doom for the DA’s future job prospects.

  • Remember, Zimmerman is supposed to be considered as innocent until proven guilty. But the press has already “convicted” him. With no direct witnesses, the burden of proof is hard to determine. Best thing to do is change to crime to manslaughter and them work out some kind of plea bargain. That’s if Zimmerman will agree to this. In any case, he will have a problem finding a job now.

    • frivolous01

      ‘Zimmerman is supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty’; this is not the exact wording but rather the common law intent; in other words he is supposed to be given due process of law and if guilt is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt then he must be aquitted by the judge/jury.

      That doesn’t mean that everyone in the world has a legal obligation to treat him as if he is innocent. The press cannot ‘convict’ him, he can only be convicted in a court of law. On the other hand, the press does have a right to discuss their feelings and opinions of Mr. Zimmerman’s actions; that is called freedom of speech.

  • AllFreedomsFirst

    The state’s investigator said under oath in the bond hearing that there are no inconsistencies with Zimmerman’s statement. Zimmerman was charged due to public pressure, not the facts. If the case isn’t dismissed prior to trial, it will be due to public pressure, not the facts. Both would be an abuse and a failure of the justice system. If there’s a conviction, a successful appeal is almost certain.

    Now, three networks have admitted falsifying the facts and information merely to “stir the pot” and increase circulation and tension in the case. The media is just as much to blame for false facts and reporting here as any action taken by anyone involved in the case.

    All the wrongs beginning with the night of the shooting, do not make anything right. There is no making up for lost ground by doing more wrongs or abusing the justice system. Part of this country has become a lynch mob over these abuses. Another part has become polarized in the other direction. Finally, very few of us have kept an open mind about what happened and what should happen.

    All that’s left is a mess for a Florida Judge to deal with and no way out of it that won’t cause problems for everyone.

  • VireTo

    Well written column. Carl is not rushing to a guilty verdict, he just presents the known facts in a clear and rational matter. Racism is a strong factor in public perceptions, and Carl is right in pointing it out. And that a black, unarmed teenager was killed by an eager vigilante that acted irresponsibly is also a fact. One would hope the court proceedings would come out to as clear a picture, but leave it to the lawyers to muddle the facts beyond recognition.

    • Yappy2

      How do you know that George Zimmerman was an eagar vigilante? Just because he had a gun,a gun that he had a legal permit to carry? Racism is a strong factor in everything. By reading numerous blogs about this happening, I know that most blacks hate most whites. Whites that they don’t even know and have never done anything to them. The language used against white people, just because of the color of their skin. They are never going to acknowledge how far they have been able to advance in this country. No one in this day and age ownes a slave. There are all kinds of predjuces in this world other than than racism that holds a person back.One other thing that needs to be addressed is in this article and things said on blogs that Trayvon Martin does not have a criminal record. How would we know that? He was a juvenile and his crimnal records, if he had any, would be sealed. He did however have some suspentions from school. If you are willing to believe that maybe Trayvon Martin met his maker by his own hands, then maybe you might be willing to see that the lawyers can get the true story out. I doubt it thou as the media has already convicted George Zimmerman before the trial. They don’t want to know the truth.

  • nursecrd

    The media are not happy about the case being sealed because there is a reasonable chance they will end up looking like the jackasses they are. They have already tried and convicted Zimmerman on data that is partial or even worse wrong. So now they have by their own hand painted themselves into a corner and they are screaming bloody murder.

    My attitude is tough bananas!!!!. The press is willing to lynch someone without all the facts yet they have convienently forgotten that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is the law of the land. But then again, the MSM has it’s own Sharia law and likes to think that it is above the laws of this country.

  • 1olderbutwiser1

    Let’s be honest here. Any thoughts of racism aside, if someone hits you from the back in the dark, and proceeds to pound your head into the pavement, and you have a gun….yes, if you are a man, you will shoot the aggressor. If you are less tha a man, you will let them beat you to death, simply because you are less than a man. The male of the species is the male of the species. Adrenaline takes over and coupled with testosterone, results in you surviving. Survival is king, that is the reality of life itself. It’s too bad . I was mugged a few months ago, a passerby fired a warning shot in the air……I am sure he saved my life.I was mugged by four black, obviously militant youths. They had no reason on this earth to attack me, other than to rob me while theyt kept screaming “white hunky bastard” while beating me. I am 64 years old. I now carry a gun. Should it happen again, there will be four dead worthless bums, that’s the way it is. I am a man.

    • AllFreedomsFirst

      With the number of women now shooting and carrying guns, the same goes for them too.

      By the way, that picture of Zimmerman’s head that ABC News released is all that will be required under Florida Law to dismiss this case in a pretrial motion under the circumstances. If the Judge fails to do so, on an appeal, it will just mean that much more money for Zimmerman as damages in his future case against the county, the state and the three networks that fabricated facts and stories.

    • I’m 60, and have been convicted of murder myself in the past, but I’m nowhere near the blathering old fool you are. “Man/less than man”–what kind of adolescent snot is that? And these four black youths who allegedly mugged you–how did you divine that they’re “obviously militant”?

      At the risk of falling prey to your habit of stereotyping, you sound like just another George Zimmerman to me.

    • Jim_n_Panama

      Whew, I’m glad I don’t live anywhere near you. Angry, ignorant and weird. You may be older…. but wiser? Nah.

  • From the first second I heard the charge was 2nd-degree murder, I immediately thought the reason they filled 2nd degree rather than manslaughter, is because the prosecutor knows they will not get a conviction on that charge. I do not believe the prosecutor ever wanted to file charges, so by filing a charge that cannot be prosecuted, the police, DA, and courts can claim they did their jobs and if anyone wants to blame anyone for Zimmerman walking free, they will say it was the jury, not them!

  • I disagree with the author. Zimmerman will easily be convicted of 2nd degree murder.

  • Liberal 1

    The key to this case really lies in the 911 call from Zimmerman who admitted he was following the kid and insinuated the kid was black and up to no good. He was specifically told by the police to stand down and stop following the kid, but he did not. What happened after that point in terms of who hit who first, whether the use of the gun was justified, etc., is all irrelevant, because nothing would have happened in the first place had Zimmerman stopped following the kid as he was told. This is the reason behind the 2nd degree murder charge, which still allows a jury to convict on the lesser charge of manslaughter if that is what they decide.

    • Yappy2

      When the dispatcher ask Zimmerman if he was following the person, hes said yes he was, the dispatcher said we don’t need you to do that, and he said OK. First of all it wasn’t aan order and even if it was, how is saying Ok disobeying an order.

  • AllFreedomsFirst

    The problem with the 911 call is that none of us has probably heard the real authentic version. Three networks have admitted to altering and editing it so far.

    It doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is what happened after the call. The only one with a story to tell about that is Zimmerman. The State’s investigator said there is no conflicting story to Zimmerman’s. Following someone to see what they are doing is not a crime or an element of a crime. Telling him not to follow the suspect is something said by a police dispatcher. Not a policeman.

    The facts are that there simply is not a triable case under the facts that will be and have been presented by the State. A Special Prosecutor issued the case due to public pressure. No one else wanted to touch it and everyone else dropped their roles and turned away from it. That way the Special Prosecutor will take all the heat and blame now and no one else’s political career will suffer.

  • joyscarbo

    Check out the news coming from Jacksonville, Florida…. A battered woman who had an injunction against her abusive husband, was attacked 9 days after giving birth by the husband in her home. She raised her legal gun in the air and fired a warning shot for him to leave and he fled. She’s now being held by authorities, charged with aggrevated assault with a deadly weapon. STAND YOUR GROUND LAW didn’t apply to her. If she’s charged and covicted, she’ll face up to 20 years in prison.
    Now what about George Zimmerman???

  • Jon

    Look.. I’m for justice, one way or the other. I have read the haters and the supporters and I refuse to participate in either BUT it seems to me (unless it was a strategy of the ADA) that this is a charge destined to fail.. Had Corey charged Zimmerman with manslaughter I doubt there would have even been a trial. Of course, Martin’s family (as well as the idiots Jackson and that other fool) may have insisted Corey charge 2nd degree but I doubt that’s what prodded her to actually take their advice.. What I sense is her wanting to make a name for herself (win or lose) and an OJ atmosphere throughout with a possible repeat outcome.. Not to ignite a race war but because idiots are controlling the production instead of getting down to true justice.

  • Juries typically convict defendants the vast majority of the time, even when there is essentially no evidence beyond the assertion of guilt by the prosection. Juries aquit most often when they feel greater syphathy for the defendant than than the victim. There are innocent people in prison and guilty people walking the streets due to these tendancies.

  • Skootermarx

    As a liberal in good standing, my biased view is predictable as is the outcome of this trial: two young men have their respective lives destroyed under the banner of justice. Both experience death; both leave our conscience and concerned, backfilled quickly by another needless death. One young man is buried in the ground; one young man is buried by the media, haunted for a lifetime for an avoidable mistake in judgement. Expect to hear the echoed voices of outrage: What a sham! What a farse! The volume may diminish but it doesn’t end there, especially for anyone in proximity; the stone that falls in the pond creates endless ripples. A scent, a tune, a photo, a name heard, a memory recalled — triggers to the souls of those not in the direct path of pain. Nothing and no one Rests in Peace.