One Year Anniversary of George Zimmerman's Arrest

One year ago today George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Today, Zimmerman's brother posted a letter to the public from his mother on his Twitter feed. You can read it here.

The 5th District Court of Appeals has ordered the state to file a response to Zimmerman's petition for writ of cert to overturn the trial court judge's refusal to allow the defense to depose Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump. The response is due April 28. It also granted the defense 10 days to file a reply to the state's response.

The case against Zimmerman began with this affidavit for his arrest. As many, including me, said at the time: Affidavit: Fail. [More...]

After a year of discovery, much of which has been made public, I still don't see how the state overcomes Zimmerman's claim of self-defense. Second-degree murder seems even further out of the state's reach.

A reasonable question remains unanswered. Why did Angela Corey bypass the grand jury? As I've opined before, it seems she realized she only had 1/2 a ham sandwich and no mustard.

Mrs. Zimmerman's letter may be heart-felt, but it is unlikely to convince anyone whose mind is already made up to the contrary. The Zimmerman family would better serve George by letting his legal team be the only public spokespersons on his behalf.

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    Why? (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 01:58:57 PM EST
    Corey bypassed the GJ because the state lacks probable cause, and a GJ would not have returned an indictment.  This is a political case, not a criminal case.  It was made a political case by agitators who managed to whip part of the population into a state of anger.

    As for your opinion that the Zimmerman family should not make public statements, is that because you think the court will respond negatively to their remarks (either sua sponte or because the state will attempt to introduce as evidence)?  That their remarks will taint a jury pool?

    I see a possible PR upside to calm presentation of their belief, which is exactly the same one that O'Mara is expressing.  Zimmerman is innocent, the state has no credible evidence to back up its charge, and this prosecution is a travesty.  I believe O'Mara has also remarked on the media's handling of the case, laying blame there, as well.  I see no harm in attempting to correct the errors of the past.  The more people who engage in that activity, the better.

    Why Use a Grand Jury? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:22:50 PM EST
    A reasonable question remains unanswered. Why did Angela Corey bypass the grand jury?

    I think it's a disingenuous question. It implies that using a GJ is the norm, and charging by information an anomaly. The opposite is true, for Corey and for Florida prosecutors generally.

    Charging by information is less work, and less expense to the state. It's the obvious choice. Using a GJ would call for a special reason.

    Corey bypassed the GJ because the state lacks probable cause, and a GJ would not have returned an indictment.

    I don't know if a GJ would have indicted or not. I agree that it might well not have.

    Your claim about causation implies that Corey would have used a GJ if her case had been stronger. Why? What would she have gained by doing so?

    If Corey thought she could convince a GJ to indict for M1, she might have gone that way. Only a GJ can charge a capital crime in Florida. Otherwise, I don't see why a prosecutor would want to use a GJ in this case.

    The whole case is outside of the norm (3.67 / 3) (#7)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:43:51 PM EST
    That said, Wolfinger had scheduled a presentation of evidence to a GJ.  For Corey to take this obviously unusual and special case, and justify bypassing the GJ by treating it as "the normal practice" is absurd.  "This is a special case, so I'll handle it the usual way."

    When a case is a public/political hot potato, the actions of the officials are usually justified or sold to the public as correct, by involving (part of) the public in the decision.  If a grand jury indicts Zimmerman, the decision has more legitimacy.

    Corey's problem was that her orders did not include allowing a possibility of a no bill.  She HAD to bring an indictment, normal procedures and even prosecutorial ethics be damned (it is unethical to bring a case unless you believe you can prove it, beyond a reasonable doubt).

    Well, now Corey doesn't have the cushion of a grand jury to justify the decision to charge Zimmerman.  She made that call, personally.  Her butt is on the line.

    Put yourself in her shoes.  Would you take this one on your own?  Or would you allow a jury of Zimmerman's peers to sign on along with you?


    In A Prosecutor's Shoes (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:12:17 AM EST
    Put yourself in her shoes.  Would you take this one on your own?

    I wouldn't charge M2. If I charged anything it would be manslaughter.

    I wouldn't take up the time of a grand jury, without a better reason than fear of taking responsibility for the decision.

    Personally I would prefer it went to a grand jury, because I think there is a good chance of a No Bill that would spare everyone the trial. But if I were a prosecutor who believed in the case, that's a different story.

    Frankly I doubt Corey believes in the case, but I can't prove she doesn't.


    This is a ridiculous accusation (3.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:06:46 PM EST
    Corey's problem was that her orders did not include allowing a possibility of a no bill.  She HAD to bring an indictment, normal procedures and even prosecutorial ethics be damned (it is unethical to bring a case unless you believe you can prove it, beyond a reasonable doubt).

    You're accusing Corey of filing the charges unethically, without a good-faith basis and under the "orders" of some, unnamed superior (the Governor?) with absolutely zero evidence.


    Well it's a question of probability (3.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Slayersrezo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:25:08 PM EST
    I suppose , despite her controversial past, Corey could just be an incompetent boob.
    But when you have the following three things to consider, I don't think that likely:
    A. The very weak case against George Zimmerman. Look at the charging document - does that amount to Murder 2?
    B. The fact she was appointed by the Governor and TOOK the active case from the hands of another legal personage at a time when there were threats of riots
    C. The fact she canceled a Grand Jury hearing and went with a process where her word, unsubstantiated by any physical evidence whatsoever would be enough to bring charges

    Some of us can put A, B, and C together and come to a logical and probable conclusion even if, as must be admitted it's not 100 percent air tight.

    And then there are those who get their jollies being nothing but professional nay-sayers.


    That is a ridiculous accusation (none / 0) (#30)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:44:51 PM EST
    I'm not accusing Corey of filing the charges unethically with absolutely zero evidence.  She has some evidence, but not enough to make probable cause for the charge.  She has to rely on conjecture and somebody else filling in the blanks.

    Yes, I know you meant that it is I, not Corey, who is charging unethical conduct with absolutely zero evidence against Corey, but that charge fails, counselor.  The state has revealed its evidence.


    The state has, ... (2.33 / 3) (#31)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:51:39 PM EST
    ... you haven't.  Yet you state it as fact, along with the baseless, scurrilous accusation that she brought the charges under "orders".

    Talk about charges "failing".


    Oh please (none / 0) (#35)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:01:54 PM EST
    There is direct correlation between the evidence the state has to support its charge, and whether or not the charge is ethically brought.  It's the same set of evidence.  I've looked at the evidence.  It doesn't support the charge.  I don't think it even contains probable cause, and there is no clear statement of the facts that constitute depraved indifference - the reader is left to fill in the blanks with conjecture.

    You are accusing me of forming my opinion in more or less a vacuum.  Go get cranky on somebody else.  You bore the hell out of me.


    You're the one who's made ... (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:58:26 AM EST
    ... the accusation about the State's Attorney's ethics, which is a serious charge. Far better if you had instead qualified your remarks about Angela Corey as reflective of your own personal opinion, and not presented it as "fact" when you're not backing it up. That's what Yman is objecting to.

    Well that's Yman's 'schtick' for this case (none / 0) (#39)
    by Slayersrezo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:15:30 PM EST
    I suspect he or she is really just using this case as a type of 'devils advocate' practice.

    Short of of a lawyer whose initials are "FL", pretty much everyone who has looked at the actual evidence in this case and has a legal degree seems to be pretty firmly of the opinion that the states legal rationale for bringing this case is weak at the very best.

    Yet here we have Murder 2 and a media circus. Wonderful :(


    To be perfectly picky about it... (none / 0) (#55)
    by unitron on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:56:38 PM EST
    ...the media circus already had all three rings up and running before Corey and Scott bigfooted the case.

    Wolfinger had moved to (none / 0) (#6)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:40:12 PM EST
    impanel a GJ, IIRC on April 10,2012, and the first thing Corey did was cancel it.  We know that in FL you don't have to have a GJ unless it is a 1st degree case.  It was her option to cancel it but I agree with Jeralyn, I doubt seriously that she would have gotten the indictment.

    Ham sandwich, no meat, no condiments!  Just two pieces of bread.  IMO.


    Grand Jury Use, in Florida (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:44:25 PM EST
    The use of a grand jury in capital cases flows from the Florida constitution.  But there have been grand jury indictments in cases other than capital cases.

    From The Florida Bar - Reporter's Handbook (See Chapter 13)

    In addition to capital cases, grand juries often are utilized for controversial cases such as those involving alleged wrongdoing by public officials.

    I would emphasize the words "controversial cases" and point out that the words "such as" precede an example, not an exhaustive list.

    I went looking for some statistics (didn't find any), but this Office of Statewide Prosecution - Statewide Grand Jury Reports has some fascinating entries, most of them off topic here, but WOW.  Anyway, the Final Report of the Fourteenth Statewide Grand Jury, from 1999, says it returned "thirteen (13) indictments charging seventy-eight (78) defendants and five (5) businesses with a total of five hundred and eight (508) crimes."  None of them capital.


    How can the state prove its case . . . (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Mr Mark Martinson on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:42:04 AM EST
    unless there are some GPS/ping log information that places Zimmerman substantially closer to Brandi's house?

    Comments misstating facts (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:07:03 PM EST
    Will be deleted

    Out of place - feel free to delete (none / 0) (#3)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:10:18 PM EST
    This is now out of place, a response to a non-post, so feel free to delete it.  And I hope it is obvious I am replying to somebody other than Jeralyn.


    Clearly, from your question, you don't understand the law.  The law is all about proportionality, and it requires certain beliefs on the part of the shooter, those beliefs also evaluated and agreed by "the jury" or somebody other than the shooter.

    In simple form, in order to be justified in using deadly force, a person has to reasonably believe that he is at risk of serious injury or death.

    Zimmerman says he was reeling from the blows, that at some point he was being smothered, and he also says that Martin saw the gun, and made a move to take it from Zimmerman.  This move was accompanied with a verbal death threat.  That and other evidence is what the decider (judge or jury) uses, in light of the legal standard for justified use of deadly force.


    IANAL (none / 0) (#4)
    by Cylinder on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:17:02 PM EST
    A layperson explanation:

    Use-of-force in self-defense does require a measure of proportionality. If someone at a bar starts physically pushing me, I'm allowed to use just enough force to make them stop. Generally speaking, I could push them back or maybe use a restaint technique. That really doesn't allow me to put a serious beat-down on the person.

    Once an encounter escalates to the point where a reasonable person fears death, great bodily injury or forcible felony the law allows a person to use deadly force. This doesn't require guns against guns or knives against knives. Putting aside forcible felonies for a momemnt, it's the amount of force that's encountered that's the determining factor and what a reasonable person would fear from that amount of force.


    with regards to "proportionality" (none / 0) (#21)
    by CuriousInAz on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:58:32 PM EST
    If allegedly hitting someones head against concrete does not potentially rise to the level of "force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm",  what about repeatedly hitting someone in the head with a sizable chunk of concrete?

    Did I misstate a fact? I thought I just asked (none / 0) (#10)
    by kempis on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:39:35 PM EST
    a question based on my understanding of the events.

    Oh well.

    I do thank those who responded to the question.  And, no I don't know much about the law, which is why I asked what I asked. Nor do I claim to be in possession of all the facts of the case.

    But clearly, this is not the forum for...much of anything other than advocating for a defense.

    Deletedly yours,



    I did something wrong. (none / 0) (#9)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 04:49:36 PM EST
    And I don't know how to fix it. Broken link above.

    I am very sorry.  ((blushes)) Embedding here on the main page gets me every time.  If you need to remove the post, I completely understand.  I even tried the link thing ^ but it highlighted the whole link in blue.

    thanks for posting the link (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:49:09 PM EST
    to Zimmerman's newly filed motion to unseal the civil settlement agreement.

    I deleted your comment with the non-working link.

    Just type your comment, highlight the words you want to go to the link, like MOTION TO UNSEAL INFORMATION LISTED AS CONFIDENTIAL WITHIN A COURT DOCUMENT and click on the link button. A box will come up where you paste the url.

    Preview your comment and you should see: MOTION TO UNSEAL INFORMATION LISTED AS CONFIDENTIAL WITHIN A COURT DOCUMENT. If you see the url instead of words with a hyperlink in blue, you've done something wrong, please try again.


    thanks Deb (none / 0) (#13)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:04:55 PM EST
    I may have missed something, if anyone is more aware of the evidence in this regard, please weigh in:

    GZ went in the have a Voice Test done to determine if it was him yelling for Help, it was determined there was not enough recorded tape to accurately compare, it seemed to me at the time, that it was GZ's voice which is more high pitched

    as I recall Parks or maybe Crump said they would provide a sample of TM's voice, possibly from phone messages

    Question? was a sample provided?

    from the short clip of the 7-11 video TM answers his phone "hello" in a deep voice, not high like the yelling

    shouldn't this Motion To Unseal be accompanied with a Motion To Compel?


    Separate issue and evidence (none / 0) (#15)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:16:26 PM EST
    O'Mara did file a motion (Feb 8, 2013) and did obtain a subpoena (4 March 2013) for Martin voice examplars.  The subpoena was directed to Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton, Jahvaris Fulton, Stephen Martin, and Witness 8. It ordered production of any and all audior recordings of Trayvon Martin's voice captured in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

    thank you cboldt (none / 0) (#19)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:43:41 PM EST
    MOM seems to be moving rather slowwww, really, 2-8-13?

    by the time MOM got around to asking (Nelson: if you are missing something, just ask the Prosecution and they will supply it?) for the Matt Gutman "ABC exclusive" tape interview of Dee Dee and Crump, it is missing/erased except for 5 minutes, which is damaging enough to Crump


    Interesting re grand jury v. (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:12:52 PM EST
    a pretrial probable cause hearing. Sometimes prosecutors are criticized for taking a case to the grand jury. Not transparent, no opportunity for defendant to be present, confront, cross examine, present a defense.

    Indictment vs. Information (none / 0) (#16)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:19:13 PM EST
    Defendant may be called before a grand jury, but isn't necessarily called.  I don't thing Corey's process was transparent either, so there is no inherent advantage to being put in the dock on an information, compared with being put in the dock on an indictment.

    The probable cause hearing before a judge occurs in either instance.  Best I can tell, this step is a rubber stamp, and affords ZERO procedural protection.  It's transparent, but useless.


    Someone please correct me if i am wrong (none / 0) (#17)
    by leftwig on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:34:34 PM EST
    But at the probable cause hearing, the prosecution doesn't need to put on any actual evidence and what they present in the motion is taken at face value by the judge to contain the truth. In front of a grand jury, the prosecution has to present actual evidence.  

    Best example to relate my understanding is, at the probable cause hearing, the prosecution just gets to write their synopsis of what W8 heard and put it in the best possible light with no opportunity for the defense to rebut.  In front of the grand jury, W8 would have had to actually take the stand to get that evidence heard and the defense could cross examine.


    I have never practiced criminal law in FL. (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:36:13 PM EST
    The prosecutor has an ethical duty (none / 0) (#22)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:07:43 PM EST
    Whether by information or indictment, the prosecution is bound to confine its allegations to contentions it believes it can prove at trial.

    So, with that assumption, the probable cause inquiry is merely to make sure that the allegations (assumed true) correspond with all of the elements that make the crime.  The issue in this case, in my mind, is "where is the allegation that makes depraved mind?"

    Florida has two type of probable cause hearing, one where the defendant can cross examine witnesses.  The counterbalance to easily finding probable cause is that it denial of bond requires something resembling proof certain.

    Back in the grand jury room, "The accused is not given the opportunity to present evidence in his defense or cross-examine witnesses at the grand jury phase."


    Thanks for the lesson. (none / 0) (#48)
    by leftwig on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:43:28 AM EST
    Still seems that a GJ puts a bit more scrutiny on the process since the jury gets to hear the actual evidence and not a synopsis of statements assumed to be true.

    So isn't there some aspect of the PC hearing that the prosecution is supposed to present known evidence that might harm their case?  For example, should they have not included some of John's testimony about what he witnessed or information about injuries sustained by both parties?


    Mostly acccording to Hoyle (none / 0) (#49)
    by cboldt on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    The prosecution has no obligation to show the court the elements of an affirmative (legal) defense, in this case self defense.  Dershowitz is flat out wrong that Corey violated some rule by excluding evidence of self defense from the affidavit in support of probable cause.

    That said, the assumption is that the prosecution considered the evidence of self defense as part of a decision to charge.  The prosecutions know that if it is more likely than not that the case is self defense, the person using self-defense has statutory immunity.  The police know this too, and didn't arrest, for want of probable cause.

    The difference in evidence, between SPD and SAO, is Witness 8 and the phone call; and Sybrina asserting that Martin's voice is the one heard screaming on the 911 call recording.  Objectively, these points of evidence don't counterbalance the opposing view.  On the voice, there is competing claims, so that point of evidence is a wash.  As to Witness 8, she delayed reporting, she wasn't an eyewitness, and she's a friend (friends often conspire to lie).  Weigh that against John, and the fact that Zimmerman was injured consistent in nature with events as he described.  An ethical prosecutor would not have charged on this evidence.

    But, once a decision is made to charge, the formalities were followed correctly.  The only exception I have to that is that the affidavit doesn't expressly connect the evidence with the elements of murder 2.  There is no allegation that clearly puts Zimmerman in the role of depraved.  Hypothetically, to make depraved mind, prosecution could have said (if it had evidence to this, but it doesn't) that Zimmerman held Martin at gunpoint while Martin was screaming.  That during this time, Martin posed no physical threat to Zimmerman whatsoever.


    So in the APC, the prosectution was under (none / 0) (#50)
    by leftwig on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:23:57 PM EST
    no obligation to provide information that was counter to the "facts" it presented?  So if one person says something happens (It was TM screaming for help) and a dozen other witnesses say it was GZ (I know this isn't exactly the case her, but for example), then the prosecution can put in the APC that TM was identified as screaming for help with no mention of the conflicting information?  

    That is correct (none / 0) (#51)
    by cboldt on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:37:10 PM EST
    The legal jargon is that the prosecution has no duty to express any defense in the charging document or supporting affidavit.

    However, the imbalance in evidence that you cite, the prosecution is required to take that into consideration before filing.  The decision to charge is supposed to be an objective one, and it is the usual situation that there is conflicting testimony.  So, here is John saying Zimmerman was at disadvantage, back down, and one of the two is screaming.  Cutcher comes along and says Zimmerman fired two shots while both men were standing, but she was 100 feet away, around the corner.  Now, one must admit there is testimony that Zimmerman shot without justification, see Cutcher.  It would be unethical to charge on that pair of conflicting statements, for want of credible evidence to support the charge.


    I disagree that Dershowitz is wrong (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:58:50 PM EST
    The affidavit was filled with half-truths. See here.

    Affidavits cannot intentionally omit material facts which could affect the probable cause decision.

     Florida has adopted the ABA Standards on Prosecution Function.

    Florida has adopted the American Bar Association Standards of Criminal Justice Relating to Prosecution Function. This is the product of prolonged and careful deliberation by lawyers experienced in criminal prosecution and defense and should be consulted for further guidance. See also rule 4-3.3(d) governing ex parte proceedings, among which grand jury proceedings are included. Applicable law may require other measures by the prosecutor and knowing disregard of these obligations or systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion could constitute a violation of rule 4-8.4.

    One standard:

    The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:

    (a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;


    (c) Ex Parte Proceedings. In an ex parte proceeding a lawyer shall inform the tribunal of all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.

    That last part is what I've been referring to (none / 0) (#53)
    by leftwig on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:15:24 PM EST
    and believe what Dershowitz was pointing out, especially in regards to the factual representation in the APC that it was TM screaming for help because the mother says so.  Its clearly a fact in dispute and by not representing the statements made by others, the prosecution did not follow the rules in creating the APC.

    I can understand not presenting GZ's injuries because its the prosecutions contention that GZ hunted TM with malice and I presume they will say TM was defending himself while crying out for help.  However, if it can't be established that TM was screaming for help and the balance of the evidence appears to show that it was more likely GZ screaming, then I think this APC broke some rules.


    I agree with all that you posted (none / 0) (#54)
    by cboldt on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:07:15 PM EST
    My observation had to do only with the contents of the charging document and supporting affidavit(s).


    (k) Form of Certain Allegations. Allegations concerning the following items may be alleged as indicated below: ...

    (4)     Exceptions; Excuses; Provisos. Statutory exceptions, excuses, or provisos relative to offenses created or defined by statute need not be negatived by allegation.

    The justified use of force is a statutory exception.  The murder 2 statute does not refer to the justified use of force statute.

    In contrast, the manslaughter statute, FS 782.07, does refer to the statutory exception of 776.  Had Corey charged manslaughter, her allegations would have had to include facts and the presence of a justified use of force argument.

    I am not arguing that she acted ethically.  I find the opposite to be true.  But the absence of 776 elements in the information and affidavit are not evidence, at all, of an unethical prosecution.  The evidence lies outside of those documents, and those documents conform with the relevant provisions of the rules.


    OT (none / 0) (#24)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:20:14 PM EST
    Oculus?  Will you show me the [url=http] thing again? I need a brief refresher since I can't make the link button work like Jeralyn can.

    My pleasure! (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:32:35 PM EST
    Copy URL.
    Place [   ] in the comment box.
    Insert URL between the brackets
    Put "link" or whatever in front of the URL but inside the bracket.  



    or you can (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:07:43 PM EST
    the words you want to go to the hyperlink in the comment box, like

    motion to dismiss

    highlight motion to dismiss and click on the link button at the top of the comment box and paste in the url

    no brackets needed.


    there was no preliminary hearing (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:04:10 PM EST
    that's not how Florida rules go. There's an indictment and a rubber stamp by the judge who finds probable cause based on the affidavit at the defendant's first appearance. No hearing, nothing but the affidavit, no opportunity to argue against it.

    Why GJ not used (none / 0) (#20)
    by legallycurious on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:55:42 PM EST
    Considering all the public attention to the very sad shooting of Trayvon Martin, to me the reason for the Corey's decision not to go the GJ route is clear - risk analysis.   While prosecutors should carefully consider the need for and resources required to conduct a GJ, I believe that these factors were not the main reasons for not using one.  I think what happened is that the State/Corey decided that the second degree murder charge was the charge they wanted.  Further, when they looked at the risk of the alternatives, the answer was obvious.  Risk of a GJ not returning a second degree murder charge - huge.  Risk of GJ not returning even a manslaughter charge - high.   Risk of an affidavit for a second degree murder charge (even one that I and others think was very weak on substance) being rejected by the court - very low.

    The Answer is Obvious (none / 0) (#23)
    by RickyJim on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:19:57 PM EST
    She didn't use a Grand Jury because she didn't have to.  Why bother?  The real question is why Florida allows a prosecutor to indict somebody for a felony on the basis of untested assertions in an Affidavit of Probable Cause?  My guess is that the majority of US States either have a sitting Grand Jury that meets periodically to review such requests for indictment (Whether or not they will currently still indict a ham sandwich with mustard is unknown to me.) or else mandate an adversarial public hearing before a judge where both sides can present witnesses.  And there is no movement in the Florida Legislature to get more reasonable?

    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:40:13 AM EST
    While all states have grand juries in place for state court systems, only about half actually use them.  Sometimes they use petit juries for individual cases (grand juries tend to sit for a period of time, say a month, and hear many cases in that jurisdiction).  

    The trend is that many states are moving to, or already use the preliminary hearing system.


    Maybe apropos of nothing but timing (none / 0) (#28)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:25:41 PM EST
    The Martin family and Crump prepared a written response to Mrs. Zimmerman's letter.  Just scanning the google newsfeed (which is prepared by a computer, yada yada yada) on the general topic of "Zimmerman" has many articles showcasing Mrs. Zimmerman's letter, and few articles that even mention the rebuttal.

    There are articles about O'Mara's motion to unseal the settlement agreement.  I think there are more articles on that subject, than there are of the rebuttal to Mrs. Zimmerman.

    ABC News Report including excerpts of rebuttal to Mrs. Zimmerman.  The only other two articles I see are at BET and Global Grind.

    Not to say the press is warming up to Zimmerman.  The photos of Martin are the red Hollister tee, and some that are even earlier.  But OTOH, there seems to be an imbalance in the number of reports giving Mrs. Zimmerman's remarks, compared with giving space to Crump's remarks.

    At some point, I think it would be good if this thread included a link to the rebuttal.

    I took it as him (none / 0) (#32)
    by Slayersrezo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:54:20 PM EST
    Stating his opinion, not a fact.

    And it is a very logical opinion which seems to have the majority of the evidence backing it up.

    Of course he could have a transcripted and linked  video  of the Gov telling Corey to arrest and charge no matter what, and you'd STILL be defending this prosecution.

    Not at all (none / 0) (#34)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:59:14 PM EST
    Of course he could have a transcripted and linked  video  of the Gov telling Corey to arrest and charge no matter what, and you'd STILL be defending this prosecution.

    In fact, that would be a perfect example of actual evidence, as opposed to ..

    ... baseless, fact-free, scurrilous accusations.


    Well we all know (none / 0) (#38)
    by Slayersrezo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:11:34 PM EST
    That unless you have video it didn't happen.

    But of course you are perfectly fine - at least when it suits you - for the justice system to incarcarate people or kick them out of their homes or even micromanage if they can talk to their own children based on one persons word and no other evidence whatsoever.

    Once again, this case is probabilities. I predict a win across the board for George Zimmerman, but I suspect the Powers that Be...having used him for their own purposes...will be fine with that. And of course no one (even those who suspect whatever the truth really is) will be able to do a darn thing about them.


    Quite the fantasy world (none / 0) (#41)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:34:38 PM EST
    But the point is moot - the baseless accusation has been deleted.

    I don't even know what (none / 0) (#42)
    by Slayersrezo on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:40:26 PM EST
    'baseless accusation' you are referring to.

    I was referring to Cboldt's ... (1.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Yman on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:52:41 PM EST
    ... baseless accusation above claiming Corey unethically brought the charges in bad faith and under orders from some unnamed person.

    That charge was not deleted apparently, but whatever you were replying to in your post #32 was deleted.  Go figure.

    It will be interesting to see if these types of baseless accusation are permitted.


    The Martin Family Rebuttal (none / 0) (#33)
    by cboldt on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:56:14 PM EST
    One year ago today, the State of Florida decided that there was evidence to charge George Zimmerman for second-degree murder for profiling, pursuing, and killing our unarmed teenage son. The facts of this case are simple and straightforward. We are confident that a jury following the overwhelming evidence against George Zimmerman will hold him accountable for killing our son, Trayvon Martin.

    For the Zimmerman family to allege that the justice system doesn't work, simply because they are unhappy their son was arrested in the first place, is disingenuous and disrespectful to the very system that is currently affording him every available opportunity to defend himself.  The arrest of an admitted killer is not a violation of due process, it is due process.  Most will agree that no one has been given greater consideration by the justice system for killing an unarmed child, than George Zimmerman.

    We continue to pray that our son's death will serve as a catalyst in preventing other senseless acts of gun violence.  

    As someone else pointed out (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:28:11 PM EST
    For the Zimmerman family to allege that the justice system doesn't work, simply because they are unhappy their son was arrested in the first place, is disingenuous and disrespectful to the very system that is currently affording him every available opportunity to defend himself.

    There is a certain irony to this.  If the Fulton Martins had not "been unhappy" that Zimmerman was not arrested, I doubt that Sharpton and Jackson would have been brought onboard.  Sharpton called for an increase in civil disobedience if there was not an arrest made.  Crump stated over and over again that they wanted an arrest.

    Zimmerman was cuffed and brought to the station for questioning.  He was not allowed to leave at his own discretion.  He was mirandized by Singleton.  Only when there was no evidence in the statements taken by witnesses that night was he allowed to go.  Including W6 who saw part of the altercation before the shot where Martin was in the dominant position of being mounted on Zimmerman. There's that little thing called "Probable Cause."  

    Weeks later there was still no real evidence that contradicted his narrative. Gilbreath said as such during the first bond hearing and when questioned admitted that the State had no evidence to prove who threw the first punch.  During another hearing, BDLR admitted that Martin had struck Zimmerman "at some point." Oddly, he never directly said that Zimmerman hit Martin "at some point" because there was no evidence to support it.  If he could have said it he would have said it.

    But the political motivations were strong then and still are.  It has always been about the money.  Tourism is HUGE busine$$.  It had taken a beating by the BP spill and was just starting to recover.  There was a lot at stake for the State of Florida.

    And yes, this is my opinion.