In the Miami Herald’s article Grand jury to probe Trayvon Martin killing, there are some things that are making me think this is not going to be the cakewalk to eradicate the Stand Your Ground law.
The first one is obviously that they case goes to the Grand Jury. Brevard County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger decision to go that route may indicate that after careful examination of the evidence presented to them, he cannot afford the political explosion that it surely come if he said that there is nothing indicating that the shooting was not within the parameters of the law. Wolfinger, a Republican is up for re-election this year and there is already a Democrat registered to contest him. Even though there are more registered Republicans than Democrats in Seminole County, the number of Independents can shift an election. Leaving the decision to the Grand Jury to charge or not Zimmerman with a crime shields him from a possible fallout.
The second is the statement given by the Department of Justice.
“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 department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids — the highest level of intent in criminal law.
“Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws.”
The last part caught my attention. It sounds like DOJ is already preparing the table to say that the case does not fall under federal purview. Not being a lawyer, I’d say that if he is brought to trial, the prosecution will aim for manslaughter instead of murder. It would be much easier (and if the evidence says so) to obtain either a conviction or a plea deal. Still it would be pushing it. The definition of manslaughter according to Florida Statutes is “The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification.” So, it is very possible that DOJ already perused the Martin case file and thought it would be best to add that little disclaimer.
The last bit is also very interesting:
Police Chief Bill Lee told The Miami Herald that he was comfortable that his investigators were fair and thorough.
“I can say very confidently we would welcome any outside entity that wants to come look at what we did,” Lee said last week. “They are welcome to come here and look at it. We have not done anything but conduct a fair and complete investigation.”