Alleged Trayvon Martin Pundits will set Zimmerman free.

There is one quote that has been bothering me since I read it, but I have not been feeling well lately so it did not take till a while ago talking to the wife. Warning: This is all a huge speculation on my part mixed with very limited knowledge of legal procedures.

The quote is the original statement by Sandford Police Chief Bill Lee about the Trayvon Martin shooting:

“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,”

And it hits me: That does not mean that he will not be arrested in the future if evidence, witnesses or even a confession can be obtained.  Zimmerman is not scott free as people think.

I am gonna wing it here so, legal eagles, correct and enhance as you see fit. Cases can be re-opened, we know that. But once a “person of interest” becomes a suspect, certain basic legalities MUST be observed. And if he is arrested, a legal clock and a whole ‘nother load of legalities come into play such as the right to a speedy trial.

Going to trial with weak evidence is a crapshot of the highest magnitude. And I do mean the legal evidence, not what gets selectively published by the Media and regurgitated by Pundits. Whomever is the judge in a high profile case like this will see that every comma is followed in this regard so many of the crap floating around or suddenly “discovered” by certain media hungry lawyers probably will not be admitted. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the defense will do its best to create such doubt which will be easy if witnesses (there are so far no eye witnesses) inject their prejudices to the case and the evidence is weak.

With a case weak in evidence, there are three probable outcomes: Guilty (doubtful), Mistrial (Probably) and Not Guilty (fair chance.) A guilty decision on a badly presented case will have a good chance to be killed on appeal necessitating a new trial. Same goes for a mistrial if the prosecution feels it can win the new trial or if it doesn’t, Zimmerman lives with the fear of another trial but not behind bars. The not-guilty immediately triggers the protection of Double Jeopardy and Zimmerman walks a free man.

By now Zimmerman is probably so lawyered up not even Eric Holder with a SWAT team of DOJ lawyers can get close to him. I am doubtful that we will hear another word from Zimmerman unless is through his lawyer and only to say he is innocent. And even if the Department of Justices decides to play Kangaroo Kourt and charge Zimmerman, they are facing the same problems the locals have plus the fact that the conduct of the DOJ under this administration has been less than stellar and borderline criminal.

So, whatever incriminating remarks that he could have made in the future are pretty much gone and buried inside him. And whatever investigation on the sly that the Sandford Police might have going has gone to the crapper because somebody decided than rather than wait, the case should be tried in the Court of TV presided by the Honorable Nancy Grace and prosecuted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

And true injustice in this case is that we will never know the truth of what happened.

 

 

12 Replies to “Alleged Trayvon Martin Pundits will set Zimmerman free.”

  1. The latest “revelation” that the girlfriend was on the phone with Treyvon and says he thought he was being followed is going to get discounted for just this reason. Who could possibly belive that after a week she shows up with a statement like this. However, had the media shut up and she had wandered into the cops and gave her statement, it might have been believed.

    The thing is, the racialists and the anti-gunners don’t actually care about this case. They don’t care about the dead guy, and they certainly don’t care about justice. They only care about advancing their cause. This is typical of people like this. They don’t view the shooter or the dead kid as human beings, just as objects to be used.

    We want a fair and impartial hearing and justice to be done. They want to fan the flames of hatred, either of whitey or of guns.




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    1. “either of whitey or of guns.”

      and yet the guy is Hispanic and looks the part as well. Yet they still keep on about a white vs black thing.




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  2. Miguel:
    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
    (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

    The quote from Sandford Police Chief Bill Lee likely reflects his office’s concern over 776.032(2), and potential exposure of a civil rights claim by Zimmerman against Lee’s officer if they arrest him without probable cause under the statute:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16437414483349976389

    By doing nothing but investigating, Lee saves his office from potential lawsuits, and passes that risk on to the state attorney. Further, if they arrest him afoul of (2), a clever defense attorney might be able to attack any subsequent admissions resulting from that arrest.

    It seems there is no risk on the part of a state attorney that goes forward to a grand jury on a good faith belief that Zimmerman may not have had a reasonable fear of death or imminent bodily harm that would justify his use of deadly force.

    Just speculation though, who knows. But if Zimmerman is no flight risk, then Lee is probably making the right move by dumping it in the state attorney’s lap.




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      1. Understand that the law in this area is still developing, being shaped by court rulings. Here is what I think:

        1. In Dennis v. State (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10779370971098335560) the Florida Supreme Court ruled that prior to any trial, defendants are entitled to an evidentiary hearing where the trial judge will determine the defendant’s right to immunity under s.776.032. The Dennis court seemed to approve a lower appellate court’s ruling, Peterson v. State (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4550408100917847020) which says that even if the defendant loses at his evidentiary hearing, he can still assert self-defense at trial.
        2. There is some uncertainty, at least in my mind, as to whether or not there is a mechanism whereby a defendant could seek this preliminary hearing if he knows that indictment proceedings are underway. But certainly after indictment the defendant would have this opportunity. So we can anticipate that Zimmerman’s attorney will take a shot (pun intended) at this hearing, and force the state to reveal the evidence it has thus far, and get a preview of what the state intends to argue at trial. Plus, he might win.
        3. So the next question is, what exactly is the judge going to decide at this preliminary evidentiary hearing as to Zimmerman’s immunity (assuming his attorney requests the hearing)? The judge will examine the facts, and then make a determination based upon the “preponderance of the evidence” to determine whether Zimmerman lawfully defended himself under the statutes. See State v. Gallo (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5460378031564645326). For an example of this analysis, see Montanez v. State (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15419984188679373823).
        4. The next question, is at that immunity hearing, what are the relative burdens of each side? Does the defendant need to prove he complied with the statute, or does the state need to prove the defendant did not comply with the statute? My preliminary opinion (meaning I would need to research further) is that it depends on the the applicability of presumptions set forth in s.776.013 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html)
        Thus, much will turn on what the evidence shows with respect to where the confrontation took place. If Zimmerman was attacked while he was in his vehicle, then the presumptions of (1)(a) and (4) would probably apply and the state would have the burden of proving many things, including Zimmerman’s state of mind. Very, very difficult. On the other hand, if Zimmerman got out of his car, (3) (a.k.a. stand your ground) only relieved him of a duty to retreat, it does not create any legal presumptions (as far as I can tell). So in that case, the burden would be on Zimmerman to prove his compliance with the statute, including that he had a reasonable fear of death or grave bodily harm and that his actions were reasonably necessary. Again, although the above might be applicable at trial, I am not sure if it applies at this preliminary hearing. As an aside, if Zimmerman testifies at this stage, I also do not know if that testimony can be used at trial if he loses his immunity motion.

        If I have time I will do more research as the case develops. Until somebody makes a move there isn’t anything to discuss (but try telling that to Al Sharpton).




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  3. This post is one of the the wisest things I have seen or heard about this shooting. You are right, the pundits do damage to the judicial system when they try a case of the court of public opinion. Case in point: Casey Anthony. Casey Anthony (I believe) killed her daughter. She should have gone to jail. I think they had enough evidence for manslaughter or lesser murder. But the pundits railed on TV and people demanded justice, and they tried her for 1st degree murder. Not enough evidence for that and she walked with jeopardy attached.

    I think your prediction is right on the money. People are going to want vengence, not justice. Zimmerman will be tried for a crime he didn’t commit (1st degree murder instead of mansluaghter or something like that) and he’s gonna walk because of weak evidence. Then were going to get an earful from the very same pundits as to why our justice system is racist and we should be ashamed of ourselves.




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    1. Pundits in the legal community are already asking whether “stand your ground” is racist:

      http://abovethelaw.com/2012/03/are-stand-your-ground-and-defense-of-home-laws-racist/

      This seems to me a ridiculous proposition, because if statistically speaking, minorities are more often involved in and charged with violent crime, then minorities would and should use the defense more often. My understanding is that minority on minority crime is still far more prevalent and deadly than white on minority crime in Florida, so the statute is actually more likely to come to the rescue of a minority who was forced to use deadly force to defend herself from another minority (or more technically, was caused by another minority to *reasonably believe* that death or great bodily harm was imminent).




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